Fascism Is a Warm Puppy

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Bill O'Reilly faces down the fascist threat.

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  1. Add Bill to the list of those who obviously should know what “fascism” is, and still improperly uses it as an emotional hot-button label for ANYTHING that he chooses to disagree with. I agree with many of his objections; but I wish he’d lay-off the “fascist” analogies.

  2. “A flat tax on the wealthy” A tax on wealth

    Yes, of course, O’Reilly is a blowhard, but why anyone cares is beyond me. He’s no more relevant than, say, Ana Marie Cox.

  3. O’Reilley’s religious training undermines his ability to think clearly. That and his bigotry.

  4. Righties seem to have stolen the old hippy tactic of calling anything they find mildly unpleasant “fascist”.

    Get a job.

    No way man. I’ve got important stuff to do around the couch. Fascist.

  5. Fargin’ reactionary neanderthal fascist Nazi pig!

  6. Ed- O’Reilley is Jebbie educated, I think. They’re not known for teaching imprecise thinking.

  7. This may be a bit off-topic, but one of our local AM stations here in New Orleans recently picked up the Michael Savage show, and let me tell you that O’Reilly is the Great Pretender compared to this guy. Any of you who’ve had the misfortune of listening to his show would know that Savage uses fascist to describe anyone that doesn’t agree with his views 100%. I didn’t think he was serious the first few times I heard him call both Bush and Limbaugh liberals, but after listening to him during both the Schiavo and Rove affairs, I have come to realize that mainstream political discourse consists solely of loudmouth blowhards who can scream and suppress their way to huge ratings.

  8. Then there are the selectively-Orwell-quoting anti-objectively pro-fascists….

  9. Loudly decrying dissenting voices as unpatriotic and treasonous and supporting the party in power come hell or high water… that’s not fascism, that’s question #3 on the Fox News application!

  10. Yeah, I was cruising through the dial and landed on little Mikey Savage. Couldn’t turn the radio off fast enough. O’Reilly by comparison is simply automotive somnolence.

  11. If you disregard people’s motives, it becomes much harder to foresee their actions.

    i difficult thing for ardent objectivists to swallow, perhaps, but orwell was obviously correct, mr welch. that’s a great bit on your site.

    allow me to speculate that what is occuring here is a repitition of a developing problem in western society regarding language. the ability to use abstract words and concepts with specificity is fading, it seems. a sloppiness has come over the culture in which words — very important words — are being rendered meaningless by constant misuse. and it has directly to do, imo, with the proletarianization of public dialogue — more people of less intellectual capacity and/or accountability are included in the dialogue than ever before, and that (whatever positive effects it may have) has negative effects.

    “fascist” is clearly a good example — but so are “democracy”, “freedom”, “law”, “religion” and countless others.

    i know that the explosion of media is near-and-dear to the libertarian religion, but this is a considerable problem that results from it. i’d like to know: do libertarians (or anyone silly enough to speak for them 🙂 )see the problem as a problem? or do they simply dismiss it without consideration? and, if they do see it as a problem, what do they envision as a solution?

  12. pardon me — “repetition”. one can hardly call for careful usage and allow that to stand. or a slog of uncapitalized sentences, for that matter…. 🙂

  13. O’Reilley and his ilk aren’t stupid, GM, they’re deliberately manipulative. And they’ve gotten rich being that way.

  14. GM – We dismiss it without consideration because it is someone else’s problem, i.e. the viewers, and the solution is to keep them ignorant and entertained until it is their time to become soylent green.

  15. “and, if they do see it as a problem, what do they envision as a solution?”

    there’s a similar example on the left in regards to the word “culture” which has become used by everyone to describe any gathering of three or more people. many people regard saying “hip hop culture is not a culture in any meaningful way” as a form of imperialism (cultural, of course).

    a solution? gaius, well, outside of a mass grave, i don’t know. no wonder revolutionaries enjoy that tactic so much.

    part of this is that definitions of words change over time; that’s a given. but that’s only part of it, and the problem is not so much the incorrect word useage itself but the lack of precise word useage in the first place. that’s a far larger trend that’s been noted by quite a few people, not that i’ve ever heard an actual solution beyond asking people “what do you mean when you say that pancake waitress was a fascist?”

  16. #6

    I believe God is an integral part of the Jebbie curricula.
    Belief in him clouds Bill’s thought processes and prejudices his opinions.

  17. they’re deliberately manipulative.

    i might agree, mr 6, but that they feel they can be effective in doing what they’re doing is testament to a problem. in the flood of proletarianization, rigor seems quickly drowned.

  18. there’s a similar example on the left in regards to the word “culture” which has become used by everyone to describe any gathering of three or more people.

    agreed, mr dhex. good example.

  19. Gaius Marius,

    Your pretentiousness and illogic have combined to form a ridiculous comment that I can not let go uncriticized. First of all, the message that I glean from your unneccesarily wordy post is that stupid people should not be allowed to posit about society’s ills and blessings. After all, it is better for the educated elite to decide what is good for the common man. That’s how I interpret your comment. Obviously that type of arrogance is anti-libertarian and anti-democratic. If I am mistaken about your message, then it is not my fault; you should learn how to write more clearly.
    Your basic theme aside, I was amused by your written contradiction of your basic thesis. You state that “…the ability to use abstract words and concepts with specificity is fading, it seems. a sloppiness has come over the culture in which words — very important words — are being rendered meaningless by constant misuse.” Very well; I can agree with that to an extant (although I don’t couch it in pseudo-intellectual elitism). However, in your next paragraph, you use the phrase “libertarian religion.” Now, I would be impressed by your writing skills if you were using the word “religion” in a poetic sense. However, you just got done expressing disdain for those who use abstract words incorrectly. Then you do so yourself with “religion.” That, Gaius Marius, is pretty funny.

  20. I don’t think the language problem has anything to do with “western” society. The mutability of language is a common phenomenon in any society, it just so happens that things change more rapidly in a society that has previously infathomable means of communication. The problem isn’t so much that meanings become diluted, but that direct, specific meaning becomes harder to express simply.

    Take the word “liberal”, for instance. Although it’s often used incorrectly from a technical standpoint in the US, it’s common meaning is usually clearly understood, which makes it acceptable from a linguistics standpoint. However, trying to express the original meaning requires much more work and verbiage. Although, I suppose, if the general replacement word “libertarian” didn’t require an explanation things would be made easier.

  21. O’Reilley is Jebbie educated, I think. They’re not known for teaching imprecise thinking.

    The Jesuits are human even if they think God is behind him. They may have just failed.

  22. Although it’s often used incorrectly from a technical standpoint in the US, it’s common meaning is usually clearly understood, which makes it acceptable from a linguistics standpoint.

    i would say, mr stretch, that the problem isn’t so much in the mutability of meaning — no one will stop language from changing, i agree — so much as the loss of any real meaning at all in these words due to their promiscuous misuse. in the end, perhaps that’s the real trouble: a promiscuity of ideas, where nothing really stands for anything particular and specific.

  23. it is not my fault

    of course it’s not, mr swede.

  24. J. Edgar Hoover wrote a memo shortly after WWII in which he referred to the Soviets and their agents as supporting “fascist communism.” Apparently, “fascist” meant “likes to push people around.”

    gaius, stretch, the word “liberal” has a perfectly clear, broadly understood meaning in modern parlance. It isn’t being used incorrectly to describe John Kerry as a liberal; the word’s meaning has simply changed.

  25. Then what does “use” mean, joe?

    Cheap shot, I know; but how, Swede is it against the ideas of democracy and libertarianism that not everyone is intelligent enough to grasp linguistic concepts? Leave intelligence out of it, even; not everyone reads the same inferences into a sentence, and as more ideas are shared on a large scale, the odds of being misunderstood increase.

    Now, if some linguist would like to come along and dissect my post, please feel free to do so.

  26. Gaius, I just view “promiscuous misuse” as one common form of mutability, one which is accelerated greatly by the massive amount of communication in our society.

    It upsets me, too, hearing words used so sloppily, but I don’t see any help for it. While disappointing, I don’t necessarily think it’s malevolent either. I also think you miss the point when you say “and it has directly to do, imo, with the proletarianization of public dialogue”. The problem isn’t that people are too stupid to understand and use words properly. The problem is the elitist viewpoint that people are too stupid. This is a viewpoint that begins in early schooling and is manifested continually with the talking heads “talking down”. The watering down of language is due to an intellectual haughtiness, and not due to any inferior intellectual capacity. Perhaps ironically, this has resulted in an inablilty of the intellectual community to remember and use words properly as well.

  27. stretch, the word “liberal” has a perfectly clear, broadly understood meaning in modern parlance. It isn’t being used incorrectly to describe John Kerry as a liberal; the word’s meaning has simply changed.

    I believe I made that point when I said “it’s common meaning is usually clearly understood, which makes it acceptable from a linguistics standpoint.” My point wasn’t that the US use of the word “liberal” is wrong, per se, but that because the meaning has changed, it’s original meaning is harder to express simply.

  28. Rich Ard,

    “Use” has many definitions. The operative one here is “put to use.” Or, “operate for a purpose.”

    Here’s a sentence in which the word appears: the mill owner intended to use his neighbor’s land for a mill pond.

  29. on the other hand, jebbies are known for turning good catholics into raving atheists (the perils of an education that’s too good, perhaps?)

  30. joe, I would have capitalized the first letter of the sentence, but I follow you. 🙂

  31. “Yeah, it’s been really heavy, man, with all these freaks from the fascist press trying to blow the whole scene.”

    — from a Monty Python sketch

  32. The problem isn’t that people are too stupid to understand and use words properly. The problem is the elitist viewpoint that people are too stupid.

    my view is elitist? i thought it was simply self-depricating. 🙂

    mr stretch, i would agree, of course, that language is open-source. but you don’t see any shadow of a vulgarization of the language ongoing? reading dickensian language for contrast, i think the difference cannot simply be explained by shifting meanings. there is a definite denigration of form and syntax going on — and i think an aspect of that is the rampant misuse of highly abstract words that represent ideas.

    i think what we’re witnessing is similar to the evolution from high/classical latin to vulgar latin that accompanied the roman empire.

    now, we can certainly argue reasonably that this is a product of the massive amount of communication in our society, which was also a feature of a highly intergrated roman universal state. but why should more communication necessarily mean a breakdown of form and rigor?

    i think we can also say that it is a result of proletarianizing — that is, the mass of people in the society no longer seeking to imitate — and in many cases actively undermining — the manners of the upper-class minority, including language. this desire to imitate the upper crust was a feature of the western class society up until the early 20th c — and is certainly gone now. 🙂 with each free to strike out on his own and refuse to capitalize, a denigration of the form into something less articulate and meaningful seems underway.

  33. Hey, you’ll get no argument from me that the matter is highly debatable. What I don’t agree with is that the statement, “The Nazis were right-wingers” has a whole lot of meaning. Sure, they opposed the Social Democrats and the communists, but they had reasons for opposing each. The Social Democrats were associated with Versailles (how ever unfairly), and the communists were Russian-controlled and labeled as Jews to boot. How Neo-Nazis define themselves isn’t very telling–it’s not like the “movement” has any strong intellectual component.

    Still, I hardly see the Nazis as typical or a likely evolution of leftist politics, nor do I mean to argue that they were really any more left-wing than right-wing. They were after state power and didn’t give a hoot about the concerns of individual citizens. Not to mention that they were mostly evil idiots without a coherent idea beyond hatred of certain groups and a desire to grab territory.

  34. “but why should more communication necessarily mean a breakdown of form and rigor?”

    partly speed.

    You take the good, you take the bad
    You take em both and there you have
    The facts of life, the facts of life

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