Our Choice Of Language Betrays What We Are
|US & Canada signing softwood lumber
agreement in 2006 (photo trade.gov)
I read a somewhat innocuous news story this morning (see link below) about a joint announcement by Canada and the United States to extend the current softwood lumber agreement originally signed in 2006.
This agreement, while not perfect, resolved most outstanding issues and ended years of bickering and wrangling between the two countries. It also resulted in the elimination of countervailing tariffs on Canadian softwood lumber by the Americans which opened up opportunities in American markets, created jobs on both sides of the border and saw the return of $4.5 billion in previously charged duties to Canadian companies.
Now, you would think that this if not a great thing for the Canadian software lumber industry is at the very least not a bad thing but for some it is nothing less than treason.
Don’t take my word for it, read some of the comments in response to the article in the link below. It is unbelievable how some people respond to things based on their particular bias rather than on the facts. Some comments were based on information so ill-informed as to think that the agreement meant Canada was shipping logs, not milned lumber to the States. I’m not interested in defending the softwood lumber agreement or even the industry. They can take care of that themselves. It was the commentary that grabbed my attention.
How does negotiating an agreement with your largest trading partner that benefits one of your largest industries suddenly become treason in anyone eyes? This was, after all, an agreement that previous governments from both countries had been negotiating and trying to resolve for decades.
|If nothing else, Occupy has elevated
hyperbole to an art form
But then, that’s the way of today isn’t it? Too many people form an opinion based on their personal prejudices and then look for causes to support their opinions.
Take a look at the Occupy Movement.
It started as a protest against corrupt practices on Wall Street and has now become little more than an ongoing rant that makes my articles look positively poetic. Got a beef with someone or something? Join Occupy and they’ll add it to the list. Solutions? They have none but they have a long list of complaints, criticisms, accusations and allegations.
If you’re not for them, you’re not only against them….you’re a criminal, a traitor, an idiot or at best you’re simply not from around here. Facts are irrelevant, contradictions don’t trouble them in the least. They chant ‘down with corporate America’ even as they flock to buy and use the very products it provides. They demand respect for the very rights they trample for others and they criticize others for spending their money (read that as “their” money) on things rather than helping the poor while causing millions of dollars in vandalism damage to cities across North America; millions that could have been used to help the poor.
|Protesting to protect tree using paper signs and sticks
that came from….trees. No irony or hypocrisy there.
The environmental movement is the same. Hug a tree and make the world a better place reads the sign….on cardboard……that came from a tree. Many of the leaders of this movement are quick to condemn the use of fossil fuels and actively jet around the world to make that point, no doubt believing that their jets run on solar power. Even Greenpeace, that protector of the environment is out there in its little boats, spewing greenhouse gases into the air from its outboard motors in defense of clean air, dolphins and baby seals. (meanwhile, children around the world go to bed hungry at night but Greenpeace is too busy saving the world to save people, especially children)
Personally, I don’t much care what people believe or what causes they embrace no matter how poorly informed or thought out those causes might be. What I do care about is the extreme language being used and it mostly comes from the left (although the right has its share of extreme vocabulary too), those warm, tree-hugging, save the planet, save animals, save the environment, save life folks who want to save everything except those dirty, treasonous bastards who don’t agree with them.
Here is just a small sample of the language now being used by those who profess to have humanity’s best interest at heart. They are in no particular order:
|This is just a small sample of what
a true police state looks like
Traitor. Fascist. Eco-terrorist. Criminal. Arch-criminal. Asshole (I actually use this one myself but only when someone actually is an asshole. Hitler. Communist. Racist. Terrorist. Murderer. Nazi. I’ve seen all of these words, and too many more, on social media sites to characterize someone that someone else didn’t like or with whom they disagreed.
People use these words to label others who do not hold the same opinions, support the same cause or politics as they do. I confess that I don’t get it. I fail to understand why exercising your right to form your own opinion has suddenly become a criminal act or why voting for what you believe in makes you a fascist, a Nazi or a socialist commie sympathizer.
What in the Hell has happened to us?
Are we so weak in our opinions that the only way we feel they hold any value is to try and demean anyone who doesn’t agree with us? Are our causes and beliefs so weak that they can only be shored up by tearing down those of others?
|Yelling and screaming have become
how too many express themselves
That isn’t democracy in action folks. It isn’t even good manners. It’s rabble babble by people who don’t respect the rights, the values, the opinions or the ideas of others. Too often, these are the same people who will rush to defend something like baby seals while almost tripping over the homeless person lying on the street in their path.
The road to perdition is long but easily followed and our societies are racing down it like it’s an expressway. We can’t talk to each other anymore which is why we don’t build consensus on issues. We merely posture, attack, accuse, complain, criticize and denigrate. We have no respect for the opinions of others which means very few have respect for ours.
The distance between a liberal and conservative isn’t very great. You only have to look at government policies in any democracy over the past fifty years to see that but to hear the language being used you would think the gap was miles wide.
It isn’t and our language isn’t doing anything to bring us together. If anything, our choice of language in presenting our opinions and in debating those held by others betrays not only the strength or weakness of our own but who and what we are as individuals.
There was a time when this kind of rhetoric was the province of extremists and the chronically under-informed. It has spread and is replacing informed, civilized debate. It will get worse before it gets better.
Link to article on extension of the Softwood Lumber Agreement between Canada and the US
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