Amateur Hour at the Huffington Post   Leave a comment


Someone called David Wallechinsky recently penned an article boringly titled 4 Political Concepts Ruined by Their Boring Names. He can’t honestly slap such an uninspired title on his article and expect people to take his advice on labeling seriously. A liberal with little understanding as to how these things work, he’s no Frank Luntz. He doesn’t even discuss framing the debate.

Sometimes a policy or concept becomes popular because it acquires a catchy name.
He actually writes this sentence– heck he starts with it. Apparently, in Wallechinsky’s world, there are times when a pleasant label, completely independent of the policy it’s supposed to describe, accounts for its popularity. This is wishful liberal thinking. If only their plans for censorship and government theft had nicer names, people would like them. Wrapping a sinister policy in a catchy name is no recipe for success.

Wallechinsky then goes on to describe “four concepts in serious need of new names if they are to be taken seriously.” It seems like he doesn’t quite realize that if he’s proposing new names for unpopular things, he’s already lost. Everybody who doesn’t like it will continue to call it by its current name and opponents will cite the name change as proof that the policy is harmful and unpopular. For every controversial issue, there is a battlefield on which to fight for one’s preferred labeling, but it occurs most critically at the policy’s introduction. It’s a tremendous difficulty to change a name of a policy and watchful eyes will question relentlessly why the change is necessary.

So what policies require name changes?

  • Net Neutrality
  • Single-Payer
  • Fracking
  • Cap and Trade

To clarify, Wallechinsky favors net neutrality, single-payer health care, and cap and trade, while opposing fracking. These are far left positions. Regular people don’t want the government to regulate the internet or take over health care, or the idea of buying air from developing nations as a cost of industry.

The four terms named aren’t even Republican-branded terms. Conservatives feel strongly about all of these issues, but didn’t name them, since they’re leftist ideas, so the side that creates the propositions gets to name them. Net neutrality? Doesn’t the name sound like it’s a good thing? The problem is that the policy amounts to government regulation of the internet. It’s not depicted as censorship doctrine by its proponents, but people don’t buy the “same price for all sites on the internet” story. We’ve heard how China suppresses freedom of speech through internet regulation and don’t want to take any steps toward that.

Single-payer doesn’t seem like such a harmful term either. Sure, regular people might not know what it means, but I’m pretty sure Wallechinsky’s description that “the government pays for everyone’s health care” is dishonest. Government pays? Well, how does the government pay for it? The problem with this system isn’t the name “single-payer” but the government takeover of health care, taxes people don’t want to pay, and stories of failure in Cuba and the UK.

“Fracking” is an energy exploration method that uses harmful chemicals. It’s not a pleasant sounding name, so people who oppose it shouldn’t want to change it. Wallechinsky thinks “fracking” isn’t descriptive enough to be effective. He falls into this trap that liberals fall into, thinking their terms need to be descriptive to be effective. You have to use an academic adjective with at least three syllables to explain your concept. No no no no no. The intuitive emotional charge that “fracking” incites is very useful. It sounds violent, unpleasant, something you wouldn’t want to happen to yourself, your family, or your planet. How a word makes you feel can be more effective than how well it describes the concept.

Cap and trade. Wherein American companies must pay Al Gore to maintain their industries. It’s a farce. Doesn’t even accomplish its ostensible goals, just a way for leftist crooks to make money and redistribute the wealth. Cap and trade isn’t such a sinister name for such a concept. Wallechinsky suggests “pay to pollute” like that might be a viable label. But pay who? You have to buy “carbon credits” from Al Gore and/or developing nations and you get nothing in return except Al Gore’s permission to continue doing business. Putting “pay” in the name will only expose how corrupt and fraudulent cap and trade is. “Cap and trade” the name is not cap and trade’s biggest obstacle– cap and trade the idea is.

Huffington Post is a flailing cesspool of liberals who want to rename everything. They think slicker, smarter labels are going to bring public support for their far left policies. Conservatives are much more skilled in the policy-naming business, while liberals try to rebrand policies that they themselves named in the first place. Wallechinsky’s article is indicative of just how clueless liberals are in this area.

Part of the problem is that when liberals try to come up with a new name for something, they only think of what sounds good to them. What would sound good in a masters thesis or a scholarly publication. For the educated, the “enlightened,” and the elite. Regular people don’t care about labels like that. Renaming an unpopular policy is symptomatic of liberal arrogance, operating under the assumption that if only the dumb masses understood how wonderful they were, they would love them. The names are not the problem, the policy is.

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