For a long time, liberals have been accusing conservatives of being conspiracy theorists. Say anything about Hunter Biden, and you’re a conspiracy theorist. Urge Andrew Cuomo to resign, and you’re a conspiracy theorist.
Now it’s worse. Conservatives aren’t just conspiracy theorists; they’re white supremacists. Like those who defend Georgia’s voting reforms designed to protect the integrity of the election. Or any person or business that lives or operates in Georgia. For the left, anyone associated with a bill designed to prevent voter fraud, and so deny Democrats permanent power, is a white supremacist.
Maybe that was the point of Biden’s attack on “extremism, white supremacy, domestic terrorism” in his inaugural address. Democrats are seeing white supremacists everywhere they look — like the New Republic, which in 2017 suggested that Trump’s economic agenda of returning manufacturing jobs to America was “white supremacist.” Or the accusation elsewhere that Trump ignored supposed connections between the police and white supremacists, or the supposed Alt-Right “bridge between conservatism and white supremacism” (so now “conservatism” in general is “white supremacist”?).
Once again, liberal thinking has followed the race to the bottom, whereby anything one disagrees with is “white supremacist.”
It’s easy to charge someone with being a white supremacist because it’s difficult to prove a negative. Once charged, if charged often enough, the charge may stick even if baseless. In a 2019 poll, 57% of Americans agreed that President Trump is a white supremacist or emboldened them. What “embolden” meant in that context is not clear. The media worked overtime to establish this idea in the minds of the public, and now they’re using the same rhetoric to attack opponents of the Biden administration.
The charge against conservatives appears daily on thousands of liberal media outlets. It’s now commonplace to accuse anyone who takes pride in America — anyone who admires George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, to say nothing of Reagan or Trump — of being a vicious white supremacist. Or even anyone who questions “Black Lives Matter,” or is not vocal enough in his support.
What’s happening with the rhetoric of white supremacism is the classic tactic of expanding the definition of something odious until it covers everything outside your own way of thinking. It’s the equivalent of labeling your opponent a “fascist” just for opposing your ideas, and like the charge of fascism, its purpose is to silence the opponent without having to debate him. This because once you debate him, you might discover that you are wrong.
As Orwell understood, such rhetoric can be effective. Create a lie and repeat it often enough, and it comes to seem as if it were true. Orwell was correct in his belief that “in our time it is broadly true that political writing is bad writing” — with the exception, he said, of those rebels, including many conservatives, who express their own honest opinions outside the “party line.”
As Orwell realized early on, the political language of the left relies on vague [ … ]