August 31, 2006

Fascist vs. Fascist vs. Phillies Fans

by Armen

In the Chambers of Justice Thomas:

This case arises from the abuse of the English language by various parties, including members of the Executive and Legislative branches of the Federal government. The President and Vice President, as well as many prominent Republicans, are now using the term "Islamic Fascists" to describe the enemies of the current war on terrorism. See, e.g, ABC News, "Republicans Target 'Islamic Fascism.'" On the opposite side, Professor Leiter remarks that his politics don't fit in the continuum of "crypto-fascist on one end to moderates with tepid liberal leanings on the other."

In 1946, Geroge Orwell remarked on the use of the English language for political gamesmanship in his essay, Politics and the English Language. As it relates to this case, he wrote:

The word Fascism has now no meaning except in so far as it signifies "something not desirable." The words democracy, socialism, freedom, patriotic, realistic, justice have each of them several different meanings which cannot be reconciled with one another. In the case of a word like democracy, not only is there no agreed definition, but the attempt to make one is resisted from all sides. It is almost universally felt that when we call a country democratic we are praising it: consequently the defenders of every kind of regime claim that it is a democracy, and fear that they might have to stop using that word if it were tied down to any one meaning. Words of this kind are often used in a consciously dishonest way. That is, the person who uses them has his own private definition, but allows his hearer to think he means something quite different. Statements like Marshal Pétain was a true patriot, The Soviet press is the freest in the world, The Catholic Church is opposed to persecution, are almost always made with intent to deceive. Other words used in variable meanings, in most cases more or less dishonestly, are: class, totalitarian, science, progressive, reactionary, bourgeois, equality.
I could not have said it better myself. This is an abuse of the English language regardless of the reasons. It's a bit ironic that Professor Leiter uses the term in a comment to a post about the politics of Howard Bashman*, who as we all know must be a Fascist for supporting the Philadelphia Phillies.

For the foregoing reasons, I refer the matter to the full court for consideration.

* I have never read any post by Mr. Bashman and thought to myself, "Huh, that's a strangely liberal thing to say" whereas the opposite is quite true. However, as it relates to the comment that his blog is non-partisan, I wholeheartedly agree. That is, I would not in my wildest dreams characterize his posts as having a blatant political agenda. C.f. David Bernstein at the VC.

August 31, 2006 01:54 PM | TrackBack

Charlie Brown's brief in response to Bashman Bashing: "Good grief!"

Posted by: Shag from Brookline at September 1, 2006 07:13 AM

In my defense, I was bashing on the Phillies. They really do have the worst fans in all major league sports.

Posted by: Armen at September 1, 2006 11:51 AM
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