The Goldendale Sentinel - Headlines & History since 1879

By Steve Kenny
Goldendale 

Get your terms straight

 


I recently gave advice about political discussion to some friends: before engaging in any political discussion, agree on the definitions of terms to be used in the discussion first. Only then can an honest discussion take place because politicians manipulate us all with a shell game of words.One will likely have different definitions of words than his friend has. If definitions are shared first, a better meeting of the minds and meaningful conversation is possible.

We think we know what politicians say but they frequently have “alternative” definitions/meanings. When pressed to explain, they’re vague to have it both ways and an escape for later. Consider one of the bigger issue examples:

• Republican Position Democrat Position

• Conservative Description Pro-Life Pro-Abortion

• Liberal Description Anti-Abortion Pro-Choice (technically, 4 separate positions on abortion)

Being trained to navigate in this way on the job, lawyers are particularly skilled in this technique. Unfortunately, this talent is what fills the halls of government disproportionately with lawyers.

Intentional misdirection includes straw man arguments where one accuses another of a position for which he didn’t actually take.

A great example is President Trump’s executive order Friday. Democrats and the MSM are calling it a “Muslim Ban.” The actual order is a temporary travel block from several countries established under the Obama Administration as having poor or identification of individuals in known terrorist groups within their borders. Obama himself had a similar block from Iraq for the same reasons in 2009. Carter had his block from Iran. If a Muslim ban, other countries would be on the list. The strawman is alive and well here.

We citizens can thwart the smokescreens by simply reading books on logic. Boolean logic with circle diagrams is extremely helpful dissecting political speak. Regardless of political leaning, please utilize logic and think for yourself.

 

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