Bad Cattitude | 8 Dec 2021
The dark sorcery of monopoly on meaning
defining the words and symbols in which we image the world is a powerful kind of magic.
watch as the malleability of language distorts it from facilitating clear thought and expression and transforms it into a misframed bog of quicksand so subtle that you fail to notice that you are drowning.
unless you are paying close attention, you will not even see it happen. you’ll just presume it was always this way. so will anyone new to the issue.
oceania has never been at war with eastasia.
oceania has always been at war with eastasia.
this is a particularly potent example.
one who is against all vaccines might well be called an “anti-vaxxer.” but to add “or regulations mandating vaccination” is an entirely new idea, an entirely different topic, and combines into one block two completely separate concepts around which there is a wide and valid divergence.
i am pro seatbelt. i always wear mine when i drive. i think you should wear yours.
BUT, i am also anti-seatbelt mandates. i don’t think a just state has a right to force this upon me or you or anyone. i feel this same way about helmet laws.
thus, these two concepts do not map to one another in me. you cannot combine them into one definition without losing fidelity and nuance.
it is precisely this loss that is the point of the combination of “anti vaccine” with “anti vaccine mandates.”
the goal is to take a claim (my body, my choice) that they cannot refute or rebut in any valid fashion (especially without directly contradicting other beliefs and being revealed as engaging in special pleading) and sidestep/invalidate it by tying it, through false equivalence, to a view they believe they CAN rebut. “oh, you’re anti-vaccine and thus, anti-science.”
they seek to take a popular view and make it unpopular by tying it to an unpopular concept to which it does not truly map.
note that this process and fallacy works in a nested fashion and can create functionally fractal semantic matryoshka dolls of fallacy and misframing.
“if you oppose THIS vaccine, you are an anti-vaxxer!”
this is the exact same game. it’s also obviously foolish. disliking the new james bond movie does not make one “anti-movie.” the whole construction exists only to remove fidelity from discourse.
i find the risk reward good on many vaccines including MMR and other longstanding childhood jabs. i do so because they are effective and safe as evidenced by decades of data and testing. they went though 6-10 years of testing before release and have been closely monitored since.
vaccines like the swine flu in 1976 were yanked off the market for fewer than 100 cases of guillan barre. this is WHY we have a history of trusting vaccines as safe.
even the flu vaccine, which seems to have little or no meaningful efficacy or protection against hospitalization or death, is, at least, safe. complications are low. i think it’s a silly shot to get and mostly a marketing scam, but also a fairly harmless one.
but covid vaccines are clearly non-sterilizing and do not stop contraction, carriage, or spread of the virus. they likely make it worse. leaky vaccines have all manner of well documented problems. they also have a side effect profile multiple orders of magnitude worse than any other ever on the US market.
this clearly puts them into a category different from the others.
all medical decisions are risk/reward decisions and the balance is VERY different here. small wonder they want to obfuscate the language and again use overbroad groupings to claim it is safe because other vaccines are safe. they seek to hide their own sins behind the halo of others virtues.
this is, of course, a garbage framing. it’s pure false equivalence.
it’s literal equivalent of calling someone “anti-medicine” because they refuse to take fentanyl to cure a hangover (as it surely would).
“oh, you won’t take chemotherapy to cure a canker sore? you some kind of anti-medicine luddite?”
you’d get laughed out of any reasonable discussion for making such a claim and rightly so.
yet the subtle twisting of language and definitions has allowed EXACTLY this same construction to be used as the foundation of vaccine arguments and as 5 minutes on twitter will show you, this argument is broadly made and widely accepted.
even those who THINK they are seeking nuance and outwardly claim to be “anti mandate” are “pro-jim crow laws” that are really not that different. we’re just arguing about what the penalty for the crime is.
but it’s precisely the funhouse mirror distortion of concepts that makes thinking this muddled.
ironically, by the new webster dictionary definition andrew is now an anti vaxxer…
THAT is the power of weaponized semantics.
anyone who says no to a mandate for a covid vaccine is anti vaccine and being against one vaccine is being against all vaccines.
this will snowball until it blocks out all the sunlight of reason. this is where intellectual blind spots and dark ages come from.
the only answer is to push back and push back HARD.
these definitions are weapons of mass deception and they are aimed at us.
their sole purpose is to prevent meaningful discourse and to advantage political positions. it’s propaganda written into the linguistic source code to prevent the ability to properly image and assess concepts.
have none of it.
call things by their names and do not be moved.
when becky and chad and their sidekick elmo on sesame street want to make up stupid words like “latinx” use them derisively. mock and belittle them as the shibboleths of reality divorced mascotism and manipulation that they are.
it’s semantic puppetry to prevent valid epistemology.
create real definitions:
“anti-vaxxer”: a term of vilification used to discredit anyone seeking to pursue risk/benefit analysis in vaccine choice or claiming the right to bodily integrity and personal choice and to silence debate. the side of science. the side of liberty.
because this is what they are trying to do to us.
weaponization flows both ways because these blades all have two edges.
clear speech = clear thought.
reasonable people have been losing the fight for control of the language badly.
from “birthing person” to “anti-masker” and “climate change denier” it’s all evocative rhetoric meant to render simple, accurate speech impossible and map concepts to signifiers that alter them irrevocably.
and it’s time we told all these dictionary dictators to get lost.