19 December 2009

Rock-solid nebulous hot air

Hat-tip to Father David MacGregor of Contact Online Weblog: Ugandan Church faces totalitarian liberal activism. for pointing to this piece of rhetorical gobbledegook.

Anglican Mainstream: Ugandan Church faces totalitarian liberal activism.:
Chris Sugden Evangelicals Now Janaury 2010

The pressure on the Church of Uganda to respond to legislation that will be placed before the Ugandan Parliament on homosexual behaviour is not restricted to Uganda. This issue is affecting other democratic nations in Africa and Asia."

Anyone who knows anything about the English language will know that "liberal" and "totalitarian" are about as far removed from each other in meaning as they can possibly be. It is impossible for anything, including activism, to be simultaneously liberal and totalitarian. It is no more possible than it is for something to be simultaneously wet and dry, or hot and cold, solid and liquid. The only place where you will find liberal totalitarians is skiing the slow-clad slopes of Sahara mountains in midsummer, or sunbathing on the sand-dunes of Siberia in mid-winter.

If you want people to pay attention to what you have to say, avoid such over-the-top rhetoric.


Chris H said...

Bit harsh there Steve!

Don't you get the feeling that those who claim to have the most 'liberal' agenda are often among the most intolerant of dissent? Hence the 'Totalitarian' maybe?

Jarred said...

Chris: I'm not Steve, but I'll answer you. No, I don't get that feeling at all.

Uncompromising when it comes to liberty and justice for all rather than liberty and justice for everyone but those people? Yes. Strongly opinionated? Yes. Willing to forcefully explain why they hold the position they do in the face of dissent? Yes. Intolerant of intolerance? Yes.

Intolerant of dissent? Nope. In fact, there's a lot of dissent among liberals.

Steve Hayes said...


I've been a liberal for most of my life, and at one time I was a card-carrying member of the Liberal Party. In its literature the Liberal Party often printed the disclaimer: "The Liberal Party is opposed to all forms of totalitatianism, such as fascism and communism."

That was because the Liberal Party was accused of being fascist by the left, and of being communist by the right. Eventually the Liberal Party was forced to disband, by the fascists. So "t6otalitarian liberals" is a contradiction in terms. If they are totalitarian, they are not liberal, and if they are liberal they are not totalitarian.

The Scylding said...

Steve, the words "liberal" and "conservative" are both bereft of their meaning. Might as well concede.

I know, I know. But what can you do?

Steve Hayes said...


Yes, "liberal" and "conservative" are well-nigh skunked, but people still insist on using them with great frequency.

Ploni Almoni said...

I think the problem is that, at least in the United States, the term "Liberal" has been confabulated with "Left-wing" when in reality they are different.

The Canadian Liberal Party, for example, is strongly in favor of free markets and the like, and nobody would make that confusion of terminology within their political discourse.

The term "liberal" in American discourse has changed, from what could be called a mild form of "libertarian" to a pejorative from the right-wing for the centrist American politicians. "A card carrying member of the ACLU", for example, as George H.W. Bush said of Michael Dukakis during a political campaign, who was also called labeled by the right as the "liberal" candidate.

You'd think that the ACLU was a communist organization by the rhetoric used in that campaign, and similar rhetoric is used today, confusing Liberalism with Socialism and even totalitarianism.

I say this and I'm not even very "liberal" myself in either sense of the word, just upset that political discourse has become "nebulous hot air" in the words of the blogger.

Jarred said...

You'd think that the ACLU was a communist organization by the rhetoric used in that campaign, and similar rhetoric is used today, confusing Liberalism with Socialism and even totalitarianism.

Ploni: Unfortunately, I've actually heard members of the U.S. Republican party explicitly call the ACLU both Communist and Socialist.


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