The conservative/Republican version of Orwell’s Ministry of “Truth” is at it again, hijacking and corrupting yet another set of words — this time it’s “blood libel”. As DailyKos diarist HeidiEight notes, it’s not just Sarah Palin doing it, but also John Hayward of the rabidly right-wing mag Human Events (see screen shot above), right-wing blogger and now Wall Street Journal writer Glenn “Instapundit” Reynolds, and right-wing blogger Andrew Breitbart. Meanwhile, Charles Krauthammer and Jonah Goldberg, who being Jewish know what the hell “blood libel” really means, tap dance around it but make sure to reinforce the message the Gentile Republicans are pushing; in Krauthammer’s case he does so by abusing the word “libel”, whereas in the Son of Lucianne’s case he acknowledges Reynolds and Palin did something wrong but then tries to minimize its nature:
Historically, the term is almost invariably used to describe anti-Semitic myths about how Jews use blood — usually from children — in their rituals. I agree entirely with Glenn’s, and now Palin’s, larger point. But I’m not sure either of them intended to redefine the phrase, or that they should have.
Oh, come on, Jonah. Conservatives do this sort of Ministry of Truth stunt with language all the flipping time. Or have you already forgotten how you guys helped Bush hijack “No child left behind” from the Children’s Defense Fund’s motto “Leave no child behind”? Or how your fellow conservatives are working overtime to redefine “American exceptionalism” as a good thing instead of a justification for arrogance and war?
Now, it could be that Palin and Reynolds, being non-Jews, simply don’t know any better. But what about Andrew Breitbart, who definitely is Jewish? Are you going to claim he didn’t know what he was doing when he hijacked and abused the the term?
If this torturing of the meaning of words sounds familiar to you, it should: David Wynn Miller, a self-styled grammarian whose work has been popular for decades with far-right groups such as the Montana Freemen, the “Sovereign Citizens” movement, and the Posse Comitatus, has essentially argued that words mean whatever he wants them to mean, changing how you spell words changes their meaning, and that changing the meaning of words can be used to absolve one of paying one’s debts or tax obligations (a typical gambit is to misspell or mispunctuate one’s name so that you are “dead” and thus not financially obligated to anyone). Among Miller’s more prominent fans of late is a certain Jared Loughner, the person who shot Gabrielle Giffords and twenty other people Saturday in Tucson, killing six of them.
Frankly, I’m just waiting for somebody like Breitbart to try and do a David Wynn Miller hijack job on “Ministry of Truth”. You know it’ll happen.