This evening I heard a promotional ad by Dennis Prager for his radio talkshow.
In it he stated that he bristles when he thinks of how the Left has staked claim to the word progressive. And that it makes it sound as if any who oppose them are anti-progressive. [The following is corrected from before as I promised I'd do.]
He says we on the right ought to change our name "from conservative to morally clear. Why is that any more self-serving than progressive? If you're not for progress you're for regress, right?" [/end update]
Really Dennis? You are still dancing around to their tune. I know you are not really advocating abandoning our not always accurate label (though we could choose a new one for good reasons).
But you are not making the strong case as to why the Left has no legitimate right to call themselves progressive. It is for the same reasons that they had no legitimate claim to the word liberal (which once, long ago, only meant "pertaining to freedom").
The Left has been engaging in language theft my whole life. It's a form of agit-prop meant deliberately to put their opponents off balance. Sadly this one tactic seems to keep some off balance for far too long and all too easily. Jeesh!
I have no faith that you'll ever hear this, but here is what some long departed great uncle would say to you if he could:
Stop whining Dennis.
You have had command of your own microphone for 15 hours every week for roughly 30 years.
Who else on radio -- anywhere -- has had that much access to the minds of Americans?
You have had an unprecedented opportunity to sway not just opinons on the Right, but national opinion.
Are you the opinion maker you ought to be? Or are you a boychick who runs home crying cuz the bullies stole his counntry's future by claiming possession of an important word?
You don't like that the Left has stolen progress? Well be a mensch and fight to take it back!
Sigh. Well no matter. At the least, Dennis Prager has somehow either caught wind of the meme I started earlier this week or he's independently arrived at the same conclusion -- conservatives need to do something! Sadly, in my view, Mr Prager has chosen a far more difficult way to go to war.
Dennis, you didn't get my memo? It's a lot easier to achieve what you want than you currently are suggesting. We don't have to continue to live with the repressive, regressive Left's dishonest theft of the word progress.
What I do in print is write
Here is what you can do on radio. When referring to them, you can say "the 'Progressives' -- no the Incrementalists actually." And then go on and use the word Incrementalists, and Incremental theft of personal liberty a little at a time, and so on as you refer to them and their actions. Then never use the word progressive again in that session of your talkshow when referring to them. Only use progressive when speaking of wanting real progress, like in job creation, and re-stabilizing our monetary system, and improving home life and restoring traditional values.
When they challenge you -- and you know they will katzenjammer like mad -- point out that the only progress that is of importance to an Incrementalist is what permits him to gain power. Power that is totally self-serving and with which they, as a group, have been demonstrably incompetent. Then go on to demonstrate all the ways it is true. Do you think you have enough material to show that they are regressive, repressive, postmodernist, misanthropic and overall power-mad? Yes, I thought so. So do it!
To make progress against the growing tyranny, do NOT let the Left stay in charge of the narrative. You must fight to reclaim the language.
Oh, and for those who will accuse me of attacking Mr Prager, this demonstrates that I know how he can fire up his delivery quite satisfactorily when his head is screwed on right, and I commend him for it.
Posts related to incremental steps:
Post plus exchange of reveries at Neaderpundit.com: Ever Watch a Leaf...?