Expanding on the recent alarm sounded here about the Democratic Party and progressives increasingly resorting to the tools and values of totalitarianism in order to by-pass democracy in their quest for power, I must flag today’s editorial by the New York Times, calling for the “retirement” of the word “alien.” As in all disguised efforts to indoctrinate by making opposing views impossible to express or even think, the Times uses a set of false arguments to achieve its goal, which is apparently open borders. Why does the most preeminent newspaper in the country have such a sickening and irresponsible view? I don’t know. These are the people who determine the content of the news, however. I’m not sure which would make this screed more frightening, the fact that the editors don’t recognize the methods of totalitarianism, or the fact that they do, and are embracing them.
Here, in part, is the editorial’s argument for “retiring,” as in “banning,” the word “alien,” with my comments in bold:
Over the years, the label has struck newcomers as a quirky aspect of moving to America. Many, understandably, have also come to regard it as a loaded, disparaging word, used by those who regard immigrants as less-than-human burdens rather than as assets.
[ Straw man. Who that was not immediately condemned far and wide has ever described immigrants as less than human in the last 50 years? The Times is engaging in deceit: this editorial isn’t about “alien,” but illegal aliens—you know, the people that Donald Trump was obviously talking about and the Left and illegal alien advocates intentionally misrepresented his comments to push their agenda. As for the term “illegal immigrants,” damn rights it’s disparaging, because they are illegal, and citizens and newspaper editors ought to regard law-breakers as “burdens rather than as assets.”]
Recognizing how dehumanizing the term is to many immigrants,
[ Illegal immigrants and their unethical advocates…]
..officials in California recently took commendable steps to phase it out.
[…because California’s politicians 1) have no integrity 2) are largely Democrats, and Democrats are willing to open the borders if it means they can keep their power and eliminate the nation’s historic commitment to the rule of law, equal protection, capitalism and persept on ethat onal responsibility by converting it to a weak—but compassionate!—European style nanny state, except one that not only allows unlimited border-crossing but encourages it.]
In August, Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law a bill that deletes the term from the state’s labor code. Last month, the California Republican Party adopted a new platform that does not include the term illegal alien,” saying it wanted to steer clear of the vitriolic rhetoric that the presidential candidate Donald Trump has injected into the 2016 race.
[A California Republic is like Carolina panther…it has to adapt or perish. If this is an example of their principles, they need to perish.]
Several news organizations have adopted policies discouraging its use in reporting about immigrants. According to a review by the Pew Research Center an rin 2013, the use of the term in newspaper articles dropped sharply between 2007 and 2013. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, the federal agency that administers immigration benefits, has removed the word from some documents, including green cards.
[“Everybody does it.” The fact that many are corrupt, cynical and totalitarian in methodology doesn’t make it any less reckless and wrong.]
But the term remains firmly embedded in conservative discourse, used by Republicans to appeal to the xenophobic crowd.
[ This goes beyond a lying to near libel. The offensive claim that objecting to illegal immigration is veiled opposition to immigration is pure propaganda and demonizing. Nobody denies that this is a nation of immigrants, but it is also a nation of laws. There are xenophobes on the scuzzy far end of the GOP spectrum, but attributing the hateful and illogical reasoning of Pat Buchanan and Ann Coulter to citizens who oppose illegal immigration because it’s illegal, foolish, irresponsible, dangerous and wrong is to intentionally cloud the issue.]
Mr. Trump, the leading Republican presidential candidate, uses the term 12 times in his ruinous immigration plan, which calls for the mass deportation of millions of unauthorized immigrants and proposes that Washington bill Mexico to build a wall along the border.
[ A blatant use of “The Bad Lawyer” fallacy.]
It was often uttered by former Gov. Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee, whose idiotic immigration plan called for “self-deportation” by unauthorized immigrants.
[So if a useful word is used in a way the Times doesn’t like, the word should be banned. Why would anyone trust people who would make suvh an argument? And Romney’s plan wasn’t “idiotic.” It was certainly less idiotic than allowing anyone to come into the US illegally and be rewarded rather than punished.]
Semantics may seem like a trivial part of immigration reform, but words, and their evolution, matter greatly in fraught policy debates.
[The Times almost confesses here. Words are essential in forming ideas, concepts and communicating them. What is left to describe illegal immigrants, if alien, illegal, and illegals are banned from the debate? Oh, yes, the dishonest “undocumented immigrants,” which deceitfully suggests that these are just as admirable immigrants as any other, they are just missing papers, as if this is a bureaucratic misfortune that could befall anyone. So the remaining politically correct term for illegal immigrant is just...immigrant, you xenophobe!]
States that use the word alien in their laws should consider following California’s lead.
[ After all, California is doing so well, and it has exhibited such consistent wisdom…]
The federal government should scrub it from official documents where possible. In the end, though, it will be up to Congress to recognize that there is no compelling reason to keep a hostile term in the law that sets out how immigrants are welcomed into the country.
[ No compelling reason, that is, if we want open borders.]
38 thoughts on “The New York Times Goes Full Orwell”
Then we should call illegal guns “undocumented guns” instead.
We should treat illegal immigrants in the exact same manner that the Democratic Party wants to treat private gun owners.
I don’t care what the New York Times thinks what politically correct term we should use in describing people who have broke the law to live here illegally. This is one of the reasons Trump is so high in the polls. People are tired of this pc bs.
Generally, people turn to demagogues when they feel betrayed by traditional political, legal, and social institutions.
That may be the scariest part of his success, that none of the other presidential wannabes will just STOP being PC when it doesn’t involve base lack of 4 letter words. This cowardice is a slam at all the recent immigrants who did it right, which is still living memory for a large chunk of the country. If more of the other candidates of both parties would step away from the their party’s PC flavor, I’d respect them more. It’s just Trump’s other intentions that also bother me.
The conspiracy theory nuts drive me crazy – read into that what you like.
If I say Newspeak; does that make me one of them?
If I holiday in the US some time feel free to call me an alien to my face. As I would expect to have a valid visa I wont, however, be an Illegal Alien.
Should be interesting to watch the current “refugee crisis” unfold in Bernie Sanders’ beloved Sweden.
The New York Slimes knows their position as America’s go-to paper is slipping, and they are getting desperate.
Does this mean I can’t listen to the Genesis song anymore?
I don’t want to watch that TV show anymore, if it’s going to be re-named “Ancient Beings in UFOs.” The NYTimes has gone undocumented on itself.
This is what happens when people don’t use dictionaries. They don’t know what words mean or that words can have multiple meanings. The English language is a terrible thing to waste and you’d think, of all people, newspaper writers would know that and attempt to convey that to their readers as part of their mission in life. Instead, they’re attempting to make people know less about words.
Remember, this is the party that wanted to promote Ebonics.
Dictionary be damned! I’d be happy if they had a decent vocabulary or knew how to read and think.
Sad, that, but true.
Your argument makes perfect sense if you ignore that words have connotative as well as denotative meanings, and that the definitions of words change and are not static, but I’m not sure why anyone would want to ignore those things.
I mean, I could constantly refer to you as a “creature” and be 100% technically accurate, and yet my use of language would still be sloppy, and likely to be interpreted as insulting. “Alien” is about as dehumanizing a word as one could use–the word is literally used most commonly in day-to-day conversation to describe non-humans, so I think the argument for retiring it is pretty good.
Except that we really don’t need any more Orwellian language policing. As far as illegal aliens, I just truncate it to illegals.
IMO, what we really don’t need is more people abusing the word “Orwellian.”
As for the word “illegals,” do you refer to all lawbreakers this way?
What does that mean? No, he refers to lawbreakers as criminals. Not “Dreamers,” for example. I’ve already asked you: what term do you use, that makes a distinction between legal, process obeying immigrants and those here illegally? You still haven’t answered.
In 1984, the regime declared “War is Peace.” Calling a party that declares “Illegal is Legal” or “Illegal Immigrants are Immigrants” Orwellian” is accurate and fair.
Xe, xem, xyr. Pronouns matter! Ive got to figure out how to post a picture of the button with this on it.
Personally I think “illegal immigrants” is a fine term. “Illegals,” however, is not.
I know, because “people” aren’t illegal. Baloney. People who are taking up space and resources where they should be are indeed illegal, and “illegals” conveys no false information. If it hurts their feelings, tough.
Nope. Just illegals.
You should get a doctor to check out your word sensitivity issue. Make sure he doesnt confuse it with vaginitis, though.
It’s thought- policing, and I refuse to go along with any of it.
I would further add that dictionary.com defines ‘alien’ as:
[eyl-yuh n, ey-lee-uh n]
1. a resident born in or belonging to another country who has not acquired citizenship by naturalization (distinguished from citizen ).
2. a foreigner.
3. a person who has been estranged or excluded.
4. a creature from outer space; extraterrestrial.
5. residing under a government or in a country other than that of one’s birth without having or obtaining the status of citizenship there.
6. belonging or relating to aliens:
7. unlike one’s own; strange; not belonging to one:
8. adverse; hostile; opposed (usually followed by to or from):
ideas alien to modern thinking.
I see nowhere in there where the word ‘inhuman’ appears. ‘Extraterrestrial’, yes, but not ‘inhuman’. So, apparently, ‘alien’ ACTUALLY means “somebody from somewhere else”, and it is NOT code for ‘dumb Mescun’, as some would have us believe. ‘Illegal alien’, which is what the article was actually aiming at, means “somebody who broke the law to come here from somewhere else”, not some poor refugee who slipped across the border at midnight before the Mexican police shot him.
Again, connotations are things that exist, so simply regurgitating a dictionary definition here is not very convincing.
Hell of a lot more convincing than regurgitating a talking point.
I’m all for retiring the word “liberal” too, as it has been so thoroughly twisted by statists into something about 180 degrees away from classic liberalism.
Thank you, Joe – I agree with you 100 percent. Let’s “retire” the word “liberal,” at least in its definitions related to philosophy, ideology and politics. I don’t even think the use of “left” is accurate anymore, when applying the word to people occupying (snort! There’s an ironic word, “occupying!”) a certain part of the political thought-spectrum. “Statefashist” ought to come into vogue – that is, it ought to be used more “liberally.” (We can’t expect such dumb, hateful knee-jerkers as the formerly mis-labeled “leftists” and “liberals” to spell “fascist” the same way forever – or, expect them to even understand a word that is spelled that way. It would be like expecting statefashists to start spelling a former president’s name “Busch” after spelling it “Bushitler” for so long.)
Shouldn’t the Times mention Carlos Slim and it’s conflict of interest on immigration?
Jack, you use the word “banned” quite a few times in your article, but I can’t find it anywhere in the Times piece. Where does the NY Times argue that the word “alien” should be banned?
What does “retiring” a word mean to you? A word is either used or it isn’t. Obviously, it can’t be banned by law. “retired” is a cover word, a weasel word. “It is wrong to use alien any more… let’s stop,” That’s advocating banning the word, in my book. What do you call it?
You point out the distinction while asking what the distinction is. Telling people they should stop using the word is not the same as forcing them to stop, which is what a ban is. I don’t think the n word should be used, but I don’t believe it should be banned.
Except that it is, de facto, banned, unless you make a concerted effort to defy the de facto ban. How often, in print, is the word “nigger” spelled out, rather than the idiotic “N-Word, or n—–r. The same is true of “fuck,” or the f-word. If you use “the n-word” at work, you get fired. Schools often refuse to teach books that employ “nigger, ” even when the book isn’t racist, like Uncle Tom’s Cabin, or Huckleberry Finn. Similarly, much of the news media treats satiric depictions of Islam, and Muhammad, are “banned,” even when a news story can’t be told without them.
You’re making a distinction without a difference, which makes it harder to identify a trend. In many universities, for example, many words, including “illegal immigrant, ” are in fact “banned,” though enforcement of such bans is impossible. Want to argue that an unenforceable ban isn’t really a “ban”? Go ahead: you’re aiding and abetting mind control and indoctrination, but go ahead providing semantic cover for what is going on. Is it technically a ban? I don’t care; the effect is the same. If a cultural consensus makes the use of a word dangerous, the word is banned whether it is banned by law—which is legally impossible—or not, the effect is the same, and the INTENT is the same.
Americans are on the road – a most slippery slope it is – to adding to their three* basic mantras or “truisms” of Oceanian “correctness” in the book, “1984,” the Clintonian-American mantra: “Orwellian is Goodthink!”
*Maybe only two of Orwell’s three, since “War is Peace!” probably is more appropriately replaced in America with “Peace is Justice!” or something like that. (? “Unaccountable is Responsible!” ?)
Do you have any idea what George Orwell actually said about immigration?
Irrelevant 100%. The Orwellian reference was to the distortion of words and and language, and you know it. Cherry-picking an irrelevant aspect of an argument to discredit the whole is a dishonest tactic. Cut it out. Last warning.
[Reply to Chris Oct 22 2:31 pm]