Actually, I’ll fill it in for you. The answer is,
“extremist.” If you say the words, “great, green, greasy” to my children, they
will shout out, “Limpopo River”, based on Rudyard Kipling stories that my
husband told them while they were growing up. If you then said that you were
thinking of an avocado burger or an emerald suntan lotion, that information wouldn’t
dislodge the association with “Limpopo River” from their minds. For my
children, the words “great, green and greasy” lead to one and only one
Sadly, language has been manipulated to form an equation
between the benign word ‘right’ as used in a political context and the idea of
danger and violence. The Wall Street
Journal, hardly a bastion of liberalism, stated in its editorial
this past weekend, “The U.S. government watches right-wing extremist groups
because we know they are dangerous…” Maybe I missed it, but I haven’t seen
them, or any other media outlet refer to Dr. Kermit Gosnell, notorious
abortionist and murderer, as a left-wing extremist. When feminists adulate a
powerful man who was having a sexual relationship with an underling (Bill
Clinton and Monica Lewinsky), or ignore honor-killings of women in the Islamic
world, they aren’t labeled as left-wing extremists. That language certainly
hasn’t infiltrated the culture.
The reverse has. Before much information was known, CNN’s
national security analyst, Peter Bergen, suggested that
it made more sense to look to right-wing extremists than at Islamic militants
for the ideology behind the Boston bombing. He cited statistics to prove how
much more dangerous right-wing extremists are than any other suspected group. Defining
terms as he, the government and even the Wall
Street Journal does, that makes sense.
The perversion of the phrase “right-wing” has been so
complete that even neo-Nazis are put in that category. Let’s think this
through. The word Nazi comes from the phrase National Socialist. The
German Nazis were in favor of gun control and an all-powerful, centralized
government. That sounds closer to liberalism than conservatism in America
today. They were certainly anti-Semitic, arguably a stand more at home in
today’s Democrat than Republican Party.
Yet, neo-Nazis are known as a right-wing organization? How about simply
calling them neo-Nazis or white supremacists or anti-Semites? It might be more
accurate even if it doesn’t allow liberals to pat themselves on the back as
Is there anyone whose bias doesn’t overrule his brain who
believes that the Fort
Hood massacre was a workplace incident and not Islamic terrorism? Yet that
is the official government line. Liberals go through contortions that make
Cirque du Soileil look like a bunch of uncoordinated buffoons to avoid
attributing violence to Islam or other pet causes. Their contortions are only
outdone by the way that they fit as many incidents as they can into the
category of right-wing extremism.
Words evolve through the years. It is as confusing for
today’s youth to discover that a book on my shelf, When We Were Young and
Gay, has nothing to with homosexuality as it is for me to find out that a
description of a location as ‘awful’ meant ‘full of awe’ rather than horrible. It
is too late to salvage the earlier meaning of those words.
It may be too late for the political word ‘right’ as well.
If “extremist” follows that word as automatically as the Limpopo
River follows the description, “great, green and greasy,” then it has been
irrevocably tainted. Conservatives have lost a linguistic battle. If the government’s reaction to the Boston
Marathon violence is as warped as it was to the Fort Hood massacre, we will
continue losing the battle for this nation’s survival as well.