Did You Misspeak, or Is That a Factoid?
By carolbe on January 26, 2012
People, let’s say what we mean. These political commercials reek of lies of omission, quotes taken out of context, as well as big ole fibs. I wish I could talk back to those spooky-voiced announcers hinting at wrongdoing by all sorts of candidates. I would say “Where did you get that story?” and “Yeah, so’s your Mama.” Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary lists 34 synonyms for falsehood, but only two antonyms (truth, verity.) Are we so polite that we will say that someone practices sophistry or is delusional rather that calling him a liar? Mendacity is one of my favorites, implying repeat offenses of using factoids (my personal favorite synonym for lie.)
Other terms have taken over the political rhetoric and have morphed from our original common understanding. Not exactly lies, but overtones of evil. “Social mobility” used to mean the ability to better oneself, now it implies affirmative action and handouts. “Social inequality” is viewed as the opposite of socialism. “Socialism” has moved from a description of Europe’s economic system to a purely evil accusation. “Transfer of wealth” is used to criticize the graduated income tax, making it sound like a modern Robin Hood scheme. “Restore America” has become a buzzword for defeating liberals, moderates, even conservatives who aren’t quite conservative enough. Restore it to what? “Limited government” means nothing without an explanation. Limit schools, aircraft carriers, food inspectors, pothole fixers?
I would like to limit government to being run by those who value verity. (When you learn a new word, use it in a sentence.) Shun mendacity, reject the delusional and deceitful, cast aspersions on those who feed us factoids.