I thought it might be of interest to examine the use by activists, media outlets, and determined politicians of emotionally charged language. Internet sources define such language thusly:
Emotionally Charged Language
Language that contains strong emotional associations, sometimes used to misdirect the audience away from the real nature of the issue:
- “Welfare reform” vs “cutting welfare entitlements”
- “Just like the Nazis did …”
The presence of emotionally charged (or loaded) language does not automatically make an argument not cogent. It does, however, get in the way of clarity. Therefore, we have a new category of words: Those designed to produce an emotional impact.
I remember how I cringed years ago when “benefits” and “welfare benefits”, were forever altered by unnamed linguists to read “entitlements”. “Entitlements?” I thought. Do you mean that the poor or unemployed or handicapped individuals who would surely die in the streets, or live out of garbage cans, believe they are entitled to government help? I always supposed they had some gratitude, and some enduring love for our compassionate government. Now I come to find these greedy souls feel entitled.
You want to hear something funny? I waited for years for some clever politician to tap into the damage that might be produced by such phraseology. As you might guess, my patience has been rewarded! None but Mitt (out of touch) Romney has taken up the gauntlet, grabbed hold of the advantage, and will surely achieve the presidency solely by his disdain of the greedy American.
Ready for another emotionally charged phrase? Let us consider “redistribution.” It reeks, does it not, of theft, injustice, and unAmerican forms of government. You mean they will steal from the rich, and give to the poor?” Where’s McCarthy when we need him??
So the argument will continue. The emotionally charged phrases will fly. And the outcome will forever shape the Brave New Future.
Thus ends my emotionally charged tirade.