I read Nancy Schick’s letter “Words Do Matter” in the Los Alamos Daily Post (May 3, 2015) with some interest.
She is correct, of course, words do matter. However, her egregious attack on the Republican Party and limiting the word “enslave” to a terrible period in American history seem to be an attempt to arouse emotion and to smear (“Republicans are racist.”) rather than engage.
The dictionary definition of “enslave” is “to reduce to or as if to slavery: subjugate,” and it is often used by the media when bloviating about the “oppression” of workers by corporations. I wonder if Ms. Schick has also complained to Democrats and the liberal media that use “enslave” in any modern context.
What is communicated in the “Adopted Principles of the Republican Party of Los Alamos” is that to many Americans, freedom is not only a good thing, but a precious thing. Republicans believe:
- the continuing encroachment by government into every corner of our lives;
- the ever growing bureaucratic burdens placed on citizens and organizations of every stripe; and
- the rampant clientelism require thoughtful discussion about the powers of rulers, the rights of the ruled and the remains of our freedoms.
During the intense debates at the birth of this country, founders understood that government is necessary, but must be continually monitored and controlled if citizens are to be free. Diligent monitoring and control of our government are even more critical today.
So Republicans invite debate, not polemical attacks conflating Nazis and racism when someone raises concerns about a slow slide into bureaucratic tyranny. It may be a “soft” tyranny of never-ending red tape and paperwork, lawsuits, overspending and IRS misconduct, but it is tyranny nonetheless.
Finally, in regard to Ms. Schick’s concerns about the word “enslave,” I would defer to one of the great leaders of our republic:
“There are two ways to conquer and enslave a nation. One is by the sword and the other is by debt.” –John Adams, 1826