Sunday, April 26, 2009

Tendentious Redefinition

Dafydd at Big Lizards says about torture what Dennis Prager has been saying about rape.

If "rape" is defined as meaning any unwanted sexual advances, what word do you use for actual violent rape? And if torture is any unwanted treatment, what word do you use for what Al Qaeda does to its captives?

All right; that's what the word torture means. In that case, what word do we use for gang raping women, stoning people to death, lopping off limbs, shoving a cattle-prod up a prisoner's anus, cutting off a captive's nose and ears, gouging out his eyes, and finally beheading him -- on video?

Just tell me what word I'm supposed to use for all that, if the word "torture" now means making him stay awake past his beddie-bye time. G'wan, I double-dog dare you.

This is my pet peeve, Argument by Tendentious Redefinition, in a nuthatch. It's structurally identical to those ultra-radical feminists who defined all heterosexual sex to be "rape"... then accused nearly every man of being a rapist. "Reagan was a rapist! Bush is a rapist! Cheney is a rapist!" Yep, every last one of them has had sex with a woman... so by the tendentious redefinition of "rape," each and every one of these men is a rapist!

So if playing "good cop, bad cop" with Khalid Sheikh Mohammed now constitutes "torture," then I guess every policeman who ever interrogated a suspect is a torturer or torture enabler. VoilĂ  -- we are all Nazis on this bus. Lt. Tragg is now Reich Minister of Propaganda Josef Goebbels.

Another effect of this mode of argument: If we're all rapists, rape isn't a big deal. And if we're all torturers, torture isn't all that bad.

No comments: