BREAKING: The species which loves to take offense!


No semantic dispute left behind:
Over across the sea, a familiar type of argument has broken out. The issue at stake goes like this:

Should the Republic of Macedonia be able to call itself the Republic of Macedonia? For the New York Times' report on this topic, you can just click here.

Over here in our city upon a hill, we're strongly inclined to fashion similar disputes. Especially at highly fraught times, there's a tendency to be offended by the others at all times. The language used by opposing tribes will often provide a handy source of dispute.

Should people like Donald J. Trump be permitted to use the offensive term "chain migration?" We just saw the instinctively sensible Kasie Hunt raise this question several times on a certain cable news channel.

For the Washington Post's report on this topic, you can just click here.

We aren't saying who's right and who's wrong. People, we're just saying!


  1. First of all, the immigration debate is not purely semantic; it's about policies that affect people's lives.
    Second, Howler heroes like Lincoln or MLK would probably not have used pejorative terms like "alien" or "shithole" to characterize people or cultures. Their inclusive outlook would have precluded that talk and that mode of thinking.
    I suppose one can "love the dreamers", and still call them "illegals" and demand their deportation, although there seems to be an incompatibility in there somewhere.

    1. There are plenty of Trump voters who favor a path for illegal immigrants brought here by their parents and who also favors a wall, ending sanctuary, deporting all immigrant felons, extreme vetting and merit based system that also permits some unskilled who wait their turn. Democrats had these positions not too long ago. Trump campaigned on allowing amnesty for some but not at the expense of security.

    2. House and Senate need to put forward a clean DACA bill. Otherwise, the DACA people are being used as a bargaining chip. If you want to protect them, it makes no sense to say "but only if you fund a wall" etc. That means essentially that your opposition to the wall (which many Congressional Republicans do oppose), means that the dreamers will be deported. You negotiate about funding, or number of ice agents, etc, but not about people's lives. Congressional Republicans are far from unified on these issues anyway.

    3. I'm willing to have amnesty for illegal immigrants here conditioned on border security even if it means they will be deported. The hard liners have a strong point about rule of law. Either way would be a victory and defeat for one principle or the other. Democrats shouldn't be more concerned with protecting uncontrolled immigration than taking advantage of an opportunity to allow them to stay in spite of violating the law.

  2. Speaking of semantics, who was it that referred to cuts to Medicare as "slowing the rate of growth of Medicare?" Gingrich, as Somerby has pointed out. And, as Somerby has also pointed out (or claimed), the press failed to sort that out. A whole industry of code words sprang up with Gingrich, Frank Luntz, and other Republican operatives.

    So when Kasie Hunt deconstructs the loaded term "chain migration", is that not an attempt at analyzing the language that is used to obfuscate or inflame? Not sure what to make of Somerby's comment "Should people like Donald J. Trump be permitted to use the offensive term "chain migration?" What does he mean "permitted?" Is the term "chain migration" misleading in some way or being used to stir up emotions? That is part of the job of the press, to clarify those kinds of usages.

  3. I am offended by the term 'undocumented immigrant'. Logically, it should describe someone with a legal right to be here, but who needs some additional documents.

    The word "alien" means foreigner. Would people be happier with the term "illegal foreigners"? I don't think so. It's not the word that's the problem. It's the fact that these people are not Americans.

    1. It isn't the word that's the problem, yet you're offended by a term? At any rate, it isn't about semantics, then, as Somerby posits?
      Also, many immigrants come from America: Central America, South America...

    2. Most visitors to the US are not Americans. They are tourists not criminals. People hopeful of living here eventually are not criminals either, no matter what their immigration status. Many of the people you are calling illegal have applications in limbo or complicated situations. They aren’t criminals for being caught in regulatory purgatory. Trump wants to clear away regulations that obstruct business? Why not our immigration rules?

  4. "Should people like Donald J. Trump be permitted to use the offensive term "chain migration?""

    Oh Bob, dear. You're relapsing into lib-zombieism, I'm afraid.

    "people like Donald J. Trump" - what's that? "permitted" - really? And "offensive"? What are you, a teenage California girl?

    Are you 'offended' by the words or by the phenomenon they describe? Alas, you really sound like you're trying to shut people up (those "people like Donald J. Trump"), to prevent them from discussing a real-life phenomenon. Typical lib-zombie M.O.

    1. ""people like Donald J. Trump" - what's that?"

      You know. The Establishment. Did you think Trump was the only one working for them?

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