The MoveOn [ad] meant exactly what it said.
Well, no it didn’t. Hard lefties don’t use words the same way as you and I. They chose the word "betray" because it rhymed and because it is not a nice thing to betray someone.
Unfortunately, many on the Right have reacted to the ad by taking the words literally, which isn’t how they were meant. They were meant only to evoke strong emotions against the General to say This guy uses the wrong narrative and you shouldn’t listen to him.
In other words, it’s to seize power over the General’s words and interpret them according to their lights, once again proving Jeff’s point about the violent appropriation of meaning by radical interpretative communities.
Gagdad Bob expressed it well in terms of male/female communication patterns thus:we all know that in a highly charged emotional situation, it is possible to argue falsely by recourse to common-sense logic. You see this all the time in male-female relations, in which, say, a woman will make an emotionally charged comment, to which the man responds with mere logic, and they’re off to the races. The astute man will discern the deeper content of the emotional communication — the emotional truth that the woman is trying to convey, usually about their relationship — and not respond to it in a literal manner. It’s like two very different forms of communication, and each must learn the other’s language….
I think we can see this same dynamic in the dysfunctional relationship between the left — which is so obviously like a child or hysterical (the operative word is hysterical) female — and the right, which too often deals with the left as if mere logic will satisfy them. It doesn’t work and it won’t work, as anyone who’s tried to have a rational conversation with a leftist knows. In their shrill paranoia, narcissism, and hysteria, it’s as if the left is crying out in pain, so that their literal words are completely unimportant. If it were a micro-relationship, we’d know how to deal with them.
But in the macro realm, how does one respond to a whole psychoclass of histrionic girly men? (And please keep in mind that we are specifically talking about a form of dysfunctional feminized consciousness, not the normal or healthy variety. A radical feminist is not a normal woman, any more than Dennis Kucinich is a normal man.) In fact, to be fair, the left is mainly composed of hysterical women (of both sexes) and of adolescent boys and girls. In both cases, there is a developmental arrest, the failure to become a proper man or woman. Indeed, this is one of the premises of leftism, which rejects any concept of a spiritual telos to human psychological growth. Rather, all is relative, so that no way of living or being is superior to any other.
I would take issue with Bob only in that last phrase. The Left is not agnostic to an individual’s lifestyle, but far prefers something that is transgressive and holds in contempt traditional arrangements.
Other than that, bull’s-eye.
I would add that the attempt to privilege interpretation over intent falls into the same vein as pathologizing other people's political views. This is what lead to the Gulag, folks, and don't think something similar can't happen again.
Because it can.