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Shared Sacrifice, Single Payer, and Other Collectivist Corruptions of Language

Thoughts on Politics

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As I enjoyed a beautiful Memorial Day, I reflected on the sacrifices of the brave men and women of our armed forces. In many cases it has been the ultimate sacrifice.

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My thoughts on sacrifice drifted to another context in which “sacrifice” has been used with increasing frequency—shared sacrifice. Ever the lawyer, I asked myself: what does that phrase mean? Returning to the military scenario, no one can “share” a Marine’s death on the battlefield. No one can “share” the loss of the father of that same Marine’s daughter. Sympathize or empathize, yes. Share, no.

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So all of this talk about “shared sacrifice” in the current budget debate is total bunk. When Congress takes whatever steps it does to deal with the pending fiscal tsunami none of it will be “shared.” There will be a series of discrete actions that will be felt by individuals. We cannot share in the suffering of Velma Bluehair when Medicare denies her chemotherapy treatment. We will not “share” Carl Carpenter’s loss of income when his taxes double. We may be affected in similar ways, but none of it will be shared.

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Let me be perfectly clear: there is no “we,” only you and me. Collectivism is a myth. We do not “come together as a nation.” We come together as millions of individuals agreeing to voluntarily work toward a stated goal (such as defeating the Nazis), with some percentage choosing not to participate (such as Mennonites and other pacifists).

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The very use of the term “shared sacrifice” demonstrates how badly fictional collectivism has polluted the waters of political debate in this country. Politics, like law, is a war of language. Collectivists are winning the language war decisively, which explains in part why so much power is accumulating in the hands of the Ruling Class.

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Another example of collectivist language abuse is using the term “single payer” to refer to nationalized health care. I ask proponents of “single payer” the following: who is this “single payer” with such amazingly deep pockets? Warren Buffet? Bill Gates? Mark Zuckerberg?

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In reality “single payer” would require tens of millions of payers, and a single entity—government—would administer. It is a single administrator form of health care, not single payer. Single payer, to be accurate as a term, suggests that each individual pay for their own health care. If that’s what it means, I’m all for single payer!

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This is more than a matter of semantics—it is an important political battle. Consider a politician who tells her constituents “I support single payer health care” versus “I support single administrator health care.” The first sounds great, but is misleading. The second is accurate but uninspiring. I believe that if America called nationalized health care “single administrator” instead of “single payer” it would effectively kill any chance that such a monstrosity would be born.

So for anyone who believes in the power of the individual and understand that collectivism is a dangerous myth perpetuated to amass power in the hands of a few, I challenge you to purge your vocabulary of phrases cloaked in faux collectivism. Never again use a term such as “shared sacrifice” or “single payer” except to mock these fallacious phrases. If individualists can win the language battle we will win the larger war.

I’d be curious to know any other flawed collectivist words and phrases you can think of, along with suggested replacement. Perhaps if millions of us individually choose to use new (and more accurate) terms we can begin to peacefully turn the tide in favor of freedom over collectivist repression.

This article is also posted at The Country Thinker.

About Ted Lacksonen

Ted Lacksonen has written 97 posts in this blog.

I am a proud mem­ber of the Coun­try Class — the roughly 75% of Amer­i­cans who have been effec­tively dis­en­fran­chised by the minor­ity Rul­ing Class. As a law stu­dent and lawyer, I trav­eled (uncom­fort­ably) in Rul­ing Class cir­cles. As an HVAC installer, sheet metal fab­ri­ca­tor, and ship designer, I trav­eled (com­fort­ably) in Coun­try Class cir­cles. My expe­ri­ences in these two widely diver­gent uni­verses have given me a dual per­spec­tive that is uncom­mon among writ­ers and thinkers.

  • I see where you’re coming from on this one, mostly with the notion of “shared.” You’re right that no one can really share in some burdens, such as sharing in someone’s death.

    It would seem that in terms of “sharing” sacrifices in terms of finances that this basically means that someone has to bear the financial burden for someone else. Perhaps they should just take out the modifier “shared,” and just leave it at “sacrifice.” Because you’re right, the guy that gets his medical care at no cost to him doesn’t really share anything, he is simply the recipient of someone else’s sharing.

    I like your idea that we are a bunch of individuals that come together to accomplish a common goal. It’s a lot better, and a lot less scary, than thinking we’re all one collective mind or entity. It seems so hive-ish and insect-like.

    • It also permits those who disagree to not participate. That is central to freedom.

  • Well said. I hate the phrase “give something back,” which implies someone took something.

    Progressives control the language so they control the debate. And you are right that this mindset is now so ingrained it is almost impossible to have a rational discussion with people who think collectively, that we’ve all got to chip in to this big community pot and then decide how to divide up the loot.

    It’s insidious. It’s Orwellian Newspeak.

    • We must regain control of language, period. If we don’t, we’re sunk. trust me on this as a former lawyer – if you get the judge to believe your definitio o a term in a contract, you’re 99% of the way there.

  • Well said, CT. Your point about single payer is really good. How about the term “progressive”. There is nothing progressive about a progressive. They are Socialist or communist or statest or collectivist; but they are not progressive which implies progress. how about “undocumented immigrants”. They are aliens that have illegally invaded this country.

    • progressive implies a notion of what constitutes progress. perhaps we call them regressives.

  • Great post and Silver Fiddle made a great point as well when he said “progressives control the language so they control the debate.”
    Yes the leftists have controlled the language when it comes to collectivism, they use terms to make their ideas sound more harmless than they are but it does not stop at collectivism and a perfect example of that is “undocumented workers.” We all know that this term really means illegal immigrants but sound much better. This politically correct vernacular will be the downfall of America if we continue to let them control the debate.

  • Your premise was a major theme of mine when I started blogging. I used to translate lib euphemisms into their true meaning. Lots of fun, but it gave me a headache.

    • When I practiced as an attorney I got paid to translate! If you have any good replacement terms for commonly used ones, let me know. I’m putting together a “Liberty Lexicon.”

  • KP

    Nice work, CT. I agree with the others, language is huge.

    From the “Four Agreements”

    “Be impeccable in your word — never go against yourself. Take responsibility for your actions.” “Have integrity, honesty and be consistent. Your word is the power you have to create. What you feel and what you really are will be shaped by your word — your language. It creates all events in your life.”

  • Very well put, Ted. I think it is indicative that liberals like to use such terms, in that it gives a strong indication to their leaning towards collectivism, ie. grouping everyone together for the “common good”.