Keep terms historically correct

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

In recent years politicians and critics have been throwing around terms for their sensational content rather than truth in historical accuracy. And more recently, some have been shouting, “Turn down the rhetoric!” Of course, the name calling in itself is part of that heightened rhetoric. So, it is not the use of rhetoric itself, but rather its content that makes the tone. Much of it creates a false narrative that has become part of politics today.

Some of the terms thrown about are “Nazi,” “racist,” “white supremacist” and “white nationalist.” Nazi is a short word for National Socialist German Workers Part or the supporters of that political party. The Nazi Party existed from 1920 through 1945. Prior to and during World War II, it was a means of racial politics, a plethora of nefarious acts, and supported the Hitler dictatorship. It is often incorrectly called a “right wing” political party, but one can clearly see from its full title that socialism is a major part of its agenda. Nazis were extreme German nationalists who intended to conquer a large part of world territory and people. It was actually supported by the center to left wing Germans that demanded a “corporate state” or the subordination of all economics to the government. Calling one a Nazi today is not historically correct.

The term Neo-nazi is also misleading. It is not a political party per se, and while some groups identify themselves so, their agendas and goals are not necessarily similar to each other. They are splinter groups, and the Nazi party is officially outlawed in Germany today.

Calling someone a “racist” is another use of a “buzz word.” The basic meaning of the word is that there are differences among human races and their respective cultures, and that one such group believes itself to be superior to others. While one group of people have dominated over others from time to time in history, modern racial thinking began with Charles Darwin’s book Origin of Species by Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle for Life. Another form of racist charge are the words “white supremacist” and “white nationalist.” They infer that whites are better than races of color. Sometimes these terms are used interchangeably. Racism and its accompanying terms are currently thrown about with little thought of its accuracy or true meaning. It is an attempt at “branding” political opponents. These words, however, have strong negative connotations and are spoken or written to create indignation and anger toward a targeted individual. In a sense, their use is a form of political “hate speech” and beyond political context, they could be construed as slanderous.

Casting about such words indiscriminately sets up a smokescreen on political issues. They put an end to the presentation of real issues and constructive ideas. The speakers of these terms betray and intellectual bankruptcy and lack of a genuine political agenda. Their constant use dilutes the real, albeit strong negative, meaning of these words.

Let us keep to the issues rather than name-calling and invective. The words Nazi, racist, etc. have definite meanings and should not be used. Don’t be conned by these false imputations of blame. Keep their true, historical meaning intact. Such railing accusations and vituperation ruins the political process and can eventually even kill democracy. Their improper use is pure demagoguery!

DR. RUDY DANIELS, PhD

Sioux City