The Fine Art of Richsplaining
AOC took a lot of heat from the GOP this week for saying something that is obviously, unquestionably true.
Controversial Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez left millions of television viewers scratching their heads this week; bizarrely asserting that it’s “impossible” for human beings to “lift themselves up by their shoelaces.”
It turns out that AOC does in fact understand how idioms work because the phrase was created as a joke, just like AOC said.
To pull yourself up by your bootstraps is actually physically impossible. In fact, the original meaning of the phrase was more along the lines of “to try to do something completely absurd.”
Etymologist Barry Popik and linguist and lexicographer Ben Zimmer have cited an American newspaper snippet from Sept. 30, 1834 as the earliest published reference to lifting oneself up by one’s bootstraps. A month earlier, a man named Nimrod Murphree announced in the Nashville Banner that he had “discovered perpetual motion.” The Mobile Advertiser picked up this tidbit and published it with a snarky response ridiculing his claim: “Probably Mr. Murphree has succeeded in handing himself over the Cumberland river, or a barn yard fence, by the straps of his boots.”
Conservatives have gotten lost within their own dogma. They are unable to see the irony in an old joke that is now used to shame poor people. Instead they embrace an absurdity.
It's similar to liberals who say the phrase "All lives matter" is racist. By rejecting the universal truth that "all lives matter", they are implying that some lives don't matter and thus are being racist. They've elevated their rhetoric above their own values.
It's a good rule of thumb that if you are denying something that you know is true then you've made a mistake.
In both of these examples, people have forgotten the meaning of the actual words and have been blinded by the symbolism of the words. By doing so they've left themselves vulnerable to be exploited by smarter people of less virtue that have mastered the art of bullshit.
Sometimes the bullshit artists wind up working for very wealthy people in politics, and when they do a certain vocabulary is used.
Access: Poor people don't need health care as a right. They only need access to health care, in the exact same way that they have access to buy a yacht.
Aspirational: We can't tax the rich because we are an aspirational country. You see, no one has ever dreamed of getting rich except for Americans, and higher taxes on the rich means that everyone would stop trying to get rich.
Freedom: Freedom means capitalism, guns and the American flag. And that's about it. Freedom from want and fear? That's crazy talk.
Socialism: Socialism is scary because socialism is Big Government. Big Government is scary because it means school teachers, social workers and anonymous bureaucrats that work at the EPA. What Big Government doesn't include are prisons, the police, and the military.
Essentially socialism doesn't include the guys with the guns. But it's scary.
Patriotism: Patriotism means the troops, and the troops means our bullsh*t wars. To oppose our bullsh*t wars is to hate America.
Welfare: Welfare is bad. Subsidies are good. Poor people get welfare. Corporations get subsidies. Giving food/help to poor people gives them bad incentives. Giving money to companies gives them good incentives.