Toward A Liberal Devil’s Dictionary

No, I’m not name-calling. I don’t mean liberal devils. I’m referring to gathering material for a modern version of Ambrose Bierce’s classic The Devil’s Dictionary, concentrating on liberal linguistic contributions.

I discussed Bierce’s work here, suggesting that “if you’re not familiar with it, or even if you are, take a look at its entries here,” giving one of my favorites:

A statesman who is enamored of existing evils, as distinguished from the Liberal, who wishes to replace them with others.

I then suggested two new entries, which I repeat here as the first examples for my proposed Liberal Devil’s Dictionary:

A policy that reserves a number of positions for applicants from approved racial and ethnic groups, as distinguished from AFFIRMATIVE ACTION, a policy whose purpose and effect is to fill approximately the same number of positions with applicants from the same approved racial and ethnic groups by giving them preferences based on their race or ethnicity.

Low, base, racist tactic of calling attention to the race of a political candidate in order to elicit a) animosity, if played against one’s opponent, or b) sympathy, if dealt to one’s self or one’s favored candidate, a maneuver that pre-emptively employs this low, base, racist tactic to accuse one’s opponent of planning to engage in low, base, racist tactics.

In that spirit let me offer a few more possible entries:

The political, social, and economic terrain that will ensure that two or more teams with different levels of ability, experience, equipment, interest, attitude, coaching, etc. always achieve equal scores and win the same number of games.

Spending taxpayers’ money on members of public employee unions, as opposed to WASTEFUL DEFICIT SPENDING, which is spending taxpayers’ money for most other purposes, and GREED, which is allowing taxpayers to keep more of their money.

Description of projects to spend taxpayers’ money to promote the goals of radical environmental and anti-consumption groups, thus raising the cost of many every day necessities, in order to combat global warming (or, if necessary, cooling), as opposed to efforts to curtail borrowing and spending in order to reduce a growing debt and deficit that are uniformly regarded as, well, unsustainable.

Although my suggested liberal definitions might be regarded, in some circles, as biased, I think it could be beneficial to take them seriously. If, for example, all agreed that liberal social spending is an INVESTMENT, then perhaps we could agree that it is not generally regarded as a wise or prudent financial behavior for poor people — people without any money and deeply in debt, i.e., us — to borrow more and more money to buy additional “assets” with which they are already well endowed. Indeed, it might even be possible to suggest retiring some of those “assets” to reduce the debt.


I will add additional entries from time to time. Here are a couple:

The policy and practice of excluding a large number of white and Asian applicants so that a small number of whites and Asians can receive the benefit of being exposed to the “difference” embodied by a few preferentially admitted blacks and Hispanics. See QUOTA.

Barrier, n.
Synonym for QUALIFICATION, a requirement for admission, hiring, promotion, etc.



Say What? (1)

  1. Alex Bensky November 23, 2011 at 12:29 am | | Reply

    Are we limiting this to liberals and domestic policy? If not, I suggest the following:

    DISPROPORTIONATE: When it comes to Israel, a synonym for “effective.”

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