Labels Are Not A Tool Of Prosperity

Labels Are Not A Tool Of Prosperity

December 20, 2011

By R.A. Monaco


Labels are a tool.  They are a tool of a politically charged society.  They’re designed to marginalize, categorize and minimize facts. They serve as a short cut to a desired conclusion.  Labels paint idealized portraits with a paint roller of assumed fact.

Day in and day out the most logical, detailed, reflected upon and seriously contemplated idea, comment or analysis is left unexplored, ignored and besieged by conclusionary labels. They are the spoken or printed equivalent of Bill O’Reilly talking over a 17-year-old high school student–the all-knowing syndrome.  In short, labels are designed to obviate the need for discussion, proper analysis and accountability.  Labels are a camouflage for apathy–the primary tool of political dogma.

As an experiment, try writing a critical assessment of the GOP obstructionism on the WSJ or a conservative perspective on Huffington Post. You’ll be shocked at the labels and name calling–it’s almost immediate.  While online comments serve to engage society, labels prevail while factual sourcing and developed discussion seem to be minimal and the exception.

Labels are a tool of the lazy and, just as often, the uninformed.  We are all guilty in some measure of using labels–socialist, conservative, progressive, liberal, capitalist,  independent, fair and balanced are all examples, though not everyone seems to easily fall within the description or common definition.

Labels don’t make a statement true and are not an adequate substitute for fact.  Our respective use of labels instead of facts and individual levels of malice, or lack of, should be ours alone to consider and monitor going forward in society.  But labels can no longer be considered acceptable or politically responsible in government or political debate.  Labels are always manipulative and in some measure untrue, false or misleading–if that in your individual thinking seems a truism, then maybe labels should not enjoy First Amendment protection when the purpose is to mislead or is made knowingly false.

Labels can be used as nouns, verbs or adjectives.  Sometimes they become terms of art–“crony capitalism”, for example.  Labels are an agenda driven tool often used for deception and obstructionism.   Use labels, if you must, but limit their use or purpose to a noun that specifically defines your subject.

Labels undermine democracy.  We have allowed labels to manipulate meaningful debate to the detriment of American prosperity where one in three people are now living in poverty or very near.

Labels are the swords of obstructionists.  The obstructionist’s agenda destroys prosperity, costs jobs, fosters economic risks and results in policies that are taking away a fighting chance for Americas middle class.  Labels are obstructionists’ tools to control economic activity, public education, Social Security, unions, child care and affirmative action.

Legislator’s fear labels yet use them strategically, continually and without restraint–they are the product of think tanks.  Labels have a chilling effect on problem solving, open-minded thinking and compromise.
Today, politicians have a continuing and ongoing need to curry favor with those who give big bucks to get
re-elected and the number one way to stay in the game is money–labels mean money.

The plight of the middle class is being determined by labels.  The prosperity of America is now being determined by labels–labels we use, media uses and politicians use–not facts, compromise, open minded thinking or collaborative problem solving.  Labels assume unproven facts, conclusions, outcomes and a pre-determined destiny.

There is a solution that could change our destiny and which would translate this mutually destructive course in which labels now propel America–campaign finance reform and transparency.   Instead of accepting the use of labels, America needs to demand explanation, demand facts, demand cooperation, demand compromise, demand transparency, and most importantly, demand that our system of elections be publically financed to re-align the interests of people with that of politicians instead of campaign funders or special interests.

Instead of accepting the use labels, Americans need to demand that the deficit debate explain how further spending cuts will not undermine the recovery.  Instead of accepting the use of labels, Americans need to demand an explanation of how high-end tax increases are not a better way to control the deficit and how they are not less of a drag on economic activity than broad tax increases or federal spending cuts.

Conclusions are not facts and explanation does not equal inequality.  Inequality is the by-product of labels–a tool most effectively used by the political power of the wealthy.

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