Glittering Generalities Definition
VIRTUE WORDS or GLITTERING GENERALITY:
These words are used to dupe us into accepting and approving of things without examining the evidence carefully. Single word examples of glittering generalities are terms like: “Natural”, “Democratic”, “Organic”, “Scientific”, “Healthy”, “Ecological”.
Virtue words hijack the connotation, (idea or feeling) that a word invokes in addition to its literal or primary meaning, and leverage it to advance a unrelated point or agenda. This is a broadly used propaganda technique.
Phrases can also get hijacked
Bob Livingston in a recent post, explains how the phrase “see your doctor” is used to convey a dependent and passive ideology of trust in the medical establishment even when the evidence for that trust is being shattered everyday. (CDC mismanagement in current Ebola Crisis)
See your doctor
It is oh, so evident that this phrase channels the crowd toward pharmaceutical control. The doctor is only the medium. Few doctors suspect that “medical orthodoxy” is a rigidly controlled system in the medical schools and practiced by the pharmaceutical companies.
We have long held that so-called modern allopathic medicine is a very esoteric witchcraft — a deceptive practice that has little or nothing to do with curing or healing, but it does have to do with a multitrillion-dollar industry. But don’t just take my word for it.
Read the words of Marcia Angell, M.D., former editor of the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine, from her book “Drug Companies and Doctors: A story of Corruption.”
“It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines. I take no pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as an editor of The New England Journal of Medicine.”
Going Beyond The Simple Definition
Words are incredibly important. They define reality and give us the symbols with which to speak and communicate with each other. They bind up our understanding of the world we experience as a society.
George Orwell understood in 1938 how important words were. The character Syme in “1984″ expresses how destruction of language actually restricts thought.
‘Don’t you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it.
Syme’s job was to reduce the number of words in the official vocabulary (Newspeak) year by year. In reality it is a difficult thing to destroy or delete a word from the vocabulary of the masses. It is far easier to simply broaden a word until the original definition is destroyed or made irrelevant.
Broadening a Term as a Way to Destroy the Original Definition
In a recent post, I showed how a GI pamphlet on propaganda created in 1944 was used to broaden and rehabilitate the definition to include any persuasive or promotional campaign. The attempt to extinguish the idea behind the commonplace meaning of propaganda as referring to something malign and destructive goes on today.
If the term propaganda can be broadened in this way it becomes much more difficult to discuss and identify malicious campaigns that undermine the ability of people to think and decide for themselves. What term would we use to talk about it?
A similar phenomenon is occurring with the term marriage. If marriage can be redefined a union between similar sexes, what word is left to describe the idea of marriage as a sacramental union of a man and a woman declared in an oath before God?
Another term in the throes of death is the term gender. Academics have been attacking this term for decades now. Facebook’s recent decision to include 56 gender types is a reflection or flowering of this destructive effort. What is essentially being denied is the reality of maleness and femaleness as the true and only expressions of gender. The term has been hijack and bereft of any sense of the original meaning.
For old timers of course the older definition remains, but for those brought up in the public schools and liberal academies the classic idea of gender has practically been obliterated already.
These three examples are evidence that broadening a term can eventually restrict the range of thought to exclude the original definition altogether.
Glittering Generalities Commercial
Glittering Generalities Example in Politics
Check out two acceptance speeches from each side of the political aisle to find examples.