Saturday, April 16, 2011

We Need a New Word

The other day, I got to thinking about South Africa. I don't even remember what prompted it, but it popped into mind (oh, wait! I do know what prompted it! The radio was playing Lionel Ritchie's song "All Night Long", and thanks to a childhood thoroughly corrupted by MAD Magazine, their South Africa-themed parody "All-White Song" popped into mind. Never let it be said that I am too deep and somber a thinker for a casual pop-culture blog.)

In any event, I thought about Apartheid, and was reminded of Reagan's stance against the boycott of South Africa. And it occurred to me that it was, in its own perverse way, a very courageous stance to take. I mean, by the 1980s, pretty much everybody had come around to the idea that state-supported racism was a Bad Thing...some more reluctantly than others, of course...but the idea to publicly stand up and say, "I support a governmental policy of institutional bigotry against all comers!" was one that took a lot of guts.

And Paul Ryan, the representative from Wisconsin, is showing a similar degree of courage. It takes real guts to stand up and say, "I don't care who's against it--I'm going to loot the public treasury and leave America's elderly to die like dogs, and I'm funneling the proceeds to my millionaire cronies!" Most people would balk at that kind of stance, hedge on it to some degree at least, but not Ryan. He's boldly going forward with a plan despite the vast, principled opposition of over 80% of the voting public.

I propose that we coin the phrase "immoral courage" for this sort of behavior, a counterpart to the more commonly recognized "moral courage". It is rare, in this day and age, to find someone who is willing to be unabashedly, unrepentantly evil despite the very real risk of political and personal consequences for their actions, and such courage needs to be recognized.

Not applauded, of course. Just recognized.


Grazzt said...

I remember Bill Maher got into a lot of trouble because he didn't want to call the 9/11 hijackers "cowards", because he didn't think the word applied to people who were willing to give their lives like that, no matter how evil they were. Just another example of where the word you're looking for would have come in handy.

How about we call it "confederate", after another brave defense of an awful cause?

Spaghetti Meatloaf of Justice said...

This is definitely something we need, but wouldn't it be easier to just start applying negative connotations to some synonym for courage?

Audacity or bravado, perhaps?