At the Wording Desk
Increase your English vocabulary by uncovering a political weasel phrase like "free enterprise"
Phrase Heard Frequently During American Elections
In this U.S. mid-term election year of 2018, I look at the code meaning of this weasel phrase, the real meaning of “free enterprise” to right-wing bullies and bigots. Federal offices that are up for election during this year's midterms are members of the United States Congress, including all 435 seats in the United States House of Representatives and the full terms for 33 or 34 of the 100 seats in the United States Senate.
Nowadays the noun enterprise has a chief meaning. It names a commercial or industrial business, a firm, a company. But the root sense of the word enterprise was simply an ‘undertaking, a plan of work attempted,’ a Middle English borrowing from Old French entreprise from entreprendre ‘to take in hand’ made up of Old French entre ‘between, among’ + prendre ‘to take,’ both from Latin inter ‘between’ + prehendere ‘to grasp, to seize, to get hold of, to take up as a goal.’
Donald Trump and the grade-three-dropout zombies of anger who support him love using “free enterprise” in campaign speeches and in their sordid leaflets of despair which pollute and despoil the electoral paperscape and spread hopelessness across the USA. The uneducated dummies who scream for Trump are hornswoggled by this selfish salesman of me-first-ism, this boastful braggart, this loathsome, yellow-haired toad of ego. But when you hear Donald Trump bray and whinny about “free enterprise” remember what precisely free enterprise means to this frightening, empty apparition of leadership.
To Donald Trump, free enterprise often means: Fuck poor people.
It means: Deny lower-paid, working Americans a minimum wage and thereby protect rich, greedy factory owners and industrialists who despise their workers and hate paying such vermin a living wage. Free enterprise to Donald Trump means: keep all profits to line the velvet pockets of business owners. This tight-fisted, mean, fiscal conservatism is now widespread in all western countries. In my own country of Canada, it is epitomized by the far-right, worker-hating, national newspaper, the Globe & Mail, proud advocate of selfishness and sponsor of greed.
Free enterprise means: Reduce taxes on rich people and their inherited fortunes. This fable was first popularized by crazy old American President Ronald Reagan as he slouched, fogged by Alzheimer’s, in his White House rocking chair sucking a meditative jellybean, while darling Nancy, his ignorant, shit-for-brains wife, received governing tips by having her morning tea leaves read by a gypsy. I’m not kidding! Nancita then actually passed these tea-leaf advisements on to her goofy “Ronnie.”
Reagan’s economic advisers unearthed “trickle-down economics,” political hanky-panky which stated that, if you left rich people untaxed with more money, they would spend it and enliven the economy and the monetary benefit would trickle down to other poorer Americans. Unfortunately tests and studies and common sense showed that when rich people kept more of their ill-gotten loot, they did NOT spend their pelf, they hoarded it, preferably in offshore Caribbean tax havens.
Common sense ought to tell even a Trump-besotted fool that if there is a rich guy who owns a hammer factory and everyone else is poor, nobody is going to buy hammers and the economy will shrivel and die. Like, wakey-wakey! Yet the Donald, the Pied Piper of Dipstick Ignorance, is mindlessly lording it over America, spreading this manure on the mind-fields of gullible citizen voters.
Trump reminds me of Alfred E. Newman, the clueless icon of Mad magazine. Only we’d have to alter Alfred’s motto to make it appropriate for Trump. Trump’s motto is “What? Me Think?”
Free enterprise means: No taxes on all business activity.
Free enterprise means: Be anti-union.
Be against any political measure whatsoever that seeks to redistribute wealth in even a modest way.
Free enterprise means: No laws restricting competition in business. Rich Yankees should be able to cheat the average consumer. Consumers ought to watch out for themselves. Cheating the client is an ancient and noble part of free capitalism.
Therefore, no punishment for businesses that cheat, harm or even kill customers. Why, these drug regulations are all silly. Just ask Donald Trump. Such rules are communist!
To Donald Trump, free enterprise means: Reduce all government control of business. For example, no government control of the professions: let doctors and lawyers largely regulate themselves. We’ve seen how well THAT turns out – for the doctors and lawyers; never mind the poverty and illnesses of clients and patients!
Trump’s free enterprizers want total separation of the economy and state, that is, cancellation or severe reduction of all legal rules regarding commercial interactions. In other words, dictate with an encompassing vengeance the jungle warning: Buyer beware! Free enterprizers believe it is the duty of ordinary citizens of a country to be buyers and consumers only, to remain as landless, home-free peasants and to maintain about one percent of the country as hereditary owners of all wealth. The other ninety-nine percent of a people should spend their lives in debt to the rich families, buying shit they don't need.
Americans seem to forget who the Republicans are. They’re the people who own everything, dummies! And they want to keep you poor and clueless. Don’t help them by electing Republicans again!
Free enterprise systems promote the formation by business pirates of monopolies and cartels. These criminal entities weaken competition. Inflated consumer prices result. Just what Republicans want for their rich relatives and supporters.
Maximizing profit is a goal of free enterprise that is right up on the entrepreneurs’ mantelpiece beside the Bible. But, have wealthy doctors and giant owners of hospitals made North American healthcare good for all the people? Of course not!
Americans, think carefully before you shore up the Republican power-base of this right-wing bully brontosaurus. Of course, I'm asking the professionally aggrieved to think, not something Trump supporters are good at. Preponderantly Trumpsters are whiners, persons brought up by welfare parents to believe that all their troubles are ALWAYS “someone else’s fault.”
Say no to Donald Trumpsters next November. Help make America work again.
written by William Gordon Casselman, Feb. 28, 2018
Copyright 2018. But this essay may be freely reproduced to help defeat Republicans and Donald Trump supporters, athletic and otherwise.