How manipulative is language? Recently I was thinking of how common it is to use positive words for social assent. On the other hand, maintaining our individuality against the social tide is often expressed in negative terms.
Much revolves around the first example - assent and dissent. We give our assent to socially approved norms, but withholding it in favour of our own point of view becomes dissent. It isn’t easy to express dissent in a positive way.
We see it in catastrophic climate propaganda where certainty is good and uncertainty bad. It’s a hard grind trying to argue even the most obvious merits of uncertainty when faced with such powerful linguistic habits.
Much of it is a matter of being the first to construct a narrative which is why the political classes are so keen on promoting a narrative as opposed to arguing a point of view. With a narrative they automatically grab the positives built into our language.
Once a narrative is established in the mainstream media, dissenters are automatically saddled with negative language of dissent.
A good alternative is to laugh at the absurdities instead. A pint or two of Tim Taylor’s Landlord helps.