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Sobran’s Cynosure

Because the signal star in the constellation Ursa Minor is the North Star, the Cynosure, as it is also called, has served as a guide for travelers and the lost for centuries. Because it is beautiful in its own right, it has given its name to anything that attracts by its brilliance.

Many of our readers have found the definitions of Joe Sobran to be helpful for finding one’s way through the murk of modern rhetoric. And many of those same readers have enjoyed the sparkle of his definitions for its own sake.

I invite you to dip in frequently, therefore, to Sobran’s Cynosure, sometimes to be guided by the entries and sometimes merely to enjoy them. I hope to be adding to them frequently.

  Last updated: June 22, 2006

anti-Semite: a person who’s hated by Jews (April 2002; August 2002; a Sobran-reader favorite)
association, freedom of: discrimination (7/14/05)
bigot: one who practices sociology without a license (column; 1/06/04; see also column; 9/19/06)
bribe: an irregular transaction through which the citizen may get his money’s worth of service from the government (February 2001)
civil rights: government power used in behalf of large groups (6/08/06)
coalition: any alliance of implicitly socialist groups (NR)
Cold-War rhetoric: blaming the Soviet Union for international tensions (NR)
communism: wholesale socialism (7/14/05) [See also socialism.]
controversial: having respectable supporters as well as detractors (October 2003) [See notorious.]
diversity: a euphemism for discrimination against whites (July 2003)
election: See opinion polls and voting. (August 2005)
federalism: federal government subsidizing state and local governments (7/14/05)
government: a system of promising something for nothing, while the taxpayer gets nothing for plenty (column; 8/12/03)
guilt: the deepest vested interest (column; 5/13/04)
human needs: socialist or redistributive programs (NR)
humanity: man as conceived by socialism. All humanity is presumed to be at least latently socialist. (NR)
ideology: nonsocialist point of view. The Hive, however, presents itself as comprising many ideologies. (NR)
intellectual: One who insists on learning the hard way (column; 7/23/02)
imperialism: international influence opposed to socialism (NR)
isolationist: an American who thinks America should behave like other countries
(column; 2/01/05) [See rogue nation.]
labels: clear identification. People in the Hive like to say they reject labels. (NR)
liberal: one who can be open-minded about anything except the past; about that he is strictly a bigot. (January 2006)
liberation: release from constraints of nonsocialist traditions (NR)
multiculturalism: the refusal to take any culture seriously (November 2001)
notorious: having only detractors (October 2003) [See controversial.]
opinion polls: clever devices to make the hostages think they control their captors
(August 2005) [See also voting.]
patriot: (American usage) one who complains about all the things that are wrong with this country and then accuses other Americans of not loving it (8/25/05)
peace: enfeeblement of nonsocialist powers (NR)
personal belief: one you don’t really believe — or at least one you don’t expect other people to believe (10/13/05)
political: Openly socialist groups are political organizations. (NR)
political correctness: the felt pressure of enlightened public opinion, under which we sense that certain thoughts, though technically legal now, are already destined to become taboo. (September 2004)
priorities: subordination of anti-socialist to pro-socialist tendencies (NR)
pro-family policies: federal legislation mandating benefits for children, parents, and “domestic partners.” (7/14/05)
progressive: favorable to, or tending toward, socialism (NR)
psychoanalysis: a form of aggression for humorless people (column; 10/12/04)
public opinion: what everyone thinks everyone else thinks (column; 7/08/04)
rich: politicians’ nickname for “other people” (as in “tax the rich”) (column; 6/10/04)
rights: authorizations for new areas of government control (7/14/05)
rogue nation: a country that behaves like America (column; 2/01/05) [See isolationist.]
social justice: control of national wealth by a socialist regime (NR)
socialism: retail communism (7/14/05) [See also communism.]
strident: tactlessly candid about real issues at stake. Overt socialism invites labeling by the enemy. On the other side, Cold-War rhetoric is always strident. (NR)
voluntarism: “partnership” between big government and private charity (7/14/05)
voting: trying to say something with a gag in your mouth (column; 11/07/02) [See also opinion polls.]
The notation (NR) indicates that the definition first appeared in Joe Sobran, “Buzzwords,” National Review, July 9, 1982, page 833. Other entries are from SOBRANS, except where noted.
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