Madison lawprof and “swing voter” Ann Althouse gets some angry feedback w.r.t. her comments in the NYT about how Kerry lost her vote. Amusingly, her correspondent refers to her as supporting an “unapologetically crypto-fascist” agenda. Independently of any political content, this ascription raises serious questions.
Since “crypto-” means “hidden,” what exactly is an “unapologetically crypto-fascist” agenda? Is it one that isn’t sorry for being fascist? That doesn’t make a lot of sense, since presumably an unapologetic fascist wouldn’t seek to hide her agenda. Perhaps the correspondent means that the espouser of such an agenda is morally neutral about fascism but is not particularly sorry about hiding her fascism. While I’m sure that there are a few closeted fascists who experience profound guilt at not making their convictions public, this hardly seems like a useful category either.
Could it be that penning frothy political tirades causes otherwise intelligent people to utter semantic nonsense? (Never mind the infelicity of adding a Greek prefix to a Latin-derived root!) Or is it more likely that people who are likely to fire off ill-considered nasty e-mails are less likely to have a solid command of language in the first place?