Here at PTT, we use the term “power grab” in a sense roughly synonymous with Sailer’s (er, actually Lenin‘s) who-whom. Our reasons for the distinctive usage are both semantic and pragmatic. Pragmatically, though who-whom is indeed a literal translation of Lenin’s slogan, in English it feels awkward and foreign. (At this point, one might wistfully go on a Sapir-Whorfian tangent about the very concept of who-whom being foreign to the gentlemanly English mind, but we won’t go there — mainly because I don’t believe it.)
Let us try to flesh out the semantic distinction between the two terms. The Chekhov short story serves as an archetypal illustration of who-whom. Namely, the same objective event is evaluated in a positive or negative light, depending upon the identity of the protagonist. There is always a conscious actor in who-whom. Thus, for example, Amanda Marcotte’s rationale for dismissing actual victims of Muslim-perpetrated rape while whipping up hysteria over imagined ones is classic who-whom. That’s feminism for you: perfectly happy to dismiss and hush up sexual assault — and even oppose anti-rape legislation — so long as it’s punching up.
Contrariwise, a power grab need not have a conscious actor: it can be “systemic”– much like the systemic racism, which, according to critical race theory, occurs without malicious actors necessarily making conscious racist decisions. Hence, every time an author uses the generic “she”, it’s a micro-power-grab. Every time your campus holds a women- or minorities-only
event, and you acquiesce without a fight, you’ve just ceded more territory. Every time you solemnly nod in response to denunciations of the patriarchy and the “rape culture”, or proclamations that “Islam is a religion of peace” — you’ve been power-grabbed.
The suppression of vocabulary is a power grab. The word “eugenics,” while tainted by unsavory associations, is a perfectly legitimate concept. We all engage in it to some extent when selecting healthy mates — and do so quite consciously when going for genetic screening. But having banned the word from polite discourse, the progressives have made it nearly impossible to hold intelligent conversations on the eu/dys-genic effects of various policies. (Perhaps I’d dismissed Sapir-Whorf prematurely.)
Denying words their plain meaning is a power grab. Casually equating libertarians with sociopaths is a power grab. Insisting that feminism means whatever is convenient for the speaker at the moment is a power grab.
The power grab is the mechanism by which the leftward cultural ratchet is turned. This is how mainstream opinions from a decade ago have come to be radioactive today. In a future post, I’ll offer some thoughts on what ordinary citizens can do resist the SJW power grab.