Say I’m a nefarious right wing political operative who wants to undermine abortion rights in America. What I do is I call my position “pro-life”, because life is good. If you’re anti-pro-life you must be pro-death, and no one likes death, right? Sure it sounds simplistic, but there’s a lot of people out there who aren’t as rational as we are and can be manipulated in this manner. Don’t believe me? Well, now say I want to do away with the estate tax, so I call it the “death tax”. Look at all the people who start acting like the tax itself is going to kill them. You don’t need argument or ideology to win people over to your side–just words. It’s like magic.
Now say I’ve been hired by the rapacious capitalists who head the alternative medicine industry. They want to sell their herbs, dietary supplements, and homeopathic remedies to the heartland. So I tell them, call it “natural medicine”. Because natural things are good, and who wants to take unnatural medicine? Again, anyone who takes half a minute to think about it will see right through this, but pro-life, death-tax rubes out there have already demonstrated that they are powerless in the face of clever rhetorical frames. Soon there’ll be jumbo sized bottles of St. John’s Wort at the Walmart, prescription drugs will be unheard of outside of Berkeley and the Upper West Side, and Fox news commentators will sneer every time they say “allopathic”. We’ll make a fortune. Just you wait.