This is a real dog whistle. But what do people mean when they refer to speech as a “dog whistle”?
In politics, a dog whistle is the use of coded or suggestive language in political messaging to garner support from a particular group without provoking opposition. The concept is named for ultrasonic dog whistles, which are audible to dogs but not humans.
The dictionary site www.ludwig.guru defines by example: When political parties have policies that will appeal to racists while not being overtly racist, they are indulging in dog-whistle politics.
Bad decisions flow downward and outward in the organizational pyramid, spreading bad ideas through obedience and the suppression of cognitive dissonance.
“A wise man changes his mind, but a fool never.”
“Unadvised hasty judgment is a token apparent of a very slender wit.”
Anne Askew, 1520-46
America’s chaotic and humiliating exit from Afghanistan did not just happen. Human decisions instigated and implemented it. But the key question, if we are ever to hold anyone responsible for this disaster, if anyone is to be tried and convicted of crimes against humanity (in America? forget it: Dubya, Rumsfeld and Cheney should be in jail for life), we have to find out who.
“…style is intrinsic and private, like…voice or gesture, partly a matter of inheritance, partly of cultivation. It is more than a pattern of expression. It is the pattern of the soul.”
Think of language as haberdashery: you have a closet full of clothes for every occasion. Your clothing choice expresses yourself in a particular context, for a particular audience. In the same way, barely aware of it (or not aware at all), you change your speech to what you think (though there are no conscious thinking processes) will be effective for a particular situation and audience.