Dan Popp
The left's abuse of language makes us all less human
By Dan Popp
July 3, 2015

    If names be not correct, language is not in accordance with the truth of things. If language be not in accordance with the truth of things, affairs cannot be carried on to success. When affairs cannot be carried on to success, proprieties and music do not flourish. When proprieties and music do not flourish, punishments will not be properly awarded. When punishments are not properly awarded, the people do not know how to move hand or foot. Therefore a superior man considers it necessary that the names he uses may be spoken appropriately.... – Confucius
Speech is one of the distinguishing marks of humanity. Anything that degrades verbal communication makes us less human, and more like the dumb brutes.

Disrupting our ability to understand language is an intentional tactic of the left. It's very difficult these days to hold a conversation about "homosexuality," to use one example, because when I use the word I mean what everyone has always been meant by the word – an act – while someone else is using the same word to mean a person's self-identity. This is like having two sets of rules for different drivers on the same road. The results are predictable.

Take the word "courage" for another example. This has been applied recently to: (a) people who push for acceptance of depravity, (b) a deranged man who shot at police, and (c) Bruce Jenner's sad sexual confusion. Less recently there was Bill Maher's infamous statement to the effect that terrorists who killed unarmed airplane passengers and office workers were brave, while US soldiers who killed armed enemies from a distance were cowards. All of these turn the word, and thus the idea, of courage on its head. Courage is a virtue. A virtue cannot be employed to further vice, sin or crime. The proper word for boldness in doing wrong is "audacity."

There is no more "fundamental transformation" than the setting aside of all past traditions, understandings and laws by the simple act of redefinition. In dissenting against the Supreme Court's Obamacare decision last week, Justice Scalia wrote, "Words no longer have meaning if an Exchange that is not established by a State is 'established by the State.'" Oh, the jackals howled. Meaning! He thinks words have meaning! Har har har! Matthew Yglesias, a writer for Vox, beclowned himself typically:
    Individual stringz of letterz r efforts to express meaningful propositions in an intelligible way. To succeed at this mission does not require the youse of any particular rite series of words and, in fact, a sntnce fll of gibberish cn B prfctly comprehensible and meaningful 2 an intelligent reader. To understand a phrse or paragraf or an entire txt rekwires the use of human understanding and contextual infrmation not just a dctionry.
Mr. Yglesias seems unaware that, in order for a reader to understand his (um) "writing," the reader must first turn his garbage into words. He has shown the opposite of what he intended to show. His straw man – that "human understanding" is required to make sense of words – is not in dispute. As Bugs Bunny might have said, "What a maroon."

Justice Scalia's point is an elementary one, though way over the heads of leftist bloggers: While the "intent" of a law might be interesting and even important, it is not the law itself. The text of the law is the law. The words are the law.

For the sake of completeness I need to add that, according to its primary author, the intent of this repeated phrase in the lyingly-named "Affordable Care Act" was to "squeeze" the States into setting up exchanges. This could hardly be done if "State" means "or anything else." So the actual intent of the law is conveyed by the actual words of the law. The government and a majority of the Justices simply lied about the intent, then lied to turn their falsehood about the intent into the law.

It's all very easy if one has no functioning conscience.

But it turns out that words magically do have meaning sometimes. Ask a leftist whether "no" means "yes." In a rape trial, "no" always means "no." But when the federal government wants to force its affections on all of us, "no" may mean "butterscotch," or perhaps "dancing." We can't have an orderly society under laws in which "fine" might mean "tax," "State" might mean "federal," and "marriage" might mean "anti-marriage." At the practical level, there's no difference between the Psychic Friends Theory of Law, and having no laws at all.

The idea that someone's will can override the conventional meanings of words is a hostile idea. It's hostile to communication, which makes it hostile to civilization, and thus hostile to human well being. It is an enemy of human-ness. Take away plumbing, the electric grid, paved roads and established currency, and we'd be living a very bleak and desperate existence – but still a human existence. Destroy our mental infrastructure, language, and we would be living the lives of apes.

I get the impression that leftists imagine themselves as future rulers of the world they have destroyed with their narcissistic nihilism. But chaos is, by definition, not controlled. They wish anarchy and death for others, but not for themselves. It just doesn't work that way.

Do not remove the ancient landmark Which your fathers have set. (Proverbs 22:28)

Because with lies you have made the heart of the righteous sad, whom I have not made sad; and you have strengthened the hands of the wicked, so that he does not turn from his wicked way to save his life. (Ezekiel 13:22)

But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned. (Matthew 12:36, 37)

© Dan Popp


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