A concept clearly stated by the Founders and Framers of the Constitution repeatedly. However, to the uninformed and the inattentive, it is a subtle distinction that plants the seed for future mischaracterization. Politics is rife with such linguistic gymnastics designed to misdirect, obfuscate and misinform; things like calling out of control government spending “investments” or the infamous invocation of “equality” in relation to any number of things that are inherently unequal. Despite the rhetoric, “equality” is not a value that is highly regarded in American culture. Equal opportunity? Yes. True equality? No. Why? That’s simple, because true equality can only exist at the lowest common denominator. This is one of those cunning uses of the language that will be our demise. When you hear the term “equality”, think to yourself that it means you should be equal to those in higher positions of society. In reality, it means bringing everyone DOWN to the same level. Such language motivated the proletariat to rise up and cast out the bourgeoisie during the Marxist revolution, which was a near suicidal event for their society and lead to decades of Communist rule. They achieved their “equality” at the lowest common denominator and it was far from Utopian.
Another example of cunning linguistics was called out by Texas Governor Rick Perry in relation to the illegal immigration crisis at the border. “Defending the border is NOT a political option. It is a Constitutional OBLIGATION.” – Gov. Rick Perry. In President Obama’s proclamation regarding Constitution Day, he discussed the strength and durability of our founding document, yet it is one of the favorite targets for cunning linguists to attack and he himself has often performed his own linguistic gymnastics to try and circumvent its mandates and protections. Words have meaning, whether it is the words in the Constitution and Bill of Rights or the words politicians use to mask their true intentions. Being vigilant in our use of language is essential. This applies to more than just politics as well. Society seems to be enamored with sound bites and catch phrases, an obvious byproduct of our ever-shortening attention span it seems. Modern life has become so cram packed with distractions that people live their lives in 140 characters or less on Twitter or 30 second Vines (videos). Social media, a plethora of information, is consumed by just such drive-by “factoids”. Stating something as fact and something actually BEING fact are two very different things, but that distinction is routinely blurred to the point of absurdity. Even when deeper content and perspective are included, few people get farther than commenting on the attached picture. Serious conversation and deep thought? “Ain’t nobody got time for that.”
In the book 1984 by George Orwell, he coined the term “Newspeak”. Newspeak was a controlled language created by the totalitarian state as a tool to limit freedom of thought, and concepts that pose a threat to the regime such as freedom, self-expression, individuality, and peace. Any form of thought alternative to the partyâ€™s construct is classified as “thoughtcrime”. Some might say that the only thing he got wrong was the year. Today “Newspeak” might be called “Political Correctness” which is another form of linguistic gymnastics to control thoughts and attitudes on various subjects. Certain key words are used to silence dissent, something Dennis Prager calls SIXHIRB. SIXHIRB stands for Sexist, Intolerant, Xenophobic, Homophobic, Islamophobic, Racist and/or Bigoted. You’ll notice many “phobias” in that list and of course everyone knows that a phobia is an “irrational fear” of something. Nobody wants to be thought of as irrational, even if there are completely logical and rational reasons for their opposition to something. It is a form of verbal intimidation that leads most to simply suppress their true thoughts and feelings or conform rather than stand and fight for what they believe is right. In the end we are left with a “Stepford” society parroting the politically correct dogma and losing our individuality, rights and liberties along the way. Of all people, a comedian, brought some perspective to this phenomenon that I wasn’t expecting. In a matter unrelated to politics, but indirectly relating to everything I have discussed here. The true victims of the cunning linguists and their politically correct “Newspeak” are generally the people they CLAIM they are trying to protect.
The American “gun culture”, gun rights and the 2nd Amendment are a BIG target of the cunning linguists today and have been for some time now. Why? “To disarm the people is the most effectual way to enslave them.” – George Mason. For most of American history, the private citizen has been better armed than the military and law enforcement, but very few people today actually know that. The efforts of cunning linguists, through the introduction of terms like “military-style” weapons or “assault” weapons have, to some extent, demonized a class of weaponry that would be most effective in the defense of liberty and the defiance of tyranny. They have rather successfully convinced millions of Americans to voluntarily disarm through the demonization of firearms in general. No goon squads kicking in doors and confiscating weapons, just the power of carefully crafted words. As a pro-gun advocate, I constantly engage anti-gun people and hear the same catch phrases and misleading and/or outright false statistics quoted over and over again. People learn through repetition and when they hear the same false information repeatedly over and over again it becomes, in essence, fact. In some cases it has become so ingrained that no amount of actual facts or evidence will persuade someone otherwise. In Hitler’s Mein Kampf he described the “big lie” method of propaganda and it has been effectively used repeatedly since then, and long before too I’m sure. The concept is simple, tell a lie that is so big that it is easier to believe the lie than to believe someone would be so bold as to lie on such a grand scale. Of course the best lies always contain a seed of truth, something that is verifiable and then liberally fertalized with the BS you want to implant in the societal consciousness. This is true in politics as well as the growing industry of conspiracy theory.
Words have meaning. When you lose control of your language, you have lost control of everything. There are those of us who are still paying attention. There are those who continue to pay the price of freedom through their eternal vigilance. There are those who still stand and fight for what they believe. We have not completely lost control of our language yet, but we may only be a generation away from losing the fight. “Freedom is a fragile thing and is never more than one generation away from extinction. It is not ours by inheritance; it must be fought for and defended constantly by each generation, for it comes only once to a people. Those who have known freedom and then lost it have never known it again.” – Ronald Reagan.
Jon Britton aka DoubleTap is Chief Operating Officer of CDH, Inc., a regular contributing author and regularly involved in most aspects of their social media. “Writing was never a goal or even vaguely contemplated as a career choice, it just happened, an accidental discovery of a talent and a passion.” A passion that has taken him in many directions from explorations of the zombie subculture and zombie stories to political advocacy. Joining the U.S. Air Force right out of high school, Jon had the opportunity to experience many different parts of the world and different cultures. His post military career path, both white collar and blue collar, allowed him to work alongside both CEOs and average Joes. As a founding member Cold Dead Hands his study of human nature and writing ability found a purpose. His zombie roots provided a variety of issues from prepping to human behavior under crisis to firearms that he applies to his advocacy for gun rights. A ravenous appetite for the study of history combined with his current events political junkie addiction led to him writing an e-book Gun Sense: Past, Present and Future.