We’ve arrived at that strange day when the speech we’ve always used has suddenly become toxic and disallowed. If, for instance you still believe that God created man and woman, if you believe in the so-called binary, you are offensive. If you have a hard time understanding chest feeding—not breast feeding, you are not in line with the CDC. In certain settings, if you don’t identify yourself by your pronoun, you may be in trouble.
Some people may think these adjustments in our speech are not a worry, but they are wrong. Go along to get along does not work in our world because words and ideas can reshape our reality and our relationship to ourselves, the world, and our God.
The demands that today’s leftists place on our speech are there for one thing—to have the ground shift beneath our feet, until we see things completely differently and we build a new sense of reality in our heads. Poof! Our sense of morality, our belief in nature and natural law, even our love of country disappears; our freedom of religion is swept away in a hurricane of lost teachings, lost constructs and lost sense of reality.
Language now is hot to the touch; it sizzles, and you’d better express yourself according to the dictates of the leftists for they have the answer and the power. They dictate a narrative they call truth and you are punished if you raise a question.
Take the world-wide epidemic called COVID, as an example. If a physician had any treatment plans that did not match the CDC’s demands, if one questioned the origins of the disease, the leftists silenced you and canceled you on social media or worse. Our Almighty CDC had already made protocols, and the ideas and cures from even the most elite scientists who didn’t match the party line were eliminated on social media.
Gary Saul Morson, who is a professor of Russian literature at Northwestern University, told this story in an article in The Wall Street Journal “I used to get a laugh from students by quoting a Soviet citizen I talked to once. He said to me, ‘of course we have freedom of speech. We just don’t allow people to lie.’” That used to get a laugh! They don’t laugh anymore.”
Morson also said, “The danger begins…when complex social and political problems can’t be debated any longer. You get into a revolutionary situation because people can’t hear…Can there be a dialogue on important questions, or is there only one thing to say about every question? When you can’t do that, you’re heading to a one-party state, or a dictatorship of some sort. If one party is always wrong and another is always right, why not just have the right one?”
It is dangerous to be punished for your speech. Ideas diminish. When you or your group are censored, fairly soon, you censor yourself, so eventually you can’t remember.
Lewis Carol understood this:
“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty
said in rather a scornful tone,
“It means just what I choose
it to mean—neither more nor less.”
“The question is,” said Alice,
“Whether you can make
words mean so many different things.”
“The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty,
“Which is to be master—that’s all.”
Michael Knowles said in his book Speechless, “With that brief exchange in Through the Looking-Glass, Lewis Carroll prefigured political correctness, the war of words that would define our politics more than a century later. What does it matter whether we call someone who breaks the law to enter the country an ‘illegal alien’ or an ‘undocumented immigrant”? What’s the difference between a Christmas tree and a ‘holiday tree’? Doesn’t global warming pose the same threat to our civilization regardless of whether or not we rename it ‘climate change’ or, more recently, “the climate crisis”? Why quibble over semantics?
“The difference may be semantic, but semantics matter. When people describe a distinction as just semantics, they mean to dismiss it as trivial. But how many of those people know what the word ‘semantics’ means? ‘Semantics,’ it turns out, means meaning itself. Semantics is the study of the meaning of words, which exist so that we can distinguish one thing from another. This process of discernment begins with our very first words. A baby cries out, “Mama!” to distinguish Mommy from Daddy. Today even that basic distinction falls afoul of politically correct orthodoxy, as we will come to see. What Humpty Dumpty understands and Alice fails to see is that words shape how we think; they color how we view the world.”
These words define what is good and evil. They define family structure. They are the politics which shape our worldview
Here are some categories where speech has been overturned, changing perceptions with it.
Label Your Enemies
The leftists have learned to suppress people merely by labeling them as enemies. Once labeled, your actions and speech are sabotaged by those who have decided in advance the ideas you cannot say. Even if you wanted to be “forgiven” for being outside of the leftist clique, it would never happen.
The Daily Signal reported, “Moms for Liberty has received countless death threats, but the messages spiked after the Southern Poverty Law Center put the parental rights group on its’ ‘hate map,’ its cofounders say.
“It gave people permission to treat us as subhuman,” Tiffany Justice, one of the group’s cofounders, told The Daily Signal. She accused Moms for Liberty’s critics of trying ‘to whip people up into such a frenzy that they end up sending death threats to me and to the members and our children.’
“Designating us as a hate group gives people permission to dehumanize us, and the SPLC knows it,’ Justice added.”
The hate map from the Southern Poverty Law Center, also has categories for “Christian Identity” and “Radical Traditional Catholicism.”
Concerned parents who have come to school board meetings because they don’t want their children propagandized at school have been labeled “domestic terrorists.” After receiving a letter from the National School Boards Association agreeing to this label, the FBI were charged to go after these parents with permission to use the Patriot Act as a tool against them.
If you want to demolish the ideas that are not yours, fling a hateful label on them, demolish their reputation, or teach them to self-censor when they go to speak, so the thinking goes.
Goodbye to the Binary
Goodbye to the binary, essentially means, that leftists have invented many new genders to replace our idea that there is only male and female. That deconstructs any need for realty and pretends our children can talk about what gender they might be in the youngest grades.
Our newest Supreme Court member, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, towed the leftist party line during her senate hearing when Senator Marsha Blackburn asked her, “Can you provide a definition for the word ‘woman’”? After a big hesitation she finally answered “No, I can’t”
“You can’t?” said Senator Blackburn.
“Not in this contest—I’m not a biologist.”
If women have lost their identity as women, what have we lost? A story at the University of Cincinnati is another example, when a student was punished with a zero on her project because she used the term “biological woman.” The phrase” biological woman” is already a retreat from the word “woman” on its own, but now that won’t do.
Olivia Krolczyk posted a TikTok video last month explaining that she received a zero on her project proposal about transgender athletes competing in women’s sports because she used the term “biological women.”
The gender studies professor, Melanie Nipper, had told her that “the terms ‘biological women’ are exclusionary and are not allowed in this course as they further reinforce heteronormativity. Please reassess your topic and edit it to focus on women’s rights (not just “females”) and I’ll regrade.”
We have an interesting term in this—heteronormativity—which is the idea that men and women are just one group sexually among many—and suggesting anyone who believes in heteronormativity is exclusionary.
Fox News reported that the teacher, Melanie Nipper was ultimately reprimanded and was told she needed to take a class in free speech. Fox New said, “The Enquirer also obtained a copy of the adjunct professor contesting the reprimand, claiming that ‘my restriction on harmful speech’ was ‘necessary to ensure a safe learning environment in the course discussions and for the pedagogical purpose of teaching introductory WGSS theory.’”
She went on to say that she teaches from an “intersectional, 4th wave, and transnational feminist perspective,” and argued that the student’s chosen topic for her project was “inappropriate as it targeted trans women as a source of oppression for cis women in sports.”
Nipper added further that “I felt it was necessary to educate her regarding inclusive language to ensure a safe learning environment for other students in the course discussion boards.”
Ultimately Krolczyk got an A in this course, but the brouhaha caused by using the term “biological woman” should never have happened. The idea that a photo, a statue, a saying or even a conservative speaker coming to speak at a university makes someone feel “unsafe” has been used as a wedge to change the world. After all, in this fragile world, we must bow to those who feel unsafe.
The claim that listening to someone with an opposite view makes you “unsafe” is the hallmark of a fragile generation, but more than that it is the granting of power and the reworking of reality that takes us in.
Patriotism is a beautiful word that in this country has meant a belief in certain ideas. Though we love our country, with its steep slopes, its sparkling rivers, its waving wheat, that is just a stunning add on to our country’s stunning ideas. Liberty, equality for all, a sense that each person is exquisitely important, an optimism and a generosity, justice, a Constitution that spells out our rights—these are all ideas that move us. We wave our flag for it. We love this country.
We genuinely believe that this country has the structure to overcome its flaws and mistakes, and point to its actual progress through the years. America is a set of ideas, and has been a beacon on a hill for many immigrants.
On the other hand, patriotism for many is now a negative word, and they hate their country or, at least, disdain it. The 1619 Projectˆ is only one effort to revise history. Washington. Jefferson and even Lincoln have lost their luster and some of their statures have been toppled, their photos removed from significant places.
According to this viewpoint, patriotism is a ruse that requires you to like hateful things. Patriotism is a shoddy value. They call the old-fashioned Patriot a Christian Nationalist and label him or often as an extremist. The latest poll from Gallup indicates that only 38% are extremely proud to be an American. This is the lowest number in this category since they have been doing polls. If people aren’t proud of their country, they are slow to defend it.
The AP explained their standards on the work “patriotism”. In an article “the outlet argued that the word had been overtly political and taken up by extremist groups, used in ways that made it less about love for the country and more about hatred for certain minority groups.”
You can tell when authoritarians are trying to impose a new rule and reality on people because they cause new meaning for old words and, in turn, punish speech they don’t like. This is the typical pattern wherever a tyrant comes to rule.
In George Orwell’s famous book 1984, he understood these principles and Winston, the main character, is caught in a totalitarian state that Big Brother is creating where the government erases or rewrites history as they go to shape a new reality, based on their growing power. “Newspeak was “characterized by the elimination or alteration of certain words, the substitution of one word for another, the interchangeability of parts of speech, and the creation of words for political purposes.”
This is from 1984.
“Don’t you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it. Every concept that can ever be needed will be expressed by exactly one word, with its meaning rigidly defined and all its subsidiary meanings rubbed out and forgotten.
“The Ministry of Peace concerns itself with war, the Ministry of Truth with lies, the Ministry of Love with torture and the Ministry of Plenty with starvation. These contradictions are not accidental, nor do they result from ordinary hypocrisy: they are deliberate exercises in doublethink…
“It’s a beautiful thing, the destruction of words. “By 2050, earlier, probably – all real knowledge of Oldspeak will have disappeared. The whole literature of the past will have been destroyed. Chaucer, Shakespeare, Milton, Byron – they’ll exist only in Newspeak versions, not merely changed into something different, but actually changed into something contradictory of what they used to be. Even the literature of the Party will change. Even the slogans will change. How could you have a slogan like ‘freedom is slavery’ when the concept of freedom has been abolished? The whole climate of thought will be different. In fact, there will be no thought, as we understand it now. Orthodoxy means not thinking – not needing to think. Orthodoxy is unconsciousness.
“The Party, in controlling and manipulating language, seeks to ultimately make thinking innately pure – void of rebellious concepts.”
As we see these new ideas seek to paralyze discussion and viewpoint, it is clear this is a big deal, and the heart of much unrest in this nation. It the tool of authoritarianism. It is destructive to people and feels terrible. In America’s case, it is an invitation to a dark night as step by step we erase Christianity for the socialism that has a new power here. We call that “socialism” “social justice”, but its tenets are the same.
For us, as Christians, our way is spelled out, we must love one another. We must love our enemies who hold ideas that are heinous to us. Love, however, does not mean passivity. We can be kind and regard another’s humanity, and, at the same time stand up for the truth we know.