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What would happen if conservatives started to change the words we use for political ends?”

Thursday, November 24, 2016 21:42
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Historian Victor Davis Hanson writes,

Throughout history, revolutionaries of all stripes have warped the meaning of words to subvert reality.

And now here we go again, with another effort — spearheaded by the media and universities — to use any linguistic means necessary to achieve political ends.

“Sanctuary city” is a euphemism for the local and state nullification of federal law — a subversive tactic that dates back to the nullification crises during the Andrew Jackson administration and, later, in the years leading up to the Civil War. This makes a mockery of the simple constitutional principle that cities and states cannot subversively pick and choose which federal laws to obey.

The term “sanctuary” would never apply to conservative jurisdictions that in similar fashion sought to offer “sanctuary” to those dissidents who disobeyed federal gun registration, income tax, or environmental laws.

College administrators boast of offering counseling and therapeutic help to students and faculty members distraught over the recent election. They use terms like “divisive” and “polarizing” in describing the election, when in truth they wish to hide from their donors, alumni, and half the country their own abject and one-sided contempt for incoming president-elect Donald Trump.

Note that in the highly emotional elections of 2008 and 2012, universities did not offer commensurate counseling services — because their own preferred candidate won and was thus his victory was not “polarizing.” Once upon a time, campuses did not worry about whether independent faculty and conservative students were sullen and depressed in adolescent style over the implications of President-elect Barack Obama’s radical promises to “fundamentally change America.”

Campus “safe space” is another vocabulary distortion. Such places are often set-aside spots that actually discriminate on the basis of race or gender.

Likewise, college “theme houses” often admit residents on the basis of segregation by ethnicity or race — in a way that would have been considered deplorable during the Civil Rights movement. Indeed, the word “segregation” has now virtually disappeared from our vocabulary because it could more likely apply to left-wing rather than right-wing protocols.

“Microaggression” is certainly not aggression as usually defined. Instead, the term seeks to stifle free expression on the principle that one can still be dubbed a racist or sexist by saying something that normally would not offend anyone — at least not without arcane academic inventions of bias.

…No one on campus is given a trigger warning before reading the left-wing manifestos of Eldridge Cleaver or Malcolm X, despite their calls for violence.

“Illegal alien” used to be a neutral and descriptive legal term — one still preferred by the Supreme Court — but is now seen as counterproductive to the agendas of the open-borders movement. Thus the more inexact “undocumented alien” followed, although few who entered illegally ever had immigration “documents” of any sort. Next came the term “undocumented immigrant” — on the theory that the ancient word “alien” (from the Latin word alienus, meaning “belonging to another”) is offensive and also unhelpful to the open-borders project.

…To prevent this endless cycle of corrupting words, members of the media and academia should act as our linguistic guardians. Instead, for short-term political gain, they have abandoned their professional responsibilities to become our worst subverters of language.

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