|by David Kupelian
A major engine for the left’s insatiable quest for power goes under the strange name of “political correctness” – an insidious frontal attack on common sense and conscience through language manipulation.
Many people mistakenly regard political correctness as just a nutty liberal fetish for not hurting people’s feelings. Words and phrases are continually decreed to be “insensitive” to various “minorities” and therefore replaced with euphemisms so as to avoid real or perceived offense.
People who are mentally retarded used to be called “idiots,” “imbeciles” and “morons” – psychological terms that correspond to different IQ ranges (0-25 for idiots, 26-50 for imbeciles, 51-70 for morons). But as those words gradually came to be considered offensive, the euphemism “retarded” came into vogue. When “retarded” came to be regarded as insensitive, new-and-nicer euphemisms like “intellectual disability” and being “intellectually challenged” emerged, culminating with “special.” It’s hard to be offended over being “special.”
In like manner, the deaf became “hearing impaired,” the blind “vision impaired” and the crippled “mobility impaired,” inspiring a new breed of cocktail-party jokes wherein the bald are “folically challenged” and so on.
More subversively, however, people’s ignoble or criminal qualities became disguised and excused with euphemisms: “Illegal aliens” became “illegal immigrants” and then “undocumented immigrants” and presto-chango, something bad was magically transformed into something good. Homosexuals became “gay,” abortion advocates became “pro-choice” and atheists became “brights,” each euphemism converting a negative association into a positive one. Today, increasing numbers of people refer to pedophilia as “intergenerational sex” and child molesters as “minor-attracted persons” or MAPs. (In Islam, the popular euphemism for pedophilia is “child marriage,” just as adultery is called “temporary marriage.” Really.)
Of course, Islam has become a major beneficiary of political correctness, reminiscent of what George Orwell called “Newspeak” in his novel “1984.” After 19 Muslim terrorists, acting in the name of Islam, murdered almost 3,000 Americans in a wanton act of war on Sept. 11, 2001, the government and media, to avoid offending Muslims, declared Islam to be a “religion of peace.” The Islamic jihad declared on America was mysteriously referred to by our leaders as a “war on terror” involving some unnamed enemy. But even that awkward and evasive expression was deemed too insensitive toward Islam, so under Obama the euphemizing turned surreal when “war on terror” morphed into “overseas contingency operations.” Likewise, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano came up with a friendly new phrase for mass-murder terror attacks. Announcing that she was deliberately avoiding the term “terrorism” in speeches because “we want to move away from the politics of fear,” she adopted the term “man-caused disasters.”
All of this is not, however, just a matter of annoyingly manipulative “word games.” Our civilization is literally being turned upside-down through the strategic redefinition (and therefore transformation) of our society’s operating principles.
Today’s most obvious case in point: Barack Obama, a far-left radical manifestly hostile toward free-market capitalism and American exceptionalism – in fact, to just about everything American – but who campaigned using powerfully evocative words of national restoration and reconciliation. “Hope,” “change,” “fairness,” “justice,” “reform” and “transparency” would usher in a bright new era of “healing” and “unifying” America and the world through this charismatic young leader’s “post-racial,” “post-partisan” presidency. What we got instead was a jarringly narcissistic, supremely demagogic and corrupt Chicago politician, lacking both in experience and wisdom, and displaying breathtaking contempt for America’s Constitution and its best-in-the-world system of government.
If the ongoing language war consisted solely of one man’s use of emotionally compelling catch-phrases – like Obama’s current re-election favorites (“Everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules”) and his ceaseless appeals to raw envy (attacks on “millionaires and billionaires,” “hedge-fund managers” and “oil-company executives”) – it wouldn’t be difficult for truth to prevail.
But the political and cultural left has hijacked virtually our entire language in the last couple of generations. It has redefined many key words, phrases and concepts, changing not only the words we use, but the way we think. Consider:
“Equality” has been utterly redefined. To previous generations, equality – as in Jefferson’s phrase in the Declaration of Independence that “all men are created equal, and endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights” – referred to our being equal in our God-given rights before the law. Today’s idea of equality, however, is based on the virtual repudiation of meaning and morality and God Himself. Good and evil are basically “equal.” As I write in “The Marketing of Evil”:
Today, in the rarified but toxic air of multiculturalism and political correctness, all cultures and all values are of equal value. The most ignorant, oppressive, suffocating, women-hating kind of culture – where people’s hands and feet are amputated as punishment for petty offenses – is now worthy of equal respect to Western culture, which has provided most of the world’s knowledge, progress, food, medicine, technology, quality of life, representative government, and liberty. This moral inversion, which proclaims that all cultures are equal, has extended to virtually every area of society.
“Love” too has been redefined. At its finest, love is a spiritual quality of selfless, sacrificial caring about others, epitomized by Jesus when He said on the cross, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” The soldier who falls on an enemy grenade to save the lives of his fellow warriors acts out of love. But today, “love” has reached a low point – the word is used to sanctify same-sex marriage and celebrate what once were called “vile affections.” Even pedophiles creepily talk about “men and the boys they love” to justify their crimes. After all, how can love be vile? For many, our idea of “love” – basically, our feelings of attraction toward anything to which we are addicted – is now firmly in the gutter, like “equality.”
“Justice,” likewise, has been redefined. Phrases such as “social justice” and “economic justice” are euphemisms for confiscating, by threat and raw force, what belongs justly to others – in other words, injustice. Likewise, “affirmative action” is imposed and defended in the name of justice, but is inherently unjust: The most qualified applicant for a job is turned down in favor of another, because that other person has the right skin color. That used to be called racial discrimination (a great injustice), but now the same act is rationalized as “social justice.”
Freedom is slavery
In Orwell’s “1984,” the outside walls of the “Ministry of Truth” (headquarters for propaganda and revisionist history) are adorned with three “Newspeak” phrases – slogans of the political party ruling the total surveillance state of Oceania. They are: WAR IS PEACE, FREEDOM IS SLAVERY, IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH.
America today is rapidly becoming Oceania, where many key political and cultural concepts actually amount to the opposite of what their labels profess:
How about these? THEFT IS JUSTICE. MORALITY IS HATE. FAITH IS IGNORANCE.
Or maybe these: ENVY IS RIGHTEOUSNESS. SIN IS LOVE. CHARITY IS ENTITLEMENT.
A 180-degree inversion of reality has been codified within our political and cultural vernacular. Whereas the poor and disadvantaged once were the grateful recipients of charity, thanks to the generosity of individuals, churches and organizations, today what used to be charity is an “entitlement.” The idea that charity – whether through private-sector generosity or governmental “safety-net” programs – is something to which the recipient is “entitled” is bizarrely presumptuous and discordant to all right-thinking people. It’s almost as though the government intends to program recipients of charity to become arrogant and ungrateful; after all, why would you be grateful for receiving something to which you were already entitled?
Likewise, “tolerance” today often amounts to not only acceptance, but virtual celebration of sexual immorality – or at the very least, an agreement not to utter or write a word of disapproval over immoral, corrupt or self-destructive behavior. However, homosexual activists condemning the “intolerance” of others are notoriously intolerant of all who hold to the millennia-old moral code of the Western world.
Why are the most perverse, immoral and confusing programs imaginable being instituted so easily throughout our nation’s public schools under the banner of “anti-bullying”? Because “gay” activists figured out that the best way to intimidate everyone into embracing their agenda was to package it that way. This is pure conditioning. For most people, the very thought of opposing any “anti-bullying” program is chilling, because we fear being condemned as haters of children.
The emotional programming inherent in words and phrases is so compelling that it affects our behavior in many areas of life. So, for instance, many conservatives automatically conclude that “environmentalism,” “conservation,” “hybrid” vehicles, “recycling” and “organic” foods are things to avoid, just because they associate them with liberals.
The hidden power of political correctness
The whole idea of political correctness is an assault on the freedom of the human mind.
The operating principle behind political correctness is raw intimidation: In a politically correct culture, if you dare use certain words – and by logical extension, even think a certain way – you are ignorant, insensitive, intolerant, bigoted or hateful.
If you criticize the president of the United States as a “socialist” or “Marxist,” for instance, you will likely be accused of “McCarthyism.” Regardless of the real history of the “McCarthy era” –yes, there really were Soviet agents honeycombed throughout the U.S. government – the phrase has become a verbal weapon with which the left attacks conservatives.
(Personal story: As a guest on Sean Hannity’s “Great American Panel,” I used the words “socialist” and “Marxist” to describe Obama,and rattled off highlights of far-left associations and exploits from his teen years to his presidency. Liberal panelist Bob Beckel, taking offense at my use of the word “Marxist,” turned to me and angrily accused me of being “worse than Joe McCarthy,” insisting I should “apologize to the president.” Apologize for what? Telling the truth? For the record, I like Beckel, he’s a very nice man off-camera.)
The point is, the weaponization of a word like “McCarthyism” has nothing to do with history or reality; it is the intimidation factor that’s programmed into the word – almost like a post-hypnotic suggestion – that we automatically associate with fears of being ostracized, diminished, marginalized and ridiculed. Remember Saul Alinsky’s famous Rule No. 5 from “Rules for Radicals”: “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.”
Nobody wants to be scorned and mocked, and therefore many of us, consciously or unconsciously, avoid intimidating situations by refraining from standing up for what we really believe.
At its core, then, political correctness is nothing more nor less than the unjust intimidation of others into thinking and speaking a certain way. As such, it is pure totalitarian mind control.