The View From 1776

Understanding the English Language is Essential to Clear Thinking

Spinmiesters and speech police have debased the language.  Words are the units of thought.  When their meaning is distorted, communication becomes unreliable.  In a democratic republic, this is a grave danger.

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The following article appeared in today’s newspapers:

Abortion-Rights Rally Draws Thousands in Washington

Associated Press
April?25,?2004

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WASHINGTON—Abortion-rights supporters marched in huge numbers Sunday, roused in this election year by what they see as an erosion of reproductive freedoms under President Bush and foreign policies they say hurt women world-wide.

 

To the extent that the newswriter accurately reports, pro-abortion forces are using language dishonestly.

Anti-abortion forces have done nothing to erode reproductive freedoms.  In fact, anti-abortion forces strongly support women’s freedom to have children.

What pro-abortion forces want is, not reproductive freedom, but the unilateral “right” to kill their children, without even a gesture in the direction of individual rights or due process of law for the innocent and defenseless children.

Using euphemistic terms like reproductive freedom is to engage figuratively in selling snake oil.  If the pro-abortion forces were subject to Federal Trade Commission regulations, they would be hauled into court for false advertising.

Such misleading terminology fuzzes the issue and distracts attention from what is really being advocated: a unilateral right to terminate the life of a child.  The public needs to look clearly at the facts and to employ the English language with exactitude to assess the merits of the case.

Unfortunately, this deliberate debasement of the language is nearly universal, partly to serve political purposes, and partly because of the deterioration of education.  If every vote is supposed to count in our political system, people must have issues presented clearly if they are to understand and make wise choices.  One of the most sinister aspects of Big Brother’s rule in George Orwell’s novel 1984 was NewSpeak, the deliberate use of common words in arbitrary ways, so that the public was always uncertain what regulations were supposed to mean and authorities could arrest them on any pretext.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 04/25 at 06:35 PM
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