The View From 1776

The Da Vinci Code: Liberal Gnosticism

The Da Vinci Code’s gnosticism is not something that disappeared centuries ago.  It survives as the religious substance of today’s liberalism and its kindred sects of socialism.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/30 at 11:30 PM
  1. Thomas, I generally agree with your analysis. However, you failed to conform to your usual standard of eloquent and precise historical context when you, perhaps unconsciously, kowtowed to political correctness in misquoting Karl Marx by leaving out the male pronoun, "his."

    I believe the Marx quotation from which this bit is lifted says, "In a higher phase of communist society ... only then can the narrow horizon of [the] bourgeois right be fully left behind and society inscribe on its banners: from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs." Or, in his native German, " ... von jedem entsprechend seiner F
    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  05/31  at  08:17 PM
  2. Mark:

    Mark, I agree entirely with you about use of his, in all cases of singular pronouns, unless the person referenced is a female. In my web article, I wasn't quoting so much as paraphrasing the thought.

    I mean no disrespect to the ladies (or women, as some of them prefer), but I employ standard English, even when it has become politically-incorect.

    A related thing that drives me to considering homicide is a sentence such as the following: "Everyone should use THEIR own things," which, in English, is written: "Everyone should use HIS own things."

    Tom Brewton
    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  05/31  at  10:32 PM
  3. You've both got it right on political correctness, and 'his,' an English language generic term of accuracy.

    I would add the widespread use of another word gaining local and global use by educators, news anchors, presidents, politicians, coaches, and military leaders. Referring to our youth as "kids" is a put-down, intentional or not. All youngsters must be led by leaders who are future-oriented for the sake of respect, affirmation, and confidence- building in the coming adults of tomorrow.

    Too many weak forties-folks are using the term on twenties-people - many of whom are doing a manly work in Iraq and Afghanistan. Certainly, no child should be anchored and hobbled by the term - even at age seven.

    Above all, youth needs and deserves the challenge and respect statements like "young lady" and "young man," that express love and regard for a healthy personal acceptance of an unknown future.

    "Kidz" is a politically correct and demeaning expression without a long-lasting and affirmative growth element.

    semper fidelis
    Posted by Choicemaker  on  06/01  at  09:42 AM
  4. 'Kids' is also a term of familiar endearment. I don't refer to my 19-year old, very manly son as my child or my youth. He's my kid, and he much prefers that usage (just as I preferred it from my dad). Kid is slang, admittedly, but English is a language rich in both slang and formalism. When I refer to the brave 'kids' fighting and dying in Iraq, I am concurrently expressing my repect for their sacrifice and concern for their well-being of an 'old man' for those doing the job he feels he ought to be doing. Child, in this context has the sense of infancy while youth is too formal to convey how dearly I feel about them. Each has it's place, and it is only the reduction of terms to doggerel phrases devoid of all meaning or richness of expression of which language is capable that should offend our senses.

    It is in the nature of political-correctness to restrict what we may express and how we may express it. In the above examples, Mark complains of the PC dictum of gender-neutral expression that outlaws an ancient and perfectly valid usage of the term 'him', understood by all to convey both 'him and 'her', unless or until a specifically feminine character is intended. Choicemaker, by contrast, takes issue with the term 'kids' because he feels it is used by elders to demean those younger. That may occassionally be the case, and the same can be said of the 'him' usage for unspecific cases. Both can imply an assumption of superiority, though the insult is generally more in the perception of those offended than in any intent. Mark has objected to the PC stifling of language, to which Choicemaker agrees just prior to making his own bid to stifle usage. In so doing, he appears to concur on the inhibitions shackling expression, but is really adding his own inhibition to it. This is trying to have it both ways; one way for the feminists and another way for the young.

    The insistence on gender-neutral (or its counterfeit, substituting her for him) has caused considerable difficulty and stifling of expression, making language more a political tool than a vehicle for honest communication. So too does age-ism, racism, and similarly narrow preferences. The problem with stifling language is that it also stifles the exchange of ideas by raising barriers in the minds of some to hearing the ideas of others, especially the ideas of those mavericks who refuse to conform to the PC pardigm. The choice of language may not always conform to our sensibilities, but it is more important that we listen with our minds as much as our ears. To do this, we need to curb our hypersensitivity by presuming offense is not lurking in every utterance.
    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  06/04  at  10:05 AM
  5. P.S. Choicemaker

    I do understand your complaint about the media using the term to spin sentiment against the war and the disrepect that implies regarding our soldier's sacrifice. However, by restricting usage for the media, we end up creating a 'new PC' speech code that is just as invidious as that of the left. I take it your 'semper fidelis' salutation implies you have given service to our country. If so, you have my warmest respect and thanks.
    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  06/04  at  10:18 AM
  6. Thanks for the comebacks, Bob. I generally make effort to avoid personalizing a point of view since I gave up my mind-reading act years ago.
    As an educator of thirty years, and a parent and grandparent - I have determined priorities back more than fifty years - independent of my own personal needs and desires.

    It has been my experience that few adults, parents and others, pay little attention to the effect of their words beyond the homefire boundaries, and a future of days only.

    Regardless of motive, children are damaged into their own future with the hobbling result of such terms. No intent to restrict or censor is intended - but the choice only of such leadership as the child/youth may encounter in their daily and future times - absent mom and dad.

    Intentions to endear can find more appropriate terms - if that is the motive. More often than you realize (in a generation seeking the negation of principles) they are subjected to an adult whose intent is self-exaltation at the child's/youth's expense. And, intended or not, the result tends to a negative impact.

    Polling a group of youngsters may produce a more accurate truth than a parent's interogation of a child who doesm't want to hurt mom's/dad's feelings. Such has been my experience.

    This trend is fairly recent and contributes nothing to a human being's growth, self-image, or future. Self-pleasing of the parent is not the first priority and may in the future cause the young adult to see the parent in a new and negative light.

    Attention to 1. Motive and 2. Effects will make obvious where the priorities mst lie; whether parent or teacher, or...x leader. Media should be self-correcting, as with parents, teachers, and others.

    Parents, who understand that parenting does not imply ownership but stewardship, will seek to grow and improve their example and their influence. That is the ultimate and lasting term of endearment for our children. They will be children a very short time but adults for the rest of their lives. We each thus have choices to make... Make 'em count.

    Semper Fidelis
    Jim Baxter
    Sgt. USMC
    WWII & Korean War
    .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
    Posted by Choicemaker  on  06/04  at  04:08 PM
  7. Jim,

    Your points are all well taken. However, it still comes down to inhibitions placed on language. What you decry is better corrected by fostering judgment and care than in stipulating which terms are okay and which forbidden. We human beings process a lot of information and assumptions with every utterance we make. Even with censure, we are prone to mistakes. You also require a degree of clairvoyance none of us really possess. What we do have is our own remembrance of being young, a deeper regard for our children's sensibilities than any other mentor (including teachers), and a lifetime commitment to their happiness. Our concern goes beyond the wounds they endure as children to their resilience as adults to their strength of character on becoming parents in their own right.

    What our children have is enormous adaptability and resilience beyond what many of us credit. The pain children feel from an insult is as visceral as that we feel from a burn or flesh wound. That being so, and remembering how sensitive we were as children, it is easy to believe they need vigilant protection. The reality, and you must know the truth of this, is that coddling them too much results in creating an unhealthy and unrealistic expectation of shielding in any and all cases, even when they are at fault. It is natural to shield children from their hurts, but it is not necessarily best for them in the long run. Instead, we seek that balance which armors them against insensitivities without inflicting real injury. To do this, we allow them to experience the verbal wounds of their peers and near peers, but also sometimes the unfair language of adult neighbors, sports coaches, and even teachers. We keep ourselves from rushing to their defense at every slight or teary eye, because we recall the slights of our own youth and the lessons learned in dealing with them.

    By this I
    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  06/05  at  05:33 PM
  8. (continued from above)

    Finally, I must address what you say about parenting as stewardship versus ownership. Probably, you don
    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  06/05  at  05:58 PM
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