In the happy times when good manners mattered, in the Anglosphere this used to be an admonition to ill-bred children prone to use obscenities. Nowadays, in the West at least, it has acquired a starkly different and unrecognisable connotation. It is no longer a discrete instruction to minors to eschew vulgarities but a crude threat to adults to conform in their speech to arbitrary, non-traditional terminology, or face penal consequences.
The war on language is an assault on thought and ultimately it targets the integrity of the human mind. That point we have already made on this platform, illustrating it with compelling examples. The fiendish design to conquer the spirit by twisting meaning and disconcerting the mind with absurd new constructs we have described as the “descent into (utter) madness.”
We stand by that description. The constantly accumulating evidence that the madness continues unabated is often astonishing. Here are a few fresh and trendy examples.
Item #1: In Canada, a father was held criminally liable for challenging his biological daughter’s “gender transition.” After going through a sex education brainwashing course in school, the 14-year old girl informed her father that she identifies herself as a male and demanded that her father treat her accordingly, masculine pronoun and all. Complicating the situation is the fact that the parents (let us say, Parent #1 and Parent #2) are separated and Parent #2 (formerly known as the mother) elected to support her former daughter’s, now presumably self-identified son’s, arbitrary biological preference.
The reactionary father was found guilty of opposing Canadian authorities’ intention of giving puberty blockers to the sexually confused child. The matter went to court and Parent #1 was overruled on puberty blockers and also was placed under a court order not to discuss the case in public. (Did the court feel that its rulings were too embarrassingly absurd to risk public scrutiny?) The legal particulars of this sordid case are set forth here. The father was also ordered by the judge to call the child his “son” and in addressing the child to use the child’s preferred pronouns, “he” and “him.”
Today in the Western world, there is nothing inherently incredible or even extreme about the court issuing such an order. The culturally dominant mindset is imposing, as an obligatory dogmatic assertion, the certifiably false proposition that men can become pregnant. Coerced mismatching of gender and pronoun is a relatively minor deviation from reality compared to that.
The devastated father could only mourn his sad fate: “Here I am, sitting there as a parent, watching a perfectly healthy child be destroyed, and there’s nothing I can do but sit on the side-line according to [the court].” As he pointed out to anyone willing to listen: “I can only affirm [the court’s gender ruling], or get thrown in jail.”
In the elaboration of its verdict, the British Columbia appellate court found that the father’s refusal to accept his teen age child’s choices was “troublesome” and that his failure to endorse his underage offspring’s desire for “irreversible trans-gender treatment has caused the minor significant pain.”
Such legal drivel aside, the good news is that the conscientious father has stood his ground, calling the misfortune inflicted on his child by its right name, “state sponsored child abuse,” and refusing to refer to his daughter as something that she manifestly is not or to massacre the English language by referring to her as “him.”
This case obviously was meant to be ground-breaking and to set a precedent that would reverberate throughout the common law legal system, so it should be closely monitored. It suggests clearly the anti-traditionalist agenda that extremely influential social forces are pursuing. By using trivial pretexts such as pronouns, the authority of parents is systematically being destroyed. Their natural right to raise their own children and to make decisions in the child’s best interest is intentionally curtailed and supplanted by state imposed ideologies.
Item #2: A similarly disturbing incident occurred in Liverpool, Great Britain. There, a social media posting, in all probability entirely innocent, which included language deemed “offensive,“ resulted in serious penal repercussions for the unfortunate “offender.”
A British teenager posted on her Instagram page a rap lyrics recording that included the N-word. The context was the accidental death of a friend. The offending lyrics were posted because they happened to be the deceased’s favourite, and not to specifically highlight a racist slur. The video was in fact recorded by a rapper who goes by the name of Snap Dogg and is himself black. But all that was of no consequence. Both the prosecutor and the lower court judge sternly agreed that “context is irrelevant.” The offender was ordered to pay a hefty fine and initially was placed under harsh conditions of extended home confinement.
Ultimately, on appeal, the Crown Court overturned the original verdict, but on the very thin factual grounds that the offending N-word, while “unpleasant,” was one that was commonly used in hip hop music circles in which the defendant moved so none of the Instagram users were likely to be offended. However, no legal reasons were cited in the ruling, thus virtually guaranteeing that the lower court precedent would remain essentially intact for future use. Skilful lawyers will easily distinguish most similar cases from this one, ensuring that suppression of freedom of expression will go on unimpeded by constitutional technicalities. Anyone even vaguely familiar with Common Law knows what we mean.
The Crown Court ruling must have come as a relief to the poor girl, but it was not a genuine victory for the cause of Liberty.
Item #3: Besides imposing terminology in a manner that is contrary to customary usage, as Orwell presciently predicted the linguistic commissars are also scrubbing words of which for ideological reasons they disapprove. The A, B, and C wordlists in Orwell’s Newspeak are no longer just literary figures.
As part of its “Elimination of Harmful Language Initiative,” itself a thoroughly Orwellian notion, the once intellectually formidable Stanford University in California recently published a long and detailed list of disapproved expressions and their approved substitutes. It would be worth everyone’s while to review the entries on that list to better understand the spirit of the totalitarian anti-human order in the making.
The Stanford index of forbidden words features such “harmful” expressions as “American,” “man,” and “she,” recommending as substitutes for the latter either the person’s name or the manifestly ungrammatical “they.”
The list obviously is a pilot program to gauge reactions and acceptance. For the time being its precepts cannot be enforced beyond the confines of Stanford’s campus. But once internalised by the feckless faculty and student body at Stanford, it will inevitably spread to other institutions.
Notably, a process of verbicide similar to Stanford’s has already been initiated in the Armed Forces. The Marine Corps, once considered a hard nut to crack, has apparently folded and is now considering dropping from use gendered terms such as “Yes Sir” or “Yes Ma’am”.
The Marines are being shamed into linguistic compliance by a University of Pittsburgh study which claims that the Marine Corps is behind the more progressive branches, Army, Navy and Coast Guard, when it comes to using gender identifiers. The Marines are therefore under strong pressure to capitulate to the demands of language commissars and unless the general trend is reversed, it is probable that they will.
What conclusion can be drawn from the spectacularly successful assault on language that is in evidence everywhere? It is a very sombre one.
The concept of Rechtsstaat is waning in the West. That is an ominous development. The rule of law is progressively being replaced by unwritten edicts formulated by anonymous entities whose identity we can only surmise. But what we do know for sure is that they do not consult their despised subjects about anything, nor do they respect the established values of societies whose customs and mores they are aggressively reengineering.
There is no law in Canada which explicitly holds that parents’ views are irrelevant to the upbringing of their children, or which empowers underage offspring to challenge biological reality to their own irreversible detriment and defy their parents’ opinion and advice. Specifically, neither is there any regulation in Canada to alter the grammar of the English language so that refusing to apply to someone who is obviously of one gender the pronoun that is grammatically appropriate for another gender could be construed as an offence. Yet, rules coming out of nowhere are successfully enforced and they are used to suppress incontrovertible facts of common experience. On that basis ideologically mandated falsifications of reality are coercively imposed as regnant ontological principles.
The Canadian example is stark, but it is not unique. It represents a trend in the West and similar incidents are widespread. As in Canada, even in the crazy state of California, where Stanford is located, there is no law passed by the legislature prohibiting the use of certain words or mandating the use of substitute expressions. It is with the acquiescence of the browbeaten multitudes, and in contravention of established but disregarded laws which still guarantee freedom of speech, that a sinister new normal (and not just in matters relating to the pandemic) is being enforced.
The fabled concept of the “rule of law,” so menacingly preached far and wide by its hegemonic promoters, is rapidly disintegrating at its point of origin. The targeted victims of the new dispensation are left defenceless in an atmosphere of lawlessness; they cannot invoke in their own defence the laws that formally are still on the books because informal precepts not voted by anyone evidently override them. Nor can the persecution victims possibly have any clear idea of what precisely they are being accused of, so as to be able to mount an effective defence. As in Article 58 of the old Soviet Penal Code, the operative concepts, currently those are “hate speech,” “offensive,” “harmful language,“ and the like, are undefined and virtually meaningless. In a deliberate mockery of long-standing Western legal tradition, they are purposely left indeterminate and vague, thus being of use exclusively to the prosecutor.
Even as it prattles about the rule of law or, in international relations, the “rules based order”, it is sad to observe the West, once a promising experiment, sinking into a quagmire of lawlessness or, as Durkhein would put it, anomie.