Once you have accepted their language, you have accepted their ideology.
Changing language changes how we think. Facts are objective facts, but if you lose the ability to describe and communicate them, reality can get lost in an obscuring mist. When words are redefined to mean something completely opposite to their original meanings, you lose the ability to judge things critically. Reality itself becomes insubstantial.
When you accept their language, you accept their ideology. OK: so who’s “them?” Simple: the ones who seek to change the language. Who suddenly uses completely different terms, and demands you do the same? Who is it that tells you your longtime words now mean something different? That’s the “they.” And once you’ve identified the players, you’ll know the game.
When words are suddenly rebooted with different meanings, someone’s switching dice on you. You’re suddenly playing a whole different game, and the switch artist is the one who’s making the rules. You winning isn’t part of the plan. It’s now a crooked game, a scam, and the whole point is for you to lose and the scammer to win.
Win what? It depends on who the con artist is and what’s his game. In commercial and advertising speech, it’s selling you something. In politics and advocacy, it’s about power. Always and everywhere. If down is up and black is white, and 2 + 2 = 23 depending on the race of the guy doing the adding, then there is no rock of reality to hang on to, except to obey the switcheroo scammers.
Let’s take a word like “invest.” What does it mean? The American Heritage Dictionary defines invest as meaning:
- To commit (money or capital) in order to gain a financial return.
- To spend or devote for future advantage or benefit.
- To devote morally or psychologically, as to a purpose; commit.
NOTE: All three examples basically mean trading present value for a future defined return.
My father was a marketing guy, and he told me once—not with approval—“if you can redefine consumption as investment, you can sell damn near anything.”
You redefine the word “investment” to mean “consumption.” Invest in a new car. Invest in family vacation. Invest in a night out. Invest in higher pay for union teachers. Sure, under circumstances, these could be considered an investment; so what is the expected rate of return? Changing the meaning of the word from consumption to its exact opposite, makes it easier to justify and removes the usual objections. It disarms any opposition at the very beginning. Bingo!
Let’s look at some other Times Square Scam, Three Card Monte switcheroo ploys.
PEOPLE’S DEMOCRACY or REPUBLIC. This is laughable. The world’s worst tyrannies call themselves something-republic or –democracy. By now no one is fooled. But even into the 1980s there were folks who argued that the USSR was actually really a free republic, just a redefined one. Yup.
BLACK TO AFRICAN AMERICAN. Around 1988, Jesse Jackson, at the time a major politician and Presidential candidate, declared that we should stop referring to people as “Black” and call them “African Americans” instead. This had changed over the last 30 years from Negroes to Colored People to Black. Suddenly—and these things always seem to come upon us suddenly—the whole language changed. All the cool kids started saying “African American” and quickly that was it.
But the change was an interesting one. “Black” refers to the color of one’s skin. The 20th Century Civil Rights Revolution’s basic principle was that the color of your skin is irrelevant to the content of your character. A man or woman’s skin color should in no way define you. We’re all Americans, black, white, green, purple, who cares? This was a huge, epochal change.
But African-American is a little different. It doesn’t mean the same thing. You’re a something-American, defined as a member of a “Community,” different from everyone else. We’re not all brothers and sisters after all. Changing the term changed the entire dynamic from integration (remember that word?) to separatism. We’re all members of racial and ethnic tribes, and those collectives have different collective privileges and debts. African America doesn’t seem any less alienated because of it.
SEX TO GENDER. Suddenly, as always, the word “sex” got replaced with “gender.” Overnight. We were told not to worry, because it meant the same thing. Shrug. OK.
Except it didn’t. Sex refers to physical characteristics and condition. Gender is socially constructed. Once you accept gender instead of sex, you’ve bought an ideology. A generation later, the game got radically switched. Gender is fluid. Anyone can identify as any gender. There are infinite genders, all self-defined. The words “man” and “woman” are meaningless.
This is a profoundly radical revolution, and it came as a fast switcheroo. But the groundwork had been laid 25 years ago when we abandoned the clear reality of “sex” for the fuzzy-wuzzy “gender.” All those poor feminists who fought for women for over a century got rolled up without a whimper—except for J.K. Rowling. Goodbye to women’s sports. So long, women’s spaces.
Words have meaning and language has consequences. The “they” who switch out the deck and tell you the cards have new values that only they know? They’re cheaters and their game is crooked. Just refuse to play. If it means you’re not a cool kid, so be it. If your organization demands you bow and accept, then at least you’ll know who the players are and can decide whether or not to live by lies.