Frank J. Rocca: ‘Corrupt Language Steals Freedom, Even Just by the Act of Redefining it’

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Why Words Matter For Defending Freedom

 writes: In a free society, communication is a fundamental necessity if citizens are to guard against encroachments upon their freedom. But over the past hundred years, and especially in recent decades, political philosophers and their pragmatic goons, the politicians, have often deliberately if gradually subverted the meanings of certain key words in our language that are vital to discourse.

“The real meaning of freedom is the lack of restriction; therefore, a ‘freedom’ that gives something to someone cannot exist.”

They do this for the express purpose of changing the understanding of those concepts, and thus to fool people into believing what they want people to believe, not the truth, but a semblance of it, which is wholly or partially false.

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“We can’t talk to each other if the words we’re using mean different things.”

The disintegration of language is sometimes treated as a curiosity or overlooked. But the danger of this corruption is serious, because language must be stable to ensure the exchange of comprehensible ideas.

“Freedom from prejudice does not exist, either, because such ‘freedom’ restricts the right of people to think or feel however they wish, regardless of others’ feelings. So long as no one acts on his or her prejudice by violating another person’s rights, there can be no violation of anyone’s freedom.”

Politicians gladly use corrupt language to confuse the truth, enabling them to promote ideas and ultimately to enact laws that would be otherwise unpalatable to voters if they were understood. Consequently, taxes become “contributions” and illegal aliens become “undocumented immigrants” or “new Americans.”

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“Franklin Delano Roosevelt arrogantly proclaimed and presumed to guarantee to Americans what he called the Four Freedoms: freedom of speech and expression, freedom of religion and worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear.”

But power players must corrupt language gradually so alert citizens who enjoy truth more than anything do not notice too much. The more important the concept, the greater the subtlety of its corruption.

[Read the full story here, at TheFederalist.com]

Indeed, the corruption of the most vital concepts must be done with such sly stealth as to nearly unnoticed, thus sowing confusion into the debate and encouraging needless time-wasting arguing over fundamentals. In this way, actual changes to society can be made apace without objection because the changes will go almost unnoticed.

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“The first two were already and continue to be guaranteed, not by Roosevelt, but by our founding documents, The Declaration of Independence, U.S. Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. Together these constitute the irrevocable guarantee that our freedoms, as individuals, are unalienable, because they were not given to us by government but by the very act of our creation as human beings.”

Corrupting the Meaning of Freedom

The most damaging of these conceptual changes is the corruption of the term “freedom.” Clearly and simply defined, freedom and liberty mean the lack of encumbrance. In a free society, the greatest encumbrance is the power to restrict freedom, which only government can do.

Therefore, Americans often invoke the maxim created by American journalist and editor John Louis O’Sullivan, that a government is best which governs least. In other words, the government must not interfere in anyone’s life, except to act in defense….(read more)

TheFederalist.com

F.J. Rocca is an independent, conservative writer and blogger of fiction and nonfiction, most interested in the philosophy of American conservatism. His website is candiddiscourse.com.

 

 


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