Social Justice Grammar and “Zir” Own Agenda
This year, Merriam-Webster released the new Eleventh Edition Collegiate Dictionary, which has been lauded as a “courageous” step against racism, exclusivity and gender-bias. This edition adds 1,000 new words including “micro-aggression,” “safe-space” and other “lingual innovations.”
Yet, who approves this neutral language? And what language authority enforces the words? Shouldn’t we be able to communicate what we believe without being censored by people who work for a dictionary publisher? And where, exactly, does this fit in with the First Amendment and freedom of speech?
Social justice language barbarians are ransacking the English language because in doing so, they find power and the ability to manipulate the historical narrative. George Orwell, in his 1946 essay Politics and the English Language observes “One ought to recognise [sic] that the present political chaos is connected to the decay of language.”
Social justice grammar seeks to erase both objective meaning and gender specificity and then rebuild it in a subjective, gender-neutral way. Those who support this sort of language barbarism claim that for thousands of years (or for all time) language has been oppressive and gender-specific and unjust to minorities. Seeking “justice” means rewriting language to be effectively meaningless so that everyone can determine his or her own private interpretation. George Orwell also describes how this sort of political writing has become both vague and dishonest. Citing words such as “justice” and “democracy” he says, “The person who uses them [these words] has his own private definition, but allows his hearers to think he means something quite different.”
In a similar way, the social justice language barbarians use vague language as a form of political warfare. They co-opt academia to teach students the oppressiveness of language while presenting a neutral language as the solution. Rather than oppressive pronouns like he, him, she or her, we are supposed to be “sensitive” by using made-up words (or “linguistic innovations”) like “ze, xe, xem, xyr, or zirs.” Seriously? The language barbarians have plundered the beauty and richness of the English language to fit “zir” own agenda.
Although this strategy actually works reasonably well with the English language in which most words (besides pronouns) are neutral, it will not interface well with any of the Romance language like Italian, French or Spanish. In these languages, the majority of words are either masculine or feminine. For example, in Spanish “la mesa,” which means “the table” is feminine and is accompanied by the feminine article “la.” There is no such word as “el meso” for a masculine table. Nor is there a word for a neutral table. Even if they succeed in the English language, the language barbarians can never make social justice grammar an international movement…unless they want to completely rewrite the world’s languages and perhaps colonize elsewhere. Anyone fancy a gender-neutral moon colony?
The true motive of social justice grammar is to end the free-exchange of thoughts, ideas and intellectual inquiry. It compromises the freedom of speech and the freedom of expression. Proponents seek to police our thoughts so that our words comport with what “scholars” deem as approved or non-approved. Why? Thought control and intellectual policing.
Rather than creating freedom and equity, social justice grammar divides people while stifling basic speech rights. Language, in its truest sense, ought to unite us as a people so that we can speak and understand one another. To the extent that the language barbarians destroy the freedom of speech, expression and the free exchange of ideas, our culture will continue to fall into the melancholy of isolation, loneliness and social fragmentation. We will drift further and further apart for fear of offending one another or worse, disobeying the language police.
We have to recognize gender-neutral grammar and other drastic changes to the English language for what they are: political tactics meant to cloak reality with euphemism, to stifle free speech and to silence those who object.
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