sábado, 8 de octubre de 2016

Today there are ideological colonizations that destroy, not with weapons, but with ideas.

Abuse of Language Leads to the Abuse of Power

by John Paul Meenan

The great Thomist Josef Pieper penned a short book in the late seventies on how totalitarian regimes use words to gain control over the masses: Abuse of Language – Abuse of Power. Pieper’s treatise came to mind as I read that the Canadian government is no longer going to refer to ISIS as ISIS (that is, the ‘Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or sometimes just the “Islamic State”). Rather, they will use the more neutral term “Daesh,” so as to avoid, they say, painting all of Islam with the bloodstained brush of terrorism. Ironically, not only does this name (which is in fact an Arabic acronym) mean more or less the same thing as ISIS, but the terrorists of ISIS have threatened to cut the tongue out of anyone using it.

Of course, this opens up many questions, not least the relation between Islam and terrorism. Taken to its logical conclusion, this change in nomenclature would mean that no terrorist act can, by definition, be termed “Islamic,” even if the terrorist confesses it so with his dying breath. Whence, therefore, Allahu Akbar? Is any and all bloodshed in the name of Allah no longer Islamic? Who is to say? What therefore do we make of Islamic “radicalization,” which literally means “going back to the root”? Do we not mean by this returning to the very origins of Islam that, even to the most irenic of historians, is steeped in blood and carnage? Can a change in name change this reality?

Well, no, but it can change our perception of reality, the “reality” of our thoughts, ideas, and opinions.

This is by no means the first time a regime has used Orwellian language to mollify evil: Hitler had his lebensraum, carving out a little bit of “living room” for “real” Germans in central Europe. No worries, just a little blue-eyed Aryan expansion. Oh, and we also have to “cleanse” the race of “impurities,” culminating in the “final solution.” Little written record was kept of Hitler’s decisions; it was all dark and secret, for light exposes the truth. The “labour camps,” wherein one was worked to death, or transported to the gas chambers, had the infamous sign in wrought-iron over the gate, Arbeit macht frei, “work will make you free,” a demonic parody of Our Lord’s words that, rather, it is the truth which shall truly set you free.

Few could outdo the Communists in their use of doublespeak: “Five-year plans,” “free the worker,” the “People’s Party,” “equality for all,” “enemies of the State,” and, proclaiming all the lies in official form was their official paper Pravda, which did anything but speak the “Truth.”

Beware of Soft Totalitarianism
The so-called “hard” totalitarian regimes are on the wane, but beware the soft variety, which is creeping into our very brains and thoughts, as our government, schools and their mouthpieces in the media, subtly alter the meaning of our language and its terms.


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