“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.” “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.” “The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master—that’s all.”
In a recent Twitter discussion someone replied to me using the term “marginalized groups”.
Earlier in my life, I would have been willing to continue past and debate them about the original topic under discussion.
I no longer do that.
When in an intellectual contest you allow past jargon created by the other side, you have in essence agreed to fight on terrain of their choosing. When a side knows where you must fight, they of course craft weapons and fortifications specifically to give them the victory. These words and definitions have been carefully and deviously arrived at by reverse engineering. Beginning with the end result, they work backwards to figure out which beginning place, linguistically and intellectually, would proceed, rationally, logically and inexorably, to the desired policy conclusion. Moralists and pseudo-moralists (and this includes moralism based on ideas about God, fully as much as based on ideas about government) are particularly guilty of this sort of crime against rationality and debate. It is emotion, with a thin veneer of rationality.
Originally words were created as a shortcut– a way of expressing a part of reality that both sides know and accept, so that the speaker doesn’t need to spend inordinate amounts of time reinventing the wheel, linguistically speaking, every time he or she wants to say something. These days, the shortcuts have taken over the language. The Cultural Marxists have become a group of Humpty Dumptys.
Moralistic jargon is by its nature crafted to serve only one master. It’s the One Ring of politics and society. I’d love to carry the modern Left’s concept of sin to Mount Doom and cast it into the lava. Failing that, however, and unlike the monarchs of our political parties, I can decline to accept any of the other rings, powerful-seeming or no.