“Revolutionaries of the postmodernist mindset would have us believe that societal change can be actuated through modifications to the language that describes it”
The left loves to police the language of others, and they actually seem to think it matters.
Andrew Doyle writes at Quillette:
A Puritanical Assault on the English Language
It is a truism that people are often educated out of extreme religious beliefs. With good education comes the ability to think critically, which is the death knell for ideologies that are built on tenuous foundations. The religion of Critical Social Justice has spread at an unprecedented rate, partly because it makes claims to authority in the kind of impenetrable language that discourages the sort of criticism and scrutiny that would see it collapse upon itself. Some would argue that this is one of the reasons why the Catholic Church resisted translating the Bible into the vernacular for so long; those in power are always threatened when the plebeians start thinking for themselves and asking inconvenient questions.
This tactic of deliberately restricting knowledge produces epistemic closure, and is a hallmark of all cults. The elitist lexicon of Critical Social Justice not only provides an effective barrier against criticism and a means to sound informed while saying very little, but also signals membership and discourages engagement from those outside the bubble.
It is inevitable that the principle of freedom of speech should become a casualty when powerful people are obsessed with language and its capacity to shape the world. Revolutionaries of the postmodernist mindset would have us believe that societal change can be actuated through modifications to the language that describes it, which is why Max Horkheimer of the Frankfurt School maintained that it was not possible to conceive of the liberated world in the language of the existing world. As for the new puritans, they have embraced the belief that language is either a tool of oppression or a means to resist it. This not only accounts for their approval of censorship and “hate speech” legislation, but their inability to grasp how the artistic representation of morally objectionable ideas is not the same as an endorsement.
It further accounts for their hostility to debate. According to this view, the airing of toxic ideas enables their promulgation, and so there is a moral duty to ensure that they are silenced. This is the logic behind the practice of “no platforming” or “deplatforming,” which sees visiting speakers disinvited from appearing on university campuses due to their contentious opinions. The new puritans’ longed-for utopia, in which all forms of prejudice are eradicated from the human instinct, will apparently be brought about through the control of how we speak and, by extension, how we think.
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