Over at Forbes today, I shared my first discussion of the relationship between our current political and economic state and our language. While language is often and easily noted as an example of spontaneous order, related to the development and functioning of the market, many policymakers fail to see other similarities between defining written exchanges and regulating economic exchanges.
The meddling in and muddling of language also relates to the overreaching convolution of the ever-expanding regulatory state. In a typical conversation among typical Americans, it would be said: “That redhead I talked to was nice.” The federal government, however, uses its word processor synonym function at will and requires us to say: “The vermillion-coiffed human specimen with whom I bartered verbiage was convivial.” Not only is it no more meaningful with more elaborate words, but it also starts to mean something different. So the state complicates our lives without improving them.
The manipulation of language causes misunderstandings. Who can appropriately use an invented word with no context? The manipulation of our natural social behavior causes its own misunderstandings, those that lead to recessions.
The forthcoming second article examines the way the government alters our actual language. When there is no mutually agreed upon meaning, a word (or phrase) can go obsolete, becoming a quaint linguistic oddity. I'll give you a spoiler: necessary and proper.