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Step 2: Corrupt Language (12-Step Totalitarian Program)
Continued from “12-Step Totalitarian Program: Step 1”
Step #2: Corrupt Language
Victor Davis Hanson is the model of a history professor in the Classics, with a primary focus on Ancient Greece and Rome, and the history of warfare.
Like Thomas Sowell, he sees the clear and present dangers we are confronting. Check out his essay in last month’s American Greatness: “The Sovietization of American Life.”
After Lenin, Stalin was the prime implementer of totalitarianism under the guise of communism in the Soviet Union. Solzhenitsyn identified a particular distinction between the Stalinist brand of communists and the Nazis. Whereas Nazis dehumanized many classes of people, turning them into mere objects to be wiped out, they still humanized each other. Stalinist communists, on the other hand, dehumanized everyone, even themselves. All were ripe for extinction when departing from the shapeshifting State for any reason. And they accomplished this dehumanization initially through language.
Stephen Koch in his Double Lives: Spies and Writers in the Secret War of Ideas Against the West is great at exposing how Soviet agent Will Munzenberg worked in 1920s Germany, years before the Frankfurt School, to corrupt the language and ideas of academics, artists, writers, musicians, and others who influence culture.
Will is the primary source for that trend of literary criticism known as Postmodernism–Structuralism, Post-Structuralism, Deconstructionism, etc. He is the reason we would later be inflicted by the likes of Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault, Richard Rorty, and a mass of academics who have infected the language in all our institutions, especially English departments.
One Amazon reviewer states the core truth of Koch’s book:
This is an extraordinary history of Soviet influence operations in Europe and the US before WWII. People mock conspiracy theories, but the fact is that there was an organized, multifaceted, and well-funded Soviet program to influence public opinion in Europe. The details are fascinating, and Koch’s writing is elegant and often savagely ironic. This is an engrossing and enlightening book.
Language is the foundation of thought. Corrupting language is the quickest way to corrupting thought. The aim is simple: interrupt the developing ability of people to tell the difference between reason and rubbish. Keep them responding like mere emotional children.
As such rubbish makes its way into academe, like buried chemical waste (as articulated over many years by Richard Mitchell, The Underground Grammarian), the corrupt language eventually makes its way into the liberal arts, into journalism and media, into government and government administrators, into philosophy, into law, into science, into corporations, into religion, into every aspect of public life.
Mitchell states in Less Than Words Can Say (free online),“American public education is a remarkable enterprise; it succeeds best where it fails. Imagine an industry that consistently fails to do what it sets out to do, a factory where this year’s product is invariably sleazier than last year’s but, nevertheless, better than next year’s.”
Corrupting definitions is crucial. Thus, dictionaries are eventually targeted, turning them away from being clear, thoughtful guides to boundaries for understanding the common language of culture and community, and into something resembling Evil Dictionaries.
Hey, how better to obscure the root cause of rising prices than to redefine the term inflation into simply meaning rising prices, rather than a conscious government act of printing up money, creating massive debt, and inflating the currency supply, which naturally results in rising prices?
The corruption of language and thought corrupts the ability of people to grasp true cause and effect. Totalitarians hate for anyone to grasp cause and effect. Such a grasp is a defining characteristic of adults, but adults are not the goal. The goal is childlike workers and slaves who “get along” with both their betters and their fellow workers and slaves.
Thus, totalitarians hate evidence and reason.
Why have the ancient Greek and Latin languages been removed from almost all universities? Because despite being dead languages, they illuminate too many truths about human nature, critical thinking, the repeating nature of history, the actions of political leaders, the power of rhetoric, and the foundational importance of clear definitions. Studying Plato and Aristotle and the Greek tragedians and the Peloponnesian War and Cicero and Ovid and The Aeneid and Livy and Epictetus…
Oh, but it happened so long ago. “Hey, Hey, Ho, Ho….”
Corrupting language has the added benefit of isolating people, creating tribes, and destroying community and families. Not just the things themselves. The ideas. The definitions.
Men can be women. Women can be men. Children are to be educated with a new language. The language of totalitarianism, which simply means something can be anything and therefore is nothing. People unable to distinguish anything are easily made into serfs and slaves.
Go back to the Victor Davis Hanson quote at the top. In the book Who Killed Homer?, he and John Heath help us understand how critical definitions are to understanding reality, especially the terms that build true community. Totalitarians hate genuine communities outside the shapeshifting community of destruction they implement every day.
Whatever your community, its language must be destroyed.
STATUS AS OF 2022: GOAL ACHIEVED
Coming Soon. Step #3: Corrupting Science and ReligionPublished in Education
Their book Who Killed Homer? ignited a firestorm of academic outrage: How dare anybody criticize academia and the left?
One might figure out that bad ideas have been tried before.
A nice, short bit on Post-Modernism.
Years ago, a group I was in passed another group going the other way on a bustling sidewalk in Brooklyn. One of the approaching group was holding forth on some topic or other … gesticulating as he went on about whatever. In the moment we passed by each other we caught just a tiny snippet of what he was saying…
“It ain’t what it is!”
Wow. “It ain’t what it is” That’s a hell of a conundrum. Those of us in that group adopted that phrase and for years used it to describe impossibilities or untenable situations. It always got a laugh.
Now it’s not so funny. It is now the basis of all Progressive thought. Who knew that on that crowded Brooklyn street we were witnessing a turning point in American history.
It is nearly impossible to argue that the language has been badly corrupted. I think we haven’t begun to realize how our language has been changed in order to control us. Excellent post, Mark.
Amusing and intriguing anecdote. Of course, the full sentence was “It ain’t what it is… it’s what it ain’t!”
But what else would you say when you see a shapeshifter? “It ain’t what it is, it’s a shapeshifter.”
Linguistically, we see this kind of shapeshifting all the time. For example, it applies to vaccines: Vaccines confer immunity, until miraculously, overnight, in the middle of a debate, they are redefined to something else, to boosting the immune system (like green tea or curcumin).
A future Supreme Court justice refers to homosexual orientation as a preference, and overnight, preference is redefined as an offensive characterization.
Sex becomes gender. Mother becomes birthing-body. Until members of the highest legal body in the land can no longer legally define what a woman is.
I like almost all of this post, Mark. Thanks.
There is one part that makes no sense to me:
Is “printing up money” and “inflating the currency supply” different actions? These seem the same to me.
I don’t immediately see what “creating massive debt” has to do with rising prices. It seems to me that these two occurrences can go together, but not necessarily. We ran up massive debt in 2008-2010, without notable inflation. The reported change in the CPI-U for the year ending
September 20, 2009— correction, October 31, 2009 — was -0.2%, after huge deficits of about $640 billion in FY 2008 and about $1.55 trillion in FY 2009.
Finally, I’m not familiar with a prior definition of “inflation” that was something other than “rising prices.” Do you have a source for this?
Speech (spoken by traditionalists) becomes violence while violence (commited by leftists) becomes speech.
Printing up money and inflating the currency supply these days can be different. Some has to do with actual printed paper, but we now also have inflating electronic “currency” without the paper equivalent.
Massive debt more often than not leads govts to inflate currency to help retire some of the debt.
For the prior definitions of inflation, see my video on Evil Dictionaries. The part you are interested in starts around 6:40.
And that violence is free. The new Free Speech.
It really is worth the time to read the letters of the founders. Once you get it into your head what they actually say, you will understand why their enemies are doing all they can to make such reading appear tedious and wasteful.
Here are accurate quotes with sources from the founders:
“Specie [gold and silver coin] is the most perfect medium because it will preserve its own level; because, having intrinsic and universal value, it can never die in our hands.” Thomas Jefferson, letter to John W. Eppes, Nov. 6, 1813
“The trifling economy of paper, as a cheaper medium, or its convenience of transmission, weighs nothing in opposition to the advantages of the precious metals; that it is liable to be abused, has been, is, and forever will be abused, in every country in which it is permitted.” Thomas Jefferson, letter to John W. Eppes, Nov. 6, 1813
“All the perplexities, confusion and distress in America arise, not from the defects in their constitution or confederation, not from want of honor or virtue, so much as from downright ignorance of the nature of coin, credit, and circulation.” John Adams, letter to Thomas Jefferson, August 28, 1787
“That paper money has some advantages is admitted. But that its abuses also are inevitable, and, by breaking up the measure of value, makes a lottery of all private property, cannot be denied. Shall we ever be able to put a constitutional veto on it?” Thomas Jefferson, letter to Dr. Josephus B. Stuart, May 10, 1817
Yes, confusing speech with violence (for a purpose) and calling the Jan 6 incursion an “insurrection” used to be called lying. I suppose now there are no lies because truth itself has been redefined; now truth is subjective, it’s your truth.
Founding Father Roger Sherman wrote about paper money in 1752. Worth your time. These men knew more in their day about coin, credit, and circulation than 99% of economists today.
I am always happy to hear from people on Ricochet who understand the enormous practical importance, to a free society, of seeking true answers to the ancient questions of theoretical economics and political economics.
As for Roger Sherman, he was a thousand times closer to understanding the problem of money and currency in law than economists today.
He was writing a century before the discovery of the essential economic concepts of subjective/marginal value, without which one must remain a thousand miles from understanding the problems he and others of the Classical period were grappling with. But the conventional wisdom he was struggling against was (and is) a million miles away.
It works in the other direction, too.
The foundation of thought for the enlightenment was rooted in Christian education. When we removed teaching the Bible in schools, we removed a language and cultural foundation that our jurisprudence was built on.
I’m not saying we were founded by Christians. I’m not sure I’d categorize the Deists that way. But Christian thinking was foundational to the greatness of this nation and removing that cultural foundation from education has created this collapse and our inability to defend against it. We don’t share a common language or culture to point to to build the arguments necessary to put America back in it’s place.
Jordan Peterson explores another way at looking at how blind spots are transferred and implanted.
I think the redefining of recession is a great example.