Michael Eriksson's Blog

A Swede in Germany

Posts Tagged ‘destruction

The Left, the war on language, and the war on the individual

leave a comment »

I am so deeply disturbed by the language insanities of the far Left that I see myself forced to violate my blog-is-closed policy.

Consider e.g. the recent idiocy* of “chestfeeding”: Not only is this a very ugly construction and one that is intended to replace, on a whim, a word used without controversy for a great length of time, but it is also utterly pointless and shows a horrifying lack of insight into the English language.**

*This is, of course, just one of many. However, in many other cases, there at least seems to be some natural purpose behind it, as with e.g. the re-definitions of “racism” to push that intellectually dishonest Blacks-cannot-be-racist/all-Whites-are-racist rhetoric. A particular common problem is that the Left demands tolkningsföreträde when situations change or new terminology would have been beneficial, as with e.g. redefining “man” and “woman” from the age-old meanings, when it would have been so much better to keep the old meanings and introduce new words for e.g. a-man-who-feels-like-a-woman. (Who, of course, in a sane world is a transgender man, not a transgender woman.)

**To this might be added a number of practical complications, including what to do with existing literature (down the memory hole?) or with any differences that might or might not arise between e.g. U.S., British, and Australian English.

Firstly, the historical main meaning of “breast” is identical to that of “chest” (as an anatomical term). This meaning might have predominated as late as a hundred years ago and is still common in many other Germanic languages (cf. e.g. the Swedish “bröst” and the German “Brust”, which both have the same dual meanings of “chest” and (almost) “udder”). Replacing the one with the other would then only be a step on a euphemistic treadmill.

Secondly, in as far as we hold to the meaning of “udder”, “breastfeeding” is more precise and less confusing than “chestfeeding”. The latter could be taken to imply e.g. someone being fed while in a chest (box) or while merely resting on someone’s chest while being fed in a different manner. This even discounting the incompatibility with prior or international use.

Thirdly, this idiocy appears to be rooted in some transgender/-sexual pseudo-equality movement. However, here it misses the point entirely, because (a) the milk-giving parts would be referred to as breasts irrespective of any “transition”, (b) even the individual male parts analogous to the female can be legitimately referred to as “breasts” in the first place. The suggested/demanded-with-outrage change is, then, as idiotic as demanding that football be renamed into “lower-leg ball” in order to, say, make it less male supremacist—a complete and utter idiocy.

Looking at the overall societal crisis, I would suspect that the true goal is to destroy language, just like history and history education, previous culture, higher education, science, etc. is being destroyed. Once language has been reduced to a meaningless Humpty-Dumpty, “Nineteen Eighty-Four” swamp, the people can no longer rely on language and the Left can change meanings and intents of words as they see fit, enabling it to manipulate and distort in a horrifying manner.

A particularly nefarious use of such distortion is the after-the-fact blacklisting of innocents, e.g. by noting that some mid-19th century physician used the horrifyingly sexist term “breastfeeding”, proving himself to be a narrow-minded bigot whose every argument and scientific claim can be safely ignored—nay, must be ignored.

And, no, in today’s Western world this is not paranoia. Consider e.g. the fate which has already befallen authors, even anti-slavery or pro-black authors, who have used the word “nigger” in a historically correct manner in their works—and note that these works and authors are now increasingly blacklisted.* Similarly, there are cases of e.g. lecturers being condemned for merely uttering “nigger” in order to discuss topics around the word and its uses. That a word once was not in the least offensive does not seem to matter either: In my native Sweden, the word “neger” was considered entirely mainstream and unproblematic, more comparable to “negroe” or “black” than “nigger”, and without any of the U.S. historical load—until some point in the 1980s when someone, somewhere, without an ounce of justification, decided that “neger” was also offensive.** We then had a small band of fanatics demanding a ban—and they were ignored or ridiculed by the broad masses. However, after years of shouting “offensive” and “racist” they managed to change public perceptions and turn a perfectly harmless phrase into something that either a majority or a sizable minority unjustifiably considers offensive—a lie repeated often enough is ultimately taken to be the truth.

*Mark Twain and Harper Lee are likely the foremost examples.

**Even when it comes to the U.S. “nigger”, I am not entirely convinced that the word had a truly offensive character in the early days, and I am open to a process similar to the one taking place in Sweden. However, I have neither done the legwork on the issue, nor can I draw on personal experiences.

One of the more common PC abuses of language is the use of “they” not just as a generic singular (bad enough), but increasingly as a sole pronoun, including cases, e.g. regarding animals, where “it” was already established. Or consider the idiocy of “one” and variations of “they”—instead of correctly saying e.g. “one must eat one’s vegetables” formulations like “one must eat their vegetables” are used over and over again. (See e.g. [1] and [2] for earlier writings.)

This fits into another pattern, namely attempts* to destroy individuality—what can be more de-individualizing and humiliating than to be turned from a “he” or a “she” into a “they”? (Or, as in Ayn Rand’s “Anthem”, turned from an “I” into a “we”. The novella is disturbingly farsighted.) Even an “it” still has individuality, a right to be something or someone of and by it self. A “they” is just a worker bee or a member of the Borg Collective.

*This is not unique to today but a recurring issue with the Left. Consider e.g. the uniformity of clothing or address (“comrade”, etc.) pushed by some Leftist dictatorships.

This war on the individual is notable through e.g. the focus on aspects like ethnicity and sexual orientation over individuality, including demands that voters must vote according to these aspects rather than their personal convictions, e.g. the focus on having (or, in doubt, professing) the “right” prescribed opinion rather than one’s own opinion, e.g. the denial of inborn qualities in favor of an outdated-by-fifty-years attitude of “nurture only”—that we are just what others have molded us to be, and with another molding we would be someone entirely different.

Written by michaeleriksson

August 17, 2021 at 6:11 pm

The U.S. election and the destructive Left

leave a comment »

That politicians lie, cheat, and steal to get power is nothing new. Often, I find myself thinking in terms of “to what degree” instead of “whether”—and, with the current U.S. election, it is “to a very high degree”.* There is another aspect, however—why? What is the purpose of getting power?

*I have seen enough by now to consider massive Democrat cheating indisputably present (but I re-raise the questions from [1]), to which massive (conventional and social) media distortions have to be added. As for the Republicans, I do suspect that there is a deliberate exaggeration of the cheating and/or the available proof, which would then be an example in the other direction, even be it a more understandable one of trying to make a right out of a hostile wrong through an own wrong.

Historically, many have done if for personal gain, many have done it to change society for what they consider the better, many have done it in the genuine conviction that they would be better leaders than the competition, etc.

Looking at the modern Left in the U.S., I am often puzzled, however. Yes, many fall into the above categories, e.g. through misguided* attempts to improve the world, but some appear to be bent on nothing but destruction, the tearing down of the existing society, culture, whatnot—for no obvious reason and with no obvious replacement. This ranges from the anti-intellectual destruction of colleges, to the tearing down of statues and disparagement of anyone previously revered,** to destruction or distortion of fiction (see excursion), to looting of stores.

*Higher minimum wages, “single-payer” (i.e. “we all pay but have no say”) medicine, and similar are likely to do more harm than good in the long term, often mid- or short term, but I can at least see the wish to improve the world behind them.

**If this had stopped with “X was a proponent of slavery—off with his head”, it might have had some degree of legitimacy, but the bar is ever changing, to the point that even e.g. Lincoln is increasingly considered an evil, old racist who must be stomped out. Indeed, some three years ago, I spoke of how Robert E. Lee might have been seen as worse than George Washington merely because Lee lost his war and Washington won his—today, this example would no longer work, because the bar has moved to almost universally make Washington one of the bad guys in Leftist propaganda.

What is to follow in the wake of this destruction? A brand new world re-born as after the mythological Ragnarök? How? Tear down the economy, destroy science and education, abolish free speech, remove democratic processes in favor of automatic Democratic rule, whatnot, and what do they actually expect? If there is a new world other than anarchy or a Mao-style, Cultural Revolution China-clone, even Huxley’s “Brave New World” might look positively beneficial in comparison. It would certainly be a worse world than the one that we have now. (And, yes, that includes for Blacks, women, and whatnot—the claims of e.g. systemic racism are not even remotely born out by actual facts.)

In “Nineteen Eighty-Four”, a destroyed and controlled world was arguably a means to keep some group of people in power. Possibly, some current Democrats are willing to pay that price in order to get power—but would they succeed? Even in “Nineteen Eighty-Four”, it seems to me, the machinery created to ensure power had gained a life of its own and enslaved even the highest ranking characters that actually appeared.* Of course, here we see an overlapping problem with the current U.S. Democrats: even those who might profess more moderate opinions have usually failed to take a stand against destruction, lies, and anarchy. Whether they have deliberately used it to gain power or merely failed to speak up for fear of losing power (or have simply been to stupid and uninformed to understand the potential consequences), the fact remains that they have not moved to stop it—and that they, too, might eventually be caught in the machinery and devoured.**

*The situation might or might not have been different among even higher ranking officials, but I doubt that the exception would have extended outside some single supreme leader of the Stalin mold—and he might have had to watch his back, lest he ultimately ended up like Robespierre.

**What will happen is yet written in the stars, but it is easy to imagine a scenario where Biden and Pelosi are booted fairly soon, Democrat icons like JFK are derided as Dead White Men, and even a transsexual Black Lesbian Feminist is thrown out for not being up-to-date with the ever changing rules of Newspeak and Thoughtcrime. (Indeed, in academia such things already happen.)

What else might be said for the past: People tried to build and create, not tear down and destroy. What was built might not always have been something seen as positive by everyone (e.g. colonial empires), might sometimes have proved a bad idea (e.g. Johnson’s “Great Society”), or otherwise been problematic (moon rockets from a cost–benefit perspective?), but it was for some constructive perception of good—and, often, it was an outright good, as with many scientific and artistic accomplishments.

Today? Today, it is seen as a greater accomplishment to “prove” that accomplishments of old were somehow “evil” than to create something (even) better.

Excursion on fiction:
For examples of destruction relating to fiction, I see at least three over-lapping problems/symptoms:

  1. Deliberate distortions of existing works, e.g. through PC censorship or re-writes. Cf. e.g. an older discussion of Blyton’s works.
  2. Re-boots, re-workings, continuations whatnot that are untrue to the originals, usually in a PC or otherwise Leftist manner. This includes e.g. replacing white male characters with black or female characters, putting words in characters mouths that break with the “spirit” of the character, and similar. A particular issue is the distortion of highly male-centric works into female-centric. Consider e.g. the entirely idiotic and redundant re-make of “Ghostbusters” (arguably, the ultimate “male buddies” movie) with a female cast. Or, very recently, consider the continuation of the “Bill and Ted” franchise:* The original premise is that Bill and Ted change the world with their music, reaching greater stardom than The Beatles and Jesus put together, and usher in era of peace and excellence (or some such nonsense). The third movie, almost thirty years after the second, re-frames this to the daughters of Bill and Ted changing the world with their music, while Bill and Ted are complete failures.**

    *In all fairness, I have never quite seen the point of this franchise, but the originals were extreme “male buddy” movies and it is a great example. To boot, the re-framing was so cringe-worthily obvious even in the early stages of the third movie that I stopped watching well before the half-way mark—it was not a twist, it was, in today’s world, a highly predictable cliche.

    (Off topic, but related, there are many new works that today are framed with e.g. a female lead, and often an unrealistic or unnatural one, where a male lead would have been picked ten or twenty years ago. A movie description that begins with “Sheriff” is almost bound to use “she” or “her” as the next personal pronoun, and so on.)

  3. Works, notably movies, that deal with destruction or other forms of upheaval. Consider e.g. the recent development of the Marvel movies, which include the destruction of Asgard, for no obvious reason, in the Marvel version of Ragnarök, the later near-extermination of the Asgardian refugees, for no obvious reason, and the destruction caused by Thanos, which, for no obvious reason, remains almost entirely in place even after the heroes “win”. Here we see a trend of impending doom and destruction that is not averted by a happy ending. Or consider the sheer amount of disaster and post-apocalyptic movies. Or consider how disproportionately many franchises (e.g. “Divergent” and “Hunger Games”) deal with the premise* of an evil government that must be over-thrown, preferably by a teenage girl.

    *Do not get me wrong, I am not entirely unsympathetic to this premise, in light of the real world.

Written by michaeleriksson

November 19, 2020 at 5:04 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with , , , ,