Otto has recently posted about how his friend’s dog was blinded by a wetback. Otto lives in Arizona were his friend, Sandy, has a ranch. Sandy is one of those Americans who have the misfortune of living on an illegal alien thoroughfare. His property has become a conduit for large numbers of illegals and he, like many others, is paying the price of being abandoned by his nation’s law enforcement agencies:
Recently, illegal aliens blinded my friend Sandy's dog. The dog, Gobbler was in his kennel on Sandy's property when it happened. The criminals sprayed pepper spray into the eyes of a helpless animal just for "kicks." The dog is now blind. This story really upsets me. Blinding a man's dog should be a hanging offense.
Otto provides a link to the Arizona Daily Star story. It gives more details on how Sandy, up till now, had maintained a state of truce with the invaders:
Sandy Schlesinger thought he had an unspoken accord with the illegal entrants who passed through his property on a nearly daily basis.
He filled their water jugs and gave them tortillas before sending them on their way and calling the Border Patrol.
The article’s headline is: “Border Crossers Appear Guilty of Blinding Dog with Pepper.” “Border crossers,” is I guess that is the new, official PC term of evasion. They used to be called wetbacks, but that was judged to harsh and even “racist.” After all Americans wouldn’t want to hurt the feelings of those who flaunt our laws and national sovereignty. So, the new term became “illegal alien.” While it was an increase to two words and four syllables to say the same thing as one word, it was still accurate.
Accuracy was still a problem for the arbiters of language. Accordingly, the new, new term became “undocumented workers.” Now we are up to seven syllables to say nothing. “Undocumented,” as if the main problem with these invaders is a paper work hang-up. While shorter, “border crossers” is even more absurd. Millions cross our southern border legally every year. The purpose of the new PC term is to evade the distinction between the law abiding and the law breaker.
On Otto’s comments I made mention of this issue:
I noticed in the article you link to yet another PC euphemism designed to conceal the truth: "border crossers." Not least among the left's many intellectual crimes is their abuse of language.
Chris O’Byrne, of The Peaceful Birder, quickly took me to task:
Interesting, Grant, that you so blithely separate the left and right by their purported abuse of language. Instead of blasting you for such an over-simplification, let me simply ask you this: do you have any statistical evidence supporting your statement? Is not this abuse more an individual trait, instead of a political trait?
Hmmm…where to begin with the above? I, not so blithely, separate the left and right based on their different ideas. What I find interesting is those who dismiss uncongenial facts as “anecdotes.” I will also note that statistics, while valuable, is not the foundation of induction. Once one has enough data points, there is justification to come to general conclusion. In this case the left’s politically correct abuse of language. I single out the left because with their dominance of the mainstream media, academia and the prestige press, they have the power to alter language to conform with their agenda.
No, I haven’t conducted a statistical survey to support my viewpoint, nor do I have to. This demand by Chris is just an attempt to prevent discussion on an important issue. There are many examples of the phenomenon.
George Orwell wrote about the adulteration of language for political purposes sixty years ago with his essay “Politics and the English Language:”
It is rather the same thing that is happening to the English language. It becomes ugly and inaccurate because out thoughts are foolish, but the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts. The point is that the process is reversible. Modern English, especially written English, is full of bad habits which spread by imitation and which can be avoided if one is willing to take the necessary trouble.
In this essay Orwell was not specifically writing about mendacious words driving out truthful ones. Of course, he saved that issue for his essay on “Newspeak.”
Moving forward to our own time, one of the most egregious examples of a euphemism being used to muddy the intellectual waters is the term “Native American.” To even say the word “Indian” on an American college campus is to identify oneself as a doublepluscrimethinker. I seriously doubt if a scholar could get a peer review essay published in an academic journal or a book published by an academic press without using the new terminology. Never mind that the American Indian Movement refuses to change its name and its leader, Russell Means, “abhors” the new term, or that their reasons are incontrovertible. The PC language police will enforce their edicts wherever they can get away with it.
There are even books, and many chapters of books, on the proper use of academic left Newspeak. Edward Cline wrote a brilliant analysis on this ten years ago, “The Ghouls of Grammatical Egalitarianism:”
A small, innocuous-looking book appeared in bookstores recently, published under the auspices of the Association of American University Presses (AAUP), an organization which claims to be devoted to the dissemination of knowledge and scholarly research. Its title is Guidelines for Bias-Free Writing, by Marilyn Schwartz and the Task Force on Bias-Free Language (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1995). It is little more than 100 pages long, weighs less than a pound, yet its contents are more potent than the Oklahoma City bomb. Its ingredients are politically correct jargon, multiculturalism, and the phenomenon of what may be called "grammatical egalitarianism.
The PC Newspeak is not limited to the United States. Australian historian Keith Windschuttle recently wrote on this topic of “Language Wars.” Windschuttle focuses on how, and why, “gender” replaced the perfectly serviceable word “sex” in political correct argot:
Gender is a term that reeks of the sexual politics of the Seventies. It made its first appearance when gay activists began to demand that homosexuality be not merely tolerated but given equal standing with heterosexuality in all things. It was reinforced by feminists who wanted to eliminate the differences between men and women.
These activists had to face the fact that sexual differences are grounded in biology. They are determined at conception by the distribution of X and Y chromosomes and cannot be altered, no matter what identity a person assumes, how many hormones someone ingests, or whatever surgery is performed. Moreover, the biology of sexual difference has no place for homosexual activities. Indeed, it implies they are unnatural.
Clearly, that won’t do. Sex may remind some that humans are sexual mammals and that not everything under the sun is up to individual caprice.
I’ll close with a quote from Less Than Words Can Say by Richard Mitchell, the Underground Grammarian. I doubt if he is a favorite of the language cops:
Words never fail. We hear them, we read them; they enter into the mind and become part of us for as long as we shall live. Who speaks reason to his fellow men bestows it upon them. Who mouths inanity disorders thought for all who listen. There must be some minimum allowable dose of inanity beyond which the mind cannot remain reasonable. Irrationality, like buried chemical waste, sooner or later must seep into all the tissues of thought.
Update, 6/9: I almost forgot Daniel Pipes list of twenty euphemism for the terrorist killers of Beslan, "Beslan Atrocity: They're Terrorists - Not Activists." Pipes list is from the international media, the refusal to call things by their proper names is a worldwide problem.
Crossposted at The Dougout.