Over time, words take on new connotations at first, and then eventually entirely new denotations. This is not only the nature of language but the history of English.
Consider, for example, the use of the word “certain” in the Declaration of Independence:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights…”
At the time the Declaration was written, the term “certain” meant “fixed, settled, indisputable”, meaning the rights that Jefferson was speaking about were absolute. Today however, people are just as likely to use the word with the opposite meaning, as in: “I have certain things to do today”, meaning “unspecified” or “unknown”. The implications of these sometimes subtle differences can be enormous and the political Left has used this as a tool for many years.
Consider the Left’s view that the term “militia” in the Second Amendment refers to the National Guard and not of an individual right of citizens to own firearms:
“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
However, in Fennings Royal English Dictionary (1761), a text that was most likely owned by most of our founders (as Daniel Webster did not write the first American dictionary until 1806), the term “militia” is defined as:
“the standing force of a nation; the inhabitants of a country trained to arms, and acting in their own defense. The raising the militia of the kingdom, teaching them the use of arms, rendering them both expert in their evolutions and exercise, and formidable to foreigners, though for some years looked on as a chimera, was, by the sagacity and prudence of the administration. In the year 1760 effected, and thereby saved the nation from its usual burthen in employing mercenaries abroad, or from fears of being over-run by an invasion at home.” (For irrefutable evidence of the founders’ belief in an armed citizenry, see my History on the Second Amendment.)
“He who controls the language controls the masses”.
–Saul Alinsky, Rules for Radicals
However, intentionally controlling language has become an important tool in superimposing leftist ideology and in attempting to shame those who disagree with them.
It should therefore come as no surprise that while Barak Obama chose the career of a Community Organizer, an occupation created by Saul Alinsky, Hillary Rodham Clinton wrote her 92-page senior thesis on Saul Alinsky in 1969.
Let’s start with the terms the left in the U.S. use to describe themselves. Democrats often self-identify as “progressives” with Barak Obama and Hillary Clinton their current leaders. Wikipedia begins its definition with the following:
“The Progressive Era was a period of widespread social activism and political reform across the United States, from the 1890s to 1920s.The main objective of the Progressive movement was eliminating corruption in government. The movement primarily targeted political machines and their bosses.”
Does anyone think of Barak Obama or Hillary Clinton’s main objective as the elimination of corruption in government?
Google defines “progressive” as: “(of a group, person, or idea) favoring or implementing social reform or new, liberal ideas.”
Yet, how exactly can one define progressivism as new when its tenants are indistinguishable from socialism, which is traces its beginnings to Karl Marx and is therefore quite old? In a recent interview with Progressive Chris Matthews, Hillary Clinton was unable to say what the difference was between a democrat and a socialist. As Mrs. Clinton is now famous for asking, “What difference does it make it this point?” None, I suppose since there is no difference. The problem she had in answering the question is the problem she often has: The truth rarely serves her purposes.
But what of the term ‘liberal’? When our founders used it, they understood it to mean ‘tolerant’ or ‘generous with liberty’. For example:
“It is an object of vast magnitude that systems of education should be adopted and pursued which may not only diffuse a knowledge of the sciences but may implant in the minds of the American youth the principles of virtue and of liberty and inspire them with just and liberal ideas of government and with an inviolable attachment to their own country.”
-Noah Webster, On Education of Youth in America
But as we know, the only things liberals are actually generous with is other people’s money, not their own. Whether Liberal or Progressive, the Left is not at all known for their tolerance (except among themselves). In fact they will go to great lengths to silent any dissent. From grammar school to university campuses, on the internet (especially social sites like FaceBook), or in media, reporting only stories which support their views, it seems that Liberals will stop at nothing to make sure the only voices that are heard are their own. As another famous liberal put it:
“As societies grow decadent, the language grows decadent, too. Words are used to disguise, not to illuminate, action: You liberate a city by destroying it. Words are used to confuse, so that at election time people will solemnly vote against their own interests.” -Gore Vidal, Imperial America, 2004