An Example of Etymological Abuse

  • November 17, 2023

Language is as much (and arguably more effective) a weapon than knives or guns – because weaponized language effectively disarms people. It alters their thinking by getting them to think away from what the person wielding the word weapons doesn’t want them to think about.

I cam across a fine example of weaponized language legerdemain just yesterday when I tried to post a link to one of my articles on what’s still Twitter but now clumsily styled “X” (in order to cause you to believe it is not the same old Twitter). Before Twitter/X would let me post the link, it presented me with a pop-up (the screenshot accompanies this article) that assured me “You’re in control.”

It then went on to tell me that I could exercise this “control” by choosing to be assaulted by “personalized ads” or “less relevant ads.”

But not no ads.

Over that, I have no control.

Which – as such – is fine in the sense that Twitter/X, being a commercial platform, has every right to pester the people who choose to use its service with ads. No one is forced to use TwitterX and if that is the price of using the service offered by Twitter/X, so be it. I understand and agree with the axiom that there’s no such thing as a free lunch. But spare us the cloying insipidity of cooing to us that we are “in control.” It conjures affront similar to that expressed by the Marquis of Montrose in the movie, Rob Roy to his villainous underling, Archie. The latter attempts to wheedle Montrose with a similarly cloying cooing about some dirty business he was involved in. Montrose wheels around on him in fury and says:

Do you take me entirely for a whig (that is, an idiot)?

Just so. And yet, they do take us entirely for “whigs.” They assume we’re idiots – cattle – that can be led in the desired direction (or quiescent acceptance) via their use of weaponized language. And they are right, for the evidence of the conversation so attests.

How often do you hear a political gangster speak of asking his victim to do what he’s told he must – the or else part always implicit but almost never articulated? The political gangster asks because he knows his victim is already rendered defenseless (or at least, on the defensive) by accepting the use of that word. It serves to cast the political gangster in a benevolent or at least, non-malignant light.

After all, he’s only asking.

Or so he wants to orient your thinking.

Just the same as the thinking of the people who have to deal with organs of the government such as the DMV and the tax-collecting apparatus are slyly styled customers – to get them to think of themselves as such in order to get them to not think too much about how they are being forced to spend time and money on services they would decline if they were in fact free to decline them.

For the same reason, we are wheedled into thinking we have contributed to the intergenerational wealth transfer scheme styled Social Security – so that we think the money we are forced to hand over for redistribution has been placed into an annuity the benefits of which we have a right to. If honest language were used such that people clearly understood they were being taxed and that their benefits were nothing more than government alms – they might object.

Speaking of objecting. . .

An extremely effective way to stop that is to weaponize objecting by styling it hateful to object as most people do not wish to be regarded as hateful people. What better way to get them to stop thinking (or at least, giving expression to) objectionable thoughts than by hectoring them about the hatefulness of such thoughts? This works even more effectively when criminality is imputed to hatefulness – as in a threat to our democracy.

Mark the plural in the latter – which excludes you (i.e., the hateful, objectionable person).

He who controls the way words are used has control.

And they have been working at it for decades.

They have managed to reframe speech (and so, thought) to such an extent that ordinary conversation is now all-but-impossible. The preconceptions of thought embedded in the use of words redefined to efface meaning without the conscious awareness of the victimized user of the words has proved to be a weapon more effective than the hydrogen bomb.

The latter might destroy a major city. The former, a country. A civilization.

But it’s not yet too late. Ground can be recovered if enough of us stop allowing our thoughts to be sluiced along certain pathways by weaponized language. If enough of us refuse to use (or allow the use of) the revised definitions that are almost never questioned.

You aren’t being asked. You are being told. Do not let anyone tell you otherwise. Make them own their violence. You are only a customer when you have a choice not to be one. And you are only in control when no one else is controlling you.

. . .

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