Monday, April 30, 2012
When Progressives don’t like a word, they change the meaning of it. The latest victim of the English language is “illegal.” Apparently, there are a whole group of people who take umbrage at being defined as an “illegal,” particularly the kind who come from other countries. Here is the definition of illegal:
1. Prohibited by law.
2. Prohibited by official rules: an illegal pass in football.
3. Unacceptable to or not performable by a computer: an illegal operation.
1. forbidden by law; unlawful; illicit
2. unauthorized or prohibited by a code of official or accepted rules
a person who has entered or attempted to enter a country illegally
So, if you are in the United States without permission, by definition you are here illegally. But the preferred word is “undocumented.”
F.A. Hayek wrote about the perversion of the language in his work, “The Road to Serfdom.”
FOREWARD TO THE 1956 AMERICAN PAPERBACK EDITION:
The fact that this book was originally written with only the British public in mind does not appear to have seriously affected its intelligibility for the American reader. But there is one point of phraseology which I ought to explain here to forestall any misunderstanding. I use throughout the term “liberal” in the original, nineteenth-century sense in which it is still current in Britain. In current American usage it often means very nearly the opposite of this. It has been part of the camouflage of leftish movements in this country, helped by the muddleheadedness of many who really believe in liberty, that “liberal” has come to mean the advocacy of almost every kind of government control. I am still puzzled why those in the United States who truly believe in liberty should not only have allowed the left to appropriate this almost indispensible term but should even have assisted by beginning to use it themselves as a term of opprobrium. This seems to be particularly regrettable because of the consequent tendency of many true liberals to describe themselves as conservatives.
He also wrote:
If one has not one’s self experienced this process, it is difficult to appreciate the magnitude of this change of the meaning of words, the confusion which it causes, and the barriers to any rational discussion which it creates. It has to be seen to be understood how, if one of two brothers embraces the new faith, after a short while he appears to speak a different language which makes any real communication between them impossible. And the confusion becomes worse because this change of meaning of the words describing political ideals is not a single event but a continuous process, a technique employed consciously or unconsciously to direct the people. Gradually, as this process continues, the whole language becomes despoiled, and words become empty shells deprived of any definite meaning, as capable of denoting one thing as its opposite and used solely for the emotional associations which still adhere to them.
After they banish “illegal” from the lexicon, let’s guess which words will be considered offensive by the PC crowd. Will it be American? How about citizen? Wait, how about putting the two together: American citizen. Now, that’s offensive.