Muggeridge on the power of words

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Malcolm Muggeridge

I hate flying, but I love to read on planes. Aside from other stuff in my bag, including my old smallish laptop, I generally only have one book with me — the paper kind — selected for its light weight and the length of time it spent languishing on a shelf, unread.  This last trip it was The End of Christendom.  Not really a book, but a very slim volume of two lectures by the acclaimed British journalist and Christian apologist Malcolm Muggeridge.

It’s a gem through and through.  But I was particularly intrigued by this little passage he wrote about words:

Perhaps the most beautiful of words, the subject of that marvelous thirteenth chapter of the Epistle to the Corinthians, is the word “love.”  Just think of how that word has been polluted and corrupted so that one scarcely dares to use it.  Similarly with words like “freedom” and “liberation”  The truth is that if we lose the meaning of words, it is far more serious in practice than losing our wealth or our power.  Without our words, we are helpless and defenseless; their misuse is our undoing.”

The Transgender Project is Exhibit A in today’s War on Language and the misuse of words.  You’re probably familiar with the “Purple Penguin” Project in which teachers in Nebraska have been instructed to refrain from referring to children as boys and girls or male and female.  There’s an accompanying diagram of “The Genderbread Person.” The agenda is huge and — make no mistake — it redefines the humanity of us all, and it’s now aimed directly at children.

Indeed, it is a war on words that goes right for the jugular:  your identity. In the process of destabilizing each person’s sense of self, the transgender project serves to isolate and separate each and every one of us because it in effect turns each and every one of us into disembodied beings in law.  Your sex is not something identified at birth, but, according to gender identity non-discrimination laws, it is “assigned at birth.”  The wording here is meant to apply universally.  It’s not really about the transgender demographic.  It’s primarily about everybody else.

What this does, of course, is wipe out the distinction between male and female. Legally.  The implications for human relationships and human identity and human dignity here are vast and depressing.   Losing the meaning of words means losing our ability to think — and communicate. And especially the meaning of words that identify us as human.   In the end, it’s an assault on all human relationships and imposes separation and loneliness on everyone.  It’s pretty much what cults do.  But that’s for another post.

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