Language Manipulation and the War on Truth
By: Paul Murano
Whoever wins the battle of language inevitably wins the war. This principle is nowhere truer than in culture wars, where false philosophies depend on manipulation of the language to convert the uncritical masses to a particular worldview. We are now at the end of our second generation that is conditioned by the language of a culture of death.
Below is an illustration of how language can hide the full truth. The terms on the left include popular verbiage today while the terms on the right are a more honest and objective usage of the language.
She’s pregnant vs. She’s with child.
The term “pregnant” speaks exclusively of the condition of the mother. While this is important it does not express the full truth. The traditional term “with child” includes both parties and expresses the beauty and awe of pregnancy rather than making it sound like a disease.
She’s going to have a baby vs. She’s going to deliver or give birth to a baby.
A woman “with child” already has a baby. Since “Going to have” denotes the future, and medical science is clear on when an individual human being begins, “going to deliver” or “give birth to” a child would be more accurate.
She/He is going to be a mother/father vs. She/He is a mother/father.
Parenthood begins when the offspring begins. A woman is already a mother and a man a father even before they are aware they are with child.
They don’t want to bring a child into this world vs. The child is already in this world.
If there is a growing living human embryo the child is already in this world; albeit hidden from view.
It vs. He or She
This is a common one. Although the English language is deprived of a gender neutral pronoun, what sounds more dehumanizing than calling a human being “it”?
She’s not ready to be a mother vs, She is a mother that may not feel ready.
The reality is if she’s with child she is a mother. Feeling ready is subjective and is often quickly remedied by an attitude adjustment.
Embryo, Fetus vs. Human being in their embryonic or fetal stage of life; Preborn child
Although embryo and fetus are proper scientific terms for early stages of the human life cycle, they are often used in an attempt to dehumanize. The fact that each reader is a grown-up embryo and former fetus allows them to use the terms “human being” or “preborn child” for the unborn.
Terminate the pregnancyvs. Kill the child
Termination of a pregnancy occurs by doing what? This euphemism, of course, is an attempt at hiding what abortion is and who is being aborted. And it seems easier to the uncritical mind to perform an abortion on a woman that is “pregnant” rather than “with child”.
Abortion vs. Prenatal homicide
Intentionally killing an innocent human being is murder; but since there may be sincere ignorance on the part of those responsible the neutral term “prenatal homicide” might be most appropriate. Regardless, a third of us under 40 years old are missing today due to this common practice.
Euthanasia vs. Physician-assisted suicide
Euthanasia from the Greek literally means “happy death”. It attempts to make homicide sound nice. No person is happy when they feel like dying, and no one should be happy about intending to kill the innocent. Physician assisted suicide is both homicide and suicide. It doesn’t do away with the pain, it does away with the patient.
GayHomosexual vs. Person that has a disordered attraction to the same sex
The word gay simply meant happy until the early 1970’s, and homosexual was used an adjective describing actions or feelings. Using gay or homosexual as a noun to label someone is relatively new and very counter-productive. It identifies a person with his or her feelings. This false use of the language seems to have come from political motives: If homosexuality can be seen as who a person is rather than what they feel or do, minority status and equality of lifestyle may be claimed, enabling special privileges from the state. We all have objectively disordered desires, whether they be propensities toward violent tempers, greed, getting drunk, overeating, bulimia, laziness, etc. Making such desires one’s identity is both irresponsible and false. Other than the most basic dimensions of personhood (name, sex, ethnicity, religion), descriptive terms rather than identifying ones should be used, i.e. feeling or doing language rather than being language.
Sexually active vs. Fornicating
Premarital sex is a sociological term, created a few decades ago to be judgment-neutral in the attempt to re-define morality. In cultures where objective truth is rejected judging behavior is seen as “intolerant”. The traditional term for sex outside of marriage is fornication. It is listed in the New Testament among the grave sins that keeps one from entering the Kingdom of God, and has been condemned universally regardless of religion up until the sexual revolution of the 1960’s. Self-respect and the value people placed on marriage and its unique spousal relationship has henceforth been replaced by the “relationship” culture we have now, which is in reality a form of serial monogamy or bigamy. The term fornication, which properly denotes the intimate taking of someone who is not truly theirs, is more truthful.
Use protection vs. Use an unnatural impediment
We often hear this one. It speaks of protecting one’s self from the natural purpose of an act, and sees pregnancy as a disease rather than an indication of good health, which it is. With this upside-down view the “use protection” mentality sees human offspring as parasites like a tumor, to be either impeded or eradicated.
The world is overpopulated vs. The world is underpopulated.
This false notion began with “The Population Bomb” by Paul Ehrlich in 1968. Yet, the truth is that if every family in the entire world were to have a home on a quarter acre of land the entire world would fit into the state of Texas. There is not a population problem, but a distribution of goods problem. A selfishness problem. If there were five people living on earth there would still be a problem with equitable distribution.
Today most industrialized countries are actually seriously under-populated. The problem has gotten so bad that nations like Russia have offered bonuses to couples that will procreate; and some western European countries fear cultural suicide if a reversal of their 1.4 children per family average does not turn around quickly. Even in our own country it has been said that one reason illegal immigration has continued almost unchecked is because we need to replenish workers that used ot be American teenagers. For more sobering stats read Pat Buchanan’s, “The Death of the West”.
Adult vs. Pornographic
“Adult” is not only a lame attempt at making pornography sound acceptable, but it’s a rational misnomer: When it comes to human sexuality there is nothing more immature or non-adult than pornography. Now part of the culture as being only two clicks away from any child to see, it had become second in revenue only to oil companies.
In love vs. Infatuated with
We are emotional creatures. But the emotional high that often defines being “in love” is a misnomer. The essence of love is not a feeling but a commitment. If emotion and desire are seen as ends in themselves rather than stepping stones to permanent commitment, it quickly becomes selfishness. Love is active, not passive; it’s not something you fall into but something you make happen. Love says “I love you in spite of…”, not “I love you because of…”.
Abstinence vs. Chastity
We hear about abstinence-only programs, but can they work? Abstinence while harboring lust is like non-violence while harboring anger; it is virtually impossible. If one doesn’t include the psychological, emotional and spiritual dimensions of the human person, the aim is futile. In giving one’s heart one’s body demands to follow; for both anger and lust have involuntary physiological responses that demand release. The aim of chastity is to discipline the eyes, mind, and heart so that one is able to discipline the body according to the true and the good.
Divorced vs. Separated
The sacred vows that virtually every couple makes on their wedding day includes “for better or for worse, until death do us part.” They promise and recognize with their consent that only death can dissolve their marital bond. They are literally no longer two, but become one flesh. Following this logic a civil divorce (by the state) would be really a legal separation of two people that remain married. Only a declaration of nullity officially claiming it was never a valid marriage could enable a person to marry another. This is logic, not a religious statement.
Alternative lifestyle vs. Perversion
If you throw out human nature and make yourself into your own god (Gn 3:5), nothing is seen as perverted because you get to decide what is natural “for you”. Personal choice becomes the standard because we get create our own reality. This error, supported and upheld by the mass media, is why it’s taken us just two generations to get to the point where other nations took centuries of decline to reach.
Paul Murano teaches philosophy at North Shore Community College and theology at the College of Saint Mary Magdalen. He is host of Beneath the Surface television show at Burlington Cable Access TV and is co-host of the Paying Attention Radio program. Paul is also chairman of Heartbeat Pregnancy Help center in Burlington and is a singer/songwriter/musician.