November 20, 2007

Bad language fosters bad thinking...

From a post by Maclin Horton, on the misuse of the word "Inappropriate"....

...This is one of those small but significant ways in which bad language both reflects and fosters bad thinking. It's been some years now since I began to notice myself reacting to it with what first seemed to be an unreasonable irritation. I finally realized that it annoyed me because people were using it as a substitute for "wrong." In a time when the existence of objective moral standards is doubted and denied, and when no one wants to be accused of being judgmental, it's very bad form to say that anything short of mass murder is just plain wrong; mass murder, and perhaps racism.

But yet: order must be maintained. People in authority (or those who just wish they were) still need and desire to tell other people what to do. How can they justify it, if they can't appeal to some standard which is eventually rooted in the concept of right and wrong? "Inappropriate" became the solution...

It is very interesting to think of the very small number of things it is still "politically correct" to say are wrong. Slavery is wrong, as long as it was done by Dead White Men. The fact that Muslims are enslaving black Africans right now is never called "wrong."

Sexual harassment is wrong unless it was done by Bill Clinton.

It is wrong to be a fascist dictator in the 1940's, and it was right for democracies to overthrow them with massive military force and at a cost of millions of deaths. It is not wrong to be a fascist dictator in the 2000's, and overthrowing one at a cost of thousands of deaths is.....wrong.

Posted by John Weidner at November 20, 2007 10:38 AM
Weblog by John Weidner