The following summarizes an e-mail from a Liberty University history professor to Jason and David Benham (The Benhams have graciously provided a strong endorsement for my book.). It highlights the incredible power of words:
Words are powerful tools. They can be used to build up or tear down. To inspire or incite. To encourage or defeat. To cause trouble or create calm. To unite or divide. To liberate or enslave. Words can, and often are, used to divert, deflect, deceive, or hide the true motives of the one speaking. Words are powerful.
For a people to come together, form a culture, and live in peace and safety, they must be able to communicate with each other. Language, which involves the use of words, is the tool that serves that purpose. And for communication to take place, words must have commonly understood and generally accepted meanings.
All manner of problems emerge when language breaks down. Let me give you an example. What do you hear me saying in this statement? “I am a perfect gay liberal man who can do nothing to stop abortion.” This would be a rather startling announcement from a conservative. But let’s take a look at what I just said.
Some of you may be thinking, “What is he, a homosexual left-wing guy who supports the deliberate killing of unborn babies?” If that is what you think I said, communication between us did not take place. Because I used those words according to their standard and historically accepted meanings; that is, the meaning those words conveyed prior to the time when radicals began deconstructing the English language.
Radicals among us have been busy tearing down our language for more than a hundred years. They disregard the generally accepted meaning of words and use words in ways that are contrary to their intended meanings. The end result of this subterfuge is to make language ultimately meaningless. Justice Antonin Scalia said in his dissenting opinion in the latest Obamacare ruling, that “words no longer have meaning.”
Let me tell you what I meant when I said I am “a perfect gay liberal man who could do nothing to stop abortion.” What I was attempting to communicate to you through the use of those words was this, “I am a mature, happy, liberty-minded man who is unable to prevent expectant mothers from suffering miscarriages.”
Let’s break those words down. “Perfect” means mature, “gay” means happy, “liberal” means the maximizing of liberty, and “abortion” means miscarriage. That was the clear and commonly accepted meaning of those words before radicals started using them for their own purposes.
Did you know that in the first trimester, approximately 20 percent of known pregnancies unfortunately end in miscarriage? However, the medical word for a miscarriage is “spontaneous abortion.” Yes, a miscarriage is called an abortion by the medical community. The deliberate killing of an unborn child is not an abortion. Abortion is the term used by medical professionals, whereas miscarriage is the word used by the general culture to describe the same thing.
The deliberate act of killing an unborn child is a feticide or an aborticide. Just like insecticide is the killing of insects, herbicide is the killing of weeds, homicide is the killing of individual people, and genocide is the killing of a political, or cultural group of people, infanticide is the killing of an infant. So the deliberate killing of a preborn child is a feticide or an aborticide. The English root “cide” comes from the Latin “cidium,” which means the act of killing.
Whenever a group of radicals seeks to mainstream a deviant, disturbing or evil practice, they must first desensitize the general public as to the gravity of their deviancy. To do so, they steal an upright word and by repetitious use superimpose that word on that which the general public finds abhorrent. Their objective is to attach some new meaning to the word in the minds of their hearers and thereby transfer that good feeling people previously associated that word to their diabolical practice.
You see, radicals of all stripes have no principles – they only have goals. Their goal is to destroy everything this country and culture stand for … and to rebuild anew on a man-made foundation. They will twist, distort and misuse language if it advances their agenda and moves them closer to their goal. It is the end that is all-important to them, not the means. Changing language, words and their meanings is a major weapon in their arsenal in doing so.
We must ever be mindful that whoever controls the use and meaning of words comes to control the cultural and political agenda, as well as the emotions of the masses. Right now, more than ever in history, emotions control the agenda far more than facts. So more bluntly stated, “he who defines the terms always wins the debate.”
If we want to be victorious and see liberty restored and preserved, we must retake command of the words we use and thereby reframe the argument. When we do so, we will win every debate.
I close with a quote from Sam Adams, that revolutionary firebrand, and defender of liberty in the late 18th century. He said, “How strangely will the tools of a tyrant pervert the plain meaning of words.”