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Identity Politics and the English Language

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posted on Mar, 28 2017 @ 01:27 PM
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Now, it is clear that the decline of a language must ultimately have political and economic causes: it is not due simply to the bad influence of this or that individual writer. But an effect can become a cause, reinforcing the original cause and producing the same effect in an intensified form, and so on indefinitely. A man may take to drink because he feels himself to be a failure, and then fail all the more completely because he drinks. It is rather the same thing that is happening to the English language. It becomes ugly and inaccurate because our thoughts are foolish, but the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts. The point is that the process is reversible. Modern English, especially written English, is full of bad habits which spread by imitation and which can be avoided if one is willing to take the necessary trouble. If one gets rid of these habits one can think more clearly, and to think clearly is a necessary first step toward political regeneration: so that the fight against bad English is not frivolous and is not the exclusive concern of professional writers.

George Orwell – Politics in the English Language


The English language changes with the rise and fall of custom and usage, but the biology from which it is derived has hardly evolved since anyone started speaking it. The shifting veil of etymology gives the impression of progress, or to some, of decadence and decay; but beneath the thread-bare language under which human history attempts to disguise itself is the same superstitious and tribalistic mammal that was there since the beginning.

Identity Politics is a euphemism for tribalism, though a tribalism framed by modern conditions. With an increasing population, along with the ease of movement and communication, the tribes of modern times are not as localized as they once were. Rather, the tribes are as equally conceptual and ideological as the tribe member’s social life. The tribe has expanded beyond the communities once connected by proximity—families, friends, neighbors, and those engaged in common enterprise—to encompass speech communities connected by no more than abstract generalizations and stereotypes and sometimes nominal sectarianism, or at any rate, words.

From this, in combination with the psychology of in-group/out-group bias, and perhaps the release of oxytocin as an incentive for such behaviour, necessarily arises the seductive language of group solidarity and conformity. However, the groups are amorphous and without boundary or distinction, bonded by no more than one or two identifying characteristics, and nothing besides. In the absence of proximity or common enterprise, this forces the tribe member to utilize racial, stereotypical, partisan, or sectarian theorizing in order to proclaim his membership with others, and does so in a language meant to pass his theorizing through the customs.

There is a growing spectre of unnecessary gender pronouns, ill-defined and abstract “isms” and phobias, superstitious and logically-oppressive demands, and an ever-changing politically correct lexicon from which we are demanded to conduct our speech. It promotes groupthink to a degree that, if anyone within the group has a differing opinion, he can be barred from representing it because he is a minority (black conservatives, for instance, are often slurred as traitors to their race by their own "community" for holding different opinions). It leads to self-imposed segregation, or biological essentialism, both being little different than common discrimination. It makes friends and enemies of others according to what identity group they happen to fall into, reducing human beings to their racial or sexual categories, necessarily dismissing individual conduct and character. In short, it is mob conduct.

Identity politics is not only the very same tribalism of old, only dressed in a garb used to satiate the guilt of the member who is required to use racial or sexual or class categorization for the purposes of maintaining that membership, it is also war on language (and by extension, a war on thought). It becomes increasingly dangerous as it creeps into legislation to threaten the human right of free expression, which has for some time succeeded coercion and force as the foundation of many societies.

The language has suffered immensely due to identity politics, leaving us encumbered when we use it, and censored when we refuse to. Considering, as Orwell did, language as a means of expressing thought and not concealing it, we can examine the errors in this thinking by examining the language of Identity Politics. As with every speech community, and indeed, within every linguistic framework with which we speak about the world, the fundamental errors of reason are petrified within it like a fly in amber. Sometimes, all we need do is listen to the words.

To be continued…




posted on Mar, 28 2017 @ 01:48 PM
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a reply to: LesMisanthrope
Oh how this resonates with my recent post. But I´ll get to this from another angle.

The German language is said to be one of the most poethic because of the way you can play with. This is not to say other languages are easy or stupid, there are much more difficult languages to learn and also more beautiful sounding ones, for sure.

German is perfect to describe complicated processes in detail, while I use english in all the code I write for function names, variables and so on, because it´s short and to the point. in comparission to german. But, what I saw in Germany, since around 1980 there is a strong push for english vocabulary. Even local products have english names. I think the first wave started with tv series from the US, around 1980 or so. The second wave where it got much "worser" was mid 90s to mid 2000s when internet connections became more known to the public here.

This is merely an observation that I´m not sure if I like it or not. It´s great to mingle and have more people to talk with, no argument about that. On the other hand, for what I´m used to and I suspect this is one part of the reason why such a small country like us (19x smaller than USA) has achieved very high precision in technological fields.

Because our language is also very precise when it comes to describing something. And when you need to work in a team, because you can´t do it alone, communication is key.

Coming back to the technological fields, no doubt in the public domain, we are top players. On certain fields, where military has it´s ties (why not say "every" instead of "certain" from the getgo...) I´m no delusionist, it´s clearly and outstandingly english speaking country.

Sorry if I bastardized, stretched and bent the english language to get my point across. I know you can´t put "gly" on every word, but hell it helps the struggle. So I´m guilty, too.



posted on Mar, 28 2017 @ 01:50 PM
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I have to say your writing is great and I feel mine is vert poor in comparison. The thing is I have my doubts whether an improvement will be of much benefit. Yes, it will be of benefit to me, of that I am sure. But, for me, I like to splice down to the essence of a message I am internally seeking to deliver. At some point, I will work at improving my English, but for now, the daily grind takes the driver seat. When I do attempt to improve, it will be mainly for being able to verbalise what dawns on me in a clearer fashion. : idea: Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the matter and good to see you around again.



posted on Mar, 28 2017 @ 01:52 PM
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You are, quite simply, brilliant.

I LOVE your posts...

In my mind, you look exactly like your avatar, sitting at a desk, writing with a quill pen..

This post has no point other than to say how much I appreciate your mind and contribution to the fabric of ATS.

-Chris



posted on Mar, 28 2017 @ 01:55 PM
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a reply to: LesMisanthrope

Always insightful and full of wisdom. I wish I had half your eloquence.




posted on Mar, 28 2017 @ 02:03 PM
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The language has suffered immensely due to identity politics, leaving us encumbered when we use it, and censored when we refuse to. Considering, as Orwell did, language as a means of expressing thought and not concealing it, we can examine the errors in this thinking by examining the language of Identity Politics. As with every speech community, and indeed, within every linguistic framework with which we speak about the world, the fundamental errors of reason are petrified within it like a fly in amber. Sometimes, all we need do is listen to the words.


That´s a big problem that I struggle with everytime on ATS. If you use logic, and express it the way it is, many will understand it wrong, because they never learned to read properly. Or listen. By that I mean, reading something, without judging the content. I do that on a second read, if it´s worth. This way, one can oversee a small fallacy or writing error, or different opinion and just see the facts for what they are, not judging because of the political position or other factors that are intrinsic to the person expressing their thoughts.

This way you can see it from the viewpoint of the one speaking/writing. I wish people would approach a discussion the way I tried to explain, instead of thinking in drawers. I´m sure, in another thread where I just did that, # is going to fly...
edit on 28-3-2017 by verschickter because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 28 2017 @ 02:37 PM
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The PC people, the peons anyways, probably started off with good intentions.

But they completely missed the core at the cause of the problems they were trying to address: tribalism.

So they set about trying to over-achieve a society risen above the pitfalls of tribalist past, by concocting the most brazen tribalism in human history.

As such, their entire ordeal is in but a short handful of years playing out in scale and scope and style as that which was observed in 1930's Germany.

Hail Tribalism?!?!?


NO.



posted on Mar, 28 2017 @ 02:41 PM
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The English language normally allows some one to say something that could cause offense if said another way, its an amazing thing as a Brit to be able to work your way through all sorts of linguistical nightmares.

We probably have the most diverse language in the world due to the British empire... we had Angles/Saxon/Romans/Normans/Vikings etc and then when we had an empire we brought a lot of words back from all over the place etc.



posted on Mar, 28 2017 @ 02:45 PM
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a reply to: Maxatoria
"The tone makes the music"



posted on Mar, 28 2017 @ 02:58 PM
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a reply to: Maxatoria

Yes and no.

As far as I am concerned, for the most part, all PC does is replace on set of terms with another.

I could call you fat, but that's not PC. It is descriptive though, perhaps very accurate. But because it's not PC and I'm told it might hurt your feelings, they've created some supposedly "nice" way for me to call you fat, and I am supposed to use that. Thing is, I'm still calling you fat. (And, btw, I have no idea if you are or are not fat; I just made something up off the top of my head to address you with that I knew PC had terms for.)

I believe Shakespeare wrote something about it. Something to do about roses.

At any rate, once they implanted this notion that you could still call people fat (or whatever they are) and not hurt their feelings, then they started removing any and all words they decided they didn't like and giving you PC equivalents. So they started labeling words as slurs ever so helpfully so that we start thinking of more and more formerly innocent words as bad things no one should say to us.



posted on Mar, 28 2017 @ 03:02 PM
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As I was reading your excerpt at the top, It brought back the implications that Orwell submitted in 1984 in regards to language and thought. Lo and behold it WAS Orwell.

I've often struggled to explain those implications to others, mainly because my vocabulary has taken a dive over the years. Which I find really only confirms a lot of my main ideas on the subject, especially when compared to how well you're always able to convey an exact thought process/idea so easily mainly because OF your robust vocabulary.

It also lends credence to the idea that you can't fully explain a thought/idea to others if you don't fully understand it yourself. Which in turn comes back around to the expanse of ones vocabulary.

Anyway, I'm rambling.

Star+Flag



posted on Mar, 28 2017 @ 03:12 PM
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a reply to: LesMisanthrope

I have seen this progressively getting worse myself, then realized how long this has been going on.

Even more incredibly are the colleges and universities where the amount of words used to describe pretty much EVERYTHING are on the decline.

Academia itself seems to now prefer a lesser language, since having a massive vocabulary and ACTUALLY UNDERSTANDING IT is deemed to be elitist and even racist.

I found myself over the years reducing my own vocabulary and now barely ever see words such as yours in print, or ever spoken save for a few fine friends who have suddenly now ALSO revolted against the left.

Luckily a few people in this world are still interesting to talk to , but the number is dwindling, living here in Vancouver one notes that pretty much everyone uses different languages to converse so we have lost the ability to even hear what those people have to say, likely much of it is untranslatable or would take far too long.

You remind of one who delved into metaphysics at an early age, forgot about it for awhile and is now wondering in what direction we should bound towards....

We had better find that out, and QUICK because the crumbling is impossible to ignore.



posted on Mar, 28 2017 @ 03:15 PM
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a reply to: essentialtremors

I just wanted to add, one of the best things I've ever done for my cognitive development was to carry around a pocket thesaurus in grade school and learning/using at least one new word a day.
Also, learning foreign languages a little later in life.



posted on Mar, 28 2017 @ 04:52 PM
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a reply to: essentialtremors

Be sure to read Orwell's Politics and the English Language. I obviously used it as a model for this one.



posted on Mar, 28 2017 @ 08:59 PM
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a reply to: LesMisanthrope

Yeah. They never wanna mess with academic style pieces like this here. Unless you put "SJW" in the title then they come in swinging.



posted on Mar, 29 2017 @ 03:04 AM
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a reply to: IgnoranceIsntBlisss

I somehow get the unnerving feeling that PC was never started by the peons. To me it comes from above by the apparatchick - Totalitarianism

www.academia.org...


If we look at it analytically, if we look at it historically, we quickly find out exactly what it is. Political Correctness is cultural Marxism. It is Marxism translated from economic into cultural terms. It is an effort that goes back not to the 1960s and the hippies and the peace movement, but back to World War I. If we compare the basic tenets of Political Correctness with classical Marxism the parallels are very obvious.

First of all, both are totalitarian ideologies. The totalitarian nature of Political Correctness is revealed nowhere more clearly than on college campuses, many of which at this point are small ivy covered North Koreas, where the student or faculty member who dares to cross any of the lines set up by the gender feminist or the homosexual-rights activists, or the local black or Hispanic group, or any of the other sainted “victims” groups that PC revolves around, quickly find themselves in judicial trouble. Within the small legal system of the college, they face formal charges – some star-chamber proceeding – and punishment. That is a little look into the future that Political Correctness intends for the nation as a whole. Indeed, all ideologies are totalitarian because the essence of an ideology



posted on Mar, 29 2017 @ 03:04 AM
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a reply to: LesMisanthrope

A timely reminder - thanks for your good work and critical thinking



posted on Mar, 29 2017 @ 03:07 AM
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a reply to: verschickter

haha...I could say Malaka in at least 3 different inflections - one of those will get my face punched if said to another Greek


edit on 29-3-2017 by TheConstruKctionofLight because: (no reason given)

edit on 29-3-2017 by TheConstruKctionofLight because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 29 2017 @ 05:10 AM
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originally posted by: TheConstruKctionofLight
a reply to: verschickter

haha...I could say Malaka in at least 3 different inflections - one of those will get my face punched if said to another Greek




Retsina and sprite?!

I like mine ice cold.

Opa!

Malaka, too funny.




edit on 3 29 2017 by burgerbuddy because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 29 2017 @ 05:17 AM
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a reply to: LesMisanthrope

Removing ways for someone to express their ideas stifles those very ideas. This is at the heart of the "PC" type of censorship. The eradication of non compliant thoughts and ideas.

Sure, it may have started out as a way to just get people to be reasonable with each other and not cause needless harm, but there are those with bigger fish to fry who seem to have co opted this whole thing to further their own agenda of control.



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