Think the notion that some are trying to erase or rewrite our history is nonsense? Look no further than George Washington University. This passage from a piece by Kara Zupkus, for the Young America’s Foundation titled GW is Quietly Removing “Colonial” From Campus Following Referendum to Remove “Offensive” Mascot is evidence of the erasing…
“GW is up to no good.”
Following a student body referendum last spring that narrowly voted to change the university’s “offensive” colonial mascot, The George Washington University has been quietly removing “colonial” from familiar campus fixtures.
While the official mascot remains the colonial, the university recently renamed “Colonial Central,” the student center focused on registration and financial services, to the “Student Services Hub.”
It’s not just George Washington University either. If you are paying attention you can find news stories, almost daily, about something being deemed offensive by someone, and so much so that it must be removed.
An important book about the statues, songs, and other symbols representative of our history that are slowly disappearing is “ERASING AMERICA: Losing Our Future by Destroying Our Past” In the book, author James S. Robbins discusses many instances where some are trying to remove history rather than explore it and learn about it in the context of its era.
This quote at the beginning of Chapter 12 is one to be heeded, before we lose our valuable history.
“Everything faded into mist. The past was erased, the erasure was forgotten, the lie became truth.” – George Orwell, 1984
If the removing of statues and other symbols isn’t enough to alarm you…look at the work of the word police, which is multiplying. Words are being removed and redefined. How can we discuss important topics if the words we are using in a discussion become the topic of the discussion instead?
Do people even know what communism, Marxism, socialism, fascism and capitalism mean anymore? It seems that the true meaning of these words has been obscured. Only a few years ago these words were often considered a slur.
There was a reflexive gasp if you said someone was a Marxist or a communist. It was as if you had slandered them. Today, capitalism is used as a slur. Capitalism seems to have been assigned the definition of an economic system in which poor people are taken advantage of. As if the growth of a business is not good for the economy and a benefit, but somehow business growth is a negative.
In the last decade capitalism has stealthily been portrayed as a system that only raises the wealth of the wealthy but is of no benefit to those who work for the wealthy.
There are many other words that are being redefined or eliminated from the national dialogue. Some are demoted to slur words, not to ever be used in polite company, or perhaps in any company, private or public.
This redefining, and in some cases elimination of certain words that describe complicated and important political and socio-economic systems endangers the foundation our republic has been built on. The First Amendment enumerates the natural right we are born with to speak freely. If words are manipulated and taken from a society as they were in George Orwell’s novel 1984, we may soon find ourselves facing the bleak world the citizens of Ingsoc lived in.
The language transformation Ingsoc was undergoing according to Orwell, from Oldspeak to Newspeak. Oldspeak words were either eliminated or redefined into Newspeak. Citizens were expected to engage in a process called doublethink. That meant citizens must know and not know simultaneously. They were trained to know the truth, while telling carefully constructed lies; to use logic against logic; to repudiate morality while laying a claim to it. They were to believe that democracy was impossible, yet the Party of Big Brother was the guardian of democracy. One had to use doublethink to understand doublethink.
All this is confusing, as it is meant to be. How else can a society be transformed? Changing the meaning of words is a powerful weapon against a society. Perhaps it would be wise to take some time to understand our words and be sure the next generation understands them before they are redefined out of existence into a Newspeak. A Newspeak where capitalism is communism, and there is no difference that can be spoken of. A Newspeak that is designed to fade our history…
Diana Erbio is a freelance writer and author of “Coming to America: A Girl Struggles to Find her Way in a New World”, along with her Blog Series, “Statues: The People They Salute”.