Do people under 26 even know what communism, Marxism, socialism, fascism and capitalism mean anymore? It seems that the true meaning of these words has been obscured. These words are steadily being transformed into nothing more than slurs.
If you say someone is a Marxist or a communist, there is often a reflexive gasp, as if you had slandered them. 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.
Maybe it is unfair to point to those under the age of 26, but that is the age one can remain under their parent’s healthcare plan. Why 26?
Today’s 26 year-olds were born in 1988. It is interesting to note that 1988 is the year a communist super power, the Soviet Union, was on weak footing, and in 1989 the Berlin Wall was felled. As those babies grew into children and teens there were no battles against the evils of communism reported in newspapers and on the nightly news.
On September 11, 2001 those babies of 1988, were now entering their teens. They were old enough to see the evil of radical Islam. Those evils were widely reported during the early years of the new millennium. Now many words describing terrorist extremism are disappearing.
So many words are being eliminated from the national dialogue. They are being 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 Nineteen Eighty-Four we may soon find ourselves facing the bleak world the citizens of Ingsoc lived in.
The language transformation Ingsoc was undergoing according to Orwell was 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.
by Diana Erbio -