Have you noticed that redefining certain hot-button words in our Western culture is actively happening? Indeed, redefining words to definitions that are an aberration from their actual, historical meaning?
Earlier this year, noticing this disturbing trend, I decided to screenshot some word definitions for posterity. I figured I’d use them for some reason sooner or later. It turns out it is sooner.
When news broke in June 2020, that Merriam-Webster was changing the definition of racism, due to the complaints of an individual, I could scarcely believe it. Actually, I could, because I’ve been watching this unfold for some time. But for a dictionary to actually *change* the definition of a word — this is alarming.
I might remind you that the definition of a word is in most cases immutable, with few exceptions of words that have been updated with cultural shifts, slowly, over time. Generally, a word means what it means. To attempt to change it is to uproot reality itself.
How very 2020 of reality to be uprooted. (For those reading later, 2020 is more than half over, and is going down in history as a year like no other.)
My purpose in writing this post is to simply provide screenshots of some definitions as they have always been understood. I’ll refrain from extensive commentary on this post; it will serve more to establish a baseline than anything else. I may provide commentary in future posts because there is so much to be said about all of this.
Historical definitions of hot-button words
Racism: “prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s one race is superior.
To illustrate my point, here is the modified definition of racism, as of June 27, 2020:
It’s subtle. But that is how redefinitions work. Subtle at first. More on that in a future post.
Let’s proceed with more word definitions.
Racist: a person who shows or feels discrimination or prejudice against people of other races, or who believes that a particular race is superior to another.
Bigot: a person who is intolerant toward those holding different opinions.
Fascism: A governmental system led by a dictator having complete power, forcibly suppressing opposition and criticism, regimenting all industry, commerce, etc., and emphasizing an aggressive nationalism and often racism.
White supremacist: a person who believes that white people are racially superior to others and should, therefore, dominate society.
Nazi: a member of the National Socialist German Workers’ Party.
Justice: just behavior or treatment; the quality of being fair and reasonable.
Just: based on our behaving according to what is morally right and fair.
Tolerant: showing a willingness to allow the existence of opinions or behavior that one does not necessarily agree with.
Equity: the quality of being fair and impartial.
Wrapping up …
I was motivated to put this set of definitions together as a starting point for fighting back on what I see as a war on language that unfortunately many people don’t even realize is being waged.
There are leftist/Marxist cultural change agents who wield a lot of influence, that are actively redefining terms, and subtly building in different contexts around the words they are using. What’s worse, as they weaponize words that we’ve always understood to have a specific meaning, they often equivocate between the traditional definition and the one they are using functionally. And they do so deliberately to cause confusion and lack of clarity.
That is at best, deceptive, and at worst, evil. Any culture that cannot communicate effectively is doomed to implode eventually. And yet it seems that is what the word redefiners want for western civilization.
Is that what you want?
I urge you, if this topic concerns you, to educate yourself on what is happening on this front. When in conversations with people where words like “racism,” “justice,” and “equity” are being thrown around, ask the people using them to define what they mean by them. If you’re using a different definition than the person you’re talking to, you’ll end up talking past each other.
In closing, I’ll offer this quote. Let me know if there are any words that should be added to the list above, or if you have any questions.
“Social upheaval, in other words, presents an opportunity for would-be autocrats to make a grab for power by weakening the foundations of legitimate rule. Those foundations are: piety, family, and language.” – Spencer Klavan, The American Mind