For some time now I have notice and am sure you have noticed also that on social media and in society at large there is an insidious agenda being promoted by so called Social Justice warriors about words and language and how to use them as part of the promotion of the ideology of political change in society.
In Canada we see discussions on what words to use (you should use) and what words you should not use. Words that should be purged from the vocabulary. Recently the Canadian media and here in PEI in particular describe the work of nurses, hospital staff, first responders and doctors dealing daily with patients and Covid 19. You will hear the word Hero to describe these people it is part of the general parlance. Our Chief Medical Officer in PEI is Dr Heather Morrison, a brilliant woman, well spoken, calm and she has the ability to describe difficult topics in simple terms every one can understand. She is highly respected and the Media and people in general describe her a Hero.
Words also used to describe the Covid 19 pandemic is the word War, we are at war with this virus and must defeat it to save ourselves collectively. Many heads of Government have use the war terminology to attract the attention of the public to the seriousness of the matter, there are still doubters out there.
Another term is Victory Garden, which historically were planted by urban populations to grow food during the second world war and afterwards when rationing was still on.
Now here in Charlottetown population 36,000 we have quite a few activists whose agenda is to change the world which usually means imposing their world view as the only correct one. They see this pandemic as their chance to transform and change the world. These same people want certain words banned from our vocabulary. Vocabulary is described as either Patriarchal or Masculine, oppressive and anti-women. They describe the word Hero as a masculine patriarchal word and should not be used when speaking of women in action as in a health care setting. What should we call such women? What term or adjective should we use to describe their work or actions?
War on the virus is also wrong according to these same activists because it implies that there is a looser, in this case the virus. But this word War is a masculine word and expresses the violent aggressive nature of all men, they say. The idea being promoted here is that women do not engage in War and are not aggressive, they are bold, nurturing, compassionate. Girls and women can be bold, the term is used to described women in life as bold. So the lady cashier at the grocery store is bold in the face of this pandemic. The nurse is bold in her action in the ICU, but do not call them heroes.
As for the word Victory garden well again the phraseology is masculine and should not be used. Women achieve success by convincing, reach consensus through respectful and inclusive communication. So a garden you plant is just a garden to nurture and nothing else. How about Community garden, would that be ok as long as you make sure to indicate that women are leading.
The list goes on, Cisgender also appear now in describing in social punditry, you are a cisgender male which denotes or relates to a person whose sense of personal identity and gender corresponds with their birth sex. You cannot be, when speaking, just male.
All this jargon is political and we are encourage strongly by activists who seek to change the world to use such phraseology when speaking. If you don’t you will be shamed aggressively either in public or on social media. All this reminds me of the Cold War and the type of Marxist, Maoist or Stalinist ideology, people were cosmopolitan (not a good thing) bourgeois hoarders, revisionists or reactionaries. Are these activists the heirs of the Cold War diatribes and its sickening phraseology?
Another terms which use to be in vogue prior to 1989 was Third World countries to describe a country going through economical development but not having achieve the same level of economic prosperity as a country like Canada or other countries in the Western World. The term Third World was coined by Mao Tse Tung the Chinese dictator who died in 1976. He was describing a world following a Marxist dialectic. So the First world was all Western Imperialistic countries enemies of Communist China. The term “Second World country” was used during the Cold War to refer to the industrial socialist states that were under the influence of the Soviet Union. Second World countries were the Eastern bloc of communist-socialist states and Mao’s China. Third World countries were any other country not aligned with either power.
Now I was told that you cannot use the term Third world countries anymore it being a masculine pejorative word and instead use Developing or emerging nations. When it was pointed out that Mao had invented or coined this term, there was much confusion, Mao who? I also hope that no one is under the illusion that Mao was a feminist, according to his personal doctor and people around him, he was more a Harvey Weinstein kind of sexual predator with poor hygiene.
So what I see here is an effort to control language and how people express themselves in order to direct how society should be transformed along the ideological lines.
A term used by the media currently is the word vulnerable. Persons who are vulnerable to Covid 19 because of certain characteristic are more at risk of becoming seriously ill. However these activists seek to correct the media in general by insisting that the word vulnerable can only be used for women who are single parent or single women, who are poor or oppressed by the male patriarchy in society, victims of social inequalities, etc. The word vulnerable should not be used to described people who are sick with the virus, they do not fit their ascribed definition.
Finally the extremely sad case of the past weekend in the Province of Nova Scotia where a mad man killed 23 people and set fire to 5 houses and some cars while dressed up as a police officer driving a car that looked like a police cruiser. The worst mass murder incident in Canadian history. The media gave a description of the man and is background who he was in an effort to inform the public.
The media was attacked in an article in Now Magazine by Pam Palmater a known Native activist/feminist for giving a description of the murderer and his background, her argument was that doing so the white male dominated media was glorifying white male aggression and downplaying what he had done, in a way excusing it all. She then went on to say that all violent crimes in North America are committed by White males and linked it to Timothy McVeigh the Oklahoma City bomber.
It seems that in periods of crisis like the one we are going through right now bring out the social justice warriors and their change agenda. The world may very well be different after this pandemic or if history is any guide, very little will change, because humans in general do not like change.
Is it not better to listen, to seek a plurality of points of views and to use a wide vocabulary in everyday conversations? Should we not be firmly against this idea of dictating to others how to speak or think and what words to use or not use to suit the political agenda of the moment. This type of activist agenda is nothing more than thought control, more common with Authoritarian regimes like North Korea and China. Unfortunately such activists believe that their way is the correct one but in the end all they actually do is divide society in times of crisis.