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I'm the author of The Liberty Pole. I dabble a bit in blogging and have a fascination with early American history (late 18th century) as well as WWII. 

Friday, April 5, 2013

Words, Words, Words

Image via kalyan02
Flickr Creative Commons

As a writer, I think quite a bit on words. What do they mean, how do they fit, and what are the best collections of words to paint the picture of the world that I want to share with the readers? I often wake up with a stream of conversation between characters running through my mind, or a scene playing out, or any number of things, but it all comes back to words. Believe me, putting as much time as I do into thinking on this can be a bit disrupting in life, but I think that it can gives a bit of a different view than others that are not in the business of weaving words. 

Words are powerful, as they should be. After all, as Franklin said, the pen is mightier than the sword, and that is a continuous truth. 

I think this is also why people fear words. When you look to history and start noting similarities in societies  that begin to take that horrible spiral into despotism, there are trends that can be found. Freedom of speech and of the press is either limited or eliminated and knowledge is severely suppressed, often in the form of limiting citizens' access to the written word. While at university the question was posed by a professor why there did not appear to be any art or creativity in the society in the book that we were reading (which took place in a totalitarian state). I stated that artists have always been known to push limits, and that a government that does not acknowledge natural freedoms would not be keen to allow those limits to be pushed. It would threaten them. It would threaten their power.
Image via LordJim
Flckr Creative Commons

It's interesting to think, as citizens of the United States of America, a pioneer in freedom and liberty, that our speech is stifled every day. Our words, thoughts, and beliefs are put under scrutiny, and if we do not toe this imaginary line (one that seems to keep changing without warning) we are labeled. It's as if we've been put in the corner with a dunce hat. Peer pressure will, after a while, encourage all the other students in the room to point and laugh, the words lost and the meanings trampled, even if they might have been worth something. 

Every thought is worth something, even if not implementable

Political Correctness has muzzled free speech, causing people to have to internally debate every syllable of every word before speaking them for fear of being called a bigot, a hater, a [insert group of people]-phobe, a racist, or any other number of derogatory terms that are regularly attributed to people that do not adhere to Political Correctness. It stifles meaning and drowns out personal freedoms of expression. Instead of risking offense, we are expected curb our own personal opinions, our own beliefs in many cases, so that they are aligned with what is considered the correct way of thinking in society. All in line. One after another. Just keep marching.

How does this encourage growth? How does a society move forward in such a way? If the Elite (a group nearly as difficult to define as that PC line that we're expected to toe) is able to choose what is right or wrong and demand that you silence any disagreement with it (lest you be called one of the aforementioned names), then they have full control over the direction that society moves in. They have the reigns, and we (the citizens of this nation) become the animal that has been broken in and easily maneuvered the way they wish us to go. 

They control the words and they control the meaning of words. I remember during the '08 elections that a man called into a talk show host on the radio and told the host that he was a racist. The host asked how he came to that conclusion, and the caller stated that it was because he disagreed with Barack Obama, therefore he must be a racist. This was interesting, because I never realized that to disagree with someone on a set of beliefs was to hold a prejudice against them. I suppose that's why I'm not very good at toeing that invisible line. 
Kudos to the person that put this together
It's been floating around FaceBook for a bit now

Words are important. Words are powerful. If a group of people can twist words to mean what they want them to mean or can intimidate another group of people into silence the second group is shackled. Think back, once again, to American history. In many places in America, free speech and freedom of the press was stifled by the British just before the Revolution broke out. Before the Civil War, it was illegal to teach a slave to read. They were not allowed to speak their minds, they were not allowed to put forth their own thoughts in most cases. Why was this? To keep them subservient. Once a voice was heard saying "You cannot own me, I'm a human being" it gained strength. When Americans gathered in Boston and spoke of God-given rights that King George and Parliament could not take from them, it threatened England's authority. 

If you claim to be free, speak boldly, for if you choose to bow to the passing whims of Political Correctness you give up that freedom and enslave yourself to it. Respect those whose views differ from your own. You can always learn something from them. Believe strongly and keep faith in your ideals. It is only by voicing those thoughts that you can change the world around you into a better place. Stand firmly for what is right. People will always speak lies around you, but know for yourself where you come from so that you do not have to rely on their opinions for validation. 

I've been listening to the words of a man that I have a great amount of respect for. That respect grows each time I hear him speak. I'll close out this post with Dr. Ben Carson's words and his thoughts on the matter.