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Memories of the 28th Century

Newer New Speak

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Recently, I have seen the word Antisemitic many times, and many of the uses strike me as incorrect. To be anti anything, one must first define what that thing is, so I checked standard, authoritative sources, and the definition below from Oxford languages is a good, general, and authoritative definition.

“Semite; plural noun: Semites
a member of any of the peoples who speak or spoke a Semitic language, including in particular the Jews and Arabs.”

In a general sense, anyone who speaks a Semitic language is a Semite. I have seen new sources that seem to be of the opinion that only Jews are Semitic, even though Arabs, Palestinians, Iraqis, most Syrians, Lebanese, Libyans, Tunisians, Algerians, and others speak Semitic languages. Humpty-Dumpty asserted that when he used a word it meant exactly what he wanted it to mean, no more and no less. Lewis Carroll created that character to mock people who insist that their personal worldview is the truth. Intelligent people realize that for words to be useful, they must be understood by the hearer to mean what the speaker intended. We have dictionaries and other reference works that provide guidance in word meaning.
Unfortunately, some people alter words to put across their opinions. For example, the word “gender” refers to words forms of masculine, feminine, and neuter. Such different forms are used in most languages, and has been understood by most people for a very long time, but in the 1970's some people decided that they wanted to abuse the word “gender” by using it to mean sex. And they also wanted to use it to mean sexual preference, sexual identity, and a few other things. So they went from having some clearly understood words to using words that needed explanation.
I fear that antisemitism is going the way of gender. Its meaning is being lost in political opinions. When I see or hear people who favor Palestinians being called Antisemitic, I wonder what the speaker of writer really means. The Palestinian people speak Arabic, which is a Semitic language, therefore, they are Semites. I think that it would be more accurate to say that the students who protested Israeli genocide in Gaza are anti-Israeli or pro-Gaza, but they certainly are not antisemitic.

These are just a couple more examples of New Speak (as George Orwell called it in 1984). There's a lot of that going around, and if you aren't careful, then you will be caught up in it. Other examples include police detaining someone, but detain means arrest and arrest means detain, and the police sometimes think that detaining means they don't need to get an arrest warrant first.

Another area where New Speak has been used has been with crime and homelessness. In many situations, pretty criminals are referred to as “homeless”, and they may be, but their criminal activity is ignored or assumed, as if all homeless people were criminals. In fact, there are many homeless people who are gainfully employed in legal occupations that simply don't pay enough for them to afford a place of habitation. In addition, they are many people who are homeless, because they have medical problems that prevent them from working. But conflating homeless and criminal is word abuse for political purposes. I have been trying to eiw6qnce my3lf from what Trump has done and said, but he has his peculiar version of New Speak.(see progressivereform article).

I regularly remember that politics are the home of New Speak, and politicians have been twisting language for their own purpose for a very long time, but Trump ietroduced his variety, see link below.

It is a good idea to remember that Trump aims his message at people who are not well educated and often for people who are not educable. When he was president, he ordered that some agencies stop using certain words. If one can't speak of something, then it ceases to exist for most purposes.

As with many thing about which I have written, it is possible to write forever, because it is being created at this time, and I didn't bother mention the climate crisis, because it has provided some much material in the past.. But I think that readers should be able find examples for themselves; although I find that it is easy to ignore the abuse of language for political purposes, because it is so common, but it is another variety of lie, and mislabelling things readily creates big lies. .