On Evil Euphemisms

rusmeister

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dunno if anyone said these yet but, little white lie and half truth

I don't think those qualify as euphemisms, Matt, let alone evil ones. There IS such a thing as truth mixed into lies to make a complex and plausible falsehood, and deceptions that prevent evil.

The character of "child-free", on the other hand, besides being used to directly approve of abortion and a life without children, has the general effect of producing a generation of adult children, who do not themselves grow up.

On the whole, for most people, (excepting monastics and a small minority actually called to the single life) children are necessary and salutary. They force us to put what we want for ourselves onto back-burners,pull us outside of ourselves and force us to love someone else. They teach us what we must look like before God, by disobeying and misbehaving and disappointing us, as well as by the precious things they do that make us love them all the more.

It is (again, for most people) by living a life of adult irresponsibility, where the responsibility of children is perennially absent, where, upon meeting the obligations of work and paying one's bills, one simply... lives as they wish, and discos, partying, cinemas, gaming, etc become primary and regular activities rather than exceptional ones as they must be for parents, that a generation of adult children has grown up, that cannot conceive of other than what the self, the individual wants, and so we hear justification for social tolerance of all sorts of evils, from openly available pornography, violent video games, and a laissez-faire attitude towards public behavior, something which children of parents, conscious of the necessity of protecting their own children at least, tend to oppose.

So the traditional "childless" is accurate and appropriate, and "child-free" merely approves of that "choice" to remain irresponsible, to buck tradition, refuse committed marriage for life and the natural product of normal marriage - children - in favor of what the self wants. As they say, why buy a cow if milk is so cheap? And so,it really is a euphemism that supports the abnormal, wrong and evil, even though its users do not intend to do so as a rule (as with all evil euphemisms).

Again, if you have not read the essay that launched this thread, I highly encourage you to do so.
 
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Ariadne_GR

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I don't think those qualify as euphemisms, Matt, let alone evil ones. There IS such a thing as truth mixed into lies to make a complex and plausible falsehood, and deceptions that prevent evil.

The character of "child-free", on the other hand, besides being used to directly approve of abortion and a life without children, has the general effect of producing a generation of adult children, who do not themselves grow up.

On the whole, for most people, (excepting monastics and a small minority actually called to the single life) children are necessary and salutary. They force us to put what we want for ourselves onto back-burners,pull us outside of ourselves and force us to love someone else. They teach us what we must look like before God, by disobeying and misbehaving and disappointing us, as well as by the precious things they do that make us love them all the more.

It is (again, for most people) by living a life of adult irresponsibility, where the responsibility of children is perennially absent, where, upon meeting the obligations of work and paying one's bills, one simply... lives as they wish, and discos, partying, cinemas, gaming, etc become primary and regular activities rather than exceptional ones as they must be for parents, that a generation of adult children has grown up, that cannot conceive of other than what the self, the individual wants, and so we hear justification for social tolerance of all sorts of evils, from openly available pornography, violent video games, and a laissez-faire attitude towards public behavior, something which children of parents, conscious of the necessity of protecting their own children at least, tend to oppose.

So the traditional "childless" is accurate and appropriate, and "child-free" merely approves of that "choice" to remain irresponsible, to buck tradition, refuse committed marriage for life and the natural product of normal marriage - children - in favor of what the self wants. As they say, why buy a cow if milk is so cheap? And so,it really is a euphemism that supports the abnormal, wrong and evil, even though its users do not intend to do so as a rule (as with all evil euphemisms).

Again, if you have not read the essay that launched this thread, I highly encourage you to do so.

Be careful Rus, just because you believe something to be evil, does not make it so. By all means, do find an Orthodox text that uses your judgmental wording about the childless or childfree (however they may describe themselves) and provide.
 
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rusmeister

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I'll let people who actually read and think about what I'm saying decide whether words have effects, what effects, and whether those effects are for good or evil.

This is a thread that I hope to clean up and have stickied at some point; I won't engage in arguments here.
 
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Chocolatesa

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While we're having this conversation, the world that I think DOES fit in this thread for the idea of cohabiting fornicators is "partner". Which could mean something more innocent but usually doesn't!

I agree :)
 
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Protoevangel

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Rus and I are having a discussion on facebook. Very interesting, but a bit off-topic for where it was brought up, so I thought I'd bring the discussion here.

Me:

307331_4743817790841_387949990_n.jpg


Just here to share a success story. A friend who is normally very mild mannered, and never posts anything offensive to anyone stepped out of her comfort zone, and those who love darkness complaines, and scattered and ran.

I won't post names, but if anyone wants to offer encouragement, I'll pass it on to my friend.​

Rus:

I agree in general - but I don't even think we should use the word "fetus" to speak of an unborn child - the purpose of the word is to dehumanize the child, and it has worked to devastating effect. But yes, this is about deliberately killing chen,NOT the tragedy of involuntary miscarriage. And "pregnancy" is an abstract condition, a description if the state of the mother, not the child. To speak of the child we should use definite words distinct from the mother's conditioit is that imprecision of speech that enables the false ideas to spread.​

Me:

Hi Rus,

I know you are more of a linguist than I am. I very much enjoyed your review of G. K Chesterton's "On Evil Euphemisms" essay, as well as your continued work in finding and exposing these ahistorical and usurped words that assist the postmodern worldview.

Please help me out on this one though. From what little I understand, the word fetus, and it's latin predicessor, were used to describe unborn offspring in both literal and figurative manners. I suppose it's possible that the one exception was human, but honestly, that sounds like a bit of a stretch to me. Do all age related words, such as 'adult' have this same dehumanizing purpose, or might these words have a genuine function grounded in history?

The undeniable fact that a word has been abused does not necessarily mean that the word itself isn't appropriate, or that it should be abandoned. Yes, people misuse the word fetus to dehumanize the child. Just the other day, I had to remind a pro-choice troll that "embryo and fetus (when used to describe the offspring of a human) does not, and has never described something other than human, no more than infant, toddler, teen, adult, or whatever developmental state the human may be in." and that you can not arbitrarily separate their developmental stage from their nature. It's the same for a duck fetus. It can be nothing other than duck. There is a video called "Complete Life Cycle of the Monarch Butterfly" ( Complete Life Cycle of the Monarch Butterfly - YouTube ), which is beautiful and absolutely facinating to watch the processs of the Monarch Butterfly change from egg, to larva, to pupa, and finally to adult. But what's most facinating is that at every step of that process, that was a Monarch Butterfly. It begins as egg Monarch Butterfly, then changes in form, but not "Monarch Butterflyness", to larva Monarch Butterfly, then to pupa Monarch Butterfly, and finally to adult Monarch Butterfly. The life cycle of every species is the same, whether fertilized grass seed or overgrown blade of grass. It's still grass. It is no different for humans. If we remember that fact, the pro-choicer's smokescreen is laid indefensible. The higher level trolls will change to a different argument, while the less experienced often resort to ad hominem or simply ragequit. Hopefully it plants a seed of thought. + Truly, it is NOT "their" word, it is ours. It is ours both historically and philosophically. I believe that Gilbert would agree with me.​

Rus:

I intend to write a deeper response to Dan's post, but for now will say that intent or the lack thereof does not change the effect. The practical use of the word DOES dehumanize the baby - it treats the baby like a thing, not a person. The language affects how we see the baby.​

Me:

Rus, your above post isn't very helpful, it avoids all the points Chesterton outlines in his essay, and substitutes your own rules. I will ask you though... Do you really think this is the best forum for your crusade? I made this thread to encourage someone who was being bullied. I'd actually be more interested in discussing this with you at our usual forum. I'll even start the discussion with some copy-and-pasting.​

So, I find Rus's last reply to be a bit strained. I'm interested in the "deeper response". Hopefully it will avoid the fallacy of "I am the ultimate authority, and if you don't take my word for it, I'll be... disapointed".

I'm also intereted in other's thoughts. Does anyone want to actually consider the points I brought up?
 
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MKJ

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Interesting - I tend to agree with your thoughts Proto. It isnt in itself any more inappropriate than any other word describing a particular developmental stage. And as such a word, it always needs to be attached to a particular species.

People who play word games need to be corrected. Anything else makes it look like you are playing word games too.
 
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rusmeister

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Still feeling a little bit slow in the morning...

I think the short response (although my short responses often balloon into longer ones) is that this particular word is the exact opposite of the normal appearance of evil euphemisms. Thus, Chesterton's essay is not relevant, at least as far as how it came about. The word indeed is technically correct with a long history of use.

Online Etymology Dictionary
This link ought to be one of your best friends in tracking this stuff down by the way.

Anyway, it is the modern application that is de facto euphemistic. It is always technically correct; it is the imaginative understanding of it that has changed. Here I can only speak about what I perceive - the popular imagination is often difficult to define; it must be approached by its practical expression. In this case, the ordinary and traditional word, which in the past was still understood to mean, in regard to humans, "a baby in the womb", has come to be seen as "a vague amorphous blob, something in a Petri dish, something we may dispose of, something not really (completely/totally) human".

The only cure for that is language that corrects the shift in popular understanding, language that insists that the developing child is already a human person. A fetus can be any creature. A baby or child cannot.

Hope that's short and clear enough. For once, it doesn't seem so deep when I think about it as I thought it would be.
 
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Protoevangel

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I'm sorry Rus, but it sounds to me like you have accepted defeat, and think that giving the word up without a fight is the best choice. I disagree. Like I said, it's as easy as pointing out the truth to have the pro-child-murderer to turn tail. There is nothing but smoke covering their reinterpretation. The answer is to expose the absurdity for what it is, not to roll over like a beaten dog. We must confront the darkness with the light of truth.

BTW: the Online Etymology Dictionary is in my list of links on every new tab I open in my browser.
 
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rusmeister

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I'm sorry Rus, but it sounds to me like you have accepted defeat, and think that giving the word up without a fight is the best choice. I disagree. Like I said, it's as easy as pointing out the truth to have the pro-child-murderer to turn tail. There is nothing but smoke covering their reinterpretation. The answer is to expose the absurdity for what it is, not to roll over like a beaten dog. We must confront the darkness with the light of truth.

BTW: the Online Etymology Dictionary is in my list of links on every new tab I open in my browser.

I don't think it's a matter of "accepting defeat". I think the mind of the culture has changed so much that the language must change to reorient people back to the truth. "Sodomy" is rejected by our culture; the Church has, rightly, I think, adopted the new term "same-sex attraction".
Here people no longer see what they had always seen, and our language use must draw them back to seeing it. The word "fetus" might be reclaimable one day, but not as long as its equivalence, not only with animals, but with disposable material is the prime thing seen in the word. Here the light of truth means speaking of a child as a child, not two sides using the same word to mean two different things.
 
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Wonderful post, Rus. I do have to say, though, that the verbage of this generation will NOT change. It's only going to get more and more muddied and absurd. I still scratch my head at "transgendered?!" ^_^

As the masses become more and more sinful, as more and more SSA folks legitimize their feelings amidst a sense of kindship with other sinners in that category, they'll feel more emboldened to further their justification of the lifestyle. Safety in numbers. Just like in the United States there are SOOOO many illegal immigrants that, due to sheer size and the politics of voting blocks, we WILL ALWAYS call them "undocumented workers" even when they're not working and they're clearly illegal! It's all about numbers, I'm sad to say. And abortion is no different. It is a "protected right" and terms like "fetus" will not change anytime soon....

but you're quite right and insightful....

I don't think it's a matter of "accepting defeat". I think the mind of the culture has changed so much that the language must change to reorient people back to the truth. "Sodomy" is rejected by our culture; the Church has, rightly, I think, adopted the new term "same-sex attraction".
Here people no longer see what they had always seen, and our language use must draw them back to seeing it. The word "fetus" might be reclaimable one day, but not as long as its equivalence, not only with animals, but with disposable material is the prime thing seen in the word. Here the light of truth means speaking of a child as a child, not two sides using the same word to mean two different things.
 
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rusmeister

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A little bit of thread resurrection here.
One of the more important things I have learned in my life has been about the manipulation of language by an elite with central control to form the thinking of most average people (aka, "the masses").

What I find most interesting is the resistance of people, especially otherwise traditional Christians, to this discovery. The desperate denials that it has been and is being manipulated, the baseless claims that the language is "developing naturally", and so on, seem to come from people who want to defend some small denial of part of our Tradition. It seems to be universal. From people who don't want to fast at all, to people who justify their divorce (numerous caveats here!) or abortion or favorite sexual sin, or whatever, denial always pops its head up. That is not necessarily the source of denial from posters on this thread (I make no individual judgements, knowing next to nothing of personal situations), but it seems to me to be the simplest and clearest explanation for the passionate denials in the absence of any real basis, other than, "That's how everybody talks now" (and of course, "how everybody talks" is perfectly OK and expresses the truth we as Orthodox Christians believe in :scratch: ).

It's also interesting the changes even from 2009, when I first posted this, up to now. In 2013, "transgender" was a new invention, as Gurney's post above indicates. Now it is assumed as true and incorporated into government policy. But this goes far beyond that. As before, the most important observation is not regarding language that laughs at our religion, but at language that lies, that pretends to be intelligent and scientific, and resorts to hiding behind Greek and Latin roots.
 
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Chesterton

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It's also interesting the changes even from 2009, when I first posted this, up to now. In 2013, "transgender" was a new invention, as Gurney's post above indicates. Now it is assumed as true and incorporated into government policy. But this goes far beyond that. As before, the most important observation is not regarding language that laughs at our religion, but at language that lies, that pretends to be intelligent and scientific, and resorts to hiding behind Greek and Latin roots.
Though it sometimes doesn't seem so, it's actually pretty hard to get around truth. I think they will get rid of "transgender" someday when they realize that for their purposes, it's self-contradictory. The Latin root "trans-" means "across", as a transvestite is also called a cross-dresser. So the word they invented is an admission that there is something to cross. As if they were building a bridge to cross a river while simultaneously denying the river was a real thing. Fortunately, the elite are usually not as smart as they think they are. Also, by the dictionary definition the elite are not elite. Maybe we should stop sarcastically calling them that. :)
 
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I remember when PRIDE was a sin, but now it's celebrated as a virtue? :scratch:

Who needs euphemisms when we can just reject traditional meanings of words altogether; pretending the meaning never existed or should never have existed, given that the meaning was founded on invalid religious fantasies?
 
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rusmeister

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I remember when PRIDE was a sin, but now it's celebrated as a virtue? :scratch:

Who needs euphemisms when we can just reject traditional meanings of words altogether; pretending the meaning never existed or should never have existed, given that the meaning was founded on invalid religious fantasies?

That's part of a broader discussion on language in general, and a legitimate topic. It is the effort to claim the complete subjectivity of language, usually expressed in the mindless expression "language changes" without any further consideration. Your observation was put succinctly by Lewis Carroll in "Through the Looking Glass" when Humpty-Dumpty tells Alice that "When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean–neither more nor less. So do we get to decide meaning of words for ourselves, or do we accept objective meaning in them passed down to us? Obviously, we can use language creatively, but we are supposed to create the good, true, and beautiful, and needing convention in order to understand others, we MUST accept that we do not get to decide freely the meaning of words. Conversely, we must use language founded on what is true, and so some forms of language should exist, and others should not. Is the religious idea an invalid fantasy or not?

But this thread was meant to begin the process of waking people up and opening their eyes to the huge number of euphemisms and falsifications of language that we all hear and use daily. That can only be an imperfect process, but one that we must engage in.
 
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Dewi Sant

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maybe not an 'evil' euphemism (though it may become so in its usage); but I have never been content with the term 'community', when referring to a demographic.

It suggests that such members of a 'community' are in close contact with one another, care and support one another. I suppose it comes from marxist conflict theory; a community is a group of persons [who identify, or are identifed as marginalised] who hold solidarity to a cause and will express representation in the public sphere.

Again, I feel this is a subtle euphemism.
 
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Dewi Sant

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I remember when PRIDE was a sin, but now it's celebrated as a virtue? :scratch:

Who needs euphemisms when we can just reject traditional meanings of words altogether; pretending the meaning never existed or should never have existed, given that the meaning was founded on invalid religious fantasies?
'By controlling the language, Big Brother controls the way that the people think.' - 1984, Orwell
 
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