The shifting of meaning of language is one of the long time weapons of the political Left. One of the most telling aspects is the co-opting of the word “liberal” from its original meaning of a philosophy dedicated to individual freedom to the collectivism and socialism (whether they use the term or not) that was very much an anti-liberal stance back in the Nineteenth century. But even before that the corruption of the word “Freedom” itself to mean not the the ability of individuals to make their own decisions absent the coercive power backed up by force to gainsay them but instead “freedom” from deprivation or want. Worse yet, many use it to mean the “freedom” of unfettered Democracy wherein even the slimmest majority can enforce its desires on the minority without limit and whatever those desires might be.
In the first case, that “Freedom” is the freedom to require through force others to provide whatever is necessary to keep that other from “want” or “deprivation”. In the other it’s the power to make any requirement they wish on the minority not voting with that majority, no matter how slim the majority might be (a single vote more than 50% is sufficient). Both cases amount to the “Freedom” to enslave others to another’s wants backed up by the coercive power of the State.
And with “Freedom” redefined, it becomes simplicity itself to claim that crypto-socialists, by whatever name, are “the party of Freedom” and, therefore, “liberal.”
This has been going on for a long time. In 1944, F. A. Hayak was able to use the term “Liberal” with only a passing reference to “in the 19th century sense” in his book “The Road to Serfdom”. Eighteen years later, in 1962, Milton Freidman in “Capitalism and Freedom” required a more extensive explanation of his use of the term since the word had largely lost its original meaning. He was apparently making an attempt that the history since has shown us has largely failed to return the term to its original meaning.
The root problem is that collectivist philosophies require that Truth be defined not by correspondence to the objective universe around us but instead in terms of what serves the goal of collectivism (whatever particular flavor one favors). Words mean what they need to mean to advance collectivization. If by changing the definition of a word you can get more people to sign on to the goal of collectivization and the central planning that goes with it, then that is justified.
About a year and a half ago, in a sardonic post, I noted the ongoing attempt to change the meaning of words like “rape”.
And so “Rape” has become the new “witch”. If you want to destroy someone personally, occupationally, and politically, accuse them of rape. Or not even of rape. Lesser cases of sexual assault are good enough because you can be sure others will call it “rape” for you. If the accused remains silent, well, that’s proof of guilt right there. If they deny the accusation, particularly if they get angry at being accused, well, that means you must have struck a nerve or they wouldn’t get so upset in which case they are guilty. (That’s called a “Kafkatrap,” where any response, including no response, is considered proof of guilt.
And if anybody steps forward to point out that there is no evidence of the truth of the accusation or that the accuser’s story is inconsistent, has changed more than once, or worse, that every word the accuser has said that could be verified has turned out to be contrary to fact and so maybe we should be skeptical of the accusation and allow the accused the presumption of innocence? Why, then you become a rape apologist.
Even if the accusation isn’t actually of rape. Because words mean only what serves the purpose of collectivists. Guilt. Innocence. Evidence. Corroboration. Rape. They all mean what collectivists want them to mean and that meaning is subject to change as the needs of collectivism changes.
At least the Collectivists can answer Pilate’s famous question: “What is Truth?”
Truth is whatever they want it to be. No more. And no less.