This essay’s title, so hackneyed and obvious that it belongs on the cover of the New York Post, is a blunt assessment of the latest bit of garbage generated by one of the nation’s elite universities. It seems that Princeton University, one eighth of the Ivy League, has decided to issue a set of Guidelines for Using Gender Inclusive Language.

These go beyond the conversion of “male” terms such as “fireman” to “neutral” terms such as “firefighter” that has been going on for decades. They seek active elimination even of the male-female distinctions. Uses like “he or she” and “s/he” have been slowly creeping into our writing styles, as we’ve allowed ourselves to be convinced that the old gender-neutral and generic “he” is insidiously sexist. That gender-inclusion awkwardness is itself no longer acceptable, so usage is to be contorted to hide any gender-specific mention. One suggestion is to pluralize, so you can use the very safe (until they decide that pluralization demeans group identity) “they” instead of any gender-specific singulars. I presume that proper grammar and good sentence structure must now take a back seat to making sure that someone hunting for a perceived slight can’t find one.

This policy doesn’t go quite as far as the University of Tennessee’s suggestion that “gender-neutral” gobbledygook such as “ze, xe, xem, xyr, zirs and hirs” replace actual pronouns, but, hey, baby steps. They can always update their guidelines after the current batch have soaked in.

I understand that this is rooted in part in the current cultural debate regarding sex and gender, and some may think that altering the English language to adopt to current cultural mores is merely being respectful to identity groups that have traditionally been oppressed, but enormous harm is being inflicted on young people and young minds in the name of “niceness,” “inclusion,” “diversity” and other polysyllabic euphemisms.

There’s a basic message at the root of all this obsession with pronouns – that we should fear giving offense in the slightest way, even when there’s no intent. Mens rea – literally, “guilty mind” – has long been a bedrock of jurisprudence, but it is increasingly being removed from our society and our interactions. We are supposed to adjust our language against the possibility that what we say has the appearance of giving offense, and against the possibility that someone looking to be offended can find a reason, instead of simply being of good intent, good heart and good mind.

This means that we should subordinate ourselves to others, that what others think about us is more important than what we know about ourselves, that the individual is subordinate to society. This stands the bedrock principles of our culture on their heads, and continues the century-long (and failed and disastrous) effort to rewire human brains to embrace collectivist thought.

All this dreck is turning our young into quivering chihuahuas, perpetually fearful of the big bad world. It also inculcates self-loathing as the bedrock of personality, since all this pronoun trouble is combined with a narrative about how western culture is built on an ugly history and thus demands penance and atonement.

Stop hating yourselves! Stop hating the sum total of Western history! The other histories aren’t utopian either. Not only is all of history ugly, today is ugly. Here and around the world. You’re not going to write the ugly away by playing pronoun games and embracing self-loathing. You’re not going to learn to handle the ugliness of the world by giving others the power to call you bigoted because you used a gender-specific pronoun.

These language shenanigans introduce rot and corruption into our brains. George Orwell correctly observed that language control is a means of political control. Saul Alinsky instructed:

He who controls the language controls the masses.

Many have observed that whoever controls the language controls the debate. In altering the language we use, they alter the way we think, and that’s the ultimate goal of the collectivists and social justice warriors who are at the fore of all this linguistic tripe. Sure, they’ll couch it as a matter of respect and progressive thinking, and an abandonment of a patriarchal and racist past, but that’s just word salad meant to manipulate our emotions and to shame us into compliance.

Judge for yourselves whether the words you use are correct and appropriate. Don’t succumb to politically correct style “guides.” Even if you’re on the other end of the equation, if you’re among those who feel they’re ill-served by the English language’s palette, wake up to the fact that what’s being taught is mind-control. You’ve been told that you should feel certain ways when you hear things, that you’re entitled to embrace these feelings, and that you should react towards others based on the feelings you’ve been told to have. Wake up to the garbage being pumped into your heads, and realize that one reason that college is so expensive is because people are being paid to craft this garbage.

Wake up to the fact that you’re being taught to fear the very words that come out of your mouths. Out of fear comes submission.

Control the language, control the mind.

This is what’s festering in the Ivy. This is the way of tyrants.

As for Princeton? One NY Post reader pointed out that “Prince” is itself a problematic word. A gender-neutral site suggests Prinxe. If the school had guts, it would rename itself Prinxeton. I’m not holding my breath. After all, the alumni donors might be offended, and that can’t be permitted.

Peter Venetoklis

About Peter Venetoklis

I am twice-retired, a former rocket engineer and a former small business owner. At the very least, it makes for interesting party conversation. I'm also a life-long libertarian, I engage in an expanse of entertainments, and I squabble for sport.

Nowadays, I spend a good bit of my time arguing politics and editing this website.


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