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The Groupthink Left hijacks our language


ONE of the most successful strategies used by the cultural-Left to radically reshape society in its utopian image is redefining language to suit its agenda.  As noted by George Orwell: ‘If thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought’; allowing words to be altered to enforce politically correct groupthink.

The word gay is an obvious example, as activists have long since changed the meaning from being happy and carefree to describing homosexual men. Such has been the gay lobby’s success that when Australian schoolchildren sing the song Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree, the line, ‘gay your life must be’ is altered to, ‘fun your life must be’.

‘Rainbow’ provides another example where the word and the symbol have long been co-opted by the cultural-Left to refer to a broad range of environmental, neo-Marxist and LGBTIQ+ activists grouped under the heading Rainbow Alliance.

The way the word ‘gender’ has been redefined represents one of the more egregious examples of language control.  According to the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, the word is a grammatical term used to denote whether ‘nouns are masculine, feminine or neuter according as the objects they denote are male, female or of neither sex’.

Based on the research carried out by the psychologist John Money while at Johns Hopkins University during the 1950s, the word was radically redefined to refer to an individual’s sexual identity. 

Instead of biology determining whether a person was female or male, Money introduced the description ‘gender’ on the basis that sexuality was a fluid and dynamic social construct.

Money’s obituary in the New York Times describes this ground-breaking research as follows: ‘He was the first scientist to provide a language to describe the psychological dimensions of human sexual identity: no such language had existed before.’

Such has been the success of transgender activists in their campaign to normalise gender dysphoria that instead of chromosomes determining a person’s sexuality, the prevailing orthodoxy is that there is nothing fixed or absolute.

The Safe Schools Coalition booklet All of Us, made available to Australian schools and found on the Commonwealth Government’s Student Wellbeing Hub, defines ‘sexual diversity as a continuum’ and tells students gender identity ‘does not necessarily relate to the sex a person is assigned at birth’.

The booklet Safe Schools Do Better, after erroneously arguing that 15.7 per cent of students are same-sex attracted, intersex, gender diverse or trans – when the figure is closer to approximately five per cent – suggests a ‘person may identify as neither male nor female, or as both’.

As highlighted in George Orwell’s 1984, language determines how we think and act and controlling language is a key strategy employed by totalitarian regimes to manipulate people and enforce groupthink.  In Orwell’s dystopian novel, what is described as New­speak leads to a situation where ‘thoughtcrime’ is impossible as ‘there will be no words in which to express it’.  

The slogan ‘War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength’ best illustrates how Big Brother subjugates citizens by radically altering the meaning of words and, as a result, controlling their ability to think rationally and independently.  

Such is the insidious evil of distorting language and imposing groupthink that Orwell wrote: ‘The implied objective of this line of thought is a nightmare world in which the Leader, or some ruling clique, controls not only the future but the past … if he says that two and two are five – well, two and two are five. This prospect frightens me much more than bombs.’

Australian universities and government bureaucracies, instead of defending rationality and reason, have long since become champions of cultural-Left language control and groupthink.  University Diversity Toolkits tell staff to use gender-neutral pronouns, to describe the early convict settlement as an invasion and that it is wrong to describe pre-European Aboriginal culture as primitive.

The Victorian Department of Health and Human Services organises ‘They days’ where staff are told gender-specific nouns such as man and woman, or pronouns such as she and he, are heteronormative, homophobic and transphobic.

While the cultural-Left’s use of politically correct language is widespread and now dominates public and private discourse in English-speaking nations in particular, there is nothing new in using language to persuade and convince.

Rhetoric has been evident since the time of the ancient Greek philosophers and sophists, and includes devices such as using emotive language and euphemisms and shifting the meaning of words to suit one’s purpose and win the debate.

Where the cultural-Left’s use of language is dangerous and insidious is that it is calculated to dominate and control and to overthrow what is seen as an unjust, inequitable Western society riven with white supremacism, structural racism, sexism and transphobia.

And anyone who disagrees is condemned and vilified as Eurocentric, misogynist, heteronormative, xenophobic and,  worst of all, Christian.  So much for reasoned debate.

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Dr Kevin Donnelly
Dr Kevin Donnelly
Dr Kevin Donnelly is a senior fellow at the Australian Catholic University’s PM Glynn Institute and a conservative author and commentator.

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