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Abraham Lincoln Quote

You will never get me to support a measure which I believe to be wrong, although by doing so I may accomplish that which I believe to be right.

ideas > Changing the meaning of words means loss of freedom

Changing the meaning of words means loss of freedom
While reading the book “The Fatal Conceit: The Errors of Socialism” by Noble Prize winning economist Friedrich Hayek, I ran across a quote that I believe is very profound and relevant to our current political climate in the United States. The quote is attributed to that ancient wise man Confucious. He said, “When words lose their meaning people will lose their liberty.”

I thought a few examples of words losing their meaning and this leading to a loss of liberty.

The first example comes from the nineteenth century. Most people do not know that liberalism had the exact opposite meaning that it has today. Milton Friedman said in his book “Capitalism and Freedom” that “As a supreme, if unintended compliment, the enemies of the system of private enterprise have thought it wise to appropriate its label.” He further adds that “liberalism has, in the United States, come to have a very different meaning than it did in the nineteenth century or does today over much of the Continent of Europe. According to Milton Friedman, “As it developed in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the intellectual movement that went under the name of liberalism emphasized freedom as the ultimate goal and the individual as the ultimate entity in the society. It supported laissez faire at home as a means of reducing the role of the state in economic affairs and thereby enlarging the role of the individual; it supported free trade abroad as a means of linking the nations of the world together peacefully and democratically. In political matters, it supported the development of representative government and of parliamentary institutions, reduction in the arbitrary power of the state, and protection of the civil freedoms of individuals.” In other words, liberalism used to mean what conservatism means today. Milton Friedman continues, “Beginning in the late nineteenth century, and especially after 1930 in the United States, the term liberalism came to be associated with a very different emphasis, particularly in economic policy. It came to be associated with a readiness to rely primarily on the state rather than on private voluntary arrangements to achieve objectives regarded as desirable. The catchwords became welfare and equality rather than freedom. The nineteenth-century liberal regarded an extension of freedom as the most effective way to promote welfare and equality; the twentieth-century liberal regards welfare and equality as either prerequisites of or alternatives to freedom. In the name of welfare and equality, the twentieth-century liberal has come to favor a revival of the very policies of state intervention and paternalism against which classical liberalism fought.”

The second example that happened much more recently involves Michelle Obama, the wife of Senator Obama. On a side note, I find that some liberals and progressives today are constantly trying to erode the traditional meaning of words, which will lead to a slow adoption of their ideas, which will lead to bigger government and a loss of liberty. They know what they are doing when they slowly attack and change the meaning of words. Now back to something that Michelle Obama said. She said in February 2008 at speech at UCLA the following, “We have lost the understanding that in a democracy we have a mutual obligation to one another.” Democracy has nothing to do with a mutual obligation to one another. That is a collectivist principle that would fit under socialism. In other words, it would have been more accurate to say, “We have lost the understanding that in a socialist society we have a mutual obligation to one another.” A democracy is defined by Wikipedia as “a system of government by which political sovereignty is retained by the people and either exercised directly by citizens or through their elected representatives.” It is clear to me that Senator Obama and his wife believe strongly in big government and its power to take care of people. They are socialists. Most Americans are not socialists, but they can be tricked into socialism politicians repeating phrases such as Michelle Obama made above. Democracy is about listening to the voice of the people. Socialism is about the government telling the people what to do. We do not have a political mutual obligation to each other. We might have a religious obligation to each other, but it certainly doesn’t involve the government unless we lived under a socialist system. I view Michelle Obama’s subtle world play to fit under the warning that Confucious gave us. The liberals are now going after the word democracy and attempting to change it into meaning socialism.

The last example I have is the meaning of marriage. Marriage throughout all time has been defined as the union of a man and a woman. Recently, the liberals have sought and succeeded in changing that to mean the union of a man and a man, a woman and a woman, and a man and woman. How will this redefinition lead to a loss of liberty? It is simple. A nation’s prosperity depends upon the values that it believes in. If a nation does not believe in private property and personal responsibility, most likely it will end up like the Soviet Union of the past. If a nation believes in the sanctity of the family, freedom, personal responsibility, and private property, then most likely it will be prosperous. Which value system a nation chooses ultimately determines how free and prosperous it is. No nation has survived long as a free and prosperous nation that has an overbearing, domineering government. Big government means the death of a nation’s prosperity. When a nation seeks to change the definition of marriage, it is really repudiating the very values of family that will lead to an orderly society. It has said that it matters not whether or not children are raised in a home with a father and mother. It has said that there is no difference between a child raised in a home with a father and mother or with same gendered couples. I admit that perhaps on an individual level in certain situations that there are very successful same-gendered couples who have raised children, but as a whole, the best way to raise children is with a father and mother. The reason that marriage has always been historically defined as a man and woman is because it works. The most stable family unit is a traditional marriage. A society is only as strong as its most stable family unit. A stable family unit means less crime, less welfare, and less government. Liberals realize that a well-functioning family within society means that big government is not needed, so they have sought to change the meaning of marriage and have sadly succeeded.

Liberty and freedom are under attack everyday by folks who wish to replace that with government imposed security. In order to accomplish this, these conspiring men and women have learned that they must change confiscate words that are their enemies and make them their friends. They have taken over the meaning of liberal. Now they are going after the meaning of democracy, marriage, and many other words representative of the traditional values and norms that have made this country strong. They will not stop until they have fully enacted a socialist tyranny devoid of freedoms and liberty. Socialism has always been evil and will always be evil. Just read the history books. The type of change that Barack Obama wants is socialism. His wife has told us this. He has told us this. Unfortunately today, most people do not associate evil with socialism, even though the history books have taught us that hundreds of millions of people have died in the pursuit of one socialist utopia or another. Instead people associate evil with capitalism which is just another word for economic freedom. How do they do this? It involves the media and a repetition of ideas. It is much easier today to change the meaning of words than it has been in past.
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