I will never forget hearing this statement spoken to me by Lt. Col. Jeff Cooper USMC, now deceased. He was my uncle, and I respected him for things beyond those for which he was famous. I admired this man most of all because he taught me clarity in reasoning. When he said this to me I did not fully comprehend it. There was a vagueness somehow in my understanding of its meaning. I wondered against what I knew of his sublimely concise mind if he had not meant something else, something more clear.
But this statement became more and more clear to me as time went on and as I tried to express my own thoughts clearly in writing. After the geopolitical events of this last year, any vagueness that the statement first evoked in me has faded. My understanding of it has reemerged with clarity. After Bush, TARP, Porkulus, GM, Obama’s Cap and Trade and Health Care, and the entire charade known as the Bailout Game, nothing is now clearer to me than this truth. When words lose their meaning people truly lose their freedom.
How is it that words lose their meaning? Words lose their meaning generally over long periods of time. Today, a semantic masquerade is being used as a propaganda mechanism by the Left. The common meaning of words is being destroyed by Progressive Academic Liars. Jed Gladstein has an article entitled The Point of the Dagger, at American Thinker, dealing with just this subject. It is a great read. He has highlighted many words that are slowly losing their meaning.
Take the word socialism, for instance. It has lost all meaning to some folks these days. The Oxford Dictionary on my computer has this entry:
socialism |ˈsō sh əˌlizəm|
a political and economic theory of social organization that advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole.
• policy or practice based on this theory.
• (in Marxist theory) a transitional social state between the overthrow of capitalism and the realization of communism.
When I was at a tea party town hall, a proponent of Obamacare was upset that people were calling Obama a socialist. The media fence-sitter, Bill O’Reilly would agree; O’Reilly is willing to point out all of Obama’s socialistic policies, yet he bristles when someone comes out and calls him one. Obama and the socialists now occupying the White House want to do things exactly the way Oxford defines socialism. When I pointed this out to the Obama supporter at the tea party, he claimed that police, fire, and other vital services were socialism. So I asked him if he were a socialist. He just got red in the face at my stupidity. The word socialism had lost its meaning for him.
The twisting of the common sense meanings of two words more than any others has been the engine driving the attack that threatens our freedoms. The two words are justice and equality. Throw in the word fairness alongside justice and equality and you have all the ingredients needed to justify the radical Progressive agenda. The Progressive Movement and their judicial allies have systematically substituted these three words for each other for over a century. And it is quite important to all Progressives that any clear differences in their use are glossed over, so that any clear thinking that might result from their common meaning will remain obscure.
In a general sense the word justice implies fairness. But today politicians attach an imperative of equality when using the word justice. They imply that there is no justice unless there is equality. This is not true. The goddess of justice is blindfolded to keep differences in status out of her judgment while she weighs the facts in a scale and executes with a sword. Equality is not a requirement of justice. And most of the time justice is simply the execution and application of the law with no respect to equality at all.
When the word justice is used by politicians it necessarily locates the word squarely within their purview of lawmaking. In the context of the law justice is truly much more specific in its meaning. If justice necessitates equality, then the law must demand equality. Always! Without our knowing it, a sleight of hand has been performed. It also takes on a noble mantle if they succeed in attaching equality to it as an imperative. This creates a pretense of moral superiority. The process is designed to pull the heartstrings of good Christians all across the land by using echoes from the Sermon on the Mount. It is the prime propaganda tool for socialism. A Christian feels trapped unless he embraces some form of social activism. Charity is diminished as inferior to compulsory government-funded entitlement.
Recently, Obama took to the pulpits to demand universal health care as a moral requisite by spouting about being your brother’s keeper and reciting other scriptures out of context. He even resorted to redefining government’s relationship to God as one of partners even in matters of life and death.
The word equality does not describe something inherently bad. It is just that there are a couple of versions of it. We live in a universe of contrarieties where all things have opposites. In physics there is an anti-particle for every particle. In the moral universe there are good and evil. Alexis de Tocqueville described two versions of equality in his tome, Democracy in America. Old Alexis pointed to first, an equality that looks upwards as a direction towards which there is the desire to head, and second, an equality that looks upwards with envy, wanting to bring it downwards.
If you regard someone as superior to yourself and determine to make yourself equal through your own honest effort you are exercising what de Tocqueville described as a manly passion for equality. It is healthy. It causes an upward movement of your own will. However, if you see someone as superior to yourself and believe that any superior person doesn’t really deserve his position because of privilege or race, and you must bring him down to your level, you are indulging a depraved taste for equality. Envy prefers equality in slavery to inequality with freedom. This is first and foremost a state of mind that fosters the intellectual bondage growing in prevalence in our society today.
If enough of us indulge in it we will wind up in a total nanny-state with universally inadequate and rationed health care, food, energy, employment, opportunities etc. We will all be brought down to a manageable level where there are no glaring inequities except of course those indulged in by the elite ruling class. By perverting the common meaning of the word justice to necessitate equality, the individual’s understanding and awareness of his Creator-given freedoms is weakened.
When words lose their meaning people lose their freedom.
Government-run health care is the latest attempt to establish tyranny from those who presume they are the definers of justice. So now we have “distributive justice” by Ezekiel Immanuel, “economic justice” by Rahm Immanuel, “energy justice” by Tim Geithner, and any other version of “justice” they conjure to justify the wealth-reduction of central planning. They reframe debate on any topic in terms of urgency and at the same time position themselves as defenders of the moral high ground. They use the language of justice, equality and fairness to mask ulterior motives — the seizing and redistribution of property, the consolidation of raw power, and the attendant destruction of individual liberty.
Progressives try to convince us that they have come to our rescue by using the word justice when they really mean the slavery of equality. They claim fairness demands it so that they might look better while they barter enough votes to grab power and secure their permanence. This is the antithesis of the intent of our founders who reasoned that all attempts by groups of elites of any stripe to control the governance of men denies the great mass of the population any hope of their own vision of happiness. The twentieth century is filled with so many abandoned examples of this that you would think they would have gotten the message by now. They have not.
In this country we have an abundance of second-rate tyrants in-waiting. And as of last year these anti-capitalist forces are united against the common man and his dreams. Now we have Wall Street, Big International Banking, Big Government Sponsored Corporations, Big Greens, Big Labor, Big Media, and Big Government itself all completely unified. The politics of division that our founders constructed for our protection is under siege. It started last year with half of the country’s sustenance being sucked out of regular folk’s pockets towards DC and Wall Street. The great centralization is under way.
It is important for us to be clear about what words mean, or our freedoms will be lost forever before we are even aware of it. We are even now, very close. If society passes laws that unequivocally demand equality, only in this context can someone honestly speak the word justice and mean equality. This however, is the essence, the pretense, the meaning, the lie, the redistributive evil, and the utter failure of Marxism. And this is why they bristle when they are labeled as socialists. Whether they admit it or not they are supporting a transitional social state between the overthrow of capitalism and the realization of communism. Today they are selling a hybrid of socialism, communism and fascism. No matter what they call themselves they are the enemies of free men and women. They are an elitist hodgepodge of oligarchs and plutocrats wearing a cheap suit woven out of phony social justice threads.
Justice is the reasonable and fair administration of the law or authority. Fairness is a requisite feature of all justice, equality of outcome is not. When a politician uses the term social justice today, he means a progressive version of equality, the depraved sort spoken of by De Tocqueville. The term is used for manipulation. It is a lie misusing words to hide a leftist collective agenda. Don’t be fooled. Don’t feel guilty.
Both equality and fairness are present in true justice, but only as elements whose proper place is in justice’s administration, where they support the quality of its deliverance not the deliverance of equality.
We must not let these words be muddled up so that we lose our understanding of their subtle differences. For this is the first step in destroying our individual liberty.
As Uncle Jeff said, when words lose their meaning, people lose their freedom.