I have mentioned before the instantaneous reversal of parity
by the left and their docile, obedient followers (journalists
and "educationists" mainly) when the iron curtain
was dropped and the Soviet Union was, at last, revealed in
its full glory.
Finally the left was forced to admit that it really was what
critics of socialism had been saying it had been for decades:
a gigantic charnel house coffin, reeking with slave labor
camps and death camps, in which the people had been kept in
a state of terror, poverty, and miserable, drab, slavery for
seven decades. ( Of course the left knew this; but, to them,
the preservation of the socialist myth was more important
than the freedom and lives of 300 million people, so they
stayed absolutely silent until the revelations of 1989/90).
But when their faces were, at last, rubbed in the dried blood
of tens of millions of victims, they immediately began referring
to those who wanted to largely abandon socialism and introduce
some economic freedom as the 'left', and those who wished
to retain socialism as the "right".
Martin Gardner, the American philosopher long beloved for
his Mathematical Games column in Scientific American, once
wrote a book called The Ambidextrous Universe about left and
right, and the phenomenon of parity reversal. Perhaps he should
publish a new edition, and mention this as an example: it
is certainly as bizarre as anything else he mentioned in the
Another example of the abuse of language by the left which
I think I have mentioned is the description of Pol Pot as
a "capitalist", once the truth had finally been
revealed to the left (everybody else knew what was happening
only weeks after Pol Pot seized power; it was not leftist
media darling John Pilger that revealed the truth to the world,
but the Cambodian people themselves.
Millions of words of evidence of atrocities unspeakable even
by Soviet or Nazi standards poured from the mouths of refugees,
which the left chose to totally ignore, except to accuse these
tragically affected people - most of them ordinary peasants
- of being "landlords" or "gold hoarders").
To mention another case: those on the left commonly describe
themselves as "progressive", implying that everybody
else, especially those who believe in individual rights, are
somehow backward. However, socialism is anything but a "progressive"
philosophy; rather, it is very close to the feudalist societies
of medieval Europe. The reader is recommended to Barbara Tuchman's
The Distant Mirror. Here she gives a description of feudal
society and its human relationships. The parallels with a
socialist state or a modern, centrally directed, authoritarian
welfare state, are striking.
The land-owning nobility were the equivalent of the government
and its bureaucrats today. The church, supposedly pure and
highly moral, but in fact hypocritical, venal, and totally
opposed to human liberty, have, today, been replaced by the
college and university: today's academics are the exact equivalent
of the priests of feudal times. The nobility and the church
saw themselves as the protectors of the poorest class, the
These earthly and spiritual rulers were so morally pure that,
by their own lights, their whole lives were devoted to the
interests of the poor, land-bound serf. And the most reviled
and despised person in feudal society was, of course, the
merchant. He was the equivalent of today's capitalist, and
the rulers absolutely loathed him, and were constantly introducing
new laws to fetter him.
The worst thing about the merchant was that he actually had
something to offer the serf besides pious words, perpetual
slavery, and massive theft. He had all kinds of goods, especially
cheap cloths, often imported, which the serf could afford,
and which came in bright hues. This last is very important
to somebody who is otherwise condemned to wearing dark, filthy
rags for their whole life; and the barons and priests, sensing
that the serf might actually start to think about his independence
and self-respect, brought in laws forbidding the underclasses
to wear any colors apart from brown and black.
The serf had to, at all times, be kept as a slave beholden
to the banquet hall and the pulpit; the reviled merchant represented
an open threat to this relationship. The merchant wanted the
serf to be free; he would then be a better customer, but the
barons "protected" the serf from such dangerous
ideas as freedom and individual rights.
Socialist dictatorships this century are exactly the same;
the laboring classes have no hope of betterment, while all
the positions of money and power are filled by the idiot children
of the ruling clique. The expository passage in 1984 describes
this feature of collectivist societies very well.
The liberation of the poor, and the destruction of the system
that had oppressed them for so long, occurred with the industrial
revolution and free market capitalism. As Lord Acton pointed
out, the social class which has the most to gain from economic
freedom is the laboring poor - the rich, on the other hand,
are greatly threatened by liberty and free movement between
classes. So much for the slippery and evil abuse of language
which sees socialism as "progressive" and freedom
Possibly the worst example of language abuse in this nation
is that which sees the word "liberal" as referring
to anybody who believes to a large degree in authoritarian
collectivism. This is an atrocious and utterly dishonest inversion
which those who believe in individual rights should never
The word "liberal" is derived from the ancient
Greek word for freedom, and in other countries refers to exactly
that. The now defunct Liberal Party in Britain was the successor
to the Whigs, those who stood for freedom against the rigid
class structuralists of the Tory Party, and, later, the socialist
enslavers of the Labor Party.
It has been said that all people can be divided into two
groups: Platonists and Aristotelians. Plato was the first
collectivist totalitarian; his Republic is the first socialist
state. Noam Chomsky, Al Gore, the Clintons etc are unquestionably
Platonists. This correspondent (and his publisher) are Aristotelians,
those who put the rights of the individual ahead of the whims
of Plato's philosopher kings (and queens).
This Aristotelian group are the true liberals. I call on
anybody who passionately believes in genuine human rights
to reclaim the word "liberal": we should never have
let it go without a fight.
The reason I am writing about this at such length is that
once language is corrupted, the whole process of thought is
corrupted too. George Orwell made this point painfully clear
in 1984. It is YOUR responsibility to never allow the left
to get away with the kind of language corruption and distortion
I have written of here. If you do, you will find that your
children will, eventually, no longer be able, much less permitted,
to think clearly and question the nostrums of the left. Corrupt
language corrupts thought; please, please, never forget that.