The dictionary is now a political weapon, edited at will by sanctimonious ‘progressives’ in order to dominate their ideological opponents.
Definitions are changed with breathtaking speed in order to make the perfectly acceptable thing a conservative has said at breakfast, evidence of bigotry by dinner.
The tactic — employed Tuesday with devastating effect against US Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett — is one with which Australians are familiar.
Macquarie Dictionary announced it would broaden the definition of misogyny a week after Julia Gillard’s speech labelling the then Prime Minister Tony Abbott as a “misogynist”.
Misogyny had been defined as “a hatred of women”. The problem for Gillard was that Tony Abbott did not hate women – he was married to one. And he had three daughters. And a sister. And a female deputy.
So ‘dictionary’ editor Sue Butler told the Sydney Morning Herald the definition would be “changed to reflect what Ms Gillard really meant”.
Now that’s power – the ability to imagine your own version of reality and then edit the dictionary to later wave around as proof that your reality does in fact exist!
What Macquarie Dictionary did in a week to damn Abbott, Webster’s dictionary did in a day to trap Amy Coney Barrett.
Trump’s Supreme Court nominee told her Senate confirmation hearing:
“I have never discriminated on the basis of sexual preference and would never discriminate on the basis of sexual preference.”
Later that same day the Democrats decided the term ‘sexual preference’ — a term Joe Biden used without complaint as recently as May and that media and gay activists have used for more than a decade — was problematic.
Senator Mazie Hirono said it was “an offensive and out-dated term used by anti-LGBTQ activists to suggest sexual orientation is a choice”.
MSNBC producer Kyle Griffin, who is himself gay, tweeted:
"Sexual preference," a term used by Justice Barrett, is offensive and outdated. The term implies sexuality is a choice. It is not. News organizations should not repeat Justice Barrett's words without providing that important context.— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) October 13, 2020
Later that same night Webster’s dictionary updated its definition of ‘preference’ in order to be in lock step with leftist ideology. It now alleges:
“The term preference as used to refer to sexual orientation is widely considered offensive in its implied suggestion that a person can choose who they are sexually or romantically attracted to.”
Putting aside the fact that this meant Websters themselves were unaware the term was “widely offensive” prior to Tuesday, it was an awesome demonstration of cultural domination.
Progressives took the benign term ‘sexual preference’ and turned it into an unspeakable slur in less than 24 hours.
Simply, the term was made offensive soon after someone the Left hates had used it, so that the hated one could be retrospectively accused of hate.
Perhaps the greatest commendation of Amy Coney Barrett is that Democrats had to go so far as adjusting the dictionary in order to make her look bad.
But I digress.
It was unnerving to watch George Orwell’s 1984 play out in real time, in real life, right in front of our eyes.
One side of the political divide has now been given free license to adjust language on the fly, however they see fit.
As everything becomes digital, reality becomes fluid and the past can be edited at a whim.
Orwell may have predicted the memory hole, but not even he could have predicted real-time public viewing of it in action. And yet it’s still effective, even out in the open.
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James Macpherson is a sought after international speaker with a background in journalism at the Courier Mail and Daily Telegraph. He previously pastored a significant church in Australia and South Africa. James' weekly Good Sauce podcast comes out every Tuesday. He also writes regularly for The Spectator.