From the Publisher November–December 2022
In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defence of the indefensible.
—George Orwell, “Politics and the English Language,” 1946
Language is at the core of everything we perceive, know, think, and express. We use words as a tool, to communicate and navigate life in a social context. We use them at every stage of cognition, from our earliest babbling at infancy to our most abstract or demanding intellectual pursuit as adults. But words also shape our worldview in ways we may not fully appreciate. As the great Spanish economist Jesús Huerta de Soto explains, language is an institution in society.
So it should not surprise us to see language attacked and corrupted, as so many of our institutions have been. This is the topic of my new essay in the Italian journal Etica & politica, reprinted here with permission. I examine the idea of linguistic corruption—i.e., consciously imposed changes in language engineered by elites for political reasons—and contrast this with natural and organic evolution of language.
The conclusions are not pretty: self-appointed cultural czars, from academics to woke CEOs and central bankers to the Associated Press and Merriam-Webster, have positioned themselves to control language from the top down. The goal, of course,
Article from Mises Wire