This subject is so important and so full of implications that I don't know where to begin. WHY DOESN'T EVERYONE KNOW THIS? But not only does no one (or few people, anyway) know about it, they wouldn't care if they did, let alone be dazzled by it.
Let's begin with this observation; read it slowly and literally, that way I won't have to use a bunch of italics to emphasize every other word. When a fellow
ceases to govern his words with a view to stating the reality of things, he automatically ceases to communicate anything. For language becomes communication the moment it expresses a link to reality, and by the same token it ceases to be communication the moment this link is destroyed.
This link is everything; or, without it there is nothing, literally.
And yet, we have whole schools of philosophy which are founded precisely on the denial of this link (of word to thing, of language to reality). The result isn't just intellectual depravity, but -- because the True and Good are maimed if detached from one another -- moral retardation. If you want to know why academia is so bad and so stupid, this may be the biggest reason. And the poison trickles down into politics, entertainment, and journalism (but I threepeat myself).
An image comes into view: if journalism is the second hand, culture is the hour hand and politics and entertainment the minute hand of this giant crock. What time is it? It's always narrative time. The only difference between the news and Drag Queen Story Hour for children is...
Oh, wait. There is no difference.
In his Fools, Frauds and Firebrands, Roger Scruton describes "the capture of language by the left," founded in the "conviction that you [can] change reality by changing words." This occurs
whenever the primary purpose of language -- which is to describe reality -- is replaced by the rival purpose of asserting power over it.... Newspeak sentences sound like assertions, but their underlying logic is that of the spell. They conjure the triumph of words over things, the futility of rational argument, and also the danger of resistance.
Satan's spell? Maybe. If so, it is undoubtedly his second greatest trick: not only does he disappear, he takes language with him.
We all know that leftists are irrational children, but few people understand that the irrationality isn't just at the level of knowledge, but much deeper than this, at the level of ontology: they aren't just wrong, but cannot help being wrong; they are wrongness as such.
Now, logocide is the gateway to homicide and even genocide. This is literally true when we examine the unhinged rhetoric of, say, communists or National Socialists; the abuse of people is always rooted in, and justified by, a prior abuse of language. For the left, the detachment of word from thing isn't a bug but a feature. After all, a human being is one of those real things from which language becomes detached when it detaches itself from real things. Indeed,
Human individuals are the most important of those real things, the obstacles that all revolutionary systems must overcome, and which all ideologies must destroy.
There's much more in Scruton, but I want to get back to Pieper, since he's more concise, not to mention a level or two deeper (since Scruton was, correct me if I'm wrong, an agnostic). Pieper agrees that
usage of words divorced from their roots in reality, actually has another purpose altogether: that namely this kind of language inevitably becomes an instrument of power, and at bottom is so from the very outset.
Outset of what? One wants to say Genesis 3 All Over Again, and maybe we will. But first we must lay a foundation. Not so much build a bridge to the past, as one which spans the vertical present: up and down.
It all begins with the corruption of the word, whereby our most precious gift is transformed into an almost infinitely destructive curse. What is the proper use of this gift? It has two powers, first "to make known something real in the act of calling it by name," and second, "to make it known to someone else."
Thus, two related purposes: to name and to communicate reality. In short, the word is a link between mind and reality; and between minds. Deny the first and you render impossible the second, for if we aren't speaking about reality, then of what are we speaking? Yes, unreality, AKA nothing. Or maybe you missed the Dem debate last Wednesday.
The communication of reality is the reality of communication, for if we weren't already in communion, then no amount of language could bridge that divide.
Two purposes, two potential logopathologies: these are "the corruption of the link between word and reality" and "and the corruption of the word as communication." We call the second lying, or at the very least conveying untruth. But the first isn't even lying, since it renders any communication of truth a priori impossible. Again, once you deny the link between words and reality, then exactly what are you talking about, anyway?
Speech which emancipates itself from the norm of (real) things, at the same time necessarily becomes speech without a partner.
Liberation! Yes, but is liberation from reality a good thing? Or should young people skip college?
You will have noticed that the people who are detached from reality don't stop speaking. If only! But again, of what are they speaking, and to whom? Of nothing and to no one: it is a kind of total cosmic narcissism sealed in tenure: crystalized nonsense. It is the flowing substance of nothing, as when Obama opens his mouth and the banalities fall out.
Let us not pretend that Republican politicians don't do the same thing. President Trump is not one of them, which is why they secretly detest him if they don't openly embrace him. Consider his joyous and freewheeling rallies. Pieper writes that
When one person ceases to speak to another in the artless and spontaneous manner which characterizes genuine conversation, and begins to consciously manipulate his words, expressly ceasing to concern himself with the truth -- when, in other words, his concern is something other than the truth -- he has, in reality, from that point on ceased to regard the other person a partner in a conversation. He has ceased to respect him as a human person. Thus, strictly speaking, from that point on all conversation, all dialogue, all mutual exchange of words, comes to an end!
Note that his enemies interpret Trump's respect as disrespect; and conversely, (say) Obama's profound disrespect -- his condescension and contempt -- as respect. Everything an Obama or Clinton or Warren says is calculated and manipulative. Who doesn't feel disrespected by their pandering?
I have no doubt that a large part of Sanders' appeal is that he has the appearance of Trump's genuineness and respect for his listeners, but let us not forget that he, more than any other candidate, is an unapologetic adherent of the very political philosophy that attacks language, denies reality, nullifies communication, and destroys the person.
Sanders can't actually respect his listeners, rather, only flatter and therefore manipulate them. They are fools and tools. When he speaks to them, "the word is deprived of its nature" and becomes instead a "drug which is administered to the other person" (ibid.).
Back in my day, college students at least used real drugs, which were far less dangerous than the verbal kind. The latter is a deadly threat to society itself, because "the decay of communication" leads to "the danger that reality and truth may become unrecognizable to us all." People may, for example, see Pete Buttigieg kiss his "husband" after the debate, and sense nothing weird or abnormal about it.
Of course, this has zero to do with "homophobia"; charges of homophobia are precisely what we mean by language becoming an intimidating and abusive instrument of force. After all, if gender and everything else are mere cultural constructs, and no culture is better or wore than any other, then on what basis can my cultural constructs be criticized?
Correct: on the basis of power, so don't pretend your outrage has any basis in morality, much less truth.