Terms and Concepts as Weapons of Culture War

Posted by

Legend tells that Kung Fu Tse, the great Chinese philosopher and administrator, when he was once asked what he would do first if he could become the emperor of China, replied: “I would define the concepts.” Kung Fu Tse understood that if you want to control how people act, you must control how people think. If you want to control how people think, you must control how they speak. And if you want to control how people speak, you must control language, i.e. the meaning of terms and of the concepts they refer to.

Max Weber said: Reality is chaotic. We must organize it to understand it and we organize it by conceptualizing it.

In medieval philosophy, a great dispute dominated the academic world for over a hundred years about what the nature of general concepts is. Do general concepts (universals) really exist or are they products of abstract human thinking? The dispute was called the ‘Controversy of Universals’.

Plato had taught that the general concepts are ideas. That these ideas exist before human minds existed and independently from them. Since humans are obviously born without the capability to reason and even to speak and hence do not have control or knowledge of general abstract concepts like e.g. ‘horse’ or ‘independence’ or ‘friendship’, Plato believed that the preexisting ideas of general concepts enter the human mind at birth or at conception. This position was called “idealism”. Others argued that universals really and objectively exist. They were the so-called “realists”. Yet others argued that humans only give names to things. This position was called “nominalism”.

Nominalism became the basis of modern science, which distinguishes between concept and term.

When dealing with real things, it seems easy to determine what a thing is and give it a name. But is it so easy? Define ‘horse’ and make sure to distinguish it from ‘donkey’ and ‘mule’. When you attempt that, you will need to use the distinction between “essence” and “accidence”. The essence of ‘horse’ is the set of criteria that is indispensably necessary for something to be a horse. All other properties are accidental. We can easily determine accidental horse properties: fur color, hair length, size, sex, age etc. But what makes a horse a horse and a donkey a donkey? The definition of the concept of ‘horse’ should only include those properties that make up the essence of ‘horse’, but you will easily see that the essence of the horse is not that different from the essence of the donkey. When you peel it down and down, in the end you find that you define a horse as “not a donkey”.

Games can be played with concepts and terms for real things and more so with concepts and terms for abstract objects. In fact, the same term sometimes refers to different, opposing, and even incompatible concepts.

Think of the term ‘peaceful coexistence’ for example. During the time of the Cold War, the Western World understood ‘peaceful coexistence’ to mean that capitalist and communist nations and groups of nations would tolerate and peacefully compete with each other. The Soviet understanding of the meaning of this term was completely different. They believed it to mean that Communist and Capitalist systems would compete peacefully only until the Communists would obtain a realistic opportunity to destroy Capitalism.

Now think of terms like ‘mental illness’ or ‘mental health’. During the Soviet regime, opponent or critics were declared to be mentally ill, locked up in mental institutions, and treated with psycho-drugs. In our own society today, psychiatrists are constantly introducing new mental disorders. School children who are lively, very active, perhaps due to wrong nutrition, perhaps due to above-normal intelligence, and thus occasionally disruptive in class, are now diagnosed with “attention deficit disorder” and put on Ritalin. This is still in the realm of social engineering.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have for many years and recently again described the disposition of an adult person to want to own and carry a firearm a mental disorder that should be treated. This is clearly in the realm of politically motivated culture war. The 2nd Amendment as a declaration of insanity and gun ownership as a danger to public health.

Presently, when you listen to radio or TV programs you can hear left-leaning progressives and right-leaning conservatives call each other “insane” and “idiots”. Maybe they are both right?

Terms like “NAZI”, “Fascist”, “homophobe”, “islamophobe”, and “Racist” are thrown around like hand grenades to discriminate and destroy political adversaries. Let us therefore check some of them and determine what they really mean and how they are used and abused as political weapons in our ongoing culture war.

The term ‘Nazi’ is derived from the German nickname for “Socialist”: “Sozi”. Hitler’s Party was called “National Socialist German Workers’ Party”. He wanted to differentiate his organization from the international socialist and communist movement. His followers were first and foremost German socialists, i.e. national socialists and were hence nicknamed “Nazis”. In other words: Nazi-ism is a national variant of socialism or communism.

A few days ago, I watched a German Socialist politician bash the Ukrainians as Nazis who are chasing and killing left-leaning persons in Ukraine. Maybe these Ukrainians were nationalists and had a chicken to pluck with the Russian fifth column – Russians who were moved by the Soviet regime into Ukraine to create a “Russian” ethnic presence there. The German speaker was using the term “Nazi” in the sense of super-nationalistic extremist with the underlying insinuation that he who is extremely nationalistic, is also a racist. She was apparently unaware of the term “Chauvinist”, which already exists and has been used as a name for extreme nationalism.

The term goes back to the French Napoleonic soldier Nicolas Chauvin, after whose blind and excessive patriotism and nationalism it was coined. Over the years, the meaning of the term was extended to include extreme partiality and an attitude of superiority toward members of the opposite sex.

This does not make everybody a Nazi who believes in the nation state as a viable organizational unit, who enjoys the accomplishments of his/her nation, likes the national flag, the national anthem and wants his/her government to act in pursuance of the best national interest. But the very concept of the nation and the nation state are seen by leftist globalists as anachronistic obstacles to their goal, which is global governance.

Fascism is originally simply statism. The doctrine was invented by the Italian general/poet Gabriele d’Annunzio as a return to the virtues of the old Roman republic. It was converted into pure statism by the ex-communist Mussolini who said: “Everything within the State. Nothing outside the State. Nothing against the State.”

Mussolini’s fascism was authoritarian government and negated all individualism and personal freedom. This model of thinking can be found in all totalitarian ideologies and systems, in particular in Socialism and Communism. In other words: Socialism and Communism are fascist systems because they endorse totalitarianism. But today, it is mostly collectivist ideologists who are throwing the “fascist” stink bomb at advocates of individual freedom and capitalist free market economy. The bomb-throwers are apparently unaware of the fact that Socialism and Communism are typical manifestations of fascist statism.

The term “homophobe” was formed in analogy to the term ‘homosexual”, which refers to people who prefer sex with the same sex instead of with the opposite sex (not sure what that is anymore these days). The term “homo” in this context means “the same”, not “human”. The Greek word “phobia” means “fear”. In modern psychiatry, it refers to a “… persistent, excessive, unrealistic fear of an object, person, animal, activity, or situation. It is a type of anxiety disorder.” Today, if you do not like or appreciate same-sex sexual relationships, maybe simply because you are straight and prefer sex with the opposite sex, you risk being bashed as “homophobe”. Calling a person who fails to show enthusiasm for homosexual relationships and practices “phobic” implies that anybody who fails to appreciate homosexual relationships suffers from a mental disorder. From there to having the CDC recommend mandatory detention and reeducation of homophobes is only a one small step.

A similar psychology applies to the use of “islamophobe”. The term implies that any criticism of or opposition to Islam is essentially pathological. The notion that certain tenets of Islam constitute very realistic reasons to fear this religion, i.e. that being afraid of its aggressive and intolerant ideology is perhaps quite reasonable, is summarily disqualified as sick. You don’t like Islam? You must be mentally ill.

It is very difficult to determine what “race” actually is. Surely, color alone does not define a race. There are many ethnic groups on this earth that have dark skin color or light skin color but otherwise not much in common with each other. In anthropology, race is defined as a group of humans or animals that share a set of significant characteristics, which are hereditary, provided the group does not interbreed with other races. While some characteristics maybe race-specific, like low melanin in Caucasians and sickle-cell anemia in sub-Saharan Africans, to judge, accept, or reject, an individual solely based on his/her race, is mostly based on an unjustified generalization that is not supported by facts.

Ironically, those who call others “racists” the most these days, are themselves racists. To argue that racism is a racial characteristic of white people is no less racist than to argue that stupidity is a racial characteristic of black people. In fact, to call a person systemically racist due to his/her race is racism par excellence. The proponents of the Critical Race Theory use the same logic as did the proponents of colonialism and white supremacy – only in reverse.

As this brief exercise illustrates, words and concepts have become weapons in our ongoing culture war. He who gets to define the meaning of the terms and concepts, controls the debate. And that is what the Left is trying.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.