The importance of word choice

I was just about to write a piece on the usage and misuse of the word ‘genocide‘, when I came across Thomas Dalton’s very helpful piece on that very subject, on TOO.

Dalton, in a very apropos essay, addresses how the word is very vaguely and broadly defined, and he delineates the origins of the word, as well as the current definitions as laid down by the likes of the U.N.

I recommend the Dalton piece, but I will add my own thoughts as to the questionable utility of a word whose meaning is so elastic that it can include both ‘lethal’ and ‘non-lethal’ meanings and outcomes. For example, any attempt or ‘conspiracy’ to eliminate, or even damage or harm another group is ‘genocide’, per the existing and widely accepted definitions.

However, consult a dicitionary and you will see that the suffix “-cide” as in ‘suicide‘ or ‘homicide’, etc., describe killer, or act of killing. Hence words like ‘regicide’, ‘pesticide’, parricide, and on and on. So it seems we are wresting the meaning by applying it to other situations in which there is no death implied.

There is no half-measure with death; no-one can be sort of killed or somewhat dead. It’s one or the other.

I’ve asked rhetorically in the past: how can there have been ‘genocide’ against American Indians when there are still many living Amerindians, across North, South, and Central America? The rabid left, of course, will say that there were tens of millions of American Indians and that they were ‘all but wiped out’, and would otherwise have represented hundreds of millions. That, however, is just conjecture or plain sophistry. There was never any official census to count the number of Amerindians during the time of the early colonies. How could there have been? And it’s fact that the tribes, being mostly hunter-gatherers, could not have been sustained by that lifestyle had they numbered in hundreds of millions; hunter-gatherers require lots of land and open space to pursue their hunting-gathering way of life.

Amerindians often succumbed to diseases for which Europeans had developed some degree of immunity. This was not intentional ‘genocide’ by Whites, and what about the current situation in which many new arrivals are carrying diseases which are new to North America, and for which we may have no immunity? It’s a fact, but does the left accuse anyone of intentional harm there? Not likely.

In short, it’s fallacious and dishonest to say that ‘genocide’ took place on this continent in the past. And yet, a lot of careless thinkers on the ‘right’ agree with the charges that our ancestors ‘genocided’ Amerindians. But the tribes are still alive and holding their own, so the charge is without validity. Why can’t people grasp that?

To address the question of whether it’s useful or wise, as Dalton questions, to apply the term ‘genocide’ to the replacement of our folk here or in Europe, I would argue, also, for a careful and correct use of language. For many people the word ‘genocide’ seems hyperbolic and hysterical in the current context. I’ve certainly used the term ‘existential threat’ to describe our situation, and I think that’s accurate, but in my opinion it’s about as useful to use the term ‘genocide’ at this point as it is to call the left ‘the real racists’ (the old DR3), in other words, not useful at all. It just rolls of the backs of the targets.

In any case, even if one supposes there’s some utility in throwing these words around in hopes of scoring a bullseye somewhere, there’s this question: considering the history of the word ‘genocide’, its origins and its current definitions (as defined by the United Nations et al), do we really wish to adopt their definitions and their ways of thinking? Since when?

The right can and should do better than to adopt slippery and sophistical rhetoric just because our foes do that so freely.

And far too many on the right, not just the ‘respectable cons’ or cuckservatives have fallen prey to the endless guilt that the left tends to heap on our folk. There is too much ready adoption of undeserved guilt feelings, and the groveling desire to point the finger elsewhere and try to deflect the blame. If we stand on the truth — not easy in this Age of the Lie, we will be much stronger.

Another Founding Father falls prey to the usual suspects

You’ve no doubt read the stories of how the ‘city fathers’ (is that sexist?) of Charlottesville, Virginia have dropped their Thomas Jefferson holiday. Why? Need we ask?

This was bound to happen, given that even George Washington has been declared unfit to be honored, as he once was, as the Father of our Country.

So on, there is a discussion thread about the Thomas Jefferson situation, and predictably several people are repeating the slanders about Sally Hemings, treating the allegations as established fact. This riles me. Is it wrong to object to one’s ancestors being slandered in this way? It seems to me that the smears are a blot on the whole family line, not to say on Thomas Jefferson himself. Up until a certain impeached president resurrected the scurrilous allegations (back in the 1990s) few people even knew of the rumors — which originated with some of Thomas Jefferson’s political enemies, who happened to be unprincipled and lewd-minded men.

I’ve begun to be cynical enough to believe that anybody who repeats those rumors and calumnies now is also guilty of being lewd-minded, getting some kind of leg-tingle from imagining the scenario. Some people have read too many of the old-fashioned pulp novels about such liaisons, or seen too many sleazy Hollywood films about miscegeny. Otherwise why are they so eager to believe accusations with no proof? I hope those people never sit on juries; we like to think, perhaps too optimistically, that in our country people are reasonable and objective in their judgments, but I wonder.

From all I’ve read of Thomas Jefferson, the supposed relationship between him and Sally would have been greatly out of character for him. I suspect the people who believe him guilty have never learned much about him, never read any of his correspondence and other writings, never read a biography by an old-fashioned, objective historian. Of course he was not a saint but neither was he an exploiter, a liar, or a man of excessive carnal appetites. But in today’s world, everyone is assumed to be lecherous and lewd because that’s the nature of the society we live in, sadly. People today can’t comprehend that it was not always so, that there were once people of integrity, who lived by standards and morals.

It seems I am one of the last to defend his name, at least online, and I like to think I’d do so even were I not connected to him by blood. There was an older gentleman, also a descendant, who used to speak up in Jefferson’s defense on the Internet, but I think he’s no longer with us, so it seems Jefferson has fewer and fewer defenders these days. It’s sad, because it’s also an indication of how traditional America, along with our old standards, our old culture and its symbols, our heroes, and our history, all are under attack if not destroyed. The young like to label anyone who tries to defend the ‘old America’ as a ‘patriotard’ or (depending on age) as a ‘boomertard’ but someone has to speak up, or just passively watch it all crumble before our eyes.

One of the worst losses of the war on old America is the loss of our free speech, the loss of the right to speak our minds freely, even to criticize the powerful. Of course it’s always politically correct to slander our Founding Fathers and our ancestors generally, or to criticize those who are now society’s underdogs, not quite outnumbered yet, but already all but silenced. Thomas Jefferson was a great champion of free speech, and I think he would be greatly grieved to see the America that has replaced the one he and his contemporaries created for us.