I want to talk about an issue of great importance, and to do so without couching it in the politically-correct language with which we so commonly address it. As perilous as it may be to my reputation, I refuse to temper my language. I will speak without equivocation — a word, interestingly enough, from the Greek, meaning “the fallacy of using a word in different senses at different stages of the reasoning”.
But on this subject, no equivocation can be allowed. And certainly we want to avoid the near-surrealistic nonsense it can lead to, such as that which occured during the impeachment hearings for Bill Clinton:
It depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is. If the–if he–if ‘is’ means is and never has been, that is not–that is one thing. If it means there is none, that was a completely true statement….Now, if someone had asked me on that day, are you having any kind of sexual relations with Ms. Lewinsky, that is, asked me a question in the present tense, I would have said no. And it would have been completely true.
And that was simply in response to the question, “For the record, what is your name?”
Naturally, I’m not without sympathy for those who engage in such verbal gymnastics. With the whole world monitoring our every word, ready to pounce on any insult (real or imagined) with all the ferocity of a wolf pack descending upon a visiting grandchild, it’s only natural to become overly cautious. Still, when peace is called “pre-hostility,” software bugs are promoted as “undocumented features,” and missiles that kill innocent civilians are passed off as “incontinent ordnance,” it is well past time we put a stop to pussyfooting around the real issues.
Especially ones as far-reaching as this.
I am determined to speak plainly about the matter in an unambiguous vocabulary, unlike those feel-good and utterly meaningless platitudes that have taken the place of analytical thought. “Everything you are against weakens you. Everything you are for empowers you,” says Dr. Wayne Dyer, the Lex Luther of self-help gurus. I guess all those dudes objecting to Nazism were just mucking about in their own negativity, is that right, doctor? Or should I say, “doctor of education”? — a degree which has been given out for such momentous topics as bulletin board design (no, really).
But this is not a topic about which we can afford to indulge in the meaningless doublespeak and jargon so popular among the more cowardly of today’s commentators, or to fall back upon the ofttimes subversive platitudes of positive-thinking guides. This issue must be faced squarely and spoken about without fear of reprisal.
And if I’ve offended anyone in doing so, I’m sorry — but it had to be said.