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Murdering Meaning: The Verbicide of Contemporary America

Murdering Meaning: The Verbicide of Contemporary America

In George Orwell’s 1984 are dichotomies now familiar to many Americans: “War Is Peace. Freedom Is Slavery. Ignorance Is Strength.” Inscribed on the outside of the white, pyramid-shaped Ministry of Truth, this is the motto of Oceania, a nation governed by “The Party.”

The Party designed these slogans to obfuscate the meaning of words, thereby shredding absolute truth and reality. They worked some semantical magic, altered the language, and controlled the people.

And like the Party in 1984, the media, certain politicians of both political parties, and many academics work diligently to perform these same parlor tricks. These illusionists wave wands over their top hats and out pop not rabbits but words transformed in meaning. Here are a few instances of this linguistic sleight of hand.


Originally, racism meant a skin-color-based prejudice or bigotry directed by one person or group whose skin was a different shade than the target’s.

Today, however, many argue that only white people qualify as racists. White people are demonized as such solely on the basis of their skin color. Without the slightest hint of irony, racist writers and speakers rail incessantly against the evils of “white privilege” and “whiteness.”

Thanks in large part to these bigots, hope for a color-blind society seems dead and buried.

‘Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion’ (DEI)

In a recent interview with The Epoch Times, Mike Rowe of Dirty Jobs fame briefly addresses the effects of DEI on the workplace and on our future:

I have a buddy who works for a big recruiter, the biggest one. He’s way up the food chain, and he’s placing people in multimillion dollar positions. The qualifications for those positions now all begin with gender, race, age, ethnicity, and sexual preference. They’re looking to check boxes affirmatively.

Further on down the list, they are still going to look at education and experience, but chronology matters. A lot of things are happening in the language that are informing the way companies hire, which is going to alter the way they advertise for opportunities, and it’s going to impact everything and everyone.

Suppose our collegiate and professional basketball teams applied DEI to their recruiting. Practicing real diversity and equity on starting teams would mean including three white players, one black player, and one player of another race or ethnic background. This doesn’t happen because the sports world rewards skill and competence.

At bottom, DEI is simply racism and sexism disguised by language.


An extremist according to my online dictionary is “a person who holds extreme or fanatical political or religious views, especially one who resorts to or advocates extreme action.”

In his September 1, 2022, speech to the nation, Joe Biden lambasted Donald Trump and MAGA Republicans. He said, “Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans represented an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our republic.”

In other words, a man who had served as president between 2017 and 2021 (without, notably, the republic’s consequence collapse), the millions who voted him into office, and the millions more who voted for him to be president in 2020, are all extremists.

Today “extremist” is simply a smear applied with a broad brush and little real meaning.

‘Sex Education’

I remember when sex education was introduced to American schools as a measure to cut teen pregnancy rates and reduce sexually transmitted diseases. Today sex ed goes under the innocuous title “comprehensive sex education,” but the program itself is graphic, radical, and anti-family.

Like DEI, the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS) also sounds bland and innocent, as does the legislation it’s currently pushing, the Real Education and Access for Healthy Youth Act.

But as commentator and former educator Kali Fontanilla notes of this legislation:

It’s important to remember that for the Left the term ‘sex education’ is just a euphemism for radical gender ideology and a host of other inappropriate perversions pushed on children. It bears little resemblance to the facts and anatomy-based approach to sex ed that you and I remember from our childhood.

The words remain the same, but the meaning has been drastically altered.

Other Euphemisms

Speaking of euphemisms, here are just a few in use today. “Top surgery” in reality means a bilateral mastectomy for females, often teens, as part of their quest to become males. “Termination of pregnancy” is a substitute for abortion. “Undocumented immigrant” has replaced “illegal alien.”

Perhaps worst of all is “My truth is not your truth.” It smacks of tolerance, but it erases entirely any concept of truth.

Politics breeds euphemisms like the old jingle: “Two bunnies make four bunnies, and four bunnies make more bunnies.” Theodore Roosevelt and many other Republicans, for example, once considered themselves progressives, but today a “progressive” is a code word for socialist. The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 sounds appealing, but it works as a cover for Green New Deal policies and more government spending.

Given that many in our government, universities, corporations, and media are all in on these alterations, the only way left to prevent verbicide and euphemisms is to refuse to participate in the propaganda. When modern-day racists speak of whiteness, call them out. When some describe themselves as progressives, request a definition. When others trot out some euphemism regarding sex and gender, ask questions and force them to speak in straightforward language.

Defend the true meaning of words, and you’re defending liberty.

Image credit: Pexels

Correction: A previous version of this article misquoted 1984. The updated version has the corrected quote.

Jeff Minick
Jeff Minick

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  • Avatar
    Valerie Gottschalk
    January 16, 2024, 1:20 pm


  • Avatar
    Stephen J Padilla
    January 16, 2024, 3:42 pm

    "Ignorance is Strength"

    • Avatar
      Linda Weinmunson@Stephen J Padilla
      January 22, 2024, 10:13 pm

      Did they not look at the original quote in 1984? It’s ignorance is strength not slavery.

  • Avatar
    Ken LaFave
    January 16, 2024, 3:56 pm

    An important point too often overlooked. Please see my book, "War of the Words," available thru Amazon, and my substack, listed above. Thanks.

  • Avatar
    January 16, 2024, 8:43 pm

    Thank you! Real "truth" as defined by most dictionaries printed before 2000 is in critical need today. So sick of the nonsense & idiocy that's rampant in today's world. It means nothing to people who can & do think logically.

  • Avatar
    January 17, 2024, 1:25 am

    Yes, indeed Mr Minick, the modern liberals/lefties/"progressives"–in quotes because there is nothing progressive in this "progressivism"/moral relativists/subjectivists/humanists/secularists/Democrat goons are committed to the perversion of language in order to try to convince intellectually lazy people to see things their way, and that is only because their dishonesty is the only tool they have, because honesty reveals these dogs as dreamers, liars, fools.


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