Language Can Change the World

It is important to be aware of the principle that, as the American philosopher, Peter Kreeft, noted recently, ‘Control the language and you control thought; control thought and you control action; control action and you control the world.’ [1] In the last few decades there has been a covert emptying-out, and re-filling of certain key words with new meanings. This process subtly modifies how we perceive and deploy the original word, and also how we consider the matter to which it pertains.

The most obvious example is the term ‘partner’, which is now the only acceptable term in the public realm for ‘wife’ or ‘husband’. But far more is at stake here. Referring to a wife or husband as a ‘partner’ in effect neuters the concepts of ‘wife’ and ‘husband’, stripping them of the whole range of meanings, including those of sex, gender, permanence and sexual exculsivity. ‘Partner’ simply means ‘my present domestic (including sexual) VIP’. However, this meaning rides on the back of the traditional meanings associated with the words ‘wife’ or ‘husband’ and, in so doing, loosens the moorings of collective meaning and value which used to be attached to them. [2]

What does this mean? What is another example of the changing of the definition of a word? Consider the word “natural”

Let’s differentiate between two meanings of the word natural. The first … is ‘what we can infer from the design of Creation.’ The second is ‘anything that occurs in Nature’ … Whatever people do with these body parts can be termed ‘natural’ in that second definition, a label that appears to hallow whatever it touches. But there’s a problem. If ‘natural’ means ‘anything that happens’, there are absolutely no limits. Anything that anyone can think of doing with his sex organs has to be called natural. [3]

We must resist the re-defining of language. We already face a world where “unity” has been redefined as uniformity; where “dissent” has been called “intolerant” and where peace is defined as the absence of dissent.

The truth is that, as Adlai Stevenson said, “A free society is one where it is safe to be unpopular.”, and in trying to make themselves more popular the homosexual agenda has made us all less safe.

Evil people exploit good people by persuading them that it is wrong to call evil by its name. – James Hitchcock


[1] Peter Kreeft, Boston College Observer, April 2004

As a philosopher the thing that strikes me most is the brilliant strategy of the gay marriage movement. Like Orwell in 1984 it sees that the main battlefield is language. If [gay advocates] can redefine a key term like ‘marriage’ they win. Control language and you control thought; control though and you control action; control action and you control the world.

[2] Noland, Sugden & Finch, eds. God, Gays and the Church: Human Sexuality and Experience in Christian Thinking (London: The Latimer Trust, 2008), 234.

[3] Frederica Matthewes-Green, “Bodies of Evidence”, June 2005;

One thought on “Language Can Change the World

  1. There are no more lines written in the sand, anything goes. It is true of the world, but it is also true for the Church, different denomination has different ideas on the definition of sin.

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