Language as an engine for change

Language as an engine for change

The Boston Globe today looks at a proposal to add a gender-neutral third-person pronoun to English. The pronoun Xe (pronounced as in Xerox) would replace he/she constructions in sentences like “Every doctor must renew his/her license.” Even more interesting it would make it easier for so-called transgenders to blend in, so that we conservatives who call a guy wearing women’s organs him and liberals who call him her, would now call him xem. Or so they think. What would happen is that liberals would use xem, xe, xers and conservatives would still use him, he, his/her, she, hers.

As we learned during the Clinton scandals, words mean things. They can also be used to advance political agendas. One famous story involves the rise of Mussolini and the fascists in pre-war Italy. All Romance languages descended from Latin have two genders—female and male. However, Mussolini decided that the feminine gender weakened Italian and decreed that no one should use the feminine form for words anymore. All words that were previously feminine would now exclusively use the masculine article. That would be akin to a US president declaring that we can no longer use the pronoun “you,” but only “thee” and “thou”. There would be chaos, but there would also be an immediate division along political lines. In fascist Italy, anyone who followed Mussolini’s edict was a fascist sympathizer and anyone who didn’t was an enemy of the state. Simply buying a gallon of milk could be an act of treason.

Language is a powerful tool and it has been used in the past to bring about acceptance of changes and is being used so again. How often do you see the word “spokesperson” in news articles? Why can’t they simply use “spokesman” or “spokeswoman” where appropriate as a descriptor? Because to do so would be to imply that there’s any kind of difference between men and women. Of course, even a blind man could determine the difference, but modern political correctness demands that we pretend that men and women are exactly alike in all things (and oftentimes that women are superior.)

The most common construction used as a gender-neutral pronoun today is even used by the most conservative of people and they probably don’t realize it. It is the use of they and their in the singular when a third-person singular pronoun is indicated. So to use our original example, “Every doctor must renew their license.” We’ve become so uncomfortable using the natural third-person generic of “he”; we’ve been so bullied by feminist gender-reconstructors that we censor ourselves in our everyday speech.

Speech is thought. How you express yourself in everyday speech is how you begin to think. If that’s true, we’re already reprogramming ourselves according to those who would destroy the sexes as God created them: “Male and female He created them.”

Written by
Domenico Bettinelli