Our Threatened Freedom
Is Language A Political Tool? (04:16)
R.J. Rushdoony: 00:01 Is language a political tool? This is R.J. Rushdoony with a report on our threat in freedom. Language is increasingly used by politicians to obscure rather than to covey meaning. Any resemblance between campaign promises and election performances is purely coincidental. Our present and immediately past presidents were good in their promises, very different in their actions. Now we have a new piece of political wisdom from Governor Jerry Brown of California, a candidate for the US Senate this year.
R.J. Rushdoony: 00:44 According to the intellectual activist, he has come up with this pearl of wisdom. According to Brown, “The trouble with drunk driving laws is that drunk and sober are metaphysical concepts.” The concern of metaphysics is with questions of ultimate reality, so understood from this perspective, drunk and sober mean for most of us that these are real facts. But Jerry Brown who dabbles in Zen Buddhism believes that the ultimate reality is nothingness. So, that for him drunk and sober become empty words in a vast cosmos of meaninglessness.
R.J. Rushdoony: 01:35 Jerry Brown is a more consistently religious man than most politicians, so he speaks here with a clarity and an honesty. From his religious perspective, words are merely terms for ephemeral and meaningless phenomenon. Most of us, however, view and use words from a framework of faith governed by the bible. We, thus, do not see words, nor the things they represent, as meaningless. Rather, for us, communication depends on the reality of meaning. Both words, and what they stand for, are important and real for most of us.
R.J. Rushdoony: 02:17 Our problem is that in the politics of the modern state, a different religious perspective lurks behind the scenes. The old meanings we treasure are meaningless to the politicians all too often. In the Soviet Union, political leaders can talk about freedom when they mean slavery. They can enslave millions, working them to death in slave labor camps, and they call those slave barracks reeducation centers. This is, of course, the world of George Orwell’s 1984, the world of double think and new speak. We are still some distance from the Soviet Union, but are we not drawing closer when politicians bankrupt language and destroy the meaning of things?
R.J. Rushdoony: 03:08 We have, for example, been assured at one time or another by both republicans and democrats that a budget deficit can be a good thing. How many of us who run into a deficit situation before our next paycheck can find it a good situation to be in? Does politics sanctify in sanity and nonsense? If our politicians misuse language so easily and casually, perhaps it is because most of us do also. If I am not a man of my word, nor are you, we will hardly vote for a man who is. We will feel more comfortable with someone who is careless with the truth if we ourselves are also.
R.J. Rushdoony: 03:59 We need politicians with integrity in their hearts and their words, but to have such men, we the people must also have integrity. This has been R.J. Rushdoony with a report on our threat in freedom.
Learn more about R.J. Rushdoony by visiting: https://chalcedon.edu/founder