What is passing for change is really a form of Orwellian manipulation and it is coming to punish our wrongspeak in the name of civility, respect, and progress.

January 9, 2023

By: Bobby Casey, Managing Director GWP

wrongspeakEvolution is an interesting phenomenon, but I would contend it is often mischaracterized. Evolution is used as a blanket term for change, and it assumes these changes are progressively sophisticated in nature.

Evolution is a process over a period of time, not a single point in time where something was one way and suddenly turned to something else. Evolution is an observable shift from one thing over time to something else.

W​e study these things in biology, in culture through anthropology, in behavior through sociology, and through language in linguistics.

Change is something that happens in a particular instant. Consider the phrases “I changed my mind” or “I changed my clothes. That didn’t take eons. It took a relatively short amount of time, and there was a point where you switched thoughts or outfits. That’s change.

Both sustainable change and evolution are organic, not contrived. You can force people to do things, at least temporarily. But you have to keep the duress going to keep that condition in place.

Laws seek to do this, right? They try to engineer people into behaving a certain way, and it is backed by government force. Laws aren’t needed for people who are inclined to already fall inside those lines. They are for those who aren’t.

Laws make sense for violent offenders, but lose their logic for victimless offenses. Nonetheless, when these laws pass, people who don’t see the point in following them behave in a way that ensures they don’t get caught.

This is why New Year resolutions typically don’t stick: we are trying to force something to switch instantly when we really aren’t ready to make that change.

I​t’s obvious, for example, that most people don’t subscribe to the speed laws. Some do. But by and large you’d be hard-pressed to find people going the speed limit unless it too congested to do otherwise.

T​he logic behind it is shaky at best. Some people believe that “speed kills”. But the reality is, speed doesn’t kill. Every study done on the matter has concluded that speed unto itself doesn’t kill.

T​he news is flooded with government ambition to change behavior. This should concern everyone, regardless of whether you’re the one who follows the speed limit or flip it the bird.

I​t’s done under the guise of many things: Progress, Saving the Planet, and Civility. Ironically, taxation (read: theft) is justified under the exact same cover.

I​n contrast to change or evolution, it is very contrived and falls squarely under social engineering: a form of mass manipulation.

Look at how politics infiltrated the economy to manipulate behavior.

  • Easy access to and a t​ax write off for interest on mortgages and student loans. People are eyeballs deep in debt now.

  • T​ax deductions for having children and welfare incentives for single parenting.

  • W​hen they tried UBI in Finland, it failed because it incentivised people not to work.

  • T​here are still tax incentives to get electric vehicles and solar panels.

I​f you took the incentives away, would people still engage in this to the degree they have? Not likely. It’s the same principle as having a clearance sale. People weren’t buying the quantities at the regular price, so to incentivize more people to purchase, we reduced the price. I think we can all think of at least ONE thing we bought that we otherwise would not have at regular price.

T​his sort of control already enters into an ethical grey area considering it often begets new problems with no tenable solution.

W​e saw a good amount of this during the pandemic when moratoriums were placed on mortgages, rents, and student loans; unemployment benefits were ramped up; and stimulus checks were issued. It pacified people toward the shut down of the economy for a bit.

O​f course we are seeing the inflationary fall-out from all of that now.

T​he more insidious and dare I say deleterious shifts are happening in language. Language is how laws are defined, no matter where you are. Words are not umbrella terms under the law, they are very particular things. The same is true for statistics and in science, so broadening the bandwidth of these terms can have very bad implications for the future.

W​e started seeing this when the idea of “hate crimes” was introduced. Before that, a crime was a violation of the law. Now there’s “hate crimes” where if your motive for committing the crime was in some way racists or homophobic there were additional penalties levied against the perpetrator.

S​o assault is already illegal. But assault by a bigot is somehow worse.

Essentially punishing someone for what they were thinking about the person they assaulted, in addition to their actions.

T​he word felon has lost its flare too. It used to carry some gravitas. When you heard someone was a “felon” you’d think of a violent offender, like someone who brutally murdered someone. Nasty business. Now if you receive lobsters that aren’t packaged in accordance with regulation, you could be looking at 8 years for money laundering, smuggling, and conspiracy. All felonies.

T​his is classic motte and bailey fallacy nonsense.

The motte: You want to live in a civilized society, don’t you? You’re not deliberately trying to be disrespectful of people are you?

T​he bailey: Give me all the money I voted to take from you. Speak only in gentle euphemisms.

Same logic presented during the pandemic.

T​he motte: No one wants to be responsible for killing Nana!

T​he bailey: give up your livelihood, spiral into depression, and die in poverty.

These megalomaniacs prey on people’s general desire to be decent human beings. They qualify themselves with “any respectful person would go along with this”, entailing that those who don’t are disrespectful and willfully so.

T​he whole things smacks of some Orwellian agenda.

Coronavirus was one of two major viruses responsible for the common cold. But suddenly, when you referred to it as a cold people corrected you and vehemently denied it.

W​hen anyone challenged the narrative from the un-elected government officials (c.f. The Great Barrington Declaration) they were cast out as “misinformation”.

N​ow the CDC has rolled out a list of “preferred language“. The stated purpose of the CDC is to protect the health and safety of Americans. At what point did it become its job to safeguard against wrong speak?

I​t used to be malice was an impetus or motive. Now malice is simply not complying with the latest in PC terminology.

O​ne of the United States’ preeminent universities, Stanford University, released a Elimination of Harmful Language Initiative that reads much like the CDC’s.

Most of these terms would be totally benign in ordinary context and common parlance. You would have to go out of your way to take umbrage with many of these words. For example:

“User”; consider using “Client” instead. Rationale: While often associated with one who uses (software, systems, services), it can also negatively be associated with those who suffer from substance abuse issues or those who exploit others for their own gain.

The contexts for software user and drug user are so wildly different, the idea that someone would be inferring drug abuse while talking about using software systems goes beyond absurd.

I​t’s a creep though. They appeal to the fact that it’s not difficult to make this switch: Why are you putting more energy into this correction than simply just going along to get along? You must really be hateful if you’re getting so defensive.

Remember when they did that with masks?

People are losing their scholarships, jobs, and careers over this. Whatever the offense could’ve been for not keeping up with the euphemism treadmill, the consequences go beyond the commensurate.

T​hey are controlling words and even speech and I’m struggling to see how this isn’t a page out of 1984.

Look what’s happening to Jordan Peterson. He first had the spotlight on his when he refused and rebuked forced speech in Canada. The College of Psychologists of Ontario is threatening to take Peterson’s license to practice psychology.

[T]he CPO has ordered him to complete a mandatory “Specified Continuing Education or Remedial Program” to “review, reflect on and ameliorate [his] professionalism in public statements,” according to a lengthy list of requirements from the college that Peterson shared on Twitter. He must meet with a psychologist for coaching classes, which he must pay for, until a final report is issued by the coach that shows their concerns have been “properly ameliorated.”

The CPO argues that Peterson’s social media interactions constitute a violation of the organization’s standards for professional interactions with the public. In other words, the CPO essentially believes it has the right to control the speech of member psychologists and force them to adhere to a predetermined narrative they find acceptable when engaging with the public.

S​o they are demanding a re-education camp for Jordan Peterson to get his head right. Between his refusal to go along with the pronoun protocol, and his admonishment of how Canada handled the pandemic, his hot takes are not setting well among his peers.

He might very well be at a point where the consequences won’t matter to him; I don’t know. But he’s not the only one. California passed legislation a few months ago banning Covid 19 “misinformation”:

California Governor Gavin Newsom signed legislation that would allow the state medical board to discipline physicians and surgeons who spread misinformation about COVID-19 during patient care.

Misinformation is defined in the legislation as “false information that is contradicted by contemporary scientific consensus contrary to the standard of care.”

Medical misinformation about COVID-19 is suspected in keeping the vaccination rate relatively low in the U.S.

S​o does this mean telling people they can opt out of getting the vaccine if they already had Covid-19? Does this include the ivermectin regimen administered to Joe Rogan? Does this include telling patients to get outside and exercise? We will find out soon enough.

But wait, there’s more… In the UK a woman was denied surgery days before she was meant to go in because she requested an all female post surgery staff. She is a survivor of sexual assault and was going in for a colon operation. She opted out of the NHS system due to a lack of choice in staffing there and deliberately chose to pay out-of-pocket for a private hospital that appeared to be willing to accommodate her very particular request.

T​hey violated that trust during a pre-op appointment. When she called them out on it, they decided to cancel her appointment via email the weekend before the operation to protect their staff from “discrimination and harassment”.

Regardless of where you stand on a given issue… even if you are not the type to make a single wave under any circumstances or you fully disagree with everyone from Peterson to the California doctors to the woman in the UK… the precedent is undeniable. This is happening around the world.

T​he market needs to be a dispassionate place where people who would otherwise never be friends, could still serve one another through commerce. It’s economically untenable to allow ideology to interfere with people’s fundamental pursuits in life. The idea that there needs to be a purity test for letting people go about their lives is ominous to say the least, and terrifying at worst. Be mindful as you go about the world and know this is lurking and metastasizing.

T​his is not change or evolution. This is manipulation and coercion. This is social engineering.

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