Fed up with ‘years of the language police’ activist Aaron Koppel declared that he has ‘had it’ with ‘this language business.’ In our interview on the Capitol steps, where he carried a sign that read “Language is For Commies,” he stated “Really, I don’t know why we didn’t see it before. There is no more communist institution than our own language. We’ve been letting this cancer eat our society.”

This appears to be in response to accusations of racism for using the word ‘nigger.’ His statement was that “I did use the word ‘nigger’ but I didn’t mean ‘nigger.’ I don’t know why you would be offended. I used that word to indicate a respectable member of our society. Maybe you’re the one being racist. I use that word in a non-racist way. You can’t tell me what I mean!”

As Aaron Koppel stated, “I just don’t know what the country is coming to if a person can’t decide what his own words mean.”

Citing language’s ‘collectivism’ where ‘a group of people or society as a whole decides what words mean’ Aaron Koppel has decided language is communist, and that is what brought him to the steps of the Capitol.

In an attempt to get to the bottom of this, I interviewed a linguist. Laci Dalley, Ph.D., stated that “Yes, language is collectivist.  All language has two meanings, the dictionary meaning (or ‘denotative’) or ‘connotative’ as in decided by context. Both meanings are equally important in determining interpretation. Words do evolve, and the meaning always resides somewhere between the speaker and the spoken-to.” She continued by invoking abstract concepts of ‘between’ and ‘intersocial space’ but at this point my notes get a little fuzzy. She did, however, definitely state that “Language is a public good, it happens between people. No one person decides what a word means. It is influenced by history, context, origin, and more.”

In response to my question, “So, are you saying that language is communist?” she said “I just….I don’t even……why bother talking at all if you’re offended that other people decide what your words mean? Shouldn’t your friend just give up on communicating altogether?”

I also spoke to Bella (no last name), a self-styled ‘guru’ of language trends, and she said that, by rejecting the communal definition of words, libertarians are clearly being influenced by Art Mute, a 1980s group who tried to break down language by creating their own personal lexicons which did not correspond to normal usage, context or history. Each statement became a word-picture and an effusive gesture of individuality. Radical word-art became a way to express how individual they are. “Really, we’re talking about privatized language. It’s a very exciting development and I intend to follow it closely.”

I was unable to directly question Aaron Koppel since by the time I returned to the Capitol he had already discovered and embraced the necessary logical extension of his claim. I found him aloofly, sullenly wandering around the Capitol. He had abandoned even his sign. I asked him how he felt about facial expressions and ‘body language’ but he did not answer.

I applaud him for his bravery in following his beliefs to their logical conclusion. Although I could not communicate with him in any way, I can only assume that he will be pursuing a life of radical muteness, in silent protest to the communist nature of language.

 Reblogged from theladylibertarian.com

  • Robert Kenneth Kirchoff

    Huh.

  • Christopher Shafer

    1. Language is a tool, how you use it determines what it is.

    2. HOWEVER, there is a point to be made from the fact(I’m being hyperbolic) that I would receive more public scorn for saying the N-word on television than for killing a child.

  • Caroline K. Gorman

    1. I think the point is that language is a tool that everybody creates, so you can’t claim you have a different meaning for a word than everybody else. That way madness lies.
    2. Political correctness does get out of hand but there is something to be said for making people aware of the impact their words have. I don’t think that should extend to firing for single offenses, though.