NOTHING BUT SOMETHING ELSE
The old song says, �Its only words . . .� but there is nothing �only� about words. The culture war is primarily a linguistic battleground. The most familiar weapon is euphemism � canting the battlefield by popularizing a word or phrase that makes your view of reality look good � or, at least, disguise the terrible truth.
Homosexuals become less threatening when they are �gay.� �Collateral damage� disguises the dead children and old women.
This is putting the Happy Face on Evil or Ugly.
When the opponents of the euphemisers adopt these words and use them, they have lost much of the battle without a fight. Author Mary Pride calls it, �Terms of surrender.�
The companion to euphemism is reductionism. This is where the life and meaning is sucked out of the important and the formerly-important is described in the basest of terms.
In other words: Reductionism = �Something is nothing but something else.�
Have you heard this argument against the institution of marriage: �Marriage is nothing but a long-term kind of prostitution � sex for financial support.�
That is like saying, as one wag put it, that a violin concerto is nothing but dragging horse hair over cat gut.
How about these:
�An unborn baby is nothing but a parasite.� (or �blob of tissue.�)
�The love is nothing but a chemical reaction in the brain.�
�The reaction you see (particularly in the unborn or the comatose) is nothing but an adverse response to noxious stimuli.�
Or, most recently:
�Marriage is nothing but two people who love each other.�
If you drain all the blood out of marriage, that description might be true, but all this does is describe the rudiments, not the fullness, of marriage.
Ultimately where reductionism of this sort leads is to a universe where everything is merely mechanistic or chemical reaction. Intangibles that have significance and meaning � beauty, truth, love, reason, justice � are all reduced to chemical versions of springs, gears, and levers. However that may affect the social and legal view of those finer things, it will also affect the legal view of culpability. There will be no bad people, only those whose chemical reactions in the brain required them to behave a certain way. Yes, required. If this is so, then there is no need for courts of law. No one can be guilty of anything they cannot control. A criminal who kills would no more fault than a heavy object that falls from a window ledge and strikes a passerby, killing him. Of course, this would also apply to the genius creating the beautiful violin concerto, but no one really wants to talk about that yet.
Yet, talking they are. A number of scientist and philosophers have been promoting such ideas for years in the universities. Their students have fanned out through the professions of psychology, medicine, law enforcement, and politics.
The beginning results are in. Nowadays, when a child barely able to speak burst out in a sting of expletives that would make a street-walker blush, they are not considered to blame. They are medicated. When a child (or adult) �acts out� violently, they are medicated. When someone behaves �inappropriately� (See: �Niggling things, 2005�), they are medicated.
You see, since these people are not to be blamed because their actions are merely part of a chemical �imbalance,� it is up to the State to determine what is �appropriate behavior� and restore the proper balance � for the good of society, of course.
So how long do you think it will take the coercive utopians in the government to find Christian beliefs and speech to be a �chemical imbalance�? Hate speech will no longer be punished, rather those who do it will be �helped.� Instead of limited terms of imprisonment for the �hate crime� there will be perpetual sentences of �treatment.� After all, �Hate is nothing but a chemical reaction in the brain, right?�
C.S. Lewis, in his incredible novel, That Hideous Strength, foresaw just such a state (and such a State).
The police chief, Fairy, says to the self-confident, but na�ve, character Mark:
�You�ve got to get the ordinary man into the state where he says �Sadism� automatically when he hears the word Punishment.� And then one would have carte blanche. Mark did not immediately follow this. But the Fairy pointed out that what had hampered every English police force up to date was precisely the idea of deserved punishment. For desert was always finite: you could do so much to the criminal and no more. Remedial treatment, on the other hand, need have no fixed limit; It could go on till it had effected a cure, and those who were carrying it out would decide when that was. And if cure were humane and desirable, how much more prevention"
So the utopian says, �Hey, this isn�t punishment, it is nothing but something else � treatment.�
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Paul deParrie is a 17-year veteran of anti-abortion street activism, a preacher, and a social critic. He is the author of "Dark Cures: Have Doctors Lost Their Ethics" (Huntington House) available at NewsWithViews Online Store Front. deParrie may be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Have Doctors Lost Their Ethics can be purchased by calling
Ultimately where reductionism of this sort leads is to a universe where everything is merely mechanistic or chemical reaction.