Saturday, 24 March 2012

Sloppy language

Catching up with news after last week's computer crash, I've come across this report of recent comments by the Coalition Government's Equalities Minister:
"Lynne Featherstone, the Liberal Democrat minister for equality, has said that the language the Church of England and the Catholic Church has used is homophobic and that the views that the leaders are expressing belong in the Dark Ages.." [here]
We could say that this displays a ignorance of history so shocking that it should disqualify anyone from public office. 
Although, given the Prime Minister's own comments about "medieval"  barbarity in Syria [here], perhaps a lack of knowledge about the past is actually a qualification for office - in this government at least. 
And - in relation to the so-called "dark ages" - it was G.K. Chesterton who wrote that Christianity provided the one path across the dark ages which was not dark.
Why is this kind of sloppy language a problem; after all, we all know what was meant?
It is a problem, not only because of the wild inaccuracy of the words themselves, but because behind them lies the equally sloppy ideological belief in the myth of human progress, something to which our amnesiac contemporary culture seems once again addicted, after the caution rightly engendered by the horrific events of the mid-twentieth century. 
Yet the worrying  language now being used by the equality warriors (see also the comments made by a  'celebrity' on BBC's Question Time a few weeks ago) reminds me of nothing more than a joke from the long-running T.V. series The West Wing: 'What's the good of being in power if you're not going to haul your enemies in for questioning?' 
Except these people are deadly serious. 
If this is 'progress,' Ms Featherstone is a 'liberal.'
Whatever happened to the maxim attributed to Voltaire: "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it?"
We have an equalities minister (a strange post if ever there was one), what about a government minister for the protection of civil liberties and traditional freedoms?

1 comment:

  1. Hence the movement to UKIP according to Cranmer:


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