“You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”
-The Princess Bride
We are now reaping a bitter generational harvest in America, sown into the ground because we have permitted:
- Marxists almost unchecked dominance of the influential platforms of pop culture and the classroom.
- Too many of our churches to retreat into some “comfortably numb” seeker-friendly Xanadu, where they building suburban palaces instead of culture.
- The Republican Party to be taken over by a feckless political class either unwilling or incapable of defending and advancing our principles.
One of the most rotten fruits of this bitter harvest is the loss of the language itself. Whole words that meant one thing for generations now have completely different meanings, and nothing unhinges a culture faster than the loss of shared language/terminology.
So to recover the language, and thus our lost legacy, I went back to the master linguist himself—Noah Webster.
Fluent in 27 languages, Webster was one of the most influential thinkers among the first-born generation of newly-minted Americans. Best known today as “the father of American education” and for the dictionary which bears his name, Webster is as responsible as any single person in our history for preserving the American view of law and government passed down to us from the Founding Fathers.
Yet as we have collectively drifted from our most cherished traditions, Webster’s influence has waned as well. As a result, even though our letters and spelling are the same as they were in Webster’s day, the definitions are decidedly different.
Don’t believe me?
Let’s consult Webster’s legendary 1828 edition of American Dictionary of the English Language. Take a look at terms vital to the preservation of American Exceptionalism, and see how Webster himself defined them compared to how they’re defined now.
Webster 1828 definition: “That which justly belongs to one…Just claim by sovereignty; prerogative. God, as the author of all things, has a right to govern and dispose of them at his pleasure…Just claim; legal title; ownership; the legal power of exclusive possession and enjoyment…Conformity to the will of God, or to his law…Conformity to human laws, or to other human standard of truth, propriety or justice. When laws are definite, right and wrong are easily ascertained and understood.”
Today’s definition: “Access to what I want when I want it…especially if I can rally a particular group (mobocracy) and the media to bully others into agreeing with me…the full realization of my desires and preferences, which you must then pay for.”
Webster 1828 definition: “A rule, particularly an established or permanent rule, prescribed by the supreme power of a state to its subjects, for regulating their actions, particularly their social actions. Laws are imperative or mandatory, commanding what shall be done; prohibitory, restraining from what is to be forborne; or permissive, declaring what may be done without incurring a penalty. The laws which enjoin the duties of piety and morality, are prescribed by God and found in the Scriptures…Law of nature, is a rule of conduct arising out of the natural relations of human beings established by the Creator, and existing prior to any positive precept. Thus it is a law of nature, that one man should not injure another, and murder and fraud would be crimes, independent of any prohibition from a supreme power.”
Today’s definition: “Whatever a judge or court determines to be lawful if I agree with he/she/them at the time….whatever a politician(s) determines to be lawful if I agree with he/she/them at the time…an evolving standard of justice based on whatever ruling power in charge at the time determines is right and wrong…based only on their own opinions they impose upon you, but of course they don’t let you impose upon them.”
Webster 1828 definition: “The quality of an action which renders it good; the conformity of an act to the divine law, or to the principles of rectitude. This conformity implies that the act must be performed by a free agent, and from a motive of obedience to the divine will. This is the strict theological and scriptural sense of morality. But we often apply the word to actions which accord with justice and human laws, without reference to the motives form which they proceed.”
Today’s definition: “An ancient word used only by those on the wrong side of history.”
Webster 1828 definition: To suffer to be or to be done without prohibition or hindrance; to allow or permit negatively, by not preventing; not to restrain; as, to tolerate opinions or practices. The protestant religion is tolerated in France, and the Roman Catholic in Great Britain.”
Today’s definition: “Acceptance, validation, and participation in that which you don’t agree with. Even to the point of being willing to abandon what you believe in order to tolerate what you don’t agree with, otherwise you’re a hater. Meanwhile, I don’t have to tolerate you, being that you’re a hater and all.”
Words have power, folks.
God, the “governor of the universe” as “father of the Constitution” James Madison referred to Him, spoke the universe into existence with mere words. Words declared our independence from tyranny. The redeemer of wayward mankind is literally the Words of God made flesh.
There is a reason those who plot to undo American Exceptionalism have worked so hard to capture the language. And we won’t preserve liberty for future generations until we take it back.