The Evolution of Terminology | Word Games

Effective propaganda campaigns use verbal engineering to bring about social change. "Verbal Engineering" is acknowledged to be the first step in social, legal, political, and cultural engineering.
  • Dr. Joseph Goebbels, Minister of Propaganda of Nazi Germany was able to manipulate the thought patterns of an entire nation.
  • George Orwell's classic "1984" used the term "Newspeak" to describe the verbal engineering that made unacceptable ideas impossible to communicate.
  • Sometimes the definition of a word or term is changed according to the bias of the person speaking.
  • Feminist, Naomi Wolf has called for an end to the use of 'euphemisms.'
  • In genetics and biology, human life begins at conception, abortion advocates insist it begins at implantation.
  • Extremists, while demanding tolerance for their beliefs, are causing erosion of tolerance and open-mindedness.

The Evolution of Terminology - Word Games

One of the most powerful things a man can do is to create an "image." Words are the tools of an image-maker.

In an address to journalists at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., June 18, 1999, Gloria Feldt, President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America said:

"You all make your living by using words. You know how language forms us as it informs us. Language creates context-shapes and defines how people think about issues...Language shapes the public debate that shapes public policy." She is correct.

Over the past century in particular, we have seen how effective propaganda (PR) campaigns have used verbal engineering to bring about social change. "Verbal Engineering" is acknowledged to be the first step in social, legal, political, and cultural engineering.

Nazi Propaganda
The Nazi 'Final Solution' ethnic cleansing programme couldn't have happened unless there had been a "prior intensive and successful educational campaign to dehumanize those who were then to be killed."

Dr. Joseph Goebbels, Minister of Propaganda of Nazi Germany in the 1930s and 1940s was able to manipulate the thought patterns of an entire nation through the skillful use, and misuse, of words.
Once the victim's full humanity was denied, killing them became easier to justify.

The German people were, over time, conditioned to dehumanise the Jews and to think of them as, quote, ..."a gangrenous appendix"... "vermin"...and "parasites." Once the victim's full humanity was denied, killing them became easier to justify.

"Newspeak"
In 1948, the George Orwell's classic book "1984," which used the term "Newspeak," which was used to describe the language of the land of Oceana, and which was engineered to make impossible the communication of ideas which were not acceptable to Big Brother (the government in the book).

"The book tells the story of a society where a repressive bureaucratic elite attempts to manipulate the very thoughts of men by controlling their language.

"Old words, with comfortable, familiar meanings, are either scuttled into disuse, or are redefined to fit the elite's pernicious [sinister] perspective. They are either slyly sidled, or are emptied of their common significance, only to be filled with some alien denotation.

"Thus, according to this Newspeak, words like honor, justice, morality, science, and religion cease to exist altogether, while words like war, peace, freedom, slavery, and ignorance have their meanings completely transposed."1.

Verbal Engineering
"...verbal engineering always precedes social engineering..."
Dr Bernard Nathanson, a founding member of NARAL and once the director of the largest abortion facility in the United States, reminds us that "verbal engineering always precedes social engineering."

Lawrence A. Dunegan, M.D., in an article titled "On the Role of Propaganda in Changing Health Care" said:

"Among the many tools used by the propagandist, one subtle and effective tool is a controlled lexicon. By repetition, it induces the widespread use of pre-selected words, while other words are forced into disuse and forgotten altogether.

"When words carry a connotation which conflicts with the thought pattern the propagandist seeks to establish, other words are substituted, despite their being inaccurate. Sometimes the definition of a word is implicitly changed. Because of their subtlety such manoeuvres evade our consciousness, elude our understanding, and thus bypass critical reflection.

"By controlling in such fashion the vocabulary available for use in a society, the thoughts and ideas of that society are limited and directed toward the goals of the propagandist."

Allan Bloom, author of The Closing of the American Mind, argues that we have begun to develop "an entirely new language of good and evil, originating in an attempt to get beyond good and evil, and preventing us from talking with any conviction about good and evil."

Redefining the Terms
There have come to be words, terms and phrases used in the abortion controversy that change according to the bias of the person speaking. When a person is in favour of abortion 'rights' they call themselves 'pro-choice,' while their opponents refer to them as being 'pro-abortion.' Those against abortion call themselves 'pro-life' while their opponents call them 'anti-choice' or anti-abortion.'

There appears to be an exception to the above rule when it comes to media reports. Although those opposed to abortion are nearly always referred to as 'anti-choicers,' the term 'pro-lifer' is almost invariably used if there is an act of violence against clinics, abortionists, or staff.

Abortion, by definition, is either the spontaneous expulsion of a foetus, as in miscarriage, or the deliberate interruption of a pregnancy and removal of a fetus, as in an elective abortion. Abortion, today, almost always refers to elective abortion.

Choice is one of those ambiguous words that have had its meaning transposed and requires redefinition. Choice used to be synonymous with 'freedom.' Choice is:
  1. The act of choosing; selection.
  2. The power, right, or liberty to choose; option.
  3. One that is chosen.
  4. A number or variety from which to choose: a wide choice of styles and colors.
  5. The best or most preferable part.
  6. Care in choosing.
  7. An alternative.
"Choice" is meaningless however, if there are no choices.

'Pro-Choice,' without actually spelling out what the choice is about, has now come to mean pro-abortion.
'Pro-Choice,' without actually spelling out what the choice is about, has now come to mean pro-abortion. As Germaine Greer, a 20th century feminist said, "A choice is only possible if there are genuine alternatives."

Advocates against abortion wish to promote the use of "poor-choice" to counter the use of the term "pro-choice" by advocates of abortion. A good example of how effective words can be used to change attitudes can be seen here where the Elliot Institute passionately encourages the use of these words in its fight to highlight the negative consequences of abortion.

Foetus Latin meaning "little one,"was once recognised to refer to the baby in utero. With the advent of abortion law reform, the term unborn or prebornbaby came to be used by those opposed to abortion to give recognition of the humanity of the foetus, while abortion rights activists prefer to use terms such as zygote, embryo and foetus, pre-embryo, even "zef," which have a certain dehumanising effect.

Apparently, it is a baby if 'wanted' but a foetus (or other non-emotive term) if 'unwanted.'

Feminist Naomi Wolf said that "In the quest for the liberation of the female self, the fetus was reduced to nothing more than a parasitic mass." Arguing for a new "pro-choice rhetoric," Wolf appealed for the termination of all euphemism and denial in the hope of securing to the pro-choice movement the essential "ethical core" that it has lacked.

A foetus has also been called "an unseen infection," "product of conception," "the pregnancy," "a sexually transmitted disease" and "a cancerous growth". Abortion supporters have stated that abortion is the "preferred treatment" for "unwanted pregnancy" and "an aborted baby is just garbage." Abortion is commonly referred to as a mere "procedure" or "minor surgical operation" and abortionists are often called "service providers."

Quoting an abortion clinic employee:
"You know, we still say "products of conception." Well, why don't we say it looks like- you know, a twenty-week fetus looks like a baby. Why can't we say that in public? Because that's what the antis say, you know."
...there has been a move among population control groups to define pregnancy as a disease, and the unborn as an infection in medical dogma...

Pregnancy
There has been a move among population control groups to define pregnancy as a disease, and the unborn as an infection in medical dogma, according to William Brennan, who is a professor in the St. Louis University School of Social Service.

In 1976 Dr. Willard Cates and colleagues from the Centers for Disease Control presented before the Planned Parenthood Physicians of America a paper entitled "Abortion as a Treatment for Unwanted Pregnancy: The Number Two Sexually Transmitted 'Disease."

According to abortion doctor Warren Hern, the relationship between the pregnant woman and the fetus "can be understood best as one of host and parasite." From this he defines abortion as a "defense mechanism" against the "local invasion" and accompanying "deleterious effects of the parasite."

When does life begin?
The opinion of the American Medical Association in 1871 was: "No other doctrine appears to be consonant with reason or physiology but that which admits the embryo to possess vitality from the very moment of conception." Their abortion policy statements of 1967 and 1970, however, include no references to the scientific fact that human life begins at conception.

The term "pre-embryo" is making a return in scientific and popular magazines, in newspaper articles and television debates. It was first invented in 1979 by embryologist Clifford Grobstein, a specialist in the study of frogs, who admitted that in this way he wanted to 'reduce the status of the early human embryo.

At that time, the birth of the first test-tube baby, Louise Brown in 1978 caused the a huge proliferation of centres of in vitro fertilization, which aroused ethical concerns about what was presented as human experimentation, for research purposes, on the early human embryo.

Grobstein tried to resolve the concerns by declaring the early human embryo a 'pre-embryo,' namely, a non-person.

A group of internationally- known geneticists and biologists testified that human life begins at conception. No-one gave any evidence to the contrary.

In 1981 (April 23-24) a US Senate Judiciary Subcommittee held hearings on the question: When does human life begin? Appearing to speak on behalf of the scientific community was a group of internationally-known geneticists and biologists who had the same story to tell, namely, that human life begins at conception. No-one gave any evidence to the contrary.

One of those, Dr. Micheline M. Mathews-Roth, Harvard Medical School, gave confirming testimony, supported by references from over 20 embryology and other medical textbooks that human life began at conception.


When does pregnancy begin?
The state of being pregnant is the period from conception to birth when a woman carries a developing foetus in her uterus. Conception (fertilisation) was always regarded as the beginning of pregnancy.

A 'wanted' pregnancy, is actually dated, by the medical profession, as beginning two weeks prior to actual conception, the time the woman's 'last normal period' began. This happens because few women who are not practising natural fertility regulation (and doctors) can pinpoint the actual date of fertilisation.

Pro-Choice groups, Planned Parenthood (& affiliates) and some medical professionals now define pregnancy as beginning when a fertilized ovum, has attached itself fully to the lining of the uterus. By the time of implantation, the living human embryo is already approximately 5-7 days old.

As seen in the previous definition, geneticists and biologists consider that human life begins at conception. The establishment of 'pregnancy' would be the same. However, changes in terminology are injecting an element of confusion into people's minds and, as previously mentioned, this verbal engineering will then bring about the social acceptance desired by abortion advocates.

The definition as to "when pregnancy begins" changed from fertilisation to implantation following the development of in vitro fertilisation (IVF). It has also been an important part of the debate as to whether oral contraceptives and 'morning-after pills' are abortifacient. Tolerance is "the capacity for or the practice of recognizing and respecting the beliefs or practices of others."

It does not mean that we have to ignore our differences and help each other to spread opinions with which we strongly disagree. It does not even mean that we must refrain from harsh criticism of our opponents and their opinions. There is wide concern that extremists, while demanding tolerance for their beliefs, are actually causing erosion of tolerance and open-mindedness.

Too many of those who demand tolerance and open-mindedness are not willing to 'tolerate' the opinions and/or beliefs of those who disagree with them.
Different factions in our society have different ideas of what actions are intolerable. Too many of those who demand tolerance and open-mindedness are not willing to 'tolerate' the opinions and/or beliefs of those who disagree with them.

Reproductive rights is now synonymous with the right to have abortion on demand.

A coerced or forced pregnancy is not only regarded as one resulting from rape or incest, but also if the woman did not plan for the pregnancy and is legally prevented from having an abortion.

1. Grant, G. Grand Illusions p.129