May/June, 1999 Volume XIII Number 6
Beware of feminist euphemisms
By Michael Bauman
In the hands of a skilled wordsmith, language can sensitize peoples’ consciences to injustice and motivate them to heroic virtue and reform. In the hands of a propagandist, however, it can be the verbal camouflage that hides some wildly horrific crime behind apparent respectability.
When the Nazis, for example, resorted to genocidal barbarism in their quest for a “purer” race and nation, they called on their word warriors to help them cloak their wickedness in the language of decency in order to make the unspeakable speakable. Dachau and Buchenwald were painted with the brush of inoffensive clinical jargon.
“We have merely implemented,” the Nazis said, “the final solution.”
Their word ploy was largely and tragically effective. Rather than stating the facts plainly and thereby forcing the German people to face the unimaginable horror around them and to risk life and family to eradicate it, the Nazi’s verbal subterfuge provided a respectable wall of words behind which to hide their grotesque villainy. Who, after all, can be opposed to a “purer” nation or to a “solution”?
Whereas great evils are often disguised by clinical language, accurate words call the ghosts out of the closet. That is why we must learn to call things by their real names. That is why we must beware of every feminist euphemism. But, even now, decades after Hitler, we fail to speak plainly. We have succumbed to the feminist word ploy, and as a result, millions of people are dead. We let the feminist word warriors hide the fetal Holocaust that surrounds us every day just as effectively as the Nazis hid their extermination of the Jews.
And they do it the same way. They do not permit themselves to utter the “M” word, even though they commit the “M” act. That is, they do not murder Unborn children, they “abort fetuses.”
That terminology, they wrongly believe, helps to remove their heinous deeds from the realm of the morally reprehensible. It allows them to view themselves and their neighbors with more self-respect and ethical complacency.
“After all,” they say to themselves, “what nice young woman would ever pay her doctor a handsome sum to murder her Unborn baby. That is unthinkable. We merely abort our fetuses because we are unmarried and do not want to sentence our unfortunate and inconvenient offspring to a life of poverty.”
Never mind that such a woman is an adulteress. Never mind that she sentenced her child to the garbage can. Described in her less graphic and less accurate language, to murder her child seems not only not evil, it seems downright virtuous. As someone else has said, if you brush away the sentimental slush of a thousand sob-sisters, the cold fact remains that this woman wants to kill the child now living within her.
Beware of every feminist euphemism.
Some of the more squeamish among the feminists are unable even to say the “A” word. Though by aborting fetuses, rather than murdering babies, the feminist’s linguistic sleight of hand has hidden the real nature (murder) of their action and the real identity (baby) of their victim, some women require a still heavier dose of verbal opium. For them the feminist word warriors have had to make the accursed deed even more palatable by making it even more impersonal. They have convinced such people that they are merely “terminating a pregnancy,” a phrase which eliminates overt reference to any living thing. Unlike fetuses and children, which are undeniably alive, and unlike abortion and murder, which seem to imply nasty things like blood and death, simply to “terminate a pregnancy” sounds as innocuous as ending a radio transmission or pulling into the station after a pleasant railroad journey.
If “terminating pregnancies” is still too shocking a verbal description because the word “pregnant” tends to evoke unfortunate images of happy women large with child, feminist ideologues hide the crime behind an even more impersonal wall of words. They can say that murdering Unborn children is nothing more than the voluntary extraction of the “product of conception.”
If that does not work, then they simply talk the way nearly all abortion clinics actually do talk: They resort to an abbreviation and say that they are merely “ removing the P.O.C.”
What could be more innocent?
Beware of every feminist euphemism.
Pleasant words can be a fraud. A sterile idiom can be a defense mechanism behind which we conceal the grossest reality. But, defense mechanisms do not change that reality. They merely disguise it. The evil facts themselves remain the same. Never forget that the disease you hide, you cannot heal. For jargon wizards like the feminists, therefore, and for all who have been morally subverted by the feminist’s verbal deception, there remains no therapy. Rather than facing the facts and identifying this slaughter for what it is; rather than calling an unconditional halt to the war they wage on the Unborn; rather than confessing their guilt and casting themselves on the immense mercy of God; the feminist ideologues have persuaded millions of women to mask their shame behind a veil of words and to sell their souls to the verbal charlatans and quacks who tell them what they want to hear, not what they need to hear. They hide the crime with a lie.
Because words are inescapably connected to ideas, the feminist abuse of language has given rise to a feminist abuse of moral reason, as well. Let me illustrate.
My mother once asked me to clean up the back room in our basement. Not knowing the magnitude of the task she had set before me, I consented. When I finally got myself downstairs, I opened the wooden door to the back room, flipped on the light, and saw an unimaginable mess of almost legendary proportion: paper, beetles, dirt, bowling pins, cardboard boxes, toys, broken tools, rags, and sawdust. I did what any “rational” 15-year-old would do. I shut off the light and closed the door.
I’m not the only one who ever did that. Most of us, I dare say, respond to the sometimes ugly face of reality the same way, though after years of practice we have learned to do so with a good deal more dexterity and finesse, so that our indulgent and immoral evasions seem less obvious and less culpable.
Sometimes we try to rationalize our indolence and our guilt by telling ourselves (apparently) rational lies. That is, rather than looking at the shocking facts and not wincing; rather than seeing those ugly and disturbing facts for what they are, we rationalize.
Though this ploy seems to assuage our consciences momentarily, it does not help. In fact, it does great harm, especially the way the feminist defenders of infanticide employ it. Feminists not only hide the hideous face of abortion behind a verbal veil of inoffensive language and pretty words, they rationalize their wickedness. They have as many excuses for this barbaric atrocity as they have linguistic feignings to hide it.
For example, one often hears the Right-to-Deathers say horrendous things like “Surely we may terminate a pregnancy caused by rape or by incest, may we not?”
No, we may not.
A child does not lose its right to life simply because its father or its mother was a sexual criminal or a deviate. Of course, rape and incest are vicious crimes. Those who perpetrate them must be strictly and decisively punished. Nevertheless, a civilized nation does not permit the victim of a crime to pass a death sentence on the criminal’s offspring. To empower the victim of a sex offense to kill the offender’s child is an even more deplorable act than the rape that conceived it. The child conceived by rape or incest is a victim, too. In America, we must not execute victims.
The Right-to-Deathers think that my argument here is insensitive to the plight of the rape victim and that I would sing another tune were I myself the victim of such a crime.
They are wrong.
Because ours is a government of laws and not of men, we must not consign justice or morality to the pain-beguiled desires of victims. They, of all people, might be the least able to render a just verdict or to identify the path of highest virtue. I am convinced that the more monstrously one is mistreated, the more likely it is that revenge and personal expedience will look to that person like goodness.
While rape victims most certainly know best the horror and indignity of the crime in question, being its victims does not confer upon them either ethical or jurisprudential expertise. Nor does it enable them to balance the scales of justice or to satisfy the demands of the moral imperative with care, knowledge, finesse, or precision. If one were an uninformed or inept ethicist or penologist before the crime, as most of us undoubtedly are, being a victim does not alter that fact at all. Justice is traditionally portrayed as blind, not because she was victimized and had her eyes criminally removed, but because she is impartial. Rape victims, like all other crime victims, rarely can be trusted to be sufficiently impartial or dependably ethical, especially seeing that they so often decide that the best alternative open to them is to kill the criminal’s child.
Suffering an evil at the hands of another does not excuse you from the responsibility to acquire knowledge and skill before rendering judgements. Victimization never has any power, on its own, to restore you. It is no substitute for courage, competence, or virtue.
“But, does a woman not have the right to her own body?” the Right-to-Deathers ask.
Of course she does. But that is not at issue here. It is not her body, after all, that is being murdered; it is someone else’s.
Like hers, the body being murdered is not canine, not feline, not equine, and not bovine. Like hers, it is human. Like hers, it has a unique combination of 23 sets of paired chromosomes. If, indeed, the body in question were truly hers, its genetic code would be the same as that of her body. It is not. It never is. Indeed, half the time the body in question is male!
Like hers, the body being killed is the human product of human conception. It is not something she may do with as she pleases. Morality dictates that we do not kill human bodies—including our own—for personal convenience. As John Locke taught us, one of the most fundamental rights of all is the right to one’s own property; and among the most sacred portions of our property is our own body. To it we have an almost exclusive right of function and disposal, a right that no one else can usurp, not even our mothers. “But don’t you believe in abortion rights?” the feminist Right-to-Deathers ask me.
“Yes,” I reply, “I do believe in abortion rights. I believe it is the right of every human being not to be murdered by abortion.”
John Donne was correct—because no man is an island, each man’s death diminishes me. That means, among other things, that you cannot diminish the liberty or dignity of one without endangering or diminishing the liberty and dignity of us all. Abortionists, therefore, attack more than the Unborn. Abortionists, and the feminist word warriors who defend them, must be resisted. Much depends upon their defeat. The life you save may be your child’s. The freedom and dignity you save may be your own.
As Confucius observed long ago, when words lose their meaning, people lose their liberty. To remain free, we must beware of every feminist euphemism and we must unmask every feminist rationalization built upon an abuse of language.
Abortion is not legal
Martin's Story: a holocaust paradox
Beware of feminist euphemisms
The physician-assisted-killing fallacy