The Library of Congress falls victim to semantic tyranny.
George Orwell's political novel “1984” painted a disturbing but all too prophetic image of how a totalitarian government would come to rule its citizens with an iron fist. Language -- that is to say, the deceptive use of language -- was a critical element of the government and the dystopia it created that Orwell described.
In Orwell's thriller, electronic surveillance conducted by the omnipresent “Big Brother” was a major factor, as was the development and implementation of a language, Newspeak, that was devised to control thought over time by eliminating words from the vernacular. When words were eliminated, thoughts and concepts those words represented would be eliminated.
Furthermore, terms to describe government agencies were often the opposite of what their respective missions were. The editing process of published material, especially by rewriting history books and employing propaganda, was the domain of the Ministry of Truth. The omnipresent Party understood that “who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.”
The contradictorily named, “Ministry of Love” tortured citizens to coerce their unflagging and uncompromising compliance with the dictates of the government.
The world in which the residents of 1984 resided was a world of deception and lies where “up” was “down” and “right” was “wrong.” In the words of the official slogan of the Ministry of Truth:
“War is peace, freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength.”
In 1984 the use of conflicting terms were designed to be disorienting and intimidating to better gain total control over the masses.
Let's contrast the machinations of the government in 1984 with the precepts of the Founding Fathers of our nation.
The Founding Fathers understood that democracy could only exist when citizens were granted a series of freedoms -- including the freedom to express their thoughts and concerns with virtual impunity and to meet with others to hold discussions about grievances about their government. Journalists and their mission to report on the facts was sacrosanct to the Founding Fathers. As evidenced by the fact that journalists are members of the only profession that is specifically protected by the U.S. Constitution, the Founding Fathers understood that the citizens of this nation must have unfettered access to the truth.
Consider the First Amendment of the Constitution:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
Now let's consider how far we have fallen in just a few short years.
The term “Alien” has been all but expunged from any discussions about immigration. This lunacy began under the administration of Jimmy Carter who mandated that INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service) employees stop using the term alien to describe illegal aliens. The term alien is hardly a pejorative. The term “alien” is a legal term that is defined in our immigration laws under Title 8 U.S. Code § 1101 – Definitions. Under section (a)(3):
The term “alien” means any person not a citizen or national of the United States.
There is absolutely no insult in that term. The reason that there has been a concerted effort to expunge the word alien from the vernacular is to obfuscate the clarity that the term brings to the debate about immigration. This is not about being "politically correct," but about employing the Newspeak tactic of confounding understanding and making honest discussions impossible.
Let me provide a bit of clarity: the difference between and an “immigrant” and an “illegal alien” is comparable to the difference between a houseguest and a burglar.
It has taken decades, but alarmingly, the march towards the implementation of Newspeak continues with increasing velocity. On March 29, 2016 Fox News Latino reported, “Student petition at Dartmouth sparks Library of Congress to drop term 'illegal alien.'”
Here is how this troubling report begins:
When a student-led organization at Dartmouth College petitioned the Library of Congress in 2014 to drop the term “illegal aliens” and instead use “undocumented,” the response was no.
The reasoning, members of the group recall, was that “illegal alien” is an official U.S. government term for people who are in the country without proper documents.
But the Dartmouth Coalition for Immigration Reform, Equality and DREAMers, or CoFIRED, motivated others – including librarian associations – across the nation to press the Library of Congress to stop using the term, which they argued dehumanizes undocumented immigrants.
The Library of Congress listened, and has decided to no longer use the heading "illegal aliens" in bibliographic records.
The report went on to note that California's Governor Jerry Brown removed the term from the state's labor code and that Representative Joaquin Castro introduced legislation to expunge that term from documents, laws and U.S. regulations. His legislation, known as the CHANGE Act, would replace the term alien with “foreign national,” striking “illegal alien” from federal law and replacing it with the inaccurate and deceptive term, “undocumented foreign national.”
The article noted that the term alien has been used in U.S. documents since the Naturalization Act of 1790.
Let us also consider another term that is nothing short of Orwellian: “sanctuary city.”
Cities that refuse to comply with federal immigration laws are given the innocuous sounding title “sanctuary city.” The term “sanctuary” implies a place of safety and security. Yet the underlying purpose for our immigration laws is to prevent aliens from entering the United States if they pose a threat to the safety and well being of America and Americans.
This includes criminals, terrorists and those who are severely mentally ill and prone to violence. How safe are those who reside in cities that encourage aliens who are criminals, fugitives and terrorists to move in and set up shop?
This was the self-evident point to be found in the title of my recent FrontPage Magazine article, “Immigration Law Enforcement Is Not About Xenophobia But Commonsense.” A city or state that shields illegal aliens from detection by the federal government is operating in clear violation of federal law. Yet this practice of shielding and harboring illegal aliens from the federal government has gone unnoticed and unpunished by the federal government for decades -- at least since the 1980s.
I focused on the nexus between these sanctuary cities and the threats posed by terrorists embedding themselves in towns and cities across the United States in my March 31, 2016 article for FrontPage Magazine, “Terrorism, Enclaves and Sanctuary Cities: How sanctuary cities facilitate the growth of terror enclaves in America.”
Even as we have witnessed deadly terror attacks in the United States, in Europe and elsewhere, the commonsense and reasonable measures to enforce our immigration laws to protect innocent lives and the security of our nation are castigated by politicians from both sides of the political aisle in the United States, who insist that we be “compassionate.”
Simply stated, suicide is not an act of compassion.
A series of truly worrisome reports note how, across the United States, college campuses have stifled dissent. Education is supposed to encourage independent and, indeed, critical thinking. Debate and discourse should not be seen as a threat but as a celebration of the First Amendment.
Tactics to intimidate and castigate students who refuse to parrot the opinions of the faculty must be rejected and opposed.
On January 5, 1967 Ronald Reagan delivered his inaugural address which began with the following statement that is well worth remembering:
To a number of us, this is a first and hence a solemn and momentous occasion, and yet, on the broad page of state and national history, what is taking place here is almost commonplace routine. We are participating in the orderly transfer of administrative authority by the direction of the people. And this is the simple magic which makes a commonplace routine a near miracle to many of the world’s inhabitants: the continuing fact that the people, by democratic process, can delegate this power, yet retain custody of it.
Perhaps you and I have lived with this miracle too long to be properly appreciative. Freedom is a fragile thing and is never more than one generation away from extinction. It is not ours by inheritance; it must be fought for and defended constantly by each generation, for it comes only once to a people. Those who have known freedom and then lost it have never known it again.
All great achievements begin with thoughts and dreams. Those who would control our thoughts and destroy our dreams would destroy our future and the future of our children and their children.
My dad sagely told me that I would determine how people I encountered would treat me by making clear what I would be willing to tolerate. We must never tolerate the intolerable.
If ever there was a time when Americans need to stand together and resist the tyranny of those who would dismantle our freedoms, this is the time.