Much has been made of gender fluidity, a concept that has changed definitions of words like “man” and “woman.” The definition of marriage has also changed in recent times, no longer signifying the union of a man and a woman.
These aren’t the only definitions shifting, however, as recent political developments show.
When President Donald Trump conversed with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in mid-2019, suggesting the latter investigate possible corruption in his country’s political and business sectors involving then-presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son Hunter (allegations which have lately proven meritorious), Democrats and media figures immediately cried foul, viewing the act through a purely political lens, claiming that Trump was interfering in the upcoming election. Now, with the recent indictments of Trump, Biden’s leading challenger, objective observers can’t help but note: “Just a few years ago, this was called election interference. What has happened?”
My response is “Legal Fluidity.”
I made that up, but it seems to be a real thing.
Legal Fluidity could be defined as the constant changing of the law to suit the governing establishment’s political purposes.
Consider recent history.
Both Hillary Clinton and Biden, as well as others, have been found to mishandle government documents without any of them getting arrested. Hence the Legal Fluidity. What was once a passing phenomenon meriting merely a few news stories is now cause for possible incarceration.
This development is indicative of deeper, even greater problems in our body politic, as the erstwhile solid linguistic foundation on which we stood is beginning to shift and give way, like concrete devolving into the sludgy mix from which it was produced. It cannot help but breed confusion and uncertainty among our citizens and likely has its place in the rise of conspiracy theorists among the populace. How could it not?
To cite an overused phrase, which is nevertheless true, changing definitions of words is the Orwellian stuff of “1984.” There’s simply no way that a government that constantly changes the meaning of words and concepts to suit its own short-term political goals can expect to govern long-term, at least not without the use of military coercion.
In “One Hundred Years of Solitude,” a novel by Gabriel Garcia Márquez, the village of Macondo suffers from something called “the insomnia plague,” a condition that keeps the villagers up all night. At first, they don’t mind the affliction, as it allows them to get more done. But soon their minds begin to exhaust and their memory to wane. Then, their memory gives out almost completely, forcing them to write labels on things just to recall what they are until finally, no one can remember the definitions, forcing them to write down the functions of things just to hang on to reality.
This scene is a metaphor for how societies succumb to extinction, and it’s applicable to what’s happening now in our country. Whether it’s marriage, biology, or the legal system, there seems to be a quiet revolution, a dizzying phenomenon involving the changing of the definitions of our world, even as the button-down, toothy perpetrators smile and tell us it’s all normal.
So, what can we do?
Nobel laureate Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, once a prisoner of the Soviet Union, who in 1978 warned Harvard graduates of the perilous direction to which the humanism of the West would lead it, perhaps said it best: “[T]he simple step of a courageous man is not to partake in falsehood. … One word of truth shall outweigh the whole world.”
To this, I might add my own literary flair: “Though the whole world succumb to lies, as for me and my house, we will speak the truth.”
Resist the lies and tell the truth; for it is the one thing that can set us free.
Along with his father, Allen Keller runs a lumber business in Stevenson, Alabama. He has a Ph.D. in Creative Writing from Florida State University and an MBA from University of Virginia. He can be reached for comment at email@example.com.
The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of 1819 News.
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