March 5 2023
French theorists have a phrase--semantic skidding--which refers to words which over time come unloosed from their original context and take on an entirely new meaning. Same words but different circumstances and the words slip and slide in to new significance.
"A rolling stone gathers no moss."
Had you asked someone in 1950 they would have had no doubt what it meant: a rolling stone is one who does not stay in one place but drifts though life and does not accumulate wisdom and experience. In short: don't be a rolling stone.
Had you asked someone in 1980 they would also have had no doubt what it meant: a rolling stone is someone who is not hidebound and conservative but mobile and adventurous, leaving behind old restrictions and shibboleths and gaining freedom. In short: be a rolling stone.
The completely opposite definitions are the result of the innumerable social revolutions of "liberation" in the intervening years.
Of course if you ask someone to define the meaning of the phrase today they would likely either say what? or donde?
But one thing you can be sure of: the stone is rolling still. For when ideology skids it skids along a slippery slope.
Which is why when you speak on the public stage you need to eschew the ringing phrase or, if you must indulge, be sure you qualify it to be specific what you mean. You should always remember you are speaking under the aspect of eternity and think not only of the audience of today but of all time. It can avert a lot of disaster and heartache.
"I hold that this government was made on the White basis; made by the White men, for the benefit of White men and their posterity forever, and should be administered by White men and none others."
"Lincoln maintains there that the Declaration of Independence asserts that the negro is equal to the white man, and that under Divine law, and if he believes so it was rational for him to advocate negro citizenship, which, when allowed, puts the negro on an equality under the law."
"I say to you in all frankness, gentlemen, that in my opinion a negro is not a citizen, cannot be, and ought not to be, under the Constitution of the United States."
These are the words of Stephen Douglas. No semantic skidding possible there. They are specific, clear and incontrovertible. And possess an unsurpassed eloquence and undoubted ruth. No one can unmoor them from their context. No one can twist or appropriate or hijack them. They are the same yesterday, today, tomorrow. For all eternity they will ring out a perfect testament.
Because they are not quibbling sophistries or universal abstractions but clear statements of fact.
Thomas Jefferson on the other hand had a fatal weakness of the high sounding grand phrase. With his eye on the Solons of the salons of Europe he meant to inscribe his name with the lapidary set of words that would grant him immorality. Unfortunately, he could not have chosen a worse time. When his words became unhinged and began to slip and began to slide the nation went along with them.
"All men are created equal."
Apparently, this was not only a truth but a self-evident one.
Nothing of course could be further from the truth.
By now they mean something exactly opposite of what he meant by them.
All men are created equal
Five words. Simple as pie, right? Wrong. The amount of harm those five words have done to us is incalculable.
"Our nation was founded on a simple idea: We're all created equal. We've never lived up to it — but we've never stopped trying. This Independence Day, let's not just celebrate those words, let's commit to finally fulfill them."
So said the current Resident. So many errors and so little time, right? The irony is that currently the woke furies don't believe in equality themselves now that they have the upper hand. But that does not stop them from quoting the sage of Monticello in the cause of equity.
A few moments of thought will show that the phrase does not mean what they say it means. But a moment of thought is not most people's strong suit. All men are created equal! It has that noble ring to it, it's the high-flown historical phrase, as if the gods themselves came down to earth and engraved it on human tablets.
When they were still friends John Quincy Admas and John Calhoun were strolling along the Potomoc discussing slavery. At some point Adams said it was an outrage---that after all all men are created equal. At that Calhoun paused and in a gesture of comity told Admas that he had to say that back home in the South they did not at all think those words meant what Adams did.
Abraham Lincoln was a slippery old bastard, he lived up to his Jewish name in his hair-splitting chop logic, his gliding over fact, and his burial of the truth. He was a word juggler performing his sleight of hand in public but the soothing sound of his august rhetoric blinded people to the fact that he was slipping in the needle of death.
It didn't hurt his cause that he was able to rally generations of historians to the cause of his "noble lie." The fact is the truth is an acquired taste and few have the stomach to acquire it.
"Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal."
Wait what? Dedicated to what?
First notice that he says that it was conceived in liberty--that was only the background but the foreground is what the aim was: total equality. This is of course laughably unhistorical and the fact that he was serving up a bald face lie while in the presence patriot graves is more than unseemly--it's a desecration and abomination.
What was in fact this new nation dedicated to?
What did Lincoln say it was dedicated to? Negro freedom. Negro equality. And soon the Moslems and the Hindu and the Toltec too. In the context of saying what Lincoln said, the context of having already freed some negros and about to free the rest that is all that his words can mean--to him. All men are created equal after all.
What in fact was this nation dedicated to?
Negro freedom? Negro equality?
It was give me liberty or give me death--not give me equality or give me death---there's the first clue. The nation they brought forth on this continent was dedicated to freedom and not just any freedom--the White man's freedom. The idea that the nation was dedicated to negro freedom (or any other than the White man's freedom) is so ludicrous that it needs no refutation.
But even more than liberty--what was the nation dedicated to? To themselves and their posterity. It was dedicated to that one people with common ancestors and a common language and a common history that John Jay referenced. That was why when the put down the grandiose pens and the glittering words and got down to the business of living they said that citizenship in this new nation they created was reserved exclusively for White people, none other need apply.
It was founded on the White basis, by and for White people. To evade this or to explain it away as a temporary necessary evil is tantamount to pissing on those patriot graves. It was a positive good and needs to be defended as such. Anything else is ahistorical.
But all men are created equal? It's the Frankenstein monster of world history and has turned on its creator.
You will hear today's "conservatives" expend an inordinate amount of time combatting wokeness by saying the founding and the founders were not racist. The defensive vehemence with which they peddle these lies makes you think they are defending the virtue of their mothers, wives and daughters--and so much do they protest it seems they secretly harbor fears that it's a bit shaky.
But of course the founding and the founders were racist. Thank the gods! What else would they be, being a far seeing and squared away bunch, not being the victims of an attenuated Christianity, and a misguided humanism?
As for Father Abraham as he stood there dissembling he did ask a good very good question, one we should ponder at length.
"Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure."
Can it endure?
He is asking if a nation dedicated to negro equality can last. He is asking if a nation dedicated to including every race under the sun in equality can last.
Can it endure? Can it?
Read the latest headlines or look out your window.
The verdict is on that one: it can't. And quite frankly, it wasn't even close.
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