“Social upheaval, in other words, presents an opportunity for would-be autocrats to make a grab for power by weakening the foundations of legitimate rule. Those foundations are: piety, family, and language.” – Spencer Klavan, The American Mind

Words are powerful.

In the Christian worldview, words take on a particularly powerful role: God created the universe by speaking it into existence; His Son is called logos, or the Word; and He chose to communicate His plan of redemption for mankind through the Bible, the Word of God. As His children, we are constantly reminded to be careful with our words.

Whether you hold to this worldview or not, we all can agree that words have the power to move mountains—but this power, left unchecked, can cause serious damage at the most fundamental level. We’ve written about this extensively in a previous post, which you can read here.

 

Creastruction

 

In the “War of Words” raging within our Western society today, it’s not enough to try and reclaim words that have been distorted or abused. It’s time to go on the offense and practice a little neologism: create new words altogether. The new word linked in the last sentence basically means the epoch of time in space for Christians since the reality of Jesus’ Resurrection burst into the natural world. It is critical to have such a word to distinguish Christian time against marxist time. Both believe in objective truth and both believe in progress.

The English language has been around a long time, but occasionally we do need new words to express increased knowledge and new experiences, as cultures and societies change. This is undeniable. Etymology is the science of word creation and change.

Praxis Circle is dedicated to renewing a free and good society by “Building Worldviews” (our mission statement). First, one needs to understand worldview and the basic worldviews. Then to build means to make choices, to create, construct, renew, and, yes, to destroy (a bit).

 

Normaphobia/Normophobia

 

We did “neologism” again in one of our most recent posts, coining the term normaphobia: fear of the normal—more specifically, the fear of the normal, run-of-the-mill, statistically average American or even Westerner. It is the fear that postmodernists, marxists of all kinds, and critical identity theorists have of the vast majority of regular, common-sensical men and women in America and the West. In fact, Normaphobia only exists in the West of any significant magnitude because we are the only ones nuts enough to give these psychoses any credence at all.

Little did we know that just a week later, First Things would publish their own take on normaphobia (spelled normophobia, though a nominal variation) that focuses on bigotry towards the nuclear family: a normal institution since the dawn of mankind. Praxis Circle’s and First Things’ authors are getting at much the same points.

While reasoned minds often think alike, First Things author Mary Harrington proves to be more articulate about the definition of normaphobia, but also about some of its more dangerous ramifications. In the context of parenthood, when adults sacrifice the idea of a normal family (one married man and woman coming together to conceive children) for their own desires (gender and sexual identity, surrogacy, abortion, sperm donors, IVF, etc.), the weakest and most vulnerable in society bear the brunt of it—children. She writes,

This is urgent: If we can’t even mount a normophilic defense of a baby’s need for his or her mother, we will have few resources left to defend our own organismic fundamentals in the face of the seemingly endless ambitions of biotech. Some are already preselecting IVF embryos based on genome analysis. Others propose the accelerated “evolution” of humans by means of in vitro gametogenesis. Others again propose gene-editing embryos. Just recently a breakthrough was announced in the synthetic creation of human embryos: in theory, children wholly without ancestors.

 

No one is coming to save us. We cannot wait for the “silent majority” to rise up and demand a return to common sense, or mumble about postponing action until we’ve re-Christianized the West, or until we’ve devised a fully worked-out post-Christian metaphysics of human nature. We may lament the Christianity-shaped hole in our discourse, but just because much of modern culture is post-Christian doesn’t mean we no longer have a nature. All we’ve lost is our common framework for naming that nature. We must speak the truth anyway. And wherever possible, we must redirect law and policy from the abolition of human nature to its flourishing.

R. R. Reno, editor of First Things, explains this idea of a Christian framework for language in our Praxis Circle interview:

 

 

In short, Christianity has the vocabulary to articulate life’s deepest truths. Instead of fumbling around with today’s jargon, we must confidently use that Christian vocabulary, and when necessary, create altogether new words aligned with those principles. Clearly, we have identified an acute attack on all things “conventional, average, given, assumed, traditional, and normative,” and we need language to define that attack: normaphobia.

We don’t like the word “conservative” much either, preferring to move any discussion to one of “truth, untruth, or unknown.” Human beings are capable of agreeing on what we know and do so everyday. But what we see is that the Left is far better at taking the offensive in the public square because many conservatives are resistant to creating new language for new times. Playing defense or always counter-reacting is not enough. We can’t progress or let’s just say it, “win” on the truth, without scoring points.

In sum, inserting new and strategic language into the public space is how we gain ground and bring more than just a knife to an atomic bomb fight.