Editor’s Note: Last Redoubt discusses the necessity of clear definitions as a matter of civilization.
This one had been bouncing around a while, but the following article caused me to finally say something about it:
The term “at-risk youth” was commonly used in both penal and education codes in California – until now.
Gov. Gavin Newsom signed legislation that went into effect on Jan. 1 that officially wiped the phrase from the state’s language. The phrase will now be replaced by “at-promise youth.”
Assemblymember Byron Jones-Sawyer (D-South Los Angeles), who penned the passed legislation, says the measure will change the negative connotation that comes along with the “at-risk” label.
“I learned that words matter – and once they were called ‘at-risk,’ they almost were in the school-to-prison pipeline automatically,” Jones-Sawyer said.
Jones-Sawyer says the negative narrative has the greatest effect on young people who are a part of minority populations.
What we have here is a belief in magic. No, generally not occult practices that may bring power and fame in the short run, but the cargo cult variety – the kind that believes renaming something changes what it is. That, however, is the “duh” level of understanding. There are indeed things so obvious that the “educated” cannot see them, and all the rhetoric and persuasion in the world will not make normal people see “at risk” youth as being promising.
One element in this dark comedy is that “at risk” is already a euphemism to salve hurt feelings. Sure, it’s meant to imply that the kids in question come from a disadvantaged background and are “at risk” to become the criminals that they haven’t become yet because donchaknow-poverty-causes-crime, via the cradle-to-prison pipeline that supposedly exists but which doesn’t factor in either the nature of repeat offenders or the arrest rates relative to the rates at which the black community reports the demographics of their victimizers.
Of course, the lie in “at risk” is that, excepting to the degree to which kids in such programs actually were innocents living in crappy, gang-infested neighborhoods, and thus at risk for their safety and exposed to more temptation to violence, the kids in these programs weren’t already well on their way to being criminals. The conflation being that of at risk of being criminals vs at risk of going to prison if they keep acting like thugs.
And such conflations of meaning, of course, is another broken boundary and border that dilutes meaning.
A useful thing to remember, by the way, when people tell you it’s not black or white – other than there are plenty of times that things either are, or are not – is that even in an analog life with fuzzy boundaries, those boundaries do exist. Things do cluster around sets of common traits, where a significant percentage of certain traits appear more consistently than in other clusters. In short, yes, reality is analog and messy, but you can still usually ascertain, even by looking at someone, what general ethnic background they are from. In some areas, with sufficient local knowledge, you can even tell what family line they are part of.
Think “family resemblance”.
And as I mentioned earlier, contrary to utopian explorers who don’t see borders in nature, they may shift a bit with the tides and currents and time among other things, but they absolutely do exist.
Incidentally, and in keeping with the magic of acting like what you think others are doing as well as the “IQ is just caliber” theory of IQ vs wisdom, etc., there’s a reason why China has issues with things like the Wuhan COVID-2019 virus, other than the aforementioned genetics and its apparent propensity for asian gene sets. Oriental cultures are very face-oriented, but China is to an insane degree compared to Japan. They cannot culturally tolerate the nail that sticks up, so that even a hero who does good must be shuffled offstage and forgotten – see the ending of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, or of Hero for examples. This results in what I’ve seen described as monkey-see, monkey do. In an almost cargo cult way they copy what works, and being smart, do that well, but don’t fundamentally grow to understand what they are working with to the degree that we, or the Japanese do, to the point where they readily create new things not seen before building on the old. Nor do they allow, as I mentioned, that creative streak much reign.
George Carlin, back in the day before bitterness and nihilism consumed him, was just as willing to shiv the liberals for their totalitarian tendencies and hubris. The same comedy routine included a spiel on both how the Iraq war was just “playing with toys in the sand” and how the earth wants plastic for itself. Another album eviscerated feminist newspeak, and had a gutpunch of a routine on how we attempt to make things go away by renaming them, focused on what used to be called “shellshock”.
So the “well intentioned” – and some are – destroy meaning by destroying the fences around perfectly good words that convey an idea, to water it down, to make it hurt less, as if that makes the problem go away.
This is almost the opposite of newspeak, but more pernicious because we’re not merely excising “bad” words, but instead making the words with unwelcome ideas meaningless. Does it matter if you cannot convey a thought because the word has been removed from your vocabulary, or if it is because the word you have has become so vague, fraught with so many ideas and concepts, that can, in a good post-modern sense, be changed again at whim, that an idea can no longer be conveyed? Or that something can be camouflaged as “good” by adopting terms that imply virtue for things which have none?
Destruction of boundaries is destruction of meaning and culture.
This extends of course to sex and “gender”. We ignore both the science that shows mankind overwhelmingly clustered as male and female, with mind and hormone sets to match, to insist that instead it is a matter of personal desire.
Or perhaps I should say “of will”. Do what though wilt and “will to power” are a perfect match for this boundarylessness. And postmodernists make no bones about the fact that ultimately, power is the only thing that matters, as opposed to meaning, and that meaning is defined by those in power to be what they want.
Those who want to cross boundaries, national, of concept, and personal, do so because they can, and that is all the right they need.
So also with sex: much like language, meaning is destroyed. The – yes, often general – distinctions between things that allow us to convey thought to each other and across the ages are tossed aside. .
Friction is another aspect. If meanings constantly shift, if gender and identity shift at the whim of the individuals involved, then we have to first re-establish protocols of common understanding to even attempt to communicate. Space (in print) and time are wasted declaring things like personal pronouns, and with these insane people you cannot save time by assuming their gender, pronouns, etc., match those of tradition and habit.
Last – people like Anonymous Conservative and others have noted how often the left acts as insane children, often as if they have some variant of cluster-B disorder like NPD or BPD, though histrionics and such are obviously a significant chunk as well. What is a defining trait, especially of Borderline Personality Disorder?
Lack of personal boundaries. Behavioral, sexual, sexual, and so on.
Your business is their business. Your behavior and beliefs reflect on them and thus your personal failings, desires, etc., have an impact on them, and must be controlled and brought in line because it otherwise hurts them. Your failures, your losses, your successes become about them. Everything is taken personally, because there is little clear distinction between them, and others. They hate “othering”.
How do you deal with them?
And they hate boundaries.
Is it any wonder that a political ideology that destroys the boundaries between thoughts acquires so many adherents that hate any form of boundaries between themselves and those they wish to control to assuage their own fears and insecurities? And that those self same people deplore any form of boundary in general, including national?