The leftist word zombies are coming for you

Editor’s note: The powers that be at have told Michael Ackley he may submit an occasional column. His columns may include satire and parody – but not in this case.

The great, 20th-century satirist Tom Lehrer declared political satire obsolete when Henry Kissinger was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

Perhaps. But unintentional self-satire is enjoying a kind of zombie apocalypse as the gentle Stalinists of the left continue to advocate the steady erosion of classical, liberal values.

You can laugh at them, and destroy them intellectually, but like the brain-eating undead, they just keep coming.

The latest emanation – from the Stanford University information technology crowd – is the “Elimination of Harmful Language Initiative.”

It is a 13-page compendium of words you should not say, with suggested replacements, e.g.:

  • Don’t say “crazy” or “insane.” Say “surprising” or “wild.”
  • Don’t say “committed suicide.” Say “died by suicide.” (You explain the difference, please.)
  • Don’t say “chief.” “Calling a non-indigenous person ‘chief’ trivializes both the hereditary and elected chiefs in indigenous communities.”

The document already has occasioned much levity among intelligent people. As a result, Stanford has issued a partial disclaimer. It has declared the initiative “does not represent university policy,” and doesn’t “represent mandates or requirements.” Rather, it’s just about supporting “an inclusive community.”

The rollback should say it “does not represent university policy – yet.” And, “these aren’t mandates or requirements – yet.

The point is, when members of the left advocate the seemingly insane, they aren’t kidding.

They will just keep after this and other totalitarian initiatives. They cannot be laughed off because these whack jobs are proud of their work, and never mind their etymological ignorance.

They recognize that whoever controls the language can control society.

Of course, English always is evolving, but its evolution used to be very slow. The internet has accelerated that evolution, and these Stalinists use it to regulate discourse. Their language- and thought-police promulgate their ideas of acceptable expression, distributing orthodoxy to their semiconscious minions with the drop of a “send” click.

Facebook communities, for example, tell their members which words no longer are OK to use. If you use this system and employ the word “thug,” more “woke” members will warn you that the term is racist.

Persist in using it, and you will be in danger of being unfriended. Unfortunately, many young people would rather yield a portion of their liberty than risk this terrible penalty.

Stanford’s chief information officer (Let us hope he is an indigenous person!) says the spirit behind the initiative always has been “to be responsive to feedback and to consider adjustments based on that feedback.”

This means, “We’ll watch to see what we can get away with, and we’ll keep fine tuning the proscriptions.”

So, don’t laugh. These “zombies” will keep on coming, and they’ll be coming for you.

Among the forbidden words of the “initiative” is “stupid,” which these daring etymologists claim was “once used to describe a person who could not speak and implied the person was incapable of expressing themselves.”

The word hasn’t been used this way since Caesar divided Gaul into three parts. And apart from its painful grammatical solecism and overall fanciful definition, it should be noted that its No. 1 meaning is “lacking ordinary quickness and keenness of mind.”

As a noun, it is use informally to mean “a stupid person,” or given this week’s processes in the House of Representatives, “a congressman.”

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