/ Kleptocracy /
In a kleptocracy, the only social condition literate peoples have ever lived in, it’s the kleptocracy, not you, that gets to decide who your “enemies” are, gets to commandeer the language, the vocabulary, take charge of still another thing that doesn’t belong to it: language. And then the kleptocracy changes your enemies like fashions. … the Germans, then the Russians … now the Afghanistans … The Germans never made me go to school, pay taxes … The Russians never had their hand sewn into my pocket (Oh, we’ll just hold 20% of “your salary” for you), never drafted me … never took my front yard away citing “eminent domain” … How are the Germans, the Mexicans, the Vietnamese … my enemies?
I repeat it here as a place marker reminding us that the point deserves further development. Today I start with one note only: one that also needs to be duplicated in the larger context of language itself. The language is in a sense a living thing, a living community of things, getting born, maturing, improving, degenerating, dying … evolving. No one is in charge of a species. A species is a collective phenomenon. I don’t want to tell everyone to have blue eyes instead of brown or brown eyes instead of blue. I don’t wan to tell everyone to be shorter or taller. And I don’t want anyone else to, and certainly not any majority. A species is a dialogue with an environment. No individual and no majority is smart enough to keep up with what it is. Guidance is practically guaranteed to be short-sighted, biased, to miss some larger “real point.” I don’t want God telling us what to be. The real universe, as it is, is more complex than any possible God could ever understand. Keep Your Magic out of my Truth.
English is my first and main language. It drives me crazy. It’s inadequate in so many ways. I try to improve it by the example of writing as well as I can manage (given finite time, talent, energy resources (money), attention …) The profession I am trained for is college English: teaching reading, writing, rhetoric, literature … As was expressed in the earliest days of Knatz.com, in the war between the prescriptive grammarians and the descriptive grammarians, I am on the side of description. The founder of FLEX is a deschooler: and deschooling means no coercion. English teachers have experience with English, but no Authority. And if English teachers have no Authority with English then certainly neither do political factions: including the Majority. Part way into the paragraph, I was away from my desk. Sitting back down, I find myself on a different tack. That’s OK, I have work elsewhere. I’ll straighten this out later. The point to be tackled currently is: language police for this and that faction: gender police being the first considered. …
The above was originally scribbled as a note to an army story. Now, 2015 09 08, I post it under Kleptocracy, vowing to reabsorb it wherever it belongs in time.