Blog #22 Origin of the Specious

It was famously, Charles Darwin, who startled the world by revealing the process of successive and progressive mutation by which we morphed from amoeba to American.

Words also, would   seem to evolve, over time and changed context; but unlike phylogeny, not always towards the most useful. Acceptable nouns, such as “bitch,” which meant, in polite English usage, a female dog, grew to describe a shrewish, or mean woman. Likewise, the word “bastard” which was a (negative) word to adjudicate an individual as  born out of wedlock and therefore not entitled to heirship. The latter, morphed noun came to be used as an epithet describing a person as mean, ungrateful or stingy. Mercifully, proceedings to determine fatherhood are more recently called “paternity proceedings” rather than “bastardy proceedings.”

The instance of an unusual (double) mutation of the phrase “politically  correct” uniquely demonstrates an  evolution  from that of  an evil context  to a positive one, and then,  regrettably, back  to an atavistic usage.

The phrase, “legally correct”   had a pernicious  application,  as  employed in  countries such as  the USSR or  China to  signify  that the words used  passed muster  (read,  party or government censorship) as not being contrary  to approved dogma. With the decline of totalitarianism, the parlance became a   salubrious and beneficial one.

In a multicultural society the phrase has reference is to the avoidance of vocabulary which could be insensitive or insulting to those of differing physical features, cultures or beliefs. Such effort and intention to be good neighbors, used reasonably, is demonstrably, salutary and commendable.   The sincere desire to live together in harmony and peace is also among the most useful and beneficial of our evolved human traits and is within the universally accepted “Golden Rule.”

Unfortunately, for some, the phrase has evolved into yet another use, one which is detrimental to the peace and harmony of society. [Perhaps envisioning the future   they should have called it   “Socially Correct.”]

Many Americans, often those whose views lean rightward, have relegated the phrase to an interference with their liberty and right to free speech. However, the injury of others was always, judicially, the limit and boundary of our legal and constitutional rights; we also have the right, by the way, not to be injured.

The only speech infringed upon is bigoted speech.  Yet statements have been reported such as “Those who don’t have the b–lls to say what they {read, what “I”} want” or, verbally attribute the practice to “liberal pussies”

Since he clearly has the choice, not to be in accord with the “flat earth” denizens of our planet, p.  shall opt, permanently, to remain a progressive felis domesticus.





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Retired from the practice of law'; former Editor in Chief of Law Review; Phi Beta Kappa; Poet. Essayist Literature Student and enthusiast.

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