April 1997 |


By Michael Miller
web posted April 1997

Official thought control has reached Calgary. In November 1994, the Calgary Board of Education imposed Policy 1028 on teachers: "gender inclusive communications." The word is out that teachers who refuse to obey its dictates are at risk of dismissal, of losing their livelihoods.

The policy states: 'The Board directs that all communications be sensitive and inclusive.' Its meaning can best be learned by observing what its 'Guidelines' forbid.

Polite forms of address are verboten: you can't say "Mr.," "Mrs.," or "Mr. and Mrs.," can't use "Sir" or "Madam," can't use "Ladies and Gentlemen" when addressing a meeting. Specifically feminine terms for occupations are verboten. You can't say "waitress," "stewardess" or "actress."

Above all, English's gender inclusive terms are verboten. You are forbidden to use "man" as an inclusive term, either alone or in compounds such as "businessman" or "spokesman." You are forbidden to use English's gender inclusive pronouns inclusively: the inclusive sense of "he," "him," "his," and the like are all verboten.

This allegedly "gender inclusive' policy prohibits the gender inclusive terms of English! Therefore, "gender inclusive" is the wrong name for the language it seeks to impose. In view of its obviously feminist origins, and its similarity to Orwellian Newspeak, it is better called femspeak.

What reasons are offered for this assault on free speech? First, the directive claims that "Language shapes and represents the way in which people think and act." But this does not justify censorship: it is exactly the justification of free speech.

When a government board dictates the terms in which we think, it assaults freedom at the most fundamental level. When you are forbidden to choose the very words you speak or write, you are forbidden to choose your thoughts. When a state board dictates language, it is trying to 'shape' the way you 'think and act.'

Secondly, the directive claims that "Language which excludes, subordinates or demeans persons negatively impacts their growth and aspirations." This appears to mean that, contrary to the wise old nursery rhyme, words will always hurt me. Some such premise lies beneath every attempt at censorship.

Is it true? What kind of person would allow his growth and aspirations to be crippled by demeaning language? It would have to be someone so cravenly dependent as to believe everything he hears, or so cowardly as to be intimidated by mere words. The femspeak premise is true only of cowards and dependents. Freedom of thought is under attack in the name of moral defectives. Is that what feminists think of women?

Thought control would be evil even if English did demean or exclude women, but it does not. It is not demeaning to be addressed politely as "Mrs." or "Miss." It is not demeaning to be known as an actress, a stewardess or a waitress. It is not demeaning to be identified as a woman by such terms and you should question the mentality which prohibits them.

Above all, "man" and its compounds are inclusive. Always have been. The clearest evidence of this is "woman." It is derived from Old English "wif-man," which meant wife-man, i.e., a female man as opposed to a beast or a gooseberry bush. "Man" has always been gender inclusive. Femspeak is a feminist attempt to blot out this fact.

Feminism is a form of collectivism which seeks to divide mankind into warring factions based on sex, just as Nazism sought to divide mankind into racial factions, and Communism sought to divide mankind into economic factions. Feminism no more seeks fair treatment for women than Nazism sought fair treatment for Germans.

Collectivism promotes collective guilt. The feminist version is that males living now, and those not yet born, must be made to suffer for the alleged offenses of their (male) ancestors. (But then why not compensate them for the alleged injustices suffered by their female ancestors? No answer.) Males are to be targets of discrimination, subject to quotas and legal disabilities. The Nazi parallels are obvious.

Collectivism needs a fundamental Big Lie, and feminism's is that women have been systematically excluded from mankind, that virtually everything from reason, to law, to marriage, to the forms of language is a male plot.

If feminists can make us forget that "man" has always meant the whole human race, then they can re-write history to suit their lie. For example, they can claim that the philosophers who upheld the 'rights of man' meant to exclude women. The inclusive use of 'man' is a barrier to such re-writing. That is why feminists are campaigning to snuff it out.

They might succeed. They don't need you to agree with them, they just need you to act as if you did. If you and others use femspeak in your daily vocabulary, the inclusive use of 'man' will gradually fade away, and they will win this round. Whether you use femspeak from conviction, from intimidation, or from a desire to blend in, the result will be the same.

The conclusion is obvious: shun femspeak. Review your vocabulary, and erase the elements of femspeak which have crept in. Edit femspeak from your writing. Make a conscious choice to use 'man', 'he' and the rest inclusively as a matter of moral principle, the egoist principle that you must not support those who seek to destroy you.

This, of course, includes women. Women are neither beasts nor aliens: they are female men, rational animals. They have the same individual rights as other men, and their individual rights are equally threatened by collectivism. Individualism is an issue on which all men, male and female, can agree!

Or would you rather ally yourself with a hatred-eaten clique which daily discredits itself by endorsing such evils as thought control and collective guilt? Do you want to support a movement which aims to inflict suffering on your sons, grandsons and nephews for alleged offenses committed by others? Then what kind of mother, grandmother or aunt are you?

We must excuse Calgary's teachers and students if they use femspeak. They are living under censorship, and dare not speak freely under pain of losing their livelihoods or their educations. Their use of femspeak is as meaningless as an Iraqi's praise of Saddam Hussein.

The very fact that some men have been muzzled makes it imperative that the rest of us not muzzle ourselves. We must be visible opponents of femspeak, not only in our own self-defense, but in solidarity with those who have been silenced.

It couldn't hurt to tell the Calgary Board of Education what you think of directive 1028. But it is more important to circulate this paper to potential allies. And it is vital to erase femspeak from your own language.

As of January 1995: The CBE stumbled backward amid a hailstorm of flak. They now say the original Guidelines were merely a working document, issued in error. (Yeah, sure!) The new Guidelines are said to apply only to 'visiting speakers,' and drop some of the weirder aspects of the original. But the Guidelines still prohibit the inclusive use of 'man,' he,' 'him,' and 'his!'

You needn't despair at the state of the world, you can become a Quackgrass activist! Copy this article! Keep the original for future copies. Paper meetings with it! Paper your office! Leave a stack on your business counter! If you expect hostility, use stealth and cunning, it'll drive your opponents wild! Be ingenious! Have fun!

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