The Sleight of Language
It is not uncommon for us to use the phrase “sleight of hand” in reference to some sort of subtle deception undertaken on the part of an individual. We might think of some sort of card shark performing the subtlest undetected act of deception winning him the game. However, there is an even deadlier act of deception, it is that which is undertaken in the arena of language. When writers take the liberty to change the definition of words or subtly alter them to mislead the reader’s thoughts, that is the heinous act of which I stand in opposition. My quarry is not with those brilliant authors who endlessly work to use the exact word necessary for the moment. Nor, do I have issues with someone using a specific expression in their expansive vocabulary to create a certain influence upon the reader. However, I am adamantly opposed to those who change the meaning of words for the deception of the people.
Such sleights of language frequently occur in our media and amongst governmental authorities today. For example, White House Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said it was misinformation to reference Biden’s vaccine mandate as a mandate, but instead, it should be called a vaccine requirement.1 Frankly, this is purely a semantic game being played by the White House on this point. Mandating you to get a vaccine is the same as requiring you to get one, that is simple to understand. Without a doubt, the intent of such wording as this illustration is to manipulate the citizenry into accepting their propaganda. The Biden Regime knows that freedom-loving Americans do not particularly like that language, it sort of reminds us of King George, except worse. Therefore, the best action the Regime believes they can take is to change the wording, thereby hoping to lessen that sting a bit. It is a sleight of language performed with the pure purpose of misleading the populace.
The Importance of Catching Such Language Tricks
Here is the pivotal question for us as it pertains to this issue, how do we detect such sleights of language, thereby ensuring we do not fall prey to the deceptive tactics? First, we must closely read every bit of information that comes our way. It is a disciplined undertaking, but if we are to avoid these traps, we have to obtain a proficiency in detecting even the most subtle of anomalies. Why does the author/speaker use that word? From where did he get his information? How does he frame the entirety of his piece? What are the presuppositions driving his opinions? Are they valid? All of these questions, and undoubtedly many more, will play a tremendous role promoting further comprehension of everything we read. For example, if someone says a woman who had an abortion merely underwent a “medical procedure” instead of saying they committed “murder” I can detect the secular bias at play. They are attempting to downplay the reality that the baby in the womb is a human person whose life is worthy of protecting, and that belief is impacting how they write. Picking up on such pieces of information is helpful in seeing through to the heart of the matter.
Another vital key is to look at the context of a particular author’s body of work. Let’s say that I am reading a website ending up eventually stumbling across an author who has several articles on Coronavirus. If I read only one of them, then I will get some of their thoughts, but reading multiple, if not all of them will afford me the opportunity to understand the entire picture. I can see the different facets of their position which helps me to comprehend their overall thought process on that issue. If I wanted to accurately interact with such an author by writing a responsive blog post, reading through all of these posts would equip me in getting to the primary points at play. Instead of only whipping around the edges of their writing, I could plunge into the depths of what is at stake.
Thirdly, we must learn to think critically about the facts when we digest information. Just because certain statements come from a well-known publication does not mean they are inherently correct. If we are to perform our due diligence, then we must seek to ascertain if the writer has the facts correct, backs up their data with evidence, and has uncovered the truth of the matter. We cannot simply take these aspects of their writing for granted. Far too many have an agenda to push personal objectives instead of factual reality. Consequently, we must research what an author alleges to ensure we have not been led astray either intentionally or unintentionally.
The Cost of The War
Winning the war of language and words comes at the price of time and effort. If citizens are able to see through the deceptive tactics by simply educating themselves, then those perpetrating this underhanded effort will not be able to succeed. However, if we simply meander mindlessly along accepting whatever comes our way, then we will be prime bait for sharks in the waters. What is at stake in the battle? Ultimately our very freedoms are at play. The truth is paramount to freedom, and if the meanings of language change from day to day, then we are living in a truly fluctuating time where it will be difficult to understand anything.
I urge all of us then to take up this great mantle and seek to discern what we read. We may not all be writers, best-selling authors, or anything of that sort, but let us do what we can by protecting ourselves and others from the deception. It is a difficult battle filled with many potential pitfalls, yet a mind exercising biblical discernment can overcome all of these issues. I pray that we will continue to grow ourselves so we may catch the ever-so-subtle deceptive techniques which are unfortunately being employed by many today.