Thursday, 08 February 2018

The Neutered West: Canada Makes National Anthem “Gender Neutral”

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It’s certainly no surprise in a country whose prime minister wants to raise “feminist” sons and prefers the term “peoplekind” to “mankind,” but Canada’s national anthem has now become “gender neutral.” CBC News reported on the story:

The Senate passed a bill that renders the national anthem gender neutral Wednesday [1/31] despite the entrenched opposition of some Conservative senators.

The House of Commons overwhelmingly passed a private member's bill in 2016 that would alter the national anthem by replacing “in all thy sons command” with “in all of us command” as part of a push to strike gendered language from "O Canada."

The bill was first introduced by Liberal MP Mauril Bélanger, who died in 2016.

… Since 1980, when "O Canada" officially became the country's anthem, 12 bills have been introduced in the House to strip the gendered reference to “sons,” which some have argued is discriminatory. All attempts have failed until now.

And with the change having received “royal assent” yesterday, it now is officially part of the anthem.

"O Canada" has a somewhat complex history, and some considered it Canada’s unofficial anthem well before 1980. Originally written in French by Sir Adolphe-Basile Routhier in the late 19th century, the most popular English translation was penned by judge and poet Robert Stanley Weir. Note, however, that Weir’s version already reflected political correctness, in a sense, as he purged the song’s strong Christian content. The original French version opened with “Under the eye of God,” whereas the official English one’s first line is “O Canada!” This changed the focus from God to country — and perhaps to state.

While Routhier was alive when Weir translated and transformed his song, that Weir is now gone was noted by conservative senators, who stymied past efforts to alter the anthem saying that “Parliament had no business tinkering with the words of a song written by a man long dead,” wrote CBC News. The Canadian leftists don’t mind such tinkering, though, not any more than they mind stymieing the words of those still alive: They used a controversial motion in the Senate to shut down debate and prevent conservative statesmen from speaking against the anthem change.

Of course, the Left has long manipulated the language, an effort that has spawned speech codes in colleges and workplaces. For as Stuart Chase explained in his 1959 book The Tyranny of Words, the side that defines the vocabulary of a debate, wins the debate. 

This is easy to understand. Imagine a German culture and a French one vying for primacy in a certain geographical area. If the French could convince all the Germans to speak French, wouldn't they already have won at least half the battle? Is it any different in our “culture wars”? Would traditionalists have any chance of victory if they reflexively adopted the lexicon of the Left? 

And that lexicon metastasizes continually. I provided some examples last year:

Let’s start with the Obama administration’s not-so-seamless word twisting. It mandated replacing “juvenile delinquents” with “justice-involved youth,” which sounds like teens studying criminology. “Boots on the ground” became “direct action on the ground”; “terrorist attack” became “man-caused disaster,” which sounds like the election of Obama; “rogue states” became “outliers”; terrorism at work became “workplace violence”; “war” became “kinetic military action”; and the “global war on terror,” itself euphemistic (“terror” is a method, not an adversary), became “overseas contingency operations,” to name a handful of examples. Obama also banned the terms “Islam” and “jihad” from national security documents.

Other terms leftists have sought to eradicate/ban, on college campuses and elsewhere, are “birthdays,” “poverty,” “divorce,” disease,” “hunting,” “junk food,” “religion,” “male,” “female,” “illegal alien,” “violate,” “man up,”  “he,” “she,” and, well, you could probably find hundreds more examples.

As for making the language gender neutral, at least this reflects proper use of the word “gender,” which traditionally was almost exclusively a grammatical term (referencing categories into which words are divided, such as masculine, feminine, and neuter). Yet it can have harmful effects.

The neutering of language reaches its nadir of lunacy with gender-neutral pronouns such as “ne,” “ve,” “ze,” “zir,” “hir,” and “xe.” While these aren’t embraced (yet), Coca-Cola just used a gender-neutral pronoun in a Super Bowl commercial, the Swedish (language) Academy announced in 2015 the adoption of the gender-neutral pronoun “hen” (gives new meaning to being hen-pecked), and the Episcopalians’ governing body recently approved a measure to adopt gender-neutral pronouns for God.

Why does this matter? In recent decades the Left has succeeded in replacing “sex” — in the sense of being male or female — with “gender”; in fact, most everyone today uses the latter when referencing sex. So now both words and people are put in the same category.

Of course, the move to make language gender-neutral reflects radical activists’ desire to have people considered “gender-neutral.” But can’t it also work the other way around? If we refuse to recognize gender in language, this may make it easier to refuse to recognize “gender” (sex) in people. The whole idea is that specific “gender” doesn’t exist — anywhere.

As for "O Canada," the social engineers still display their unenlightened exclusivity. Using the term “people” is awfully speciesist of them, after all. Perhaps they need to get some Canada geese, Atlantic puffins, and beavers in the Senate. Hey, why not? From what we’ve seen, there’s good reason to believe it would yield better government.

Photo: Jude Freeman

 

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