On Thursday’s episode of “The Michael Knowles Show,” the host takes apart a new “language guide” released by one of the top universities in the United States. Knowles explains how it is nothing short of a speech code and an attempt to silence dissenting thought. Transcript and video below.
The Common Language Guide was sent out by Amherst University. It wasn't sent out by the language departments, and it wasn't sent out by the English departments. Amherst has a good English program and you'd think maybe a guide on language would be sent out by them — no. It wasn't even sent out by the Office of the President or the Office of the Dean of Students. It was sent out by the Office of Inclusion and Diversity. This is something out of 1984. This is something right out of George Orwell to hear things like the Office of Inclusion and Diversity.
What does that office do? What is the purpose of that? Campuses are quite diverse, and they've been very diverse for a very long time. They're inclusive, it's a university. That’s the point of inclusion, well I guess they aren't inclusive to all of the conservative speakers that they disinvite. But the Office of Inclusion and Diversity is leading the charge to disinvite those people. So, what do they do? They send out Orwellian guides like this. They police people’s language, they enforce speech codes, they try to stop the free expression of ideas and they try to enforce a leftist ideology and a leftist orthodoxy. This is how they described it.
"This project emerged out of a need to come to a common and shared understanding of language in order to foster opportunities for community building and effective communication within and across difference. It includes a list of carefully researched and thoughtfully discussed definitions for key diversity and inclusion terms."
Right here, you know immediately today that their excuse that this shouldn't have been sent out or it was a mistake, is not true. They say in their first letter, these are "carefully researched, thoughtfully discussed." This is very intentional. They tell you twice in one sentence that it's "highly intentional." The purpose of this is very good, ostensibly. The nominal purpose, they say "we need a shared understanding of language in order to foster opportunities for community building."
The purpose of language is to communicate. That’s the most basic definition of language. I have my own subjective experience going on in my head, and you have your own subjective experience going on in your head. The only way we can bridge that unbridgeable gap is through language. What is language? It is letters and words and sounds, all of which are symbols to represent ideas that are outside of both of us. If I look at a tree and I see the tree, and it has leaves and it has branches and it has a trunk and I want to communicate the idea of "the tree" to you — how do we do that? You have your own perception of the tree as well. Unless we have a common word for the common experience in objective reality of the tree, then we can't communicate, that's the purpose of language.
You don't need an Office of Diversity and Inclusion to have language. The English language is much older than the Amherst College Office of Diversity and Inclusion. They say their purpose is to foster opportunities for communication — no. We have words. We have language. What their real purpose is to rewrite language, to totally change language, and to create new terms that connote new ideological constructs so that they can shape the ideology and the orthodoxy on campus.