One of the reasons our founders were able to work together to form a common ground upon which they could agree to build this nation was that they had a common understanding of many things. They shared a common understanding of their language, of history and of the principles and ideas that had been developed by those who had come before them. One of the reasons we have so much difficulty today is because these common understandings have been lost or, in some cases, intentionally destroyed.
Before we can have a meaningful conversation with another person, we have to have a common understanding of the ground rules. This common understanding provides us with a reasonable assurance that we actually understand each other correctly. The most important of these basic understandings is that of language, but also the understanding of how language works. Language works by assigning a symbol to a concept or idea. The meaning of these symbols must be fixed and known to everyone using that language. If the definitions are kept secret or subject to changing without notice, then we lose the assurance that we’ll understand each other. There are many similar systems that use symbols to represent ideas and which rely on set rules to govern the use of these symbols. Just a few examples would be basic logic and mathematics. And this is why it is important to define the concepts and ideas we are discussing: so that we will all have a common understanding of the rules governing that that symbol e call “language.”
Now, this may seem obvious, so you probably think this is boring, even boring to some, but it isn’t, and it shouldn’t be. In fact, given the state of our society, I’d argue that this isn’t obvious at all. I would go further by arguing that we have lost our understanding of language and – in part – it is the result of intentional design(s). This is because there is an ongoing attempt to undermine or transform our society and because — in many respects, a society is its language – our understanding of our language has been attacked. Language actually shapes how we think and act. When we all share a common understanding of our language, then everyone in our society has at least one common thread to bind us together. This helps to create a general sense of unity within our society. However, if we disrupt this understanding of our language, or worse, we introduce one or more different languages into society and make no effort to establish a common language, then we sew division and discord within society. So, if someone or some group were to want to cause strife within a society, one of the most effective means of doing so would be to undermine that society’s language. Have you ever read the story about the Tower of Babble?
If we think of words as boxes into which we place meanings, then the box we call “language” contains the rules that govern how we use language. We can then use these rules to convey complex thoughts and ideas. However, if we all placed different understandings in our box labeled “language,” then – even though we may all be using the same words – we may have different understandings of what those words mean. In other words, we are putting different things in boxes with the same label. This is how language is destroyed: by trying to communicate different ideas using the same words. When such a breakdown in the common understanding of our language occurs, we end up talking at, over or around each other, but not to or with each other. Consequently, we end up in confrontations that most likely could have been avoided had we only had a shared understanding for the language. Eventually, these language divides will lead to social divides and – eventually – collapse. Think about it: the Left and the Right both claim they want to protect our “rights,” but do you really think the two sides have the same ideas in their box marked “rights?” This is why we must defend and preserve our language.
Now, among my many interests, I am something of an amateur philosopher, a discipline which expends a great deal of energy understanding both language and logic. In fact, I could argue that all of philosophy is concerned with logic. Mathematics is a form of logic. It uses set symbols with fixed definitions and a fixed set of rules to govern how formulas are derived and equations are worked. In the same sense, language is a form of logic. So, whether we are dealing with the rules of logic, mathematics or language, the approach is the same: one uses the correct understanding of symbols and the correct application of the rules governing those symbols to decipher meaning by detecting mistakes in reasoning and arriving at correct conclusions. If this were not the case, you would not now be interested or bored by our discussion because you’d have no idea of what I am trying to explain.
So, with this cornerstone of common understanding laid between us, let’s start building the rest of the foundational understandings we need to have before we can address the basic principles of Natural Law, Natural Rights and individual liberty.