I am off topic in so far as gunsmithing and the subject of firearms in general, but those who were former readers of Lighthouse Journal (established in 1999 first as “Keifer's Korner” know that besides being a connoisseur (Webster English word from France) of firearms and weaponry, I have a passion for history, literature, and American patriotism.
Reviewing the visits of readership here at Old Glory, I find that the most popular are my articles concerning tips and tricks concerning firearms and my historical essays. The readership is primarily in the United States, but also folks from: Israel, Germany, France, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, India, Turkey, and Russia being the primary nations.
Since I was a teenager I found I had a gift of writing and the appreciation of literature, classic and American, that extended into the study of philosophy and, of course, history. The high school newsletter published one of my poems and I was hooked; but when an unscrupulous publisher stole my manuscript, I set aside the love of writing and the desire to be published for decades. It was a hard lesson to learn and I pass this wisdom that stems from being a victim of unethical publishers and editors: never send a whole manuscript, even a copy, only a segment or chapter to get approval – unless you have first gotten a copyright. It was a novel based on a real historical person known as Belle Starr.
Something that has fallen away in our society is the art of writing. Few write letters anymore, although the speed of email cannot be ignored. Communication is suffering because too many use the informality of texting rather than speaking on a phone or in person. Can you imagine the mental shock if suddenly society was cast back into the 19th century? Few would survive, and because so much of our knowledge is recorded electronically and on computer, the lack of the written word would indeed be critical. I am just about as guilty as the next person - but it is disturbing to see the younger generation with poor penmanship and no pride in their writing skills.
Writing requires some knowledge of the schematics of language. I have always admired those that could speak, read, and write in more than one language. One of the places on my bucket list while serving in the military was Australia, but the Army told me that the only way to get assigned there was to be an attaché (also a French word used by Webster English), and the only way to be an attaché is to pass the US Armed Forces language test. It is an examination that comprises a made up language or combined languages to see if one has the ability to learn a language other than English. The more difficult the written language the higher the score is required; like learning Arabic and the Eastern languages like Chinese and Japanese – which makes understanding ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics easy. Egyptology and Archaeology are also passions of mine, which makes sense since it concerns history. My final score was 76, which means I only had an aptitude for languages like Latin (of which I self studied) and general European languages. Not a good score, but don't have to worry about being put in a corner and wear a "dunce" cap.
Looking at the perspective of sensibility, I didn't understand why I needed to score higher to become an attaché if my goal was assignment to Australia.
During the course of my education in literature and the general arts at university level, I discovered how written English is so unnecessarily complex. Indeed, while I made high scoring in literature and the art of writing in high school, my grades were nothing to be proud of when it came to the schematics of English as the written word. It wasn't until I went to executive administration school at Fort Benjamin Harrison (after several years in the infantry) that I more fully understood those schematics and became more dedicated to insisting that English not be made such a confusing and complex language. Indeed, in the need to insist upon independence from Mother England, we should have stuck with the “Queen's English” as a spoken and written language, rather than what evolved after Noah Webster (not to be confused with Daniel Webster the Democrat politician) created the first American English Dictionary. To make it worse, we have added too much slang and colloquial words that has dumbed-down our youth much like the government- and progressive-controlled education program has done. It is part of the reason why students find Shakespeare, the Federalist Papers, and even the original Constitution and its amendments difficult to read and understand. Except for technological advancement, one word comes to mind concerning the general atmosphere of the American education system as pathetic. Indeed, the ranking of the American education system continues to slide down the international standard to just above “third world” nations. That truly is pathetic. Besides of having government control and political correctness police in charge of writing the textbooks and establishing teaching staff lessons, it is because we have a generation that does not appreciate the value of an education where knowledge and the encouragement of ideas is downplayed.
To many, linguistics, like history, is boring. But those same people are fans of the written and film series of Lord of the Rings, which was written by J.R.R. Tolkien, an English linguist and philologist, a professor of English Language and Literature of Merton College, Oxford, England who has been recognized as the father of sword-n-sorcery fantasy literature.
Let's take the word linguist as the first example: it should be spelled lingwist, should it not? Why is it not spelled phonetically? Indeed, why isn't the word phonetic spelled fonetic? I do not use the wonder of my word processor spell check on this essay because I would certainly screw it up. Well, in terms of accepted spelling, written and pronunciation levels.
I have a passion of Celtic history, but even that word is messed up but people still accept it. It should be spelled as it is pronounced: Keltic.
Professor Laurie Bauer, New Zealand, examines as to why we pluralize avocados without an “e”, yet add “es” to tomatoes. I am not alone upon this examination of the strange written word of English.
Personally, I believe that Americans should have stuck with the “Queen's English” - both spoken and written, and the latter kept as simple as Latin with addition of words/phrases as technology advanced. Indeed, along with French, many of our words found in Webster/Oxford dictionaries are Latin/Greek derivatives.
Allegedly, the government mandated education program called Common Core Standards Initiative has come under scrutiny, which allegedly will help students with their difficulty with reading proficiency – the foundation of all learning. If you cannot understand what you are reading, you cannot attain an accepted level of knowledge. Since the progressive PC crowd has taken over our educational system and the University of California has hailed this program – it is immediately under scrutiny because these are the same type of people who insisted upon dumbing -down an entire generation!
Indeed, it was Californians who established the “Valley Girl” mentality, and combined with Hollywood, has established the American faddist manner of speaking English that correlates with the progressive insistence of dumbing-down our educational system. The Valley Girl not only represented a stereotype of a socio-economic class of women through a California English dialect dubbed Valleyspeak, but hailed colloquial English like one would do with faddist clothing. Result: a generation of stupidity that is rampant of materialism. Oddly, the Valley Girl creators will be the first to complain about disrespect of the female gender – of which they are clearly to blame for the stereotyping of that misnomer macro depiction of society. It is one of the reasons why California has dropped from the fifth wealthiest state in the world to a welfare state with constant economic and social problems that has come to be known as Mexifornia, established by the historian writer, Victor Davis Hanson. Problem is, like a flu epidemic, Californians have been carriers of the disease like Typhoid Mary.
The Bible, a book of many books and letters, has also been the victim of rewriting through the ages. The 1599 Geneva Bible was published with annotations so they common folk could enjoy reading its historical stories, wisdom, and religious connotations. King James I of England decided that in terms of English bibles, it undermined his authority, so he ordered a version published in his name as being the only “authorized” version to be accepted. As time went on into the 'modern age' beyond the fantastic Victorian era, the New Age Bible appeared that further diluted the original content and too often meaning of the words written in a book of books that is the oldest published book still in circulation. The Bible, specifically the Old Testament section, began in Hebrew, later in Greek, then Latin, then English, and later German and about 80 languages and dialects. If the versions are studied, it is no wonder that the Bible is the most misinterpreted (and misquoted) book ever published.
The English language history shows it is a West Germanic language that originated from the Anglo-Frisian dialects brought to Britannia by Germanic Keltic (Celtic) tribes from what is now northwest Germany and the Netherlands. Indeed, some modern German and Dutch words are recognizable because of this. Old English begins with the Anglo-Saxons after Rome ordered the withdrawal of its legions who controlled England.
We all know that changes during the course of a lifetime is not always for the better. It is because too many people, especially those that control the educational system, have forgotten the simple rule of life: If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
Thus, we spell “doktor” as “doctor” - the “C” letter mysteriously becoming a “K” and other non-phonetic established words.
Fixing the complexity of the English written word will most likely not fix the woes of American society today, but since our established national language is a derivative of England, the prime entity of the United Kingdom – shouldn't we return to the “Queen's English”?
Unfortunately, the chance of that occurring is minimal to say the least and as difficult to establish as getting rid of the horrid income tax system of the United States and its evil agency called IRS.
Progressives today are a product of the institution of progressivism established by 20th Century political-social landmarks like Woodrow Wilson that incorporated socialism infiltrated by European Marxist ideology; who realized that the way to change a country is to commandeer the educational system and influence the thinking of a nation's youth through carefully planned curriculum that becomes the product of a statist government. If one examines closely the American educational system's evolution, it begins with Wilson, is firmly established by the Democrat Party demogogue, FDR and is realizing its total submission to collective socialism within the regime of the Obama administration.
People, specifically intellectuals, write differently than they generally speak in the English language. This is a phenomenon that I too am guilty of. It is a subconscious act that culminates from the social stygma that those who speak in an intellectual manner are "geeks" or "nerds".
The progressives have not only rewritten our history in the name of political correctness, but have included a degradation of the written word and have added the mandate that Spanish should be a second national language. This agenda has been established by only offering Spanish as a required second language for the requirements of a degree on the pretense that the educational system can only afford one language available to meet the degree requirements.
Change is inevitable as technology progresses, but society has the wrong impression that established traditions and the art of the intellectual that includes writing must be relegated to the dust bin of history; just as tried-and-proven values and morals must also fall by the way of "progress". This is a mistake that has cost our society dearly, and it has bled off into the socio-political world and the constant misnomer that has been drilled to generations since Woodrow Wilson that the United States is a democracy is counter to the intention and establishment of the constitutional republic. Democracy ends up to be the rule of the mob, which in turn becomes a socialistic, statist state that turns into an oligarchy.
The constitutional republic foundation is set upon principles and the rule of law; clearly, and in plain language, established by the articles and amendments of the Constitution of the United States. The government is provided with limitations and a check-and-balance system to ensure those limitations are exercised. The retarded intellectual embrace of our society has been degraded for a purpose and that purpose is just about reaching its epic proportions intended by architects of the social order and self-serving agenda.
The degradation of standards of literacy within our national educational system has made our youth, citizens of tomorrow, not appreciating what made our nation so great and a model for others to follow. In the zeal of progress, We the People have allowed ourselves to be manipulated into what the socio-political climate is today; and represents the cancer that has eaten away at our society and form of government, forgetting the wisdom that if it works don't fix it and if it does not work, do not use the same solutions to solve repeating problems.
Intellectual endeavors should not be downplayed as the basic golden rule moralities have been portrayed; for it is the beginning of the death throes of a great society and civilization - both here and abroad.
As John Adams and other Founders warned, a societies degradation of morality and values cannot sustain good government; thus it is up to We the People to make those necessary changes because the selfish, self-serving individuals operating OUR government are not going to make those changes on their own.
The lost art of writing and the degradation of intellectual and logical thinking are all tied into what I just presented; and leave for contemplation and hopefully the decision to finally do something before it is too late.