|At Finca Lerida|
The Ubiquitous They
I just listened to a few interviews with a certain Lord Monckton, a citizen of Great Britain who claims to be “not a proponent of conspiracy theories,” and then embarks on a litany of conspiracy theories including:
- The climate change hoax is part of a power grab and an end-around play by the EU, the Democrats in the USA and the UN to deprive people of their democratic rights and gain for themselves the power over people that they crave.
- In the ruling by the US Supreme Court that legally legitimates same-sex marriage, they have taken the power unto themselves to dictate to the people, thereby depriving them of their democratic right to govern themselves.
I didn’t count how many times Lord Monckton used they to describe the “enemy” that’s bent on destroying democratic rights, but it was the most frequent pronoun referring to his opponents. He also used leftists and marxists a few times.
They is a universal signal telling us that we’re listening to propaganda. Not once did Monckton name a person of the purported group he was railing against. Is Ban Ki Moon, the secretary-general of the UN, a power hungry member of they? Is my local member of parliament a member of they? Is Naheed Nenshi, mayor of Calgary, a member of they? And where and when do they all get together to plot the overthrow of democracies? And why do you never hear a disaffected member of the evil they blowing the whistle on the they gang they’ve gotten themselves embroiled in?
The most obvious explanation is that they doesn’t exist. Certainly there are power-hungry people in this world who would like to subjugate all of us and make us do their will. You need only look at Saudi Arabia, President Assad of Syria, the leadership of ISIL to see that that’s true. But to extrapolate from that the assertion that our government, our United Nations, our European Union are together plotting a dictatorship is hard to believe. If we have people in governments now with those aspirations, the chance that they would get ALL their governing colleagues to agree to a plan to disenfranchise its people defies credibility.
Remember that we ousted the Harper government for displaying even innocuous hints that they were hoping to establish themselves as Canada’s party, Canada’s ideology. If that wasn’t democracy in action, I don’t know what is. The people decided. And consider who the Albertans are who are making virulent noises about overthrowing their democratically-elected government, some even suggesting assassination.
In our local institutions as in the broader world, the tendency to resort to they when group choices have to be made is a plague that does us as much harm as assumed dictatorship ever could. They is a plural pronoun. Theys are made up of individuals and unless these individuals cannot make up their own minds, cannot disagree about anything among themselves, a they, as Monckton so often uses it, never exists except in motorcycle gangs, criminal organizations, theocracies and communist/fascist/hereditary dictatorships.
Let’s either name those with whom we disagree and confront/'carefront' them or keep silence. And let’s challenge people like Monckton who keep using they as the name of everything that frightens us.