There was an interesting article the other day, where certain public schools were attempting to banish the use of the term “best friend” from the ordinary and daily usage by students. Now, the immediate reaction by some would be: Uh-oh, here comes another “politically correct” movement that is based upon the foolish idea that social engineering can be attained merely by manipulating language’s daily discourse by simply expunging the vocabulary we engage.
That is what Orwell’s point was, isn’t it — in that part in his novel, 1984, when there is the discussion of the New-speak dictionary that would be coming out in the fictionalized society of Oceania — of a dystopian world that determines thought by controlling the available words we use? By expunging and extracting, diminishing and destroying certain words, phrases, concepts, etc., we then limit the ability of an individual to engage in certain thoughts — thereby restricting and ultimately erasing any capacity to discuss and communicate such conceptual constructs.
Some positive idealists would believe that human creativity would somehow remain victorious over such totalitarian methods, and find ways to communicate, then create “new” ideas — newer than the anomaly and counter-insurgency of New-speak — and still come up with alternative words and phrases to replace any such attempt at erasure and extinguishment. But even Orwell doubted the success of such an endeavor, no matter how hard we try; and thus the dark ending to the novel, 1984.
But back to “outlawing” the references made on the playgrounds all across the country or, likely, across the spectrum of the world — would two or more children still engage in the behavior of “best friends” regardless of the expungement of the language identifying it as such; and if so, what would be the purpose of extinguishing the language if the underlying act itself continues to remain? Won’t children on playgrounds the world over engage in favoritism and concomitant exclusion because unexplainable attraction is the natural order of the universe?
Of course, social engineering initiated at an early age has a purposive direction which can be seen in later life — as in the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker, where favoritism prevails no matter how many laws, statutes, regulations etc. are imposed and upheld. Fiefdoms of every kind will always exist, and totalitarianism will often prevail.
For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition where the medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the concept of “favoritism” — growing out of the tender years of “best friends” but taking on another name and form — begins to take on greater meaning. For, its opposite — disfavor — begins to be applied for the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker who is no longer “as productive”, not fully a “member of the team”, and shows signs of slowing down; and then the harassment begins, just like when we were children and the pecking order always favored the bully and disfavored the weakling runts of the world.
At that point, it may be time to consult with an experienced attorney and begin the process of initiating a Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset — sort of like going and “telling” on that bully. Maybe so — but it is a necessary next step.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire