OK, I probably pay more attention to language than the average bear. I concede that. But I still believe that the words we use are important, and they do have consequences.
One of the more disturbing mutations of the language I have seen recently involves the use of the word “destroyed” to mean “offered a more compelling argument” or “successfully refuted the assertions set forth by.”
This usage has become so widespread, it is difficult to avoid it if one spends any time online.
It is used in reference to individuals, groups, or, more broadly, anyone who has a different viewpoint.
I wonder if the people who are using this give any thought to what they are saying.
Obviously there are countless expressions used in casual communication that are not intended to be taken literally, but what message does this particular usage send?
In many cases, the people using the expression seem excited, even gleeful, and celebrate the fact that the person or group in question has been “destroyed.”
Why do these people feel it is necessary to destroy anyone who has a different opinion, or with whom they disagree?
It seems clear these people feel justified in having (and voicing) their opinions. Why shouldn’t those with other viewpoints have a right to their opinions?
I hear or read things with which I disagree every day, but I hardly ever think the people behind these statements should be destroyed for expressing their opinion.
I may think they are imbeciles, or ignorant, or uninformed, but I have a laissez-faire attitude and do not feel compelled to resort to physical violence.
There are people, including many public figures, who make statements or take actions I find reprehensible or offensive.
Now, if a piano were to fall from a great height onto one of these people, I may not shed any tears, but I certainly wouldn’t wish any physical harm on them.
It seems to me the current usage of “destroy” is a reflection toward our society as a whole.
Just about everyone seems to believe in free speech, but this belief applies to a very narrow definition of the concept. They believe in their right to free speech, but not in the other guy’s.
Generally speaking, we seem to have become less tolerant and more aggressive in recent years.
What message does it send to the young or the dim when they hear this kind of talk?
Is it really necessary to want to “destroy” someone?
Why is it no longer enough to respectfully disagree with those whose opinions differ from our own?
Critics may say I am reading too much into this, but I am convinced the words we use do matter.
Our civilization is becoming less civil, and I don’t see any reason to celebrate that.