Thursday, September 23, 2010

Children learning to swear at an earlier age

Oh $#*!, I'm 3! Kids Learning to Swear Earlier

I honestly do believe that this is a good thing. All my life I've believed that selective speech restrictions on the young are a form of bullying by adults, made all the more insulting by the arbitrary nature of the prohibited words. Why should young people be prohibited from using terms that older people use on a regular basis? Just because they are "not old enough?" While there are things that younger people should be held back from doing, such as driving a car, speaking their mind freely is not one of them, and that includes the freedom to choose the words they wish to use. If there is to be a restriction on speech, it should be uniform for everyone and more importantly based upon real necessity, not a Pavlovian aversion to certain words instilled during childhood. Yelling "fire!" in a crowded theatre is not the same thing as saying "shit." No one should have the right to do the former, and no one should be prohibited from doing the latter.

In France the word "tabernac" is profane. What does this word refer to in English? A tabernacle. Yes, as in church. In fact much profanity in French is derived from religious terms that would be completely inoffensive to any English speaker. The prohibited terms are arbitrary.

In the English speaking world, words that refer to parts of the body, bodily functions, or things excreted by the body are considered profane. Meanwhile other terms that have the exact same definitions are curiously not viewed as being rude. Once again, the prohibited terms are arbitrary.

When children are punished for using certain words that adults use freely without rebuke, it teaches them that their rights as human beings are subject to being capriciously abridged by people in positions of power. It teaches them that power alone determines what decisions are made in society. In other words it undermines democracy and teaches an unhealthy respect for tyranny.