Whatever you think of a world in which sons are called carers, lovers are described as partners, husbands and wives are reinvented as spouses or just ‘two people’, and no one says ‘boy’ or ‘girl’, you should at least acknowledge that it is a very different place to one where people cultivate their own identities and traditions to determine who they really are.
It is important to understand that these new administratively sanctioned terms are not simply different words that express the same old identities or relationships. No, when a son is transformed into a carer, then the defining features of his relationship to his mother become obscured, maybe even lost. When religious organisations are told to use a language that treats the family as no big deal, then they cease to serve as institutions that can give spiritual meaning to their members. When marriage is reinterpreted as merely the union of two people, or a partnership of spouses, then the identity of a husband and wife is steadily eroded and loses its deep-rooted symbolic significance. Linguistic engineering impacts in a very real and very negative way on how we conceive of ourselves and how we think about our most intimate bonds.
The words we use really, really matter. They shape our view of ourselves and of our fellow citizens. In an open, tolerant society, people should possess the freedom to choose how they define themselves and others.
Unfortunately, today there are powerful cultural forces that believe they have the moral authority to decide what words the rest of us can use to describe ourselves, our loved ones and our relationships. Language is a far too important an area of human life to leave to the administrators and experts.
I can't agree with Furedi for I believe that language must reflect the evolution/change of society and shouldn't be sacralized particularly because identities are ever changing. Language is a tool and although words really really matter, people matter more. The question should be whether changes in language are enough to reflect a society's essence and whether they can be something other than solely ideological, inartful and abrasive.