Words matter.

Words matter so much the progressive left understands that limiting them will limit how we think.

If one cannot express herself freely, she cannot engage and debate ideas freely. Thus, today’s word police are today’s thought police.

Ultimately, limiting words limits freedom, both freedom of speech and freedom of thought.

Or let me put it this way. How awesome would it be if, in an argument, you could press a big “silence your opponent” button? When you run the platform on which others speak, you have that power. And the left owns those platforms — from the media, to Hollywood, to the classroom.

The frustration over this cancel culture is getting so immense anger is spilling into the comics section of newspapers. The absolutely nonpolitical comic strip “Zits” just gave a week’s worth of ink to a storyline of a teen who got canceled for tweeting that “Penguins walk funny.”

My hometown of Boulder understands that word control leads to thought control. Before my kids were born, the City Council struck the term “pet owner” from the city ordinances. You could no longer own a dog or cat, but you could be a dog “guardian.”

Yes, I know. Too silly to believe. Yet, by the time my kid went to the government school, she came home using the term “pet guardian.” Why does this matter? Because it teaches the brain that you don’t really own what you just purchased — the socialist miracle.

The city also teaches the poor that they own what they really don’t, namely a home. Boulder requires developers to set aside a percentage of units they build to be sold as “permanently affordable.” So, the lady who buys a permanently affordable unit thinks she owns it.

But the “permanently” in “permanently affordable” means she can only later sell it for what she bought it for, plus inflation. While her neighbors garner real wealth as their property appreciates in value, she can’t. That makes her a renter, conned into believing she is an owner.

One of the more devious thought manipulations is the “person-first” mandate. Starting with the “person of color” moniker, it has morphed into a thought-control machine.

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In Spanish, one puts the modifier after the noun, such as “cerveza frio” or “beer cold.” In English we ask for a “cold beer.” Person-first language must be Spanish.

My son has Down syndrome. But I’m not allowed to have a Down’s kid. I can, however, have a “son with Downs.” Since I stick with “Downs kid” you can imagine the corrections I get from the Down community, which to be consistent should be called the “community of Downs.”

The most forced use of this this unwieldy and Machiavellian person-first absurdity is the media’s mass adoption of “person currently experiencing homelessness.” What committee of sensitive elites went into overtime to come up with this pearl of nonoffensive drivel?

“Person currently experiencing homelessness” has 13 syllables. “Bum” has only one.

Denver is turning to crap because the city won’t clean up the transients infesting our sidewalks. When stepping over a passed-out man and trying not to fall in his vomit, which term goes through one’s mind?

“Person currently experiencing homelessness” is a half-truth at best. As Aurora Mayor Mike Coffman discovered when he went undercover as one, he found a large percentage of them were doing it by choice because they like the lifestyle. The proper person-first term really would thus be “person currently choosing homelessness.”

While the left demands person-first manipulation for most of their victim celebration, they do the opposite for their transgendered colleagues. (By the way, “transgendered” is a barred word; only “transgender” is allowed.)

The media uses “transgender man” or “trans girl,” not the person-first term they demand elsewhere. Apparently “man of transgender” doesn’t work because it forces the judgment call of “this person is a man” right upfront.

To be consistent the term should be “man who is currently experiencing gender dysphoria.” I don’t mean this as a rip on any person who’s trans. It only shows the word police are deliberately selective in their laws.

No wonder we’re all so confused. Best be safe and just stay quiet. (Wait. Did they just press a big “silence your opponent” button?)

Jon Caldara is president of the Independence Institute in Denver and hosts “The Devil’s Advocate with Jon Caldara” on Colorado Public Television Channel 12.

Jon Caldara is president of the Independence Institute in Denver and hosts “The Devil’s Advocate with Jon Caldara” on Colorado Public Television Channel 12. His column appears Sundays in Colorado Politics.