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Syntax Error

The Good Word

Karen Stollznow

February 2, 2011

Correct language is not so correct...

In an effort to understand the January 2011 shootings in Tucson, Arizona, the media took an interest in the online presence of the accused, Jared Lee Loughner. He had posted a series of YouTube videos in which he made some unorthodox claims about language. These ramblings included, “The government is implying mind control and brainwash on the people by controlling grammar. You control your English grammar structure.”1

This brought to light the beliefs of conspiracy theorist David Wynn Miller, the inventor of Correct Language. Miller devised Correct Language as a method of writing and speaking while navigating the legal system that supposedly “protects people from the government.”

Although it appears his theories were influential to Loughner’s ideology, Miller has not been implicated in the murders. Let’s leave aside Loughner and take a closer look at David Wynn Miller, who prefers to be known as Judge :David-Wynn: Miller.

Judge :David-Wynn: Miller

Miller is a retired tool and die welder, but in his own words he is an educator, ambassador, postmaster, legal scholar, plenipotentiary-judge, the king of Hawaii, and a genius. Miller claims he was crowned king of Hawaii in 1996 after turning Hawaii into a verb.2 The bizarre story of how he became a “genius” is shared testimonial-style on his website :David-Wynn: Miller Quantum and Syntax Language Truth Seekers:

The resurrectional, Mensa-worthy, endorphin-packed Miller also promotes “health products.” He sells “zappers” for people and their pets that “wake up your immune system FAST.” These low-voltage frequency generators were popularized by (naturopathic doctor) Hulda Clark, author of The Cure for All Diseases. It is claimed that zappers kill parasites, bacteria, viruses, and cancer. In short—you guessed it—“all diseases.” These devices, which supposedly encourage “self health,” are dangerously promoted as an inexpensive and pro-active alternative to visiting a medical doctor.

Miller’s website is a sanctuary for conspiracy theorists and promotes (mis)information about chemtrails, cancer cures, UFOs, government exposés, the New World Order, the 2012 “catastrophe,” and the “truth” about vaccinations, aspartame, fluoride, and 9/11. But his specialty is his own product, Correct Language.

Correct Language

Miller developed an interest in language and the law following an unsuccessful custody suit (or sixty-seven).

Miller concluded that the world’s governments and legal systems are deceptive and that “The English Language Has Been Deliberately Modified to Enslave Us!” He embarked on a search for a method to circumvent deception in language, spending a reputed 59,000 hours studying historical linguistics, the evolution of language. He concluded that the world’s languages are all fiction: “Tirelessly researching Language globally, on the 6th of April 1988 [Miller] cracked the code. His research took him back 8500 years prior, when it became apparent this was the beginning of Language being bastardised.”

These claims are not substantiated, but it seems that Miller believes that linguistic evolution is a form of corruption and further believes that he has identified a time where there was some sort of pure language. Trying to “fix the language,” he created Correct Language, also known as Quantum Language, Syntax Sentencing, or the Mathematical Interface for Language. Miller reports that Correct Language is “based on mathematics and maritime law” because “Earth is a vessel in a sea of space.”

After a Messiah-like resurrection, superhuman levels of endorphins, sixty-seven court hearings, and 59,000 hours of research, you might be thinking that Miller’s method is hyperbole, but it is based in altering the syntax, punctuation, and even spelling of English.

If You Thought Legalese Was Bad…

Miller’s other website, :JUDGE: DAVID-WYNN: MILLER, is written entirely in Correct Language. The site includes pages of examples and features a Quantum Dictionary of his interpretations of legal definitions. It also provides information about scams, secrets, a global faith, UFO sightings, and a woman who falsely claims to be Miller’s wife. But the most striking feature of the website is its syntax and the fact that the typing is often in bolded all-capitalized letters.

Miller claims “there is no ambiguity in Quantum Language,” but the writing and speech style is incomprehensible. Here is a typical example of his incoherent, obsessive-compulsive text:

This stuff makes legalese look like a Little Golden Book.

Miller states that the goal of Correct Language is “To educate the planet and put an end to the harvesting of the people, through the Fraudulent conveyance of Language!” He even claims his “truth language technology” can end wars and bring consensus to religion. In Correct Language he explains this as “for the stopping-claims of the Theft, Cheating, Fraud, Slavery and War.”

Miller’s nonsensical “language” is an artificial dialect of English that employs the vocabulary of English, including its syntax words. It contains the grammatical terms of English, but it does not apply the same grammar. In other words, Correct Language uses the same words but in a different word order.

Features of Correct Language include the capitalization of all letters at times and either the capitalization of all nouns (as is used in German) or of some nouns for emphasis. Miller believes that only nouns have legal meaning. Miller occasionally uses definite articles before nouns, e.g., “the math” (as is used in French). He defies the traditional structure of English by beginning each sentence with a prepositional phrase, usually “for the.” He also uses punctuation differently, especially hyphens and colons, which he includes in proper names. In Miller’s own words:

“David Wynn Miller,” however you want to type it, is a proper noun.

Miller prefers to use sentences that contain more than thirteen words. He deliberately misspells words; this is reminiscent of numerology, whose proponents believe that names have power and that altering their spelling can attract luck. It’s like feng shui for language. But if Correct Language is so effective, why is Miller’s main website written in standard U.S. English?

Judgment Day

The “Plenipotentiary Judge” claims the main application for Correct Language is as a technical language for use in the legal system, mostly as a form of legal defense: “[Correct Language] arms us with the knowledge/power to have all our words, especially in contracts or any legal documentation inarguably correct! Quantum Language is the technology that will raise global consciousness which has been suppressed by Western Society!”7

Miller is known as a “common law guru,” and he presents himself as an amateur attorney. He offers consultations and makes court appearances with clients, charging one hundred dollars per hour (with a minimum of three hours). However, the courtroom is no place for his cryptic code. Examples of his legal advice include: Words that start with vowels and are followed by two consonants means “no contract.” When colons and hyphens are used in a name, they magically transform an individual into an object; therefore, you are no longer taxable.

With their tax-free guarantee, his techniques have been seized by clients accused of financial crimes—mostly tax evasion, bank fraud, and mortgage scams. Miller targets the most vulnerable sections of society, including people embroiled in custody disputes and bankruptcy proceedings and communities pursuing land rights claims.8

Unsurprisingly, all of the cases in which Miller has provided counsel have been woefully unsuccessful. A naturopath in Calgary went to jail for contempt of court for addressing a judge in Miller’s Correct Language.9 On Miller’s advice, a woman accused of child abuse claimed her “sovereignty group,” the Hawaiian Kingdom Government (i.e., King Miller), had declared her innocent. She was sentenced to prison anyway.10 A client in Australia was coached to argue that “the indictments were ‘not written in the correct sentence structure communication syntax language’ and thus the case should be struck out.”11 This case resulted in the magistrate ordering that the defendant undergo psychiatric assessment. Miller’s proponents labeled this a victory.

We Can’t Handle the Truth

For his troublemaking, Miller has been refused entry to Canada twice,12 but he still conducts seminars in Australia and the United States. He charges $200 per seminar and offers Quantum Trust and Gold Certificates (whatever they are) for a mere $3,000. His website boasts:

However, it seems that his seminars are opportunities for Miller to engage in conspiracy mongering. He teaches his bewildered audience that 9/11 was an “inside job,” and he claims that MasterCard runs the United States economy and the United States Postal Services rules the world.13 Miller calls his adherents the “Universal Postal System.” Now we know why he calls himself the “postmaster.”

The End of the World As We Know It

In Miller’s typical exaggeration, he reports that he has over one billion adherents to his theories. In truth he has just a small band of loyal followers, most of whom probably feel they have little to lose by trying Miller’s system.

It seems unlikely that Correct Language will catch on in the legal system or in daily use. However, Miller claims that on April 6, 2012, “Quantum Language will be established in mainstream society globally.”14 Correct Language won’t be around for long, though, if Miller’s other predictions are correct and the world ends in 2012.

References

1. Peter Walker. 2011. Gabrielle Giffords shooting: Gunman linked to grammar ‘judge.’ Guardian UK. Available at www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jan/10/gabrielle-giffords-shooting-grammar-extremist. Accessed January 12, 2011.

2. Mark Potok. Full colon Miller. Southern Poverty Law Center. Available at www.splcenter.org/get-informed/intelligence-report/browse-all-issues/2003/spring/full-colon-miller. Accessed January 10, 2011.

3. :David-Wynn: Miller Quantum and Syntax Language Truth Seekers. Available at www.davidwynnmiller.com/about.html. Accessed January 12, 2011.

4. :David-Wynn: Miller Quantum and Syntax Language Truth Seekers. Available at www.davidwynnmiller.com/about.html. Accessed January 12, 2011.

5. :JUDGE: DAVID-WYNN: MILLER. :Communication-Methods- Available at http://dwmlc.com/dwm/pages/category.php?category=1. Accessed January 12, 2011.

6. Mark Potok. Full colon Miller. Southern Poverty Law Center. Available at www.splcenter.org/get-informed/intelligence-report/browse-all-issues/2003/spring/full-colon-miller. Accessed January 10, 2011.

7. www.davidwynnmiller.com/index.html. Accessed January 12, 2011.

8. ‘Messiah-like figure’ is doing own harvesting. Brisbane Times. Available at www.brisbanetimes.com.au/world/messiahlike-figure-is-doing-own-harvesting-20110114-19r9v.html. Accessed January 20, 2011.

9. Susan Hagan. 2001. Canadian tax dodgers confuse courts. The Canadian Press (October 14). Available at www.cyberclass.net/miller2.htm. Accessed January 12, 2011.

10. Jim Dooley. 2009. Child abuser sent to prison to await Hawaii sovereignty appeal. Honolulu Advertiser (January 22). Accessed January 20, 2011.

11. ‘Messiah-like figure’ is doing own harvesting. Brisbane Times. Available at www.brisbanetimes.com.au/world/messiahlike-figure-is-doing-own-harvesting-20110114-19r9v.html. Accessed January 20, 2011.

12. Susan Hagan. 2001. Canadian tax dodgers confuse courts. The Canadian Press (October 14). Available at www.cyberclass.net/miller2.htm. Accessed January 12, 2011.

13. Mark Potok. Full colon Miller. Southern Poverty Law Center. Available at http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/intelligence-report/browse-all-issues/2003/spring/full-colon-miller. Accessed January 10, 2011.

14. www.davidwynnmiller.com/index.html. Accessed January 12, 2011.

Karen Stollznow

Karen Stollznow's photo

Karen Stollznow is an author and skeptical investigator with a doctorate in linguistics and a background in history and anthropology. She is an associate researcher at the University of California, Berkeley, and a director of the San Francisco Bay Area Skeptics. A prolific skeptical writer for many sites and publications, she is the “Good Word” Web columnist for the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, the “Bad Language” columnist for Skeptic magazine, a frequent contributor to Skeptical Inquirer, and managing editor of CSI’s Scientific Review of Mental Health Practice. Dr. Stollznow is a host of the Monster Talk podcast and writer for the Skepbitch and Skepchick blogs, as well as for the James Randi Educational Foundation’s Swift. She can be reached via email at kstollznow[at]centerforinquiry.net.