In the gymnasium of conspiracy, Jared Lee Loughner's belief that "The government is implying mind control and brain wash on the people by controlling grammar" seems unusually tortured, not least because it inflicts on us his own vigorous desire to be free of the shackles of correct speech. Recently, a connection has been drawn between Loughner's beliefs and the fringe of fantasy scholarship, the writings of grammar conspiracy maven and self-proclaimed King of Hawaii, David Wynn Miller.
As it turns out, the first full scale grammar of a modern European language, Antonio de Nebrija's Gramática Castellana, published on August 18, 1492, made a not dissimilar claim. Nebrija, considered Spain's first humanist scholar, argued that the path to glory and dominion lay through grammar, and urged Queen Isabella of Castile to see the ungoverned colloquial speech of her diverse subjects and provinces as a threat to her crown.
As Ivan Illich and Barry Sanders argue in ABC: The Alphabetization of the Popular Mind, Nebrija's advocacy of grammar turned what was "an unproblematic historical fact" into "a problem for the architects of new kind of polity - the modern state." Nebrija, they claim, wanted to exert a form of prior restraint on printing by standardizing the rules of writing. Grammar, in this account, was a new form of bureaucratic power.