Wednesday, March 10, 2010

On the meaning of words

I told my Dad, right out loud, not too long ago, during a casual conversation about politics and the current, sorry state of affairs that the idea of liberty, as it was envisioned as a precept of this country, had been almost entirely abandoned.

His retort was quippy questions about what needed changing. Fair enough, I suppose. My answer was, generally, that the leviathan needed to be killed, and the sooner the better, since keeping government at extreme distances from the general citizenry was paramount to keeping liberty, and not coincidentally, economic production, rolling.

He scoffed at that answer as being too vague, and poked further.

I then told him flatly that everyone would be far better off without any government at all, especially here, given the evidence of its malfeasance.

He laughed, in rather gesticular way, and said something to the effect that that would lead to anarchy. I then told him he hadn't the slightest clue what the word anarchy actually meant.

He got kinda quiet. The man with the English degree.

Chaos and anarchy are NOT synonymous, and their use should be treated with extreme care.

Anarchy is a word whose meaning has been used rather cavalierly for generations now, and used incorrectly, hence its almost complete abuse, today. Just because it's commonly used for describing something similar to chaos does not make its meaning so. That is a gross misappropriation of thought, and is endemic of a society quickly on its way to ruin.

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