Angry New Yorker

Thursday, July 09, 2020
If I call a watermelon a cucumber can I legitimately then say, "no, no, I didn't really MEAN watermelon. I meant any green skinned fruit/vegetable. How could you not KNOW that?" 

That's the thing about vocabulary. Words actually MEAN something. We even create entire books with nothing but words in them recounting what the word means. We call them dictionaries.  But in recent years various segments have gone full 1984 Newspeak in redefining and backdefining terms, applying words where they don't fit and alway, always looking for "dog whistles" to call out.  The thing about dog whistles ... if you can hear them YOU are the dog.

Such convolution has its all too predictable end result in the BLM movement (where if you dare to say ALL lives matter or even ALL black lives matter you're somehow an irredeemable racist on par with the vilest pedofile). And so now we come the squirrelly Defund the Police crowd, who a few minutes after their mantra went up the flag-pole starting saying "but, but we didn't mean DEFUND, we meant take that money and give it to social workers and education who will take over for the police in areas."

Now look, I'm no fan of militarized police or a whole range of practices in law enforcement ranging from absolute immunity to no-knock warrants to prosecutors who overcharge (I believe many power-mad prosecutors should be disbarred for their misconduct, but they virtually never, ever are... that's a topic for another post), but to think we can have a calm, peaceful, civil society with millions  in close proximity without a duly empowered element that keeps order is foolish. Also overlookeded is that the police exist as much to safeguard the "accused" as they exist collectively to protect the populace. The alternative is a descent into rough mob justice, lack of due-process and ultimately a vigalente-vendetta environment.

Which brings me back to the start of this: the result of poor word choice ends in a breakdown of communication.  As a kid I remember reading the story in Genesis about the Tower of Babel and thinking at the time - "Wow, that was messed up." But there was an immediate consequence to being unable to communicate - chaos. The nomenclature today pats themselves on the back for their clever burpings, but as in the biblical tale the only end result will be chaos and a dispersal to the four winds of our civilization.

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