Thursday, October 23, 2008

Use your words...

...but use them correctly.

From Merriam-Webster dictionary:

liberal - one who is open-minded or not strict in the observance of orthodox, traditional, or established forms or ways; an advocate or adherent of liberalism especially in individual rights

liberalism
- a political philosophy based on belief in progress, the essential goodness of the human race, and the autonomy of the individual and standing for the protection of political and civil liberties

socialism -
a stage of society in Marxist theory transitional between capitalism and communism and distinguished by unequal distribution of goods and pay according to work done (hmm...sounds a lot like the status quo, no?)

feminism -
the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes

Muslim -
an adherent of Islam; Etymology: Arabic muslim, literally, one who submits (to God)

islam
-
the religious faith of Muslims including belief in Allah as the sole deity and in Muhammad as his prophet

I know as well as you do that these hot-button words have multiple meanings, especially amongst those who use them for political gain, but the actual definition is what people who call themselves liberals, feminists, socialists, or Muslims believe their ideas to represent more often than not. They are not bad words, and they certainly should not be used as insults against large swaths of diverse peoples. Using the word "liberal", for example, to besmirch people who support freedom and liberty is insulting to both liberals and conservatives. No liberal is identical to another, just as no conservative is identical to another conservative. And while certain specific beliefs may be more thoroughly associated with liberals (pro-choice), disagreement with specific applications of a well-meaning political ideology that few would disagree with in principle, does not justify its transformation into an all-encompassing dismissal. Words matter, so know them before you casually toss them around like grenades.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

what about Libertarian...because i still don't get what that one means...
and yes...i am too lazy to use dictionary.com since they changed the format...
xoxoxo
C

November 2, 2008 at 8:09 AM  

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