What’s in a Word

One of mine and my wife’s biggest grievances is the redefinition or misuse of words and phrases.

Whether these redefinitions or misusage is intentional or accidental is aside from the point.  The fact of the matter is that meaning and understanding are not possible when the terms used for meaning and understanding are constantly shifting.

2 + 2 always equals 4, unless you redefine 2 to mean 2.1.  It’s not really that different after all, but 2.1 + 2.1 doesn’t equal 4.  It equals 4.2.  It’s a rounding error really.  Get over it.  Just because words aren’t mathematical absolutes doesn’t alter the process and endgame of all this redefining.

Today I read this:

“Medicare-for-all is civilization. Campaign finance reform is civilization. Funding education is civilization. Progressive taxation is civilization. Dialing back the use of war is civilization”

What is civilization?

According to Merriam-Webster civilization is defined as follows:   a relatively high level of cultural and technological development;   the stage of cultural development at which writing and the keeping of written records is attained   the culture characteristic of a particular time or place

  1. 1a :  a relatively high level of cultural and technological development;specifically :  the stage of cultural development at which writing and the keeping of written records is attainedb :  the culture characteristic of a particular time or place

  2. 2:  the process of becoming civilized

  3. 3a :  refinement of thought, manners, or tasteb :  a situation of urban comfort

Oxford says:

The stage of human social development and organization that is considered most advanced:they equated the railroad with progress and civilization

The process by which a society or place reaches an advanced stage of social development and organization.

The society, culture, and way of life of a particular area:the great books of Western civilization the early civilizations of Mesopotamia and Egypt

The comfort and convenience of modern life, regarded as available only in towns and cities:the fur traders moved further and further from civilization

Writers, philosophers, lawyers, and cultural icons for millenia have used word redefinition to bring about cultural shifts and change opinions.

Redefinition doesn’t change the original meaning of a word or term, it just changes how you use it and how others hear or read it.  Culturally everyone usually is on the same page, but the problem really begins to rear it’s head when cultural schisms happen.

Conservatives believe one thing.  Liberals another.

Urbanites speak one way and countryfolk another.

Everyone speaks the same language, but with diverging philosophies and understandings of the world at large.  Words become very important to maintain a common

When the words we use are redefined or misused, that disconnect becomes increasingly more difficult to bridge because the meanings that both sides of that divide also differ.

Let’s go back to the civilization definition that I read today.  That definition is not what you find in the dictionary, but it is the understanding of the liberal left in America today.  The problem arises in that I, as a libertarian-leaning conservative, do not agree with the statement in whole or in part.

Medicare-for-all is civilization – forcing me to pay for someone else’s poor health decisions throughout life or lack of motivation to find an economically viable job in order to afford their own cost of care is slavery by taxation.  You, via the government, are forcing me to work and use the money I earn from that work to pay for someone else who chooses not to work or chose to destroy their body by smoking, banging, drugging, or drinking their life away.  Simply no.  That isn’t civilization.  That is barbarism, not unlike Vikings raiding prosperous farming communities because they didn’t want to work as hard and could “take” rather than “make.”  

Campaign finance reform is civilization – Really?  Legislating how someone spends their money (and yes, corporations are made up of people) is the opposite of civilization.  It is no different from the King “permitting” someone to petition the king knowing full well that that permission can be withdrawn ex post facto (after the fact) and the subject being fully subservient of the king and his life and speech are not free.

Funding education is civilization – I’ll admit that this one I can at least somewhat understand, but education though takes many forms.  Apprenticeships gave us some of the most brilliant thinkers in the world and many modern conveniences.  Higher education today has brought us runaway student loan debt and educational outcomes that aren’t reliant on the number of dollars spent per student.  Further, the question of where that funding comes from and who controls it is the real crux of this issue?  Is it really the best education if it comes from the top down (Common Core) and all students are to be taught to the exact same standards without deviation for talent in one field or another?  

Progressive taxation is civilization. Is it?  Punishing one group in order to reward the other?  How is this different from feudal lords requiring a percentage of the serfs crops for “protection”?  Using law to punish high wage earners is no different than economic slavery.  Progressive taxation is the exact opposite of due process when you really think about it.  All are not equal in the eyes of the law if progressive taxation is the law of the land because then some are “more” equal than others.  True equality would be a tax burden not divided proportionately, but rather levied as a percentage of income equal regardless of how much you make (the millionaire and the pensioner alike pay 10% of their income – a flat tax).

Dialing back the use of war is civilization.  This summary statement is just too broad to agree or disagree with.  Is war overused?  Yes.  Are some wars necessary?  Yes.  Can there be diplomatic peace between one nation and another that has sworn the destruction of the first?  Not a lasting one because there is no middle ground between the two.   This is no different morally than a woman telling her raper to only rape her halfway so they can go their separate ways.  It’s not going to work that way… it never does.  The only recourse for the “victim” nation or woman is to shoot their attacker in the face – to exert the ultimate deterrent force through the best, most effective, and most economic means at their disposal.  To do any less is to tell the offender that their life or nation is superior to one’s own.

So the statement made completely added to what is known as civilization.  Is civilization not dependent on steadfast standards, definitions, laws, and justice?

Is not the veneer of civilization threatened when the laws are twisted to allow what was once illegal?

Is not the veneer of civilization threatened when justice is denied or unequal based on who you are, what you are worth, or who you know?

You can’t redefine words, because the underlying truths remain unchanged.  Redefining the words alone does not make anything true, rather it denies the truth much like Orwell’s opus 1984 states

War is peace.

Freedom is slavery.

Ignorance is strength.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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27 Ways to Be a Modern Man (According to the NY Times)

The New York Times published an article detailing what they think makes a “modern” man.  Most of their “definitions” are benign, and some I even agree with (such as the bit about not cutting fat off your steak and eating the entire thing).  One in particular struck me…

25. The modern man has no use for a gun. He doesn’t own one, and he never will.

Wow.  That isn’t just a philosophical bungle, it is flat out a denial of man’s role as the defender of his family, and of the physically weak.  Luke 22:36 expressly records Jesus Christ instructing his closest disciples to sell their cloak, their most prized personal possession and their identification of status in Jewish society, and purchase a sword.  With Christ there are always multiple interpretations of what He said, but one cannot ignore the very literal words spoken in order to read into a statement what you want to see.  Sell your clothes… buy a weapon.  Not a spear, or a bow… a sword.  The sword was the equivalent of the modern firearm.

Jesus Christ instructed his followers to arm themselves so that they could defend themselves and each other.  There are other deeper meanings as well, but let’s just stick with the literal words spoken because it seems that the New York Times just said that Jesus was wrong because according to them, a real manly man doesn’t need to have the ability to defend themselves or someone else.  Considering the source I shouldn’t be surprised.  Don’t mind that, if not for someone with a [gatling] gun, that joke of a paper would have been burned to the ground by a riotous mob back in the 19th century.

I argue that the NYT is flat wrong and here is why…

“The Gun Is Civilization” By Maj. L. Caudill, USMC (Ret)

Human beings only have two ways to deal with one another: reason and force. If you want me to do something for you, you have a choice of either convincing me via argument, or force me to do your bidding under threat of force. Every human interaction falls into one of those two categories, without exception. Reason or force, that’s it.

In a truly moral and civilized society, people exclusively interact through persuasion. Force has no place as a valid method of social interaction, and the only thing that removes force from the menu is the personal firearm, as paradoxical as it may sound to some.

When I carry a gun, you cannot deal with me by force. You have to use reason and try to persuade me, because I have a way to negate your threat or employment of force.

The gun is the only personal weapon that puts a 100-pound woman on equal footing with a 220-pound mugger, a 75-year old retiree on equal footing with a 19-year old gang banger, and a single guy on equal footing with a carload of drunk guys with baseball bats. The gun removes the disparity in physical strength, size, or numbers between a potential attacker and a defender.
There are plenty of people who consider the gun as the source of bad force equations. These are the people who think that we’d be more civilized if all guns were removed from society, because a firearm makes it easier for a [armed] mugger to do his job. That, of course, is only true if the mugger’s potential victims are mostly disarmed either by choice or by legislative fiat – it has no validity when most of a mugger’s potential marks are armed.

People who argue for the banning of arms ask for automatic rule by the young, the strong, and the many, and that’s the exact opposite of a civilized society. A mugger, even an armed one, can only make a successful living in a society where the state has granted him a force monopoly.

Then there’s the argument that the gun makes confrontations lethal that otherwise would only result in injury. This argument is fallacious in several ways. Without guns involved, confrontations are won by the physically superior party inflicting overwhelming injury on the loser.

People who think that fists, bats, sticks, or stones don’t constitute lethal force watch too much TV, where people take beatings and come out of it with a bloody lip at worst. The fact that the gun makes lethal force easier works solely in favor of the weaker defender, not the stronger attacker. If both are armed, the field is level.

The gun is the only weapon that’s as lethal in the hands of an octogenarian as it is in the hands of a weight lifter. It simply wouldn’t work as well as a force equalizer if it wasn’t both lethal and easily employable.

When I carry a gun, I don’t do so because I am looking for a fight, but because I’m looking to be left alone. The gun at my side means that I cannot be forced, only persuaded. I don’t carry it because I’m afraid, but because it enables me to be unafraid. It doesn’t limit the actions of those who would interact with me through reason, only the actions of those who would do so by force. It removes force from the equation… And that’s why carrying a gun is a civilized act.

By Maj. L. Caudill USMC (Ret.)

Reason and Force

To my friends who believe that further curtailing my rights as a citizen of this nation and a free man under God, be careful.  What you wish for may be the complete undoing of your personal world view.  History is replete with examples of gun registration, weapons confiscation, bans, etc, etc, ad nauseum.  Each and every time, those public policies instituted under the guise of public safety, modernization, or to ensure a more secure society have backfired terribly.  I can march out example of example of the atrocities committed by governments, both dictatorial and democratically elected, after these policies are enacted.  So, as a student of history, you’ll have to excuse me from buying into the concept of increased restrictions on my rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and the defense of those rights via modern firearms as being foolish and outdated.  You see, I pay attention, as do many others like me.  History is our guide and we will not allow this country go down that well-worn path.  The survival of civilization as we know it depends on it.

Human beings only have two ways to deal with one another: reason and force. If you want me to do something for you, you have a choice of either convincing me via argument, or force me to do your bidding under threat of force. Every human interaction falls into one of those two categories, without exception. Reason or force, that’s it.

In a truly moral and civilized society, people exclusively interact through persuasion. Force has no place as a valid method of social interaction, and the only thing that removes force from the menu is the personal firearm, as paradoxical as it may sound to some.

When I carry a gun, you cannot deal with me by force. You have to use reason and try to persuade me, because I have a way to negate your threat or employment of force. The gun is the only personal weapon that puts a 100-pound woman on equal footing with a 220-pound mugger, a 75-year old retiree on equal footing with a 19-year old gangbanger, and a single gay guy on equal footing with a carload of drunk guys with baseball bats. The gun removes the disparity in physical strength, size, or numbers between a potential attacker and a defender.

There are plenty of people who consider the gun as the source of bad force equations. These are the people who think that we’d be more civilized if all guns were removed from society, because a firearm makes it easier for a mugger to do his job. That, of course, is only true if the mugger’s potential victims are mostly disarmed either by choice or by legislative fiat–it has no validity when most of a mugger’s potential marks are armed. People who argue for the banning of arms ask for automatic rule by the young, the strong, and the many, and that’s the exact opposite of a civilized society. A mugger, even an armed one, can only make a successful living in a society where the state has granted him a force monopoly.

Then there’s the argument that the gun makes confrontations lethal that otherwise would only result in injury. This argument is fallacious in several ways. Without guns involved, confrontations are won by the physically superior party inflicting overwhelming injury on the loser. People who think that fists, bats, sticks, or stones don’t constitute lethal force watch too much TV, where people take beatings and come out of it with a bloody lip at worst. The fact that the gun makes lethal force easier works solely in favor of the weaker defender, not the stronger attacker. If both are armed, the field is level. The gun is the only weapon that’s as lethal in the hands of an octogenarian as it is in the hands of a weightlifter. It simply wouldn’t work as well as a force equalizer if it wasn’t both lethal and easily employable.

When I carry a gun, I don’t do so because I am looking for a fight, but because I’m looking to be left alone. The gun at my side means that I cannot be forced, only persuaded. I don’t carry it because I’m afraid, but because it enables me to be unafraid. It doesn’t limit the actions of those who would interact with me through reason, only the actions of those who would do so by force. It removes force from the equation…and that’s why carrying a gun is a civilized act.

For another viewpoint on this topic, go read George Yesthal’s article dealing with this situation.  I love these quotes of his.

Assault rifles are the weapons most likely to be successfully deployed in a militaristic engagement and there are many owned by private citizens in the U.S. today. Is it any wonder the government wants them Gone? But why? There are many of you that will quasi-patriotically defend the stance of your government and say, “Well, if people will use them against the government they must be traitors and criminals, so they must be taken away.” Anyone expressing such an attitude is completely missing the big picture and they are not asking the right question, which is, “What has our government got planned that they should be concerned about the prospect that we might use semi-auto rifles in defense against our government?” People not asking that question are being irresponsibly short-sighted.

When you advocate gun control, it is tantamount to advocating gun violence.

The crux of the pro-gun/anti-gun fervor that is being lost is this.  History teaches us that tyrants cannot rule if the people are equally armed to the government forces.  History also teaches us that when the people are forced or willingly surrender those arms, they no longer are citizens, but become subjects that must beg to keep their rights (which no longer are rights but rather bestowed privileges that can be taken away because, really, the subjects can no longer assert themselves other than shouting really loudly).  So, President Obama, Vice President Biden, Congressmen, Senators, Judge, Justice, Governors, Legislators, do you really think it wise to move against the very arms that ensure that the ardent patriots in this nation remain assured that they are the real political power still?  That they are citizens, not subjects?

In 1929, the Soviet Union established gun control. From 1929 to 1953, about 20 million dissidents, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.

In 1911, Turkey established gun control. From 1915 to 1917, 1.5 million Armenians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.

Germany established gun control in 1938 and from 1939 to 1945, a total of 13 million Jews and others who were unable to defend themselves were rounded up and exterminated.

China established gun control in 1935. From 1948 to 1952, 20 million political dissidents, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated

Guatemala established gun control in 1964. From 1964 to 1981, 100,000 Mayan Indians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
 
Uganda established gun control in 1970. From 1971 to 1979, 300,000 Christians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.

Cambodia established gun control in 1956. From 1975 to 1977, one million educated people, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.

Defenseless people rounded up and exterminated in the 20th Century because of gun control: 56 million.

You say that I need to give up my arms to live in a more civilized society.  I say that I know how well that worked out in the past and I flatly refuse for my safety and security and the safety and security of my children and yours.

Citizen, not a subject.

 

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