Communicator (communicator) wrote,
Communicator
communicator

The question is 'who shall be master?'

A difference between conservative and liberal bloggers is the attitude to language. Many conservative bloggers attempt to win arguments by referring back to the fundamental meaning of words: 'Marriage is defined as...', 'The real meaning of Christmas is...'. Many right wing blogs quote dictionary definitions of words, in full, as if this was a decisive argument.

'One should not understand this compulsion to construct concepts... as if they enabled us to fix the real world; but as a compulsion to arrange the world for ourselves, in which our existence is made possible... the world seems logical because we have made it logical.' (Nietzche)

'Let us not forget that a word hasn't got a meaning given to it, as it were, by a power independent of us, so that there could be some kind of scientific investigation into what a word really means.' (Wittgenstein)

Along with this reification of meaning is a reification of abstract concepts as things which can be supported (or resisted) without reference to any actual instances of that abstraction. Thus one wages 'War on Terror' without reducing the number of people who are terrified, one can 'Let Freedom Reign' without increasing the freedom of any individual, one brings 'Democracy' without relinquishing power.

'Power, like energy, tension, and the rest of the quasiphysical metaphors are to be distrusted, and power is the most dangerous. He who covets a mythical abstraction must always be insatiable.' (Gregory Bateson)
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