Time Heals All Wounds.. And Then Kills the Patient
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Mon Apr 2 20:48:02 2007
Words versus Concepts in Politics

I recently heard the term "True Conservative" in a discussion about the political persuasion of a particular person. This tends to make me cringe because it feels, to me, like a dramatic oversimplification of political difference as well as an overactive urge to impose an order on politics. The best way to understand political difference, in my opinion, is to grasp categorising terms very loosely and grasp the specifics much more tightly. Among other things, this has the benefits of making things less confusing when the same term is overloaded to several meanings (e.g. "Republican movements" in the middle east versus things of the same name in the United States) and making one less easily confused by wordsmiths. Why do we need to reduce the many factions that compose conservative politics (or the Republican party of the United States) into "true" and "other" factions? I can't imagine it would do anything but be a confusing formalism. I won't say that it never makes sense to plant one's flag on particular terms (or other arbitrary things, like grammar or spelling), but it seems ill-advised to me to do so with terms that tie to such loose things as party membership or even gross terms. One thing I don't mind seeing is when people have multiple flags that they give more precise meanings - this seems to me to be a better stance between lingual absolutism and linguistic nihilism.

The random bits of possible interest for the last while:

Today before I dropped the car off I got a very tasty build-your-own meal at Whole Foods. Yum. I should learn to make the noodles they have.