Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

The 4 Most Misused Words in the English Language

Posted by M. C. on July 2, 2021


We have a problem with definitions in the English language. We don’t know them.

Or perhaps it is more accurate to say we don’t bother to learn them. Instead, many people never get out of the osmosis phase of learning language, the way babies do. We hear a word in a certain context and our brains instinctively assume we understand the full context and register the word as a part of our lexicon. To be clear, I am not just talking about less educated people. We all do it, to some degree or another. I have a fairly large vocabulary, but I still remind myself to look up the definitions of words I don’t commonly use. Case in point, while I was typing that last sentence, I realized I’ve rarely used the word “osmosis”. Looked it up, and I was using it right. More often than not, I find that I am right about the definitions. Sometimes I’m not though.

For the most part, misusing language can be harmless. The point of language is to communicate ideas and intentions. If they are conveyed properly, mission accomplished.

The problem is with misusing important words. When this becomes a common occurrence, we end up redefining important ideas.

The four most misused and misunderstood words in the English language are Irony, Science, Logic and Rights.

For the purposes of this argument, I am not going to define Irony for you, except to say that Alanis Morrisette’s use of the word Irony in her song Ironic was the the only thing ironic about the song.

Science is probably the misused word that angers me the most. I think the reason is that people dogmatize science. Many people use science to criticize religion, but then treat science like it is a religion. How many times have you heard the words “follow the science” or “I believe in science”? This is a problem. Science is not something you can believe in. Science is not an object or a person. They’re confusing science with facts.

I cannot stress this enough: science is not facts. Science is a methodology which is used in the pursuit of facts. If the scientist’s methods are in error, the science is in error. This is why 100 scientists can arrive at 100 conclusions to a problem. There are very few scientific laws. These are not to be confused with theories. Despite testing, theories can be disproven at any time.

The problem is that people can use their mangled definition of science to affect government policies. Take Climate Science. Marxist Reprobate Alexandria Ocasio Cortez suggested a Green New Deal to combat climate change. She said we had 12 years to solve our problems before the point of no return, after which the apocalypse occurs. Her Green New Deal would collapse the economy and lead to untold deaths.

Scientists, political activists and politicians have been saying things exactly like the 12 years prediction for literally decades. Former Vice President Al Gore’s documentary, An Inconvenient Truth got him a Nobel Peace Prize. He won out over a woman who risked her life to save children from the Holocaust. Every single one of the climate change (it was called Global Warming at the time) predictions in An Inconvenient Truth turned out to be wrong. Every single one. It may have been science, but it was also a scam to get people to invest in Gore’s Carbon Credit company. This is another problem, involving science with money and politics. The science inevitably gets corrupted.

None of this is to say anthropogenic climate change isn’t real. It is. Its just that the science isn’t conclusive about the extent of the effect we have on the climate or how to combat it.

And that is just one example. Science should be used to advance and educate humanity. It is not a bully pulpit for you to shout down people you don’t like.

Science and logic get paired together quite often and quite perversely. Science and logic are not remotely similar.

Logic is the misused word that most amuses me. People use the word constantly and almost never know what it means. The word logic is usually used as a stand in for their opinion. Put simply, it is a form of math. I always say logic is the world’s most inaccurate system of measurement. It is a system by which we measure the veracity of an argument by comparing it to something else that we think we know is true. A statement can be incontrovertibly logical and still be wrong.

That’s just when people are using the word correctly.

The reason this gets misused so often is simple arrogance. They think that they are intelligent and logical by nature. But human beings are insanely illogical creatures. We make horrificly bad decisions all the time. And as far as intelligence… most human beings are, for lack of a better word, Dum Dums. Its just that most people are too dumb to know it. So they think that if they are logical by nature, then whatever opinions they have must be logical.

Now, I would like for you to go back and reread the last 2 statements which I have italicized. Specifically note wherein it is said “something that we think we know is true”. We think we know that we are logical. The last italicized statement is a logical argument. If I think logically, then whatever I say must be logical. But if the thing that I believe to be true is false, then the statement is false. This is how something can be completely logical and be totally wrong.

And then there is the concept of Rights.

This mangled word might be the most damaging to our society. If you believe social media, damn near everything is a right, or will be soon.

The Founders made it pretty clear. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. You have the right to live free and do what you want as long as it doesn’t infringe on someone else’s rights. Here’s what you don’t have. You do not have any rights that constitute a good or service. You have a right to live, but you do not have a right to healthcare or a home. You have a right to bear arms if you can make or procure them, but you do not have a right to arms. There is a reason for this. If rights were material instead of abstract, the government would be forced to provide it.

Our natural-born rights are universal. We all have them. And of course, that hasn’t always been the case, but it absolutely is now. The past is irrelevant in that regard. There is no such thing as Repoductive Rights or Trans Rights. Women and transgender people have the exact same rights as anyone else. There are no additional rights that you are missing. You do not have a right to a surgery. Taking the most Libertarian perspective, what you do to your body is your own decision. As long as you can do it yourself, there isn’t really an issue there. Its when there is externality that your rights no longer apply. There was a case a while back wherein a Trans-woman was suing a biological female because she wouldn’t wax the trans-woman’s genitals. She was being sued for discrimination. This is utter nonsense. You literally do not have the right to force someone to clean your genitals. The fact that our society has devolved to the point where you have to even say that to someone is insane. There is also a rather famous case wherein a gay activist went to a Christian bakery and demanded a wedding cake for a homosexual marriage. The baker offered to sell them any cake they want, but refused to make one specifically for the marriage. The baker’s reasons were religious and are protected by the First Amendment. The gay activist had specifically designed the scenario hoping to evoke that response so he could take the baker to court, argue discrimination and make a spectacle of the whole thing. No matter what anyone tells you… no matter how just you may think your cause is, you do not have a right to force labor out of another human being.

As for Repoductive Rights, there is no sense getting into the weeds on this. I’m not qualified to define life and the odds are whoever is reading this isn’t either. So I’ll be quick with it. There is no such thing as Reproductive Rights. You may say “my body, my choice” and you can even make a compelling argument for it. It still isn’t a right. I have the ability to build a house. A local municipality can stop me and say I’m not allowed to do that because I don’t know how electrical wiring works and I could kill people. They can do that because I don’t have the right to build a house. Not everything is a right.

Definitions are important. Words are the tools by which we connect to other human beings. When we allow words to be destroyed by personal interest, we make it harder to understand our fellow human beings.

One last thought. If this essay got through to you, then you should have looked up a couple of words when you were reading this. If not… well, hell. We all do it. Let’s try to do better.

Be seeing you

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