Saturday, May 16, 2009

How words and phrases lose their value

Formerly, there were a whole raft of words and phrases which actually meant something (e.g. racist, fascist, bigot, progressive, environmentalist, etc.) of value. Through overuse and misuse these words and phrases now mean precisely nothing. Cough in the wrong direction, fascist! Scratch yourself the wrong way, bigot! You get the picture.

Next up in the race to meaninglessness, "human rights". Exhibit A, think of how companies and firms organise themselves: corporation, limitied liability corporation, partnership, etc. Great, what does that have to do with human rights? Well, unless one is so befouled with the statist/anti-capitalist mindset, not much. However, there are those howling statists who see how firms organise themselves as "an abuse of human rights":

There is no reason why anyone using limited liability anywhere should be afforded anonymity: the very idea is an abuse of human rights.
Yup, this is how meaningful and truly descriptive words and phrases lose their value.

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