"Anarchists" (Was Re: clarification on WTO protests)

Sat, 11 Dec 1999 10:13:43 EST

In a message dated 12/5/99 12:01:14 AM Central Standard Time, philosborn@hotmail.com writes:

< regarding the media's use of the word "anarchist" in connection with violence at the Seattle WTO protests >

> It is discouraging, though, to see such an utter disintegration of meaning 

> in social discourse, especially from the established media, who one might
> think would at least bother to check the readilly available references on
> subject before launching into an extended description.

Discouraging it may be, but hardly surprising. Reporters and editors tend to use words in the way that they think the words will be understood. Thus the word "liberal" is invariably used to mean statist left-leaning politics and ideology in the US with such universality that even scholarly writers usually feel they have to qualify their use of the word with the term "classical" when they employ it in its original sense. That term has become effectively lost to public discourse in its original meaning, such that many people feel they have to use the word "libertarian" now to express what "liberal" used to mean.

With regard to the word "anarchist", for better or worse, the way it is often used here is very, very far outside the mainstream usage of the word. Even for fairly well educated people, the word connotes bomb-throwing crazies.

      Greg Burch     <GBurch1@aol.com>----<gburch@lockeliddell.com>
      Attorney  :::  Vice President, Extropy Institute  :::  Wilderness Guide
      http://users.aol.com/gburch1   -or-   http://members.aol.com/gburch1
        "We never stop investigating. We are never satisfied that we know 
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