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View Diary: Stay in the Box (159 comments)

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  •  I could not possibly agree with you more. (none)
    I do kind of wonder why I'm getting a lecture from you though. Have I tried to justify killing? Have I tried to justify... anything at all?

    Is nothing secular?

    by aitchdee on Tue Feb 21, 2006 at 01:04:20 PM PST

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    •  oh no I am not lecturing you at all (none)
      ....just making a comment about how insane the whole thing is....although your definitions are generally accepted ones.... there really is no difference when you get right down to it, in the "people' who chose to matter how they do it or under what excuse or cover.

      Hypocrisy in anything may deceive the cleverest and most penetrating man, but the least wide-awake of children recognizes it....

      by Cal45 on Tue Feb 21, 2006 at 03:54:08 PM PST

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      •  Definitions (none)
        It's funny that I should find myself arguing (or appearing to argue) in favor of strict adherence to conventional definitions; I'm usually on the other side of that battle. To me language is fluid. It's is alive and ever evolving: language is highly (wonderfully, beautifully) experimental.

        Linguistic "fundamentalists," on the other hand, the self-appointed keepers of lexical purity, are a tedious lot. They're usually the people fighting the entry of new words into our dictionaries, refusing to acknowledge expanding definitions of older words, and perhaps most annoying of all, decrying youth slang (an empowering and healthy and creative act, in my opinion). So it's not really a love of language these language purists are defending, but language as they learned it. Postured as sober-minded treasurers of the sacred ways of old, I think they're sentimentalists at best. Cranky old duffers at worst. :)

        Still, there are practicalities to be dealt with, for instance institutional and legal definitions (the slowest of all lexicons to evolve). Bush, for example, couldn't be tried as a terrorist (in the legal sense of the word) because whether we like it or not he is the leader of a sovereign nation. He could be tried as a war criminal though. But why do we bother with such distinctions? One reason (in this case) is that these terms describe not only the nature of the crime but the status (greater or lesser levels of responsibility and trust) of the perpetrator. In other words, a United States president who commits war crimes has committed, in the eyes of the law, far more serious and disgraceful crimes than any terrorist. Rightly so.

        Legal definitions aside, I suppose you could make the case that morally speaking (to quote from your post), "there really is no difference when you get right down to it, in the "people' who chose to matter how they do it or under what excuse or cover." But is that always true? It would make terrorists of virtually all our presidents, our generals, and good many of our military personnel and civilian police force. It could, in fact--depending on how far you want to go with telegraphing culpability--make a terrorist out of me: I live in a state in which capital punishment is legal. Now if one rejects the sovereignty of nations, or believes in strict pacifism--perfectly legitimate things to think or be--then all killing is a form of terrorism and thus wrong and punishable. Perhaps--to take it a few step further--anyone who doesn't fight to his or her last breath to stop all killing tacitly aids and abets it and therefore is as guilty and as subject to punishment as the killers themselves. But that opens up another whole ethical can of worms.    :-)

        Unfortunately, I don't have any answers, just endless questions. Thank you for the interesting discussion.    


        Is nothing secular?

        by aitchdee on Thu Feb 23, 2006 at 03:29:56 AM PST

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