In Chapter 6 of Through the Looking Glass, (a source) Humpty Dumpty explains the very difficult "The Jabberwocky" to Alice. He knows every word's meaning because,
“When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’At Esquire Politics, (the great) Charlie Pierce had a mini-entry that he got from (the great) Digby:
’The question is,’ said Alice, ‘whether you can make words mean so many different things.’
’The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘which is to be master — that’s all.”
These are insults taken from John Boehner's MyFace wall. The TEA Cozy are very unhappy with him, and they are launching truly righteous insults, like:
A friend of mine wrote wondering what such self-consuming phrases mean. The answer is one of two things: either they mean exactly what their speakers want them to mean, or they mean what another great commentator on language suggested they would mean:
'The word Fascism has now no meaning except in so far as it signifies "something not desirable." The words democracy, socialism, freedom, patriotic, realistic, justice have each of them several different meanings which cannot be reconciled with one another. In the case of a word like democracy, not only is there no agreed definition, but the attempt to make one is resisted from all sides. It is almost universally felt that when we call a country democratic we are praising it: consequently the defenders of every kind of regime claim that it is a democracy, and fear that they might have to stop using that word if it were tied down to any one meaning. Words of this kind are often used in a consciously dishonest way. That is, the person who uses them has his own private definition, but allows his hearer to think he means something quite different. . . . . Other words used in variable meanings, in most cases more or less dishonestly, are: class, totalitarian, science, progressive, reactionary, bourgeois, equality.'(bold emphasis added)
I could link you many places for this, but George Orwell's 1946 "Politics and the English Language" is such a cornerstone of true thinking and writing that it is available in several countries and places. I'll link to it from Mount Holyoke College.
Orwell's totalitarian took hold of language to reduce the possibilities of meaning via Newspeak, where "Newspeak was designed not to extend but to diminish the range of thought." The Newspeak totalitarian would be perfectly conformative. On the other hand, the citizen would have no meanings at all. If an intention did not fit into the words, the words were just floating about.
Obviously, we have had no totalitarians . . . or not many. . . in America. The truth that emerged in the post-Cold War is that whatever the Court and the Party need, the people outside of the palaces and boiler rooms need to know little of and understand less. Confusion is good. A language with no definitions, where Nazi Communists and Atheist Pagans coexist with conservative revolutions and religious freedom for corporations make for smooth sailing at the ALEC meeting and the fund raiser's idea session.
The meanings of the words, whatever they are, recede ever farther from the terms, and the speakers of the terms tumble, anything but tongue tied, into a stew of emotions. The words carry as much precision as a baby's first scream of pain and are as clearly directed.