Not what words mean

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - VOICES -

What’s in a word? Danny Nae­gle wants to save our repub­lic from what he calls so­cial­ism. In a repub­lic, ci­ti­zens vote for rep­re­sen­ta­tives re­spon­si­ble to them. The United States is both a repub­lic and a democ­racy—not a di­rect democ­racy, but a rep­re­sen­ta­tive democ­racy, sim­i­lar to a repub­lic.

We didn’t in­vent rep­re­sen­ta­tive gov­ern­ment. An­cient Rome was a repub­lic be­fore it be­came an em­pire. Ear­lier, an­cient In­dia had a repub­lic, Lic­chavi. To­day 90 coun­tries are re­publics, some of which are also so­cial democ­ra­cies (Scan­di­na­vian coun­tries, Ire­land, Nether­lands, Ire­land, Canada, etc.). Nae­gle would call them so­cial­ist.

But so­cial wel­fare is not the same as so­cial­ism—which means the state owns the means of pro­duc­tion. So­cial democ­ra­cies with rep­re­sen­ta­tive gov­ern­ments and mixed economies are not Cuba or Venezuela.

Then there is po­lit­i­cal cor­rect­ness, which Bradley Gitz likes to bash. Con­ser­va­tives cham­pi­oned this term, a phan­tom en­emy. PC ac­tu­ally de­scribes the kind of ci­vil­ity nec­es­sary in civil so­ci­ety. If it of­fends a group to be called midgets, I will call them by their pre­ferred name, lit­tle peo­ple. That’s how my folks taught me. But peo­ple like Gitz—in­clud­ing Euro­pean neo-fas­cist dem­a­gogues—like to pre­tend that some­body in power is forc­ing us to be po­lite to each other, im­pos­ing PC from the top down. They aren’t.

If you live 10 miles from your near­est neigh­bor, you may not have to get along with him, but most of us live close to other peo­ple. What’s the point of in­sult­ing and down­grad­ing your neigh­bors?

CO­RALIE KOONCE

Fayetteville

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