[extropy-chat] Euphamism and reality.

John-C-Wright at sff.net John-C-Wright at sff.net
Tue May 31 23:00:59 UTC 2005

Brett Paatsch writes: "I'd certainly object to the use of the word "child" if it
was intended as a non perjorative term to describe the whole class of living
human entities from fertilization to just before birth nine months later. Such
a single classification could not be more biased or more misleading."

He also calls the use of the term child "perjorative" (sic) which means: "having
negative connotations; especially tending to disparage or belittle." In this
case, in other words, he is claiming that my calling an unborn human entity a
child is an insult, a disparagement, to the child. This is a mildly puzzling use
of the term. As if to be a "child" were a lower dignity than to be an "entity"? 

As I said, I have not the patience to debate the point. With all due resect, his
argument is that a certain term, used commonly enough by enough people that at
least one standard, commonly used dictionary (Merriam Webster) lists it, not as
an obscure or archaic meaning, but as the primary meaning. 

In other words, the argument here is that a word in its primary common meaning,
(that is, the meaning as understood by most speakers of the word) is misleading. 
But to be misleading means to use the word in a fashion to mean one thing when
most everyone understands the word to mean something else. The argument is absurd. 

Please note that no one in this discussion misunderstood to which unborn human
entity my word referred. There was no misunderstanding: I violated a political
taboo common to a certain stance that I do not share. The pretense is that all
"intelligent" right-thinking men speak the same way using the same euphamisms on
the approved topics. My apologies if I offend, but I am not a conformist to
these particular doctrines, speech codes, habits, or taboos, and it would be
wrong for me to talk as if I were. 

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