Having a discussion is absolutely meaningless if the two parties do not agree on the definition of the words they are using. We could sit here arguing if today’s weather is good or bad. Maybe I say it is a “nice warm day” and you say it is “cold and miserable”. My definition of “nice” and “warm” is derived from the context of it being March in New England. Your definition of “cold” and “miserable” is based on how nice the weather could be if it were the middle of summer, or we were on the equator. No agreement will come unless we first define “good weather” “warm” “cold” etcetera.
You see this happen all the time in politics. I’ve had someone tell me they would support a bartering system economy, but believe that capitalism makes people greedy. Well capitalism is simply mutually beneficial transactions absent of force, therefore, a bartering system fits this definition. His definition of capitalism was closer to crony capitalism, which is a term used to differentiate between government force being introduced into the equation, versus a transaction in pure capitalism where the parties must agree in order to move forward.
I happen to agree with him that crony capitalism is “bad” (if you’ll allow me to be so obscure for the sake of brevity), but since he uses the same definition for capitalism and crony capitalism, it is impossible to have a meaningful discussion with him about free markets without substantially limiting the vocabulary used. Certain buzzwords hold definitions in his mind that the general vernacular does not support, so included in his definition of capitalism will always be: “something negative”.
It is aggravating when people hold simplistic views of politics that they cannot explain, but get angry that they are even expected to explain, because in their mind it is “common knowledge”; aka, they have heard it repeated over and over and to consider an alternative would be admitting years of ignorance. And this is the problem with people talk talk talking without defining the words they are using. Have you heard this one: “Socialism is far left and Fascism is far right”? Well this only makes sense if both “the right” and “the left” have an end goal of giant government with totalitarian control over the population.
The common way people on the right use the term “right-wing” (despite the actions of politicians who claim to be “right-wing”) is to describe the desire for less government, fewer taxes, lower spending, reduced control over the population, and individual rights. How is that going to lead to fascism? The logical conclusion of those beliefs applied to their most extreme is not fascism, but perhaps anarchy.
The “right-wing-fascism” train of thought only makes sense if you draw your definition of “the right” from the impostor politicians who have stolen the label, and applied it to something it is not. We know this, because even when “right-wing” politicians actually increase the size and scope of government, they seek to portray themselves to “the base” (people who consider themselves right-wing) as being for limited government.
Therefore basing the definition of “right-wing” on the actions of people who must trick the “right-wing” base into giving them power, would be like basing the definition of “religious” on members of the Westborough Baptist Church. Kind of like how “classical liberal” is essentially the exact opposite of “modern liberal”, because some people decided to start telling everyone they were liberal, while advocating the opposite of classical liberal ideals like individual freedom through government limitation.
Today we are more accepting of trending towards a Socialist government, while the label Fascist is thrown at opponents, despite most being unable to define Fascism. If we define Socialism as the government ownership of the means of production, we could define Fascism as government control without official ownership of the means of production, but with all the power of force to compel those “private” businesses in whatever way desired. And guess what, Fascism only became a dirty word after Hitler’s crimes were fully realized, while since Stalin’s crimes were never fully recognized by the West, Socialism carries no such stigma, despite Stalin’s death toll dwarfing Hitler’s.
And again, without defining terms, people will call Hitler “right-wing” because modern liberals succeeded in redefining a whole slew of words in order to fit their agenda. States rights means racist (and so does voter ID), individual means collective (as in, the Bill of Rights), freedom is slavery (think proletariat being “freed” from the bourgeoisie and enslaved by the government), war is peace (“We must restore order!”), up is down, good is bad, and black is white.
On the other hand the reason “the left” could still be considered ultimately Socialist, is because the politicians often do what they say they will do. They “spread the wealth around”, they nationalize sectors of the economy, they increase taxes, introduce government programs, raise spending, intervene in economics, and expand government control. Sometimes they are more sly about the way they promote these things, but this is what “the left” stands for—their politicians and their base.
In short “the right” must be tricked into fascism, while “the left” is gladly socialist. But we don’t call it socialist! No a new word has been chosen, progressive, which can be used without meaning until the true nature of those ideas are discovered—not by “the base” of “the left”, but by the useful “moderates” who sway from side to side depending on how they were conditioned to accept certain words while applying no true definition.
The quickest way to lose support of voters these days is to define the words you use. Clarity is the enemy of those seeking power. “As a public servant I have always protected the workers, fought against corruption, and promoted peace”. If public servant is defined as “opportunist vulture”, protected is defined as “exploited”, corruption is defined as “those I disagree with”, and peace is defined as “government force”.
Oh yes, it is a brave new world indeed.