All-Powerful Losers

Consider the term “xenophobic.”

If you’re some kind of nerd, who knew Greek and Latin roots (see?  Nerd!), you might combine xeno (“alien”) and phobia (“fear”) and conclude it meant someone afraid of aliens.

But any reasonable member of enlightened society knows that it actually means hate.

 

Now, here’s the dilemma: if you demonize someone, that is, make them look like a demon, and ascribe to them hate, well, you risk making them look powerful.  Demons!  People, like, make pacts to serve demons!  We don’t want that!

But on the other hand, if you mock someone, and ascribe to them fear, you risk arousing people’s natural sympathy, and prompting the question, “What are they afraid of?”

The solution we have arrived at, of course, is to muddle the definition, and jump between the two  as convenient.

 


 

If you’re unclear: this is a bad thing to do—first, because it’s uncharitable, and second, because it rots your brain.  You can only say things for so long before you start believing them, so if you spout lies, you become ignorant.

And that’s never a good thing for the long-term.