Miscellaneous musings from the perspective of a lefty (both senses) atheist with a warped sense of humor.

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Location: Madison, WI, United States

I am a geek, but I do have some redeeming social skills. I love other people's dogs, cats, and kids. Snow sucks, but I'm willing to put up with it just to live in Madison.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

This Means War!

This essay was prompted by a Cap Times editorial entitled "Scott Walker’s war on teachers". I am a political opponent of Gov. Walker and loathe what he’s doing to Wisconsin in general and education in particular, but I had finally had enuf of the world’s most abused metaphor and shot the following off to the editor:

I know the Cap Times largely abandoned paper a couple of years ago. Did y'all throw out your thesauri at the same time? Here's what mine suggests as alternatives to "war": "conflict, warfare, combat, fighting, (military) action, bloodshed, struggle; battle, skirmish, fight, clash, engagement, encounter; offensive, attack, campaign; hostilities; crusade, movement, drive"
Have you noticed that everybody in America is concerned about the economy and unemployment and the deficit but nobody is talking about the $2,000,000,000,000 we've thrown down the twin ratholes in Iraq and Afghanistan? Do you suppose the American economy would be any better off if we'd spent that $2,000,000,000,000 here at home instead of destroying buildings, countries, and people in central Asia?
But no, those are just more wars, and wars are trivial things, a dime a dozen, not a cause for horror and revulsion. Heck, we've got wars on mosquitos every summer, wars on French fries in the school-lunch program, wars against lipstick on pigs (literally true); how bad can a couple of wars be that we can't even see?
Nobody who's ever been thru an actual war would ever mistake any of these phony wars for the real thing. But hardly any Americans have been thru actual wars, so we're stuck with this cheap knock-off of the term that you journalists have overused to the point where we're completely desensitized to it. We're reduced to pointing out how much wars cost, because people understand money, when the mere occurrence of the word "war" should suffice to make any civilized person blanch and prepare to puke.
War — like slavery, rape, and torture — is an awful, awful, awful thing, and we should always recoil from the mere prospect of it, to say nothing of the reality. Sadly, you and your ilk have leached it of its horror thru misapplication and overuse. You are the perfect exemplars of what George Orwell warned against with NewSpeak. When it is literally true that "War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.", then language has lost all meaning and the ideal of a well informed citizenry being able to govern itself is doomed.