Thursday, June 17, 2010

Two misleading labels

Labels can been convenient, but they can be misleading. Editorial pages have limited space, broadcasters have limited time, and people have limited attention spans.

"Un-American", like the f-word, usually means whatever the speaker wants it to mean. Unlike the f-word, it always has negative connotations and is still used on TV. Taken literally, it means "not American" or "foreign". Use of the term implies that the speaker is closed-minded by dismissing certain ideas as foreign.

"Anti-government" seems to be another word for "anarchist". It's not a fair term to describe those of us who acknowledge a role for government. Those who advocate dissolving all national, state, and local governments either don't understand what the consequences would be, or have a completely different value system than the rest of us.

So the next time you hear "un-American" or "anti-government", take what that person says with a grain of salt.

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