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1 lecture on DVD
We have all heard of the vast left and right wing conspiracies of recent decades, but, one wonders, what are they to the left and right of? Some archetypal moderate who believes in nothing or assents to everything? Are left and right the same as liberal and conservative? Socialist and Fascist? If you think yes, remember the Nazis were, by their own definition, socialists. So then, what kind of creature is an “Islamo-fascist?” The fact is, unlike medieval scholastic definition, political vocabulary changes over time and across national boundaries. The definition of a liberal, for example, has changed 180° since the late nineteenth century. What occasioned such a shift is startling and will be a major focus of the lecture. Are pundits accurate when they equate “big business” with “capitalism?” What do political commentators think that the distinctions are between a democracy, majoritarian rule, and a republic? Then there is everyone’s favorite word, “terrorist.” News readers and editorialists use the word with such abandon when trying to vilify their enemies, that they have succeeded in rendering the word close to meaningless, which may account for the United Nations being so etymologically constipated that it had such severe political cramps in figuring out a definition for the word.
In this lecture we will examine the origins, evolution, and use, abuse and misuse of some of the most charged words in our political vocabulary.
“One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.”
-- attributed to Menachem Begin, et al.