Not infrequently, readers ask me why I sometimes use words that might not be commonplace. I’m not trying to be pedantic (ostentatiously learned), but challenging! And sometimes the perfect word is just that – the perfect word which succinctly expresses my thoughts.
English has more words than any other language, and seemingly has a word for everything. In fact, I once came upon the term for “the perfect word.” Unfortunately, I “misplaced” (forgot) the word and have searched repeatedly for it, but to no avail. If any of you know this word, I would appreciate being enlightened.
I’ve frequently said that words are the tools we use to express ourselves. And, a man needs an adequate supply of tools. I have a small Craftsman tool set that is usually sufficient for a contemplative doctor. Actually, I rely on my wife, Becky, who is our “Handy Ma’am.” And if I need additional tools, I have access to my son-in-law’s much larger tool collection which, by analogy, is like a larger dictionary or thesaurus, where you can find the perfect word-tool.
English has borrowed extensively from other languages, including Russian, German, French, and Spanish and so on. Many of our words, and especially medical terms, derive from Latin and Greek. Like us, the ancient Romans borrowed from other cultures and languages, including the ancient Greeks who called themselves the Hellenes. The Romans conquered the Hellenistic world and absorbed the Greek culture. The Romans collectively referred to the Hellenistic people as Graecoi, derived from the first Greek tribe the Romans encountered. And now, having absorbed the Greco-Roman culture, we still use the Roman/Latin name for Greece today.
I learned a new Greek word last week. It was not in my lexicon. Akrasia is defined as motivated irrationality. It seems an appropriate descriptor of the current Democrat leadership and their media handlers who are driven to irrationality by hatred. In last week’s column entitled Apostasy, I posited group insanity as the result of evil. You should read the column in the archives section of knoxfocus.com and draw your own conclusions for the mess we find ourselves.
Though the Greek people were the first to use the scientific methods of observational reality, I never had the luxury of studying ancient Greece and Rome, aside from a college freshman course on western civilization. While my formal education was science-based, my informal education in the humanities occurred over the last thirty years and was self-taught. I’m not embarrassed that I don’t have academic degrees in the classics which formed the foundation of western civilization. Abraham Lincoln was also largely self-taught. I’ve come to admire sages like Socrates who once opined, “When debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the losers.” Socrates was apparently prescient (displaying foresight) in his prediction of the modern left’s mode of operation (modus operandi), the ad hominem (personal) attack.
Recently, Becky asked me the origin of the political terms, left and right. I didn’t know. However, a quick search of the Internet enlightened me and my beloved. In 1789 the leaders of the French revolution met in the National Assembly to discuss the formation of a new government. Supporters of the king (the more conservative, traditionalists) congregated to the right of the speaker, while the more revolutionary, progressive members stood to the left. Apparently, the more modern terms of conservative/traditional and progressive/liberal have their origin in the French Revolution! I’ll leave you to reflect on older (3000 years) reflections of the Teacher in Ecclesiastes 10:2 who observed, “A wise man’s heart inclines to the right, but the heart of a fool to the left.”
Other interesting political idioms are “Blue Dog Democrats” and “Red Dog Republicans.” The Blue Dog Congressional Coalition said of its name, “‘Blue Dog’ originates from the long-time tradition of referring to a strong Democratic Party supporter as being a ‘Yellow Dog Democrat,’ who would ‘vote for a yellow dog if it was listed on the ballot as a Democrat.’ Leading up to the 1994 election the founding [moderate] members of the Blue Dogs felt that they had been ‘choked blue’ by the extremes of both political parties.
“Somewhat similarly, Red Dog Republicans are thought to be “fiscal conservatives who think social issues are not the government’s business.
“[They are] individualists with a strong belief in the separation of religion and government.”
As additional color enlightenment, the modern identification of red and blue states and their political nom de guerre philosophies is largely a contrivance of the media. Republicans were once blue and Democrats were once red. And remember, there was no color in television until the seventies. Interestingly, in the 20th century with the Soviet “red scare,” the media moved to associate red with Republicans.
What amazes me is how anyone can still believe anything the major news media say. Why would you believe a proven liar like CNN or the New York Times? Furthermore, how can anyone trust a politician or the government to fix our problems? After all, the Feds could not keep Epstein, locked in a padded cell, from killing himself. Yet some are prepared to let Democrat loons and government have even more power over our lives. I can only surmise that enlightenment is an elusive entity.
Sometimes I become discouraged in these troubled times and ask myself if my column is worth the effort? And yet my work to enlighten pales by comparison to the efforts of the police, firemen, EMTs and the military.
I write as an avocation, not for notoriety or a paycheck. And I write out of duty and service to the country in this modern Civil War we find ourselves. I have the love and support of family, but admittedly I occasionally become discouraged. And then a friend called to say “Thank you” for writing and giving voice to his thoughts.
So in closing, the doctor recommends you stop and thank those who support and love you. And even extend charity to the confused. The enlightened and pithy words of Emily Dickinson poetically work for me:
If I can stop one Heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain
If I can ease one Life the Aching,
Or cool one Pain,
Or help one fainting Robin
Unto his Nest again,
I shall not live in vain.