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How are these words defined?

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posted on Jul, 26 2004 @ 02:17 AM
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These words are thrown around a lot in political arenas, but what do their modern definitions mean? What do these words mean to you?

-conservative
-liberal
-socialist
-communist
-capitalist
-anarchist
-neo-con (I have no idea what this word means)
-nationalist
-internationalist
-the "left"
-the "right"
-Republicans
-Democrats

-crime
-terrorist act
-act of war
(When does a crime become a terrorist act? When does either become an act of war?)

-legitamate government (What makes a government legitamate?)
-rogue government
(How do you determine when one turns into the other? What if a government is neither?)

Add any additional words to the list you wish while giving your definitions of these.
I'm curious as to the responses to this informal survey; I suspect many political arguments come from the fact that different people have different definitons of the same words...




posted on Jul, 26 2004 @ 02:39 AM
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the fact that different people have different definitons of the same words...


You're on target right there. Words mean different things to different people. That can cause confusion at times and the powers that be clearly use that to their advantage.




-neo-con (I have no idea what this word means)

Short for neo-conservative... i.e. the new breed of dominant "conservative" thinking. Examples of neo-con organizations would be Heritage Foundation, PNAC.



posted on Jul, 28 2004 @ 02:30 PM
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Well, the dictionary defines "liberal" and "conservative" as such:

"liberal" -- 1. Not limited to or by established, traditional, orthodox, or authoritarian attitudes, views, or dogmas; free from bigotry. 2. Favoring proposals for reform, open to new ideas for progress, and tolerant of the ideas and behavior of others; broad-minded. 3. Tending to give freely; generous. 4. Not strict or literal; loose or approximate.

"conservative" -- 1. Favoring traditional views and values; tending to oppose change. 2. Traditional or restrained in style. 3. Moderate; cautious.

Hmmm... Well, the definition of "liberal" sounds about right, but the definition of "conservative" seems lacking. Most conservatives I know are also favoring proposals for reform, open to new ideas for progress, and tolerant of the ideas and behavior of others; in other words, broad-minded, because they have a 'as long as you don't hurt anyone or hurt the country, do whatever you want' attitude...

I know that most people have the following equations in their minds:

conservative = the "right" = Republicans
liberal = the "left" = Democrats

But is it fair for those who also add these to the equation?

conservative = the "right" = Republicans = fascist
liberal = the "left" = Democrats = socialist

Well, it is true that some Democrats are openly socialist, but not all are. Also, I don't think there's any equality between being conservative and fascist...

fascist -- 1. a reactionary or dictatorial person who who eliminates anything that does not agree with his or her views.

I will continue researching. Any comments?



posted on Jul, 28 2004 @ 08:30 PM
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Originally posted by ThunderCloud

fascist -- 1. a reactionary or dictatorial person who who eliminates anything that does not agree with his or her views.


What dictionary did you get this definition of 'fascist' from? It's a bit light. Let's try again from Websters:


n.
1. An advocate or adherent of fascism.


Which leads to the definition of 'fascism', also from Websters:



1. A system of government marked by centralization of authority under a dictator, stringent socioeconomic controls, suppression of the opposition through terror and censorship, and typically a policy of belligerent nationalism and racism.


Websters also have this note about Fascism:


Word History: It is fitting that the name of an authoritarian political movement like Fascism, founded in 1919 by Benito Mussolini, should come from the name of a symbol of authority. The Italian name of the movement, fascismo, is derived from fascio, bundle, (political) group, but also refers to the movement's emblem, the fasces, a bundle of rods bound around a projecting axe-head that was carried before an ancient Roman magistrate by an attendant as a symbol of authority and power. The name of Mussolini's group of revolutionaries was soon used for similar nationalistic movements in other countries that sought to gain power through violence and ruthlessness, such as National Socialism.



I always find it funny when people try to lable the political right in the U.S. as fascists. Let's consider the key portions of the above definition:

"stringent socioeconomic controls" - nope. The 'right' wants to loosen government regulation on business, believing it will lower prices and lead to greater economic growth. Yes, capitalism.

"suppression of the opposition through terror and censorship" - maybe. But only the religious fanatics, not the Libertarians. And, yes, I think Janet's sexy and enjoyed the half time show very much.

"typically a policy of belligerent nationalism" - ok. THAT sounds like Bushie.

"and racism." - I don't want to argue this point in detail on this thread, so I'll leave it alone.


I find it funny that the dictionary equates fascism with National Socialism. And don't forget that the offical name of the Nazi party was the National Socialist German Worker's Party.

Muddy, muddy, muddy...



posted on Jul, 30 2004 @ 03:38 AM
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So, is this the scale of the political spectrum as it's generally understood?

ANARCHY POLICE STATE



[edit on 7/30/2004 by ThunderCloud]



posted on Jul, 30 2004 @ 03:44 AM
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Bottom line, these are labels. You want to hang one around your neck? I don't. I don't subscribe to the right or the left. I take the things from both side that make sense to me and I create my own philosophy. So I guess that makes me a "centralist."


[edit on 30-7-2004 by intrepid]



posted on Jul, 30 2004 @ 03:52 AM
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Originally posted by intrepid
Bottom line, these are labels. You want to hang one around your neck? I don't. I don't subscribe to the right or the left. I take the things from both side that make sense to me and I create my own philosophy. So I guess that makes me a "centralist."


Nah -- that makes you a randomist!


Well, the idea was important to me because these labels are thrown around so much, but do people know what they actually mean? Language, after all, is the ether in which political discourse takes place...



posted on Jul, 30 2004 @ 03:52 AM
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Neo-Con

Neo-Conservative.

Neo from the Greek word meaning new,and used as a living prefix adding the notion new,modern,or recast to the base word in this case Conservatism which is a preservative political philosophy predisposed to mainain existing institututions.

And so a Neo-Conservatism is a new approach using the conservative philosophy as it's base and a Neo-Con is a supporter of this new take on a traditional philosophy.

I hope this helps.



posted on Jul, 30 2004 @ 03:53 AM
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One word can have many meanings, and context is important, but there are also a great many other factors that influence perceptions and meanings of words.

Semantic variance is inherent to human communication, and I know of no way to change that. It's a product of our different minds, life experiences and points of view.

Unless a clear issue of misunderstanding surrounds a specific word, I usually find it best not to fixate on definitions and instead restate a concept in different ways, perhaps better illustrating the idea by doing so. If done in a manner that is not tedious or pedantic, such an approach can help smooth over the inevitable bumps in a discussion resulting from semantic dissonance.

Rather than worry about the meaning of one word, I think it's better to seek the meanings of groups of words, instead.

As for the definitions of labels such as "liberals" and "conservatives", I would wager that a sizeable percentage of political discussion revolves around such things, but I have, so far, never seen anything useful come from such discussions.

Rather than worry about which label we should apply to one another, perhaps our time can be better spent paying attention to what we actually have to say.


Edit: Semantic clarifications.


[edit on 7/30/2004 by Majic]



posted on Jul, 30 2004 @ 04:04 AM
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Originally posted by ThunderCloud
Well, the idea was important to me because these labels are thrown around so much, but do people know what they actually mean? Language, after all, is the ether in which political discourse takes place...



The problem with these labels is that they mean different things to different people. I'm sure, if they met, Milosovich would consider Vlad the Impaler a bit of an extremist. Depends on your point of view.



posted on Jul, 30 2004 @ 04:17 AM
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Terrorist Act:

The unlawful use or threatened use of force or violence by a person or an organized group against people or property with the intention of intimidating or coercing societies or governments, often for ideological or political reasons.

Crime:

An act committed or omitted in violation of a law forbidding or commanding it and for which punishment is imposed upon conviction

The difference?
Crime are against the basic rules of a society. Terrorism is an attempt to influence the establishment and society by force

Act of War:

This can only be committed by one nation against another. It means one nation using its military forces for violence against any part (including civilians) of another nation.

[edit on 30-7-2004 by mrsteve]



posted on Jul, 30 2004 @ 04:24 AM
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Originally posted by mrsteve
Crime:

An act committed or omitted in violation of a law forbidding or commanding it and for which punishment is imposed upon conviction

The difference?
Crime are against the basic rules of a society. Terrorism is an attempt to influence the establishment and society by force


Lot of this philosophical stuff tonight. I like that. What is a crime in one country, isn't in another. As an alcoholic, I probably would have been found out and exterminated in an extremist Islamic nation. Here I'm simply, "the drunk that shows up for work."



posted on Jul, 30 2004 @ 06:30 AM
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Originally posted by ThunderCloud

I know that most people have the following equations in their minds:

conservative = the "right" = Republicans
liberal = the "left" = Democrats

But is it fair for those who also add these to the equation?

conservative = the "right" = Republicans = fascist
liberal = the "left" = Democrats = socialist

Well, it is true that some Democrats are openly socialist, but not all are. Also, I don't think there's any equality between being conservative and fascist...

fascist -- 1. a reactionary or dictatorial person who who eliminates anything that does not agree with his or her views.

I will continue researching. Any comments?



socialism and fascism are not actually opposites of each other (although they are commonly thought to be). www.politicalcompass.org... has some good info on this and other political 'paradoxes'.. check the FAQ

-koji K.



posted on Jul, 30 2004 @ 10:42 PM
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Well, if people can't even agree on the definitons for the words they're using, then this begs the question: How can there be any successful debates if the meanings of words can't even be decided upon? That might explain why a lot of "debates" break down into yelling matches, both in the real world and virtually on Message Boards...



posted on Jul, 31 2004 @ 05:56 AM
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Yes, there's definitely a lot of confusion about political labels.

I often notice that (especially in the USA) liberals are the opposite of conservatives. That's not true because you can be liberal AND conservative. The right term would be progressive or reformist. Liberals are supposed to be right wing. By definition, they advocate a free market and everyone should do what he wants (within reason). The extreme opposite are communists. All property has been transferred to the state and you can only do what the government wants you to do.

I realize that the above words are somewhat distorted in the US. Living in Europe, I think our parties are more accurate with their names. Also, it could be that since America is very right-wing, liberals, although also right, are considered leftist..? I don't know for sure. Everything is relative, especially in politics.

Another common misunderstanding is that liberals are labeled socialists or even communists. That's strange since socialism is opposed to liberalism.

Socialism mainly advocates the redistribution of wealth to prevent the poor from getting poorer. This is accomplished by social security, medical care, taxing the corporations etc.

Please check out www.politicalcompass.org... . They use a grid with two axes, one being right-left and the other one being authoritarian-libertarian. It is more accurate than the conventional one-axis representation. And it shows that you can be very leftist and at the same time libertarian.

Nationalism - the doctrine that your national culture and interests are superior to any other. (according to www.thefreedictionary.com... )
Exceeding patriotism is also a feature.

Internationalism - the doctrine that nations should cooperate because their common interests are more important than their differences.
(according to www.thefreedictionary.com... )
Patriotism is not appropriate. Since you dind't choose your country, it makes no sense to be proud of it. Nations are only artificial.
This would be the opposite of nationalism.



[edit on 7/31/2004 by SocialistOrder]

[edit on 7/31/2004 by SocialistOrder]




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