What’s in a name?

«Well, hello your Majesty! I sure as shucks don’t see personry of your distinction down here much. Come to inspect the sewers … Aquedutcs! I mean Aqueducts! Please pardon my confusion. I’m still getting the hang of this new beautification program the city council put in place. The finer points of it seem to be giving things pretty names. You know; sewers become aqueducts, waste becomes surplus resource, and my cushy job at the castle becomes tour-guide to the FREAKIN’ SEWERS! BUT I’M NOT BITTER!»
Charon in «Neverwinter Nights»

On this blog, I did a few excursions into critical thinking. It might seem strange, but I think you can’t be creative — in the sense of coming up with something new and useful — if you don’t understand the situation and can’t evaluate the effects of your intervention. In essence, you need to know as objectively as possible what the current baseline is — prior to any creative change.

I’m also not a fan of emotional reasoning or outrage culture — emotions are simply not an argument, no matter who experiences them. If anyone want’s be coerced by unhappy disturbed teens or (usually) girlfriends, hey, do whatever you like in your own life. But it’s not a basis for policy. Similarly, I detest unnecessary fluff that obscures the issues and the approaches to solve these issues.

My personal pet peeve is the name of organizations and movements. Because in some cases, it’s simply Orwellian. Like Antifa, who are as anti-fascistic as countries with ”democratic” in their name are democratic. Like the German “Democratic” Republic.

The name is simply used as (part of) a shield.

My prior example was the “Patriot Act” — nicely suggesting that anyone what was against this act was “unpatriotic”. Also a nice example of a false dichotomy.

But that example got upstaged by {students|scientists|whatever}4Future.

Damn, that’s an insidious name. As if anyone being critical of this movement was against having a future.

Bitch, please.

But yeah, that’s how it usually plays out.

In situations like these I can only recommend the old advice:

As I grow older, I pay less attention to what men say. I just watch what they do.
Andrew Carnegie

That quote also applies to movements. Just ignore the name and honestly look at what they do. What they accomplish. And what the side effects are. It provides you with a more accurate perspective of what is going on.

(Of course, in some cases the name is spot on — e.g., “Occupy Wall Street”. I just wish we would provide people with the opportunity to go to jail for their convictions.)