Monday, November 02, 2009

Leftard objects to name-calling

5. vivo:

[C]onservatives are allowed to use derogatory words they coined such as socialist, communist, liberal, fascist, etc. knowing that these labels are not accurate but have an impact on the mentally lazy. Aug 17, 2009 - 3:09 am

Just for fun, let's look at some of the words conservatives coined to sling as insults at Obama and company.

Socialist: 1827, from Fr. socialiste, in reference to the teachings of Comte de Saint-Simon, founder of Fr. socialism. Socialism is attested from 1837, apparently first in reference to Robert Owen's communes. "Pierre Leroux (1797-1871), idealistic social reformer and Saint-Simonian publicist, expressly claims to be the originator of the word socialisme" [Klein]. The word begins to be used in Fr. in the modern sense c.1835. Socialista, with a different sense, was applied 18c. to followers and pupils of Du. jurist Grotius (1583-1645).

Communist: 1841, as both a noun and adj., from Fr. communiste communiste (see communism). First attested in writing by John Goodwin Barmby (1820-1881), British Owenite and utopian socialist who founded the London Communist Propaganda Society in 1841. Main modern sense emerged after publication of Communist Manifesto ("Manifest der Kommunistischen Partei") in 1848. Shortened form Commie attested from 1940.

Liberal: late 14c., from O.Fr. liberal "befitting free men, noble, generous," from L. liberalis "noble, generous," lit. "pertaining to a free man," from liber "free," from PIE base *leudheros (cf. Gk. eleutheros "free"), probably originally "belonging to the people" (though the precise semantic development is obscure), from *leudho- "people" (cf. O.C.S. ljudu, Lith. liaudis, O.E. leod, Ger. Leute "nation, people"). Earliest reference in Eng. is to the liberal arts (L. artes liberales; see art (n.)), the seven attainments directed to intellectual enlargement, not immediate practical purpose, and thus deemed worthy of a free man (the word in this sense was opposed to servile or mechanical). Sense of "free in bestowing" is from 1387. With a meaning "free from restraint in speech or action" (late 15c.) liberal was used 16c.-17c. as a term of reproach. It revived in a positive sense in the Enlightenment, with a meaning "free from prejudice, tolerant," which emerged 1776-88. Purely in ref. to political opinion, "tending in favor of freedom and democracy" it dates from c.1801, from Fr. libéral, originally applied in English by its opponents (often in French form and with suggestions of foreign lawlessness) to the party favorable to individual political freedoms. But also (especially in U.S. politics) tending to mean "favorable to government action to effect social change," which seems at times to draw more from the religious sense of "free from prejudice in favor of traditional opinions and established institutions" (and thus open to new ideas and plans of reform), which dates from 1823.

Fascist: 1921, from It. partito nazionale fascista, the anti-communist political movement organized 1919 under Benito Mussolini (1883-1945); from It. fascio "group, association," lit. "bundle." Fasci "groups of men organized for political purposes" had been a feature of Sicily since c.1895; the 20c. sense probably infl. by the Roman fasces (q.v.) which became the party symbol. Fascism, also 1921, was originally used in Eng. 1920 in its It. form, fascismo. Applied to similar groups in Germany from 1923.
"A form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation or victimhood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion." [Robert O. Paxton, "The Anatomy of Fascism," 2004]

Doesn't it kind of figure that a leftard would post a comment like that above when he could very easily have done what we've done, i.e. look up some words to get a clear sense of their meanings? Yeah, it figures.

(I read Paxton's book, above, and liked it.)

OK, so maybe "leftard" didn't make the cut so far, but let's look at what we can:

Left: Political sense arose from members of a legislative body assigned to the left side of a chamber, first attested in Eng. 1837 (by Carlyle, in ref. to the Fr. Revolution), probably a loan-translation of Fr. la gauche (1791), said to have originated during the seating of the Fr. National Assembly in 1789 in which the nobility took the seats on the President's right and left the Third Estate to sit on the left. Became general in U.S. and British political speech c.1900 (cf. Leftist, 1924; left wing, 1898).

I love the etymology site.

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