They’re not always as helpful as we might think, yet they are much of what we have to work with in trying to convey meaning. There’s body language of course, and deciphering nature, and the arts, painting and drawing, sculpture, music. But in trying to share ideas and thoughts most of us rely on words, spoken and written.
And it can be frustrating, layering words to the shape of an idea. Because no matter what you write, and how well you think you’ve expressed that idea in words, it usually falls short.
And then, another person must take those words into their own world, with their own understanding, and make of it what they can.
And then there are those words that evoke feeling before they impart meaning, and the feeling becomes the meaning. I began to think about that in a prior blog when I was grappling with the –isms, social, capital, commune.
Because I realized that socialism is one of those words used here in the US that is replete with hidden agendas and meanings, used to brand and vilify without giving any serious thought to what the word means.
And the really interesting part of that is that those who wield it as a weapon to carve on political opponents are ardent defenders and proponents of one of the most socialistic undertakings in this country.
It is a socialistic enterprises that consumes more than half of the discretionary spending of the federal budget, some $495 Billion in fiscal 2015, with another $79 Billion for OCO (Overseas Contingency Operations). A socialistic enterprise that put us most of a trillion dollars in debt in the last dozen years, and was responsible for the deaths of 3,000 of our citizens.
It is the Department of Defense.
Nobody sees it that way, of course.
It is an enormous sacred cow, but a socialistic one to the core, reaching nearly to the usual definition of communism.
It is owned by the government, operated by the government and responsible to the government, supported by taxes. It’s social-ism.
We lead the world in military spending, with China coming in a distant second at $145 Billion, France in third with $60 billion, Saudi Arabia fourth at $56 billion and the UK in fifth with $51 billion (GlobalFirepower.com 2015).
Every country follows our lead in believing the lie that the only way to make the world safe is to become armed to the teeth. Weapons cocked. Sleeping with nuclear trigger near the heartbeat of the president. Every country follows our lead on that one, or struggles mightily to keep up. Every country wants nukes, because, well dammit, it’s the only way to stay safe. And nukes are becoming cheaper and easier to make all the time. Smaller. More deadly. And somehow we continue to believe the fiction that more is better. Safer.
It’s the same madness we struggle with here in the US on a personal level, fueled by the NRA and second amendment word play that the only safety we have is in a personal arsenal, played out on the world stage.
And it is frightening and crazy in the extreme.
So the next time you hear someone ranting about socialism, ask him or her which part of the military budget they would like to cut, because everyone is firmly committed to socialism when that –ism involves their sacred cow.