The Ought-acity of Power

In the eighteenth century, language was everything.  One misused word could bring the speaker -- or the writer -- under intense scrutiny, subject him to public rebuke, and even bring him to face charges of slander or libel.  Whether it be a testament to our elevated morality or our effete education -- which I leave to the reader to determine -- we are much more forgiving of verbarian misuse today than the Americans and Britons were during the Revolution.  Samuel Adams frequently excoriated bureaucrats, loyalists, and even more than one governor for their words, which he believed were fundamentally indicative of their political philosophy.  (Adams was himself the subject of lexical scourges, as well.) Surely our current chief executive's predecessor had his own effluence of verbal faux pas, which became the widespread subject of satire and mockery.  In response, we elected a demagogue, whose eloquence seemed surpassed only by his timbre.  But while...(Read Full Article)

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