On Language Games

Jon Baskin at The Point:

Notwithstanding their sometimes tendentious selection of evidence, conservative critics are right about one thing: progressives do like to tell people what to call things. The well-rehearsed rhetorical drama over this kind of conceptual terminology is only one of the ways in which arguments over definitions and usage have risen to prominence and in some cases become almost synonymous with the desire for social change in recent years. On one hand, progressives push to substitute centuries-old terms with wide public currency like “hunger” and “homelessness” with recondite neologisms like “food insecurity” and “unhoused persons.” At the same time, they insist that familiar—if familiarly contested—terms like “racism,” “white supremacy” and “violence” be expanded to cover huge new swaths of attitudes, institutional arrangements and beliefs, including many (such as “freedom of speech,” or the prospect of a “color-blind” society) that the majority of Americans still think of as signaling positively virtuous commitments. That many of these efforts meet with mockery, resistance and recrimination only seems to reinforce confidence on all sides that the battle is a crucial one.

But is it?

more here.