Monday, 19 December 2011

Interesting journalism of the day

Brendan O'Neill has a thoughtful take on Hitchens, Orwell, and the cavalier use of the word fascism in today's Telegraph Online.

Funnily enough, I had been thinking about this exact thing over the weekend. I was talking to a charming, interesting person, sophisticated and funny. I mentioned something in passing about Barack Obama. Sudden, alarmed face: 'Oh,' the person said, in horror, 'but he's a socialist.'

I'm afraid I was so astonished that I was not quite polite. 'No, he's not,' I said, with some heat.

Calling Barack Obama a socialist is like calling my dog a goat. It's demonstrably, provably incorrect. I never saw a man with less desire to nationalise the means of production. The thing is, most people who throw that word around have no idea what it actually means. It has become a catch-all for vaguely Left, or, more pertinently, not Right. So it is with fascism, as O'Neill points out: this is the word that some leftists use to mean not very nice.

I believe in accuracy in language. Language matters. That is why, with each passing year, I love Orwell more and more.

You can read the piece here.

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