Botnst - 5/10/2005 8:30 AM
JimSmith - 5/9/2005 9:37 PM
Well now, that is astonishing. No one ever said the history of a word's meaning was not interesting, only that, when you are discussing an item in a contemporary setting, you should not be surprised when your audience finds your out of date diction tiresome. You can discuss the original meaning of the word gay until you are blue in the face, but if you use it and do not mean homosexual today, you are taking a great risk of being misunderstood. Today's neocons are not what their now expired namesakes were. Big deal. The fact that the term was once used to describe many of my own outlooks on social experimentation is an interesting fact, but not all that meaningful in a political discussion focussed on current events. I have been labelled a neocon on the far right side of Wolfowitz in the recent past. Big deal. I am sure I have been called worse and will be called worse many more times, if there is such a thing that is worse than a neocon today (maybe not, but you never know what tommorow holds). Jim
Perhaps we're confusing etymology with the devlopment of a particular line of political philosophy.
For example, the etymology of communism has some latin root then, 1843, from Fr. communisme (c.1840) from commun (O.Fr. comun, see common) + -isme. Originally a theory of society; as name of a political system, 1850, a translation of Ger. Kommunismus, in Marx and Engels' "Manifesto of the German Communist Party." The first use of communist (n.) is by Goodwyn Barmby, who founded the London Communist Propaganda Society in 1841. Shortened form Commie attested from 1940.
But that doesn't tell us much about communism.
OTOH, if I want to understand communism it would be beyond strange to ignore the history of the movement and just study some contemporary manifestation as though it sprung fully formed from some font of humanistic wisdom.
Apply that to neocons and see if you get what I mean. To ignore the history and evolution of the movement is to make ones self intentionally myopic.