> I hereby challenge Dale Wilson to supply us with a word that does not
> have a political connotation.
After I saw John Ikerds definition of sustainability:
"Sustainability ultimately is about intergenerational equity - to meet the
needs of the present while leaving equal or better opportunities for the
I was almost wishing I hadn't been so hasty condemning that word. But to
take up your challenge anyhow, It isn't that political "connotations" are
ever totally absent, it is that some words are so co-opted as political
slogans, they lose their everyday meaning and usefulness.
Here are some words off the top of my head that have NOT:
(you can probably tell I just came from the lab!)
Here are some words that have been pretty much co-opted:
choice (in the abortion context)
liberty (during French revolution)
total-quality management (politics in companies)
For example, several years ago I asked an SA activist what the "S" word
meant. I said "..so it means that whatever it is we are doing, can be
continued into the indefinite future." He said (something like) "Oh no,
sustainability means social equity, loving nature, natural-law
spirituality...." Basically any "good" stuff you want to throw into it.
Sustainability is really a political movement. The word denotes a group of
like-minded people, who want to control the agenda by packing lots of their
own opinions into a nice-sounding term. So, the meaning of the word has
changed. I guess that is okay. But I think Ikerd's definition approaches
something more concise and useful.
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