Words that are lies

A word should refer to an essence, a natural kind, and normal words do.

Suppose we had a word that referred to roast pork and fried chicken, but not to other foods. This would imply that roast pork and chicken were the same essence, the same natural kind, which of course they are not. So when you have a word that does not refer to a natural kind, that word is a lie – and the lie is usually a lot more hurtful than claiming that pigs are chickens.

For example, a “sweatshop” is entrepreneurship, capital, and low paid labor. Which is no more an essence than entrepreneurship, capital, and tuesdays.

If communists work people to death in the hot sun in twenty hour shifts, seven days a week, and no food, not a sweatshop by definition. If a capitalist builds an air conditioned factory in the third world, and has eight hour shifts, five days a week, but inadequate bathroom breaks, is a sweatshop. This is used to imply that capital, investment, and entrepreneurship makes people worse off, even though it is glaringly obvious that it makes people better off.

This is the lie that kept much of the third world poor for a long time. By definition, capital, investment, and entrepreneurship supposedly makes people poor.

Similarly, with “racism”. Supposedly this means injustice motivated by race, which not a natural kind, nor is it a definition, but rather a hateful smear against white people, accusing white people of being responsible for the underperformance of black people.

Unjust acts motivated by X are not a natural kind, any more than unjust acts on tuesdays are a natural kind. We don’t have a word for unjust acts motivated by sexual jealousy. When someone murders another person to steal his shoes, we do not call the killer “greedy”. An unjust act committed for reasons of race is not a natural kind any more than unjust act committed on a tuesday is a natural kind. We did not have a word that supposedly stands for unjust acts committed for reasons of race until the twentieth century, and we still do not have words for unjust acts committed for reasons of covetousness, or unjust acts committed on a tuesday.

So in practice, no one is ever going to use the words “racism” and “racist” in accordance with the supposed definition, at least not if he hopes to be understood. Rather, it is a hateful word for members of high functioning groups. The supposed definition is merely a hateful smear against members of those groups, in particular and especially against white people, and against certain political beliefs.

The supposed definition is not a definition, but rather a claim that Donald Sterling, by thinking bad thoughts about blacks, caused the bad behavior of which he was thinking, that his thoughts were hurtful and unjust acts. Similarly, the genocide of the Tutsi was supposedly caused by Tutsi racism, not Hutu racism.

Another lie is the Marxist definition of value. The Marxists define value as labor content. So if someone buys a tree plantation with small trees, and patiently waits till they are big trees, he has supposedly created no value. The man who saves and invests has supposedly created no value.

The entrepreneur is someone who has a vision of how value can be created. He persuades people who have capital of his vision, and summons labor and capital to create value under his command. Supposedly the entrepreneur is merely a parasite, according to the Marxist definition of value.

The Marxist definition of “value” is akin to the dictionary definition of “racist” – the definition is itself a lie, labor content being no more an essence than injustice motivated by race is a natural kind.

If capitalism and poor work conditions were a natural kind, that would imply that capitalism is poor work conditions, or causes poor work conditions. If injustice motivated by racial difference was a natural kind, that would imply that noticing racial difference is injustice.

10 Responses to “Words that are lies”

  1. peppermint says:

    Labor content is a thing. It’s not the same thing as market value, but it contributes to market value by bounding the value from below.

    Chicken or pork reminds me of Chinese food. I’m going to go get some – illegal immigration is great, it makes sweatshop Chinese food cost less.

    • Contaminated NEET says:

      The labor theory of value is shit. Value is determined by supply and demand, and labor content is likely to be a major determinant of supply for most things. That’s the source of the confusion.

      • bub says:

        That’s the source of the confusion.

        I doubt it’s actual confusion for the elites. Do you think all Marxists fail to understand basic microeconomics?

        From my discussions with Marxists, they seem to want to believe for emotional reasons. Envy of the rich, a distaste for consumerism, Utopianism, and other things seem to motivate them. Maybe everybody needs a religion. Not to mention the career benefits of siding with leftists.

        I think many just ignore the incoherence of Marx’s economics, and like him for other reasons. They hate it when you try to subject their ideology to economic analysis.

  2. bub says:

    For an ideology to succeed, it needs to communicate it’s message to the powerful. It helps to have, simple, easily communicable ideas. Otherwise, lots of people won’t understand it, and the ideology will be less likely to reproduce.

    Ideologies are in conflict with reality. If they weren’t they wouldn’t need to be ideologies, they could just be facts, or values. Instead, they need to be a substitute for facts and values.

    Hatred of pit bulls is not an ideology, it’s part of a human values system. Belief that pit bulls are dangerous is not an ideology, it’s a fact. Belief that pit bulls are the oppressors, systematically controlling the economic system, would be an ideology, since it cannot rely on either values or fact, and must rely on brute strength to succeed.

    So it makes sense that an ideology can be mostly reduced to a relatively simple series of anti-reality concepts. If the ideology is to succeed, it must aggressively enforce belief in these simple concepts.

  3. Occupant says:

    “Similarly, the genocide of the Tutsi was supposedly caused by Tutsi racism, not Hutu racism.”

    The line that I repeatedly hear is that the genocide of the Tutsi was caused by evil Belgian mind-rays that began when they created a system of racial classification.

    • jim says:

      Well that is because black people naturally lived in love and harmony until evil white people came to hurt them. But if a black person or category of black people is blamed, two times out of three, it is a Tutsi.

      Reality is, of course, that before the coming of the whites, the Tutsis farmed Hutus like cattle, and the Hutus are maladapted to being other than cattle, maladapted to the environment that the Tutsis created of agriculture, property rights, artifacts, and employment.

  4. This is absolutely magnificent Jim.

  5. Alan J. Perrick says:

    You’re talking about “Wordism”, right? Let me know if you have been reading Mr. Whitaker’s website, “Jim”

    If you haven’t, start reading here: http://www.nationalsalvation.net/wordismversusreailty.html

    And listening, here: http://whitakeronline.org/audio/bobw_townhall_050528.mp3


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