Words are worth fighting over

The accepted meaning of words is the framework for all human communication. If you can change the meaning of a word to fit your viewpoint, then the meaning of all speech (both future and past !) is "reframed".  Speakers have to either use terms and accept their new meaning or sound artificial and pedantic by searching for a more obscure term without the connotations.

To say  "child abuse is sometimes trivial" sounds shocking to the average listener who does not realise the term has been redefined into near uselessness by the inclusion of unkindnesses such as leaving your 12 year old at home while you nick down the street for some groceries. Next time you hear of the incidence of child abuse remember it includes a ridiculous amount of silliness and naughtiness together with the evil and horrendous - all jumbled into one meaningless jumble.

Australia has also made "domestic violence" just as meaningless due to the scope of behaviour that it covers. "Derogatory taunts", and breaking plates are now included in the new definitions of domestic violence in Australia. The hidden benefit for the victim industries is of course the wonderful inflation of incidence statistics that they can use for funding demands.

Most recently, we have seen that dictionaries are not defenders of "correct" meanings, but are  records of the outcome of battles for meaning.   Julia Gillard and her supporters seem to have spurred Macquarie dictionary to consider redefinition of "mysogyny" to include "entrenched prejudice" rather than require "hatred".   Here the battle can be clearly seen as the desire to harness the distaste embodied in the historic meaning for a wider political purpose - the "tarring with the same brush" of anyone who speak ill of a female - for any reason.

"Racist" of course is one of the most abused of these terms. It's remains a powerful insult due to its past meaning as prejudice or discrimination based on race i.e. judging a person on biologically inherited attributes that they have no control over.
The modern meaning has widened the definition to such an extent that the term is almost synonymous with "aggrieved".   The new definition, sponsored by the UN and embedded into international and national laws, encourages any aggrieved cultural group (religious, ethnic, etc etc) to use the law to silence open debate.
This definition is worth laughing at in its full idiocy:  "any distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on race, colour, descent, or national or ethnic origin which has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal footing, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural or any other field of public life".
The inclusion of the term "ethnic" has allowed the shoehorn to be applied to include an evergrowing range of aggrieved groups who do not wish to be laughed at or otherwise exposed to the rough world of free speech.

Next time someone wants to use a new "politically correct" term, remember that the purpose is not to win an argument, but, more often, to avoid having to make one.

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