Goldwing Tom dot com

Say What You Mean

The debates are becoming more and more common as the nomination season is in full swing. One of the candidates supports democratic socialism, and a whole bunch of people who know economics from what they have learned by watching cable news networks are certain this will be the end of America as we have known it.

Except for the staunchest of the free marketers who have, at least, read one economic theory and erroneously embraced it as infallible, most of these people are simply idiots who make wild claims, and who have a common argument for anyone who points out their lack of understanding: "you know what I mean."

One of the things that this democratic socialist is proposing is free college education. I suggest that those people who resort to the "you know what I mean" argument might be better off embracing this candidate, and take advantage of some of that free education.

It would not take very long in an essay class or a math class for them to get the understanding that stating something incorrectly, and relying upon an assumed duty of the teacher to know that what they meant was correct, is not going to get them very far. If they, then, take it to the next level, and regard that person with a Masters or Doctorate degree as worthy to listen to and learn from, they might just abandon such tomfoolery in favor of saying what they mean.

Just a simple step like that could put some momentum in place to discover that "socialism" is not a four letter word - both literally and figuratively. They may gain an understanding that decrying socialism as necessarily evil, but praising first responders, teachers, and military personnel, is, at best, just slightly on the illogical side and, at worst, hypocritical. Most of those people work in the social or public sector.

"You know what I mean" is the most common response to pointing that out to someone who claims to hate socialism. Not only do I not know what you mean when you make a wide sweeping claim that is intended to be narrow, it is not incumbent upon me to accept "what you mean" as having any intellectual value. In fact, it is my right to consider that argument both inarticulate and illiterate.

The reason for that is simple: that argument is inarticulate and illiterate. It is misstated (inarticulate) and without understanding (illiterate).

My suggestion is to not take it personally when someone points out an error in your logic, whether that person is a teacher or just someone with whom you are debating. Try again to restate your position more accurately to reflect what you mean. Use it as an opportunity to enhance your ability to be articulate and accurate.

Sometimes when we force ourselves to think beyond "bumper sticker philosophy" to state accurately what we mean, we better understand what it is with which we have a problem.

Some other things I've written about: