The last post put me in mind of a matter that I have been pondering for decades ie the misuse of language by "the left". God knows there are dozens upon dozens of examples where the use of a term works to prevent thought rather than expedite it, and the "left" is hardly the only sinner in this regard. Still, being 'of the left', however much I may be a protestant against a lot of its rhetoric, I choose the following as examples, both old and new. So, starting from the last post, here are a few examples and criticism of them. I have no doubt that readers could contribute others.
1)Bourgeois (British term 'Middle Class'):
Beginning as a French term for 'town dwellers' this is perhaps the granddaddy of all abused leftist terms. While it has an actual meaning in leftist economics/sociology (despite the great confusion about what the prefix "petit" means) as the "owners of the means of production" it is only very rarely used in that way today (or for many decades previously). It would actually be very hard to use this term accurately in any modern economy where a large segment of the economy is directed through the state and another very large segment is "owned", if not controlled, via dispersed stock ownership such that the "working class" are the nominal owners of same.
Accuracy, however, is a very minor point when the real point is to insult. Historically the term has been used by socialists to insult their socialist opponents. It has also been used, very unfortunately, to refer to the opinions of those who disagree with the particular flavour of socialism that the insulter favours. This would be harmless is it were merely a matter of sectarian politics, but it unfortunately usually generalizes into an arrogant condemnation of the majority who disagree with the socialists. In the present day this arrogance has been raised to an art form by various 'primitivist' and 'post leftist' perversions of anarchism in the USA. They have elaborated this insult term into essays that take up thousands of words of nonsense.
2)Working Class: After 4 decades of experience I have come to know that people who use this term have nothing but the best intentions. God knows I have used it myself at times and, mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa, will undoubtedly use it again. The intent is good, but the effect is not necessarily as good. Marx had his own private definition of something called "the proletariat" which someone who, like myself, is willing to subject themselves to reading his too often quoted but rarely read 3 Volumes of 'Capital' can discover. To say the least it is not what leftists today refer to as the "working class" , or even what Marxists usually referred to in their bids for power. Marx was very clear about what the "proletariat" was ie a class of people who sold their labour (and were thereby exploited by selling their labour for less than its actual value) to produce a "commodity" that would be sold on a 'close to free' market where the cost of the commodity would approximate the labour cost of its production. Such "free markets" were very much an ideological construct of the situation where Marx wrote Capital. Today the whole idea is quite absurd as such "commodities" are very much a tiny minority of the goods and services of any developed economy. State services are not sold. The prices of other goods are "set" by mechanisms that have nothing whatsoever to do with the labour involved in their production.
All that is merely a criticism of Marxism. The more important point is that there is not a "working class" but rather many working classes. People who work are very much divided by a number of different factors such as the source of their income (state versus private), the "necessity" of their work (luxuries such as social work and jewelry versus food production), the degree with which they exercise "authority" in their work, the status of their work, the remuneration of their work, etc.,etc.,etc.. It makes no sense, no matter how ideologically satisfying or "apparently" useful politically to pretend that there is one working class. The use of the term "might" be justified in terms of propaganda. Myself, I prefer to use terms such as "workers" or "ordinary people" that leave such sociological questions in abeyance.
This is a new one that I have only seen popping up in the last few years in anarchist and general leftist propaganda. It is very much the creation of an "academic name" for something that is simple common sense ie that there are "many" different ways in which an individual exists in the world. At its best- though it rarely is at its best because it is an academic creation-this would lead to a certain scepticism about the claims of liberation movements a to z because life is always more complicated than ideologues can describe. At its worst it's one more way for leftist academics to not just build their careers but also to paralyze the movements that they claim to support via endless personal disputes. The examples are endless. At its worst it is also one more way whereby "politics" is reduced to "psychology", once more I would submit a particularly American vice. At its best it is merely a statement of the obvious. A common sense observation that we all have as long as we are not in "ideological church". I especially object to the use of this buzzword in public statements that are presumably meant for the average person.
This is an "old one" and something that is mercifully no longer in fashion, at least from what I read from the effusion of academic bullshit today. They have their own nonsense that makes them appear profound and hides their ignorance. The original meaning of "dia" "lectos" in Greek philosophy was actually very simple. The conversation between two people whereby one took the premises of the other as given and "questioned" the consequences until one arrived at either a logical contradiction or an absurdity was actually a "method". The pretensions of the heirs of Germanic philosophy that they have a "method" of acquiring truth are absurd. Unless, of course, you think that taking a given aspect of a situation as its "essence", abstracting that and doing "logical calculations" on these terms with no reference to reality. Neither the right wing justification of fascism nor the traditional Leninist "dialectical materialism" had any relation to reality beyond the coincidental.
With the end of Stalinist hegemony there were many attempts to "recast" dialectics as some sort of superior way of thinking that went beyond ordinary logic and empiricism. All of those were tainted by the will to power of their exponents, and, at best, they put common sense observations such as "things change" or "things should be looked at in their history" into arrogant academic language. At their worst they shaded into the academic cult of post modernism. But that is another and disgusting subject.