Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Death Penalty

Yesterday, two people were executed. One was probably guilty. One was maybe not. But even if they were guilty, is justice served by execution?

I say no. Killing is a bad thing. Regardless of who dies, death is bad. Killing may sometimes be the lesser of two evils (for example, self defense), but that doesn't make it good. Another solution that didn't involve death would be better.

Moreover, killing accomplishes very little. The victims of a murderer aren't brought back to life by his execution. It doesn't undo the damage that's been wrong. The only positive things I can think of are that it prevents the criminal from committing future crimes, which can be done through other means, and that it gives the survivors revenge-inspired happiness, which isn't really something that should be encouraged, in my book.

Two wrongs don't make a right. Justice isn't achieved by hurting someone who hurt you. Justice is achieved by healing hurt and righting past wrongs. Sometimes that's not possible, but that doesn't make vengeance right.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Literally Misused Words

Words have no inherent meaning. They mean only what they are understood to mean.Of course the intention of words and language is to communicate, so words ought to aid that endeavor. Commonly used and unambiguous words do that. Words that no one can agree what they mean do exactly the opposite. Which is why I partially agree, and partially disagree with this.

I agree with their usage of ambivalent. There's no other word that closely matches it, and if you want to say indifferent, you can say indifferent (or apathetic).

As far as literally goes, I've never seen it used it to mean figuratively. Never. It's used as an intensifier. Frequently used in the same way as really. But never figuratively. At best, it's used in a figurative sense, but that's not the same as saying it's used in the place of figuratively. That would mean you could replace the one word with the other, and the phrase would mean the same thing. That doesn't work. Though I do think, for the sake of clarity, that literally should retain its literal meaning, rather than being used as an intensifier.

Funnily enough, enormous used to also mean wicked. You don't see anyone complaining about people misusing that anymore...

And by my authority as a blogger, I officially remove the word nonplussed from the English language. No one knows what the word means. Even if they do, they don't know that people they're communicating with understand it the same way they do. It fails to communicate clearly, and should not be used. Besides, look at it - nonplussed. Clearly neither definition given is correct: It means subtracted.