115. Political misnomers

Few things are more dangerous or effective in social change than the surreptitious revision of commonly held concepts. When I was growing up, socialism, centrism, conservatism and extremism had a meaning. Today, these terms are still used, but their meaning has changed. Slowly, and under cover of night.  The centre has moved to where the moderate (or even not so moderate) right used to be, liberal economy, small state. Today’s socialism would not be recognised by a 1970s socialist, never mind by Marx and his acolytes. Conservatism has usurped the political space of ultranationalism. These changes are dangerous, as they get the less attentive citizens to make, by inertia, choices they would not otherwise make. They exploit our tendency to oversimplify by self defining to lead us to make choices we would not subscribe if well understood. Today it is more important than ever to attentively analyse. Beware names and labels, they are exercises in misdirection, may not be what they seem

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