Some New Words

One of the advantages of a proper education in Western Civilization that included ancient languages is the ability to coin new technical and scientific words without having to resort to Newspeak. Take the word hoplophobia for example. Jeff Cooper created the term by combining the Greek words όπλο (weapon) and φοβία (fearfulness) to describe the irrational fear of weapons. It succinctly describes an attitude held by many who favor suppression of Second Amendment rights. BTW, it is more on point than the misuse of the -phobia suffix in the words homophobia and Islamophobia which seems to mean the hatred of homosexual and muslims rather than the fear of them. A proper Greek-derived suffix for hatred would be -echtra.

I see a need for a couple of new phobia-suffix words to describe attitudes that are becoming prevalent in our public discourse. They are epistimiphobia and altitheiaphobia.

The first is based on επιστήμη which means science, so it means an irrational fear of science. I believe it will be useful in describing the sort of person who clings to a particular hypothesis long after it has been falsified repeatably because of an emotional investment a false belief.

The second is based on αλήθεια which meant truth or reality. It means an irrational fear of the truth. I believe it will be useful in describing  the sort of person who is even further along in his denial than an epistimiphobe.

The guy who is still wearing two masks in the park may be an epistimiphobe, but if believes that he is a woman, he’s probably an alitheiaphobe.

Quote of the Day

Thermodynamics is a funny subject. The first time you go through it, you don’t understand it at all. The second time you go through it, you think you understand it, except for one or two small points. The third time you go through it, you know you don’t understand it, but by that time you are so used to it, it doesn’t bother you any more.

—Arnold Sommerfeld

We Live In Alternate Worlds

That headline is a quote from one of three pieces I’ve read over past few days that have set me to worrying about the next few weeks. It’s from a post at The Washington Times by Newt Gingrich. He was writing about the difficulty he had explaining to a liberal friend why he was not accepting Joe Xiden’s election as legitimate.

The challenge is that I — and other conservatives — are not disagreeing with the left within a commonly understood world. We live in alternative worlds.

Indeed. While not all conservatives are practicing Christians, the philosophical underpinning of mosts conservatives’ worldview is grounded in the Judeo-Christian belief in an absolute standard of Truth and the principles of logical reasoning handed down from Greece. As I wrote in an email to David French discussing his latest French Press essay which was titled Why They Hate Us:

I wonder if it’s not the case that the Christian worldview that holds that there is an objective standard of Truth and that each of us is personally accountable for our actions leads to some of the differences in the opinions shown in the data you reference. That’s not to say that Evangelical Christians always reason correctly from the teaching of the Bible, but that the place we start from is so disconnected from marxist/neomarxist/postmodern thought that we aren’t in the same conversation as those who hate us. We’re talking at each other rather than to each other, giving different answers because we understand the questions differently.

If we cannot engage with our political opponents logically—and if they insist on making everything a power contest—then we either must get up from the table and leave the game, or we must beat them at their own game. Neither choice appeals to me.

Which brings me to the third piece, a post by Carol Brown at American Thinker. It catalogs the misdeeds of the Left over the last few years and forecasts even worse behavior to come. It’s a call to active resistance.

Who is willing to put it all on the line to save this nation?

Who among us is willing to go to jail?  Who is willing to be injured, or killed, should we attend a protest or engage in civil disobedience and find ourselves attacked without police protection?

Who is willing to travel to Washington, D.C. on January 6 to attend what could be a historic protest scheduled for the same day the joint session of Congress meets to make the Electoral College votes official?

Will the Million MAGA March on 6 January turn into something akin to the 2013/2014 EuroMaidan demonstrations in Kyiv? The incident at the Oregon State Capitol yesterday certainly shows that some on the Right are losing patience with a system they believe treats them unfairly.

I’m trying hard to be optimistic, but 2021 is starting to look even uglier than 2020.