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Dictionaries can be unreliable.

I saved a Wall Street Journal article from more than two years ago expecting to reference it at some future time in hopes that I might show fellow Americans how they were being led astray about important matters.

The article noted that the dictionary definition of the word "inflation" has changed. Prior to 2003, most dictionaries would note that inflation occurred when a country prints too much money. But in that year, Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary claimed inflation was "a continuing rise in the general price level." The older definition would have inflation fighters targeting government. The newer definition paints those who raise prices as the bad guys: the supermarket owners, fuel distributors, landlords, and anyone else who finds himself having to charge more for goods and services. Quite a difference!

The 1957 unabridged Webster's dictionary gave the older meaning. It stated that inflation is "an increase in the amount of currency in circulation, resulting in a relatively sharp and sudden fall in its value and rise in prices." Based on that definition, increases in the money supply (running the printing presses overtime) would cause everyone's money to lose value, something easily noted by the rising prices of virtually everything. Finger-pointing occasioned by that understanding would be aimed at government, the only authorized operator of the printing presses.

Research undertaken by Justin Lahart, the author of the Wall Street Journal article, found that the 1864 Webster's American Dictionary of the English Language said of inflation that it is "undue expansion or increase, from over issue;--said of currency." That's correct. But Lahart then noted that by the mid-20th century, economists and ordinary consumers had begun referring to inflation as higher prices, not the cause of rising prices. He didn't add what should have been added: People are now using the word "inflation" the wrong way because the establishment opinion cartel dishonestly uses it the wrong way in order to serve the government's interests; changing the definition in dictionaries simply formalizes the deception.

Not only has the definition of inflation been changed, fostering ignorance of dishonest government action, the important difference between a republic (such as the one carefully created by America's Founders) and democracy (the form of government detested by those same Founders) has been smothered. In its place, the republic as the seat of a rule of law has been gradually undermined in favor of democracy's insistence on the primacy of a majority at the expense of law and the minority. Hardly a day goes by when one notes government officials, media heavyweights, and educators blithely regurgitating the falsehood that America is a democracy.

Many professors, politicians, and pundits who tout democracy don't like to be shown the definition of that word as it was supplied by the U.S. Army's 1928 Manual of Citizenship Training. In part, that document says that democracy is "a government of the masses; Results in mobocracy; Attitude toward property is communistic; Results in demagoguism, license, agitation, discontent and anarchy." Skip ahead to the 1983 Random House Unabridged Dictionary and see it telling us that democracy is "government by the people," even boldly stating, "The United States and Canada are democracies." Under this definition, there's no need for a body of law, such as a Constitution, that establishes a true republic. If the governmental system is democracy, just poll the people and do whatever they demand.

The importance attached to the true meaning of words cannot be over stated. Torturing their meaning invites serious mischief, such as the inability of most Americans to insist that the government and the Federal Reserve cease diluting the value of money. Or having the people understand the justifiable condemnation of' democracy because, as history clearly shows, it leads to mob rule and the end of freedom.

So who decides? What does a word really mean? And what do the words in any law mean? Regarding law, Thomas Jefferson said we should always return to the time when a law was enacted to discover its meaning "instead of trying what meaning may be squeezed out of the text, or invented against it." Today, someone who holds that opinion is derisively referred to as an "originalist," or a "moss-backed neanderthal." But nothing else makes sense.

Both inflation and democracy are leading to the destruction of our nation. Essentially a thieving process that robs money of its value, inflation leads to economic chaos and causes men to beg for totalitarian controls. Democracy brings on political chaos that leads inevitably to pleas for similar totalitarian controls. Remember, however, that you're not supposed to conclude that substantive changes in the meaning of these words occurred because of deliberate design. That would make you a "conspiracy theorist," the most egregious of all today's political smears. Though being correct can sometimes make one lonely, it's better to be lonely and enjoying freedom than to share togetherness in a tyranny.
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Title Annotation:THE LAST WORD
Author:McManus, John F.
Publication:The New American
Article Type:Column
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Nov 4, 2013
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