Masha Gessen: What Words Mean

“The Russian-born journalist articulates the ways in which truth and language are under assault, by everyone from Vladimir Putin to Donald Trump.”

I agree, mostly. One quibble is that I do not believe that, under normal circumstances, you’ll find a consensus on the meaning political language. I sometimes fancy that there is a deliberate artfulness to this, providing us with a means to pretend agreement when, come to think of it, just what did you mean by “democracy?” Or the way we tend to use “racist” and “bigot” as synonyms. (Yes, Virginia: You can be a racist without being a bigot, and while it’s unlikely, one can imagine being a bigot without being a racist.)

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