Our Poisoned Language
Commenter Barry got me to thinking — We’ve all heard that the Constitution is not a suicide pact. It’s strange to me, however, that this phrase when used in political debate actually means precisely the opposite of its literal, English-language meaning.
When used in politics, “the Constitution is not a suicide pact” means that the Constitution actually is a suicide pact, and we should abandon it, at least once in a while, if we don’t care for suicide.
Whereas someone ought to say, “The Constitution is not a suicide pact. It is prudent, efficacious, and workable even — or especially — during emergencies. It will preserve us from disaster, as it has so often in the past.”
But that’s never what those words actually mean. Weird, huh?