the dollar vigilante blog
The Most Dangerous Word in the World
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In Ayn Rand's "Anthem" the one-letter word that was outlawed and punishable by death was "I". But, even without punishment, the word "I" has become much less used in today's world and stands in direct contrast to the most dangerous word in the world.
The most dangerous word is only one letter longer than I. It's small, but is responsible for hundreds of millions of deaths, billions living in slavery and mass impoverishment. It is the word that should be abolished.
The word? We.
People should shudder whenever they hear the word "we" uttered by anyone in politics or the media. Almost without exception, whatever follows that word is going to take away your life, fruits of your labor or your liberty.
The first time I conciously realized how dangerous this word is was a few months ago. I was in the Soviet Republic of Canuckistan, also known as Canada, a place where the word "we" is used with great abandon. I had flipped on the TV for a few minutes and found myself watching the "news". The worst kind, actually, local news.
The big story of the day was that out of a city of more than one million people, someone had died!
Apparently someone was swimming and got hit by a motorboat and died. The government was called in to investigate, of course. As they interviewed the locals I knew what was coming - probably from years of seeing the same script repeated over and over - it was all but inevitable.
They interviewed a middle aged woman who was clearly upset about the accident, despite not knowing any of the people involved or having any involvement or interest in the event except that she happened to live nearby. As she attempted to fight off the tears she said it:
"W...W... We can never let this happen again!" she sobbed.
And with those words she all but is sure to take yet another small piece of liberty away. Inquiries will be set-up. Signs will be erected. Men with guns will be extra vigilant out on patrol to make sure that this never happens again.
Lots of money will be spent and wasted to ensure that a few housewives feel a little better.
Notice she would never say, "I can never let this happen again". Then she would actually have to do something. Instead, she uses the much easier word we, and thanks to the magic of government all of a sudden all of us need to do whatever is necessary to try to stop the impossible from happening: accidents.
That is the local version of the word "we". Once the word goes national it goes from being irritating to dangerous.
On CNN, recently, the announcer stated after an emotional piece on one of the "wars" (occupations) the US is currently "fighting" (occupying), wistfully, "I guess that's why WE are over there, isn't it".
To say the reporter is making a fairly bold assumption is an understatement. He is assuming that he has the same beliefs as 300 million+ people and they all have the same desires and fears and that "we" are doing something that all 300 million+ people think is necessary against millions of other people on a different part of the planet who, presumably, aren't like "we".
Not to mention the fact that "we" aren't over there. I am not currently in Iraq or Afghanistan. And it says right below his name that he is broadcasting from Atlanta. So, what is this grand "we" who we are talking about?
Doug Stanhope says it best in his bit about how "we" saved the French in World War II, below.
So, the next time someone talks about some large group of collective people as "we" or take credit for events they never had anything to do with, be like Doug Stanhope and tell them, maybe "we" should just shut the f*#k up.