Thursday, May 01, 2008

On Divisiveness

Divisive: adj.
1. forming or expressing division or distribution.
2. creating dissension or discord.

I get irritated when politicians accuse others of being "divisive" or saying something "divisive". There seems to be an emphasis on the "forming" part of the definition rather than the "expressing" part. If I call Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton a pair of elitist Marxists who want the government to control virtually every aspect of our lives, that might be construed as "divisive". But it would also be true.

Calling someone's statements "divisive" says nothing about whether the accuser thinks the statements are true or false, it merely asserts that they have an effect on the public discourse that is not helpful to the cause.

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