Current Temperature

8.8°C

September 28, 2020 September 28, 2020

There is a difference

Posted on September 1, 2015 by 40 Mile Commentator

By Craig Funston
Wordsmiths like me feast on wordplay, nuance, and innuendo—whatever those words mean. This can lead to puns, quips, and double entendre—whatever those last two words mean.
Okay, I actually do know what they mean, or else I wouldn’t use them. Words are first and foremost tools that we construct and communicate with. They can also be toys that we play with, and I may be one of the biggest kids in the the playroom.
The Good Book speaks of a word “fitly spoken”–and that could come in the form of a timely word, a right word, a sensitive word; and it could come as a phone call or card sent, or even a casual conversation. I can attest to being a beneficiary of many words “fitly spoken.”
There are words that are misused (not “abused,” which is stronger) and this can lead to confusion. For instance, do you know the difference in the following words: fewer and less?…further and farther?… imply and infer?…sensuous and sensual?
Do you care? I hope so. We all have our specialities, those motivations that drive us, excite us, touch us. Mine happens to be words in the present English language. Etymology (layman’s definition: the study of the origin and make-up of words) is a real passion of mine.
So it is with some resignation (“hesitation” may be softer) that I add another pair of words to the list two paragraphs just north of this sentence: activist and anarchist.
You may know the difference, but I don’t think the popular media certainly does. They often describe certain people as “activists,” when, in fact, they are “anarchists.” On the surface, they appear to be the same; beneath the surface, where we should all be looking, there is a colossal difference
Simply stated, there is a place for the one, but there is no place in a civilized society for the other.
People who feel strongly about a matter, and want to express those feelings, are activists. They peacefully put principles into deeds, words into action. They have some conviction about this issue or that law, so they get out and protest—lawfully and legally. They may write letters, walk around with signs, or march along with other activists. They are assertive yet peaceful demonstrators. They stay within the civil laws of the land and no one gets hurt, no property gets damaged.
I suggest we need more of that, not less.
I see myself as a bit of an activist, this column being an expression of things I feel strongly about. I don’t rant or rave too loudly, I trust; nor do I harm, hinder, or hate. You may not agree with my particular worldview (and I may not agree with yours), so we agree to disagree. That’s the mark of a civilized society.
Anarchists are, well, different. They take everything that characterizes an activist to a new level (better: a lower level). They demand and destroy, sometimes to the point of death. They are not successful unless they are lawless, not satisfied unless they are out of control.
They are more consumed with process than principle, more determined to damage than to compromise.
Activists are armed with placards; anarchists, with Molotov cocktails and guns. Activists stay within the lines of a democratic protests; anarchists cross those same lines with impunity.
So my growing concern with what appears to be, and is identified as, activism, is the naive interpretation of said actions. These are nothing less than the out-of-control antics of lawless rogue anarchists. Their motives may have some justification, but their methods never do.
Those professional rioters in Ferguson come to mind: looting, violence, and mayhem have been the order of the night. To take a stand is one thing; to attack, steal, and vandalize is another. Trumpeting the “black lives matters” cause by assaulting whites fails miserably. You might say it is irony in blood.
Of course, black lives matter, we all agree on that. But so do white, Chinese, Hungarian-speaking, and left-handed people’s lives. But as a white person, I don’t need to make my point by smashing everything in my way.
Another example is environmentalism. I am big on the environment. As a family, we take our property stewardship seriously. But I draw the line when it comes to attacking the lumber or oil industry by spiking this or vandalizing that. There are more mature and reasonable ways to make one’s point.
Here in Alberta, for example, so-called activists have had a heyday. The fracking outrage, pipeline opposition, and “dirty oil” smear campaign are the trademarks of anarchists, not activists. Attacking oil wells is the work of anarchists, not activists.
The list is endless with G8 Summit protests, the Occupy movement, even Idle No More, though a little dated, to be sure. Maybe there was a little legitimacy in their protest(s), but they went too far. Like any sport, they need to play within the lines; any crossing the line is out of bounds.
There, I just gave my activist rant and no windows were smashed. Wordsmiths like me feast on wordplay, nuance, and innuendo—whatever those words mean. This can lead to puns, quips, and double entendre—whatever those last two words mean.
Okay, I actually do know what they mean, or else I wouldn’t use them. Words are first and foremost tools that we construct and communicate with. They can also be toys that we play with, and I may be one of the biggest kids in the the playroom.
The Good Book speaks of a word “fitly spoken”–and that could come in the form of a timely word, a right word, a sensitive word; and it could come as a phone call or card sent, or even a casual conversation. I can attest to being a beneficiary of many words “fitly spoken.”
There are words that are misused (not “abused,” which is stronger) and this can lead to confusion. For instance, do you know the difference in the following words: fewer and less?…further and farther?… imply and infer?…sensuous and sensual?
Do you care? I hope so. We all have our specialities, those motivations that drive us, excite us, touch us. Mine happens to be words in the present English language. Etymology (layman’s definition: the study of the origin and make-up of words) is a real passion of mine.
So it is with some resignation (“hesitation” may be softer) that I add another pair of words to the list two paragraphs just north of this sentence: activist and anarchist.
You may know the difference, but I don’t think the popular media certainly does. They often describe certain people as “activists,” when, in fact, they are “anarchists.” On the surface, they appear to be the same; beneath the surface, where we should all be looking, there is a colossal difference
Simply stated, there is a place for the one, but there is no place in a civilized society for the other.
People who feel strongly about a matter, and want to express those feelings, are activists. They peacefully put principles into deeds, words into action. They have some conviction about this issue or that law, so they get out and protest—lawfully and legally. They may write letters, walk around with signs, or march along with other activists. They are assertive yet peaceful demonstrators. They stay within the civil laws of the land and no one gets hurt, no property gets damaged.
I suggest we need more of that, not less.
I see myself as a bit of an activist, this column being an expression of things I feel strongly about. I don’t rant or rave too loudly, I trust; nor do I harm, hinder, or hate. You may not agree with my particular worldview (and I may not agree with yours), so we agree to disagree. That’s the mark of a civilized society.
Anarchists are, well, different. They take everything that characterizes an activist to a new level (better: a lower level). They demand and destroy, sometimes to the point of death. They are not successful unless they are lawless, not satisfied unless they are out of control.
They are more consumed with process than principle, more determined to damage than to compromise.
Activists are armed with placards; anarchists, with Molotov cocktails and guns. Activists stay within the lines of a democratic protests; anarchists cross those same lines with impunity.
So my growing concern with what appears to be, and is identified as, activism, is the naive interpretation of said actions. These are nothing less than the out-of-control antics of lawless rogue anarchists. Their motives may have some justification, but their methods never do.
Those professional rioters in Ferguson come to mind: looting, violence, and mayhem have been the order of the night. To take a stand is one thing; to attack, steal, and vandalize is another. Trumpeting the “black lives matters” cause by assaulting whites fails miserably. You might say it is irony in blood.
Of course, black lives matter, we all agree on that. But so do white, Chinese, Hungarian-speaking, and left-handed people’s lives. But as a white person, I don’t need to make my point by smashing everything in my way.
Another example is environmentalism. I am big on the environment. As a family, we take our property stewardship seriously. But I draw the line when it comes to attacking the lumber or oil industry by spiking this or vandalizing that. There are more mature and reasonable ways to make one’s point.
Here in Alberta, for example, so-called activists have had a heyday. The fracking outrage, pipeline opposition, and “dirty oil” smear campaign are the trademarks of anarchists, not activists. Attacking oil wells is the work of anarchists, not activists.
The list is endless with G8 Summit protests, the Occupy movement, even Idle No More, though a little dated, to be sure. Maybe there was a little legitimacy in their protest(s), but they went too far. Like any sport, they need to play within the lines; any crossing the line is out of bounds.
There, I just gave my activist rant and no windows were smashed.

Leave a Reply

Get More Bow Island Commentator
Log In To Comment Latest Paper Subscribe