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All words matter

Posted by Philip Smith on 10 September 2020

Seeking clarity is easier than you think, but not without a bit of effort.


We live in a world that appears to have lost its marbles, as every day reveals more layers of lies, deception, gigantic egos, corruption and an almost universal complete lack of accountability.

We somehow accept that politicians lie and at the next election our choice is always to vote for the party that appears least bad.

Imho, that is really no choice at all and to most people it is a matter of not being able to make any difference to change the status quo.

Extensive research shows that when corruption and lies are present in the top layers of government, the same behaviour will start appearing in the layers of population below the ruling elite.

For most of my life I have banged on about the importance of words and understanding the meaning of words, below I will show you why this should matter to all of us who would love a return to some semblance of rationality.

The lack of clarity in the use of words has resulted in a range of ongoing wars, a vast waste of money, millions of lives lost and the complete destruction of nations.

Words matter and not only our future, but also that of our children and grandchildren is at stake.

It is up to us to engage our minds and to challenge BS wherever we encounter it.

Seek clarity from anybody with an opinion and challenge their lexicon when they sprout catchall phrases such as ethics or morals or any of the combinations used to make themselves appear important.  

I would suggest that one word can explain why those in charge can get away with anything.

It is a simple word avoided, worse than the plague, by our lords and masters.

This word is "principle".

Those in charge of the world will use words that imply principle, probably without realising that they are doing so, and the media is so lame and lazy, poorly informed and bereft of critical thinking skills, that nobody will ever question them or challenge them to explain.

You will all have heard those in charge blathering on about "moral values" or "ethical norms" or "international rules based order" or "ethical values" or "moral ethics" or "moral authority" and yes, this is a small bit of a large list.

Some years ago I became tired of explaining why this matters and as I did not want to keep going on about it, I created word definition game ( freely available if you email me at - philip@psmith.com ).  You might even add a few of your own words and send it back for inclusion in the list ( with attribution if required ).

Then, instead of debating or discussing the issue of words, I would just send a copy of this game to people who expressed any interest in the subject. 

The purpose of the game is to enable a group of 2 or more people to write down their understanding of a range of words and then to read the real definitions, supplied at the end of the list.

This is a good educational game for young and old during lockdown.

To make my point I will provide the definitions as they relate to a few of the terms I highlighted above and you will see why the word "Principle" matters.

Bear in mind that if any politician every expressed a principle, any actions after that can be measured to the stated principle. That explains why you will never get any politician or political party to provide any principles. Instead the will use some of the combinations I mentioned above.

Herewith a few words for you to play with.

Maybe "decode" one of the most frequently used BS terms "Moral Values". ( hint - where or what is the Principle mentioned in this combo ).


a fundamental truth or proposition that serves as the foundation for a system of belief or behaviour or for a chain of reasoning.

a fundamental, primary, or general law or truth from which others are derived:
eg - the principles of modern physics.


A set of principles of right conduct


Principles or habits with respect to right or wrong conduct


A principle, standard, or quality considered worthwhile or desirable
o Also Ref Morals Ethics

the regard that something is held to deserve; the importance, worth, or usefulness of something.
principles or standards of behaviour; one's judgement of what is important in life.


The quality of being just; fairness.
The principle of moral rightness; decency.


the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles ( Pleonasm see below )
the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles that you refuse to change
adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.


Moral authority. Moral authority is authority premised on principles, or fundamental truths, which are independent of written, or positive, laws. As such, moral authority necessitates the existence of and adherence to truth.

To conclude, the quote below is a great example of why understanding words matters.


"The process of abandoning all beliefs, principles, values, and policies in search of something in which no one believes, but to which no one objects; the process of avoiding the very issues that have to be solved, merely because you cannot get agreement on the way ahead.

What great cause would have been fought and won under the banner: 'I stand for consensus?'

Margaret Thatcher

When it comes to politicians and associated "windbags", the truth is best described by George Orwell who said

"'Political language. . . is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind'


Stop sucking wind, and tell the snake-oil saleman that you are no longer listening to their lies.



Philip SmithAuthor:Philip Smith
About: Philip specialises in getting projects and businesses that are not performing as well as expected, back on track.
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