Sunday, December 13, 2009

Good Word -- Bad News

anomie or anomy

PRONUNCIATION:
(AN-uh-mee)
MEANING:
noun: Social instability and alienation caused by the erosion of norms and values.

ETYMOLOGY:
From French anomie, from Greek anomia (lawlessness), from anomos (lawless), from a- (without) + nomos (law). Ultimately from the Indo-European root nem- (to assign or take) that's also the source for words such as number, numb, nomad, metronome, astronomy, and nemesis.

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My Word a Day email had this wonderful word for today. I have to confess that though I had seen the word before, I really couldn't recall what it meant. Anomie (that's the way I remember seeing it spelled). Upon reflection, it's a great word to explain my state of mind. I'm not socially unstable, but I am alienated by the erosion of norms and values. Everywhere I look some norm or some value is under assault, ignored, or dismissed. Just off the top of my head: garden variety honesty in people, civility, good manners, basic literacy, freedom from everyday fear. All sadly eroded from the days of my earlier experience. And much missed.

Moreover, it seems a perfect word to describe the overall state of the Left when it contemplates what President Obama is doing and has done in his nearly a year in office. In an interview tonight on "60 Minutes" he sounded more unapproachable than ever in defending his disastrous decision to expand the war in Afghanistan. He's cloaking himself more and more in the "commander-in-chief" regalia, as he did when reminded that many in his party disagree with him about this decision. I wonder what happens to these guys that become president. Does the Pentagon feed them some sort of magic mushroom whereby they take leave of common sense and become lackeys to the generals and admirals and defense contractors upon taking office? If there's anything as plain as day to me and apparently a majority of the American people, it's that this Afghanistan debacle, now in its ninth year, will end badly after a horrendous cost in blood and treasure. Why is it impossible for Obama to see this? How has he been endowed with superior wisdom in this matter?

I told my wife while we watched that presidents have been given far too much power in the whole arena of war-making (peace-making is a far less frequent activity for them, and only for other countries, not the US). This country has not been in a declared war since 1941-45. The wars fought since then have been waged virtually without ceasing under no auspices other than this president or that one thought they were necessary.

Washington, Jefferson, Franklin: they're spinning in their graves.
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