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It is amazing to me that people chastise me for requiring definitions for words used in arguments.

This morning someone said the US has "slaughtered" many innocent civilians in Afghanistan, as if the statement were supposed to prove in itself that the US has done something wrong in its actions in Afghanistan, because obviously "slaughtering" is bad. Perhaps the US had done something wrong, but if this statement were to prove it, I needed to know what definition of "slaughter" he was using. He got on my case for "playing with the definitions of standard words".

Well, excuse me. You intended to prove something with a word, and I demanded you define your terms. If "slaughter" means merely "killing", then I want more information about how and why the killing is wrong. If it means "intentionally killing," then I want to see evidence of many innocent civilians being intentionally killed.

I can't understand why anyone would ever have a problem with requiring that critical and unclear words in an argument be defined. To progress in an argument without ensuring everyone is using the same words in the same way is nonsense; it is not useful communication, it is different people saying different things and not understanding each other. To use a word and then not want people to know what you mean by it is nonsense; it is not useful communication, it is obfuscation.

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<pudge/*> (pronounced "PudgeGlob") is thousands of posts over many years by Pudge.

"It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt."

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