The republican revolutions of the Eighteenth Century, hand in hand with the steadfastly secular-humanist Enlightenment, were all about individual participation in government and individual economic freedom. Like anything else, though, the accepted meaning of these words is found not so much on the page as it is in common usage.
I play golf, I golf, and I was confused for thirty years about the meaning of “hit down on the ball.” All I could picture was someone with a golf club making a double-handed, overhead hammer swing straight at the ball, “hit down,” what were they talking about? The swing, of course, comes in the form of an arch, a circular movement, and the words simply mean, begin the swing forcefully.
Words mean different things to different people, or to different political parties. To wit:
Party “A:” Stay with one spouse and make an eternal commitment to one set of children.
Party “B:” If your wife loses her looks, feel free to dump her and the children and find a younger, richer, better looking woman and start a new family.
Party “A:” Recognize Constitutional principals in the lives of all citizens, individual or corporate, with the proviso that the freedoms so provided should not infringe on the common good.
Party “B:” Observe Liaise Faire capitalism, with no government regulation or interference; and allow individuals to accumulate unlimited assets which can remain untaxed in hands of the individual’s heirs in perpetuity.
Party “A:” The greatest degree of financial security for the greatest number of citizens and their families.
Party “B:” The greatest number of billionaires.
Party “A:” Safety for the country’s citizens, and security for the country’s borders and interests.
Party “B:” An acceptable level of outside threat which can be used to control citizen’s votes and enrich a thriving defense industry.
I could go on, but the pattern is already clear. So please listen carefully, oh voters, to what the political parties are saying, and think carefully about what they really mean.