It is an old problem. You are having a debate. You make a point, and the other guy tries to put you on defense by attacking the words you chose, not the argument you have just made. So instead of defending your argument you find yourself defending yourself. That’s what happened when President Donald Trump called himself a nationalist.
Here is what he said.
As usual, some refused to find Trump’s plain language clear enough. According to these (see What Trump is talking about when he talks about “nationalism” (cbsnews.com)), that was one of Trump’s innumerable dog whistles. That is, Trump was supposedly talking about white nationalism instead of putting America’s interests first.
I looked up the definition of nationalism in our 1956 Funk & Wagnall’s. The word was once equivalent to patriotism, and patriotism is still the primary synonym. Of course, those with a globalist bent, a borderless world, now equate both patriotism and nationalism with chauvinism and jingoism.
Why do people like those in the news media work so assiduously to change the connotation of the words patriotism and nationalism? Is it because they don’t want those who disagree with them to be able to express the concepts of love of country, putting our nation first, and citizenship in a nation that is special to us? It must be so because when they attack the meaning of the words used to express such ideas and concepts that is the net effect.
Words are the tools we use to express ideas and concepts, and our understanding. Without the words we need, the pen cannot mightier than the sword. Without the right words, we cannot express the ideas and concepts, and understanding we need to convey.
So please remember. We can use any idea, concept, or understanding for good or ill. So it is that in 1776 the American colonies joined together in patriotism to defend their liberty. Later, that patriotism became formally nationalistic, and thirteen states came together to form America under our Constitution.
America is our home. Americans are our people. Who has the right to demand we not love our home and our people? Unfortunately, a Nazi regime once used patriotism and nationalism to join the German people in bondage to a totalitarian state bent on conquest. As Mark Twain would have said, that was a grievous abuse of patriotism. So we have both good and evil memories associated with patriotism and nationalism.
What the Nazis did in the minds of some is make patriotism and nationalism dirty words. Still, since the Nazis were the National SOCIALIST German Workers’ Party, it seems the people who think like that have their own bias, their own irrational hatreds.
Those would destroy words have done similar things to other word, words like: individualism, ideology, religion, discrimination, liberal,…. Please don’t let them get away with it. What they would do is a vile thing. Without words we cannot communicate. So words and their proper meaning should be precious to us.
Anyway, here is a post that links to series of posts on how people abuse words => OF TWISTED WORDS => FEMINISM.