flag, n.—A piece of cloth of no particular value or interest, that, when it comes to symbolize a nation, regardless of that body’s importance, significance, affluence, or influence, takes on uncommon and indeed unnecessary grandeur and symbolism; in American terms, the “Stars and Bars,” the addressing of which requires from military personnel a salute to the brim of a hat and from civilians a clutch of the left side of the chest similar to that which a person suffering a seizure might make, although the burning of which, held by the highest court to be somehow an act of speech (though no utterance of any kind need be involved), may be contrived by anyone anywhere without any prescribed forms of address.
Gettysburg Address, n.—A short speech by Abraham Lincoln to a crowd in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, in 1863, in which he attempted to make “equality” a formal purpose of American government by claiming the Declaration of Independence as a founding document equivalent to the Constitution, the latter of which evinces no such purpose and indeed endorses slavery; as an example of successful deceit and duplicity, it is likely the most effective piece of rhetoric in American history, which has had much of that.
government, n.—An arrangement of human affairs by which a few manage to operate their society with the sanction of the many, and miraculously contrive to convince them, without offering the slightest substantiation by way of proof, that all other ways of ordering life bring anarchy and chaos, although historical experience has yet to show that those are in fact brought by any other agency than government itself. Cap. “of the people, by the people, for the people,” a phrase invented by an abolitionist preacher in Massachusetts and picked up by Lincoln for a short address (c.v.) in which he claims that this is the sort of arrangement that obtains in the U.S., although the Founding Fathers would have rejected all but the last part of the phrase, having a reasonable dislike and distrust of “the people” as the dangerous rabble that a proper government is formed to keep in check.
history, n.—That telling of events in the past that most of those in the present have no firsthand knowledge of, and generally depend on others, called historians, who have no such knowledge either, generally recounting stories about kings and princes mostly corrupt or power-mad or both, and battles fought between two armies, neither having any idea about why it is doing what it does but managing a good deal of mayhem and destruction in the process.
humanism, n.—That belief, fostered in the Renaissance when humans were most admiring of themselves despite ample evidence even then of their errancy, that the human species is primary in the eyes of God (man, followed by woman, followed by mammals, fishes, birds, insects), indeed in some senses the equivalent of God, and is thus fit to rule over the other species as well as their habitats, a truth initially proved by the ability of European humans to conquer and occupy most of the known earth and later proved by the ability of humans to kill off species, including their own, and their habitats.
ignoramus, n.—The condition of ignorance given to the largest number of humans, most of whom are ignorant also of their condition but find that to be no impediment to acceding to positions of influence in nearly all professions and undertakings, particularly politics.
Israel, n.—That modern state created in 1948 as an experiment to assuage Ameri-European guilt over aspects of World War II and Nazi atrocities by planting down in the midst of an Arab Muslim section of the Levant a foreign Jewish, mostly European, population, whose presence was never welcomed but successfully enforced by Israeli military might supported unquestioningly by the United States; the experiment having proved itself a failure, with no neighboring state accepting of its imposition in over 55 years, and Arab populations both within and without the country increasing much faster than the Jewish, the logical solution would be for its dissolution, the achievement of which should not be anticipated soon.
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