Terms and Definitions

What are we talking about?

It can seem these days like we live in a company meeting where people are using acronyms that they know the meaning of, but we might not be so clear about. I'm going to work on a list of them here. It will partly be to clarify how I am defining a word... but usually not. The intent is actually to list meanings and attach the words to them that people commonly use. In a way, it is a list of memes, so it is a list of common thoughts, thought patterns, biases, beliefs, etc. You'll get the idea before long and hopefully you will see the usefulness of it. I hope the method amuses you. Topics will include science, politics, religion and numerous topics related to human habit. The point is to be revealing, often of memes or meanings that are hidden behind the words.

Lets start with something controversial - Politics.
Define Socialism and Communism.
I start here, because these are words that may seem fuzzy, but are actually fairly clearly defined. Socialism is centralized ownership and centrally planned economy. The government owns everything and production is controlled by planning rather than market forces.
Communism is apparently just Socialism put in place by "violence".
As far as I can tell, there has never been a realistic experiment in Socialism. All experiments with it were based on extremely unrealistic ideas, or perhaps better called ideologies.

And you reply "say what, that doesn't seem right". But it is. Socialism and Communism are rare terms in that their definitions are fairly clear thanks to one man defining them well before anyone else got hold of them. So you say "what about European Socialism"? For all intents and purposes, that's not Socialism. That is a misunderstanding of the meaning of Socialism. Asking that question means you think that Socialism is a society working together for its own common good, but that is not the meaning of "Socialism". I might have that result, but that is not the meaning. So let's reverse the question and give the meaning first and the word it defines second. What is the term for the European Political/Social/Economic form that provides universal education, health care, affordable housing, and other benefits to the individuals of the society. Well, this month it's called "Social Democracy". I think it was called that last year as well, but I know it wasn't called that five years ago. My bad, I'm sure someone was calling it that. The point is that it is easy to change or manipulate the meaning of words, but it is far harder to manipulate meanings, so instead of defining the meaning of words here, this list is a collection of meanings with some of the words associated and mis-associated with them. For example, in the US, Social Security and the Post Office might be called Socialist, but no one is likely to call the US Socialist. So can order be brought to this? ... May I try?

Lets try "Capitalism" next. I know two main meanings for it. I like "using Capital as a tool of production". Using that meaning, pretty much every nation and society on Earth is Capitalistic. When the Chinese leadership told citizens to kill flies, that wasn't capitalistic. Other than that, it generally takes capital to accomplish much. Ownership.