‘We’ is an Evil Word
A Professor of mine used this abominable word again and again in a lecture on punishment and justice this week. To relieve the neurological inflammation this caused, I submitted the essay below as my assignment for the week.
In his magnum opus Man, Economy, and State economist Murray Rothbard writes:
“The term ‘society,’ then, denotes a pattern of interpersonal exchanges among human beings. It is obviously absurd to treat ‘society’ as ‘real,’ with some independent force of its own. There is no reality to society apart from the individuals who compose it and whose actions determine the type of social pattern that will be established.” (emphasis added, p. 84).
Only individuals act. When someone states that an entity other than the individual acts, e.g. in the phrase “we punish,” it should be obvious that the term ‘we’ is evidence of the use of colloquial, instead of literal, language
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