Letter to a Misanthropic Idiot (5 pages) 1 May 2020

A Letter to a Misanthropic Idiot by Douglas R McGaughey is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

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A Letter to a Misanthropic Idiot[1]

Dear Fellow Human Being,

Please don’t get me wrong! I am not writing about the degree of your intelligence or cleverness. I am employing the word “idiot” in the etymological sense of the Greek word “idiot” (῎ιδιος), which means “one’s own, personal, and private”. Its secondary meaning is “peculiar, separate, distinct” from which is derived “strange”. Hence, I am not using idiot in the derisive sense of stupid or moron that it has come to have in English and German. I take the term’s etymology to be a call for a more nuanced analysis of the human condition.

Particularly in democratic societies, humanity thinks of itself as “free” in contrast to tyrannies, autocracies, and oligarchies. The license plate from the state of New Hampshire states: “Give me liberty or give me death!” The USA is sung of as the “sweet land of liberty” for whom “our fathers died”. What follows is an examination of freedom and liberty.