What a Difference an “In-” Can Make

Solvent or insolvent.  Flexible or inflexible. Of consequence or inconsequential. Conceivable or inconceivable.

It seems that the addition of two little letters makes a radical change in the meaning of words.  Words, sadly, are not always used as intended, or alternate words are used that have never appeared in a thesaurus.  Take the words dependent and independent.  A dependent person is easy to recognize.  Anyone with kids (of almost any age) intimately knows someone who is dependent.  Usually on them.  Dependents subconsciously realize that they have to follow the wishes of those on whom they depend or the consequences may be unpleasant.

An independent person is also easy to recognize.  A truly independent person is someone who may not go out of their way to fight the flow or constantly try to swim against the current of events, but they are willing to do so if the flow of events won’t carry them where they want to go.  They are also aware that there may be unpleasant consequences, but they are willing to face that prospect without flinching.

Every adult bridles at the idea that they might be dependent on anyone else.  The phrase “Thank you” does not come easily to the tongue.  I remember reading that in the Japanese language there are seventeen different ways to say “thank you”, and each one is an expression of resentment. Adults universally prefer to believe that they are the masters of their own destinies.  Of course, unless mom and dad died young and left a sizable inheritance, we are all dependent to a greater or lesser degree on someone.  Most commonly that someone is called an employer.

In today’s western society, it is increasingly not an employer, but the government upon whom a person becomes dependent.  This is where George Orwell comes into his glory.

Governments today are created and exist only because they are empowered by those who are dependent upon them.  Feel free to take a moment or two to think about that one.

Of course telling the voter that they are dependents, and that they must rely on the goodwill and largess of the government that they themselves voted into office, would be politically suicidal.  No voter will gracefully accept being called the equivalent of a child.  All adults, which is to say all voters, view themselves as independent, and not beholden to anyone.  Does this mean that they are in denial?  Or could it mean that they have fallen into an Orwellian verbal alternate reality, where you are not “dependent”, heavens no.  You are instead, entitled!  That sounds so much better.

When that change happens, you are entitled to take from someone else to satisfy your own wants and needs, but there are no apparent potential consequences.  Entitled is such a much nicer way to describe this common situation than being dependent on government.  And immensely better than being dependent on charity.  Or in the case of what appears to be many in the Occupy Wall Street vanguard, dependent on an allowance from your parents.

Just because it has become customary and is considered politically correct to use the term entitled, why do we do violence to our language by continuing to use it?  We expect, or at least claim to expect, our political leadership to tell us the truth.  Why do we accept lies that are spoken with every word that candidates used when those words are based solely on what is currently politically correct?  Wouldn’t it be refreshing to be spoken to as if we were actually independent and reasonably intelligent adults?

Wouldn’t it be exhilarating to hear candidates use terms like “dependency and charity” rather than “entitlement and welfare”?  Or perhaps they could simply say “spending” rather than “investments”.

Of course to change the words used in this ongoing verbal game of denial would require candidates to actually be independent – acknowledging that there may be unpleasant consequences, but show a willingness to face those consequences without flinching.

Any candidate who was actually willing to speak the truth without flinching sounds like someone that I’d think about voting for.


I want this blog to be a forum to discuss the issues of the day (or week, month, year…whatever).  But you, my friends, need to respond.  A discussion where only one person is speaking is not really a conversation; it’s merely a lecture…or worse, it’s a sermon. 

 Please feel free to use the comments section or even rate this particular blog entry.  I can’t improve without honest critiques, and only the reader can note where I might have gone wrong, or where I should have expanded the ideas.

 Thanks for reading and I hope you’ll join the conversation.


About Jim Yardley

Retired after 30 years as a financial controller for a variety of manufacturing firms, a two-tour Vietnam veteran, and independent voter.
Gallery | This entry was posted in Economy, Freedom of Speech, Political Doubletalk, Random Thoughts and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to What a Difference an “In-” Can Make

  1. Genie Smith says:

    I’d consider voting for that person too, Jim.
    Great post. Thank you.

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