Monday, November 13, 2006


The Law of Identity

No, this isn't going to be a philosophical treatise, but there's another long-running phenomenon in the realm of interpersonal communication, 'pon which I'd like to comment.

Labels.

From the tender age of about sixteen, when I referred to a young lady with whom I was talking in some particular way, she suddenly said angrily, "Don't label me!"

I don't recall what I said to her or even whether I was right or wrong, but I remember being at once taken aback by her sudden outburst and wondering what on earth she meant. Well, I've heard that phrase several times over the years and sort of put it down as being some kind of girl thing.

I didn't think much about it, but a reference on one of the tv political talk shows brought it back into focus. In the first days after the election, a Democrat Party Strategist was asked something to the effect, "With Nancy Pelosi as House Speaker, will her agenda be as far-left as her recent rhetoric, or will she attempt to work with the President in a non-partisan way?"

Well, the woman (the reason I mention her gender is that I've never heard a male use this sort of argument) affected a conciliatory pose and answered, "Why do we need to use such divisive labels?" or words to that effect.

I finally figured it out!

They don't want to be identified for what thay are, or what they're doing. They don't want to hear it spoken out loud.
A thing is--what it is; its characteristics constitute its identity. An existent apart from its characteristics, would be an existent apart from its identity, which means: a nothing, a non-existent. [Leonard Peikoff, "The Analytic-Synthetic Dichotomy"]
It seems as though the wish not to be "labelled" is a wish to hide one's characteristics from others, to hide these characteristics from oneself, or at the very least, a wish that those characteristics not be named.

The first thing one has to do is ask oneself why.

They've killed Freedom! Those bastards!

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

2 comments:

Michael Stone said...

Good call.

Ol' BC said...

Why? Because what she is is only appreciated by a very small minority of the folks. She understands this. This phenomenon seems to exist with female presidential candidates as well.