RE: "Opportunistic"

Subject: RE: "Opportunistic"
From: "McLauchlan, Kevin" <Kevin -dot- McLauchlan -at- safenet-inc -dot- com>
To: "Ned Bedinger" <doc -at- edwordsmith -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 20 Jan 2009 17:42:40 -0500

> From: Ned Bedinger [mailto:doc -at- edwordsmith -dot- com] pointed out:
[...]
> > When I compare the primary meanings from both dictionaries, it's the
> > final phrase that brings out the nasty connotation.
>
> That certainly is an understatement. It seals the deal on those
> opportunistic policymakers.
>
> But here's something else. when I sat down last night with my aging
> book-club edition of the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), I
> discovered
> that I was the one blinkered by preconceptions. The
> definition from your
> Concise Oxford is the same as OED, but OED traces it back to a deeper
> well, through first appearances in written English in the mid 1800s,
> then to French political philosophy before that, and ultimately to
> Italian, where it originated. As it happened, opportunistic
> people were
> the ones who had to set aside their own opinions and preferences in
> order to fulfill their roles as political actors who made
> public policy
> by balancing many interests. IOW, the principles that
> opportunists are
> said to disregard are /t/h/e/i/r/ /o/w/n/ /p/e/r/s/o/n/a/l/
> /pr/r/i/n/c/i/p/l/e/s/. The opportunists of yore were more like
> dedicated public servants than rapacious scalliwags. If, that is, the
> OED is to be believed. Myself, I'm down with it.

Well, as a small-L libertarian, I consider my principles far superior to
public principles, especially socialistic ones (in the modern sense of
"socialist"... I know where it leads if you trace that one back a bit -
it encounters a reversal much like the one that "liberal" does).
Therefore, I have disdain for opportunistic politicians (bit redundant,
there, I suppose...) because... well, that way lies political (or worse,
philosophical) discussion. We've covered the different apprehensions of
the meaning of the word "opportunistic" and there reasons, so that's a
good stopping point.

Thanks,

- Kevin
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Follow-Ups:

References:
Re: "Opportunistic": From: Stuart Burnfield
RE: "Opportunistic": From: McLauchlan, Kevin
Re: "Opportunistic": From: Ned Bedinger
RE: "Opportunistic": From: McLauchlan, Kevin
Re: "Opportunistic": From: Ned Bedinger

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