Posted by: cptfantastic | August 16, 2008

Holy Smokes! I’m sorry!

For years I’ve been using the word ‘egalitarian’ incorrectly.  I just found out. I’m reading a most excellent book called “Founding Brothers” by Joseph J Ellis, and in the closing chapters he’s discussing the reconciliation between Jefferson and Adams that happened late in life.  In this last chapter I read a passage that included the word egalitarian.  From context I realized that Ellis was using egalitarian as a word related to equality which was odd to me because I’ve always understood egalitarian to mean something akin to elitism.  

I was shocked and embarrassed to discover that I’ve been using it incorrectly for many years.  Ellis, of course, was correct (not that I had any doubt).  I’m so sorry to everyone with whom I’ve been engaged in conversation and have incorrectly used egalitarian.  I suppose my apology is directed primarily at Stu and Mike.  Sorry guys.  

Lesson learned: If you endeavor to be clever by using a sophisticated vocabulary, be cautious that you’re not emphasizing your incompetence instead.

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