How To Use Words

The Magic Three

American Indians invaded by white explorers said “White men talk with forked tongue” in order to deform the truth with the motive of forcing them to give up their freedom . We could say the same about some politicians. They openly call it ‘spin’ in the mistaken belief that most of us are fools and easily deceived. A comon device of oratory is to put together three consecutive words, either the same or closely related. Here are three good examples:

Education! Education!,Education!
The word education comes from the Latin word educare which means leading out what is whithin. It does not mean forcing ideas on to children. The task of teachers is to give enough information to enable children to work things out for themselves. Does this happen? Not very often. Good teachers are few and far between. It has always been so.Much of what children are taught is not what they either want or need. A good teacher realises that every child learns in their own time and in their own way. There is a dangerous movement creeping in trying to regulate education, medicine, psychotherapy and everything else that curtails our freedom and is a threat to new ideas.

Where does such a thing come from? The government of course who set up organisations such as quangos for this purpose. More of this later.

The politician Gordon Brown is one of those who constantly uses the thrice repeated word education in his broadcasts. He doesn’t take anyone in. People get bored and stop listening.

Location!Location! Location! is a different kettle of fish. Everyone knows what it means and knows it is true. If you take a back street shop to set up a business we know it will probably fail. The wrong people will walk past. I set up two new businesses in the heart of Cambridge selling secondhand books, posters and prints. This was 35 years ago before rents began to rise dramatically and there were plenty of people to buy the right kind of books and prints in such a place as Cambridge.

Many people I knew were astonished that I should take such a risk. Few people take chances when they want to start something new. There is no guarantee that they will be successful. This is why so few people make fortunes. There is always the threat of bankruptsy because we cannot know what will happen in the future. Most of those who take risks in business get close to losing everything at least once. It happened to me.

Friends, Romans and Countrymen lend me your ears: one of the best known quotes from Shakespeare’s play “Julius Caesar”. Brutus and his mates had just killed Julius Caesar because they thought he was a corrupt leader. Mark Anthony thought he was wrong. Brutus was a fair-minded man who believed he had done the right thing. Everything went well for Brutus until he made the fatal mistake of letting Mark Anthony be the last to speak to the mob. These first three words flattered the people. He gave the impression that they were his equals. Moreover he went on to give a melodramatic discription of Caesar’s death. In addition he read out Caesar’s will which contained gifts for the prople. Mark Anthony with his clever oratory turned the feeling of the people against Brutus and for himself without saying a single bad thing about Brutus. Such is the power of speech. All dictators have influenced the masses of the people by using the right kind of oratory. When crowds are in a very excitable state they cannot think straight and powerful emotions take over.