The liberal mis-use of “tragedy”
I got an e-mail that began:
The moment I read “tragic events of September 11, 2001,” I stopped reading. Any person who refers to a murder, a mass murder, a terrorist attack, or any criminal or evil act as a “tragedy” is a liberal who is trying to remove the idea of good and evil from the world.
“Tragedy” means an event resulting in great loss or misfortune. It carries no connotation of intentional wrongdoing. A person who describes a crime or any wicked act as a “tragedy” is a liberal liar who is denying the existence of wrongdoing.
I wholeheartedly agree with you on the persistent mis-use of the word “tragedy.” For ten years now, I politely point out to people, when they use the word in reference to the events of 9/11, that 9/11 was a strategic military attack—it wasn’t a “tragedy.”Paul Nachman writes:
I have exactly the same outraged reaction as you.Jim C. writes:
Excellent postDaniel S. writes:
It goes without saying that liberals mean something very different by tragedy than Sophocles, Aristotle, and Shakespeare did. For liberals a tragedy is a negative, random occurrence. Hence to a liberal, 9/11 was a random act of violence, and thus a tragedy. For the liberal, there is not relationship between Islamic teachings, over a millennium of jihad violence, and the hijacking of four planes on September 11, 2001. The only time a genuine moral concept such as evil enters into the mind of a liberal is when they can blame a white male for violence or some other perceived act of aggression against a favored minority group. Thus the white Norwegian Anders Breivik could be perceived as evil by a liberal, while the Arab Muslim Major Nidal Hasan was merely a mentally disturbed man who randomly snapped. (Interestingly enough, I have encountered instances where liberals will refer to movement conservatives such as Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and Sarah Palin as evil or some equivalent epithet. Such is the metaphysical order in the liberal universe.)LA writes:
A correspondent said that my calling people “liberal liars” if they said that the September 11 attack was a tragedy was too strong. On further thought I still don’t think it is too strong. People know that when they call something a tragedy they are saying that it was just a sad event, not an evil act. They also know that the 9/11 attack was not just a sad event but a deliberate act of mass murder. So when they call the 9/11 attack a tragedy they are lying.Jim C. writes:
Look at the 2d definition of tragedy, which I believe aptly characterizes 9/11:LA replies:
“disastrous event,” “calamity,” “misfortune” are correct possible definitions of tragedy, and they are in agreement with my point, which is that tragedy does not involve the idea of intentional wrongdoing in the sense of a crime or a wicked act. A tragedy is a terrible event resulting from a number of possible causes: human limitations; flawed human character; a human mistake; nature; bad fortune. It doesn’t denote a wicked act per se. If a man is held up by a criminal who murders him, that is a murder, it is not a tragedy. The victim didn’t die in a tragedy, he died in a murder. If a savage breaks into a woman’s house and beats her to death, that is not a tragedy, it is a murder.
Posted by Lawrence Auster at August 29, 2011 03:16 PM | Send