Undefined words have a special power in politics, particularly when they invoke some principle that engages people’s emotions. “Fair” is one of those undefined words which have attracted political support for policies ranging from Fair Trade laws to the Fair Labor Standards Act. While the fact that the word is undefined is an intellectual handicap, it is a huge political advantage.People with very different views on substantive issues can be unified and mobilized behind a word that papers over their differing, and sometimes even mutually contradictory, ideas. Who, after all, is in favor of unfairness? Similarly with “social justice,” “equality,” and other undefined terms that can mean wholly different things to different individuals and groups— all of whom can be mobilized in support of policies that use such appealing words.
Economic Facts and Fallacies: Second Edition Economic Facts and Fallacies: Second Edition pages 1 and 2.
[The phrase “special power” brings to mind “super heroes” and “super villains”. I am of the opinion that while there is ample evidence of “super villains” “super heroes” only exist in the minds of small children, some Ron Paul fans, and Democrats.—Joe]