Describing the evil effects of revolution, Thucydides writes, "Words had to change their ordinary meaning and to take that which was now given them." (P. 199 of the Landmark edition)
That’s an insight that strikes me as true, and that I don’t remember seeing before. Though Orwell’s wonderful essay on the language of politics makes a similar point. (If you haven’t read that, you should. You have my permission to take off the rest of the day to study it.)
Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military for the Washington Post from 2000 through 2008. He can be reached at email@example.com.