Respect and how not to swing it

I’ve had quite a lot of email in response to the recent post I wrote about not being attracted to the ‘sceptic movement’. A ‘lot’ by the piddly standards of this piddly little blog, at any rate.

None of it is hate mail mind you, and there’s no hint of yet another groan-inducing flame war brewing in this quarter of the blogosphere. I take it as an in-road to meaningful discussion.

There does however seem to be an over-arching kind of confusion, one that ties into something else I’ve been subjectively observing of late; the creeping erosion of the concept of ‘respect’.

Before you go all Professor Crystal on me, and propound the reality of the changing nature of language; I already accept that as fact. This does not detract from my concern.

It’s not that ‘respect’ is changing, and that as some kind of conservative I’m digging my heels in and huffing, ‘it’s gone too far!’ Change per se, does not bother me. I’m not a conservative. There’s no nostalgia for old values here.

But…

There is a risk I think, in the careless use of the appearance of respect for short-term gain.

The risk not being that the term ‘respect’ is changing from denoting one kind of respect, to some newer, progressive, more articulate re-valuing of respect, so much as a change from denoting an important concept, to denoting little if anything other than cliché.

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