VOCABULARY LESSON

Here follow some controversial buzzwords for the sociology of DADT, though not "bad words" in the sense of COPA. (A couple of funny words are thrown in).

Abstinence – The practice of avoiding sexual intercourse outside of legally recognized marriage. Abstinence has a practical value of preventing pregnancy and disease until one is a self-sufficient adult. But it also can be viewed as a cultural imperative to use sex only for procreation and committed family formation and maintenance rather than to express other values that compete with family.

Accountability – The notion that an individual must answer completely for his or her own actions, regardless of circumstances. The term may also apply to the idea that one should show that he or she can support others besides the self.

Aesthetic realism – an older concept that conveys the idea that one should learn to value personal relationships that would help one function in family life, rather than relationships that follow idealized fantasies. This concept used to be invoked in arguments against homosexuality. See also “upward affiliation” below. 

Affirmative action – the execution of preferences for a previously disadvantaged group or suspect class in public policy, such as in employment or university admissions. Not everyone agrees that “affirmative action” requires “preferences”; some feel that it is merely “aggressive non-discrimination.”

Age of consent -- the age at which a person has the legal rights and responsibilities of an adult. The term often refers to the lowest age at which one is considered legally competent to engage in sexual activity out of his or her own volition, and this varies among countries and states. "Age of consent" also varies with respect to other functions, such as voting, marriage, military enlistment, entering into contracts.

akrasia -- the notion that character defects or lack of productivity are related to "weakness of the well."

Alford plea -- a plea to a criminal charge that does not formally admit guilt but accepts that there may be enough evidence to get a conviction.

Anticulturalism -- the idea that a child can be educated as a functionally independent person without loyalty to the culture that he or she was reared in. (Hymowitz)

Apocalypto -- A personal re-beginning after having one's life destroyed by an exogenous cataclysm, subject of a new Mel Gibson movie about the collapse of Mayan civilization.

Appropriation -- in intellectual property law, a synonym for the right of publicity.

asabiyya -- Arabic concept of tribal and family solidarity. Related to ideas of male honor (sharaf) and female honor (ird). 

Asymmetry – An imbalance of resources between competing or adversarial sides in an economic or political contest, where the “weaker” side takes unexpected advantage of nimbleness, agility, and leverage of new technology or globalization. The term can refer to military struggles (counter-terrorism), or to business (individual entrepreneurs competing with bureaucratic, regulated companies.)

Asset person (human resources) – an employee or consultant who is called upon in emergencies to sold problems “cold” when existing personnel are unfamiliar with the likely causes of the problem. An asset person is like a plumber: he fixes the problem and doesn’t ask questions.

attachment parenting -- a practice where parents maintain extremely continuous emotional bonds with their young children, including having them sleep in a "family bed."  The practice shows how diverse practices and views on family socialization really are.

Authentication – A process by which one proves that his works have a genuine value to others.

Autonomy (personal autonomy or individual autonomy) – the doctrine that everyone may live for his or her own expressive purposes as long as he or she does not directly harm others. Legal and constitutional scholars disagree as to whether personal autonomy is a “fundamental right” (or liberty interest) guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment. This concept is somewhat inimical to expectations of socialization. 

Back door draft (or conscription) -- the practice of involuntarily retaining persons in the Armed Forces because of an ongoing conflict when these persons originally volunteered. It is controversial whether this would amount to the moral equivalent of "involuntary servitude." The practice has occurred with the war in Iraq since 2003.   

Barrier to entry − A mechanism to prevent someone from entering some kind of public competition if they could invade the turf already controlled and “earned” by others. The antonym is free entry, a mechanism that allows a newbie to enter an activity or business with very little investment. Real estate brokers, for example, have essentially "free entry"; physicians have a larger barrier to entry, and teachers have a moderate barrier.

Blackballing -- the practice of collusion between parties to exclude a particular person from a particular profession. Considered unacceptable today, it was common during the time of McCarthyism, even in Hollywood.

Blacklist -- a list of parties (persons or companies) to be avoided because of some alleged undesirable behaviors. Some companies sell these lists to various parties on the Internet, but doing so risks libel and invasion of privacy litigation if factually untrue or misleading. Blacklisting in various occupations was common during the McCarthy era. 

Blogging policy -- a personnel policy that would regulate off-duty speech by employees visible in any public space on the Internet. This is distinguished from computer usage policy, which addresses usage of facilities owned by the employer.  

Blood libel -- (1) a sensational and often false allegation that a group uses human or child sacrifice in its rituals. Sometimes used in anti-Semitic claims. (2) sometimes, in the past few years on the Internet, the term has been used more loosely to suggest that a family or group of people related by blood can be "defamed" by actions of others to make them "look bad." But the notion does not seem to have any legal traction.

Blowback -- a person who becomes disloyal to a hidden or covert operation. "Blowback mountain" would be the separation between openness and manipulation of public perceptions of an operation.

Body fascism -- the notion that someone's appearance (including physical body) must conform to some certain norm before the person is considered "desirable" as a life partner or possibly even as a parent of children and lineage. Another term is "lookism." In some ways, it can resemble racism, but it is more narrowly tailored upon certain physical characteristics or even secondary sexual characteristics and part-objects. Carried to an extreme, it could lead to political consequences similar to the notorious 1930s political movement from which the phrase was coined.

Botnet -- a collection of software robots that run automatically, often on computers compromised by viruses or hackers. 

Bragging -- in the context of social networking sites or personal blogs, announcing that one has committed some illegal or generally objectionable act, or has a propensity to engage in that act, or refuses to accept some responsibility normally socially expected, in order to poke fun at or rebel against societal rules or norms.  Another plausible term would be poking.

Breach of loyalty (employment) - 1. public criticism of an employer or its major customers by an associate; 2. Gaining employment under false pretenses. A "breach of loyalty" tort does not require the presence of a second commercial enterprise; a "conflict of interest" does.

Broken arrow -- the loss or accidental detonation of a nuclear warhead during a routine peacetime military exercise. "It ain't cool."

Brother’s keeper laws – a statute which outlaws a particular behavior or requires supervision of an individual behavior because of the expectation that many persons without full cognition will be harmed as a downstream, indirect result of that individual behavior. Examples: gun control, legislation requiring prescriptions for cold medications (to reduce methamphetamine abuse).  In business, a related concept is know your customer laws, which can burden businesses with downstream liabilities and indirectly limit what is available to consumers.

Calumny -- sundering another person's reputation with false, or more often, subtly misleading statements. (v - calumniate)

carbon footprint -- the total tonnage of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere (contributing to greenhouse global warming) in a year by a single person's use (direct or indirect) of fossil fuels (as in driving or flying). Politically, it might eventually be possible to "ration" carbon footprints.

cathect -- to invest emotional energy in the qualities or possessions of someone else. A similar verb is to covet, but to cathect is probably expresses a less specific level of desire or fantasy. An infrequently used word that is often questioned.

Chicken Little Problem -- the idea that someone who speaks out visibly without fitting in socially can pose indirect "reputation" risks to others. 

Child pornography – Visual images, by actual photography or sometimes by simulation (or sometimes, in a limited way, written passages, particularly outside the U.S.) depicting minors (under the age of legal consent, or, often, under 18 even if the age of consent is lower) in explicit sexual activity (which may not always require full nudity), or in material designed to cause sexual excitement or to appeal to a prurient interest. In some states, “advocacy” of child pornography is itself a form of child pornography. In the U.S., child pornography does not have to be legally obscene (to be illegal). Possession of child pornography, even a single “deleted” image on a home computer, is illegal. There are web references at http://www.doaskdotell.com/refer/intelct.htm  The legal definition in the United States may be narrower than that in common use internationally (where written text is more often included).

Chinese Wall – in general, this term, a synonym for “separation of functions,” refers to a business or legal requirement that the same party not perform two complementary functions in a matter that would allow the party the benefits of unfair competition or unfair gain or that would jeopardize public trust or security. In the securities industry, the term specifically refers to rules that prohibit a securities firm from sharing information among different functions with in the same company. The rules are supposed to prevent an investment banker from benefiting from confidential information about a corporate client in making trades with that client’s stock (“insider trading”).  In the Enron debacle of 2001, the Chinese Wall rules backfired, preventing investors from obtaining information about derivatives, hedge funds and offshore limited partnerships that they legitimately needed. The complexity of modern financial vehicles will require overhauling of the rules regarding Chinese Walls and selective disclosure rules. Relevant law includes the Glass-Steagall Act, repealed in 1999, which prohibited securities firms from acting both as traditional bankers and as underwriters, as well as other deregulation of financial services.  (Reference: “A Fog Over Enron, And the Legal Landscape,” by Diana B. Henriques and Kurt Eichenwald, The New York Times, Jan. 27, 2002.) But the concept of a “Chinese Wall” could be developed in other areas, like publishing and writing, claiming, for example, that the author and publisher should not be the same entity, that journalists should not moonlight, or even that one should not write and publish in freelance fashion while working in a salaried professional capacity. Such a development could come out of turf protection (disguised as protecting public credibility), and would not necessarily be good for the public.

Churchianity -- a Rosicrucian buzzword for conventional organized Christianity centered around a formal church, and insisting on a conventional doctrine of salvation by Grace. The term is to be contrasted with "mystical Christianity."

Chutzpah -- the audacity (from a social point of view) to speak up publicly about a controversy and expect to be listened to when one has not been able to conform to social norms or to take responsibility for others

Clark Kent Problem – (1) in Internet and media censorship issues, the observation that some minors are cognitively much more mature than others at any given age. In the Child Online Protection Act, the definition of “Harmful to Minors” excuses material that is valuable to a reasonable minority of older or more mature minors. Named after the teenage “Superman” character on Smallville. (2) Ethical inequities that result if one person is allowed too much freedom without the intervention of third parties. Again, in the television program, the character has the capability of catching his own forward pass to win a football game.

Commercial enterprise - one (for profit or not-for-profit) which offers goods or services for sale to the general public.

Complementarity – the notion that men and women need each other. This is an important concept in Roman Catholic thought and is sometimes invoked in arguing against gay marriage. See M. Cathleen Kaveny, “What is the Vatican saying about women?” The Washington Post, Aug. 15, 2003, p. B3. The term, in a broader psychological and ethical context, can also refer to the ability of one person to appreciate other people "as people" rather than as objects of one's fantasies.

Conflict of interest (employment) - a situation whereby an employee has a business interest (possibly self-owned) in an enterprise separate from the enterprise providing his main source of income, and where that business interest, to be pursued consistently, would compromise the employee's loyalty to the main employer.

Consanguinity – privileged legal relationship between individuals, by legal marriage, legal adoption, or close biological blood relationship or biological kinship. The concept has become important recently in residential zoning where lower income persons live in crowded conditions.

Curriculum Vitae -- a summary, in more detail than a resume, of a job applicant's background. Video CV's have become controversial.

Dead Hand -- a relatively obscure practice in probate (more common in the UK than in the US) where the person receiving inheritance (often from a trust) must behave in a certain manner (such as to get or stay heterosexually married) in continue keeping the inheritance. The concept is known from 19th Century English novels.

Deference – showing special concern for a particular stakeholder in a particular conflict or controversy, out of loyalty to the stakeholder or out of a belief that the stakeholder has unusual and compelling needs. The litigation over the military gay ban has invoked the concept of “deference to the military.” Persons are often expected to show deference to family or other social alliances in personal dealings, regardless of a more general sense of morality and justice. Deference is associated with preferences, as in the concept of “affirmative action.”

Democratic centralism -- a term associated with communism: "the idea that discussion of a topic should cease once a decision has been taken, and that orders from the center are binding." This comes from Joel Krieger's Oxford Companion to Politics of the World. This does sound like tyranny of the majority, or perhaps of the politburo.

Diaspora – (1) The settling of Jews outside of Israel or modern Palestine (2) the scattering of any people.

diegetic -- in film, refers to sound whose source is visible to the viewer; actual sound

Differential education (or “differentiated education”) – a culture common in public education, in which the manner of delivery and pedagogy is mediated by the maturity of the student, even within a particular age or grade. This is an important concept in special education.

Diversity – A social paradigm that values persons with different backgrounds (racial, gender, sexual orientation, religion) and different kinds of talents. Sometimes socialization runs counter to diversity, and sometimes conservatives talk as if they though diversity was touted as an excuse to avoid “paying your dues.”

Do Ask Do Tell – (1) A paradigm for political discussion that encourages all participants to understand fully all points of view at deep psychological levels. (2) A social expectation that one disclose his intentions, thoughts and feelings to others in his or her environment—a concept used in psychotherapy. (3) An expectation or policy that sexual partners should disclose sexually transmitted disease infections (including HIV) to partners before consensual sexual relationships (4) commercially, a service for performing private investigations, skip tracing, or other locations of persons.    

Do Tell – (1) An idiom or phrase encouraging someone to ratify an idea that someone else has articulated, (2) a phrase encouraging one to “come out of the closet” (such as with respect to sexual orientation or some other characteristic, like being born on another planet) (3) a commercial phrase encouraging the use of a telecommunications service

dolor -- unit of disadvantage, in utilitarian thought

Don’t Ask Don’t Tell – (1) A policy of the United States military, in effect since 1993, in which the military will not ask the sexual orientation of a (potential) recruit or servicemember but will discharge (usually administratively and under honorable conditions) any servicemember found to have committed homosexual acts or to have told at least one other person (which can be a private statement to a civilian, even a family member) that indicates a propensity to engage in homosexual acts or to have complete or attempted a homosexual marriage or civil union. (2) A social practice of hiding personal aspects of one’s life that may be distracting to others or that may lead to ostracism or adverse consequences. A good example is provided by the character Clark Kent in TheWB show Smallville, because Clark may not disclose that he is extraterrestrial (and simultaneously human).

do not track -- a new movement to stop corporate advertisers from tracking the behavior of home computer users, modeled in concept after "do not call"

Dooce – to terminate an employee for off-the-job behavior or speech that arguably has little or no impact on a person’s job. (http://www.dooce.com  for details). See also "ghosting" below.

Dreamcatching -- a practice of causing others to perceive you and your world as you perceive it, by depicting yourself in a dramatic narrative or film. (Term coined from the Stephen King novel.)  Sometimes the author will depict himself in a "false light" but negative (or defamatory) manner in order to create irony or make a political argument. The practice can cause legal problems similar to the "rebuttable presumption" and "propensity" concepts in the "don't ask don't tell" policy for gays in the military.

Dystopia -- a hypothetical society in which quality of life and social order have broken down, perhaps because of a moral failure within the society. Examples: ancient Rome, or the UK in "Children of Men" or "V for Vendetta".

ecstatic capitalism -- free market economic and social practice that maximizes the self-expression of the individual, regardless of family connection.

Enlistment – (1) The act of entering the armed forces or similarly regimented organization voluntarily. (2) Volunteering for any charitable or public service activity where the circumstances will require considerable sacrifice, regimentation, loss of privacy or other opportunity or public profile for the participant.

Enticement -- as a "literary event" or "conversational item," a literary work or simple statement that gains the attention of others (usually adults) by causing others to believe that the speaker wants something (usually of an antisocial nature); but that, on closer consideration, the belief is seen by others not to be true and is viewed as a rhetorical trick. Usually the speaker seeks attention to make a subtle point about some issue. However, "enticement" is also a legal term in criminal law, where the speaker apparently tries to induce a minor or incompetent person to commit an illegal or harmful act. Another extreme example is a false confession (attention-getting behavior). See also "brother's keeper", "skunk at the picnic", and "innuendo". 

Ephebophilia – Primary or exclusive sexual attraction to post-pubescent adolescents (either homosexual or heterosexual) or even young adults in an older person. Hebephilia is a similar term that stresses attraction to slightly younger post-pubescent adolescents. Pederasty refers to attraction towards male adolescents. When referring to heterosexual interest in adolescent girls, the colloquial term is Lolita syndrome. Pedophilia (or pedosexuality) refers to sexual attraction to pre-pubescent children. (There is even infantophilia.)  None of these become legal issues until the older person actually acts upon his or her fantasies (has sex with an underage [with respect to legal age of consent] person or attempts or solicits such sexual activity). However, a convicted sex offender may be confined for treatment, or restricted in living space or in other behaviors like reading materials or computer access for years after finishing a sentence or for life. Society has a certain moral “ick factor” revulsion even to the idea of ephebophilic fantasy, as it seems to suggest a failure in psychosexual maturation or socialization. However, many sexual offenders (committing or attempting acts with minors) are “normally” married heterosexuals with children. Here are a couple of web references: http://www.answers.com/topic/ephebophilia  http://pedophilia.biography.ms/   A gynephile is a male who prefers an adult female as a sexual partner, and an androphile is a male who prefers an adult male as a sexual partner. 

 

Epicurean Fallacy -- The view that pleasure and pain are reciprocals, which in practice can lead to self-destructive behavior.

 

Estoppel – A legal disinclination to recognize an allegation as presumption or fact because of an actor’s previous action pattern. In the military, if a commander has allowed a soldier to serve while openly gay over a long time, the soldier might have better chances of rebutting the presumption of actual homosexual conduct under “don’t ask don’t tell.”

 

Fair report privilege -- a legal doctrine that protects journalists reporting defamatory information that comes from official sources.

 

False light -- A form of invasion of privacy tort in which a normally innocuous fact about a person is disclosed, but in a context that potentially defames the person under normal social standards.  

Family loyalty (or “family first” or “loyalty to blood”) – The notion that one will or must (because of inherited obligation) put the interests of one’s own (bloodline) family first, even at the cost to intellectual honesty with respect to one’s own ethical or religious beliefs or principles.

Family responsibility – (1) The notion that if one has children, one should be legally married first and make providing a stable and loving environment for his or her children the first priority. (2) The notion that every individual, even a single person or any person without children, should accept some personal responsibility for care of other family members.

Family responsibility discrimination -- adverse actions by employers against associates who take time off to care for family members or when they have children. This is often illegal. But employers sometimes maintain that they would have to make other employers "sacrifice" by working more hours to do the work of family-centered employees who put in less time. In my own practical experience, this whole issue plays out in a very mixed fashion; often people with many children put in more hours anyway.

Family slave -- an individual, usually unmarried and without his or her own children, who is expected to remain available to take care of others (even raise the children of others) in a family. In the employment world, sometimes childless people are expected to pull longer hours or less favorable hours or be on-call more for the benefit of those with kids or at least dependents. 

Family values – A social paradigm that expects individuals to establish themselves as adults through legally marrying, having children and remaining monogamous and faithful. Family values is often discussed in terms of divorce or having children out of wedlock, but sometimes it also criticizes cultural values that minimize the importance of having children.  This latter observation may become more important is demographics (lower birthrates and aging populations) change. 

Family wage - A salary or hourly wage which, before employment is offered, takes into account how many dependents an employee has. The "family wage" is technically illegal in the United States under Department of Labor rules.

feudal marriage -- an old-fashioned concept of marriage where a man is required to have a wife to meet his social obligations, own land or a business, sometimes found in feudal or tribal societies. Some progressives maintain that conservative paradigms for marriage grew out of feudal marriage.

Filial – refers to the relationship between a child and his or per parents, especially to the responsibility that society normally expects an (adult) child to take for possibly dependent parents. Antonynm is unfilial. Based on the French word fils (son) or Latin filius (son).  Filial responsibility laws used to require adult children to be responsible for the cost of their parents eldcare, before Medicare was available. A few states still have such laws, rarely invoked (sometimes used to prevent parents from divesting assets to children to go on to Medicaid). In China, a related concept is called "filial piety."

First Amendment in Reverse -- the "right" of others to hold and effect prejudicial opinions about someone for his statements or authored images made under free entry in a public place (the Internet).

Folksonomy -- a content labeling system that allows and invites active customer participation

Forced intimacy -- a workplace circumstance (which also occurs in the military) forcing someone to work and sometimes live within close physical proximity to others, and sometimes have duties that could involve exposure of normally protected body parts. Forced intimacy, especially in the military (but also sometimes in firefighting, law enforcement, and in certain teaching situations involving immature or disabled students), has made the presence of homosexuals (legally) controversial.

Fraternal enterprise - A business that serves primarily a narrowly defined class of customers. This class could be defined by religious belief, ethnicity, some other minority status (officially recognized or not), labor union membership, or occupation. Theoretically, a gay bar or gay "bookstore" is a fraternal business. The term "fraternal enterprise" includes, but is not limited to, fraternal benefit membership societies and lodges (as for selling insurance), which are always non-profit (and mutual).

Freeganism -- a lifestyle movement that eschews material consumption and lives as simply as possible, sometimes off the waste of others.

Frumping -- ending a friendship or sometimes a dating relationship.

Functionable - capable of functioning later but not function now.

Ghosting -- a corporate practice of hiring investigators to track down what is said about the company in blogs (possibly by employees). See also "dooce" above.

Globalism -- A personal philosophy that says that, to do good for specific other people (family) one must first have a morally appropriate action with the whole world. This affects, for example, environmentalism. Some people see it as anti-family.

"God punishes sinners" -- steganography, phrase given out by someone being kidnapped to assist in his location (acronym for GPS or global positioning system, introduced on the NBC soap opera "Days of our Lives".

Google -- to look for information about a person or entity with an Internet search engine (the largest and best known being Google); this has become an official English language verb. It's not even irregular.

Halo effect -- the social presumption or perception that a person's good looks makes him "better" than others; lookism.

Handyman company – a consulting firm that evaluates the employees of another firm, as during an acquisition; that is, a company offering “efficiency expert” service  (an example is provided by an incident in American Beauty).

Harm Principle -- the notion that morality is based on not harming others directly, or not imposing against another person against that person's will. The Harm Principle does recognize the notion of "age of consent." 

Harmful to minors – normally, a legal characterization about a published image or piece of literature or other intellectual property, that the property, although non-obscene, would appeal to the prurient interest of some minors if inadvertently discovered or viewed by these minors. Harmful to minors is supposed to invoke a lower threshold of potential censorship screening than “indecent.” State “harmful to minors” laws generally require that “adult magazines” be placed in opaque brown wrappers or moved to a separate part of a store accessible only to adults. The concept was redefined for federal purposes with respect to the Internet in the Child Online Protection Act (COPA) of 1998, now under litigation in the Supreme Court. The federal definition is at this link. At issue is whether the federal definition refers just to “pornography,” and whether “minors” means all minors or only older minors.

Head shot -- a professionally taken photograph, often of the upper body and face region, of someone who will appear in public (often as an actor in a film).

Heckler’s veto – the capability of a person or small group of people who disagree with a speaker to shut down the speech by pressuring third parties (as with boycotts or threats of frivolous litigation).

Hedon -- unit of pleasure in utilitarian though; unit of benefit.  Opposite of dolor.

Individual contributor - in the workplace, an associate or contractor who is not a key person. Typically an individual contributor does not have direct reports (he/she may be an informal technical team leader), does not make underwriting or evaluation decisions about others (such as assigning grades in school), and is not known by the public as affiliated with the company (except in a trivial sense, as by his employment in an online resume).

Individual sovereignty -- the idea that the individual should have the right to determine the course of his or her own life without interference from others, as long as he or she adheres to the Harm Principle. Also called "personal autonomy". 

Inimical - counter to the best interest of, or overtly hostile to. Homosexuality is often viewed as "inimical to" the nuclear family.

Implicit content - The additional meaning that a reader attributes to a piece of text (or to an image) because of the reader's prior knowledge of the circumstances surrounding the content or of the circumstances of the speaker. The concept is sometimes legally relevant if a reader is being encouraged to call to mind a disturbing or inappropriate image or being enticed to do somehting.

Innuendo -- An expanded contextual meaning of allusion attributed to a statement in a social context. See also "enticement."

Institutionalism -- a political philosophy that values public good in terms of the behavior of large numbers of people when they can be manipulated by the policies of the groups to which they belong, instead of in terms of rights and responsibilities. Gay marriage has recently been attacked by social conservatives on institutional ideas.

Intent -- The reasonably expected outcome from a course of action in a given set of circumstances, if not interrupted by failure or by external influence. This is an important concept in criminal law (as in the NBC Dateline "To Catch a Predator" problem) and should not be confused with "thought crime," "pre-crime" or "mind reading."  Related to the mathematical concept of "frequently" in topology or series. 

interdependence -- the capacity for people in a localized group (family or community) to turn to each other in a crisis. The concept probably should be distinguished from "global interdependence" created by a technological infrastructure that could be attacked. The opposite concepts are "independence" and "personal autonomy."

Internot -- an orphanage, especially for hard-to-place older children and teens (Russian).

Intimacy -- when I use it (as in storyboard worksheets for novels or screenplays, sometimes shown on the site), it refers to emotional or physical closeness short of sex acts, or at least it does not imply that sex takes place in the scene planned (eg, "underage intimacy" does not imply an illegal sex act). 

Judicial activism -- a tendency for judges to impose their own social or political philosophy when reaching decisions about the constitutionality of statutes. This can occur with state or federal judiciaries. Conservatives have objected to "judicial activism" by state appeals and supreme courts in the gay marriage debate. As Clint Bolick demonstrates in his 2007 Cato book, this can be a double-edged concept.

Judicial review -- part of the separation of powers -- that laws passed by Congress (or states or lower levels of government) or actions of the executive branch may be reviewed by the courts for compliance with the Constitution. Most conservatives justices accept the judicial review but sometimes say that they disapprove of judicial activism.   

Jus soli (“law of the soil”) – the legal rule that citizenship is first determined by the country or geographical place of one’s birth; jus sanguinis (“law of blood”), the legal rule that citizenship is derived from the citizenship of one’s parents. The combination of these two concepts makes dual citizenship possible. The Citizenship Reform Act of 2003 would rescind automatic citizenship for future children of illegal aliens; web reference is http://www.theorator.com/bills108/hr1567.html

Key person (or Key contributor) – A salaried professional valuable enough to his employer to warrant an employment contract (as opposed to “at will employment”) offering extra perks or job security in exchange for loyalty and agreement so significantly restrict outside activities that could generate publicity or appear to create a conflict of interest. Typically a key person has direct reports, uses his/her own discretion in making decisions about specific other stakeholders, and/or is known by the public as associated with the employer. An individual who achieves employment (including contract employment) by selling intellectual property that he/she had developed to the employer would automatically become a key contributor.  Note: Very short term (less than thirty days) assignments of this nature that are "key" in only a trivial sense are not considered to trigger this policy. For example, election judges are often partisan as a matter of law but only work for one day.   

Kin altruism -- a concept that means that parents place psychological importance on the success of their own kids and will treat them preferentially over other people. More broadly, the concept generally means deferential loyalty to one's own blood family and a propensity to perform altruistic acts for other family members (not necessarily children, perhaps siblings) that one would not perform on the outside world. The concept corresponds to the IRS concept of "personal use."

Leave banking - An employee benefits practice whereby employees may "voluntarily" donate vacation time to provide paid family leave or paid medical leave to co-workers.

Leveraging - the maintenance of public visibility through Internet search engines for a person who would have become obscure with time, or who would remain obscure under circumstances limited by previous media technology. The concept may come up with the idea that family members may feel affected by an individual's self-promotion online, and it is an important concept in school systems with students and teachers given the popularity of profile sites like myspace.com and facebook.com. See also "right of recognition" and "reputation defender".

Libel tourism -- A plaintiff searches for a country with favorable libel laws (like Britain, where truth as a defense is harder to establish) for a book published in another country, when orders have come from the target country.

Line breeding -- the use of specific mating arrangements to create a lineage of organisms with specific characteristics. In politics, the term would refer to the use of embryo or amniotic testing with selective abortions to control the characteristics (including gender) of the children that are born; there are media reports of the deliberate "creation" of babies with specific disabilities.

Lowballing - 1. An (unethical) practice by which a contractor promises to deliver a product for an unreasonably low price just to get or keep business. 2. A practice where a salaried, exempt and non-union employee voluntarily forfeits some of his benefits (such as vacation time) in order to "compete" with other employees of the same organization during a downsizing environment. #2 is also called leapfrogging.

Macguffin -- an object that serves to trigger events in a plot of a story, but that is otherwise insignificant.

Martial law – Temporary rule of a civilian population by military authorities during a time of emergency. Normally it is imposed in a limited geographical area, but it could be a whole country. There has been discussion of how martial law would be implemented in the United States after a nuclear attack or after a terrorist attack of sufficient magnitude (corresponding to the “code red alert” in the five-color Homeland Security scheme). A “state of emergency” in an area after a natural disaster is not martial law. But the authority of the president, now challenged before the Supreme Court, to hold citizens as “unlawful combatants” in connection with terrorist connections does suggest limited martial law.

Mayan sacrifice -- the prosecution of a visible person for an attempted crime of little actual consequence but of principled consequence, to set an example for others. Also, the prosecution of "pre-crime."

Meritocracy – A social value system that regards a person’s value as an intrinsic objective fact associated with the person’s performance in competitive (such as academic, business, or sport) systems. It is associated with individualism.

Monopsony -- An economic situation where one aggregate customer sets the price for demand. Health care policy often refers to this concept, as does retail (Wal-Mart).

Moral hazard – (1) A likelihood that a person’s actions represent an actuarial risk, especially when the person may have the opportunity to avoid the risk. Private health insurance is justified by the notion of moral hazard. (2) The notion that a person should not have a certain resource (such as a job or benefits) because he or she would be setting a bad example, relative to his or her own past conduct. Moral hazard is a more comprehensive notion than conflict of interest.

Narcissism – An excessive preoccupation with one’s own personal importance, or with achieving one’s own chosen goals rather than bonding with others, or with associating only with others whom one chooses. Sometimes psychologists associate narcissism with psychopathology and lack of conscience, but this need not be the case. But there may be lack of emotional empathy or bonding with others. See also “upward affiliation. Visit my essay “Narcissism, Affiliation and Polarity.”

Narcisurf -- to look up one's own name in an Internet search engine, especially to find out what others say about you on line (e.g., narcisurfing). Synoynm: to "google your name." This has started to become an issue for employers in the past two years (since 2005).

Networked journalism  -- a form of journalism involving a lot of user generated content and writers who may be experts in specific areas but not necessarily professional journalists, working together in electronic journalism or blogs, sometimes with professional journalists. An informal but less accurate term is "citizen journalist".  

Network Neutrality -- The principle that Internet Service Providers should not discriminate based on different kinds of Internet content.

Notability -- the concept that an entity has been written about by journalistically credible sources not connected to the entity (or to the party that created the entity). Online encyclopedias have recently toughened their notability guidelines (or started enforcing them).

Oligopsony -- An economic climate where very few large customers can determine prices. An important concept in modern models for health care.

Overloading -- In software engineering, this concept refers to using the same operator symbol in different ways with different kinds of variables, or the same method in different ways with different lists of variables. In social science, if refers to the idea that the same speech content will have different meanings to different audiences, and even given different circumstances of the speaker insofar as these are known by these audiences.

Panspermia -- a theory that life was seeded on earth from comet or meteorite dust, and that infectious disease or pandemics could come that way, too (possibly Spanish flu in 1918, or avian influenze).

“Parable of the Talents” Problem – The notion that everyone owes service to others, but that it may be harder on less able people to meet this obligation.

Partisanship -- In the context of this site, public loyalty in the positions that one takes about political issues to the interest of one group. The more conventional use of the word refers to loyalty to a political party, particularly in getting candidates elected or keeping them in office. Another word could be adversarialism, necessary among trial lawyers. In a democracy, this is a necessary but double-edged concept or component. 

"Passing the trash" -- unpleasant term used (especially in the media) to characterize unwillingness of school districts to provide information to other school districts for teachers fired for misconduct but not prosecuted by the legal system.

"Pay your dues" -- a moral philosophy that aims at egalitarianism by forcing sacrifices and tasks to be shared at an individual level.

Penultimate -- literally, next to last. I have used it with reference to a political right that gives way to one other right that can supersede it (that is, Roe v. Wade). Antepenultimate would refer to a right that gives way to two other rights (a rather disturbing thought experiment, to be sure). In the workplace, bosses sometimes refer to a "penultimate" draft of a deliverable (the next to the final draft, or the next to the final systems test).

Personal autonomy -- synonymous with "individual sovereignty" (q.v.)

Personal use -- a concept in tax law that relates to activity carried on for personal satisfaction but not for economic gain. Hobbies are an example of personal use. Usually, activities done for blood family members are considered personal (although deductions and exemptions are allowed when other members are supported). Generally, losses on sale of property used only for personal use cannot be deducted.

Pervasiveness. - A characteristic of an intellectual property, such that it is always "present" in the minds of an audience even when not being directly viewed, or that it is likely to be viewed accidentally by an unintended recipient. Broadcast shows and commercially web-published materials may be regarded as "pervasive." "Pervasive" materials sometimes enjoy less First Amendment protections and sometimes are considered to contribute to a discriminatory or harassment environment in the workplace, or even to be capable of encouraging violence.

Pleonastic - Redundant. In French: Je ne parle pas ¾ the "ne" is pleonastic.

Polarity (psychological) – The concept that one may be psychologically masculine or psychologically feminine, regardless of biological gender. It was advanced in the 1970s by psychotherapist Paul Rosenfels.  Related is the perpendicular concept of being objective or subjective.  Masculine objective or feminine subjective personalities are called unbalanced; the other two combinations are called balanced

Polity -- a society with an organized government; contrast with "policy."

Press - the agency of publication (the first definition below), that is, making information available to any member of the public willing to pay a fair market price for a legal copy of the information. There is some modern thought that the "right to publish" is not necessarily always the same thing as the "right to speak."

Presumption. - In law, an observation that may reasonably inferred from a given set of facts. A presumption may be either rebuttable (as in the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy regarding gays in the military) or conclusive.

Presumptive thinking - a mindset that interprets statements or stated interests of another person as evidence of unusual propensities and inclinations, regardless of the literal meaning of that person's statements. This sort of thinking assumes that a "normal" individual will distance himself from materials or subject matter than most persons find problematic.

Propensity – inclination, a likelihood that an individual may commit some otherwise prohibited behavior. Based on the mathematical concept of "eventually" in topology or series. 

Propinquity - the tendency for people to work better or bond with those geographically near them; discussed by Rand Corporation in its 1993 study of gays in the military (the unit cohesion concept).

pseudobox -- (colloquial at UPS) a small flattened shipping box from an Amazon.com reseller of residuals.

Public morality -- a concept that right and wrong is mediated by the needs of others in a cohesive or loyal group, particularly the traditional nuclear family, and that it is appropriate to use the law, even indirectly, to socialize people into loyalty to the family.

Publication – (1) In most contexts in my books and on this site, publication refers to the posting of information where any member of the public may see the information (either for free or after paying for the item with normal commercial methods including credit cards) without identifying himself or herself. This concept has particular relevance to my own idea of “don’t ask, don’t tell, don’t flaunt” for gays in the military and sometimes other contexts, as in my 1997 book “Do Ask Do Tell: A Gay Conservative Lashes Back.” That is not to be confused with the way the “don’t ask don’t tell” policy was actually implemented by a 1993 law. One could coin a separate word for this concept, "pressify." Or perhaps we could coin the term "open publication." (2) Another meaning in intellectual property law is the presentation of information to at least one other person who understands the information. The military’s legal definition of DADT in the 1993 law really relies on this definition (hence “rebuttable presumption”). One important notion in the second definition is the “Delia” problem, based on an episode of TheWB show “Everwood” where an HIV-infected physician “tells” a child (Delia) that she is infected and the consequences are soon enormous anyway, even though the information wasn’t intended to become “public.”  I would use the term closed publication to identify this concept. Our legal system needs to learn to distinguish these concepts.

I believe that the legal system really should have two separate definitions for “publication” that follows these two meanings. We could call them open publication and closed publication (or, synonymously. restricted publication).

A related notion could be the "right to publish," which would maintain that anyone may post content and have it viewed as "literary" and not as simply a public conversation viewed by others under notions of implicit content (above).

Publicity rights (or Right of publicity). - A form of consideration, derived from gaining publicity in connection with a public controversy or, particularly, from publishing a work of intellectual property, in which a person's "name" is regarded as having future (and therefore "present") financial value. In a manner a little bit like that for real estate (or real property), publicity rights may be eventually "converted" into financial gain. Misappropriation of a public figure's name or likeness can trigger a "right of publicity" tort. A person may have common law "publicity rights" in either a general or limited fashion, and may be either major or minor in degree. Publicity rights may, in the future, create employment issues when employers want to own their employee's own "publicity rights" even for outside "pervasive" activities.

punked -- according to Ashton Kutcher, this is now in "the dictionary," meaning, to have a joke put over oneself by another person. (The famous example was the fake "robbery" of Justin Timberlake.)

purity ball -- a public "debutante" -like event where a father takes a daughter to a lavish party in recognition of the daughter's promise to abstain from sexual intercourse until marriage. Purity balls have actually sometimes used federal funds, based on President Bush's "faith based" initiatives. 

Purification -- an externally driven crisis or cataclysm that causes individuals to change their personal goals, particularly with respect to materialistic issues, and become more communally focused. Examples: Pandemic, asteroid hit, huge earthquakes, huge hurricanes, massive terrorist incidents. The desire to see such a happening seems to go along with far left wing (or far right wing) indignation.

Reconciliation – a process where two socially different and previously separated worlds come into regular contact with one another because of technological change. The term comes from Clive Barker’s novel Imajica, where Earth is “reconciled” to four other dominions. The term could be useful in describing events that require the childless to take on "mandatory family responsibility."

Red herring -- a postulated risk or peril shown not to exist in the real world after closer examination.

republican childhood -- a childhood that raises a person to function as an independent adult by first instructing him or her through the values of his original culture. (Hymowitz)

republican marriage -- (heterosexual) legally recognized marriage made by two adults who choose each other freely without external (especially familial) influence and pass expectation of similar marriage on to their kids (as opposed to arranged marriage). (Hymowitz)

Reputation defender -- (e.g. reputation defense) a service that would find unfavorable information about someone on the Internet and have it removed.

Reputation intelligence -- a service that monitors a brand's public reputation in the media.

“Rich Young Ruler” problem – the notion(s) that one can obey all written laws and still sin by omitting deeper needs of other people, and that one might have to give up all of one’s attachments to meet the needs of others and of God.

Right of conscience -- the purported right not to perform a particular duty on a job (such as filling a prescription for an abortion drug) because of religious or personal moral conviction. The notion of conscientious objection when we have had a draft (conscription) is related. This purported right assumes that a person is morally responsible for his own actions even when told to do so by others as part of a professional responsibility or other loyalty. 

Right of recognition -- a purported right to make oneself famous or a public figure through the Internet, especially through passive marketing with search engines, when one would not have been noticed with older technology. This is similar to "right of publicity," but some attorneys consider the latter concept (defined above) as more applicable to established celebrities.

Sandbag -- to intentionally play poorly in a competition to trick an opponent. A common term in courtroom trials in in certain games, like chess.  Somewhat similar to "lowball" or "leapfrog" (above).  (The Washington Nationals must have sandbagged all of their 2006 games with the Colorado Rockies. An eight-game sweep? 43 runs in the last four games?)

Screed -- a long tome, often ideological and uncompromising, that many people find tiring to read; a "manifesto." The emotional context is well illustrated by Howard Dean's now comical "I have a scream" antics in the 2004 Democratic presidential primary race.

Scrutiny level - the level of review that a statute or administrative policy is given in a constitutional challenge. Scrutiny may be strict, as when a fundamental right (as already established by the Constitution, by statute, or even tradition) is abrogated by government, or merely rational-basis, when equal protection claims are made my groups not already protected explicitly by statute.

Secondary publicity -- involuntary public attention (sometimes unwanted) given to family members, neighbors, or business associates of an individual who has become famous. 

Secular Calvinism -- an idea, grown out of hyper-individualism, that persons need to prove their personal worth in competition. As a religious idea, Calvinism referred to the idea that only pre-selected individuals can be saved, and is not much accepted today in Christianity.

Self-incrimination – (relevant to other issues here) a property of a statement made in an open public forum or to a client that creates a presumption that the speaker has a propensity to engage in a specific forbidden behavior, even if not acted on yet.

Self-promotion – The advertising of oneself to the public in an unsupervised fashion and with relatively little cost or commitment. This concept comports with personal autonomy and is somewhat inimical to socialization.

Self-publishing – The presentation to the public as an open publication of a work by the author of the work, based on the financial resources of the author, without the intervention or investment of a third party (and normally without public financial reportability or accountability).

Semiotics -- The analysis of signs and symbols; in psychology, the use of part-objects in developing a sense of sexual attraction. Related to concepts like symbiosis (Erich Fromm) and sublimation.

Sexual socialism -- The idea that if sexual energy is channeled into complementarity, all of the needs of members within a family will be met. Related to aesthetic realism and "abstinence until marriage", and antithetical to upward affiliation. In short, the idea that society must regulate personal sexuality for the good of "the group."

Skilled Nursing Facility - A nursing home that provides rehabilitative care. Typically Medicare and private insurance will pay for some number of days of SNF care for a patient who is expected to get better, but not for custodial care (as at an intermediate care facility or ICF); in those cases the care is paid for by the patient, the patient's family, or Medicaid, or (more recently) special long term care insurance or health savings accounts.

Skunk at the picnic -- a person whose candor about some issue embarrasses others (in his familial, social or business circles) by association. Related to the "Salman Rushdie problem," the attracting of heckler or even hate or terroristic crimes driven by extreme views held by others.

Sharia -- Islamic law applied to everyday life. In most Islamic countries church and state must be joined. Sharia is often abused by religious police in Saudi Arabia. See the Wikipedia discussion.

Shorting-against-the-box. A "conservative" securities trading strategy whereby an investor secures his profit from a stock sale by assuming a "short sale" position in the same security, should it go down in the short term.

social distancing -- a public health strategy for containing communicable infectious disease by closing down events where people can congregate, can be very damaging economically, but can sometimes contain potentially deadly epidemics. Porposed for swine flu.

social security bridge --  An extra component in a pension paid to someone who retires before age 62 until the person is eligible to draw social security retirement benefits.

social security offset -- A deduction from a pension amount representing a percentage of the person's expected or actual social security benefits.

soft paternalism.  Government reinforced measures against "harmful" human behavior, such as "voluntary" gambling or smoking bans.

Solicitation (illegal) – A direct appeal to other people, whether in person or through a communications medium like a computer, for illegal behavior; includes direct advertisements for illegal behaviors.

sour grapes -- a rationalization for a failure

Simony – the purchase of a position of authority within a church (particularly the Catholic Church in the Middle Ages); or the purchase of any position of public influence.

Socialization – The process by which an individual accepts the goals of a social group to which he or she belongs and integrates these goals with those that he or she otherwise would choose individually. The term is meaningful in discussing “family values” in that people learn to see their personal effectiveness through the family rather than just their own personal efforts—marriage and parenting are usually major steps in this process. Modern individualism has reduced the importance of socialization and solidarity, which is a personal loyalty to these group goals. Socialization is seen as necessary partly because societies and social groups face external threats that individuals cannot handle on their own.

Spam blog  (or splog) -- Website or blog created mostly to drive traffic to affiliated sites in order to improve search-engine ranking at those sites; related to the notion of "link farming."  Typically the affiliated sites all belong to the same company or entity. Generally, it's better for a blog, when it gives links, to give links to independent sources giving facts with a limit logical relationship.

Spam in blogs -- Automatically generated links put into the comment sections of blogs, usually to viagra or sexually related sites, unrelated to the content of the host blog. Most bloggers moderate their comments to prevent this practice.

Spectator citizenship -- the idea that one can be a good citizen by being a good person in an individualistic sense. The opposite would be a belief some kind of formal national or community (or military) service should be demanded of everyone.

Spoonerism - A nonsense rearrangement of sounds within a sequence of words for humorous effect. For example: Bon Joushka. Sometimes these take as nicknames!!

Stalemate -- in employment, forcing an employee to resign by playing possum, in a situation where the employee might have a valid discrimination or First Amendment claim but where, at the same time, the employer might be able to retaliate with prosecution, blacklisting, or some other harmful measure. The term comes from an situation in chess where a game ends in a draw when the losing side is not in check but has no legal move. A related term is zugzwang. The ACLU likes the term "chilling effects." ("We're bigger than you -- Bambi meets Godzilla!)

Strict liability offense -- (criminal or civil) -- a legal concept that holds the defendant legally responsible for an illegal event whether or not the defendant intended to act in a criminal fashion or even in a negligent fashion. The doctrine can vary from country to country and from state to state. The usual motivation for the concept is to provide such a deterrent value that persons will take unusual precautions to play "brother's keeper" and avoid accidental involvement in the offense. The concept can have unfair outcomes in individual cases. Sometimes possession of child pornography is a strict liability offense. In school systems, possession of objects that might be confused with weapons, patent medications or controlled substances is often viewed as a strict liability offense. 

sweet lemons -- making a lot of something that is no big deal. 

Tainted fruits -- a notion, popular with radical ideologies, that ordinary citizens who gain economic advantages at the expense of peoples in other parts of the world or of other racial or religious groups, because of their government's policies, must bear personal responsibility for "ill gotten" gains and are morally subject to forcible confiscation or expropriation of their personal assets in return.

Tarea -- a particular kind of task or duty given to someone to give that person a chance to prove that he or she is prepared for contingencies, a "pay your dues" or qualifying task. Is comes from the Spanish word for task (la tarea), and is used for "homework" in Spanish; in French a corresponding word is "les devoirs."

Technobrega -- a practice (originating in Brazil) of musicians offering very inexpensive recordings of their music through entrepreneurs who had been previously associated with piracy.

Toi tois -- a "self-destructive" riot in a racially segregated, impoverished area. (South Africa)

Touching Doctrine -- the idea that a work of fiction can be construed as true if the characters resemble indentifiable persons, or even evidentiary or predictive of what one has a propensity to do if the character is oneself; based on a famous libel case in California in the  1970s about the novel "Touching."

Traffic shaping - manipulating network traffic or charging some content delivery mechanims more to make a network more efficient. See "network neutrality

Tramitadore -- a bureaucrat who arranges bribes for a living. This is so common in Latin American countries that the word is an accepted term in Spanish.

Tribalism – A cultural practice of behaving in a manner to benefit one’s own family or tribe, rather than doing what one individually believes is right, especially with respect to supporting political or public policy changes.

Troll -- to provoke the "irrational" (sometimes religious) emotions of someone else with objectively correct and acceptable statements, especially on the Internet. Also, to linger around or loiter or solicit (as in a chat room) for wrongful purposes.

Unintended consequences -- effects of a public policy -- law or administrative policy -- on a person or group that was not forseen by policymakers.

The Unwritten Rule -- The notion that you only earn personal autonomy (that is, you only promote yourself) when you can prove your self accountable to other people in a social hierarchy. Particularly, only when you prove that you can provide for a family.

Upward affiliation – The process of identifying with persons whom one believes to be stronger or “better” than oneself. Some psychologists associate male homosexuality with upward affiliation. It is a sort of opposite to “aesthetic realism” also on this page.

Virtual adultery – psychological unfaithfulness to a spouse (often aging) expressed in looking at pornography of younger or more attractive persons. 

Wardiving – The use of someone else’s WiFi wireless connection when it is inadvertently left open. There is a debate as to whether it is illegal or harmful; it has been compared to be driving away a car with the keys left in the ignition.

Website persistence policy -- Specific plans by an individual to manage a personal website(s) after securing a new job, in view of possible conflicts of interest over the individual's own right of publicity.

Whitelist -- a list of known and approved users who may receive (as by email) or log in to a specific body of content. The concept could be used in social networking and personal publishing software to limit audiences, in compliance with future laws regarding minors,  or to avoid employment related conflicts (in the future). Google Blogger new version already offers this concept. But the effect of using this paradigm is to turn a website into something more like a corporate intranet.

Wiki -- A facility (usually a website) that allows collaborative publication on any topic by unregistered or relatively "uncertified" contributors.

Wink -- a quick message sent to a potential date from a social networking site after a "glance"; also called "flirt".

wombish (or wombian) -- compassionate

Xenophobia – fear or hatred of foreigners or of those who are different

Zombie debt -- old debt, possibly past legal statute of limitations or even fradulent, that gets sold outright to a collection agency. Covered on "Good Morning America" Feb. 28, 2008. Many times consumers do not have to pay the debt legally.

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