How we use words
A leader of the city-state of Athens in the 7th century B.C. was a man named Dracon (Δράκων); pronounced Drah-Kone. His name means “Lawgiver”, and he was the first to create a written law for the city-state. The law was often harse prescribing enslavement for debtors and capital punishment, especially for a lower class person who committed petty larceny. Yikes!
If his name sounds familiar, that is because he became an adjective meaning excessively harsh and severe. That word is DRACONIAN.
When you think of draconian regimes, who comes to mind? I think of Hitler and the Nazis with their slaughter of Communists, Jews, homosexuals, disabled persons, etc. Or maybe Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge who targeted and slaughtered Cambodian civil servants, physicians, teachers, professionals, and dissidents in what has infamously become known as “The Killing Fields.”
Okay Hitchhiker, why focus on Dracon and draconian regimes? It is because the word draconian is now being used by the news media and politicians to describe the measures being taken to fight the coronavirus. Is this really the proper use of the word?
Hitler killed millions because they were, in his opinion, enemies of the Reich! Pol Pot because he was looking to reeducate an entire country, and leaders and educated people were seen as a threat! Dracon had people killed for stealing a cabbage; for crying out loud!
a government Trying to protect its people from a deadly virus, in my humble opinion, is not draconian! it’s caring.
So the next time you hear someone use the word “draconian” to describe the measures taken to save peoples lives, or any usage describing rules put forth by a body of leadership that does not rise to the level of excessive harshness or severity (your High School principal is not draconian), call them out! Chances are this is political speak.
I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.Ephesians 4:1-3