Wednesday, October 02, 2002

The Apologia

So I might as well start by explaining the title. I notice that others have used the word agoraphilia to mean a variety of things, including arousal from having sex in public places. Can't say I'm opposed to that, but the origin of the title is different. In 1994, when Clinton was pushing his plan to nationalize healthcare, I read an article (can't remember the source) about various Congressional healthcare proposals. The author observed that what all the plans, including Clinton's, suffered from was "agoraphobia." He didn't mean fear of open places -- the usual definition of that word -- but fear of the marketplace. The Agora was, after all, where the ancient Greeks engaged in commerce (while fending off gadflies like Socrates). Well, if someone who fears the market is an agoraphobe, it stands to reason that an avid free marketeer like myself must be an agoraphile.

An added bonus: philosopher of science Karl Popper often referred to modern, liberal (in the broader sense of that term) civilization as "the open society." So even if one interprets agoraphilia to mean the love of open places -- not just the marketplace -- there's still a sense in which the term is appropriate.

And as long as we're having fun with ancient Greek, I've always been amused that the original meaning of the word "apology," as in Plato's "Apologia," was a defense or explanation -- not an admission of fault or regret. Thus the name of the current post.

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