It would be rude for me to tell my intelligent readers that when the wrong word is connected to a real world attribute that the consequent understanding and policies will be wrong.
The particular example I used in an earlier blog was what led me to fight GMO after hearing academics confuse genetic food engineering with plant breeding. I knew that we had serious potential policy errors on the horizon.
The example I most importantly want to focus on here is homelessness. The term ‘homeless’ came from New York and migrated around the country in 1981. The term is applied to a large population of street people and people who were formerly hobos. Street people tend to be a cluster of humans who are uncomfortable living in homes, do not want to fit into the society with all of its puritanical requirements and includes a population who enjoy the use of drugs and alcohol. A few of them are mentally ill.
Included in the term homeless are the traditional hobos who do not want to settle down and who do not, under any circumstances, want to become part of the society.
As a consequence we have the incredibly stupid policy of providing residential housing for this large population of street people and hobos who do not use it. Since 1981, in San Francisco, where we have a population count, the number of people on the street has remained the same. For 30+ years.
The problem is the improper use of an English word. The so-called homeless are not in need of homes.