The conflating of concepts via the misuse of words
I will start this examination by offering the following equation: A =
!A (A is the opposite of A). This is a specific equation for a special
type of conflation of words. I will get to the General Equation later
on. A = !A is the equation used in the phrase “freedom is slavery”
from the novel, 1984. It is well-known and an extreme (albeit,
fictional) example of the conflation of concepts. However, the amount
of reality the equation holds is yet to be seen.  The idea that
freedom can be conflated with slavery, i.e., that the lack of
constraints could be conflated with the reality of constraints, is
something that may seem unfathomable to the reader. Alas! Less extreme
examples of such a thing very much do exist and yet people dismiss
their critics as mere pedants and semantically-obsessed buffoons! I
will examine the examples of conflations of concepts via the misuse of
words in the following manner: an equation, the usage, and an expanded
concept form. Here is the representation of the phrase “freedom is
Equation: A = !A
Word Usage: Using freedom to mean slavery.
Expanded: The lack of restraints is being restrained.
The expanded form may seem fairly useless as of now, but it will be of
utmost importance later on. In the phrase “freedom is slavery”, we see
two clear concepts being made equivalent and therefore this may not
seem to be a very realistic example or have anything to do with
misusing words. Whether it is possible isn’t something I would highly
doubt, but I am not certain of it. Although the phrase itself does not
have any misuse of words, the important thing to contemplate is what
would happen if freedom were actually used to mean slavery.
I will now introduce the General Equation that we need: A = B, i.e.,
some concept is the same as some other concept. Although A = B is the
General Equation, it is only adequate to a point. We will have to use
special case equations for a deeper understanding of individual
scenarios. Now, let us examine a very misused word: pedophile. A
pedophile is someone who is sexually attracted to children. However,
the word is often used to mean someone who rapes children.  This
misuse of the word pedophile conflates having a sexual attraction to
children with raping them. Thus, we have a conflation of concepts via
the misuse of words. Here is a representation:
Equation: A = B
Word Usage: Using pedophilia to mean rape.
Expanded: Being attracted to children is raping children.
This example shows why the expanded concept form is important.
Pedophilia, a word meaning the sexual attraction to children is made
to mean raping children. Making these two concepts equivalent allows
for condemning people based merely on their sexual attractions to not
look so bigoted. I can only speculate as to whether there is some
mastermind behind this confusion or whether it came up organically.
Either way, it is something that needs to be rectified. I believe the
reader should compare this to how the words homosexual and
homosexuality used to be treated (and still are by some). Let us take
a look at how a people who are against homosexuality treat the word.
Homosexuality is often used to mean, by homophobes, a homosexual who
has homosexual sex. The reason for this conflation is different than
the pedophilia one, though. In this case, the misuse is used so that,
while disliking homosexuals, one can accept homosexuals who don’t
engage in homosexual sex.  Religious homophobic homosexuals do not
identify as homosexuals. I have not investigated this conflation as
throughly as my previous, and my next example, so I will leave this as
something the reader can contemplate. Before moving on, here is
Equation: A = B
Word Usage: Using racism to mean systematic racial discrimination.
Expanded: Racial discrimination is systematic racial discrimination.
Is it often that case that people do not directly state that
pedophilia is raping children, but instead they may state, as with the
homophobes, that it is having sex with them. Having sex with someone
is different than raping them, however, having sex with a child is
considered equivalent to rape regardless of consent. Thus we see the
Simple Form of the equation: A = C. At first appearance, this
distinction may seem meaningless. The Simple Form could be represented
as A = B or A = X or with any other combination of letters. Before
examining A = C further, we should make note of the Apparent Form. The
Apparent Form of “pedophilia is rape” is A = B, although in this case,
it is not pedophilia = rape, but instead, pedophilia = adult-child
sex. The distinction between the Simple Form and the Apparent Form is
that the Simple Form is a representation of the conflation that is
actually going on, i.e., that pedophilia = rape, while the Apparent
Form is the conflation that seems to be going on. I hope that the True
Form is obvious now. The True Form is A = B = C. In other words, some
concept equals some other concept that is equal to some other concept.
There is also one other equation required for the representation of
this conflation: B = C. Here is a representation of all that’s been
Equation: A = C (Simple Form)
Expanded: The sexual attraction to children is rape.
Equation: A = B (Apparent Form)
Expanded: The sexual attraction to children is adult-child sex.
Equation: B = C
Expanded: Adult-child sex is rape.
Equation: A = B = C (True Form)
Expanded: The sexual attraction to children is adult-child sex is
The final step here would be to go back to the General Form, but that
has already been represented above. A = B = C could also be used to
equate racism with racial discrimination by Whites. One would have the
B = C be “systematic racial discrimination is racial discrimination by
Whites”. Although, in that case, if one accepts that Whites are the
ruling race, systematic racial discrimination would have to be racial
discrimination by Whites. Although, that semi-truth would not apply in
countries where non-Whites rule.
We could further examine the racism example and come up with the
following equation: A = A*, i.e., some concept is equal to some
variation of that concept. In this case, it would be that racial
discrimination is equal to some type of racial discrimination.
Although this distinction could be made, I don’t think elaborating on
it further would add much to this discussion.
One might ask whether misusing words in the way described would lead
to the conflations described. After all, most words have multiple
meanings, yet there is no conflation of the concepts (although, there
might be a confusion about what meaning is being used). The problem
herein described arises not from the word simply having multiple
meanings, but the separate meanings being used interchangeably and the
word meaning two separate concepts simultaneously, or the appearance
of that. Whereas, in the normal case of words having multiple
meanings, two distinct meanings are used, but at different times and,
generally, in clear contexts. When using W word both the real A
meaning is being implied (purposefully or not) as well as the B
meaning. Even if the A or B meaning is not explicitly being implied,
to all, save those who know the jargon, the meaning will be implied.
The conflation could also arise from the confusion of the two meanings
in one’s mind, i.e., the appearance of what was earlier described,
without any deliberate misuse. Racism generally means racial
discrimination in general; to a layman racism means racial
discrimination, however, the word is also used as jargon by certain
Although I believe that the possibility of the conflations I have
hitherto described are obvious, I feel compelled to give a more
detailed account of the process of concepts being conflated in the
manner earlier described. For this, I will use an example of the first
equation given, A = !A. The reason being that extreme examples tend to
be easier to work with.
Imagine being told up is down. You already know up is up and down is
down; do not imagine being an imbecile or an infant. Now, in this
hypothetical world, everyone starts using the word “up” to mean “down”
and vice versa. And this has been going on for years. The next
generation of humans are taught that “up” means “down”, however, their
parents still have the memory of the time when “up” did not mean what
it does now, and indeed, meant the opposite. Surely, one can imagine
the confusion people might get from such a thing! Perhaps, more so,
one can imagine the confusion of the next generation when their
parents mistakenly use “up” to mean up! And when there hear it in old
movies, et al. Moreover, one can surely imagine that a conflation is
more likely to happen if such confusion was done purposefully. 
There are numerous other examples of this type of conflation, such as:
Communism, Fascism, etc. In the case of Communism, an economic system
is being conflated with a certain type of political system. In the
case of Fascism, a certain type of political system is being conflated
with numerous other political systems (e.g., Nazism), as well as
governments that are anti-freedom in general. 
The point of this essay was to examine the conflating of concepts via
the misuse of words, something that seems to not have been examined
very extensively hitherto. I hope I have made the reader more aware
of this phenomenon and that the reader will help rectify the misuse of
words that leads to such conflations.
 There may very well be a real example of A = !A, but I am not
familiar with it.
 It might be more accurate to say the word is often used to mean
someone who has sex with children, but having sex with children is
oft considered equivalent to raping them. This will be elaborated on
 I am less sure that this is the reason for the misuse than when I
wrote this passage. Regardless, it’s possible inaccuracy does not
affect the essay in general.
 See my essay “A Critical Analysis of Artistic Marxism”.
 I am not attempting to claim this example is possible, although,
it may indeed be. This fictional example is merely an illustration.
 It may seem there is a contradiction that a concept is being
conflated with various concepts via the misuse of some word. However,
I never claimed the contrary. Such examples would serve little
purpose. The conflations herein described are of a subjective nature,
and therefore, a conflation existing in one’s mind need not exist in
another’s. And multiple contradictory conflations may exist in one’s