So, a few days ago I "defended" the use of an epithet, so I'm making this thread because, without further explanation and taking that thread severely off-topic, it makes me look like a bit of a prick. I put "defended" in quotation marks (twice now) because I wasn't actually defending it, rather I think the offence people infer upon language is counter-productive. Moron and imbecile were both medical terms, which were then co-opted by the larger public to label someone who did something incredibly stupid. Out of sensitivity the medical term was changed to retard, and guess what happened. Pinker called this the Euphemism Treadmill, and it isn't limited to epithets - There have been multiple variations of the term for toilet over the years so as to not cause offence in polite society. The term "black" can also cause offence depending on what part of the globe you're on, the list goes on and on. In America, for example, garbage collection turned in to sanitation, which turned in to environmental services. I am of the opinion that words do not equate to thoughts, so by policing language one simply pushes that language further along the treadmill; That's all the progress it can manage, but it also has a digressive effect in giving the true bigots a verboten language road map with which to navigate society while hiding their bigotry. I'm not saying I'm right about this, just of-the-opinion, which I hold softly. What are your thoughts?