Precision of expression is neither taught nor appreciated in a culture that has prostituted language in the service of propaganda. To the degree that we consent to cheap hyperbole, flip slogans, and comfortably unexamined claims, we deprive ourselves of the felicity of expression that brings things worth looking at into focus – things like happiness, for instance, which comes so much clearer and seems so much richer when we see it displayed in an array of distinctive shades: merriment, blitheness, gaiety, delight, contentment, joy, bliss, felicity itself. But perhaps, if what I told my student is true, that happiness is a decision. We can fall prey to the flattening of words and experience, and so diminish the variety and quality of happiness worth pursuing and, by returning them to good and careful use, rediscover felicity.
From “Caring for Words In A Culture of Lies” by Marilyn McEntyre – Eerdmans Publishing