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Alexander Haig

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That's not a lie, it's a terminological inexactitude.
Defending himself against accusations of lying in 1983. Quoted by Rutledge, Leigh W., "Would I Lie To You?", Plume, 1998, ISBN 0-452-27931-3, p. 81.
This turn of phrase origninated with Winston Churchill in his 1906 election campaign.

Alexander Haig

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The conditions of the Transvaal ordinance under which Chinese Labour is now being carried on do not, in my opinion, constitute a state of slavery. A labour contract into which men enter voluntarily for a limited and for a brief period, under which they are paid wages which they consider adequate, under which they are not bought or sold and from which they can obtain relief on payment of seventeen pounds ten shillings, the cost of their passage, may not be a healthy or proper contract, but it cannot in the opinion of His Majesty's Government be classified as slavery in the extreme acceptance of the word without some risk of terminological inexactitude.

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The problem here is not so much a historical one, more a terminological and philosophical one.

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The politician is trained in the art of inexactitude. His words tend to be blunt or rounded, because if they have a cutting edge they may later return to wound him.

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Even the word depression itself was the terminological product of an effort to soften the connotation of deep trouble. In the last century, the term crisis was normally employed. With time, however, this acquired the connotation of the misfortune it described.

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Nothing endures, nothing is precise and certain (except the mind of a pedant), perfection is the mere repudiation of that ineluctable marginal inexactitude which is the mysterious inmost quality of Being. Being, indeed! there is no being, but a universal becoming of individualities, and Plato turned his back os truth when he turned towards his museum of specific ideals.

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