You know the old adage: Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me.

And yet people seem to take great offense … to things I find rather innocuous.

I was listening to Boortz on the radio the other day and a caller referred to someone as being a NeoCon, causing Boortz to go on a rampage. Apparently, he found the word offensive.

NeoCon, by definition means, new conservative. Originally it defined former liberals who became conservatives, but is now used as a synonym for warmonger. It’s the Democrats way of saying, “that new uber-right-wing brand of conservatives.”

Then there’s the other side of that coin: liberal.

Most Democrats try to avoid that label as though it were a disease. And many Republicans like to paint Democrats with that label … as though it were a disease.

We spend a lot of time worrying about labels. Our own labels. Labels for other people. We can’t just “be.” We have to be defined.

I used to define myself as a “conservative Democrat,” which I later realized is really a Libertarian. At least by my own definition. I could also be defined as a “liberal conservative.”

Funny thing is, these labels are only offensive if you let them be. They can be meant as offensive – often times indicated by the tone in which they’re stated – but unless you allow yourself to be offended, who cares?

That’s where the whole “sticks and stones” thing come from. Names will never hurt you … unless you’re a ninny about it. If you decide to allow yourself to be offended based on what someone else calls you, that’s your problem.

There’s honor is both liberalism and conservatism. Even NeoConservatism … well, except the war-mongering part … which, of course is the definition made up by “the other side.”

I guess the moral of this little story is: If you let others define you, you deserve whatever definition they come up with. If you define yourself, names will never hurt you.