1083: "Writing Styles"

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Re: 1083: "Writing Styles"

Postby jc » Thu Jul 19, 2012 4:04 pm UTC

VanI wrote:
bmonk wrote:In accordance with prophesy.


Tragically, it remains unfulfilled, due to the untimely misuse of the verb "prophesy" instead of the noun "prophecy".


Hey, thanks for pointing out that nice example of the perversity of the English spelling, uh, "system". ;-) I hadn't noticed that one consciously (though my subconscious clearly knows about it, because I read them both correctly). That pair of words will come in handy when someone makes sanity claims about English spelling.

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Re: 1083: "Writing Styles"

Postby J Thomas » Thu Jul 19, 2012 5:26 pm UTC

jc wrote:
VanI wrote:
bmonk wrote:In accordance with prophesy.


Tragically, it remains unfulfilled, due to the untimely misuse of the verb "prophesy" instead of the noun "prophecy".


Hey, thanks for pointing out that nice example of the perversity of the English spelling, uh, "system". ;-) I hadn't noticed that one consciously (though my subconscious clearly knows about it, because I read them both correctly). That pair of words will come in handy when someone makes sanity claims about English spelling.


There are lots of examples of this sort of thing in english, right?

Justice noun
justise verb

capcision noun
capsize verb

normalcy noun
normalize verb

democracy noun
democratize verb (pronounced "conquer")

malarkey noun
malarse verb

You can't make this stuff up.
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Re: 1083: "Writing Styles"

Postby blowfishhootie » Thu Jul 19, 2012 5:31 pm UTC

Can't make what up? Words with close but different meanings having close but different spellings?

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Re: 1083: "Writing Styles"

Postby J Thomas » Thu Jul 19, 2012 5:42 pm UTC

blowfishhootie wrote:Can't make what up? Words with close but different meanings having close but different spellings?


Noun and verb forms having similar but unpredictable spellings.

But I have to admit, you can make this stuff up.
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Re: 1083: "Writing Styles"

Postby blowfishhootie » Thu Jul 19, 2012 5:50 pm UTC

On the contrary, many of the spellings are quite predictable.

For one thing, "justise" is not a word in English. It is not in either of my dictionaries, including the OED. Wiktionary says it is Old French. The verb linked to "justice" would be "judge" or "adjudicate" or possibly even something else depending on the context. Capcision is also not a word I've ever seen, and it also is not in the OED. Perhaps that would explain why you don't know how to spell them.

Capsize, normalize, and democratize all (predictably) end in the suffix -ize. Because that is one of the ways we make verbs in English. Normalcy and democracy also, not coincidentally, have a common ending.

And if capcision WERE a word, it would be easy to figure out what it means. Why? Because -sion is a common ending for nouns in English, so it's probably a noun related to capsizing (again, speaking hypothetically, because it appears to be a word you made up).

I'm not saying there isn't some ridiculous spelling in English, the language has gone through some dramatic pronunciation shifts that have made some of the spellings obsolete. (EDIT: And beyond that, the language has been so heavily influenced by so many outside languages that there are definitely many words of all parts of speech that don't conform to these or other regular forms. "Judge" is an example of that.) But the examples you've offered don't demonstrate that. Just because you don't explicitly know the rules used for predicting these spellings doesn't mean the rules don't exist. If you are a native English speaker you know these rules subconsciously.

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Re: 1083: "Writing Styles"

Postby flicky1991 » Thu Jul 19, 2012 6:27 pm UTC

blowfishhootie wrote:For one thing, "justise" is not a word in English. It is not in either of my dictionaries, including the OED. Wiktionary says it is Old French. The verb linked to "justice" would be "judge" or "adjudicate" or possibly even something else depending on the context. Capcision is also not a word I've ever seen, and it also is not in the OED. Perhaps that would explain why you don't know how to spell them.

Look at the post above yours. He was doing it intentionally...
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Re: 1083: "Writing Styles"

Postby sam_i_am » Thu Jul 19, 2012 6:32 pm UTC

VanI wrote:
bmonk wrote:
JetstreamGW wrote:The forum button seems to have vanished again...

And yet, here we are.

In accordance with prophesy.


Tragically, it remains unfulfilled, due to the untimely misuse of the verb "prophesy" instead of the noun "prophecy".


Would you mind demonstrating the use of the word "prophesy" as a verb?

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Re: 1083: "Writing Styles"

Postby blowfishhootie » Thu Jul 19, 2012 6:35 pm UTC

I'm not familiar with the spelling either. Two examples from my dictionary:

- Jacques was prophesying a bumper harvest.

- The papers prophesied that he would resign after the weekend.

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Re: 1083: "Writing Styles"

Postby jpers36 » Thu Jul 19, 2012 6:44 pm UTC

sam_i_am wrote:Would you mind demonstrating the use of the word "prophesy" as a verb?


ESV Bible wrote:1 Samuel 10
Saul Anointed King

5 "After that you shall come to Gibeath-elohim, where there is a garrison of the Philistines. And there, as soon as you come to the city, you will meet a group of prophets coming down from the high place with harp, tambourine, flute, and lyre before them, prophesying. 6 Then the Spirit of the Lord will rush upon you, and you will prophesy with them and be turned into another man. 7 Now when these signs meet you, do what your hand finds to do, for God is with you. 8 Then go down before me to Gilgal. And behold, I am coming down to you to offer burnt offerings and to sacrifice peace offerings. Seven days you shall wait, until I come to you and show you what you shall do.”

9 When he turned his back to leave Samuel, God gave him another heart. And all these signs came to pass that day. 10 When they came to Gibeah, behold, a group of prophets met him, and the Spirit of God rushed upon him, and he prophesied among them. 11 And when all who knew him previously saw how he prophesied with the prophets, the people said to one another, “What has come over the son of Kish? Is Saul also among the prophets?” 12 And a man of the place answered, “And who is their father?” Therefore it became a proverb, “Is Saul also among the prophets?” 13 When he had finished prophesying, he came to the high place.


*edited to bold a couple instances I missed

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Re: 1083: "Writing Styles"

Postby VanI » Thu Jul 19, 2012 6:48 pm UTC

sam_i_am wrote:
VanI wrote:
bmonk wrote:
JetstreamGW wrote:The forum button seems to have vanished again...

And yet, here we are.

In accordance with prophesy.


Tragically, it remains unfulfilled, due to the untimely misuse of the verb "prophesy" instead of the noun "prophecy".


Would you mind demonstrating the use of the word "prophesy" as a verb?


"Let it be known throughout the land that I hereby prophesy the end of the world when, in a fit of misplaced misanthropy, Randall begins cloning velociraptors."

Any other questions?
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Re: 1083: "Writing Styles"

Postby Kira Nerys » Thu Jul 19, 2012 7:32 pm UTC

sam_i_am wrote:Would you mind demonstrating the use of the word "prophesy" as a verb?

Prophesy! I command it!

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Re: 1083: "Writing Styles"

Postby Achaern » Thu Jul 19, 2012 10:31 pm UTC

I had this same experience recently with the internet. Have a look: http://www.shareurpic.com/images/380Feen.jpg

Unfortunately I'm green on this board so the image tags are clearly not working. Either I fail, don't understand the board rules, or I suck. Anyways, this internet is a strange place. Have a look at the image.

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Re: 1083: "Writing Styles"

Postby Achaern » Thu Jul 19, 2012 11:30 pm UTC

http://www.shareurpic.com/images/380Feen.jpg I'm new here, so either I'm not permitted to post Zee BBcode or I just suck. Anyways, this comic reminded of an experience I had recently, one shared with that linked image. The idea being that the Urban Dictionary was the definition I was searching for, and the other definition was pulled out of Google's bum.

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Re: 1083: "Writing Styles"

Postby Max™ » Fri Jul 20, 2012 2:22 am UTC

Achaern wrote:I had this same experience recently with the internet. Have a look:
Image

Unfortunately I'm green on this board so the image tags are clearly not working. Either I fail, don't understand the board rules, or I suck. Anyways, this internet is a strange place. Have a look at the image.

*magics your post to work*
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Re: 1083: "Writing Styles"

Postby ivnja » Fri Jul 20, 2012 3:37 am UTC

Achaern wrote:Unfortunately I'm green on this board so the image tags are clearly not working. Either I fail, don't understand the board rules, or I suck. Anyways, this internet is a strange place.

Psssssst......forum rules thread. The :arrow:s at the bottom of the first post will answer your implicit question. (I think it's the middle of the three options you listed)
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Re: 1083: "Writing Styles"

Postby RebeccaRGB » Fri Jul 20, 2012 4:53 am UTC

J Thomas wrote:Justice noun
justise verb

When I was little I thought there was a verb "verbose" (pronounced /ˌvɹ̩ˈboz/) that meant "to make verbose" (pronounced /ˌvɹ̩ˈbos/). I saw it in the man page for PKZIP.EXE (-v = verbose output).
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Re: 1083: "Writing Styles"

Postby m_k_s » Fri Jul 20, 2012 5:03 am UTC

I assumed the the Ronpaul quote was meant to sound like a teenager because a nontrivial segment of the Redditing population (and probably of many other internet fora) consists of passionately libertarian teenagers. I haven't used Reddit in a long time, but when I used to have an account, I used to be one of those, albeit a much milder one. I think the joke wasn't that it's a naive statement but that making a legitimately serious political statement is something you're more likely to see from a teenager posting in a forum than from a senator who's too busy with pointless, poorly-composed tweets. It's a role-reversal thing.

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Re: 1083: "Writing Styles"

Postby Yosarian2 » Fri Jul 20, 2012 1:12 pm UTC

J Thomas wrote:
Yosarian2 wrote:
SpiritOfRock wrote:
blowfishhootie wrote:There is nothing weird about this. The Ron Paul quote sounds like a teenager not because of the grammar, but because of the (perceived, I guess) naivety and ignorance of the comment. The author seems to imply that he expects all good grammar to come from adults, and all poor grammar to come from kids, and there is zero basis whatsoever for that expectation.

EDIT: Why is there a code that changes Paul's name as two words with a space in the middle to "Ronpaul" on this board? If there is some kind of meaning there, I don't get it.


I don't think it's very naive or ignorant to think that the Ronpaul is the only one who offers a real choice. When he was running in the Republican primaries, he was the only candidate who was against the PATRIOT Act, the Drug War, and the NDAA, and the only candidate who people could be sure wouldn't go invading other countries on borrowed money. That's the kind of choice that people really care about, and I would say that the naive ones are the ones who would rather worry about abortion and gay marriage.


He also wants to get rid of all the income tax, the gas tax, and basically all national taxes, and balance the budget at the same time, which means he wants to basically get rid of the government. This would destroy the economy pretty much completely and leave us as a poor, third-world country for the next 50 years or so.

I mean, sure, it's a different choice, it's just a really bad one.


Sure, but if he actually did win the election. Congress would stop him as thoroughly as they stopped Obama. He wouldn't really get anything done. Except we might go 4 years without a war, which looks pretty unlikely for any of the other candidates.


All he would have to do is say "I'm not going to sign any budget that has any deficit or any income tax in it". That would shut down the government pretty fast. Yeah, a big majority in Congress could over-ride him, but I have trouble seeing the tea-party dominated house overriding a veto in order to get through higher taxes then the President wants.

Also, if a President wanted to use his executive power to basically shut down large parts of the government, it would be pretty hard to stop him. He or his appointee could basically just fire everyone in the EPA, for example. It's not clear if that's legal or constitutional, but it would be pretty hard to stop.

In general, if a politician actually says "I am going to do X", and X would be a horrible catastrophe, smart money is to take him at his word.

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Re: 1083: "Writing Styles"

Postby J Thomas » Fri Jul 20, 2012 2:09 pm UTC

Yosarian2 wrote:
J Thomas wrote:
Yosarian2 wrote:
He also wants to get rid of all the income tax, the gas tax, and basically all national taxes, and balance the budget at the same time, which means he wants to basically get rid of the government. This would destroy the economy pretty much completely and leave us as a poor, third-world country for the next 50 years or so.

I mean, sure, it's a different choice, it's just a really bad one.


Sure, but if he actually did win the election. Congress would stop him as thoroughly as they stopped Obama. He wouldn't really get anything done. Except we might go 4 years without a war, which looks pretty unlikely for any of the other candidates.


All he would have to do is say "I'm not going to sign any budget that has any deficit or any income tax in it". That would shut down the government pretty fast. Yeah, a big majority in Congress could over-ride him, but I have trouble seeing the tea-party dominated house overriding a veto in order to get through higher taxes then the President wants.

Also, if a President wanted to use his executive power to basically shut down large parts of the government, it would be pretty hard to stop him. He or his appointee could basically just fire everyone in the EPA, for example. It's not clear if that's legal or constitutional, but it would be pretty hard to stop.

In general, if a politician actually says "I am going to do X", and X would be a horrible catastrophe, smart money is to take him at his word.


But Ron_Paul has not said he would shut down the government in four years, any more than Reagan said he would bomb the USSR or eliminate Welfare. Everybody knew he wanted to do those things, but he didn't say he would and he didn't. Instead he did what he said he would do -- he gave a whole lot of money to military contractors, and he did it by a combination of reducing other programs somewhat and by deficit spending. He reduced taxes somewhat, resulting in more deficit spending. He promised to reduce the size of the federal government which he utterly failed to do since people were doing bad things and he needed to stop them, and the more you try to stop people the more government you need. And of course he promised to reduce the deficit, but he'd said if it turned out he couldn't do everything, the deficit was where he'd give up first.

Where I'd expect Ron_Paul to be different from Obama, is that he would strongly campaign for his ideals while he was in office. He'd talk bad about the legislators who were stopping him, and he'd work hard to get more libertarians elected in later elections. Obama tries to run a conciliatory, middle-of-the-road government and he mostly doesn't say anything that might insult Republican legislators or say anything they wouldn't want him to say. They have to stretch to get insulted anyway.
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Re: 1083: "Writing Styles"

Postby jpers36 » Fri Jul 20, 2012 3:00 pm UTC

Yosarian2 wrote:All he would have to do is say "I'm not going to sign any budget that has any deficit or any income tax in it". That would shut down the government pretty fast. Yeah, a big majority in Congress could over-ride him, but I have trouble seeing the tea-party dominated house overriding a veto in order to get through higher taxes then the President wants.


This is not at all to defend RP. But I'm confident this wouldn't shut down the government since, y'know, we've been charging ahead without a budget for a few years now.

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Re: 1083: "Writing Styles"

Postby Yosarian2 » Fri Jul 20, 2012 4:53 pm UTC

jpers36 wrote:
Yosarian2 wrote:All he would have to do is say "I'm not going to sign any budget that has any deficit or any income tax in it". That would shut down the government pretty fast. Yeah, a big majority in Congress could over-ride him, but I have trouble seeing the tea-party dominated house overriding a veto in order to get through higher taxes then the President wants.


This is not at all to defend RP. But I'm confident this wouldn't shut down the government since, y'know, we've been charging ahead without a budget for a few years now.


No, we've had a budget every year. There's big big fights about it, but there's always been a budget. And when it's delayed, there's been a bill to temporally keep funding everything until the next budget does pass.

If Congress doesn't approve money for something, it basically doesn't happen. I mean, if the President really wants he can juggle money for a little while to keep the lights on, but but not for long, and even that is kind of iffy.

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Re: 1083: "Writing Styles"

Postby Yosarian2 » Fri Jul 20, 2012 5:03 pm UTC

J Thomas wrote:But Ron_Paul has not said he would shut down the government in four years, any more than Reagan said he would bomb the USSR or eliminate Welfare Everybody knew he wanted to do those things, but he didn't say he would and he didn't. Instead he did what he said he would do -- he gave a whole lot of money to military contractors, and he did it by a combination of reducing other programs somewhat and by deficit spending. He reduced taxes somewhat, resulting in more deficit spending. He promised to reduce the size of the federal government which he utterly failed to do since people were doing bad things and he needed to stop them, and the more you try to stop people the more government you need. And of course he promised to reduce the deficit, but he'd said if it turned out he couldn't do everything, the deficit was where he'd give up first.


This is what Ron said he would do, on his campaign website.

http://www.ronpaul2012.com/the-issues/economy/

Scroll down to the part where it says "real solutions."


As President, the Ronpaul will lead the way out of this crisis by:

* Vetoing any unbalanced budget Congress sends to his desk.

* Refusing to further raise the debt ceiling so politicians can no longer spend recklessly.

* Fighting to fully audit (and then end) the Federal Reserve System, which has enabled the over 95% reduction of what our dollar can buy and continues to create money out of thin air to finance future debt.

* Legalizing sound money, so the government is forced to get serious about the dollar’s value.

* Driving down gas prices by allowing offshore drilling, abolishing highway motor fuel taxes, increasing the mileage reimbursement rates, and offering tax credits to individuals and businesses for the use and production of natural gas vehicles.

* Eliminating the income, capital gains, and death taxes to ensure you keep more of your hard-earned money and are able to pass on your legacy to your family without government interference.


He promises to:

-Eliminate the income tax, the capital gains tax, the estate tax, and the gas tax.

-Veto any unbalanced buget, veto any attempt to raise the debt cealing

-Get rid of the Federal Reserve completely

-Put us back on the gold standard (which is what he means when he talks about "sound money")

If he actually does that, if he gets rid of basically all taxes and all borrowing, refuses to pass any budget, and gets rid of the federal reserve, then yes, the govenrment would basically cease to exist due to lack of funds. The government won't even be able to pay for the interest on the debt if he does all of that, let alone do anything else.

And, yeah, because of Congress, he might not be able to do all of that. But he'll try, and if he does any part of that, or even just uses the veto power to screw up raising the debt ceiling and passing sane budgets, it'll destroy us.

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Re: 1083: "Writing Styles"

Postby jpers36 » Fri Jul 20, 2012 5:07 pm UTC

Yosarian2 wrote:
jpers36 wrote:
Yosarian2 wrote:All he would have to do is say "I'm not going to sign any budget that has any deficit or any income tax in it". That would shut down the government pretty fast. Yeah, a big majority in Congress could over-ride him, but I have trouble seeing the tea-party dominated house overriding a veto in order to get through higher taxes then the President wants.


This is not at all to defend RP. But I'm confident this wouldn't shut down the government since, y'know, we've been charging ahead without a budget for a few years now.


No, we've had a budget every year. There's big big fights about it, but there's always been a budget. And when it's delayed, there's been a bill to temporally keep funding everything until the next budget does pass.

If Congress doesn't approve money for something, it basically doesn't happen. I mean, if the President really wants he can juggle money for a little while to keep the lights on, but but not for long, and even that is kind of iffy.


We've had appropriations bills with no budgets for over 3 years now. The last time a budget resolution passed both houses was the FY 2010 budget in April 2009.

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Re: 1083: "Writing Styles"

Postby J Thomas » Fri Jul 20, 2012 6:16 pm UTC

Yosarian2 wrote:
J Thomas wrote:But Ron_Paul has not said he would shut down the government in four years, any more than Reagan said he would bomb the USSR or eliminate Welfare Everybody knew he wanted to do those things, but he didn't say he would and he didn't. Instead he did what he said he would do -- he gave a whole lot of money to military contractors, and he did it by a combination of reducing other programs somewhat and by deficit spending. He reduced taxes somewhat, resulting in more deficit spending. He promised to reduce the size of the federal government which he utterly failed to do since people were doing bad things and he needed to stop them, and the more you try to stop people the more government you need. And of course he promised to reduce the deficit, but he'd said if it turned out he couldn't do everything, the deficit was where he'd give up first.


This is what Ron said he would do, on his campaign website.

http://www.ronpaul2012.com/the-issues/economy/

Scroll down to the part where it says "real solutions."


http://www.4president.org/brochures/rea ... chure1.htm
"He will not rely on bigger government with more spending. That hasn't worked. The answer is better government, and Ronald Reagan can provide it.

What about inflation? It's a disaster, because the government continues to spend billions of dollars more than it takes in. Ronald Reagan calls for a ceiling on Federal spending and a crackdown on waste. At the same time, he favors incentive tax cuts to increase economic productivity."

Admittedly, Ron_Paul is talking about more drastic changes. But he calls for changes in the same direction except that Reagan drasticly increased military spending "for peace" while Ron_Paul wants to reduce it.

Reagan did not in fact reduce the size of government, or inflation, or get anything like a real ceiling on Federal spending. He did get tax cuts intended to increase economic productivity and I have seen no particularly credible evidence that they increased economic productivity.

I haven't seen anything about just how Ron_Paul wants to get rid of the Fed. (Or how he'd do it, without Congress disbanding the Fed. He can't deny it funding. I guess he could send in Marines with bayonets and make them evacuate the buildings....) If the Fed were to disappear, who would inherit the US debt it owns? What about the vast civilian debt, Fed money that is loaned by member banks? They borrow at the Fed's rate and lend at their rate. If it turned out the US government owns the Fed's share of the national debt and also the Fed's share of bank loans, that would do a lot to reduce the debt -- on paper.

Presumably he would need some other way to regulate the banking system. The Fed tried to regulate the banks without a whole lot of government interference. The theory was that if we got too much politics in our monetary theory it would be bad for us. That's probably right. On the other hand, having the whole thing run by bankers whose first priority is profits for their banks is probably not ideal either. I could imagine he might have some workable idea to replace the Fed, but I haven't heard anything about what it is. Maybe he doesn't have a workable idea, or maybe he thinks revealing it would make him unpopular with voters, or get him assassinated by professionals hired by somebody who has a lot of money, like maybe a cabal of bankers.

Or maybe despite all his talk of freedom he really only wants freedom for giant corporations and the richest of the rich. It's hard to be sure without knowing the details.

Well, but here we are seriously discussing what might happen if Ron_Paul got elected! He doesn't have a chance. Ron_Paul is no Hitler.
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Re: 1083: "Writing Styles"

Postby Max™ » Sat Jul 21, 2012 12:53 am UTC

Fucking US only definitions of shit.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Libertarianism

Political scholars such as Noam Chomsky assert that in most countries the terms "libertarian" and "libertarianism" are synonymous with left anarchism.[9] It is only in the United States that the term libertarian is commonly associated with those who have conservative positions on economic issues and liberal positions on social issues, going by the common meanings of "conservative" and "liberal" in the United States.[10]


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Libertarian_communist

Yes, there is no contradiction whatsoever in the term libertarian communist. While the US Libertarian party is a contradiction given form. I hate that they've hijacked a word to mean whatever they want it to mean, so far as to make it associated with even vaguely conservative strongly pro-capitalist positions.
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Re: 1083: "Writing Styles"

Postby Achaern » Sat Jul 21, 2012 12:56 am UTC

ivnja wrote:
Achaern wrote:Unfortunately I'm green on this board so the image tags are clearly not working. Either I fail, don't understand the board rules, or I suck. Anyways, this internet is a strange place.

Psssssst......*snip* The :arrow:s at the bottom of the first post will answer your implicit question. (I think it's the middle of the three options you listed)
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Re: 1083: "Writing Styles"

Postby Pfhorrest » Sat Jul 21, 2012 2:17 am UTC

Max™ wrote:I hate that they've hijacked a word to mean whatever they want it to mean, so far as to make it associated with even vaguely conservative strongly pro-capitalist positions.

There's every good reason for libertarians (in the non-US-biased sense of the term, as in, what used to be called liberals, also in the non-US-biased sense of that term) to associate themselves with free markets.

The problem is associating free markets with capitalism into this nonsense term "free market capitalism". "Capitalism" was invented as a pejorative term, and it's done nothing but harm for market advocates to associate themselves with it.

Of course it also doesn't help that many too professed proponents of "free" markets really mean "markets that nobody can control and manipulate to their advantage but me, when I inevitably rise to power once everyone else is out of my way". And that many too many of those who really would like a truly free market don't realize that what those aforementioned guys want is what they're really going to get unless they're very, very careful.

Hobbes's advocacy of absolute monarchy has been criticized as feeding oneself to a lion to escape the wolves, which I think is an apt analogy; but it seems too many are now eager to let the wolves into the den to kill that nasty lion, blind to the fact that leaves them alone in a den of wolves. I'll skip the hungry predators of either variety, thankyouverymuch.
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Re: 1083: "Writing Styles"

Postby blowfishhootie » Sat Jul 21, 2012 2:35 am UTC

So if you don't want an authoritarian government (the lion) or democracy (the pack of wolves), what do you want? I know you're using the pack of wolves to refer to capitalism, but democracy is just as apt for that metaphor, isn't it? If you're advocating socialism and/or communism, how do you get there without either of the predators?

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Re: 1083: "Writing Styles"

Postby Max™ » Sat Jul 21, 2012 2:56 am UTC

blowfishhootie wrote:So if you don't want an authoritarian government (the lion) or democracy (the pack of wolves), what do you want? I know you're using the pack of wolves to refer to capitalism, but democracy is just as apt for that metaphor, isn't it? If you're advocating socialism and/or communism, how do you get there without either of the predators?

Very carefully.
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Re: 1083: "Writing Styles"

Postby J Thomas » Sat Jul 21, 2012 4:49 am UTC

blowfishhootie wrote:So if you don't want an authoritarian government (the lion) or democracy (the pack of wolves), what do you want? I know you're using the pack of wolves to refer to capitalism, but democracy is just as apt for that metaphor, isn't it? If you're advocating socialism and/or communism, how do you get there without either of the predators?


It's like a stool with three legs.

The first leg is tradition. People accept ideas about who deserves what because they agree that everybody else believes them and they're all willing to go along. When tradition says you have some rights then often a lot of people will stand up for those rights. It's kind of arbitrary what rights tradition gives you, but they're yours because people say so.

The second leg is people who have the right to have a lot of power. The traditions will have arbitrary bits that let some people get that. Special access to resources, special access to markets, etc. They have something they can give to their friends and their friends back them up.

The third leg is people who have authority. They have the right to punish people who disobey them. There are limitations on their rights, typically from tradition and sometimes by sheer public opinion.

You can dream up systems you think will be better than whatever system you're living under. But to change to that system you will need to change the traditions of your culture, and get past the people who have power and the people who can punish you. It can be done if enough people agree.

Like, the USA had traditions about personal rights, that were supposed to apply to anybody. In general they did not apply to people who did not have public approval like homeless people, or minorities who lacked money and influence. But they applied to a whole lot of people. It was the tradition and it was hard even for powerful people to flout it. But then on 9/11 a whole lot of people were so shocked that they were willing to give up their traditions. They were willing to give their government the de facto right to do anything it wanted to them, because they were so afraid of suicidal terrorists. Officially the government would only do things to suspected terrorists, but the public gave up the right to find out whether it was only being done to terrorists. They gave their government the legal right to kidnap them and not tell anybody it had them or where they were etc. Legally the government did not have the right to -- for example -- kill them. But since it had the right not to tell anybody what it did to them, that amounts to the right to kill them. Two centuries of gradually changing traditions, gone in one day.

I have some ideas how we might build a society that had a whole lot of freedom, where there was more room for personal initiative, where there would be much more wealth for civilians to share and where the few who objected to mild limits on their ability to grab way more than their share could get psychological help for that. But how would I find a society which already had the needed traditions? Could we somehow build new traditions quickly, that people would respect even though they were new?

When the society mostly has a consensus that something is wrong and it has to stop, governments and powerful people usually get out of the way. When a great many people are ready to stand up and say they will not put up with something, when they are ready to die if necessary to stop it, it will stop. When they get punished with deadly force and they will not obey, and there are too many to kill, the system fails. People will do that when their traditions tell them to. They will not do that just because they see it's a good idea.

So I'm happy to discuss what a good system would look like, and what it would take to maintain it. But there's a thick blanket of unreality about that sort of talk, because citizens don't design governments. Governments design citizens. If you want to make a change that doesn't take centuries, you probably will need to do something as effective as 9/11. But I hope it would be something much nicer.
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Re: 1083: "Writing Styles"

Postby Pfhorrest » Sat Jul 21, 2012 4:56 am UTC

blowfishhootie wrote:So if you don't want an authoritarian government (the lion) or democracy (the pack of wolves), what do you want? I know you're using the pack of wolves to refer to capitalism, but democracy is just as apt for that metaphor, isn't it?

Democracy and authoritarianism aren't opposites, they're orthogonal to each other. It's popular to conflate liberty with democracy but they two come apart easily: you can have an authoritarian democracy, and you could have a liberal autocracy. One is an issue of who holds the power and the other is an issue of how that power is exercised. The only direct causal connection between them is that power exercised in a restrained and tempered manner, by whoever holds it, used only to restrain and temper the misuse of power, granting liberty to all, leads to something vaguely "democratic", in the sense that everyone has an equal (though equally limited) say in things; and so it might be more likely for a democracy to exercise power thusly, but that is not guaranteed, and democratic power nevertheless might be (and often is) exercised tyrannically anyway.

Max™ wrote:
blowfishhootie wrote:If you're advocating socialism and/or communism, how do you get there without either of the predators?

Very carefully.

That's basically my answer, though I would hesitate to say I'm advocating socialism or communism as those terms are easily (and most commonly) interpreted to mean something very unlike what I advocate; but then so is the most appropriate term for it, anarchism.

Thoreau put it well, that a good government is one that governs least, that the best government is one that governs not at all, and most importantly that when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government they will have.* No system of government will stop corrupt people from abusing the power granted to them; the only hope for ever having truly just governance is for enough people to understand and care about justice, at least enough to correctly defer to other people who understand and care about justice better than they do; so long as we have masses of stupid, apathetic, and outright malicious people either seizing power or granting it to other stupid, apathetic, and outright malicious people, no good can come of it. And any form of government always derives its power from at least tacit acceptance by the people; even an emperor is powerless if the serfs all rise up against him. So all we can really meaningfully ask is "What kind of government would be enacted if people who understood and cared about justice were in power?" -- on which matter I agree largely with Thoreau here -- and then, the really hard part, "How can we get enough people to understand and care about justice that the balance of power tips that way?"

*(I would amend that slightly depending on what significance we want to attach to "govern"; I make a distinction between a state and a government, and advocate for stateless government; for having social institutions which serve important functions protecting people from each other and so on, but without granting those institutions any special authority above and beyond that of ordinary people, as ordinary people are the only thing around to govern us. I make an analogy [hi Catmando] to the cosmological argument for God: some say everything comes from something else, therefore there must be something from which everything else came, which didn't come from something else... and fail to see that that abbreviates to "everything comes from something else, therefore there is something that didn't come from anything else". The political analogue of that is when people say that people can't be trusted to regulate their own behavior, therefore there must be some other agency to regulate them, who we must trust to regulate their own behavior... or to quote the good Book, "A government is a body of people, usually notably ungoverned.")
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Re: 1083: "Writing Styles"

Postby bmonk » Mon Jul 23, 2012 3:43 am UTC

J Thomas wrote:
jc wrote:
VanI wrote:
bmonk wrote:In accordance with prophesy.


Tragically, it remains unfulfilled, due to the untimely misuse of the verb "prophesy" instead of the noun "prophecy".


Hey, thanks for pointing out that nice example of the perversity of the English spelling, uh, "system". ;-) I hadn't noticed that one consciously (though my subconscious clearly knows about it, because I read them both correctly). That pair of words will come in handy when someone makes sanity claims about English spelling.


There are lots of examples of this sort of thing in english, right?

Justice noun
justise verb

capcision noun
capsize verb

normalcy noun
normalize verb

democracy noun
democratize verb (pronounced "conquer")

malarkey noun
malarse verb

You can't make this stuff up.


So. It has come to this.
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Re: 1083: "Writing Styles"

Postby KrytenKoro » Mon Jul 23, 2012 11:20 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:I make an analogy [hi Catmando] to the cosmological argument for God: some say everything comes from something else, therefore there must be something from which everything else came, which didn't come from something else... and fail to see that that abbreviates to "everything comes from something else, therefore there is something that didn't come from anything else".

This doesn't really affect your argument about politics, since that works on its own, but the analogy here is false. You're omitting a crucial part of the cosmological argument, in that "1.Every finite and contingent being has a cause."

To be pedantic, I'd argue you're making the same kind of flaw in your argument against a government, since "people" and "body" are not synonymous, and in reality the people of a government are often regulated at the same level as the "commoners". As a body, no, it isn't regulated in the same manner, but then we're basically getting into the "are corporations people" argument.
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Re: 1083: "Writing Styles"

Postby rattusprat » Tue Jul 24, 2012 10:30 am UTC

Let me start by saying I am an Australian citizin living in Australia, and would generally consider myself a left wing/pinko/commie/greenie/socialist than any kind of fiscal conservative. However, if I had the oppertunity to vote in the upcoming US election, and Ronpaul was on the ballot, I would vote for Ronpaul.

I would be willing to put up with 4 years of ultra-conservative minimalist government to support Ronpaul's plan to abolish the Federal Reserve - the Federal Reserve that Woodrow Wilson regretted signing into existance years after his presidency.

Yosarian2 wrote:If he actually does that, if he gets rid of basically all taxes and all borrowing, refuses to pass any budget, and gets rid of the federal reserve, then yes, the govenrment would basically cease to exist due to lack of funds. The government won't even be able to pay for the interest on the debt if he does all of that, let alone do anything else.

You may be missing the point. The government only has such massive interest payments to make because the current system is broken. The "sound money" I would expect would be "debt free" money, printed and controlled by the government, as per the original greenbacks issued during the civil war. This is in contrast to the current "debt based" money printed and controlled by the (private) Federal Reserve, loaned to the American public at interest, requiring more money to be conjured and loaned by the Federal Reserve in the future to pay off the interest.

The perpetual inflation & ever growing debt-ceiling is a requirement of the current system to continually borrow more money to pay off interest on previously borrowed money. To simplify, a Ponzi scheme.

Abolish the Federal Reserve, go back to debt free money controlled by the government, and eliminate the requirement for perpetual inflation (and perpetual population growth and increasing rate of utilizing scarce natural resources) from the system.

The only real choice.

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Re: 1083: "Writing Styles"

Postby J Thomas » Tue Jul 24, 2012 1:55 pm UTC

rattusprat wrote:Let me start by saying I am an Australian citizin living in Australia, and would generally consider myself a left wing/pinko/commie/greenie/socialist than any kind of fiscal conservative. However, if I had the oppertunity to vote in the upcoming US election, and Ronpaul was on the ballot, I would vote for Ronpaul.

I would be willing to put up with 4 years of ultra-conservative minimalist government to support Ronpaul's plan to abolish the Federal Reserve - the Federal Reserve that Woodrow Wilson regretted signing into existance years after his presidency.

Yosarian2 wrote:If he actually does that, if he gets rid of basically all taxes and all borrowing, refuses to pass any budget, and gets rid of the federal reserve, then yes, the govenrment would basically cease to exist due to lack of funds. The government won't even be able to pay for the interest on the debt if he does all of that, let alone do anything else.

You may be missing the point. The government only has such massive interest payments to make because the current system is broken. The "sound money" I would expect would be "debt free" money, printed and controlled by the government, as per the original greenbacks issued during the civil war. This is in contrast to the current "debt based" money printed and controlled by the (private) Federal Reserve, loaned to the American public at interest, requiring more money to be conjured and loaned by the Federal Reserve in the future to pay off the interest.

The perpetual inflation & ever growing debt-ceiling is a requirement of the current system to continually borrow more money to pay off interest on previously borrowed money. To simplify, a Ponzi scheme.

Abolish the Federal Reserve, go back to debt free money controlled by the government, and eliminate the requirement for perpetual inflation (and perpetual population growth and increasing rate of utilizing scarce natural resources) from the system.

The only real choice.


I have to agree that the current system is broken. We decided we couldn't trust politicians not to print money and spend it, so instead we gave a bunch of bankers permission to print money and lend it, responsible to no one so they could be "insulated from political pressures". And it turns out we can't trust our politicians not to borrow money and spend it, and then borrow money to pay the interest on the loans....

The Fed currently has an inflation target of 2%/year. If things go according to their plan, my salary will buy 2% less this year than it did last year, unless I get a raise. They are arguing about whether to increase that to 3%. It's part of their plan to improve the economy or something.

Banks use your money and lend it out multiple times. Then they take money that the Fed creates out of nothing and lend that out too. In good times they lend a lot of money and make a lot of interest. In bad times they take ownership of a lot of stuff. People say the economy would collapse because US businesses couldn't get by without borrowing a whole lot of money from banks. I wonder whether it has to be that way. In the old days aristocrats could have argued that the serfs would starve unless they had noblemen to give them land to farm, but today we seem to grow food just fine without anybody living in the manor house.

So what would Ron_Paul do instead? The trouble is, we really can't trust Congress with the money supply. And we've seen we can't trust bankers who aren't regulated by Congress etc. I don't trust the Fed, but at least they do have a plan. It isn't just a bunch of bankers each acting independently in their own self-interest. That would be the default result if we just got rid of the Fed.

A lot of Ron_Paul's supporters seem to want to go back to the gold standard. The politics of despair. We can't trust anybody to manage the money supply, so we'll let it vary at random independent of anybody's needs.

I can imagine utopian approaches. Make banking illegal. Banking is already illegal unless you have a government charter. A bank charter is a license to steal, and you can't get one. So revoke all the existing charters and prosecute underground bankers like they were drug lords. When the government thinks there ought to be more money in circulation, they can divide up the money equally and send it to all the voters.

Or, what if the government itself went into the loan-sharking business? If we can't trust banks to regulate themselves, and we can't regulate them, just get rid of them and let the government do the banking. If the government was the one doing the lending (well, you could lend your own money, but after you lend it once it's gone until they pay it back) how big a problem would the federal debt be?

I haven't seen that Ron_Paul has actually proposed a plan. But then, if he got elected and he had a plan that involved getting rid of the banks, say, and it leaked, how long could he stay alive? A week maybe?
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Re: 1083: "Writing Styles"

Postby Max™ » Tue Jul 24, 2012 2:04 pm UTC

There's a question: is it possible for a nation that prints it's own currency, collects taxes in it's own currency, and services debts in it's own currency, to run out of currency?


That aside, Paul is an odd case, I agree with him about lots of shit, but I am disgusted at the idea that anyone could actually espouse objectivist ideologies while understanding what it really entails, so he's either a liar, damn near illiterate, or a selfish hateful piece of shit... though that would still make him better than most politicians, which isn't saying much.
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Re: 1083: "Writing Styles"

Postby Pfhorrest » Tue Jul 24, 2012 5:59 pm UTC

What if we got rid of the monopoly on money entirely?

Let anyone issue any kind of money they like. Whether that has any value to anyone else, and thus gets used for anything, will depend on each issuer's monetary policy; what it's backed by, its inflation rate, etc. Currencies which stably retain value and yet are widely enough issued to conduct all the transactions we need to conduct would become most popular and the de facto standard. To do that they would need to be backed by some widespread but scarce resource of stable value; or some diversified portfolio of such resources. They could even be that ABCD$1.00, in essence, equals "IOU one share of this holding company owning a huge, extremely diverse and therefore relatively stable, stocks and commodities portfolio" -- and that, taken to the extreme, could even approach what really makes most sense, ABCD$1.00 = one share of the economy.
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Re: 1083: "Writing Styles"

Postby KrytenKoro » Tue Jul 24, 2012 8:45 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:What if we got rid of the monopoly on money entirely?

Let anyone issue any kind of money they like. Whether that has any value to anyone else, and thus gets used for anything, will depend on each issuer's monetary policy; what it's backed by, its inflation rate, etc. Currencies which stably retain value and yet are widely enough issued to conduct all the transactions we need to conduct would become most popular and the de facto standard. To do that they would need to be backed by some widespread but scarce resource of stable value; or some diversified portfolio of such resources. They could even be that ABCD$1.00, in essence, equals "IOU one share of this holding company owning a huge, extremely diverse and therefore relatively stable, stocks and commodities portfolio" -- and that, taken to the extreme, could even approach what really makes most sense, ABCD$1.00 = one share of the economy.

We already tried something similar during the Articles of Confederation, and to my understanding, it failed miserably.
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Re: 1083: "Writing Styles"

Postby Max™ » Wed Jul 25, 2012 5:47 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:What if we got rid of the monopoly on money entirely?

Let anyone issue any kind of money they like. Whether that has any value to anyone else, and thus gets used for anything, will depend on each issuer's monetary policy; what it's backed by, its inflation rate, etc. Currencies which stably retain value and yet are widely enough issued to conduct all the transactions we need to conduct would become most popular and the de facto standard. To do that they would need to be backed by some widespread but scarce resource of stable value; or some diversified portfolio of such resources. They could even be that ABCD$1.00, in essence, equals "IOU one share of this holding company owning a huge, extremely diverse and therefore relatively stable, stocks and commodities portfolio" -- and that, taken to the extreme, could even approach what really makes most sense, ABCD$1.00 = one share of the economy.

Well, how do you back up the value of your currency?

What you're describing sounds like Whuffies at best, Klout at worst, and neither of those are any good.


My point is that it is impossible for the US government to run out of money or default on it's debts unless it just says "hey, fuck all ya'll, I ain't gotta pay shit" or is invaded/razed.


If we all had our own currency, but you held debt in my currency, my currency value is stable as long as the debt exists, since you need my currency to pay the debt.

If the debt is suddenly payable in your currency or steve waterman currency (let debt = debt', YES?) why use mine?
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Re: 1083: "Writing Styles"

Postby J Thomas » Wed Jul 25, 2012 8:58 pm UTC

Max™ wrote:
Pfhorrest wrote:What if we got rid of the monopoly on money entirely?

Let anyone issue any kind of money they like. Whether that has any value to anyone else, and thus gets used for anything, will depend on each issuer's monetary policy; what it's backed by, its inflation rate, etc. Currencies which stably retain value and yet are widely enough issued to conduct all the transactions we need to conduct would become most popular and the de facto standard. To do that they would need to be backed by some widespread but scarce resource of stable value; or some diversified portfolio of such resources. They could even be that ABCD$1.00, in essence, equals "IOU one share of this holding company owning a huge, extremely diverse and therefore relatively stable, stocks and commodities portfolio" -- and that, taken to the extreme, could even approach what really makes most sense, ABCD$1.00 = one share of the economy.

Well, how do you back up the value of your currency?

What you're describing sounds like Whuffies at best, Klout at worst, and neither of those are any good.

My point is that it is impossible for the US government to run out of money or default on it's debts unless it just says "hey, fuck all ya'll, I ain't gotta pay shit" or is invaded/razed.

If we all had our own currency, but you held debt in my currency, my currency value is stable as long as the debt exists, since you need my currency to pay the debt.

If the debt is suddenly payable in your currency or steve waterman currency (let debt = debt', YES?) why use mine?


Money is essentially promises. Some people want to avoid money as promises by making money be commodities. Like you pay for things with gold bars or silver dimes. When you use commodities as money, you are not actually paying for things with money. You are doing barter.

There's nothing wrong with barter. One man barters gold bullion, another barters bushels of corn, another barters chickens. Somewhere along the line everybody gets what they need. The chicken farmer gets corn to feed his chickens. The man with the gold gets chickens to eat. The jeweler and the dentist get gold to melt down to make things. It all works out, with the complication that if you don't know how much everything is worth you might make bad deals.

Actual money is promises, and it is backed up by your faith that the promise will be fulfilled. To the extent that you accept gold not because you want gold, but because you have faith that other people will accept gold to give you things you actually do want, the gold is promise too.

Promises are a useful currency only if there are a considerable number of promises that have not been kept yet. When the promise is fulfilled, the money disappears. If there aren't enough promises available to meet people's need for exchange, they will be thrown back on barter.

A promise is only good if you believe it will be fulfilled. Otherwise it is worthless to you, though you might still do charity for people and accept worthless money for goodwill.

Government money is promises by governments. Governments have some advantages -- they don't grow old and die, and within limits they can decide how much stuff to take from their citizens to pay for things. But when a government spends too much or when it's in danger of being overthrown, its promises are valued less. When a government treats its citizens too badly, some of them try to escape and the government must promise rewards to other citizens who prevent escape, and that wastes promises and resources.

Technically governments make it illegal for anyone else to create money. But they can't keep people from making promises, and often people work out ways to trade promises. Recently when they sliced up mortgages thin enough that any single failed mortgage wouldn't have much effect and could be statisticly predicted, and traded them publicly, that was a kind of money that the government didn't regulate or control.

Here is a way we could arrange private money, assuming zero information costs. Each young man takes out loans -- promises -- to get himself established. The value of his promises varies with his prospects. As his income rises he pays back some of his debt, or maybe he goes deeper into debt with the assurance that he will make even more later to pay it back. Ideally before his ability to work drops he will have paid back his whole debt and he will be a net creditor. If not, the value of his promises will drop until he is unable to put out new debt and must live on his income. His old debt trades rapidly at increasingly lower prices. Nobody wants to be stuck with it.

When you die, the debt you owe gets matched off against the debt you own.

The value of the money would depend on everybody's perceived ability to repay their promises. Most people prefer to have some promises they can depend on, rather than owe. So to have promises to trade, somebody has to make promises they will need to fulfill later, and the people who can be coerced into that would normally be the ones who would be least able to pay off later. But young people might expect to do better later, and enough of them could actually do that for their promises to be valuable.

Is that kind of like what we have now? The federal money is backed by your promise to pay back your loans. The banks thought you can and will pay it back, or they wouldn't have extended you credit. You have some hope of working your way out of debt before you are forcibly retired. Since information is not free, bankers make very good income keeping track of your promises and judging how much they are worth.
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