Thursday, December 30, 2010

"[M]y point wasn’t that GDP and military spending are unrelated in an 'is' sense, but that they are unrelated in an 'ought' sense. There is no logical connection between a country’s GDP and what it should be spending on the military, so when the neocons bleat about the need for military spending to be 4% of GDP, they are being the deceivers they are by nature."

~Thomas Woods from the LRC blog, 12/30/2010

To which I responded to Dr. Woods:

The neocons know 4% of GDP far exceeds the level of military spending that would be required were the U.S. to pursue a non-interventionist foreign policy. Citing an arbitrary figure keeps the question of foreign entanglements off the radar screen, thereby enabling them to brand a statesman like Ron Paul a crackpot for even raising it.

C. Wright Mills would call the neocons Crackpot Realists. The Realistic Realists are those who understand the U.S. is going broke playing globocop and should pursue instead the maniacally sensible policy of protecting actual Americans on actual American soil from actual foreign attack.

Hoppe, however, says we should expect nothing less from a monopoly provider of national defense. The trend is for the monopolist to deliver less and less service (q.v., 9/11) at a higher and higher price (q.v., ever increasing “defense” budgets). Foreign entanglements will end when national defense is privatized. No private defense company could turn a profit in a free market charging the premiums required to fund perpetual war and a worldwide military empire.

To which Dr. Woods responded, "Right."


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Keeping in mind the three senses of the word—the city in western New York , the animal we also call bison, and the verb that means to intimidate or bully—the following is a complete and grammatically valid sentence:

Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo.

Here’s how you make sense of it:

Buffalo (the city) buffalo (bison) (that) Buffalo (the city) buffalo (bison) buffalo (intimidate) buffalo (intimidate) Buffalo (the city) buffalo (bison).

In other words, “Bison from Buffalo that other bison from Buffalo intimidate manage nonetheless to intimidate still other bison from Buffalo .”

Cool, eh? There a Wikipedia link, if you can stand it. Just enter "buffalo buffalo buffalo."


Saturday, December 11, 2010

Yes, “pleonasm is often used for emphasis,” but this raises the question of when pleonasm ends and idiom begins. When my daughter was in sixth grade, she asked about the word “redundant.” I told her it meant repeating yourself by using different words with overlapping meanings, as in “let’s proceed forward” or “the candidate’s past experience makes him an ideal fit for the job.”

I included a caveat about idioms. My daughter was familiar with the church hymn “I am the Bread of Life,” which includes the line, “I will raise him up on the last day.” I told her it may likewise be considered idiomatic, as opposed to pleonastic, to say, “It’s raining outside.” She thought for a moment and then asked, "How about 'I think to myself'?”



Talk about tautology! Aren’t all government employees non-essential? As any good Austrian economist will tell you: if there’s a demand for a service or a good, the market will provide it.

Non-essential is putting it kindly. I don’t willingly pay politicians to bring democracy to Iraq, for TSA goons to probe my genitals, or for cops to harass prostitutes, marijuana smokers and 19 year-old beer drinkers. None of these services (such as they are) do anything for me. On the contrary! But pay for these services I do, as I know resistance entails risk of great bodily harm up to and including death. That's how protection rackets work.

Market failure is a myth. To the extent government employees provide an essential service, the market can provide it more efficiently. To the extent government employees provide war, empire, surveillance, wealth redistribution, corporate bailouts, central-bank counterfeiting and assorted other "public services," they aren’t merely non-essential. They’re disruptive to the social order.


Saturday, December 04, 2010

It does seem odd to employ "cornucopia" in the plural, as when I referred to my old pension consulting colleagues as "cornucopias of wit." On the other hand, just as I can picture a goat’s horn with fruits, grains and vegetables spilling from it, so I can picture multiple horns overflowing with multiple bounties.

Cornucopia comes from the Latin. If a cornucopia is a horn of plenty, it seemed reasonable to conclude cornucopiae are horns of plenty. I likened the word to alumna, a female graduate of a college or university, with alumnae being the plural (e.g., the alumnae of Smith College ).

So much for my presumed analogue: when I typed cornucopiae, Microsoft’s squiggly red line materialized, like an angry dog nipping at my heels. This sent me scurrying to the online dictionary, which informed me “cornucopias” is in fact the plural form of the word. There was a caveat:

Some writers maintain that this word should be written, in the singular, cornu copi[ae], and in the plural, cornua copi[ae].

This, however, was too recherché even by my standards.


Wednesday, December 01, 2010

I will soon be partaking in the annual celebration of historical events recognized as Metaphysically Significant by those of us who have capitulated to the Babylonian Deception, even as our corrupt and venal leadership persists in its longstanding practice of drinking from the cup of fornication with the Kings and Queens of the World.