Author Topic: Politics  (Read 57 times)

Offline FlatAssembler

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« on: October 17, 2017, 09:13:46 PM »
So, what do you guys here think about politics?
I think that anarchists are right. Government isn't actively trying to protect us. The police only comes after a psychopath has already murdered someone. And then they put him in a place not where he will rehabilitate, but to a place from which he will return with even more psychological problems, that made him murder in the first place. For all we know, they could just be making things worse.
It's often said that the government makes people less greedy. But it seems obvious that the opposite is true. It gives people a sense of entitlement. It often makes laws such as "You have the right to be taken care of when you are sick, therefore we will force people to give you some money for the medicines." or "If you try to help other students during difficult tests, you will get punished for that." Furthermore, neither Proto-Indo-European nor Proto-Afro-Asiatic nor Proto-Uralic had even a word for "to have".
It would be interesting to hear what people educated in social sciences think.

Offline panini

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Re: Politics
« Reply #1 on: October 18, 2017, 10:54:49 AM »
I would say that I do not at all think the question is on-topic for a linguistics forum, but since I can't actually find any policy statement about being on-topic for this sub-forum, I will answer, and Daniel can decide if this needs to be terminated.

My first observation is that you're not distinguishing (as you should) between the purpose of government and the actual facts of particular governments. The purpose of government is to protect individuals from the initiation of force against them. The fact is that governments don't limit themselves to just that. On one end of the scale, there are oppressive regimes such as North Korea or Zimbabwe which plainly do other things. On the other end, there are governments like that of the US, Canada, Norway, Japan and so on which basically intend, or intended, to perform the proper function of government. However, for the most part politicians and society at large now view the function of government to be "get me what I want". The meaning of the term "rights" has changed massively in the past 75 or so years.

To the extent that that is true, indeed the government is not trying to protect the rights of individuals. However, they will still say that they are trying to protect us, it's just that "us" could be society at large, all members, many members, some members... and it's undetermined what they are trying to protect against (rain? violence? immorality?).

You raise a specific point about not coming after a psychopath until it is too late. That is a result of a basic fact of human fallibility: nobody has an infinitely correct theory of when to use force to protect rights. One response to a psychopath is that he is inherently dangerous and should, if discovered, be taken and imprisoned or rehabilitated by force (that's the old way of doing things) – the idea is that certain conditions pose an intrinsic threat, and the threatener has to be dealt with. But at least until the psycho does something other than have a particular mental condition, he hasn't violated anybody's right, so he should be left alone (that's the new way of dealing with mental illness). One of the reasons why this problem doesn't have a clear resolution is that theories of rights and law are predicated on the premise that people can freely chose their actions by using reason: however, there are mental conditions where that is not true. IMO, faulting government because it hasn't magically solved this philosophical puzzle is unreasonable.

The anarchists are completely wrong, because declaring that "there should be no government" ignores the purpose of government, and encourages arbitrary vigilante action. If I think that so-and-so is a danger to me, who is to say that I don't have the right to gun that guy down? And his buddies equally have the right to gun me down in retribution. What government brings to the table is a set of fixed rules, that say objectively when you can gun down a person, and when you have to leave it to the police to do so (hint: if the guy is actually trying to cut off your head, you have the right to defend yourself).

Now to respond to the linguistic observation, there also was no PIE / Proto-AA / Proto-Uralic word for "computer" or "airplane". And yet, such things exist, and are furthermore good things. So I don't see that there is a connection between what words exist in various proto-languages and how governments should be structured.

Offline Daniel

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Re: Politics
« Reply #2 on: October 18, 2017, 03:30:10 PM »
I would say that I do not at all think the question is on-topic for a linguistics forum, but since I can't actually find any policy statement about being on-topic for this sub-forum, I will answer, and Daniel can decide if this needs to be terminated.
I agree. Off topic discussions are appropriate here, but if any topic becomes a problem it will be closed. Politics is interesting, but "let's talk about politics on the internet" rarely leads to anything but arguments, but we'll see...


On the topic of anarchy, I'll just add also that while I agree with the practical problems with many governments, it is also impractical to have anarchy because at some point someone will take power, and the farther from an organized form of government that is, the worse it will tend to be.


As for "have" in proto-languages, I agree with panini. The word "pizza" can't be reconstructed either, but that doesn't mean I don't enjoy eating it. Regardless, that's a misleading description of those proto-languages. Although there wasn't necessarily a word meaning "have", I do know (roughly) how to say "have" in those proto-languages: combine an existential verb with a preposition/case, just as it was done in Latin (and still is in Arabic, Russian, etc.): mihi liber est "there is a book to me" (Latin), nilikuwa na kitabu "I was with a book" (Swahili), etc. That pattern (something like it anyway) is very common around the world, so you might consider a verb for "have" to be the unusual strategy. It's not exactly an action, certainly not very active. On the other hand, similar verbs like "hold" or "own" probably can be reconstructed in many cases.
And would you really want to go back to a hunter-gatherer lifestyle? I'm not sure what you are arguing!
« Last Edit: October 19, 2017, 01:17:30 AM by Daniel »
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