■ Pun Salad housekeeping update: I've changed the "Archive" section
over there on your right. It used to be a table of monthly links,
each taking you to the posts made in the specified month.
After nearly 13 years of blogging, it had expanded into around 150 links, and looked
a little unwieldly.
So now, it's just a yearly list; clicking a year should take you to
a calendar page for that year. From there you can either click a
month (which will get you to the posts for that month), or a day
(which—duh—will get you to the posts for that day.
I'm not sure if anyone will find it useful, but I think it looks a
little better. Most importantly, I had some fun coding it all up.
And now on with our regularly scheduled programming…
■ After a couple nonsense verses, the Proverbialist returns to form
with the straightforward Proverbs
22 He who finds a wife finds what is good
and receives favor from the Lord.
Fact check: True. (At least with implicit appropriate disclaimers to satisfy
■ At Cato, an encouraging title on a post by Alex Nowrasteh:
Use of Euphemisms in Political Debate.
Political debate in the modern world is impossible without memorizing a list of euphemisms, and there is no shortage of public opprobrium for those who talk about certain topics without using them. In addition to the many euphemisms that are accepted by virtually everybody, the political left has its own set of euphemisms associated with political correctness, while the political right has its own set linked to patriotic correctness. Euphemisms tend to serve as signals of political-tribal membership, but also as means to convince ambivalent voters to support one policy or the other. Violating the other political tribe’s euphemisms can even help a candidate get elected President. This post explores why people use euphemisms in political debate and whether that effort is worthwhile.
It's a good look at a couple of mechanisms: (1) the "euphemism
treadmill" whereby words/phrases introduced to replace offensive
over time become offensive themselves; (2) the "cacophemism cliff"
where more-offensive words and phrases are introduced to
replace relatively innocuous ones, but then become (relatively)
Note: The discussion uses immigration terminology for an example, and
reflects Nowrasteh's own biases on that issue. That's regrettable,
because the topic is important and could use an even-handed treatment.
■ Matt Welch, at Reason, is euphemism-free: Who's Ready for Some Trillion-Dollar Republican Deficits?
That's what the grumps over at the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB) are saying today. "By our estimate, a combination of tax cuts, sequester relief, and other changes would increase deficits to $1.05 trillion by 2019 and $1.1 trillion by 2020," the CRFB found (emphases in original). "Tax cuts and sequester relief alone would be enough to bring back trillion-dollar deficits by 2019, and tax cuts by themselves would bring them back by 2020."
Well, euphemism-free until he quotes someone else. "Sequester
relief" means: undoing the legislation that mandates that government spending
grow less rapidly than it would otherwise. [And—sigh—often that
less-rapid growth gets
inaccurately cacophemized as "spending cuts".]
Bryan Caplan has a new book coming out, and it's excerpted at the
World Might Be Better Off Without College for Everyone. Sample:
I’m cynical about students. The vast majority are philistines. I’m
cynical about teachers. The vast majority are uninspiring. I’m
cynical about “deciders”—the school officials who control what
students study. The vast majority think they’ve done their job as
long as students comply.
Those who search their memory will find noble exceptions to these sad rules. I have known plenty of eager students and passionate educators, and a few wise deciders. Still, my 40 years in the education industry leave no doubt that they are hopelessly outnumbered. Meritorious education survives but does not thrive.
Much more at the link. I plan on getting my hands on this book.
■ @JonahNRO is no
Trumpkin, but he can recognize when Trump gets one right:
Puts Fact Ahead of Fiction in Israel.
Consider President Trump’s momentous (though for now mostly
symbolic) announcement that the United States will recognize
Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Before you can debate whether
this was a good move, you must acknowledge one glaring fact that the
chatterers want to ignore or downplay: It’s true. Jerusalem is the
capital of Israel. The Knesset, Israel’s parliament, convenes there.
Israelis call it their capital for the same reason they claim two
plus two equals four. It’s just true.
What makes the decision controversial is that everyone had agreed to pretend it wasn’t the capital in order to protect “the peace process.”
Talking about euphemisms, "peace process" is right up there. Who
could be against it?!
■ But as Power Line's John Hinderaker notes: The
“Peace Process” Ended Long Ago. That hasn't stopped the drumbeat
from the Usual Media Suspects (Al-Jazeera, CBS, CNN, Time, …) to
bemoan that Trump has killed it.
I, like John, favor the 1000-word response from
■ Good advice from Megan McArdle about "whataboutism": Don't
Tune Out 'What About?' Bottom line:
Which ought to be, not “Who’s worse?” but “How can we make society
better?” That will not be accomplished by deflecting accusations
into an inquiry into the behavior of the accuser -- but nor will it
be accomplished by allowing flagrant hypocrisy to pass unremarked.
Allowing brazen hypocrites to demand social sanction (but only for
others) does not uphold important principles; it destroys them. Both
sides come to view principles merely as useful weapons -- and soon,
they find that they are not useful even as weapons. As economist
Garett Jones recently told me, “Two wrongs don’t make a right … but
three wrongs make a social norm.” And “Do as I say, not as I do” is
not a principle that any decent society should endorse.
… but, increasingly, that seems to be the prevailing mode of
discourse these days.