The [Ninja Turtles] henchmen Bebop and Rocksteady have hijacked the musical genres for us just like the Lone Ranger hijacked the William Tell Overture for our parents.

- xkcd

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

A word I never want to hear again


This has to be the worst word ever and it has been so ridiculously overused these last five years. I mean seriously. What the hell is wrong with encouraged? Or energize or reassure? This is one of those words that is best left to literature. See:

"In the meantime I will go to Ithaca, to put heart into Ulysses' son Telemachus; I will embolden him to call the Achaeans in assembly, and speak out to the suitors of his mother Penelope, who persist in eating up any number of his sheep and oxen; I will also conduct him to Sparta and to Pylos, to see if he can hear anything about the return of his dear father--for this will make people speak well of him." The Odyssey by Homer.


"The loss of a week, a day, an hour, may sometimes be fatal. If it should be observed, that a discretionary power, with a view to such contingencies, might be occasionally conferred upon the President, it may be answered in the first place, that it is questionable, whether, in a limited Constitution, that power could be delegated by law; and in the second place, that it would generally be impolitic beforehand to take any step which might hold out the prospect of impunity. A proceeding of this kind, out of the usual course, would be likely to be construed into an argument of timidity or of weakness, and would have a tendency to embolden guilt." The Federalist Papers by Alexander Hamilton

That second quote is pretty interesting actually. It comes from Federalist Paper No. 74. It seems really quite relevant to maybe authorizing torture or responding to threats. In fact, it relates to pardoning people. The last sentence, as I read it, states that you want the power of pardoning to be in one person so that they would have the courage to do what is right. Here, what is right is having one person grant clemency to people who might be rammed through the system.

Let me try that from one more angle. I think I can interpret the last sentence to say that we must show mercy when it is deserved (for the greater good) because otherwise we embolden the guilty who believe there is no point in altering their activity. It, instead, provides additional incentives for the guilty to succeed because they know there is no other way forward.

I'm sure, if you think long enough and hard enough, you might find some kind of parallels to the events in today's world. In case our activities and motives in Iraq aren't hazy enough here is another simple motivation. If the Americans arrest you, you are going to Gitmo. (or worse!) You might as well deserve it.

Is this realistic? I certainly don't know. But it is bad. It is beyond bad. It is horrifying and unthinkable that this is our course of action. Yet it is the operating principle of American government today. That is the guilt I have to live with for the rest of my life.


At 9/27/2006 2:31 PM, Blogger dontEATnachos said...

Yes, I think this is an excellent point. It's so stupid that we try to argue constitutionality of doing horrible things to people.

Since we technically do them outside of the US to people who aren't US citizens, it doesn't count, right?

If you think WE deserve those rights, every other person in the world also deserves those rights. Once you say that unless you live within a certain geographic you are not entitled to the same rights as others, you're removing the equality aspect that this country was supposedly founded on.

At 9/28/2006 1:02 AM, Anonymous Pinko Punko said...

Well we're all calling our senators tomorrow. I want the reports at 3B. I'm serious.

At 9/28/2006 8:44 AM, Blogger Chuckles said...

Done and done. If only I could afford to live in the land of represented, I could call my own Senators.

At 9/28/2006 12:22 PM, Blogger fulsome said...

Yea, I didn't even mean for this post to go there. It was going to be a rant on embolden and the second thing that came up for it was that Federalist paper. And deciphering that just got me angrier and angrier.

Nazi parallels be damned -- I feel like I have a better understandin gof how citizens struggled to live their lives even maybe somehow knowing these things were happening.

But this, this enshrining of a horrid manipulation of a convention that has been widely praised by everyone is just over the deep end.

At 9/28/2006 2:06 PM, Blogger mdhatter said...

hey, the comments on your newer post are broken.

At 9/28/2006 2:17 PM, Blogger fulsome said...

fixed, i think.

At 9/28/2006 2:35 PM, Blogger dontEATnachos said...

sorry, when I tried to publish it last night, it wouldn't go through.

It was magically up this morning. I didn't ever bother to see if it had gotten posted anywhere besides the main page.

At 9/29/2006 7:40 AM, Anonymous Adorable Girlfriend said...

OOOOH, Punkass is serious.

Only a Fulsome would write a post like this. :)


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