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Nitpicking, and some political theory

From:Thomas R. Wier <trwier@...>
Date:Monday, October 18, 2004, 6:06
From:    Muke Tever <hotblack@...>
Subject: Re: re Periphrases?  Re    Re Question about Latin.

> > what's a periphrase? > > The singular of "periphrases" is "periphrasis".
Except for most English speakers, for whom the paradigm goes "periphrase : periphrases". From: Paul Bennett <paul-bennett@...> Subject: No Cross, but a little Crown (sorry) (was Re: Toki Pona survey)
> On Sun, 17 Oct 2004 19:46:32 -0400, Trebor Jung <treborjung@...> wrote: > > Support the fight against the lack of choice on November 2: spoil your > > ballot! > > In most elections in America, spoiled ballots aren't even counted. They > serve no protestorial purpose, because no-one ever sees that the ballot > was spoiled. Fight the lack of choice by voting for one of the non-duopoly > candidates (there are several on the ballot in most states, from the > Constitutionalists to the Socialists). Fight the lack of choice by > actively getting involved in voting-method reform organisations -- a > fairer voting method breaks a duopoly in single digits of terms.
Far be it from me to defend the antics of the duopoly, but I feel obliged to point out that the mere presence of a multiparty system in no way automatically improves actual governance. Just look at Italy: there, a proportional representation system guarantees the extremist, antiimmigrant, quasifascist, secessionist, Northern League a place in Parliament. Because such systems typically must form governing coalitions from discrete parties, rather than factions within parties as in the US, proportional representation systems are typically much more unstable, and fights over bills become hostage to a tiny percentage of the voting population. (The Northern League left a coalition about a decade ago over some petty issue, and this brought about the downfall of Berlusconi's government the last time he was in power.) In the US system, for all its faults, the US parties (which are really more like permanent standing coalitions) seek to absorb extremist elements, but can never stray too far from the center, lest the other major party actually win more seats. Thus, a major change in one party's agenda tends more likely to reflect an actual change in the voting population's opinions than in many European systems. Some more modern European constitutional arrangements have realized this: Russia's constitution (well, at least until Putin's new monarchizing changes go through) has one chamber elected by proportional representation, and one by Anglophone-style first-past-the-post system. Also, as far as America is concerned, it's not clear how one would introduce proportional representation and simultaneously not weaken the balance of power between the states and regions and the federal government. We've already fought one civil war on the nature of federalism, and I'm sure most of us would like to avoid a second... ========================================================================= Thomas Wier "I find it useful to meet my subjects personally, Dept. of Linguistics because our secret police don't get it right University of Chicago half the time." -- octogenarian Sheikh Zayed of 1010 E. 59th Street Abu Dhabi, to a French reporter. Chicago, IL 60637


Wesley Parish <wes.parish@...>
Mark J. Reed <markjreed@...>
Tim May <butsuri@...>Periphrases