Sunday, July 02, 2017

The identitarians are not always wrong!

I have often asserted here that no ideology could ever gain any traction if it did not contain at least some partial truths. So, for instance, libertarians are certainly correct in asserting that any attempt at economic regulation tends to get captured by special interests.

Similarly, although the racial and sexual "identitarians" often spout nonsense, they are certainly correct in thinking thay mainstream discourse often "priveliges" certain groups.

For instance, Netflix captioning, when a person is speaking a European language, almost always reads, "Speaking Russian," "Speaking Italian," etc.

But when almost any non-European language is being spoken, the captioning reads, "Speaking in native language."

I see similar reports on athletes from Africa: "Olu speaks five African dialects." Because, you see, there is a single language, called "African," and Ga and Ewe and Twi and Fante and Wolof and Swahili and... are all just "dialects" of that language.

9 comments:

  1. Actually Twi and Fante are dialects of Akan.

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    Replies
    1. Well, my Ghanian friends told me they were languages. But they weren't linguists.

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  2. Knowing many people who have had mutually intelligible conversations in Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese (I am a Spanish speaker myself and often spoke in "itañol" with Italians in Barcelona), one wonders why those are considered languages and not dialects.

    Meanwhile, even African languages that are not mutually intelligible are considered dialects.

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    Replies
    1. Hard to draw a really sharp line. Of course there are interesting corner cases. French for instance is a failed beta version of English.

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    2. Consider, too, Prateek, that when we talk about the ethnicities of people of European descent, we will break it does into Irish, English, French, Swiss, Italian, and so forth, but when it comes to people of African descent it's just one big "African".

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  3. "So, for instance, libertarians are certainly correct in asserting that any attempt at economic regulation tends to get captured by special interests."

    This claim seems very false on analytical grounds.

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  4. Samson, what is your point?

    If you are suggesting that Gene is making an analytical statement, then I don't think you understand the logic of Gene's sentence. He is saying that for all x, there is a tendency for something about them to occur. This is not an analytical statement, because the word 'tends' is in the sentence.

    Here is an example of what that sentence would be if it were the type of sentence you think it is:

    "So, for instance, libertarians are certainly correct in asserting that any attempt at economic regulation ALWAYS GETS captured by special interests."

    So, Gene isn't saying what you seem to be suggesting that he says.

    If you don't think that Gene meant that, then why would you bother to state 'this claim seems very false on analytical grounds'? You are either objecting to what he said because you misunderstood him, or you are stating something that is obvious! In fact, Gene *agrees* with you - that is why he used the word 'tends'!

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  5. A more correct way for me to capture what is going on here would be the statement 'for all x, there is sometimes a tendency for this to occur, where 'this' is the occurrence'. The word 'sometimes' is not in Gene's statement, but TENDENCIES are not absolutes, and he obviously doesn't mean to use the word in this strange way.

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    Replies
    1. Just so. Samson lately seems to be on a tear denying the obvious.

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