03 October 2015

So Common

It's so common it's got to be hard wired into our brains.

I see comment threads over and over where the debate becomes about the meaning of a single word without regard to the context that the word appears in.

Especially true where the word appears in a context where its use is deliberately ironic.

A recent example is "policing for profit".  This refers to the police having a strong financial incentive to emphasize investigations and arrests that lead to confiscation under civil forfeiture laws.

Honest to the Gods there's someone complaining that this isn't really profit because profit requires the voluntary exchange of goods.

This person is clearly a kind of Libertarian I encountered enough on L. Neil Smith's blog that I stopped reading The Libertarian Enterprise altogether.  If you've libertarian leanings, you've met them, and likely screamed at the screen, "SHUT UP YOU'RE NOT HELPING!" while praying that they never get in front of a camera when the media wishes to show what kind of nut-case becomes a slavering anarchist Libertarian.

This side trip about the meaning of a single word completely derailed any discussion of the actual text of the post and after a few loops you have to re-read the original post to remember what the author was talking about before it started.

But, hey, we now know what the meaning of 'is' is.


  1. I do know what you mean about "some libertarians." Every group I've ever been around has that element. Gun people have our share of M-rc R-d-n--rs, SF fans have the fat, sweaty, basement-dwelling acne-farms wearing obviously-phony Spock ears, gamers have the people who talk your ear off about their 27th-level triple-classed ninja/paladin/wizard and his +5 Hackmaster sword, and so on. You can tell just how popular a group is with the mainstreamed media by how eagerly they push aside nice, normal people who're in these groups to focus in on the whackjobs.

    That said, "policing for profit" does give rather a wrong impression. I would phrase it as "policing for prey."

    And after what I found out about why you left Ames, I may just owe Bill a posthumous apology.

    1. Gerb was popular with the cops too?

    2. He was complaining just before his death that now the cops _knew_ he had money, they were targeting him. Melissa thinks that one contributing factor to his death was how upset he'd let himself become over a ticket for doing a "California stop" at some unGhodly hour of the morning. He never did take well to authority and authority figures, while I'm more laid-back about them. Both times I got ticketed with him in the car, I was all "Oh, well, no biggie" and he was acting like I was the Unknown Political Prisoner.


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