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» One Touch Football - Archive » World » David Cameron, perhaps not quite as surefooted as we've been lead to believe. (Page 5)

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Author Topic: David Cameron, perhaps not quite as surefooted as we've been lead to believe.
The Batebe of Toro Foundation
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quote:
Cameron is right, Toro is wrong.

Pah. "Black is white, up is down".
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Dr. Hofzinser
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The difference is between talking of politics in the sense of the internal machinations of an organisation - which takes a plural in the same way that "machinations" does - and politics in the sense of "the art or science of government" which takes the singular in the same way that philosophy or psychology or physics do (you wouldn't say "physics are my favourite subject at school").
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The Batebe of Toro Foundation
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"Politics" is a contraction of, roughly, "affairs of the polis", just as "physics" is more or less "matters of the phusis". They should be used plurally, etymologically speaking, even if they freqently aren't.

But I don't especially care about all of this, it was really just an excuse for a throwaway swipe at David Cameron.

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The Batebe of Toro Foundation
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Frequently. Christ, this keyboard is buggered...
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Dr. Hofzinser
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Toro, let me guess - you think it's wrong to split infinitives too, right?
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You Are The Ref
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quote:
Cameron is right, Toro is wrong.
And ironically, Toro is one of the few people to have had a more expensive education than Cameron. [/AIATL]
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The Batebe of Toro Foundation
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YATR - <...sticks out tongue...>

Hof - nah, I don't think so. That's a purely arbitrary rule, syntax without any semantic underpinning.

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Dr. Hofzinser
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Fair enough. In any case, regardless of the etymological history or how one thinks things should be, "politics" in the context Cameron uses it always takes the singular form, in the same way that mathemtics or physics do.
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E10Rifle
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Fucking hell. This is why the right always wins - capitalising on the lefties' divisions over linguistic nitpicking to ride roughshod over us all.
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The Batebe of Toro Foundation
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You're right. If smallweed or Fergies ocg ever find this thread, we're fucked.
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Dr. Hofzinser
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Linguistic nitpicking is much more fun than discussing Cameron's vacuous bluster.
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The Batebe of Toro Foundation
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Heh, indeed.

So in that spirit, doesn't your last post involve a classic "is"/"ought" confusion?

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Dr. Hofzinser
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I don't think so, no. The rules of language don't work in the same way as those of morality.

If a certain usage is employed widely, and if all relevant authorities say that this usage is correct then that usage pretty much just is the correct one, regardless of one's personal thoughts on the subject, and no matter how well-founded one's objections to this usage may be.

In other words, what is in language is, pretty much by definition, also what's correct, and how you think things ought to be don't really affect that.

When deciding on the right course of action, however, you can't look at how others act and conclude that that is therefore how one ought to act.

And in the specific example of politics, I'll be surprised if you can find many authorities who agree with you that the singular usage is wrong.

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The Batebe of Toro Foundation
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quote:
And in the specific example of politics
"Specific examples"

: p

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The Batebe of Toro Foundation
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In general, I agree with you in the case of grammar. I think the etymology of vocabulary is more clearly normative, though.

I mean, if we let that slip, we start having to allow people to use "irregardless" and "laxadaisical". TORO SAYS NO!

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