Words Poorly Used #138 — Collusion

Rudy is right, collusion is not a crime.  One can collude in planning a surprise birthday party.  Such collusion is only a crime if the birthday party is illegal and if it actually takes place.  Even then, collusion is only a compounding element.

Collusion is a loose synonym to collaboration or participation.

There is a bit of sophistry in saying collusion is not a crime.  Mostly it is an attempt to re-focus on the wrong question.

— Kilgore Forelle

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Words Poorly Used #137 — Argument

You cannot be “in an argument.”  You can be “in disagreement” when in an argument there is disagreement or misunderstanding.

In a discussion the other day, a friend asked me to pretend that I was doing a performance review on POTUS.  His argument was based on that premise, and the subarguments were 1) POTUS is a CEO, 2) the “economy” is “good,” and 3) there are “jobs.”

I refused to take the bait.  Ayn Rand would have been proud of me because I considered the premises.

An argument is a proposal passed to a discussion.  Both interlocutors can be in agreement, in which case the discussion is short.  Or the receiver can reject the argument, rightly or wrongly — and a discussion never takes place.  Or the discussion descends into a disagreement — and the discussion concludes, eventually, beside the point of the argument.

An argument is a proposal for an agreement, otherwise it is aggression.

— Kilgore Forelle

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Words Poorly Used #136 — Originalism

These things are backwards.  The much lauded American System has been overtaken by processmongers.  Process overwhelms purpose.

Let’s look at the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution, the fourth of the Bill of Rights.  What is the immediate history, in colonial times, that led to the Amendment, and what is its direct purpose?  The non-loyalist, non-royalist patriots, who sued for freedom in the lead up to and conduct of the American Revolution, wanted freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures.  As a secondary matter, they made the poor choice of wishful thinking about the objectivity of the courts in issuing warrants of reasonable search and seizure.  Why on Earth did they believe that courts would be any different here than in England — they were based on the same general model?  Warrants were supposed to be a buffer between the innocent-until-proven-guilty and an overzealous ruling class.  But in reality, rubber stamp warrants became the norm, quickly.  Why did the founders believe that a ruling class here would somehow avoid the inefficiencies of the ruling class there?

So now we have a world in which a warrant is only a hiccough — a temporary protection of a private citizen’s freedom.  Wasn’t the purpose of that original amendment to document the freedom, not the method by which it would be traversed?

Originalism applied to the purpose of a warrant completely misses the purpose of the freedom.

— Kilgore Forelle

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Words Poorly Used #135 — Prediction

I am highly skeptical of humans who make predictions.  The word “prediction” literally means to say something before it is true.  If something is not yet true, it can be only in one other class — not true.  Whether or not a thing becomes true is a matter of accident, and not causally linked to the prediction of it in any way.  Whether or not a thing becomes true is in accord with the laws of probability.  If a thing is impossible, or highly improbable, there is no dressing up of a prediction that will make it more possible or probable.  Predictions must be stated in words, and words are not facts because words are fictitious and symbolic placeholders for things, which may or may not be factual.

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Words Poorly Used #134 — Convergence

People in the technology trades these days are insisting that we are experiencing “convergence.”  At TechTarget.com, the following definition is offered:

technological convergence

In general, convergence is a coming together of two or more distinct entities or phenomena. Technological convergence is increasingly prevalent in the information technology world; in this context, the term refers to the combination of two or more different technologies in a single device.

In the textbook from which I am teaching now, we find —

— but this is an out-of-date idea.  It goes back to Vannevar Bush in the FDR administration.  Today, we are not experiencing convergence on a neatly designed technology with smooth edges and a finished inclusion of all future features.  Rather what we are seeing is divergence.  Let me add that the word does not contemplate separation into specialized parts.  It sees technology as a Mandelbrot Pattern, ever branching, ever reaching into new territory, ever displaying new looks.

— Kilgore Forelle

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Words Poorly Used #133 — Invention/Intervention

The inventor… looks upon the world and is not contented with things as they are. He wants to improve whatever he sees, he wants to benefit the world; he is haunted by an idea. The spirit of invention possesses him, seeking materialization. — Alexander Graham Bell

But there is an important difference between invention and intervention!  Intervention means lack of content with the way that other people do things.  No person has a claim on how things should be done or to what end.  Invention, on the other hand, means seeing that a new process can be discovered where an old process is missing or fails to reduce unease.

Intervention is taking that which belongs to someone else.  Invention is sharing a new idea for the good of its beneficiaries.  You cannot coerce people to adopt an invention, since to do so makes it an intervention.

— Kilgore Forelle

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