Temporary permanence

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Another one from the news yesterday: at 6pm every weekday, my local public radio station broadcasts one of the three daily editions of the BBC's The World Today. In one of the interviews (at around 20 mins. after the hour, if anyone finds the audio), an American whose name I unfortunately didn't catch was comparing the U.S. bank bailout plan with the corresponding plan in the U.K., and he was attempting to argue that the U.S. plan was somehow "less socialist" than the U.K. plan because (for various reasons I'm ill-equipped to understand or critique) the U.S. plan is deliberately temporary in a way that the U.K. plan is supposedly not. Anyway, he summed up his argument like this:

This is a temporary situation and we'd like to keep it that way.

And I suppose that the British are in a permanent situation that they'd like to change at some point?


  1. Joe said,

    October 15, 2008 @ 3:14 pm

    Well, to the Republicans, Socialists are a bogeyman which they need to trot out at election time. Presumably, that's why they use their least popular presidents to enact explicitly Socialist policies so that they have something to fight against in later elections. Bush is just following in the footsteps of Nixon, who enacted wage & price controls.

    Ref: http://www.econreview.com/events/wageprice1971b.htm

  2. mollymooly said,

    October 15, 2008 @ 5:03 pm

    It's like one of those tedious Irish Bulls that seem to be less popular nowadecades.

  3. dr pepper said,

    October 15, 2008 @ 6:59 pm

    Actually, the biggest repuiblican socialist of all was Ronald Reagan. But his expansion of government programs was concentrated in the military which usually gets a pass.

    Truth is, all governments this side of Somalia are socialist to sone degree.

  4. Brandon said,

    October 15, 2008 @ 8:12 pm

    As off-topic as it might be getting for a language blog, I think that any freely elected government is going to tend to become more socialist as time goes on. Government has shown a habit of growing without the ability to shrink, and politicians a habit of giving things to the society that elected them in order to be elected again.

    As to the phrase itself, I think I'm going to try and work something equally ironic into more of my speech, it gave me a good chuckle.

  5. outeast said,

    October 16, 2008 @ 5:06 am

    Truth is, all governments this side of Somalia are socialist to sone degree.

    Wow, the scope for 'socialist' just gets broader and broader on that side of the pond.

  6. brdo said,

    October 16, 2008 @ 7:39 am

    In Italy we have "centri di permanenza temporanea" to deal with this type of situation

  7. John F said,

    October 16, 2008 @ 8:29 am

    Yes, but in Italy you also have a new government once a year on average… ;o)

  8. Rick S said,

    October 16, 2008 @ 8:58 am

    This seems related to "The only constant is change" (about 63K Google hits, not counting inversions). The topmost hit is from WikiQuote and attributed to Heraclitus.

  9. Lazar said,

    October 16, 2008 @ 11:55 am

    As Yogi Berra said, if people don't want to come to the ballpark, nobody's gonna stop them.

  10. Forrest said,

    October 16, 2008 @ 3:07 pm

    Trying to pull this somewhat back to linguistics … has anyone read Guns, Germs, and Steel?

    Social contract theories notwithstanding (can anybody point to an example in history, of a society evaluating and then agreeing on such a contract?), the purpose of government seems to be a consolidation of decision making and a coordination of (economic) resources. The reason no hunter/gatherers have a Pantheon isn't that they can't figure out the engineering involved; it's that self-interest trumps communal interest. A government that collects taxes is able to build public works – and might find itself compelled to, to justify itself.

  11. dr pepper said,

    October 16, 2008 @ 6:29 pm

    The founding myth of Rome includes a story of a 10 member directorate who held power after the expulsion of the monarchy. They supposedly crafted the legal basis of the republic after consulting with a wide variety of opinions. Then after a short period of anxiety, they step down and the first consuls were chosen. Then of course you have the norse things, which could potentially remake the law at every session. But there's nowhere i know of that didn't have a voiceless underclass.

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