Monday, July 8, 2019

Quickies: Saying Yes And Meaning No

     You can confuse a listener by shaking your head while saying “yes,” or by nodding while saying “no.” Your listener won’t immediately know whether to believe what you’ve said or the meaning associated with your head gesture. I’ve done it in a few lighthearted situations, entirely for comic effect.

     It’s a lot more serious when a politician is straining to answer a question so that you’ll hear what you want to hear, while avoiding committing himself – or worse, when he intends the exact opposite of what you think you hear him saying.

     Recently, Ace made an interesting observation about this:

     [Concerning Democrats and many Republicans on Capitol Hill:] Their opposition to open borders is purely rhetorical; they just don't want you to call it open borders, so they can continue playing the game of, "Of course I support the idea of the border, but only the idea of it. Any attempt to make it tangible and enforceable in the real world is just ethnonationalist, white supremacist extremism. But you can pretend there's a border, just as you can pretend the GOP is a pro-life party in its leadership ranks.

     "In our boundless generosity, we will allow you the privilege of pretending that we're allied with you on key issues. But the moment you notice we're actually opposed to you on these principles, you're an Alt-Right Nazi who must be deplatformed."

     This is spot on. I am reminded of a similar observation – I’ve lost the link – about those opposed to the death penalty. The anti-death-penalty activists have lost the legal and Constitutional battle against the death penalty and can no longer oppose it for itself. So their current tactic is to oppose every imaginable method of execution as “cruel and unusual.” So far, the tactic is serving them very well.

     Ace goes on to use a word I’ve only encountered once before, and that was in a Shawn Phillips song:

velleity vel-le-i-ty
a wish or inclination not strong enough to lead to action.

     Another definition calls this "the weakest form of volition (a desire) that could still be characterized as volition at all."

     So, the True Conservatives have a velleity in favor of enforcing the border, as long as any enforcement never detain, deport, or inconvenience a single illegal immigrant. Ever.


     Oddly enough, this looks a lot like Obama's immigration policy, except with even fewer deportations.

     Same for cutting spending, same for curbing abortion.

     Oddly enough, this looks a lot like Obama's positions on cutting spending and curbing abortion.

     I guess that's all just a coincidence, though.

     The Fake Conservatives have a lot of velleities they claim to be champions of, but whenever someone proposes actual action to advance them, suddenly they are just full of caveats and cavils.

     Well, yes...except given the quantity of caveats and cavils, it’s hard to believe those “conservatives” have even a velleity about any of those supposed priorities of the Republican Party.

     I could be wrong; it’s happened before. But I don’t think I am.


Thomas said...

When in doubt of one's intentions, always go with their deeds, not their words. Just as it takes a conscious effort to overcome the natural inclination to nod your head while saying "yes" and instead turn your head sideways, so does it to mouth shopworn platitudes about conservatism while actually voting progressivism.

It is a conscious effort.

You don't think you're wrong. You're truly humble, for I suspect that you actually know you're not wrong. As I do.

steveaz said...

"Yes!" when it is stated emphatically by an Asian importer to a trucking salesman, is what we in Seattle's freight forwarding industry used to call "the Japanese No."

It is very Asian: saying yes when no is meant saves face for all involved. That is until the sales contract is finally rebuffed. But hey, by then you are not face to face anymore so it's all good.

That's how biz is done on the Pacific rim.