Self-interests in Politics


Plantagenet: You’re very young. I don’t think you’ve thought about this very much.

Silverbridge: But I have sir, I have developed my own ideas. We’ve got to protect ourselves against those radicals and communists.

Plantagenet: Do your politics begin and end with your own self-interests? You’re advocating self-protection.

Silverbridge: Not only our own protection, sir, but that of our class. The people will look after themselves, but we are so few and they are so many that we will have quite enough to do.

Plantagenet: You would desert a family allegiance of centuries for such childish thinking as that?

Silverbridge: I know I’m a fool sir. Perhaps that’s why I’m a Tory. Well, the radicals are always saying that it must be a fool, so perhaps a fool ought to be a Conservative. I am very sorry if this upsets you father.

Plantagenet: I will not be upset sir, but I thought you had studied the conservative philosophy with some serious thought and consideration, but as it is…

– Lisemore, M. (Producer), David, H. and Wilson, R. (Directors). (1974). The Pallisers [Television Series]. United Kingdom: BBC

Definitely Indefinite


‘An Historical Note

‘He was sojourning at an hotel in Bond Street.’
Anthony Trollope

Here’s a hypothesis – or rather four separate but vaguely related hypotheses – on words beginning with h and an unstressed syllable (or why some people say an history, an hotel and an hypothesis):

  1. Once upon a time all educated people spoke French and so pronounced history, such as the French word histoire, with a silent h. Appropriately they gave it the article an.
  2. Some – less well-educated and therefore non-French-speaking – people spoke badly, were lazy about pronouncing their aitches, and so got into the habit of saying an ‘istory.
  3. Educated people disliked dropping aitches, so began to pronounce them in French words that traditionally used the article an: an history.
  4. People spoke too quickly, running together the words a and history, so that it became pronounced anistory. When they paused for breath, and separated things out a bit, they thought the word must be an history.

Note the inherent snobbishness of these hypotheses. It crops up a lot in the study of language.

But whatever the origins of the practice may be, the rule is: if the h is pronounced (as in history, hotel and hypothesis), the correct article is a; if it is not pronounced (as in honour and hour), use an.’

– Taggart. C., Wines. J.A. 2008. My Grammar And I (or should that be ‘me’?) London, Great Britain: Michael O’Mara (2011) p. 42-43

Fecundism


Fecundism is a political term which promotes sex for its most original purpose: having children. It is the politics of wilfully promoting high birth rate among a group for the sake of enlarging its numbers related to other groups and, consequently, its political influence.

“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” – Mark Twain

In practice, it is difficult to conclusively prove whether a group is conducting fecundism, or if high birth rate is natural consequence of a group’s beliefs or actions and would therefore exist even if it would not necessarily result in higher political influence.

“My first words, as I was being born […] I looked up at my mother and said, ‘that’s the last time I’m going up one of those.” – Stephen Fry

The Quiverfull movement, an Evangelical Christian group, openly acknowledge the practice of fecundism. They use Psalm 127:5 in its justification:

‘Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.’

Interestingly, in Anthony Trollope’s Barchester Towers, there is a character called mister Quiverful, a poor clergyman with no less than 14 children.

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