[ExI] miscommunication (was: Yet another health care debate)

John K Clark jonkc at bellsouth.net
Wed Sep 24 20:10:57 UTC 2008

"Damien Broderick" <thespike at satx.rr.com>

>Suppose someone wrote:
>"Al Queda do sometimes blow up Americans,
> but we are trying to hunt them down and kill them."

> How likely is it that you'd think "them" referred to "Americans"?
> The grammar is identical.

Not likely at all because the word "but" is the giveaway, you're a
literary man you should know that. It's a pity Billk didn't have 
something like that "but" is his post. However that is a small 
point, grammar be damned, context is king. 

BillK just got through telling me that the mentally disadvantaged 
need to be protected from themselves even is it means that I, 
(which despite what you may have heard am not mentally
disadvantaged) must give up some of my freedom. Then he says
"we are trying to civilize them". What the hell am I supposed to think?

And let's look at another pronoun "we", it can only refer to "the
Extropians", but it is no secret that the Extropians have more 
than their fair share of extreme Libertarians, so it seems entirely 
reasonable to think he was saying extreme Libertarians should
civilize the mentally disadvantaged and rather unreasonable to 
think he was saying  extreme Libertarians should civilize extreme

But what exactly BillK was trying to say we will never know until 
he tells us, but your claim that I deliberately misrepresented his 
opinion is entirely unjust. I have always understood that anybody 
can make a slip of the tongue, even me, and I have never thought
that one clumsy statement revealed my opponent's true evil inner 
nature. If they say "that came out badly" I take them at their word
and let them rephrase it. Look through the archives, prove me wrong!

 John K Clark

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