Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Reform reform

Fafblog is great:
The word is out an the word is reform! It is the hot new trend in government today an everybody's doin it! "But Fafnir how do I know what reform is I do not know anythin" you say because you are a literary device.
Heh, literary devices say the darndest things.

In the ol days when you wanted to reform somethin you had to actually make it better. But with new reformed reform, you can just change it so it's different, or so it benefits you to the detriment of everyone else! This way, corrupt people are no longer cruelly excluded from the reform process.

Ignoring the wonderful humour for just a moment, it strikes me that there's something a bit fishy (logically speaking) about the origin of this new "reformed reform".

We're told that improvement was an essential feature of the original 'reform' concept, until someone came along and reformed the 'reform' concept, ruining it. But that can't be, because to reform the original 'reform' concept would require improving it, whereas what Fafnir describes is clearly the opposite. So the 'reform' concept couldn't have been reformed after all. It was just degraded, after which we can then describe other things as being 'reformed' (according to the new, degraded, definition).

There is another way of looking at it, but this involves some nasty circularities. We could say that the original 'reform' concept was reformed according to the new definition of "reformed". Now that's sneaky. Too sneaky, I reckon. Rather like going back in time and giving your past self a million dollars - the very same money originally given to you by your future self. Where did it come from originally?

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