Friday, April 9, 2010

An example of the well-founded principle that the use of the passive in political discourse generally signals childish incoherency of thought

Take the following sentence:

"It has been crystal clear for more than a century that modern technology makes war so overwhelmingly destructive that it should no longer be allowed."

Um...by whom?

An obvious question, one would think. (Along with the question, "And your alternative is...what, exactly?) Equally obviously, a question the author of the blog post in question would probably go to any lengths to avoid having to face straightforwardly like a man. (My guess is that he would say, "The United Nations" and then plead a just-remember prior engagement as an excuse to avoid being cross-examined on the UN's record of past accomplishments.)

But the point of my post is simply this: try rewriting that sentence without using the passive voice.

"It has been crystal clear for more than a century that modern technology makes war so overwhelmingly destructive that..."

What's the subject of that dependent clause going to be?

See, if you can't take your political proposals and cast them entirely in the active voice, then you don't have political proposals at all. You're just flattering yourself with the illusion of having engaged in political thought.

36 comments:

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DedeJ文辰_Fe said...

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許美玉 said...

Many a true word is spoken in jest...................................................................

慧君 said...

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育隆 said...

幸福不是一切,人還有責任。....................................................................

貞合 said...

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貴寶 said...

人有兩眼一舌,是為了觀察倍於說話的緣故。............................................................

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希望能常常看到你的更新.......................................................

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謝謝格主的分享..................................................................

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方偉白方偉白 said...

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far from eye, far from heart...................................................

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After a storm comes a calm.............................................................

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在你一無所有的時候 是誰在陪伴你 他便是你最重要的人............................................................

偉曹琬 said...

Every why has a wherefore.............................................................

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知識可以傳授,智慧卻不行。每個人必須成為他自己。............................................................

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骆雨康 said...

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