Advertisement
If you have a new account but are having problems posting or verifying your account, please email us on hello@boards.ie for help. Thanks :)
Hello all! Please ensure that you are posting a new thread or question in the appropriate forum. The Feedback forum is overwhelmed with questions that are having to be moved elsewhere. If you need help to verify your account contact hello@boards.ie

Genuine Question re phrases like "we" and "everyone"

Options
  • 18-11-2010 1:41am
    #1
    Closed Accounts Posts: 18,163 ✭✭✭✭


    Hope this is the right place to ask, and don't want to stir or escalate an issue, but I do think it needs to be clarified.

    Many, many threads in Politics seem to utter the phrase "everyone's to blame" and similar. The words "we got greedy" are used to justify an actual everyone getting hammered by taxes and footing the bill for bailouts.

    Scofflaw has asked me not to derail any (more) threads by pulling people up on this misuse of language, and to be fair he does have a point; the fact remains, however, that if this colloquialism isn't challenged then it means that a lot of posts are factually incorrect and that won't lead to proper discussion re facts and causes and solutions.....e.g. if someone suggests that "everyone" is to blame and then says "everyone" should pay more taxes in order to fix the issue, which "everyone" do they mean in the suggested solution ?

    Is there a chance that mods could keep an eye on this or put up a sticky directing people to phrase things properly ?

    I know it would appear to be pedantic, but there's an important issue behind it, because "taking the pain" and "pulling together" is all well and good but politically and factually speaking it's important to distinguish between what's lazy colloquialisms, what's government spin (trying to blame "everyone") and what is actually factual.

    Suggestions on a postcard, because while I do think that it's important for this to be handled properly, I can see Scofflaw's point about every thread being possibly derailed....the thing is that pulling someone up on it isn't actually my job, but if it's let slide then every discussion is called into disrepute once someone's misuse of the words goes unchallenged.

    If - for example - there were a political discussion that overlooked any other minority group (and that's even assuming that those of us who had financial sense are a minority) then it would be wrong......

    For example, if there were a discussion about an LBGT issue and someone said "sure everyone simply wants to marry someone of the opposite sex" and wasn't challenged, then the whole political discussion would appear moot but would be completely wrong and misleading.
    Post edited by Shield on


Comments

  • Moderators, Entertainment Moderators, Politics Moderators Posts: 14,503 Mod ✭✭✭✭johnnyskeleton


    You could do like yer man ninety9er and start a thread in politics pointing out why not everyone is responsible, then possibly link it whenever someone does say that everyone is responsible.

    Or, you could pester sceptre enough until he gets sick of it, ala the "beards" thing.


  • Registered Users Posts: 26,458 ✭✭✭✭gandalf


    Liam to be honest given the number of absolute tripe posts that have appeared in Politics today I don't think the mods will be too worried about "we" and "everyone" posts that people make. Certainly if I see someone posting that I ignore it normally.

    I would much prefer the mods to spend their time weeding out the real crud sub After Hours standard posts that are plaguing the forum now.

    I agree in normal times it should be dealt with by the mods but considering they are having problems even dealing with the very low standard posts at the moment I think we will have to let that one slip until they increase their bandwidth (which I hope is going to happen sooner rather than later).


  • Registered Users Posts: 23,283 ✭✭✭✭Scofflaw


    The problem here is that it's another line that's almost impossible to police without adopting the sort of bizarre policy that says "whenever you use the word 'we' in talking about Ireland's economic or political issues, it must be accompanied by a statement as to whether you believe 100% of the populace without exception to have actually committed the action in question, are merely using a shorthand for 'Ireland in general but not really everybody', or believe 100% of the populace to have been implicated in the actions of a majority or minority of the population depending on personal taste".

    While I can see why it irritates Liam, I can't allow this particular battle to take over unrelated threads. My own solution would be along the lines of johnnyskeleton's - but I'd prefer it if Liam put the link and a short explanation in his signature rather than adding it in the posts, because just as it irritates Liam that some people use an all-inclusive phrase when referring to responsibility for the current situation, so it irritates others that (in their view) some people try to "opt out" of what they feel to be national responsibility.

    cordially,
    Scofflaw


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 18,163 ✭✭✭✭Liam Byrne


    Scofflaw wrote: »
    My own solution would be along the lines of johnnyskeleton's - but I'd prefer it if Liam put the link and a short explanation in his signature rather than adding it in the posts

    Good idea! :)


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 37,214 ✭✭✭✭Dudess


    It is annoying (eh, no... I didn't vote for Fianna Fáil) but pretty trivial, and as said, next to impossible to police.


  • Advertisement
  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]


    yeah but lads,the collective we/royal we always includes exceptions.
    Theres no doubting the majority of people in this country bought into the celtic tiger.
    Majority rules in that respect.
    All the big parties at the last election were vying to outspend one another's manifesto or at least equal each other.
    That is fact.
    People who voted for these manifesto's are the we.
    People in the minority,tiny minority that didn't just have to accept this.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 18,163 ✭✭✭✭Liam Byrne


    yeah but lads,the collective we/royal we always includes exceptions.
    Theres no doubting the majority of people in this country bought into the celtic tiger.
    Majority rules in that respect.
    All the big parties at the last election were vying to outspend one another's manifesto or at least equal each other.
    That is fact.
    People who voted for these manifesto's are the we.
    People in the minority,tiny minority that didn't just have to accept this.

    The existence of that "tiny, tiny minority" means that the usage of the word is factually incorrect.....it wasn't "everyone", and it shouldn't be claimed that it was.

    By all means use "a majority" or whatever; the facts would seem to back that up.

    But don't redefine a word to mean something that it doesn't; that's all I'm asking.

    Let's accept for a second that we do allow the redefinition to become "collective we/royal everyone", and ignore the existence of the "minority, tiny minority" like myself.

    Then, the next time that someone says "everyone needs to share the pain" and "everyone needs to be taxed more", does that mean that it really means that the "minority, tiny minority" don't have to be taxed or share the pain ?

    After all, the word "everyone" was redefined so that it didn't include us, right ?

    All I'm looking for is FACTUAL, non-misleading postings and terminology, and I don't think that's too much to ask.


  • Registered Users Posts: 12,089 ✭✭✭✭P. Breathnach


    I make an effort to avoid excessive generalisations, but I have no doubt that some slip through, because I don't think it the most important thing to bear in mind when composing posts for a forum like this.

    I also notice it when people make big statements that purport to represent everybody, particularly where I disagree with the statement. But usually it does not bother me because I regard it as no more than a casual approach to writing. To spell everything out in a precise way, to qualify everything that might merit some qualification, and to accommodate every possible quibble would be unduly burdensome for run-of-the-mill online discussion.

    Sometimes there might a a good reason to seek precision, but most times there probably isn't. When it is not really necessary, then making an issue of it can be vexatious.


  • Registered Users Posts: 23,283 ✭✭✭✭Scofflaw


    Now that the moderation issue in question has been - I hope - settled to everyone's reasonable satisfaction, I'd have to say that I personally feel that there is a joint national responsibility that enables the use of "we", and that if there isn't, then either we aren't a nation, or I am not part of it.

    Like Liam, I didn't buy into the post-2001 "Celtic Tiger" - indeed, I've been most uncomfortable with the whole process, as I invariably am during booms. The Tiger years in question were years of declining earnings for me, not increasing ones, because what I prefer to offer in business is value for money, unobtrusive competence, and an adherence to solid facts - none of which were particularly what people were looking for in the period. If someone hires me to do something, I want to do a solid job that works properly with their business rather than talk a great talk and fob them off with an off the shelf product incorporating whatever the latest buzzword happens to be. Through the boom, companies have tended to prefer, on the contrary, exactly that kind of instant gratification - after all, nobody cared about having efficient business processes when the money flowed in regardless. On the personal side, I own no property - I lost a chance in 2001 when a business collapsed, and since then I've felt that I'd be buying at an increasingly inflated price, based on a loan I couldn't realistically justify. I've spent years getting reactions ranging from the pitying to the dismissive as a result.

    So I feel, as Liam does, that I could safely put my hand up and say that I've paid my taxes throughout, I haven't personally benefited - quite the opposite - and I've advised anyone who cared to listen that there was no such thing as a soft landing and no such thing as too much business efficiency. Nevertheless, I'd still say "we", I'd still say that "we're" all in this together, because as long as I want Ireland to work, I feel I can't simply say that it's none of my business how we get out of the mess we're in, and none of my business that we got into it. It's my country, right or wrong.

    cordially,
    Scofflaw


  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]


    Liam Byrne wrote: »
    The existence of that "tiny, tiny minority" means that the usage of the word is factually incorrect.....it wasn't "everyone", and it shouldn't be claimed that it was.
    It's rather similar to me to someone saying that they've never broken the law.
    Doing 31mph in a 30mph zone is breaking the law.
    I'll bet theres not a driver in the land that hasn't.
    Thats how trivial it is.
    I think getting upset about the royal we,when it's plain as day the country went mad for over a decade is pointless in the bigger scheme of things.
    But I 'spose we all have our own scale of concerns.

    I've owned my own home since the 90's,it's value now or during the tiger is immaterial to me.I'm no tiger cub.


  • Advertisement
  • Registered Users Posts: 12,556 ✭✭✭✭AckwelFoley


    One is not part of the we if:
    • You insisted that you did not receive the increased minimum wage that was handed out -and handed the difference back.
    • You did not buy a property at an exceptionally inflated price.
    • You did not pruchase a new car in this country, the same car that would be 30% cheaper in a country 5000 miles further away from the place of manufacture
    • You have a mortgage now that you can still afford
    • You are still not in negative equity despite the slump in property prices

    I will admit that i myself underestimated the severity of the potential collapse of our economy, regardless of who our government was, we were going to be in a recession right now, the only difference is we wouldnt be as deep in debt and our deficit wouldnt be as great.

    However, in essance, while i do think that that growth is good for economy, growth at the rate we grew isnt. The closest thing i can relat it to is one of those Pyrimad schemes that people got caught in, if you were in early, you made money, if you had money in it near the end, you got stung.

    I personally did benefit during the economic boom, i happily took the increased wages, and i built property, but i didnt go to the bank like most people, during the boom, i would look to the dark day like now and my bench mark for any thing i entered into was... "if i lose my job and i have only 150 per week comming in, can i afford this loan"

    If the answer was no - i didnt do it.

    "We"
    in most cases means we as a society, "we" all bought into it to some degree, ok some were like myself, speaking highly of it buy planning ahead while people laugh at me for not getting big loans and calling me a tight arse - others took out 110% mortgages based on an income of 70k per year for being a block layer - Did they think they would earn that amount indefinetly?


  • Registered Users Posts: 12,089 ✭✭✭✭P. Breathnach


    As a service to OP, who seems quite concerned about getting things clear, I suggest that
    "everyone" didn't go mental, and "we" are not all responsible for this mess...
    does not achieve his objective. The first clause is simply wrong, and the second one is ambiguous. Might I propose
    not "everyone" went mental, and not "all" of us are responsible for this mess...

    We could go further, and consider the question of responsibility. I believe that, now that we are in this situation, we have a collective responsibility for dealing with it, even those of us who believe that we did not contribute to creating it. So perhaps we might refine things further to
    not "everyone" went mental, and not "all" of us are responsible for causing this mess...


  • Registered Users Posts: 82,626 ✭✭✭✭Overheal


    "we" are not all responsible for this mess
    Well thats a flawed premise isnt it. The country allowed it to happen and the country is responsible for it. You are a citizen yes? A foreign resident even? Not that I should have to in turn get pedantic about Responsibility, but you do have a responsibility to see that the mess is cleaned up, however small a part you may play. A bird ****s on your head, are you really going to leave it there till he comes back to clean it off?


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 10,910 ✭✭✭✭RoundyMooney


    You're good craic OH, I like you even though I don't get most of your stateside references.

    But, with all respect to you as a fellow poster, the US lecturing Ireland on cleaning up her own mess (even in microcosm, and not necessarily speaking in an international sense either)?

    Really?


  • Registered Users Posts: 82,626 ✭✭✭✭Overheal


    You're good craic OH, I like you even though I don't get most of your stateside references.

    But, with all respect to you as a fellow poster, the US lecturing Ireland on cleaning up her own mess (even in microcosm, and not necessarily speaking in an international sense either)?

    Really?
    Really.

    Spend your Yank Card and Ad Hominems somewhere else.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 10,910 ✭✭✭✭RoundyMooney


    Y'see I don't get the Yank Card thing either (I think I have an idea, but like most of your analogies, it's mainly guesswork to a lethargic potato muncher like me).

    I would say though, that this thread was hardly the place to play it, or tell us it's all our fault.

    Tell the boys in Detroit whose houses are worth a couple of bucks it's their fault.

    Tell the families of the guys who are stuck in foreign climes, or American soil because of pride and oil, it's their fault.

    Every nation has it's problems, Overheal. The cause and effect is not always evenly divided.

    I'm sure you've taken flak for the sins of America. I'm sure you know how unfair that is.

    So is blaming all of Ireland for it's woes, which I'm not going to rehash here, in a totally inappropriate forum.


  • Registered Users Posts: 82,626 ✭✭✭✭Overheal


    You've missed the point.

    The boys in Detroit have a responsibility to do something to get themselves out of their mess. They elected a pro-union government that - surprise - bailed out Detroit.

    The families have loved ones in the middle east because they volunteered. An all volunteer military.

    Would you also say if you lost your job through no fault of your own, you work for a fortune 500 company that is restructuring and you're no longer required, do you have any responsibilities? Does the company you just left have a responsibility to supply you with a new job? Or do you the unemployed worker have to go out and make the effort?

    I'm not blaming Ireland for all it's woes. I'm pointing out that Ireland has been given lemons and instead of making lemonade chooses to sit there and whine about it until someone comes along and hands out oranges.
    I'm sure you've taken flak for the sins of America. I'm sure you know how unfair that is.
    On a National Level I am responsible in whatever small part for American Foreign policy. I chose to vote in that guy that wanted to get out of Iraq, not the guy who said this.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 10,910 ✭✭✭✭RoundyMooney


    No, I get what you're saying, but it came across as apportioning blame. That's my point.

    In any case, I do agree that everyone should grab a bucket and start bailing. Wherever they are.

    Trying to translate that to actual communal responsibility aint easy though.

    It's all about "I", until it comes to the "we".


  • Registered Users Posts: 82,626 ✭✭✭✭Overheal


    No, I get what you're saying, but it came across as apportioning blame. That's my point.

    In any case, I do agree that everyone should grab a bucket and start bailing. Wherever they are.
    I wasn't, now that we're clear. Responsibility and Blame are two separate words; two separate ideas.


  • Registered Users Posts: 29,509 ✭✭✭✭randylonghorn


    Scofflaw wrote: »
    ... because just as it irritates Liam that some people use an all-inclusive phrase when referring to responsibility for the current situation, so it irritates others that (in their view) some people try to "opt out" of what they feel to be national responsibility.

    cordially,
    Scofflaw
    Scofflaw wrote: »
    Now that the moderation issue in question has been - I hope - settled to everyone's reasonable satisfaction, I'd have to say that I personally feel that there is a joint national responsibility that enables the use of "we", and that if there isn't, then either we aren't a nation, or I am not part of it.

    Scofflaw, let me start by saying that I agree that neither you nor the Politics mods should be expected to waste time moderating this issue at the moment, nor would I expect you to.

    But I disagree with you that those who get fed up of the "we are all to blame" brigade are opting out of the national responsibility ... or all of us, anyway.

    I have never voted for FF (not an adherent of any party, but was always especially suspicious of them).

    Like you, I have many witnesses to my cynicism during the Diseased Celtic Kitten years about (a) the chances of it lasting (if I had a tenner for each time I pointed out that you can't export houses, and got myself mocked for doing so, I could treat myself to a round-the-world cruise!), and (b) the effect it was having on our *society* and its values, let alone our economy. I'll admit I didn't expect it to go quite so sour, but then I, any more than most others, didn't know the full story at the time.

    I have no mortgage hanging over my head, nor any other major debts ... I consider myself lucky tbh, but in truth, it was more common sense than luck.

    I can live with the idea that we will all have to "share the pain" ... it may not be fair, but it's the reality, and there's no point in getting my knickers unduly in a knot about it. And that's where the national responsibility comes in.

    But I feel no obligation whatsoever to "share the blame", and those who keep mindlessly preaching that message piss me right off!

    And I hear it here, in the pub, over coffee, etc., from certain people, and despite being a fairly patient man, it's beginning to rightly get on my tits tbh.

    For years I was laughed at as the "gloomy guts" and "nay-sayer", told to "get real" and stop living in the past ... now I'm being told that I'm to blame for the problem?

    Let me stress again, I don't expect you or any other mod to moderate this isssue ... just to understand why it irritates the hell out of some of "us"!
    snyper wrote: »
    One is not part of the we if:
    • You insisted that you did not receive the increased minimum wage that was handed out -and handed the difference back.
    • You did not buy a property at an exceptionally inflated price.
    • You did not pruchase a new car in this country, the same car that would be 30% cheaper in a country 5000 miles further away from the place of manufacture
    • You have a mortgage now that you can still afford
    • You are still not in negative equity despite the slump in property prices
    Well, I can't say that I refused the increased minimum wage (and I would argue in any case that that was more a symptom than a cause of the problem), but I have a clean sheet on the rest of that list. :p


  • Advertisement
  • Registered Users Posts: 23,283 ✭✭✭✭Scofflaw


    It seems that this argument, interestingly enough, is taking place almost entirely between people who didn't buy into the Celtic Tiger...
    * You insisted that you did not receive the increased minimum wage that was handed out -and handed the difference back.

    I'm self-employed.
    * You did not buy a property at an exceptionally inflated price.

    Check. Or any property, actually.
    * You did not pruchase a new car in this country, the same car that would be 30% cheaper in a country 5000 miles further away from the place of manufacture

    I own no car, and I've never bought one.
    * You have a mortgage now that you can still afford
    * You are still not in negative equity despite the slump in property prices

    See above!

    The reason I used "opt out" in quotes was that I don't feel people are actually "opting out". Anyone who's staying, and paying taxes, isn't opting out - they're accepting the consequences of other people's folly, and helping dig the country out. I do still feel that corporate responsibility applies, and that "we" - I include myself - are either nationally responsible, or not a nation. If someone says "the Irish all went mad on property", my first response isn't going to be "not me, squire" or even "not all of us". As a nation, collectively, we did - and as I'm an Irish citizen, I have first to accept that yes, that's true.

    However, my real ire is reserved for those who are opting out - by leaving the country - and who still think they can wrap the flag around themselves and call others unpatriotic. I can't help but note that at least some of them that I know are people who would fail several points on that checklist.

    cordially,
    Scofflaw


  • Registered Users Posts: 43,311 ✭✭✭✭K-9


    It's far more annoying seeing "experts" on Sky & BBC News saying we all borrowed too much and lived beyond our means.

    Mad Men's Don Draper : What you call love was invented by guys like me, to sell nylons.



  • Registered Users Posts: 12,556 ✭✭✭✭AckwelFoley


    Scofflaw wrote: »
    It seems that this argument, interestingly enough, is taking place almost entirely between people who didn't buy into the Celtic Tiger...
    The reason I used "opt out" in quotes was that I don't feel people are actually "opting out". Anyone who's staying, and paying taxes, isn't opting out - they're accepting the consequences of other people's folly, and helping dig the country out. I do still feel that corporate responsibility applies, and that "we" - I include myself - are either nationally responsible, or not a nation. If someone says "the Irish all went mad on property", my first response isn't going to be "not me, squire" or even "not all of us". As a nation, collectively, we did - and as I'm an Irish citizen, I have first to accept that yes, that's true.

    However, my real ire is reserved for those who are opting out - by leaving the country - and who still think they can wrap the flag around themselves and call others unpatriotic. I can't help but note that at least some of them that I know are people who would fail several points on that checklist.

    cordially,
    Scofflaw

    Perhaps,both sides say they didnt buy into the celtic tiger, i as previously stated, did somewhat

    It really really annoys me to the point of a mental block on listening to other peoples view point when they say we have a 3rd world health service and we are worse off than we ever were.

    Frankly anyone that says we have a 3rd world health system has bever been to the third world. Ive been in and out of an emergency ward for a minor injury (broken hand) in less than 2 hours. I acknowledge there are serious short commings in our health service, but that doesnt constitute a bad team, its merely a bad manager. If you want a football analogy, we're like real Madrid, great players, overall good infrastructure, but no cohesion and we're not world beaters because of it - the system needs changing, but people underestimate the size of that easily said task. I wish i knew the answer, i dont, but i do know that hospitals like mullingar and tullamore are light years ahead of the pre celtic tiger era.


    Irelands general infrasturcture has greatly benefited from the boom, we have too many poorly built homes and too many poorly built homes in places people dont want to live but on the flip side we can now drive from dublin to galway in under 3 hours. We have better parks, better schools better shops and more recreational facilities than we did in the 80's. Whats the cost of all this?

    The cost of all this is that each citizen in general tends to have a higher personal debt that the same type of person in the 80's. Somebody like me that hates credit would probably have no mortgage or loans in the 70's or 80 - now i have a small mortgage, albeit one can afford. Saldy there are people that have loans they cannot afford because they bought the idea that you can borrow 110% of a propertys value and only have to pay 100pw per 100 thousand - im sure you all remember those adverts in the sunday world fronted by a former euro vision winner - they made it look so simple.


    I dont think it would have differed greatly if we had a fg/lab gov at the time - i think despite their objections, particularly Labours, the temptation to ride the gravy train would be too great to resist.

    We need a general election, personally, i would have preferred if it was called before the last bond purchase, and in time for the budget for this year - although im uncomfortable with the expression "this government has no mandate" (as if they werent elected by the people) the relaity is they now dont, they wont be there in 2011 and in the interests of stability i think it is better if there is a different government in power. When FG/LAB make the necessary cuts and tax increases i believe it will be more palatible for people, once its not FF that make them.. will the cuts differ? No - not really, there are cuts that need to be made, and taxing all the rich people you want, the areas that need to be cut are where the greatest expense is and that in social welfare and health. There will be token cuts and taxes on the wealthier, but that wont cut the deficit, when 1 euro in 3 spent on the dole is borrowed, Johnny Millionaire isnt going to be paying for it all. The percentages simply arent there

    I dont want our leaders to be Mr carisma - that doesnt do much good if the substance isnt there - Mr Obama is Mr hope and Mr Carsima, but his policies are in general pretty costly and ineffective - perhaps his nose dive in the opinion polls and his loss of one of the houses of congress anre testament to that.


    I am upset and annoyed by the current state of affairs, but i can say one thing with absolute certainty - we will recover, as night follows day we will recover- the only thing that remains to be seen is if we learn from our mistakes. We dont need political reform, democracy is good - i'd like to keep it that way, we need our political leaders to be more cautious..


Advertisement