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DRACONIAN

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DRACONIAN

Postby Dr. Goodword » Tue Apr 17, 2012 11:09 pm

• draconian •

Pronunciation: drê-kon-ni-yên • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: Painfully harsh or severe in terms of rules or punishment.

Notes: The adverbial form corresponding to today's adjective most often used is draconically, based on a synonym, draconic. This means we may use draconism or draconianism as a noun. Keep in mind, however, that draconic is also the adjective for dragon, meaning "like or characteristic of a dragon", so a draconic attitude has a bit of ambiguity absent in the corresponding phrase, a draconian attitude—ambiguity you might be able to play with.

In Play: We think that today's word is not used around the house as much as it should be: "Mom, don't you think that grounding me for a month is a bit draconian for wrecking the Chevy?" (It wasn't the Porsche, after all.) This doesn't mean situations calling for it don't arise at work: "The new manager is rather draconian about which sites we can and cannot visit on the company's computers."

Word History: The eponym of today's Good Word is Draco, the chief magistrate of Athens who codified Athenian law in 621 B.C. Even though most of the laws had been issued by his predecessors, because he was the first to write them down, their harshness was attributed to him, hence draconian laws. The N added to his name before the suffix -ian clearly indicates that his name was derived from the same root as the Greek word for "dragon", drakon. We have already discussed the most interesting descendant of that word, rankle, but you might want to take another look at it. (We don't have to be compelled by law, harsh or otherwise, to extend our gratitude to Perry Lassiter for suggesting today's Good Word.)
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Postby Slava » Wed Apr 18, 2012 12:26 am

As a way to draw younger people into such discussions, it might serve to inform them that this word and root are of grave importance to a character in the Harry Potter novels, Draco Malfoy. His surname is yet another boon.
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Postby Perry Lassiter » Wed Apr 18, 2012 9:14 pm

What triggered the recommendation was a discussion with now governor Bobby Jindal after a campaign speech in Lions Club a few years ago. I was asking why the amendment we passed trying to force equal distribution of budget cuts did not seem to stop dumping all the cuts on education and health care, esp hospitals. He answered that the amendment was too draconian, not kicking in until the deficit got worse. (It ain't fixed yet.)
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Postby Philip Hudson » Thu Apr 19, 2012 10:43 am

Sometimes I feel that government of any stripe is draconian.
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Postby LukeJavan8 » Thu Apr 19, 2012 11:46 am

Slava wrote:As a way to draw younger people into such discussions, it might serve to inform them that this word and root are of grave importance to a character in the Harry Potter novels, Draco Malfoy. His surname is yet another boon.


based on the French? "Bad Faith", I presume.
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Postby call_copse » Fri Apr 20, 2012 6:24 am

Philip Hudson wrote:Sometimes I feel that government of any stripe is draconian.


Bit of an anarchist at heart then? :lol: I think that is perhaps an American perspective - in Europe we look to our goevrnments to help us live good lives. Doesn't happen much but we still hope. I did always like the quote often attributed to John Kenneth Galbraith though:
"Under capitalism, man exploits man. Under communism, it's just the opposite."
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Postby bnjtokyo » Fri Apr 20, 2012 9:56 am

So what would be "just the opposite" of "Man exploits man"? According to one source, the antonyms for "exploit" include "cherish, esteem, honor, respect, revere, treasure." Could Dr Galbraith be trying to suggest that under communism, "man respects man"?
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Postby call_copse » Fri Apr 20, 2012 10:47 am

bnjtokyo wrote:So what would be "just the opposite" of "Man exploits man"? According to one source, the antonyms for "exploit" include "cherish, esteem, honor, respect, revere, treasure." Could Dr Galbraith be trying to suggest that under communism, "man respects man"?


I always took it that under communism you would reverse the positions of the protagonists - i.e. man exploits man (the result is the same). This being the humour of the quote - essentially pointing out that most systems of government have involved a privileged class, however they are known (bankers, politburo, etc) who live at the expense of the majority. Could be wrong of course but that is the view suggested by my natural cynicism.
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Postby Perry Lassiter » Fri Apr 20, 2012 11:45 am

The beauty of the US constitution is that the founders compromised in a number of major points: city and rural needs, big states and small states, centralized vs decentralized. They refused to deal with slaverey because there would have been no union if they had included it. Now compromise is a dirty word. I'm for pragmatism.
And by the way, I've realized how much geography plays a part. Instead of comparing, say, England to the US, compare it to one state, say NY. Trying to unite many states into the EU, shows the kind of problems our founders were dealing with. And recognize TX and AK each approach the size of the entire EU. (I would guess.)
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Postby Philip Hudson » Sat Apr 21, 2012 1:52 pm

Perry, Your comments are appropriate. We are a big country and Yankeeisms versus Red Neckisms are not the extent of our variability.

As proud a Texas as I am, I don't think we are quite as big as the EU. But is a helpful comparison.
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Postby bamaboy56 » Sat Apr 21, 2012 11:55 pm

Did a bit of net surfing and discovered that Texas alone covers 268,820 square miles (696,200 square km). In comparison, the four main areas of the UK covers 94,525 square miles (244,820 square km). In other words, the UK (England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland) is less than 1/3 the size of Texas. No brag, just fact. When you look at the entire EU, however, it starts getting complicated. Right at 25 countries make up the EU, according to the net. I didn't take the time to try to add all the land areas up. I'll leave that up to more brilliant minds (in my case, anyone over the age of 5) :D Although I choose to live in the Deep South, I am proud of being born and raised in Texas. I say that in a humble way.
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Postby LukeJavan8 » Sun Apr 22, 2012 11:37 am

If someone wants to spend the time looking, here
is a site on statistics where, I presume, land area
could be found:

http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/portal ... _to_z/klmn
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Postby Perry Lassiter » Sun Apr 22, 2012 12:35 pm

Nah, I'd rather just make them up.
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Postby Philip Hudson » Sun Apr 22, 2012 6:54 pm

bamaboy56: I am Texas born, but I have such deep family roots in Alabama that I feel at home there. In 1860, many of my ancestors lived in Greene County, Al.

If you are from the South you are likely, as am I, to have all your ancestors living in 1776 in the American British Colonies. Since all of my ancestors living in 1776 were in the Colonies, I can truthfully say that not one of my ancestors was an immigrant. If you were English at that time, you just moved from one part of England to the other when you came to the Colonies.

Perry: My wife accuses me of creating statistics all the time. Since I have poor short-term memory, I wouldn't know.
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Postby bamaboy56 » Sun Apr 22, 2012 10:54 pm

Phillip H. Greene County, huh? Found this on Wikipedia: [/quote]Greene County is the least populous county in the U.S. state of Alabama. Its name is in honor of Revolutionary War General Nathanael Greene of Rhode Island. As of 2010 the population was 9,045. Its county seat is Eutaw.[1]

Greene County is part of the Tuscaloosa, Alabama, Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Interesting! Although Eutaw is the largest city in Greene County and the county seat, the most popular city is Tuscaloosa, the home of the University of Alabama. So, ROLL TIDE!!! :D My wife is a big U of A fan. I was telling her the other day I needed to go back to Texas to visit family and old friends. Hopefully soon. Texas by birth; Alabaman by choice; Southern by the grace of God.
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