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PSEPHOLOGY

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PSEPHOLOGY

Postby Dr. Goodword » Mon Nov 05, 2012 12:42 am

• psephology •


Pronunciation: see-fah-lê-jee • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun, mass

Meaning: The study of elections, voting patterns, and opinion polls.

Notes: Today's Good Word comes with all the accoutrements of any word that contains the combining form -ology. Someone who performs this service is a psephologist who carries out psephological studies. We may speak of candidates who are psephologically ahead prior to an election.

In Play: This word refers to a serious subdiscipline of political science: "Morton is in psephology; he gives us rides on the 'pollacoasters' before the election every two years." If psephology were more accurate, we would not need elections: "Tommy Rott saw his psephological lead melt away going up to the senatorial election." I propose that in the United States we hold presidential elections only in Ohio, since that state seems to determined outcome of all presidential elections in recent times.

Word History: Today's Good Word is composed of Greek psephos "pebble" + logy "word, idea". Psephos reflects the early Greeks' habit of voting by dropping a pebble into one of several urns. For instance, at the end of a trial, jurors would drop a pebble into a 'guilty' or 'innocent' urn. By the 15th century Europeans used a small ball, ballotta in Italian, to do the same thing. The Italians borrowed the word ball from some Germanic language and added the diminutive suffix, -otta "small" to it. It is interesting to note that Greeks not only voted with pebbles, but with pot shards, in Greek, ostraka. These were reserved for negative votes. The names of politicians were written on the shards and any politician who received the largest number of votes over 6000 was exiled or ostracized.
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Re: PSEPHOLOGY

Postby Perry Lassiter » Mon Nov 05, 2012 1:44 am

Ostracon itself is an interesting word that has been expanded to cover most any inscribed or painted sherd. They seem at times to have been used as we use Post-It notes, even for medical prescriptions and charms. Those of us who follow archaeology somewhat closely often find reports of new ostraca. One recently was carbon dated a thousand years BCE and may have the earliest Hebrew writing yet found. Wikipedia has one of. Its better articles on the subject.
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Re: PSEPHOLOGY

Postby MTC » Mon Nov 05, 2012 7:27 am

Your words are writ in stone, Perry.

As for Democracy, it is built upon a stony foundation.
Psephologically speaking, we live in a psephocracy governed by psephocrats whom we elect by psephographs. Psephologists, masters of psephology and psephomancy, make psephological predictions. Should they be "osterized" when their lithic predictions sink like stones?

Nobody said it was easy.
Last edited by MTC on Mon Nov 05, 2012 1:49 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: PSEPHOLOGY

Postby LukeJavan8 » Mon Nov 05, 2012 12:42 pm

I don't know if this fits, but it amazes me how people will
complain over and over and over about elected officials
and then continue to elect them. There is an Iowa
congressman up for heaven knows his 27 th time or something
and does not even campaign. We have such in this district
who has done nothing anyone can remember and has
been campaigning for what will be years 15 and 16 in
Congress. I can't remember a bill he ever introduced.
-----please, draw me a sheep-----
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Re: PSEPHOLOGY

Postby MTC » Mon Nov 05, 2012 1:47 pm

Luke, Luke, you are missing the point! That's the beauty of it. We elect them, then flog them. Whipping boys (and girls) they are. A few are redeemed by the judgment of history and we look like fools. But then we're dead of course. Perfect system as I said.
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Re: PSEPHOLOGY

Postby Perry Lassiter » Mon Nov 05, 2012 5:46 pm

Except for things like the school board in nearby Monroe, where I graduated from HS. They fire the superintendent every year or two, squabble several months, then hire another. The lead high school is trying to go charter, which will dump the average even further in the ditch than it is now. Hopefully, it will get bad enough that the state will take over as they did in NOLA. Meanwhile, the kids suffer, and the people continue to elect the same or similar people. No prob in the legislature though. In Lousiana the governor is king.
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Re: PSEPHOLOGY

Postby LukeJavan8 » Mon Nov 05, 2012 8:17 pm

MTC wrote:Luke, Luke, you are missing the point! That's the beauty of it. We elect them, then flog them. Whipping boys (and girls) they are. A few are redeemed by the judgment of history and we look like fools. But then we're dead of course. Perfect system as I said.



Ah, death, the great equalizer.
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Re: PSEPHOLOGY

Postby Dr. Goodword » Mon Nov 05, 2012 9:32 pm

Several people have now said, "In a democracy you get the government you deserve." Will Rogers once said, "We have the best congress money can buy." Americans believe that Rogers was right: votes in Congress can be bought. Yet there is around $1 billion being spent on media ads under the assumption that OUR votes can be bought. Who are we to complain?
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Re: PSEPHOLOGY

Postby MTC » Tue Nov 06, 2012 4:20 pm

As U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stevens succinctly commented in his 90 page dissent in the Citizens United case, "A democracy cannot function effectively when its constituent members believe laws are being bought and sold."
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