Fanax: the Mycenaean term for "king"; pronounced "wanax". The funny initial letter, "F", is called digamma and shows up in Archaic Greek epigraphy (papyrus and tablet writings). The sound, if not the letter form, and its linguistic equivalent initially show up in the heiroglyphic writings (Linear B) of Bronze Age Greece both at Pylos, in the far west of Greece (Peloponnese), and at Knossos in north central Crete, the funny "F". Specifically, digamma shows up in the Greek of Homer's Iliad with the word "F"anax, but there it's a "rough breathing" in the form "(h)anax", where the term is linked to an important individual at Pylos. In Classical and Hellenistic Greek, the F continues in this aspirant, or "h" sound, form at the beginning of many Greek words.

Entries for month: September 2009

not all Nobel prizes are created equal

September 29, 2009 ·

A little snippet from Edward Prescott, from today's WSJ:

"In 2004, the year he won the Nobel Prize, economist Edward Prescott asked, in the title of a journal article, "Why Do Americans Work So Much More Than Europeans?" The answer, he found, was tax rates.

"Tax rates had fallen so much in the U.S. by that year that the American workforce couldn't wait to get on the job—or start a business—because you got to keep so much of what you earned. In contrast, high and progressive French taxes left over from the 1970s lured people away from work, especially as they started doing well. So people came to take seven-hour days and six-week vacations, as well as not show any particular interest in striking out on their own in a work-intensive small business."

This as just part of the explanation of why the French would like to come up with a new definition of national prosperity.  Now, I get it that money isn't the only indicator, and that it's really not even the best indicator, of personal happiness, not by a long shot.  However, it is also true that GDP is a simple and non-political* measure of a country's overall productivity, which in turn reflects on every person in that country to their personal benefit.  Bottom line is that people like to work to feel that they are being productive and they will prefer to do nothing productive over doing something that only benefits an amorphous social good.

* Yes, I am aware that GDP can be gamed, but clearly it's as close to objective as we're likely to get.

Tags: politics

Individual Mandate is un-American

September 29, 2009 ·

The line is actually from the CBO (Congressional Budget Office), but it can be found here.

"The government has never required people to buy any good or service as a condition of lawful residence in the United States."

Wow.  What an indictment against the so-called individual mandate.  Never.  That means never.  Never has the purchase of a specific product or service been a requirement to live in the greatest country in human history.  Folks, I am familiar with the rise of Western civilization, very familiar, and this is true:  NEVER has something like this been part of a national character.  Un-freaking-believable.

Tags: politics


September 03, 2009 ·

For all those confused about the role of government in the ideal and the practical, please take a few minutes to read the text of this outstanding speech delivered by Judge Andrew Napolitano last month in Cincinnati.

Tags: politics

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