Tuesday, June 28, 2011

As the Authoritarian State Expands, Learn to Talk in Code

Following up on my post, How the Elite Talk in Code, an anonymous commenter wrote:
Bob, I've really enjoyed your articles on "talking code"...it brings to mind an article by renowned linguist Steven Pinker that sheds some light on the advantages of talking this way. In short: plausible deniability and suppression of common knowledge.

As the authoritarian state expands, the ability to "talk code", will be much more valuable. It will help you survive and gain flexibility that others will not understand how to achieve. The Harvard paper that is linked to by the commenter expands further on code talk, or as the authors call it, "indirect speech".

Unfortunately, as the state grows, the more and more situations will arise where code talk will be necessary as a tool to use, and where it will be valuable to understand when someone is talking code to you.


  1. the pdf link is borked, bad href

  2. Thanks, corrected.

  3. Although my best friend, a PhD in linguistics, has little regard for Pinker, I've read 3 of his books and think he has a good grasp of the subject. "The Language Instinct" is a wonderful intro to that world, IMHO.

    FWIW, my BF is a Chomsky fan.

    I'll read the article at the link tomorrow, and share it with the BF to get his take.

    No one who follows TPTB and their constant machinations can deny that they have perverted and warped the common language to obfuscate their intentions.

  4. @Anon. - Speaking of CODE!

  5. There's a really good vid out there about indirect speech I recall seeing. Anyone?

  6. Pinker's use of charts, first with sloping relations and then with discrete (digital) relations are suggestive of the Austrian views on utility being ordinal and not cardinal.