Statist The-daism

Political correctness is not the only source of damage to language. Indeed, outright implicit statism has been around much longer than PC. Take, for example, a common question asked when people move: “How are the schools in your area?” By this they of course mean government schools. Then there is the space program (NASA primarily), the post office, the police, the roads. These endless the-daisms are the not unexpected result of the monopolization of goods and services by the state.

The vast majority of people take these the-daisms for granted. One would suspect, however, that unless you lived in a heavily statist society, the majority of the population would reject the idea of having a single provider of homes, food, media or news. “How is the housing in your district?” or maybe “How is the grocery store?” In some states that’s already the case for liquor stores.

Even in industries where there is some competition, such as media distribution companies, we see the-daisms: the phone company or the cable company. Due to government intervention, these providers often obtain the monopolistic, legislative right to operate in a certain area, shutting out potential competitors.

It would sound ridiculous to ask about “the pencil system” or “the restaurant system.” Yet it is somehow perfectly fine to have, or to want to have, a uniform, government health system — the health care system. How unfortunate.

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  • Sadly, I live in a state that suffers from this type of monopolistic system on liquor stores. And our option of health insurance providers, utility companies, cable companies, and others are highly limited.

  • I am now going to add “the-daism” into my vocabulary. A nifty point!

    But what would be the pretentious term for this? The Fallacy of Assumed Exclusivity? The Propagandistic Articulation of the Definitive Article? Definitism? (NO Mary Gaitskill)

    Could it be a cognitive bias? The “The” Illusion?

  • Hey Manuel,

    I’ve got another one for you. At my local gym, there is a regular “member of the month” posting. The bio for the current one says that he moved to Omaha after leaving “the service.” Funny that he didn’t specify which branch of military “service.” Disturbing that the military is considered the paradigm of service such that one need only say “the service” and others will know you mean the US military, marginalizing other, real forms of service.