“State” (with a capital “S”) refers to one of the United States, and “States” refers to two or more of them. “State” and “States,” thus used, are proper nouns because they refer to a unique entity or entities: one or more of the United States, the union of which, under the terms and conditions stated in the Constitution, is the raison d’être for the nation. I reserve the uncapitalized word “state” for a government, or hierarchy of them, which exerts a monopoly of force within its boundaries.
Marriage, in the Western tradition, predates the state and legitimates the union of one man and one woman. As such, it is an institution that is vital to civil society and therefore to the enjoyment of liberty. The recognition of a more-or-less permanent homosexual pairing as a kind of marriage is both ill-advised and illegitimate. Such an arrangement is therefore a “marriage” (in quotation marks) or, more accurately, a homosexual cohabitation contract (HCC).
The words “liberal”, “progressive”, and their variants are usually enclosed in quotation marks (sneer quotes) because they refer to persons and movements whose statist policies are, in fact, destructive of liberty and progress. I sometimes italicize the words, just to reduce visual clutter.
I have reverted to the British style of punctuating in-line quotations, which I followed 40 years ago when I published a weekly newspaper. The British style is to enclose within quotation marks only (a) the punctuation that appears in quoted text or (b) the title of a work (e.g., a blog post) that is usually placed within quotation marks.
I have reverted because of the confusion and unsightliness caused by the American style. It calls for the placement of periods and commas within quotation marks, even if the periods and commas don’t occur in the quoted material or title. Also, if there is a question mark at the end of quoted material, it replaces the comma or period that might otherwise be placed there.
If I had continued to follow American style, I would have ended a sentence in a recent post with this:
… “A New (Cold) Civil War or Secession?” “The Culture War,” “Polarization and De-facto Partition,” and “Civil War?“
What a hodge-podge. There’s no comma between the first two entries, and the sentence ends with an inappropriate question mark. With two titles ending in question marks, there was no way for me to avoid a series in which a comma is lacking. I could have avoided the sentence-ending question mark by recasting the list, but the items are listed chronologically, which is how they should be read.
I solved these problems easily by reverting to the British style:
… “A New (Cold) Civil War or Secession?”, “The Culture War“, “Polarization and De-facto Partition“, and “Civil War?“.
This not only eliminates the hodge-podge, but is also more logical and accurate. All items are separated by commas, commas aren’t displaced by question marks, and the declarative sentence ends with a period instead of a question mark.
For much more see “Writing: A Guide“.
6 thoughts on “What Would Jimmy Durante Do?”
Does your views count include views via email-only? I always read your posts but typically within my email account instead of actually clicking on the link and opening wordpress. That might be more common than is apparent.
Good point. Visits and views reported by WordPress would include only direct hits from bookmarks, click-throughs on RSS feeds and e-mails, etc. But, that said, readership is obviously way down from the highs of 4-6 years ago. And it has been declining steadily.
I agree with DT. I hope you will continue.
I’ve always made it a point to click on the links to the posts from the e-mails, so that your blog gets the web hits. But I’ve been reading your more recent posts straight from the e-mails on a phone or iPad because of being on the road and short on time. I’m also pretty sure that the recipients to whom I forward your e-mail posts probably never click the links.
I started reading your blog because of a link on the “Chicago Boyz” blog probably around 2012 or so. Recognized very quickly that you’re one of the best commentators and thinkers around, whatever the blog’s popularity or reach. As you would know, D.C. and the political space are full of people who are trying to show everybody that they’re the smartest in the room. But you and people like Steve Sailer, the late Angelo Codevilla, and a handful of others — whatever one may think of them — are always several rungs above the crowd of “smartest guy in the room” aspirants.
Always glad to see a new post from Politics and Prosperity pop up in the Inbox, however irregularly they may do so.
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