Anything peaceful and voluntary.

from the New Edition of the OXYPOLISAURUS


by bjsvol on July 18, 2011

  from the New Edition of the OXYPOLISAURUS

by Dr. Barry J. Schwartz


“But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.”

“In our time political speech and writing are largely the defense of the indefensible.”


–George Orwell

The term OXYPOLISAURUS is an amalgam of three elements: Oxymoron, Politics, and Thesaurus. I apologize for introducing a rickety term like this, but some of our old words and phrases are in very poor condition owing to public misuse. Once we’ve trimmed down the excess verbiage obscuring the view, the OXYPOLOSAURUS will be dismantled and put back into storage.

Now, consider the terms Oxymoron, Politics, and Thesaurus.


It is said that the term “Politics” derives from the Greek root for people, or urban people, poleis. However, I lean towards a more recent derivation based on the roots poly meaning “many” and ticks, meaning “blood sucking insects.”

The reader can judge which derivation is the more descriptive.  I trust that the terms Oxymoron and Thesaurus are recognizable to anyone without a public school education.

ITEM #1:     the 39 Czars

By February of 2011, the Obama White House had appointed 39 Czars.

Some of the highlights on the list include the following ….

  • Regulatory Czar: Cass Sunstein
  • Energy and Environment Czar: Carol Browner
  • Faith-Based Czar: Joshua DuBois
  • FCC Diversity Czar: Mark Lloyd
  • Manufacturing Czar/Car Czar: Ron Bloom

There is a problem with the term “Czar.”

In the first place, a Czar is a supreme leader – originally a Russian-ized version of “Caesar.”  By definition, a real Czar cannot report to anyone of higher rank.  Obviously too, one government can’t house more than a single solitary Czar, never mind thirty-nine.

The history of the word “Czar” ought to have caused some discomfort to more than a few of Mr. Obama’s advisors and appointees who are or were socialists and even communists.  I refer to people like Frank Marshall Davis earlier on, and more recently, our first Green Energy Czar, Van Jones. Their predecessors, those earlier communists, were inclined to shoot any Czar they found, along with his family. It’s odd to see how this new generation of communists is carelessly proliferating Czars.

In short, we suggest that our current day “Czars” are misnamed.  Those 39 are really functionaries who were appointed to carry out the orders and plans made by the head of state – Premier Obama, the current occupant of an office once known as the Presidency.

So, as a modest linguistic proposal, let’s rename the office of Czar – and replace it with the more descriptive title: Commissar.

Item #2:     “Public Servants”

Suppose you drop in on a friend’s house only to find that he’s become the unwilling host to a group of squatters. Then you learn that those squatters are armed and dangerous, and  that they also have gained the power to drain your friend’s savings account, which is dwindling rapidly.  The police won’t remedy the situation, so you call the newspapers.  The reporters arrive and they confirm everything you see. The next day, the newspapers refer to the squatters as your friend’s loyal servants.

You would think that someone was hallucinating.  Yet, somehow, we allow our local, state, and Federal officials – even unelected regulators – to describe themselves as “public servants.”

With the law on the side of the squatters, our friend has clearly become their slave. (A slave is a victim of false imprisonment and theft, but has no legal authority to defend himself against those crimes.)

The Declaration of Independence was written to remind a certain King George that a real government is the servant of the people – a servant with duties limited by a constitution.  A change in vocabulary was forthcoming:  so the Declaration changed “Sovereign King” to “Foreign Tyrant” and then changed the term “Subject” to “Sovereign Citizen.”

Among “a long train of abuses” listed, the Declaration noted that King George had levied high taxes and had quartered his troops in our private homes. However, at least he didn’t add insult to injury by referring to himself as the servant of the very people he was actually looting and murdering.  Old George III may have been crazy but he wasn’t stupid—at least not by comparison to some modern day journalists.

“Public servant” has come to mean the reverse of its original meaning. The state officials we pay identify their own roles as officially “public.” Then, they operate as if the public are their servants.

But, remember, a servant can be dismissed by an unhappy employer. And what was done to a colonial foreign tyrant can be done once again to a gaggle of petty bureaucrats here at home.

Dr. Barry J. Schwartz will be speaking at Libertopia Festival 2011 in San Diego

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4 responses

  1. “Old George III may have been crazy but he wasn’t stupid—at least not by comparison to some modern day journalists.” I like this statement, Barry. Most of the journalists seem to be toadies for the State. They rarely question anything that comes out of the mouth of *any* president including Premier Obama and his commissars (an excellent description, lol.) [Though I expect that Obama himself is being lead around by the nose by his advisers]. They work very hard not to mention libertarian ideas or Ron Paul–just look at the coverage of the recent debates in Iowa. If I had a dollar for every distortion of politics OR science that I have seen in the papers over the years, I’d be off on a nice, extended vacation to Europe right now!

    August 13, 2011 at 6:52 pm

  2. P.S. your comment about so-called “public servants” is well-taken also. To flip around and paraphrase JFK–their motto seems to be–ask not what you can do for your country , ask what you can do to it, how much can you get and how often. The Liberal faith (and it IS faith) in the power of government to (allegedly) help and their idea that if we just get the right people in office, everything will work out is extremely naive. They claim libertarians are naive but *they* are the ones who are clueless about the power of power to corrupt. Wasn’t it Robert LeFevre who said –if humans are good, we don’t need government; if humans are bad, we don’t dare have government. Which view is really the more naive?

    August 13, 2011 at 7:23 pm

    • Thanks Sharon. I recall I met you for 3 minutes or so in Greenwich Village in the late 70;s when I was a grad student at NYU… the only neuroscience grad student around who spent time on Bastiat and Mises… (even with the Mises old econ dept right around the corner)

      August 15, 2011 at 12:16 am

  3. Barry: Thanks for remembering and commenting. I’ll look forward to chatting with you at Libertopia about neuroscience. 🙂

    August 17, 2011 at 6:16 pm

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