Wednesday, 10 March 2021

mercenary pirate

Our gratitude to TYWKIWDBI (indeed) for reminding us about the etymology of the practise of political stonewalling wherein a parliament, congress or other legislative body obstruct a proposal by talking it to death, which ultimately comes from the old Dutch vribuyter meaning plunderer (a freer of booty) with the antiquated intermediate English term freebooter. Eventually such mendacious piracy came to refer to the unsanctioned—that is operating outside the government in a fashion similar to a soldier of fortune but strictly working for oneself—in hopes of fomenting revolution and installing a regime more amenable to one’s business or trade interest, particularly said of United States citizens acting as agent provocateurs in Latin America (previously) in the nineteenth century, but this is of course a recurring role for the USA. It passed in the vernacular as a campaign by extension to block or delay the passage of legislation with tactics to buy time (see also)—that is squander it. The procedural remedy for filibustering and taking up floor time and leaving the opposition with no recourse is cloture, but this termination of debate usually requires more than a simple majority to move on it.