Institutional Inaction As The Passive Inverse Of Bullshit

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III. Our Little Buzzword The Phenomena we’re trying to address will be encapsulated by the term ‘Institutional Inaction’. Formally, a case of ‘Institutional Inaction’ is found any time an institution decides to not speak, not learn, not publicize, all with the intention of improving or maintaining the standing, prestige, or funding of the group. It rests a great deal upon the assumptions of a ‘Bureaucratic Politics Model’, which posits that states are not unitary actors, but instead, that their myriad institutions vie for funding and clout in order to carry out their adopted objectives. Institutional Inaction 's closest relative is ‘Bullshit’ of the Frankfurt variety – the objective of such inaction is not necessarily related to any…show more content…
Institutional Inaction and Bullshit, though, do share common roots in the lexical tree of dishonesty. Following Frankfurt’s steps, we find an early ancestor in ‘Humbug’. “Humbug: deceptive misrepresentation, short of lying, especially by pretentious word or deed, of somebody’s own thoughts, feelings, or attitudes”
- (From Frankfurt’s Quoting of Max Black)

The first two conditions, deceptive misrepresentation, and something ‘short of lying’, do fit our bill for Institutional Inaction. The second half provides us with problems – we obviously cannot claim that misrepresentation ‘by word’ fits our topic, nor is the focus on the institutions own thoughts, feelings, or attitudes. They are, instead, concerned with a fact in the world which would have import upon their daily functioning. There exists a second, critical, point of distinction between Institutional Inaction and Bullshit: their relation to an understanding of the truth. Frankfurt holds that a Bullshitter and a Liar have different positions – the Liar must know the truth, and then simply publicly offer not-truth. The Bullshitter, in general, does not have such a focused understanding of the truth in regards to his topic, instead, he has a wonton disregard for the truth. A Bullshitter may make claims which have no way of being concretely proven, yet seem plausible – for instance, that ‘the Founding Fathers would weep if they saw our country today’. This is not
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