The One Word That Bars Trump From Pardoning Himself

I am reminded of something I was reading about the function of government, which is that it really has to do with facilitating systems that depend upon interactions between strangers who wouldn't trust each other otherwise. Therefore, it is not at all surprising that government has to play a role in mediating language, that language has to play a role in mediating the role of government, that the judiciary ends up sounding a bit unhinged from the way most of us use language to communicate.

Language's endless niche usages confer niche meanings. When government enforces the possibility of bridging between niche communities, the government has to enforce the meanings of words.

We take that for granted, but it's a little terrifying, because words are sort of the index for concepts in our brain. I'm not gonna try to argue strong Sapir-Whorf or anything, but... as much as everyone loves to go on about Newspeak for their favorite political bugaboos, we miss how much even the most basic functions of our government shape our understandings of the world through the power to enforce word meanings.

This is all very rambly and unstudied, but I get a little uncomfortable thinking about the legal profession as the priesthood to these powers of The Word, especially when there isn't cultural trust in e.g. lawyers' use of these powers.