May 17, 2012

The Art of Plucking the Feathers without Killing the Bird?

I’ve been told that some Members of Congress disagree with my tax cut proposal. Well, you know it’s been said that taxation is the art of plucking the feathers without killing the bird. It’s time they realized that the bird just doesn’t have any feathers left. Maybe some of you heard me put it a different way on several occasions when I’ve said that robbing Peter to pay Paul won’t work anymore, because Peter’s been bankrupt for some time now.

~ Ronald Reagan, Remarks at National League of Cities Congressional City Conference. Washington, D.C., March 2, 1981.

1981... Wow, it seems like it was just yesterday, doesn’t it?

Switching to English

News like this are exactly what makes me hope for the best for the future of Italy: one of the country’s leading universities, the Politecnico di Milano, has announced that from 2014 most of its degree courses—including all its graduate courses—will be taught and assessed entirely in English rather than Italian. “Universities are in a more competitive world, if you want to stay with the other global universities—you have no other choice,” says the university’s rector, Giovanni Azzone. Read the full BBC article.

After all, let’s not forget that the idea of a “global language” is older than English itself, and Italy has more than something to do with it; this for the simple reason that Latin was the world’s first recorded global language, or lingua franca. So, to some extent, this could be described as a case of going back to the future—or at least the present!