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Author Topic: Help me with this sentence.  (Read 437 times)

sg7007

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Help me with this sentence.
« on: July 27, 2009, 08:47:25 AM »
This passage is from an anonymous source on the internet, but I know it's not a LSAT passage. I'm posting the other parts of the passage for your understanding.

I can partially understand what the boldic-faced line means, but not exactly. Can someone please explain what exactly "as it were" means? What does "it" refer to?  Thank you.
 
Here's the passage.
------
Woodrow Wilson was referring to the liberal idea of the economic market when he said that the free enterprise system is the most efficient economic system. Maximum freedom means maximum productiveness; our “openness” is to be the measure of our stability. Fascination with this ideal has made Americans defy the “Old World” categories of settled possessiveness versus unsettling deprivation, the cupidity of retention versus the cupidity of seizure, a “status quo” defended or attacked. The United States, it was believed, had no status quo ante. Our only “station” was the turning of a stationary wheel, spinning faster and faster. We did not base our system on property but opportunity—which meant we based it not on stability but on mobility. The more things changed, that is, the more rapidly the wheel turned, the steadier we would be. The conventional picture of class politics is composed of the Haves, who want a stability to keep what they have, and the Have-Nots, who want a touch of instability and change in which to scramble for the things they have not. But Americans imagined a condition in which speculators, self-makers, runners are always using the new opportunities given by our land. These economic leaders (front-runners) would thus be mainly agents of change. The nonstarters were considered the ones who wanted stability, a strong referee to give them some position in the race, a regulative hand to calm manic speculation; an authority that can call things to a halt, begin things again from compensatorily staggered “starting lines.”
“Reform” in America has been sterile because it can imagine no change except through the extension of this metaphor of a race, wider inclusion of competitors, “a piece of the action,” as it were, for the disenfranchised. There is no attempt to call off the race. Since our only stability is change, America seems not to honor the quiet work that achieves social interdependence and stability.

Atlas LSAT Teacher

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Re: Help me with this sentence.
« Reply #1 on: July 29, 2009, 03:10:14 PM »
The term "as it were" is an idiom.  The "it" doesn't have to refer to something in specific.  It's used to call attention to a re-naming of a phenomenon -- specifically with when the name isn't really correct.  For example: "John ended up finding a backdoor into the club for us and even procured us a table in the VIP lounge; he was our clubbing sherpa, as it were."  [If you don't know what a sherpa is, it's someone who carries your stuff up Mt. Everest (or other mountains)].

Does that clear it up?

That's a badly written passage, by the way. 

Good luck!  - Noah
Noah Teitelbaum
Atlas LSAT Teacher & Director
http://www.atlaslsat.com

sg7007

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Re: Help me with this sentence.
« Reply #2 on: July 30, 2009, 04:21:55 AM »
The term "as it were" is an idiom.  The "it" doesn't have to refer to something in specific.  It's used to call attention to a re-naming of a phenomenon -- specifically with when the name isn't really correct.  For example: "John ended up finding a backdoor into the club for us and even procured us a table in the VIP lounge; he was our clubbing sherpa, as it were."  [If you don't know what a sherpa is, it's someone who carries your stuff up Mt. Everest (or other mountains)].

Does that clear it up?

That's a badly written passage, by the way. 

Good luck!  - Noah

Now, I get it! Thank you so much.