Self-licking Ice Cream Cone

self-licking brain freeze by david vallejo

In political jargon, a self-licking ice cream cone is a self-perpetuating system that has no purpose other than to sustain itself. The phrase appears to have been first used in 1992, in ‘On Self-Licking Ice Cream Cones,’ a paper by Pete Worden about NASA’s bureaucracy.

It has come to be used as a metaphor for any similar system, particularly in contexts such as the War on Terror and the military-industrial complex.

One Comment to “Self-licking Ice Cream Cone”

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