Alarming News: I like Morgan Freeberg. A lot.
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler: We were following a trackback and thinking "hmmm... this is a bloody excellent post!", and then we realized that it was just part III of, well, three...Damn. I wish I'd written those.
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler: ...I just remembered that I found a new blog a short while ago, House of Eratosthenes, that I really like. I like his common sense approach and his curiosity when it comes to why people believe what they believe rather than just what they believe.
Brutally Honest: Morgan Freeberg is an intriguing guy...[he] asks great questions and answers others with style, flair, reason and wit. On the blogroll he goes. Make him a part of your regular blogospheric reading. I certainly will.
Brutally Honest: Morgan Freeberg is brilliant.
Common Sense Junction: Misha @ Anti-Idiotarian never ceases to amaze me. He keeps finding other good blogs. I went over to A.I. this morning for my daily Misha fix and he had found this guy named Morgan Freeberg in Fair Oaks, California, that has a blog, House of Eratosthenes. Freeberg says its "The Blog That Nobody Reads" but it may now become the blog that everybody reads.
Jaded Haven: Good God, Morgan, you cover a topic from front to back with a screwy thoroughness I find mind boggling. I'm in awe of your thought proccesses, my friend, you're an exceptional talent. You start by throwing in the kitchen sink, tie in someone's syphilitic uncle, bend around a rip tide of brilliance and bring it all home in a neat, diamond dripping package of an exceptionally readable moment of damn fine wordsmithing. I love reading you.
Mein Blogovault: Make "the Blog that No One Reads" one of your daily reads.
Philmon: When Morgan meanders, stick with him - he's got a point and it'll be worth it in the end. He's not a hit-and-run snarky quip kind of guy. The pieces all fall into place like tumblers in a lock and bang! He's opened a cognative door for you.
Rightlinx: Morgan at House of Eratosthenes is one of the best writers out there. I read him nearly every day because he manages to provide an interesting perspective, even though I don't always agree.
Poetic Justice: Cletus! Ah gots a laiv one fer yew...
Yeah, my wife’s cooler than your…wife…my wife’s cooler than yours…
My wife’s cooler ’cause she bought me a…uh…you know, a wine cooler for my birthday…
My wife’s cooler than yours!
But this post is not about that addition to the family. By sheer coincidence, this morning was the morning I popped in to work bright and early, office still mostly deserted, but I saw there was a dude-conversation going on involving one of our senior programmers, who was sharing the details of his weekend. His first weekend with the new dog.
Which his wife…well, this has been a pet peeve of mine for a long time…heh heh, yeah, a “pet” peeve. Yep, he was informed Friday that he had a dog. Informed. I came up with a classy way of commenting on it, after really racking my brain about it, because I’ve met his wife and she’s a nice lady. My classy comment was: I’m glad for you, glad for the new dog, glad you’re her husband. Isn’t that a nice way of saying it?
I’m glad he’s her husband, because over in the corner of the universe I call home — that’s just a way of petitioning for a divorce. And a mighty peculiar one. No, chicks don’t inform dudes that they have a new dog. That just means the house is not a home. For him, at least. That IS a demand for a divorce, isn’t it? How could it not be one? A message to your husband that “our house is not a home, for you” must be a divorce decree, am I right?
So we discussed this in some detail. There had been, in his case, a previous attempt to engage these sorts of shenanigans. “Shenanigans,” yeah that’s right, the other fellow had been deployed to Iraq and he said, DO NOT pull that crap while I’m in Iraq. He was very clear on this, the wife & kids pulled it anyway, and that time it worked. The new cat’s name was “Shenanigans.” So both these guys were one-for-two on this shit; in both cases the wife tried it twice, got away with it 50% of the time.
I’ve got no place to brag about this stuff, though. These guys weren’t fooled. They feel like they were, but they weren’t; their wives just took advantage of their absences as they were preoccupied. With providing a livelihood for the households. Which the wives then contaminated. Genesis 3:1, remember that? The wife got a bright idea, from outside the household, and then told the hubby how it was gonna be. The result: Nothing good. Yes, in that fable there is wisdom.
Which leads me to my question. The response sorta creeped me out a little bit: Does ANYBODY know of any situation, directly or indirectly, in which it went the other way? The chick was off somewhere, on a trip or off at work, and the dude “informed” her that they now had a dog or a cat. Anybody ever hear of that happening? Anybody at all?
The answer, as of the moment in which I’m writing this, is nada. This seems to be purely a chick thing: Get a four-legged varmint, tell the stud how it’s gonna be. Repeat The Fall.
So I guess the thing to do, is to open up the question for the comment section. Let my readers contribute their experiences, see if there is an interruption in the pattern.
Meanwhile, Mrs. Freeberg and I don’t have so much as a goldfish. Instead, we got a wine cooler. Awesome!
I’ve been accused every now and then from failing to separate politics from other things. I know I’m guilty of the charge, but then I’m also left wondering whose reckoning with reality is correct, and who has one that is in need of repair. It is all connected, isn’t it? Maybe we’re all trying not to notice it so we can do a better job of getting along with each other. That’s a noble goal. Perhaps there are better ways to go about that than making sure we don’t notice things. For my own purposes, I find it works much better to keep in mind that people can disagree with me, and that doesn’t make them my enemy.
Seems other people don’t like to keep that in mind. Which brings me to some observations I’ve been making.
From watching the political circus that is next year’s election take form, and comparing it to the actions I see engaged by people in my “real” everyday life, I notice there are two ways to go about accumulating experiences. This is meaningful. Everything we know, outside of what we “learned” before leaving the womb, is based on the accumulation of experience. It must affect everything that has anything to do with what makes us what we are. It has to do this.
It is a binary, mutually-exclusive thing. It comes up whenever reality poses problems for theories, which is often. You can see to it that reality wins out over the theory, or you can make sure the theory wins out over reality. Theory yielding to reality is the proper way, of course. And it does not mean a complete defeat, it simply means reform. The theory is something like a metal knife blade yielding to a sharpening stone. It becomes better honed, more precise, more capable — more useful. This is how the scientific method is supposed to work. Out here in the layperson’s world, we call it “learning.” But within and outside of science, we’ve got an awful lot of people walking around thinking they’re doing this, when they’re not. The most demanding test comes when what was expected with great confidence, overlaps with what was desired with great passion — and reality doesn’t deliver.
Example: You expected President Barack Obama to lead us into a new era of racial harmony and you really, really, really wanted to see it happen. He’s delivered the exact opposite, and even more distressingly, has been repeatedly caught working hard to deliver the exact opposite. Question: Can you process the information? A lot of people can’t. They don’t see reality as any sort of sharpening stone for the knife blade that is their theory. They see it more like a block of wood they want to make into a statue or something. So they use the theory, along with lots and lots of cheap mockery, to get rid of anything on the block of wood that does not look like the statue.
Another observation: There are two ways to present arguments about the things you have learned. By that, I mean two broad categories, within which there are other categories. What is an argument? To think on that, we have to think on their purpose. You may co-own a decision with somebody, or perhaps they own the decision all by themselves and you want to give them some advice they don’t want to take. An argument ensues, and you both argue. How do you argue? Well, there is some sort of objective on which you agree, and then there is some series of prerequisite objectives leading up to that on which you do not agree. Or, you agree on all of the objectives, the prerequisites as well as the ultimate, and you have disagreements on which strategies are likely to culminate in success. Or, their costs. Anyway, you can erect statements, and challenges, and rebuttals, about all these things in order to prevail on the other person’s shared desire for this common ultimate goal.
Or, you can act like a character in any one of the made-for-cable-teevee dramas about English royal families from hundreds of years ago, minus the rolling R’s and sensationalized accent: boast to the other person about what’s going to happen, how they are going to be gutterballed, their desires aren’t going to matter at all, perhaps don’t matter already, and YOU. WILL. PREVAIL. I am not yet done with this second observation: Part of it is that the people who argue by bullying, with this me-strong-you-weak stuff, seem quite committed to it. They do it all the time. You can practically set a clock by it. I think maybe they don’t ever bother with the more mutually-respectful way of arguing, where you try to convince your opposition, because they just don’t know how. Example for this one: Well, let’s be fair and balanced. Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump thrives on this. I suspect the reporters are making a sport out of asking him questions about his critics, to which his answer is, invariably I notice, something starting with a variation of “Yeah well, who cares what HE says.” The man seems to be a complete stranger to the concept of grappling with the content of an idea, so consumed is he with the identity of the idea’s source.
But let us be doubly-fair. It isn’t just Trump.
My third observation is that there seems to be a linkage between the other two. People who demand that reality yields to their pet theories, when it doesn’t, seem to be the same ones who don’t know how to argue, except to say something like “I will emerge victorious and you will be nothing but debris” or “I will hunt you to the ends of the Earth.”
Example for that one: The previously-mentioned President Obama, and His Secretary of State’s Iran deal. Just listen to the White House try to defend it, you haven’t got long to wait at all before they’re telling you what will happen, with all of the certainty — even more, I’m afraid — of a man recalling something well-established, that took place in an easily-recalled past. It’s like they’re the celebrated Merlin of Camelot, experiencing time backwards. Except, their prophesies don’t have much track record of success. One cannot help but wonder what sort of percentage-score they would give themselves on this. And after they’re done with that, like clockwork, they head straight to the “It doesn’t matter, we shall prevail” thing. Back to the pen and the phone, Obama Will Veto (warning, site video ad auto-plays).
As much consternation as it creates to contemplate having a President so grossly addicted to these unproductive paradigms, of theory-over-reality and I-win-because-I-say-so, we have to be fair once again. It isn’t just President Obama.
Excellent stuff. One E. M. Cadwaladr, whom I intend to research & follow now, writes at American Thinker:
The representative model is now defunct, destroyed in somewhat different ways by the two political parties. We will start with the inappropriately named Democrats.
The Democratic party of today is not a representative party, but a top-down political machine organized around a reformulation of traditional socialist ideology. They are not a party of the popular will, but a party of a particular set of ideas. The people who adapt these ideas to current needs are not the Democratic base, but a small group of intellectuals drawn almost exclusively from a handful of elite universities. Trusting the public will is a laughable proposition for academics, who consider themselves a superior breed — like the philosopher kings of Plato’s Republic. They may adapt their rhetoric as required for the sake of harvesting votes from the lowly herd, but the core concept of public sovereignty was dropped from leftist thought long ago — about the time it passed from the hard hands of embittered revolutionaries into the soft hands of tenured professors.
The Republican Party…is a different sort of animal from its dingy, pseudo-leftist counterpart, but not really a more attractive or more encouraging one. It has become painfully obvious in the last few election cycles that the Republican establishment despises its conservative base. Most of us have grown tired of watching the GOP bluster and promise to stop ObamaCare, executive amnesty, etc. — only to fold for no apparent reason after a few weeks or months, vowing “this isn’t over!” once again. The truth is that it was over before it started. At the risk of being called racist, the Republican Party seems to function more or less as the nameless team that plays against the Harlem Globetrotters. They provide the illusion of a contest to events that have been carefully choreographed in advance. Their current strategy, assuming for the sake of argument that they are even interested in electoral success, appears to be to trade their traditional base for those lost souls in the political center — those people who only engaged in politics by tottering into a voting booth once every four years…New Republican voters ought to take note of how dismissive the party has been toward the old ones. Most Republican politicians, in short, have come to represent no one but themselves.
It’s refreshingly honest. And he closes with a real zinger:
If the core principle of representative democracy is not restored soon, by whatever methods are required, all of the awareness-raising efforts of forums like this one will count for nothing…No amount of outrage, or satisfyingly rational arguments, will let us vote our way out of an oligarchy.
I have problems with one of those parties more than with the other one, but those problems are ideological in nature, and stacked on top of these problems with the system itself, which are non-ideological. The system is being slowly transformed in this new modern era of the Wanna-conomy, in which products and services, as well as the transactions that involve them, are tailored to fulfill the desires of the producers, while the consumers — in this case, the constituents — are made entirely inconsequential, ignored at every turn.
It is all a natural consequence of our recent societal handicap, an inability to listen to each other. Empire-building has become the order of the day. Everyone likes power and control, but education about the moods and needs of fellow countrymen, cause & effect, and anything else that would be needed to wield that power effectively, is not quite so captivating, not quite so much fun. Technology has given the power-seekers a way to choose the one without bothering with the other. It’s not a development that’s truly beneficial, for anyone, over the long term.
Hot trend in America: It’s becoming toddler nation. The bald eagle is being replaced by a Teletubby.
Remember when it was considered an insult to call Adam Sandler movies “adolescent”? If he is 15 forever mentally, at least he’s got about 10 developmental years on Allison Williams and Bee Shaffer when they snuggled up in their PJs on Instagram.
No wonder Sandler’s career has faded — his shtick isn’t absurd anymore. If they made “Billy Madison 2″ or “Grown-Ups 3″ today, they’d have to be documentaries.
A decade or so ago I noticed something about well-shod young women in Manhattan: They were weirdly concerned with this thing called “birthday parties,” which I vaguely remembered from the “Mork and Mindy” era. “Birthday parties” seemed a strange activity for an adult to participate in. You’re going to solicit presents from your friends while punishing outcasts by denying them invitations? Odd, distinctly odd.
Equally odd were the Hello Kitty backpacks you started to see on (grown-up) girls around town, while Carrie Bradshaw was prancing around in fairy-princess wear. At the time I was a book review editor, and I loved to peek at what people were reading on trains. Whenever I saw someone with a fat hardcover book, my heart leapt — books are alive! But it was always Harry Potter. Then it was “Twilight,” then “The Hunger Games.”
Men, it had been noticed for years, were taking the opportunity — post-draft and post-sexual revolution — to stop trying to prove themselves worthy of women in any way except “being cool,” and so they lapsed into a universe of Barcaloungers, video games, and T-shirts and sneakers as the official uniform for all things. Sitcom after sitcom played off mature, sensible women rolling their eyes at the man-child antics of their boyfriends and husbands.
What’s the difference between now, and the age of “rugged fellas”? The most obvious two things are: Natural predators, and the discernible need for stuff getting built that had not yet been built. Thinking like a builder has a lot to do with thinking like a Real Man, and now, the shit’s all been built, there are no obvious natural dangers, in fact the few dangers we can define are located well outside our sphere of control. The very few daily pressures with which people have to contend, are mostly concerned with proving one’s worthiness for maintaining membership in the InCrowdtm. Which is the everyday pastime of the three-to-twenty-year-old set; the kids. Adulthood is on indefinite leave, because reasons to act like an adult are on indefinite leave.
But that is not all of it. That is only the ignition point; there is a self-accelerating and self-perpetuating quality to this vicious cycle, as it feeds off its own energy to hang around, and grow some more. There is the female-male dynamic. Societies are always going to mold themselves around a shape defined by: What do the women want in their men? Well, ask them. They’re not going to, in any large numbers, say something like “He can fix things” or “He knows how to drive all sorts of trucks” or “He can open jars and kill spiders.” The predominant answer you’ll get back is “He makes me laugh!” and this is sincere. Two generations of convincing kids, their parents, teachers, and everyone else who is around kids that boys are just flawed copies of the girl-prototype, that all men are potential rapists and that might as well make ‘em rapists, and women can do everything men can do — that has put us here. I’m not even getting into the “sitcoms playing off mature, sensible women rolling their eyes at the man-child antics” thing, and that’s true too.
Why do we have men? Nobody seems to know.
So women, when & where they still look for men, look for clowns. They don’t know how to look for, nor are they encouraged by society to look for, anything else. Men respond by being clowns. Fathers abandon their children, the moms look for a replacement-stepdad, and they find some guy who has the room to take on the whole brood because he got divorced — and his kids are being raised by some other dude.
Then there are the politics. The politicians. Someone was writing a couple years ago, “Mitt Romney lost the election because he said ‘I’ll put the country back to work!’ and 52% of the voters said ‘Well, fuck that!'” Sadly, there’s a lot of truth in that. What should the politicians promise us? The right to work without joining a union, cheaper gas we can use to get to work, more likely employment prospects and a friendlier business climate — more and more every year, these seem to be things people wanted back when our parents and grandparents were voting. The democrat party has become the “Fuck you, I want my num nums” party; the other parties don’t seem that far behind. We can only get so far in debt, so someone has to work to create, preserve, safeguard and embiggen the assets so that something of value is being generated somewhere. But, why be that guy? And why be the candidate running for public office, who seeks to appeal to that guy, when his population is dwindling and the “Fuck you I want my num nums” party is going to ruin you, both professionally and personally?
There is a perception in all this that there are sensible advantages here, that fun is important and adults don’t know how to have fun. That, too, has a ring of truth to it; fun is important. But lots of other things are just as important, in fact even more. With all that stuff requiring attention and maintenance, and only the “vital fun” actually getting it, an ugly truth emerges.
Besides, I’m old enough to remember when fun was earned. You start off with this lengthy and expansive list of things you have to do today, and you make a big enough dent by 4 or 5 in the afternoon that you can take a breather. That’s why a house involved in some level of luxury would have a “wet bar,” but this led to an associated stigma of alcoholism. Now the wet bar is something you see in a really old movie, maybe a Twilight Zone episode from the first couple seasons, because we’ve gotten rid of alcoholism and replaced it with addiction to marijuana, crack, meth and illegally-acquired prescription drugs, along with the legal stuff to do something about our made-up “learning disabilities.” The casualty in all this is not the addictive lifestyle, what we’ve gotten rid of is the idea that you start with the work, and finish with the leisure which is predicated on the work actually getting done. That’s been consigned to the ash heap of history, at least within this romper room stately pleasure dome we’ve constructed for ourselves.
Within which, so few people can be preoccupied with anything that actually matters, because it requires two hands and that’s hard to manage when you’re carrying around a giant lollipop.
I’ve been noticing something about these two things Emperor “Can I Live?” is known far & wide for doing this week: The swinging open of the jail cell doors for the drug dealers, and the Iran deal. Something has changed. I guess you have to be a certain age, and willing to recall past events, to be able to see it.
I’m so old I can remember when the Political Left was willing to threaten. Not just the way they do, as in for-reals, to move their agenda forward, like “Donate to Rainbow-Push or I’ll smear your corporation as racist” and things like that. But in their gusty rhetoric. “If we don’t take steps to end global warming,” as in, give leftist organizations lots of money, “the climate will reach a ‘tipping point’ after which it will be completely out of control” or some such.
I’m guessing they’re not too pleased with the results of that. The rebuttal from the opposition, supposedly anti-science, was easy: “What is this ‘control’ of which you speak?” At any rate, here we are. The “If we don’t” thing seems to be on a permanent vacation.
In the business world, it’s important. You put it in your project charter, or whatever document it is that defines where the resources are going to be going, should the project be green-lit, that you show to the people who would make the decision about green-lighting. There has to be a section called “cost of non-implementation” or “ramifications of doing nothing” or “consequences of inaction” or some such. It’s what you want to know, as a homeowner, when a contractor comes up to you and says “I’m afraid I can’t do the [blank] because there is [blank] in the [blank], and what you’ve really got to do, is [blank].” The executives want to know what you’d want to know: What do you mean by “got to”?
In all the sections that are expected to be present in the project charter, this one — call it what you will — looms large in importance. The “go” call hinges on this. Anyone who’s been in the position of the homeowner, understands why.
America’s First Holy Emperor, and His supporters, are going awfully light on that sort of talk lately. The air is cackling with the words from His Eminence, which fly thick and fast and inform all who may be concerned, about the futility involved in opposing His will. “The world would not support an effort to permanently sanction Iran into submission”…”I will veto any legislation that prevents the successful implementation of this deal.” Ah yes, the pen and the phone.
But, that does not answer the question. Ditto with the commutation of the 46 drug offenders. “I believe that at its heart, America is a nation of second chances, and I believe these folks deserve their second chance…” Glad You believe that, I’m sure the people who are being placed in real danger find that reassuring. But to them, and all the rest of America’s citizens who never got into this sort of trouble because they didn’t do anything wrong, what’s the difference between doing this and not doing this? Why are we doing this?
What if You were to treat this as Kate Steinle’s funeral, and simply not participate?
In both of those, I’m still fuzzy on that.
In the most controversial move ever made by President Obama’s predecessor, say what you will about the man and what you think of his real motives, but he was extremely clear on this sort of thing.
A common tactic employed by leftists is to accuse their enemies of being on “the wrong side of history.”…In so many words, if we don’t enthusiastically embrace the left’s agenda, then people like us will be reviled for all eternity.
Will we? The arrogant leftist notion that the arc of the universe bends towards justice (i.e. what they want) is predicated on the belief that Western liberalism will remain hegemonic. However, I suspect that this dominant liberal narrative will erode as China and other Asian nations continue to rise. We already know that Asian countries have no use for the kind of bizarre identity politics running amok in the West.
Future Asian historians will be nonplussed upon learning that Americans placed a higher premium on transsexual rights than nationalism or a strong economy. They will also shake their heads and chuckle when reading about how historical white figureheads such as Joe Biden celebrated the impending minority status of their own people. They’ll wonder why the most dominant group in human history threw it all away in the name of quixotic ideals.
They will, with amusement and contempt, consign the Western left to the wrong side of history.
From the comments:
I don’t think the West will die.(it is undeniably in decline but I think there will be a resurgence after economic collapse and excision of the Leftists)
I don’t think the Russian Asians will get along with the Chinese Asians for very long, they both want to be #1 and they are both ruthless.
And I agree with that. The West became great for a reason, and the thing that made the West great is timeless. People like to be paid for the work they do.
The unanswered questions about the common condemnation reveal a double ignorance among our friends, the liberals: Ignorance about objectivity vs. subjectivity, and ignorance about the passage of time. The two questions could be condensed to “who?” and “when?” History according to whom? And when does this assessment take place?
Example: Same-sex marriage never looked more right, than just before the Supreme Court decided in favor of it last month. It is already, today, on the wrong side of history, as is the election of Barack Obama. Both are embarrassing to watch, even for people like me who never thought either one was a good idea. There’s so much division where there was supposed to be some new sense of unity and unification. Train wrecks.
But, both had their moments, their gilded ages in which each one was an easy sell. The salad days came and went. Both were sold with this “You don’t want to be on the wrong side of history, do you?” thing, and now history has decided against them.
The “wrong side of history” really means the “wrong side of my opinion.” That’s the problem. A liberal, perceiving that his opinion has created an irreconcilable conflict with reality, will adjudicate against reality. If they had what it took to go the other way, they wouldn’t be liberals.
People are often skeptical that a Superman movie can be good because stories need conflict, and conflict seems pretty hard to come by when your hero is a person who always does the right thing and can’t be hurt. That, however, is a reductive way of looking at the character, and the secret to why Superman stories are so great: They’re never really about him. They’re about us.
This is something Snyder and his team almost get, but they come at it from an angle that totally misses the point of Superman. They treat him as a god among mortals, our greatest fear or our great salvation. The problem with this, though, is that it strips the character of his humanity, and makes him downright unapproachable.
Superman isn’t good or special because he’s an alien who crashes on Earth and ends up being incredibly powerful. He’s special because after all that he becomes someone who always does the right thing because he was raised by a couple of decent people from Kansas. That’s it.
He is someone with the power to be the most selfish being in all of existence, and decides to be selfless because he was raised by a couple of kindly farmers. And the beautiful idea behind him is that we don’t need to be bulletproof to be that way — we just have to be decent people.
I don’t think the author means to say all Superman stories have been great. Some of them were inarguably terrible. But it is equally inarguable that the trademark has something going for it, no? And it’s certainly something greater than being some precursor to Spider Man, with his bromide about “With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility.” It’s the difference between “What should I do?” and “What should that guy, over there, the one with all the super-powers I don’t have, do?”
It’s the difference between conservatives and liberals. Quoting Robert Mitchell again,
The real difference between conservatives and liberals, today:
Liberal: Someone should take care of this! Or, We need a program to take care of this!
Conservative: ++sigh++ It looks like it’s up to me to take care of this…
This one’s quick, I haven’t got time to elaborate much on it.
In the middle of the night I came across a PM from a friend over on the Hello Kitty of Blogging, providing a link and asking for my opinion on the contents behind it.
I don’t talk about race with White people because I have so often seen it go nowhere. When I was younger, I thought it was because all white people are racist. Recently, I’ve begun to understand that it’s more nuanced than that.
To understand, you have to know that Black people think in terms of Black people. We don’t see a shooting of an innocent Black child in another state as something separate from us because we know viscerally that it could be our child, our parent, or us, that is shot.
Martin Luther King did not end racism. Racism is a cop severing the spine of an innocent man. It is a 12 year old child being shot for playing with a toy gun in a state where it is legal to openly carry firearms.
But racism is even more subtle than that. It’s more nuanced. Racism is the fact that “White” means “normal” and that anything else is different. Racism is our acceptance of an all white Lord of the Rings cast because of “historical accuracy,” ignoring the fact that this is a world with an entirely fictionalized history.
Even when we make shit up, we want it to be white.
And racism is the fact that we all accept that it is white. Benedict Cumberbatch playing Khan in Star Trek. Khan, who is from India. Is there anyone Whiter than Benedict fucking Cumberbatch? What? They needed a “less racial” cast because they already had the Black Uhura character?
That is racism. Once you let yourself see it, it’s there all the time.
That last line I’ve excerpted speaks volumes. It provides an iron-clad answer to the question that naturally arises, “Could it be that the person who is doing this noticing, is the problem?” Rather impossible to deny.
My response was:
It’s defeatist twaddle. Author has no vision for success, except for what he expects others to do. And for all the descriptive energy he puts into the problem, it ends up being just a meandering passive-voice complaint because he doesn’t identify who exactly is do[ing] this bad-thinking, apart from “white people.” Therefore he isn’t ready to isolate the problem, therefore he isn’t ready to do anything about it.
I’d compare it to how silly feminists treat men — the treatment matches his complaints about how black people are treated, letter for letter. My solution to that, is very close to his “I don’t discuss it with white people,” except I practice a more complete brand of isolation: I don’t spend any time around silly feminists at all. I’ve given them too large a portion of my one life already. And so I think of their shortcomings in active-voice, maintaining a working knowledge of who has these problems, distancing myself from them, effectively marginalizing them. Like white racists, they’re marginal people already.
Regarding these cultural challenges black people face, I wrote about that already this morning: Think about that stuff after you’ve accomplished something, not before. Think about your handicaps after you accomplish something that could reasonably have been expected to be harder because you have the handicaps, the outcome of that can only be positive. If you wallow in them before accomplishing anything, it comes off as whining and excuse-making, because that’s really all it can be.
“This morning” means, of course, yesterday morning, and that reference is to this.
Yesterday, the Clinton-Hollings flag was removed from the State Capitol in South Carolina.
More video here.
As you can tell from the reaction of the crowd, it was thought by many to be some sort of an amazing accomplishment. And therein lies the real problem: Nothing was accomplished here, at all, except for a relatively mundane dismantling of a piece of ornamental building equipment. There really shouldn’t have been a ceremony.
The powers-that-be decide there is too much flag flap, can’t take the heat? Alright then, make the call. But an “Everyone But Chewbacca Gets a Medal” ceremony? Wrong, and on so many levels. No need for it, abjectly pointless…and yes, I know, it’s all about the messaging. Well guess what, that sucked too. Nobody gets to leave an actual mark on our evolving culture, except sociopath racist dicks who shoot up churches? Law-abiding, tax-paying, hard-working citizens are just supposed to toil away from womb to tomb, it’s the homicidal maniac’s world the rest of us just live in it? Nothing good can come from that.
This should have been a routine construction work order. Reminds me of the “[blank] reasons I should quit and become a goat farmer” text file I got started on the on-call laptop at work, several years ago. You know…after you work in the goat’s stable, the goat doesn’t blame you for every little thing that goes wrong after that…goats are naturally Y2K compliant…I came up with twenty reasons, by the time the laptop came back to me there were nearly a hundred. It caught on — it ever became general knowledge that I was the one who got it all started, and I guess that was good. One day, after it grew to over 200 reasons why we should stop being network engineers and think about becoming goat farmers, someone printed it out and taped it up where everyone could see it.
It was hilarious. Right up to manager level…not to director level though. Oops.
The point is, the lengthy printout was very quietly retired. That’s how a collective of people behaves when they’re really ashamed of something, or desiring to (or being bullied into) changing course. At least, if they’re being honest about it. Why?
Because this is not an accomplishment. Remember way back when we worried about accomplishing things? Or, at the very least, maintained an understanding of the difference between accomplishing something and not accomplishing anything?
Which brings me to this, from BuzzFeed:
You may have heard there’s a whole show getting started about this, how easy white people have it, and “what they’ve done in America.”
As the makers of this video might easily imagine, I have a beef with this — but, they couldn’t tell you why. Sure they can come up with their ideas why, but they’re of The Left, and you should never rely on The Left to tell you what motivates their opposition. There is no ignorance on the planet more eminent, more self-perpetuating, than the ignorance liberals have about what motivates their opposition.
So here’s my deal: They’re right. People who are not members of minority groups, are not handicapped, enjoyed inspiring childhoods, have advantages. And people who do not have these things, have handicaps. Here’s the thing though: Until you accomplish something, who cares? What’s it matter?
Don’t we all have some handicaps, if we think on it hard enough? Don’t we all have advantages, even if we need someone else to remind us they’re there?
After you get something done that has a positive effect on other people, and requires real effort and sacrifice out of you, and it entails some level of difficulty that determines that everyone who wants to do it wouldn’t necessarily be able to get it done, like you did — then, there there could be some purpose to all this. “And I earned that degree in spite of the fact that I belong to a minority group” — subjective, and tragically, it always will be that way. The Affirmative Action babies have been robbed forever. They may not like it when someone says “Actually, that made it a lot easier for you, not harder.” It could very well be that critic is wrong! But, with reverse-discrimination in place, the possibility will always linger. The achievement will always have a footnote, and so will the garnish upon it, the “and I did it even though I’m not white.”
Still and all, it is something, because the accomplishment would have been done — the degree would have been earned. And then there are objective statements like this: “I completed that marathon even though I had crippling pneumonia when I was a baby and have lost half my lung tissue.” There’s no reverse-discrimination for that, thus no troubling footnote. And again, such an accomplishment would be real. The marathon would have been run.
Which would say something, or at least, suggest something: I did this in spite of my identifiable handicap. That must mean I have something inside me counterbalancing it, since I did accomplish this thing. Some positive compensating factor. That’s what is worth some extra thought, some discussion. You have to do something with that. The Affirmative Action beneficiary with the degree, that maybe was harder in some ways, maybe easier in other ways? Doubly so: “I did it, you can too.” These people know they should sit down with the next generation, and have a few serious talks, especially if that next-generation is experiencing motivation troubles. Only good things can come from that.
But — to wallow in this stuff when you haven’t done anything yet? That’s a completely different thing. It’s just like the “flag removal ceremony.” Devoid of purpose, no reason to have it…
Unless, in this case, you’re looking for excuses for failure before you’ve even started trying.
I’m so old, I remember when it wasn’t necessary for some blogger who blogs at The Blog That Nobody Reads, to point out this stuff. I remember when it was normal and expected for people to understand the difference between accomplishing something, and not accomplishing anything. It seems we’re quite a distance past the close of that chapter, sadly. Maybe we can open another one like it. I’m pretty sure things will be better for everyone, if we can make that happen. Accomplishment is good, and it does have meaning.
Over at our “daughter” sub-site Rotten Chestnuts, where supposedly I participate in an occasional contribution but in reality I pretty much slack off on the whole thing with worn-down and lame excuses like “work’s gotten soooper busy” and such, Philmon and Severian have been on fire. Severian is always on fire there. Great stuff. Phil got a little bit personal discussing the difference between not-tolerating what someone does, vs. lusting after ripping them apart limb from limb, setting them on fire & pissing on the ashes.
Uh yeah, it’s a shame he had to go defining that difference, but it does exist and sadly, it seems a lot of the people who do the most talking lately, aren’t aware of it.
On Tolerance, Disapproval, Respect, Acceptance, and Living Your Own Damned Life
In our eyes, my wife and I have been married for 23 years. In my parents’ eyes, due to their religious beliefs, we’re not married at all. You see, she is a divorcee, and there was no annulment…They don’t hate me. They don’t hate her. Matter of fact they love her. Dad made it a point to pull me aside several months ago and tell me so.
But…if we were to spend the night there, we would be asked to sleep in separate beds.
In this story there is love, tolerance, disapproval, and respect. They are not mutually exclusive. The leftists have purposely, in a very Orwellian 1984-ish New Speak way…have shaped the way we even [talk] about this by choosing the language with which we talk about these things — and people have gotten very confused. It’s no accident.
Keep in mind I myself am not sitting here saying gays should or shouldn’t be married, or that they’re not married. What I’m saying is that this will not be enough for the leftists. They are out to destroy, and this was just one issue they have usurped to help get that done.
Once again, we see it is all about the definitions. You want to build something, and you want to do a good job so that the thing will stand for years and make you proud rather than ashamed, the very first step is to define what it is. And do a good job of that. You’re not necessarily home-free in the building just because you did a spiffy job in the defining; but, it is very, very hard to do a decent job in the building if you’ve completely pissed in your boot during the defining. Defining is important. It is the laying of the very first layer of foundation. Within the space above that layer, everything is affected by it.
Similarly, if you want to destroy something, the first thing to do is to destroy the definition. Nibble around the edges a bit at first, then look for ways to rip apart that circumference. Once the perimeter is destroyed, the job is all-but-done. An orange can’t remain viable and edible without its peel.
Now what’s happened here is, right before the announcement of the final Supreme Court decisions before recess — a tumultuous time for our country in any year, at least lately — a young racist entered a black church in Charleston and shot up the place. So now we’re embroiled in a “flag debate” about the confederate flag, which is something I find to be very silly. And I don’t mean silly in a “ha ha you’re being silly” kind of a way, more of a “not so sure I want to live on this planet anymore” kind of way.
It’s sad when I have to ask: Remember decisions? Remember those? “I can’t take the heat on this; the flag goes.” Or, “Fuck all of you people, the flag stays, and if you don’t like it vote me out of office.” The sadness is that either one of those exclamations would be as welcome as the other.
We’ve lost so much testosterone over the years, that we can’t have either one. We’ve got a “flag debate.” Why? WHY??
Well, we’ve certainly got some decisions from Justices who are pretending to be lawmakers, something they’re not supposed to be doing. The Supreme Court went full-tilt on unapologetic judicial activism, legislating from the bench without even bothering to pretend otherwise on gay marriage as well as ObamaCare. So now we get to debate the morality of flags, conflicting notions of what marriage really is, and the pretzel-twisty reasoning involved in making President “Can I Live?”‘s most horrid and ill-thought-out plans come to life. All at the same time.
When, quite frankly, I’d much rather think about blowing things up, and hot dogs and potato chips and beer. Oh well, I think the right way to look at this is that at least I’ve got it much better than the families of the people killed in that church. Still and all, something like this is going to happen next summer, and the summer after that and the summer after that. There’s no point wondering about it, we know it’ll happen, and when we reckon with that we’re forced to realize that we’ve lost something. We don’t know if we can get it back. It’s a heavy, depressing thought to have on our supposed “Independence Day.”
Which brings me to Severian’s latest. It really drew my attention when my eyes ran across…
I wonder if this isn’t what Morgan was getting at with “externalysis,” here (please correct me if I’m wrong).
My first response: Derp? What a cool word. I did that?
So I clicked on my own work, and from the date I got an immediate refresh on the context: I entered into a conflict with a psychologist who was not ready to explain her reasoning methods to me, because, it seemed at the time — and this thought has only intensified since then, among everyone involved, not just me — she didn’t have any. It’s a big problem nowadays, and to be fair, it’s not just her. We’ve got this sentiment going on here & there, far & wide, East and West, “I know what I know because, well, aw shucks everybody knows it.”
The unexplainable has become the expected. I’m not sure when or how this transformation took place. It probably happened in stages. What I do know all too well is that now, if you ask the question “Why is it exactly that you think you know what you think you know” — or merely show evidence that you’re wrestling with this, taking in the structure of an argument along with its ultimate conclusion, trying to fill in those gaps — there is this hostility that comes your way that wasn’t there before. It doesn’t have to do with how you’re asking the questions. Maybe it feels that way to the person being asked, if she’s not accustomed to it. It can feel like “bullying” or some such. Of this, I have no doubt…
…and that is one of many reasons why, once we reach adulthood, we’re supposed to work at making decisions by way of thinking rather than by way of feeling.
My verdict: No, we are not discussing the same thing; at least, not on Planet Earth we’re not. But wait a second, we’re not on Earth are we? Severian is investigating that loopy little virtual insane asylum which is the stuff we call “liberalism” in today’s topsy-turvy political parlance. On that strange surreal otherworldly dimension, I must change the answer and say yes, the distinctions that would matter back on Earth, Planet Grown-Up, do not apply here. So out here yes we’re talking about the same thing.
I should explain that earthly distinction. This piece from two years ago is discussing epistemology. The intended emphasis, perhaps understated, is on objective findings. Measurements. “Point X is closer to Point Y than it is to Point Z.” Severian is discussing moral conclusions, which tend to be quite different because they’re often not objective. As I’ve pointed out many a time before, if ever you were afforded the luxury of a long sit-down with the guy who broke into your house, whether you expect it or not, you’re likely to find he has quite a confident rationale for why he was right in his decision to break into your house. Better than even odds, it has something to do with your stuff actually belonging to him somehow, and he was just taking it back again. An angry crowd surrounded a sixteen-year-old girl in Mexico a little while ago and burned her to death; some of those participating “helped out” by restraining the police who were trying to rescue her. This being a revenge killing, there must have been some moral reasoning involved in even that. And we see this over and over again, when people do evil things it emerges that they didn’t short-change the process of moral reasoning or skip it, or maintain some belief that it’s entirely unnecessary. They often reached, for whatever reason, a different conclusion.
That is certainly not to say that all conclusions are equally valid. But after millennia of well-intentioned humans trying to make it otherwise, it remains a subjective process. It isn’t like “Point X is closer to Point Y than it is to Point Z.” It doesn’t just depend on perspectives. It depends on values.
So on Planet Liberal, the answer to Severian’s question is: Yes, out there, we’re talking about exactly the same thing. I’m discussing epistemology, he’s discussing morality, here on Planet Grown-Up these are very different things but out there they are one and the same. You don’t have to discuss things with an enfranchised lib very long to see what I mean by this. You might start with whether or not “health care is a basic human right,” that’ll drive home the point quicker than anything.
There is an irony here: These people we today call “liberals” are supposed to be obsessed with improving all of humankind, carrying us forward to the next evolutionary threshold so that we can, among other things, finally learn to live together even though we all might come from diverse backgrounds. The tragedy is that this is a laudable goal that we really do need to get done one way or another — and it can never be done, not by these liberals, until such time as they start to think like conservatives. Their toolboxes are lacking the tools needed.
It starts with the already-mentioned values. A century and a half ago, our country ended a devastating Civil War and among the many things to come out of that was a wave of new legislation, including three amendments to the U.S. Constitution, the first such amendments in sixty years. This latest revolution at the time said: Yes, there are some values that encompass the entire federation, across all the states, even if some states don’t like it. The Republicans at the time insisted on it, that slavery ends here and now. It’s a logic thing as well as a moral-reasoning thing; it simply doesn’t hold up to say “We’re going to get this nation started so we can be free” and then — same breath — “but, these people over here can’t be free because that’s, like, their status in life or something.” It just doesn’t work. So yes, they rammed their values down everybody else’s throat.
Today’s liberals are often heard to say, yeah and we’re them! The “parties switched sides” or some such silliness. This manifests an ignorance of history, moral reasoning too, and arguably logical reasoning as well. The Republicans of the Civil War era did not go on to say: “Oh yeah, and by the way not only can you not own slaves, but you should plant soy beans instead of potatoes, and use these terms to describe those people so nobody is offended, and your wheelchair ramps have to be such-and-such degrees, and, and, and.” They defined a limited scope of these values that would be made globally enforceable. It gets back to that definitions-thing, again. They did not define this crisply; judges and justices have wrestled over these questions ever since, and in constitutional law that’s called incorporation.
The liberals imagine themselves to be ideological successors to the Republicans who ended slavery. But imagine is all they can do. The only way they are successors to what was done back then, is this: They really, really like the idea of forcing ideas on other people. “We can do that?? Cool!” They don’t get the…pardon the terminology, the nuance, for there is no long, drawn-out meandering discussion about incorporation, no limited-scope applied to the edicts they want enforced without exception from sea to shining sea. From watching them awhile, you see the only criteria they seem to apply is one of cowardice, like the cowardly school principal who makes it his business to expel the “good kids” who get in fights on the playground, even if they’re just defending themselves, but just letting the same behavior slide with the “bad kids” because, well, that’s the routine and whaddya expect. That’s the Modern Left’s version of incorporation: Will they get into some sort of trouble, perhaps meet some harm, by insisting a certain designated target practice the values they thoughtlessly force on everybody else.
Example: The Muslim bakery shop that has to appear in court, because they refused to bake a gay wedding cake. That sort of litigious risibility is reserved, it seems, for the hated Christians — whose tenets require them to turn the other cheek. Leftists apply a selection process to their forced-federalized value systems according to that…and if there is another criterion being applied, I’m not aware of it. Haven’t seen it.
The “Separation of Powers” argument that says the Supreme Court should not be legislating from the bench — they’re none to pleased with that, I know, but I’m not exactly sure what their problem is. The only rebuttals I’ve seen from them are pure mockery, and very ill-considered conjecture about what might be motivating their opponents. Liberals are notoriously bad at figuring out what motivates their opponents. But it seems in these recent cases, they’re all good with the Supreme Court doing what it did, because they like the outcome.
But, that just points out the truth of what Severian was saying,
You do something to someone, you set a precedent; you have no reasonable basis for complaint when the exact same thing is done to you.
Leftists clearly don’t have this. I don’t know if it’s innate or learned, or what, but it makes having actual discussions with them next to impossible. “Gay marriage today, polygamy tomorrow” literally doesn’t make sense to them. They’re not lying — not all of them, anyway, and not consciously. Ok, yes, the Politico types are…but the Sweet Aunt Polly types aren’t. They really don’t see the connection there. They don’t see precedent.
And that’s really what depresses and disappoints me on this Independence Day. We certainly do have some people among us who are not worried about these decisions, who are ready to assure the rest of us that the precedence is all good, there are no problems there. But, these are the people who don’t think of it. They’re not aware of what it is. They can’t tell the difference between “reasoning” that says X is closer to Y than to Z, and the reasoning that says it’s wrong to set a 16-year-old girl on fire.
Over and over again, we’ve seen that they think it’s great when the occupant of the highest office in the land seizes some unwarranted new power and starts making use of it. It’s their guy, after all! And then they’re just completely shocked when the other party wins that same office in the next election. Simply didn’t anticipate it. The obvious problem with precedent, didn’t even faze them before, and they’re not thinking anything about it afterward — they’re too busy complaining about Diebold machines.
What they are, is Medicators, drifting on through life by feeling their way around its challenges, rather than by thinking their way through them.
2. Architects see the entire universe as an assembly of parts, each of which in turn can be further dissembled into smaller parts…As these parts interact with each other, you have an explanation for every single other thing that happens…Object, plus object, plus time, equals event.
Medicators see the entire universe as a situation. Objects within the situation are not separable from other objects, unless you’re casting an object as a catalyst for something that is good or bad. And when that happens, “object” and “event” are functionally synonymous. Neither is terribly complex, they’re just beneficial, damaging, or some other synonyms of those…
11. An Architect is unlikely to suffer from an addiction because he doesn’t possess the requisite sensitivity to his own emotional profile to feel the temporary benefits of abusing something.
Medicators are highly likely to form addictions, usually of all likes and kinds: Substance, alcohol, co-dependent relationships, sex, an engaging video game, etc. That’s what they do. They medicate.
The one thing that really sets a Medicator apart from an Architect, is that given any activity that interacts with the mind, be it work or leisure, they choose a remarkably different role for themselves. They seek, first and foremost, to act as effective stewards of their own emotional state.
This is why precedence falls by the wayside; it’s one reason out of many, at least. “If you do this, then that will happen” is not part of their world. They act like it is — when, true to their nature, it gives them some sort of a “rush” to put on this sort of a show. Like, “we must do something about global warming right now, or else!” But it isn’t an honest statement of their thought process, because they are not sincere believers in cause-and-effect except maybe for a performance causing a crowd-reaction. Apart from that one thing, they don’t really believe in it.
They are bench-warmers in life. Bystanders. Waiting for the producers to produce, by thinking through problems simple & complex, using methods they themselves would never be able to apply. So they can make their claims on the assets that result. They are non-producers, and they just succeeded in writing rules for everybody else. If the host must live according to the rules dictated by the parasite, the end can’t be a good one for either.
The democrats are reminding me in the e-mails, again, that I have yet to contribute some money to their campaigns this year. Or, ever. In the wake of Thursday & Friday’s Supreme Court victories, they’d like to see how much cash they can raise, and who can blame them?
But there is just a bit of awkwardness here. There is an important distinction to be made between the messages from the central distribution point of messaging, and the messages that are conveyed in social networking by their paid & unpaid gadflies. Sometimes, however, the distinction is not so important. When one Flying Monkey is saying one thing, and another Flying Monkey is saying exactly the same thing, and another and another…one may draw some safe assumptions about what the Wicked Witch has sent them out to proliferate throughout the Land of Oz. And from all this, I’m picking up that there’s a little bit of a problem.
We’ve won everything!, they say. Now, rustle up some loot to make sure we keep winning! The problem is that everybody’s broke. Leftward-leaning centrists can always be appealed-to to shift priorities just a bit more, squeeze the tube just a bit harder — if the case can be made. But how do you mix up that message with “and there’s nothing the Republicans can do about this, now, ever”? How does that financially stressed constituent justify stiffing yet another sympathetic relative on another month’s rent, or letting the repo man take another car?
They’re reaping what they’ve sown here. Today’s rightward-leaning centrist becomes tomorrow’s leftward-leaning centrist, if times are lean. So the progressives win elections by making sure everyone’s desperate. It helps that, if they do manage to win last cycle’s election, they get some say on the public policies to be applied before the next cycle’s election. Keep in mind “everyone” is not a literal everyone, since this is a game of statistics. You’ve heard that saying “democrats love poor people so much, their policies make more of them”? There’s a lot of truth to that that isn’t just partisan snark. To win elections, they’ve got to have poor people; lots and lots of poor people. There’s no longer any limit to how poor. It used to be, they didn’t want people to become homeless because that might mean those votes were lost to them. Nowadays there are ways to recoup that. Throughout it all though, it’s always been true that if you’re solvent and able to pay your bills and maintain a savings plan, and you’ve rappelled up to the level where you might possibly think about starting your own business, you’re much less likely to vote democrat. My observation has long been true that “They don’t want you to win, they want you to be dependent.”
Under Barack Obama, they’ve managed to achieve this. Now they have the unenviable task of wading out among these left-leaning centrist middle-class types, some of whom are between jobs, or at the very least are feeling insecure about their continuing employment prospects what with the cost of labor heading upward nonstop. Flush with victory and enjoying the ratchet effect, since reversing the effects of this last week’s events is monumentally difficult, perhaps impossible. With a message of: Now is not the time to stop, kick in some more cash.
But, desperation tends to make people think more rationally, and rationally, now is the time to stop. Right now, everything is on the progressive’s side except this one thing. How do we convince the desperate, insolvent people to become even more desperate and insolvent, so we can take their money?
And so they appeal to American values. Their actions on ObamaCare reflect a deep commitment to America’s health care system, since with their new regulations and new fines, and all sorts of other machinery that in different forms displays a long-standing history of making the problem worse, they’re getting more people covered. So the story goes. And the gay-marriage thing gets more people married, that’s certainly a good thing isn’t it? So if you can’t find some extra dimes and nickels in the couch to help ensure our next victories, at least send them our way to give us an atta-boy.
It’s always frustrating watching someone work a scam, being one of only a few who understands it’s a scam. The democrats don’t value health insurance coverage, or marriage, or for that matter the country. They don’t show how much they value something by letting more people into it; it works the exact opposite way. Discuss global warming with the ideologically dedicated sometime, only a few moments will tick by before you see what I mean: “There’s no use discussing this with someone who refuses to recognize [blank].” It’ll happen, because they can’t sell that idea anymore without choosing the premises, and they have a lot of premises they have to dictate unilaterally on that one now.
Also, the millionaire’s club. They like that; democrats just love making money. But, see above. They don’t show how much they cherish the “institution” by letting more people into it. That’s what Republicans try to do right before the democrats start mocking them. Again, it’s the opposite. It’s like a boat. If they’re forcing a boat to take on more passengers, you can bet they don’t like the boat. No use telling them that if it’s filled beyond its capacity, it will likely submerge and take everyone with it. They know!
After all. We’re still reeling from the effects of when they did that to the housing market.
But, a lot of people don’t understand this. And with the economy “recovering” [footnote footnote footnote] the way it has been, this is the only selling point Obama’s crew has to entice decent, but impoverished, people to cough up just a bit more cash, when they’ve already coughed up all they can spare, and there’s no logical reason to kick in any more.
Words mean things.
Our “civilization” at the moment…is embroiled in a cold civil war…between people who refuse to define things, and people who MUST see to it that things are strongly defined before they can do what they do.
…don’t want to sound like a dick or nothin’, but, ah… it says on your chart that you’re fucked up. Ah, you talk like a fag, and your shit’s all retarded.
Perhaps the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will attain the enduring status of the Social Security Act or the Taft-Hartley Act; perhaps not. But this Court’s two decisions on the Act will surely be remembered through the years. The somersaults of statutory interpretation they have performed (“penalty” means tax, “further [Medicaid] payments to the State” means only incremental Medicaid payments to the State, “established by the State” means not established by the State) will be cited by litigants endlessly, to the confusion of honest jurisprudence. And the cases will publish forever the discouraging truth that the Supreme Court of the United States favors some laws over others, and is prepared to do whatever it takes to uphold and assist its favorites.
Older relative wants to know what my thoughts are about the Supreme Court decisions, on which I have yet to find the time to opine. Response I sent,
I have a tendency to view these things as trends, patterns, sets. Let’s see, in this one week there is: Ban the Stars ‘n Bars, make fun of Bristol Palin for being pregnant again, legitimize gay marriage, pretend “state run” is somehow ambiguous…To those, we can add: Persecute “climate change deniers,” since that’s always just sort of hanging around, doesn’t need any kind of actuating event…
That’s five things. Five policy positions that don’t actually make anything better, for the present or for the future, that famous or powerful people can take make themselves look cool, fresh & hip. By “don’t actually make anything better” I do not mean to say they are poorly-conceived ideas or that I disagree with them; the people who do agree with them don’t seem to honestly regard them as ways to make anything better. Only the gay-marriage and ObamaCare positions even bother to go through the motions of such a thing. But those don’t seem sincere. The global-warming people used to at least try to go through these motions. Their position seems lately to have deteriorated into something truly insane: It’s far too late, everyone should have listened to us, we’re all doomed, but let’s move all this money around anyway…in our final moments of existence or something.
I compare those to something like: We need to pass a tax on cigarettes to raise money for schools, versus, no that’s stupid because people will stop smoking and then you’ll be right on the news clamoring about a school funding crisis wanting to raise more taxes. There is an issue on [which] each of the two sides genuinely thinks it is advocating for something that will make things better. The pattern suggests rather strongly to me that, for one reason or another, too much concern about the long-term consequences of an idea, is something that has gone out of style. Supreme Court decisions used to arouse a lot of criticism from all sides over the “awful/horrible precedent” they were setting. Even a revolutionary zealot like Thomas Jefferson, would be motivated entirely by what sort of world he was leaving for future generations, by way of the [policy] changes he was pushing. Now it looks like that’s just an afterthought, if it’s anything at all. People in power want to look cool. Also, like high schoolers, they want to look cool by echoing old ideas brought up already by someone else. On the gay marriage thing, if anybody has a right to claim authorship of the Hot New Idea, it would be Joe Biden wouldn’t it? Obama didn’t have the stones to hit the stump and make this into some kind of “thing,” it was His VP who did that. Now, how come it’s up to me to recall that? The people who think this is some sort of great spiffy idea, don’t value this sort of “courage” very much. So I think of this as a peer-pressure kind of thing, like what I saw in middle and high school.
Theory: What is happening is that our baby-boomers have gotten wrinkly. The revolutionary-minded generation has reached the age where its members are expected to be society’s wise, respected elders, to run things, to become our latest voices of institutionalized knowledge. But they lack the capacity to institutionalize knowledge, to preserve wisdom from previous generations, “old school” horse sense that younger kids can’t bring because this is the sort of thing that has to be…what’s the word. Evolved. Irony is, although the boomers are big on the idea of evolution, they can’t bring this because they’ve never believed in it. They’ve dedicated their lives to the premise that wisdom comes from the young, and the older generation is just a bunch of doddering old geriatrics standing in the way of progress. Now that’s them, and they don’t know how to react to it. And so they react by proffering a bunch of silly ideas, forgetting to ask themselves obvious, elementary questions that drew frenzied, obsessive contemplation by the older generations of years gone by: How does this make things better? What’s the precedent? What does this do to freedom for those who are not yet born?
And so even when they say freedom is what motivates them, the idea they end up pushing has to do with more rules. It looks like they don’t even know what it is.
After I hit “Send” I had a thought: “Evolution” is still highly prized, as it was generations ago, what’s changed is the emphasis within that. From Moses leading the Israelites out of Egypt, or even before then, up until the 1960’s sometime it was: Listen to the old people, because they are keepers of the ideas that are kept. They bear the fruits of eons of painful trial & error, good ideas that are formed by way of process-of-elimination, ideas that we know are right but cannot be formed any other way. The stuff that had to be learned. If you value what is good about evolution, look to the old people because they’re the ones who have it.
Now we still value what is good about evolution, but it is the young people who have it. The only role the old people can play is to try to act like the young people; that, and show us how this “survival of the fittest” thing works, and that’s during their final exit. Clean out the gene pool by eradicating themselves from it. The young people have something of a perceived monopoly on knowledge, theirs is the only knowledge that is worth anything at all.
We’ve lost trust. It used to be, the old people would trust the young people, to renew & carry along the value system that civilization should endure and remain strong. The young people would trust the old people, to intermix a bit of valuable personal experience with the equally valuable legacy-wisdom, to do something besides just repeat mindlessly what they’d been told back when they were the same age. So there would have been this sense of intergenerational trust, going in both directions, and it’s no longer there. We’ve also lost respect. This would start with the obvious realization of “Hooray, I’m all grown-up now, but I’m not the first human being who ever reached adulthood — lots of other ideas have been tried, some of actually worked, and other people have had problems before I had any, so let’s see what came of all that.” That, too, is gone. The loud-crowd, today, always seems to think history began at nine o’clock this morning, and the only purpose for any previously-existing idea is to be dismantled. So some hot new “Beverly Hills 90210″ generation can show how cool it is, and of course they do that by carrying out this dismantling.
A civilization that values its older people will always have to value life. Even if it somehow doesn’t want to do this, it will have no other choice once it makes the decision to honor and respect old people, because we’re all headed in that direction. Conversely, a civilization that reserves all of its respect for the young, will have to place a premium value on death, because that’s the only way anybody is going to stay that way for very long. And of course if nothing is valuable besides whatever is cool, and nothing is cool besides what is new, that makes for an awful lot of wreckage and destruction that’s going to have to be done. And it’s going to have to be done by everyone who wants to matter, and all of the time.
The “ban the flag” campaign is as overpowering as it is speedy, and it is as overpowering & speedy as it is nonsensical. There are some people who like that, of course: Those who have honestly and sincerely thought of the flag as offensive, for whatever reason, and the persons & groups who think of themselves as emerging from this with greater political power than they had before, should the flag fall. Which seems quite likely.
So of course they have their reasons for wanting it all to go down this way. But that doesn’t change the fact that society can’t endure like this. We’ve already had the spectacle of gay marriage, in which an idea that was okay in one year, became not-okay a year or two later. Oh what’s that, you thought that had to do with an expansion of freedom? Silly you. But now, even a year is too long, the “okay/not-okay” axis is flipped in a matter of days. With society’s “don’t you dare think otherwise” taboos being churned around like this, society can’t stand. You’re no longer demanding better behavior out of people when that happens; what you’re doing then is just manufacturing new classes of wrongdoers. Worse yet, the churning is becoming a routine matter. You don’t know what’s okay today that will be not-okay next year — and, I can’t tell you, you can’t tell me. Nobody knows.
How did we get here? If you’ve ever had to attend sexual harassment training, you know, because they repeat it over and over to the point you have to memorize it: “It’s important to remember that the intent of the accused is entirely irrelevant in these matters, it is the perception of the offended party that determines everything.” Frustratingly, it seems they never stop to explain who exactly it was who decided it works that way. Because it can’t work that way. When things work that way, you get silly things like this:
Texan Keith White was furious to hear what he interpreted as a racial slur in a 1984 episode of the Jim Henson series Fraggle Rock while watching the show with his two-year-old daughter. “I heard him say Jigaboo,” said White. “My reaction was to keep replaying to see if that’s what I really heard, and that’s what I heard, and that’s what I hear.”
According to a copy of the script sent to The CW33, which broke the story, the character accused of racial insensitivity is actually saying “Gee, Gobo” — Gobo being the name of the main character. The Jim Henson Company has backed up The Hub’s explanation. Hey, absurd controversies over non-issues in children’s entertainment aren’t exactly unheard of either.
The Hub has since edited Gobo’s name out of the line in an effort to avoid similar incidents in the future, but to White, that’s just further confirmation that he was in the right. “Why would you edit, if it`s a mistake?” he asked. “Why are you going to edit it out? Are you hearing the same thing?”
Silly twit. They’re editing it out, obviously, because they’re tired of dealing with your crap, just as you’re generating the crap because you know people will tire of dealing with it. This story dominated the news cycle at the time it was a thing — now, even with our wonderful Internet with all its search engines, it’s pretty darn hard to scrape together even fragments of it. And that speaks volumes: Over the long haul, none of this matters. The offended dad got what he wanted, he moved on, we moved on — and, we don’t have our sparkling, shining, non-offensive citadel. We’re still just getting offended one thing at a time.
As was the case with Fraggle Rock, on the “flag thing” there is another plausible story about what is meant. Although those who insist “the perception of the offended determines everything” won’t know the first thing about it:
Ben Jones, who played Cooter in the (Dukes of Hazzard) series, runs a chain of “Cooter’s Place” stores in Tennessee and serves as the unofficial head of Hazzard fandom, organizing festivals and making public appearances with his copy of the General Lee. In a Facebook message[,] Jones said the Confederate battle flag was a “symbol of independence,” and vowed his stores would keep selling them until a chilly day in hell.
As for the flag on the General Lee:
That flag on top of the General Lee made a statement that the values of the rural South were the values of courage and family and good times.
Our beloved symbol is now being attacked in a wave of political correctness that is unprecedented in our nation of free speech and free expression. Activists and politicians are villifying [sic] southern culture and our heritage as being bigoted and racist. We know that this is not the case. And we know that in Hazzard county there was never any racism…
We are not racists. We despise racism and bigotry. And we think the people who are creating this “cultural cleansing” are the real bigots in this story.
When we say our flag stands for “heritage, not hate” and “pride, not prejudice”, we mean it. And we believe that old saying, “you can’t know where you are going if you forget where you came from.”
But, don’t we become a better people if we identify these articles of offense, and then take civil and cultural steps to eliminate them? No. It is obvious we aren’t creating a placid and peaceful future out of a tumultuous past when we do that because, well, here we are. And we’ve seen this play out so many times, we don’t even have an excuse left to us for not noticing. My own Thing I Know #52 states it succinctly:
52. Angry people who demand things, don’t stop being angry when their demands are met.
I’m pretty sure Fraggle Rock dad is still pissed, wherever he is. And as the “Fa La La Your La” episode of South Park vividly showed through mockery, openly bragging about having the whatever-it-was, “most non-offensive, non-denominational Christmas ever!” just makes you sound stupid. This particular effort isn’t removing anything truly offensive; at least one of the victims of the shooting certainly didn’t think so.
So we are not improving our society by repeatedly churning-around our societal taboos like this. Quite to the contrary, not-offending is a great strategy for not getting anything done. It is a perfect recipe for blandness, as one of my Facebook friends noted:
This bland world we are creating where everyone thinks alike, acts alike and has the same thing. Flavorless and without texture, it is filled with questions such as “what is your pronoun preference?”
Because using the wrong pronoun is a micro[-aggression] that must be punished.
We cannot stray from the narrative, even in comedy or novels.
Classics are labeled with trigger warnings.
No one has the ‘right’ to practice their religion in public but everyone has a ‘right’ to the products of their neighbor’s labor.
We are all one family. We all live the same way. Wear the same thing. Our history is expunged. Our thoughts are controlled with our speech.
We are politically correct. Our betters will explain the rules and move the bar as we work toward perfect homogeneity.
The question that still remains is: Who are those betters? Because it’s actually worse than this — we’re not only becoming “flavorless and without texture,” we’re becoming intractably addicted to the perils of passive voice. We’re transforming into a gelding-place in which nobody actually does anything.
It’s so bad by now, we actually have a “ballsy” way of showing your cowardice about this issue. Of course, a lot of that has to do with not showing anything, treading very, very quietly. But at least you can say this for Alabama’s Governor…
Alabama’s governor on Wednesday ordered the removal of four Confederate flags from the state capitol, the latest move to remove the controversial image from public places.
Gov. Robert Bentley’s decision comes two days after South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley called for the removal of the Confederate flag from the statehouse grounds in Columbia. The drive to remove the flag from public places and from store shelves has accelerated since then and comes after nine African-Americans were killed last week in what was allegedly a racially motivated attack in a historically black church in Charleston.
I hate to say it, being as I am a Seattle boy who really doesn’t have a dog in the Stars-n-Bars hunt. But, if I have to see that much more cowardliness about this thing, I wish I saw more of the kind Gov. Bentley showed. Make a fucking goddamn decision. It’s sad when I have to ask: Remember decisions? Remember those? “I can’t take the heat on this; the flag goes.” Or, “Fuck all of you people, the flag stays, and if you don’t like it vote me out of office.” The sadness is that either one of those exclamations would be as welcome as the other.
We’ve lost so much testosterone over the years, that we can’t have either one. We’ve got a “flag debate.” Why? WHY?? That’s the part that’s most silly, to me: Take it down, leave it up, but one way or another wrap it up and move on to the next thing. We’ve got murderous prison inmate escapees on the loose — still haven’t been caught, were you following that?
As Rush Limbaugh noticed, none of the backsplash is hitting the democrat party — as it should:
The whole thing in South Carolina, the Confederate flag, it’s not to identify hypocrites or racists. That’s what it’s made to look like. This is nothing more than the latest technique from the Democrat Party to advance their political agenda, with, of course, the media as willing accomplices.
So you can show me all of the Hillary paraphernalia you want with her loving the Confederate flag and kissing the Confederate flag and the Confederate flag all over her campaign operative posters, and Bill Clinton, too, it isn’t gonna matter, folks. It just isn’t going to matter. It isn’t gonna disqualify Hillary. It’s not gonna get Hillary thrown in the same pot with all these. I mean, what Republican had anything to do with what happened in South Carolina anyway? How did this all of a sudden become a Republican Party problem? But it is, isn’t it?
It is, because & only because perception is reality. People are more sensitive to the political currents — but, we’re not becoming more considerate of each other. Information flows so much more quickly, and we get more of it, but in the long run we become dumber because we’re not selecting it accurately, not choosing it, not using it. Our ammunition is more devastating but our aim is lousy.
This is not a party thing, it’s a culture thing. Liberals don’t like the V-8 engines or the pretty girls or the plaid shirts or the meat or the barbecue sauce or the beer or the the “yeehaw.” But if you were to attach that culture to one political party or the other, the democrat party is the one that actually has roots there. On the other hand, speaking of history, why are we talking about the flag all of a sudden? Right, because of the church shooting; we’re supposed to be concerned about shootings. Well, is this going to prevent any? Nevermind the answer — we’ve forgotten to ask the question. We don’t care.
So we know this is not going to do anything to improve the way our society functions, because we know there isn’t anything virtuous about it. Virtue didn’t pick our path for us. What got us down this road was hatred, violence and murder. Is there something I can do, as a hard-working taxpaying homeowning guy who works his tushie off every day, to start a movement that packs this much influence, that up-ends what’s right vs. what’s wrong so quickly and so dramatically? And keeps us all talking about it day after day after day? Something you can do like that? Something any law-abiding citizen can do that’s like that?
So the real problem is not our cultural canvas, or what’s written on it; the problem is who among us gets to make the markings. We’re in the mode right now of allowing evil to make a lasting impression in indelible ink, and good can’t even bring finger painting pots from a Kindergarten class. With that discrepancy in place, it really doesn’t matter what images make it onto the cloth, in the long run they aren’t going to be good. Things will keep deteriorating as long as we allocate greater influence to evil, than to good. Things won’t get any better, anywhere until we change that.
And then once we do, they will.
Is that the excuse? Because it might not be workable, if “The White House was not fully forthcoming”…
The emails obtained from MIT show that on January 8, 2010, Gruber emailed Jeanne Lambrew — the White House’s most important internal employee on Obamacare issues — for advice on how to handle an inquiry from Politico about his lucrative contract. Gruber kept Lambrew and her colleagues apprised of his discussions with Ezra Klein, and Lambrew praised Gruber for “being an integral part” of Obamacare’s development.
I wonder if this bit of fraud is as hilarious to those who were previously able to acquire the health care coverage they needed, and no longer can…
The people we today call “liberals” have such strong opinions about how “those people” should live…
This fondness of “conversations,” which are actually soliloquies, way-off-somewhere — “Those People” conversations. Conversations about the “root causes” of blight, illiteracy and crime, in elitist, overly-privileged, communities nestled deep inside protected enclaves, behind gates and guardhouses, in which there is not much chance for anyone to be bothered with any blight, illiteracy or crime. What guns shall we ban, what health care laws shall we pass, to get things right with Those People? What levers shall we pull, what knobs shall we twiddle.
George F. Will, “Why Liberals Love Trains“:
Forever seeking Archimedean levers for prying the world in directions they prefer, progressives say they embrace high-speed rail for many reasons—to improve the climate, increase competitiveness, enhance national security, reduce congestion, and rationalize land use. The length of the list of reasons, and the flimsiness of each, points to this conclusion: the real reason for progressives’ passion for trains is their goal of diminishing Americans’ individualism in order to make them more amenable to collectivism.
El Polacko comments on Wall Street Versus the Ruling Class, at The Z Blog, to which we are referred by way of Gerard:
This particular iteration of the ruling class has matriculated through the same educational establishment that is now turing out garden variety neo-bolsheviks without marketable skills, slow to marry and reproduce.
They promote and endorse socially dysfunctional behaviors that they would never consider allowing in their own families or peer group.
It’s difficult to determine why they feel it so important to endorse and promote the trendiest of alternative lifestyles, unless you take the pronouncements of the human exterminationists like John Holdren, Ted Turner, Prince Charles and the Club of Rome seriously.
If the goal really is to reduce the human footprint, it is easy to see the current manufactured cultural preoccupation with homos and trannys, the canonization of the supremely dysfunctional and geno-suicidal black race and unrestricted international immigration as several elements of a internationally co-ordinated plan to set the global population at each others throats.
The cloud people are preparing their deluxe underground shelters, already live lives surrounded by armed security completely separate from the rabble, and in the words of Gilded Age robber baron Jay Gould, if things really get out of hand, they would simply “hire one half of the population to kill off the other half”.
They’re forever prattling away about how it ought to be acceptable for “those people” to accept this gap in competence or that one, or this breach of loyalty or that one; what happens if they could be somehow compelled to live as they demand others live, and accept what they demand others accept? It is a question that has plagued mankind for centuries:
The Duke of Wellington appeared to suspect that the crowds believed the Queen (Caroline, consort of King George IV of Great Britain) to be guilty when, on one occasion, he was confronted by a gang brandishing pickaxes and demanding he declare his support for Caroline. “Well gentlemen,” he is said to have told them, “since you will have it so, God save the Queen — and may all your wives be like her.”
It has long puzzled me that the feudalism-libs never seem to get into any sort of conflict with the one-worlder libs. I really don’t know why that is; if I take all of what they say seriously, I have to expect them to start mixing it up like two cats in a bag. It’s just not happening. Why? The only explanation I have is that the two camps are advancing a common agenda, which is helped along sometimes with a people-sorted-into-shoe-bins viewpoint and at other times with a no-such-thing-as-borders viewpoint. It makes sense to presume they’re all being dishonest about their true goals, so many of them have been nailed on exactly this and so many times. But, others among them are not known for being dishonest, just misinformed and under-informed. And they all seem so passionate. But liberals don’t get into conflicts with other liberals about this. They get into conflicts with each other over whether “the time has come” for a woman or a black guy to be our next President. And identity politics, when you get right down to the heart of the matter, are really nothing more than yet another way of separating people. To win elections.
The stuff we call “liberalism” maintains appeal only when viewed from a distance. Perhaps that is the solution as well as the problem itself. Liberalism vanishes overnight, when people everywhere are somehow compelled to live within incarnations of their fondest ideas, when every “Those People” conversation must become a “My People” conversation instead. The stuff ceases to exist, in every single instance or else is forced to transform, which means as an idea it ceases to exist. Well…perhaps such an arrangement is not possible. But at least, now, we have our definition of what the stuff really is. Remember the First Conquest Rule:
Everyone is conservative about what he knows best.
This applies especially to the media and the Democratic Party, too.
Iron Law of Bureaucracy
In any bureaucracy, the people devoted to the benefit of the bureaucracy itself always get in control and those dedicated to the goals the bureaucracy is supposed to accomplish have less and less influence, and sometimes are eliminated entirely.
…in any bureaucratic organization there will be two kinds of people: those who work to further the actual goals of the organization, and those who work for the organization itself. Examples in education would be teachers who work and sacrifice to teach children, vs. union representatives who work to protect any teacher including the most incompetent. The Iron Law states that in all cases, the second type of person will always gain control of the organization, and will always write the rules under which the organization functions.
In New York, which now has four separate licensing tests that candidates must pass, an analysis last year of the most difficult exam found that during a six-month period, only 41 percent of black and 46 percent of Hispanic candidates passed the test their first time, compared with 64 percent of their white counterparts.
A federal judge is now weighing whether the test is discriminatory. Because of complaints from education schools that students have not had enough time to adjust, as well as concern about the impact on minorities, at least two states — New York and Illinois — have already postponed or loosened some of their new requirements.
Nice one, B.D. I see what you did there.
A thought. Because, haven’t you noticed lately, when you take the time to hear-out someone’s opinion, you find it’s nothing more than an opinion about who else should not be allowed to have any opinions?
I’m sorry this has to be said, it should be obvious.
A leader takes charge of the situation — AND — takes responsibility for the outcome. If you do those two things, there aren’t too many other requirements you have to fulfill to be a leader. That whole “inspires others” thing? Seriously overrated.
If you do not take charge of the situation, but you do take responsibility for the outcome, including for the negative outcome, that is not a leader. That is a doormat.
If you do not take charge of the situation and you do not take responsibility for the outcome, that is called a bystander.
If you take charge of the situation, constantly fighting, constantly starting arguments, to make sure nobody else can have any influence at all, but you do NOT take any responsibility for the outcome, then that is not a leader, or a follower, or a doormat, or a bystander. That is what we call a PROBLEM.
Most people…with opinions…are PROBLEMs.
Sometime over the last thirty years or so, it has become fashionable to cloak these opinions about which persons or groups should be entirely defrocked of any influence — as some sort of solution to the stated problem that’s actually going to carry us in a positive direction, somehow. Even Charles Krauthammer fell victim to it six years ago, when writing about “death counseling”:
Let’s see if we can have a reasoned discussion about end-of-life counseling. We might start by asking Sarah Palin to leave the room.
Doctor Zero at Hot Air retorted:
Let me dispense with the most controversial part of Krauthammer’s recent Town Hall column first: this condescending nonsense about asking Palin to “leave the room” while “we have a reasoned discussion about end-of-life counseling.” There’s only one group of people who needs to leave the room during that discussion, and it’s the socialist zealot in the White House, along with the craven cowards in his party. They’ve already demonstrated a remarkable gift for swiftly leaving the room when people start asking tough questions, so we’ll hardly notice when they slink out. Maybe while they’re gone, they could find the billions in Cash for Clunkers money that vanished into thin air.
Those Facebook pages she’s tossing around like ninja throwing stars are eloquent proof that no one has the right to pat Sarah Palin on the head and send her out of the room, while the grown-ups settle down to serious talk. She isn’t just writing snarky rants. She’s providing both devastatingly effective criticism, and substantial policy alternatives. It’s fairly obvious the White House paid a great deal of attention to her infamous “death panel” column.
But let’s not get all hung up on specific issues, or identities of persons who should leave rooms, or which critics are saying so. The problem is with this smug feeling of satisfaction that a perfect, or merely adequate, solution has been has been defined by the critic, when all the critic has done is select the pariah-of-the-moment. It is a pronouncement not of any sort of positive vision, or credible strategy, but merely of distribution of influence: Infinite quota for this person over here, zero for that person over there.
And the problem’s solved!! Or something. But, these types very seldom come back to check on the progress. You don’t see them coming out of the kitchen to ask the diners how it tastes. When & if they ever do, it’s just to assign blame yet again (H/T Chicks on the Right):
President Obama wrapped up a day he began with an angry and frustrated reaction to the mass killings in Charleston, S.C., by acknowledging that he has been unable to change the culture of polarization and gridlock in Washington.
But he also challenged Democratic supporters to do their part to make the political changes rather than remain disillusioned about the inability of the nation’s capital to respond to gun violence and other problems.
“When I ran in 2008, I in fact did not say I would fix it. I said we could fix it,” Obama told an audience of about 250 at a fundraising event here at the stately hillside home of film mogul Tyler Perry. “I didn’t say, ‘Yes, I can.’ I said, ‘Yes, we can.'”
The problem is always “I don’t have enough influence yet,” or “those who are getting in my way, still have too much.” It occurs to me that if President Obama can hide behind those, then anyone should be able to do likewise, and at any time. I daresay no homo sapiens has enjoyed a greater opportunity to solve problems by monologuing, be they living or dead, ever, since the Earth’s crust cooled.
Leaders don’t sit around just waiting for good things to happen, so they can hog all the credit, and then grasping at straws finding someone to blame when something bad happens. That is not what real leaders do. They look for what is in their control, they seek to maximize that control, they make commitments based on what is in that circle of control. And then they take ownership of the outcome.
If there is a problem because someone else also has control, then they approach that entity with rationality and reason, look for common ground in the visions, present some compelling arguments about why their strategy might be the best way to get there. Or, if the visions have no commonality because of differing interests, they negotiate. To defrock that other party of any influence at all, to get their own stuff done, is something real leaders don’t do except perhaps only as a last resort.
When you see a guy who uses that as his “go-to” way of dealing with problems…what you’re looking at, is the problem itself. Not a real leader.
As in, the first tests.
This week has already seen two candidates officially enter the race for President of the United States, neither one of whom is actually for anything, just running on their big, big names. I noticed over on the Hello Kitty of Blogging that a lot of people who lean in all sorts of different directions seem to be unable, or unwilling perhaps, to recognize this key distinction among candidates. Actually, none of the candidates are even mentioning it, even the ones whose prospects would be helped by making an issue out of it.
As usual, it falls to me:
Very first test I apply to any presidential candidate is they have to be FOR something.
Bernie Sanders passes the test, Hillary doesn’t, Carly Fiorina does, Jeb Bush doesn’t, Ted Cruz does, Lindsey Graham doesn’t, Sarah Palin would if she was running, Ben Carson probably not, Chris Christie definitely not.
This is just the very first test. It’s asking so little. A candidate’s long-held personal-pet-peeve, would suffice.
It is positively shocking that half the candidates, on both sides, flunk. They’re just outspoken and so wonderful, with name recognition, and it’s their turn! But, they don’t stand for anything.
We just don’t need it.
Sanders and I don’t agree on much of anything at all, so note: This has nothing to do with my own fors-&-againsts. It’s a baseline. It’s the very first filter.
And I see we have a need to impose it. Everyone wants to be the big-name, it seems; everyone out here wants to rally around that guy. I guess when all the hubbub about a “constitutional republic” has died down, at the end of the day we’re just electing a dictator or something, is that it? Some oracle who’s going to mull over the tough questions four years at a time, do whatever it is he wants to do, think it over during a golf game, shake a Magic-8 ball, and when he comes up with an answer well that means we’re all obliged to support it because we voted for him. Or, lost to the people who voted for him. That’s how it works now?
Not in my world. But, I have more tests.
Second test is, if I wake up tomorrow morning a billionaire, that presidential candidate wouldn’t make me into the enemy. Because I want the economy to do well. That means we’re going to have rich people. If you’re running for President and you think it’s a problem when people are rich, then you just keep right on running…off a cliff.
So, everyone on the left can vamoose. Along with quite a few on the so-called “right.”
Maybe I should broaden this to say: Be pro-people. We don’t need any more arguments about how making money is bad, or we need to learn to get along with less, or the planet can’t sustain any more of us. It isn’t, we don’t, and it can.
Naturally, I’m not done at two. And, at that point, it ceases to be a matter for the Hello Kitty of Blogging…although, perhaps, that is where the people are who really need the input. But most of them have already “unfriended” me or were never on my friends list in the first place.
Third test: I want someone who can argue. I think it would be written right into our Constitution, but back in those days the ability was just sort of assumed. And I don’t mean snicker charismatically at everything or make it impossible for anybody else to do any talking, like Joe Biden did at the Paul Ryan debate. I mean, on an intellectual level, to forensically and methodically attack or defend a position.
The third test would put us in dire danger of having for our next President someone who was champion of the high school debate team, and we’ve had plenty enough of never-never-land already. This country needs like the dickens to start living in reality again, so the fourth test would have to be: The ability to learn from mistakes. I’ve said before how I sometimes completely derail the opposition by saying things like “I make five to ten mistakes before most people even wake up in the morning”? Whoever I’m just baffling by saying that, would fail this test, and we don’t need ‘em. Being unable or unwilling to absorb new or unwelcome information, is not a strength. It isn’t precious either. It’s common and cheap, like pigeon shit on top of a statue. We’re born with that. Toddlers have that.
For the fifth test, I want the next President of the United States to recognize, and believe in the simple truism that, life is not fair. Has that ship sailed already, is it too late to ask this? It seems to be a popular thing to say to white males who were born way too late to ever own slaves, or keep their wives locked up in the kitchen, and are being asked to go without to pay for the past sins of our forebearers. We’ve given women their day in the limelight, and blacks, and gays, and transgenders, I think it’s safe to say that anyone needing some sort of “turn” to “catch up” has had it at this point. And these special privileges have a cost. It’s embarrassing to have to mention it, but it seems lately to be something that needs mentioning.
Six: I want the next President to love the United States as she is right-here-and-freakin’-now. Again, too much to ask? I want the President to love the country the way a man is expected to love his wife.
After those six, we can proceed to the issues…
As soon as an opinion or a cultural trend becomes the “right” or “acceptable” one, and especially as soon as there is a real price to pay (socially or legally) for not accepting or embracing it, the Ball Bearings begin to roll.
I imagine a flat plane, maybe like a massive metal tray, with the free-rolling Ball Bearings headed this way or that, depending on how the tray is tipped at the moment. So, for example, when gay “marriage” was unthinkable in this society, the Ball Bearings were huddled snugly and comfortably on the side of authentic, heterosexual marriage. Believing that man + woman = marriage was clearly “approved thought” — heck, it was axiomatic — and there was no price to pay, socially or otherwise, for holding that universal belief.
But watch the tray as public opinion changes…
All this to say that if you find yourself panicked or despairing at America’s swift decline into chaos, wondering when we entered the Twilight Zone, relax and remember that this is nothing new. Remember that it’s fallen human nature for people to go with the spirit of the age, because being on the “right side of history” is infinitely easier than being on the right side of Truth.
The gay-marriage example is only one of a great many. But, it is the most egregious one in my lifetime. Public opinion goes one way, and a little while later it’s 180 degrees off from that; not only that, but we’re all supposed to be on the lookout for, and ready to prosecute, anybody who defined “marriage” according to what was accepted consensus previously — and in a space of…what? Four years? Three? Two?
You have to forcibly jettison your ability to retain long-term memory in order not to imagine your friends and neighbors as ball bearings. In fact, an analogy more apt, and perhaps more ominous, would be puppets on strings. Ah, but don’t suggest to any of them they’re not thinking independently. You might get bitten.
What’s odd to me about this is that people are not all silent when the time comes to justify group-think. They are often heard to say something about what’s good for the one versus what’s good for the many. But group-think is not good for the many; it dehumanizes the many, disgraces them, robs them of their dignity, reduces them to the status of those puppets on strings, or ball bearings on a surface. Why ever trouble yourself with the senses & sensibilities of someone who has no courage of convictions? There is no point. So in the long haul, in fact in the not-too-long haul, the many is not helped at all. The many is hurt. It’s really no fun being a bearing-ball.
No, group-think is good for the few; those few who seek to influence it. It makes their efforts more profitable. It holds no benefit, material or otherwise, for the many.
Hillary Clinton’s run for the presidency is being launched at a place she considers significant: the Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park in New York.
I’ll bet most Americans don’t even know what President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “four freedoms” are. They are:
Freedom of speech;
Freedom of worship;
Freedom from want;
Freedom from fear.
By positioning herself aside the monument to these four freedoms, Hillary Clinton is telling us what she stands for. It’s not unlike Ronald Reagan launching his candidacy in front of the Statue of Liberty in 1980, or Ted Cruz launching his candidacy for the presidency at the university founded by Jerry Falwell’s Moral Majority.
To Hillary Clinton, and those who support her, these are the most important things.
But are these things reasonable? Or even possible?
The freedom from want idea isn’t intended to encourage or foster charity. It’s intended to establish as a “right” the state of affairs of being comfortable. Originally this meant not being hungry. Now that has extended to education (including college), health insurance (for every conceivable ailment), and as yet untold additional things you have a political right not to have to “want.”
The root issue here is not freedom. It’s entitlement.
The idea that one can or should have a “right” to be free from fear or want explains the development of the entitlement psychology in America, and why it has come to dominate our culture and government. The moment you consider yourself to have a right to one thing that curbs your wants or fears, is the moment the stage is set to have a right to an infinite number of other things to curb your wants or fears. If you’re entitled to feel good and comfortable — well, then you’re entitled.
Who’s to pay for, or provide, these freedoms from want or fear? On the surface, the government. The good graces of the great and compassionate souls like Franklin Roosevelt and Hillary Clinton. But they’re not providing these things. They’re merely the bullies shaking down these “resources” from some to give to others. You might think this is justified; but you should at least acknowledge that this is what’s going on.
One of FDR’s successors pointed out the meaningful differences between genuine freedom, and having all your staples and shelters provided for you, with a compelling metaphor about prison. This shows that not only are Hillary and FDR speaking of something that isn’t actually “freedom,” they’re speaking of something that cannot co-exist with it. Real freedom is going to have to involve some measure of insecurity. With every choice, comes the possibility of making the wrong one and suffering the consequences.
…that, in video games in particular, there aren’t any. Someone who knows these video games a lot better than I do, has declared the time has come to dispense with that.
To be fair, the video does not definitively dispense with it “once and for all” because the people who want to keep complaining, have some rebuttals. Which I’ll not sit here and pretend that I completely understand, but then again, the debunkers have rebuttals to the rebuttals.
And it seems the original point stands: There are quite a few strong female characters. So it doesn’t work to go around complaining that there aren’t any.
So, I stumbled across this: “Why Liberals Are More Intelligent Than Conservatives,” by Satoshi Kanazawa:
It is difficult to define a whole school of political ideology precisely, but one may reasonably define liberalism (as opposed to conservatism) in the contemporary United States as the genuine concern for the welfare of genetically unrelated others and the willingness to contribute larger proportions of private resources for the welfare of such others. In the modern political and economic context, this willingness usually translates into paying higher proportions of individual incomes in taxes toward the government and its social welfare programs. Liberals usually support such social welfare programs and higher taxes to finance them, and conservatives usually oppose them.
It hardly requires any mention at all, but: This bears the tell-tale sign of formulation in an echo chamber, likely with zero input from anyone outside of the desired ideological molding. Every conservative I know, to the last nose, would understand what’s wrong with this: “from somebody else” is missing from right after “larger proportions of private resources.” Experience bears out time after time the verity of the adage, “a liberal is someone so nice he’ll give you the shirt off someone else’s back.” Continuing…
Defined as such, liberalism is evolutionarily novel. Humans are evolutionarily designed to be altruistic toward their genetic kin, their friends and allies, and members of their deme or ethnic group. They are not designed to be altruistic toward an indefinite number of complete strangers whom they are not likely ever to meet or interact with. This is largely because our ancestors lived in a small band of 50-150 genetically related individuals, and large cities and nations with thousands and millions of people are themselves evolutionarily novel.
The examination of the 10-volume compendium The Encyclopedia of World Cultures, which describes all human cultures known to anthropology in great detail, as well as extensive primary ethnographies of traditional societies, reveals that liberalism as defined above is absent in these traditional cultures. While sharing of resources, especially food, is quite common and often mandatory among hunter-gatherer tribes, and while trade with neighboring tribes often takes place, there is no evidence that people in contemporary hunter-gatherer bands freely share resources with members of other tribes.
Again, some conservative perspective would have helped here, as many conservatives have already learned from the experience of approaching & communicating with a liberal “tribe” from the outside of that tribe. No, modern liberalism offers no “evolutionary novelty” from the mindset that curtails the life-staples and other assets from traveling outside the village walls; it is, quite to the contrary, an acceleration of this. Whether it’s intended or not doesn’t matter. Right in the middle of repeating the mantra that they want healthcare for everyone, they want Rush Limbaugh’s kidneys to fail.
But, the comments about evolution are interesting. My reaction was:
This is actually a pretty useful article. It clarifies for me a longstanding question I’ve had about modern liberalism: How can it simultaneously cling to two extreme and oppositional ends of the “‘Let’s help out those who are worse off than ourselves’ vs. ‘Oh well, Darwin'” spectrum? Answer: Modern liberals do believe in, and support, both extreme ends of this spectrum. They’re being…what’s the phrase the article used…”evolutionarily novel.”
It makes perfect sense. Liberals cannot stand the concept of time. They can’t stand the idea that meaningful things happened before they were born, or that meaningful things will keep happening after we’re all dead. They live out their entire lives on a turning-point. EVERY moment between womb-and-tomb has to be “novel.”
When most people use the word “evolution,” and this includes liberals, what they’re talking about is the micro. It’s a point so broadly understood and so obvious that it is seldom clarified: We’re talking about a great many changes taking place across a vast expanse of time, each one by itself so insignificant to easily escape detection, granting that someone was around to do the detecting. Evolution, therefore, requires time. Lots of it. And this is exactly where today’s liberals stop believing in it. They seem much more fascinated in the cruelty aspect of evolution.
And, that’s where the “smarter than you” thing comes into play. I guess when you’re a one-trick pony, you’d better know the trick, right? After I did some skimming around about this person, I noticed the pattern held. Why intelligent people drink more alcohol. Why intelligent people smoke more cigarettes. And, uh oh, now he’s pissing off the wrong people: Why men are more intelligent than women. Oh, no he isn’t. “The answer is: They aren’t.” Notice the “they”; reminds me of that group-collective that used to comment on these pages, whom many of us started to compare to cuttlefish and mollusks because they made comments about homo sapiens as if they were outsiders. This is just one bit of evidence among many suggesting that liberalism, far from being a mark of superior intellect, instead indicates mental infirmity. M/M. Kanazawa seems to be an adult male, so why word things this way?
It reminds me of something someone said here, I think it was Nightfly but I’m not sure, and time curtails me from conducting a responsible search: Liberals evidently perceive an enormous gap in the intelligence spectrum plotted across the population, it’s not bell-curve-shaped for them at all. Everyone who is of like mind, shares the common sky-high off-the-charts measurement of intelligence. Any measured differentiation among that elite crowd, would be meaningless so why bother; functionally, they’re equals, with perhaps some superlative specimens who have established notoriety as political figures or other agenda-movers. And yet, out of hundreds of millions, the next-less-smart guy just beneath them is too dumb to tie his shoes.
It would be interesting to see if this actually works. But, I can’t find any comment section beneath Kanazawa’s articles, so there’s no test, not even any chatter. Just stuff written down, tossed out there and then protected behind an invisible “that’s all anybody has to say about that” barrier.
Which has caused some consternation in the past:
In response to ongoing controversy over views such as that African countries suffer chronic poverty and illness because their people have lower IQs and that black women are “objectively less attractive” than other races, he was dismissed from writing for Psychology Today. His current employer – the London School of Economics – has prohibited him from publishing in non-peer-reviewed outlets for 12 months, and a group of 68 evolutionary psychologists issued an open letter titled “Kanazawa’s bad science does not represent evolutionary psychology”.
What happens when such observations are exposed to commentary from the not-necessarily-like-minded? CylarZ logged on and provided an answer:
It doesn’t take “intelligent” people to make good decisions, and in fact, a lot of really intelligent people do a lot of really dumb things. What a good leader really does is seek wise counsel, then make decisions with discernment. In fact, some liberals are so smart, that they put all their faith into their intellect. They become cocky and overconfident, believing they can think their way out of anything — and this is their downfall.
There is a saying: “Intelligence is knowing tomatoes are a fruit. Wisdom is knowing not to put them in a fruit salad.” See where I’m going with this?
So many names come to mind right now — Stephen Hawking, Richard Dawkins, the late Christopher Hitchens, Al Gore (yes, him) and many other brilliant minds of our time. Smart men…but also foolish, arrogant, and stubborn. CS Lewis on the other hand — widely considered one of the last century’s intellectual giants — was a humble man who realized he had a lot left to learn. He in turn became wise as well as intelligent.
It gets to the point where brainpower is valued over wisdom, experience, or what we’d refer to as “common sense.” Us dimmer bulbs don’t have this problem, as many of us are humble enough to realize we can’t figure everything out on our own. For that matter, many of us are also happier.
Us lesser lights often see wisdom better than really intelligent people do, as we have no reason to think we’re smarter than we really are.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. For all the effort we put into, and the “achievement” we get from, coming up with ways to “diagnose” highly questionable learning disorders as some sort of mental flaw or enfeeblement, we tend to do an awful lot of looking-away when the opportunity arises to define and diagnose mental enfeeblements that might very well be real, and undiscovered. This one has all sorts of tell-tales, there are so many functionally distinguishing ways to get it defined. There is a lack of curiosity about what could best be stated, in question form, as “What happens after my super duper bright idea?” We’ve seen it in our current First Holy President many-a-time: Everything worth saying, is a definitive statement, offering no questions anywhere save for the rhetorical ones. There’s nothing more to be said. Certainly — certainly — no tests to be done.
Which leads to a crisis, repeated over time, involving actual delivery. Would you want to live in a place liberals have been running for awhile? Would you want to live in Detroit, or Baltimore? How about the Obamacare rollout on 10-1-13, is that success? Is that the way we wanna see ‘em go?
George Orwell had a great way of phrasing it: Where’s the omelet? This is the weak spot of modern liberalism. It’s asked after they’ve stopped paying attention, after the “look at my bright idea” phase of the project has been concluded. They’ve moved on to something else.
Maybe they’re trolling conservative blogs, in an office somewhere, on the taxpayer’s nickel. Maybe they’re right here! Nagging me about some spelling error, or “George Washington probably didn’t say that” or some such. The one answer I’ve offered that really confounds this is the answer any flawed Son of Adam would offer, who does not & cannot strive for perfection or godlike insight, and is merely in a daily quest for improved results: Yes, on a given day I make five-to-ten mistakes like that, before most people have gotten out of bed. And they have no idea what to do with that. This is a statement that simply has no rebuttal on their world, for it never would have been uttered on their world, their “Peter Pan” world where nobody ever grows up, and the day-to-day pursuit is for each individual to show how wonderful, amazing and perfect he is. In an enclave of forced equality. The irony.
But making mistakes is how it works on Planet Grown-Up. It is, in another irony, an absolute requirement that must be filled before any “evolving” can be done, with anything. Just about every effort made on anything, is a question and not a conclusive statement. Everything is a shot across a room, into a wastebasket; adults, no matter how practiced, keep watching the ball of paper as it sails toward its target, ready to get up and do the responsible thing if it’s a miss, because there’s a potential for a screw-up in every little thing we do. Everything’s a test.
Our friends, the liberals, seem to be mired in a self-defeating circuit of “Look how much I already know about nature and how it all works, for behold how unwilling I am to learn any more about it.” We have our disasters in Detroit and Baltimore because they never learn to keep the tomatoes out of the fruit salad. They don’t stick around long enough to watch anyone actually take a few bites out of it, let alone offer any feedback.
Jim Powell, writing at Cato, offers a uniquely functional and fascinating background of the document that was ratified eight centuries ago this month:
Before long, the French Prince Louis entered London, and the French controlled castles throughout England. The English Church, however, backed John and refused to crown Lewis as England’s king.
John fled from his pursuers, but somewhere along the line he contracted dysentery and was dying. He appointed 13 executors including William Marshal who was among the most revered knights in England. John died on October 19, 1216, and his nine-year-old son was hastily crowned Henry III. Because he was under-age, Marshal formed a regency government. Although Marshal was able to seize an important English castle from the French, the civil war was substantially stalemated.
With John gone, the rebel barons found themselves in an awkward position – their alliance with foreigners who occupied England. Patriotic English wanted to get the French out. Fortunately, Prince Louis was happy to collect a bribe, and soon the French went home.
Regent Marshal recognized that there was more likely to be domestic peace if some fundamental legal issues were resolved and that consequently John’s repudiation of Magna Carta must be reversed. So Marshal reviewed the document, made some cuts, and reissued Magna Carta in late 1216. Among the cuts was paragraph 61 about the committee of 25 barons who would monitor the king’s compliance with Magna Carta and, if necessary, try to enforce it. Perhaps less important than those words was the fact that the barons had demonstrated their willingness to use force against a tyrannical king.
Many critics have belittled the importance of Magna Carta by dwelling on the fact that the rebel barons were looking out for their own interests as feudal lords. But establishing constitutional limits on a ruler with arbitrary power is always extraordinarily difficult. Some people succeed before others, and their success is likely to make it easier for more people to follow.
Although Magna Carta didn’t derive from the principles of a “higher law,” such as were received by Moses and articulated by Sophocles, Marcus Tullius Cicero, John Lilburne, John Locke, Thomas Paine, Thomas Jefferson, and others, from a constitutional standpoint Magna Carta had similar standing. It didn’t come from rulers. It couldn’t be repealed. It was forever.
I was born and raised in Sweden, which leaves a cultural mark even though I moved to USA in the 1990s and have spent the better part of my adult life as an American. Coming back for a few years has been a shocking experience.
Now, to be clear, it is my opinion that modest immigration is healthy for society and beneficial for trade, cultural development and so forth. Protectionism as a concept is counter-productive, while free trade and the ability for skilled labor to go where they’re in demand is beneficial for everyone.
Having said that, what Sweden is doing is something completely different. The once homogenous population has been forever altered by a rapid and massive addition of people from vastly different cultures and value-systems. 26,8% of the population is now foreign-born or with at least one foreign-born parent, and the national census bureau estimates that some 150 000 per year will arrive to the country of just 9,8 million residents.
There simply is no possible way to absorb and assimilate such volumes of people, period. Then you are merely creating ethnic enclaves, which due to incompatible language, culture and job skills become ghettos, which in turns brews crime, misery and extremism. Once the inflow has exceeded the capacity for absorbtion, further immigration only makes the problem worse.
The issue of a nation or locality’s “capacity for [absorption]” is a game-changer, although perhaps some among the most vocal of immigration supporters won’t be able to see it. Without that, it is fair to at least suggest the writer is nothing more than another expendable xenophobe, blogging away about his disgust that his hometown no longer looks like him. But once we raise the question of whether the regional economy can absorb these new languages, cultures and job skills, we invoke the attribute of testability, which shifts the matter from the subjective to the objective. Now, things can be measured. Whether the new policies take a potentially good thing too far, because measurable.
Then you have the Swedish school system. There really is no nice way to put it; it’s a complete disaster. The minister of education is a man-boy who spends his time making Youtube-videos showing heart-signs with his hands to boost school results, while university-level students can’t read and comprehend the course literature.
Since there is a delay in the changes in the school system, it is only in recent years the full impact of the knowledge-averse “progressive” school system is starting to be felt. Hard facts are largely irrelevant; the important thing is to sit in a group and discuss things until a consensus is reached. But with no hard facts to base the conclusions on, it becomes an exercise in futility because it’s all random assumptions and opinions
Ugh. I’m no expert on what’s currently going on in Sweden, but I’ve got a lot more experience than I care to have with that.
In some ways, I’d compare the country to a farm. Previously, Sweden acted like a sensible farmer and planted wheat here, carrots there, potatoes over there et cetera, by implementing free schooling, sound infrastructure investments, state-financed research and so forth. A few decades later, they reaped the rewards and climbed the prosperity ladder.
In the late 1960s, this pragmatic line was abandoned as leftist idealist Olof Palme took over. But there was plenty to harvest from previous years, so Sweden continued to be the land of milk and honey for a good long while. Then things started drying up, and the process has been one of gradual erosion and decline since the 1990s.
The famous Swedish health care system is a good example. 120 000 hospital beds in the late 1960s became 20 000 today. Cancer patients are put on waiting lists for months. Entire emergency wards shut down for summer. The crumbling Swedish railroad system is another symptom I examined in-depth last year. The aforementioned defense that now consist of about three fat generals and a rusty rifle (bullets withheld for budgetary reasons).
A sensible farmer would see the problems for what they are and hurry to plant new seeds, so as to return to bountiful harvests of wheat, carrots, potatoes etc. Instead, the Swedish politicians goes by dogma and plants what they think SHOULD grow. So they plant M & Ms, hot dogs and pretzels. The results won’t be fully evident for a few years yet, but as the last reserves of the old harvests are depleted, things will get…Interesting.
Good analogy. Progressives, for all their vocal infatuation with “sustainability,” when the rubber meets the road aren’t too much into it. The group-chats, the manufacture of phony-consensus, these all seem to be constantly taking the lead while sustainability takes a back seat.
On both sides of the Atlantic.
“They were rugged fellas!”
“They were men!”
Nothing’s changed. God provides all that is needed, but wrapped up in summers too hot, winters freezing, rocky terrain and lots of danger. The rough-and-tumble types come in to do the hard work, the laying down of the bedrock of the highways and the foundations of the buildings, but before that happens the swamps have to be drained and the serpents and arachnids and coyotes and wolves and ticks and rats and fleas have to be driven out or killed.
Then civilization’s asphalt and stucco and carpeting are installed and that’s when the real ugliness starts. Suddenly, all of the jobs have something to do with moving stacks of file folders from this cabinet over here, to that cabinet over there, and explaining to someone over the phone how impossible it is to do something. Yesterday’s thankfulness to God and careful measure-twice-cut-once decision-making, are replaced with today’s snooty condescension, and bloated retirement plans funded at someone else’s expense.
End result is always the same: An economy on life-support, and a new culture of guilt. Guilt, can’t-do-it, it’s-too-hard, process-over-outcome, blame blame blame, and a prevailing sentiment that the past should be bulldozed. It’s funny how the people walking around in the air-conditioned buildings with the comfy furniture and the plushy carpets can’t seem to appreciate the rough-and-tumbles who drained the swamps, killed the snakes and laid the bedrock. It’s rather like the candle failing to appreciate the table, or a painting failing to appreciate the wall on which it hangs. The candle needs the table and the painting needs the wall, but the table would get along quite well without the candle, and the wall has all the purpose it had without the artwork.
The U.S. economy has not grown at an annual rate of 3 percent since 2005, and not above 4 percent since 2000.
It won’t get out of that losing streak in 2015.
Meaning, it has been a lost decade — amid flattening wages, bottoming interest rates, lower inflation expectations, less borrowing, slowing job creation, aging populations, relatively lower fertility, resulting lower demand, and a financial crisis to boot.
And, whatever tepid growth has been seen since the Great Recession, this may be as good as it gets. At some point, we may have to concede that this is not merely a policy problem. That there may be something more to the slow growth than whether there is a D or an R next to the economy.
It’s us! Oh, I don’t know that to be true. But that last point is a pretty good one since this languishing has persisted throughout cycles of partisan dominance over both the White House and Congress. We should look at ourselves, it’s the responsible thing to do. What’s different between now, and previous generations? When — this year, we couldn’t do something, and a year later, we could. We’re not seeing that now, when we have a problem of a bottomed-out economy and we know we’re going to continue to have it next year and the year after.
Why is our sailboat so becalmed?
Well, let’s see. How serious were we about going to the Moon? Got ‘er done, and a few times, right? How serious are we about the next frontier? A few thought exercises about not coming back from Mars again, dying up there, something for us to contemplate as we listen to our car radios…maybe…those few of us who listen to AM. Nothing comes of it if a rocket doesn’t get put on a pad somewhere.
Our boat is becalmed because nobody is rowing, is the simple and short answer. Is there something more elaborate, unseen, that turns this around somehow? Sometimes, the simple answer turns out to be the right one. A stranger visiting our world, entirely unacquainted with our culture but nominally skilled in language and logic, would have to end up wondering why we are wondering; the question is its own question, for the answer is obvious.
Two or three hundred highly skilled and highly educated engineers to a floor, five floors to a building, forty buildings to a campus and ten or twenty campi in the corporation — which, after slaving away for a year or two, offers up a new phone on which you can slide the icons around rather than poking them. As opposed to: One guy makes an offering. It was usually, and perhaps always, a guy “standing on the shoulders of giants” and building on top of layers that were there before, sure. But still. Now you can take this expensive device, which up until now has only been good for playing Pong, and balance your checkbook with it…and you can afford it. And oh look, now we have a math co-processor. And expanded memory. And then an integrated database. And, and, and. Now, go back and look at the timeline.
Compare it to what we see today, when we wait a bunch of years and — meet the new phone, same as the old phone but with another letter tacked on to the model number. We deserve to be languishing, because we’re demanding way too much out of some things, and next to nothing out of other things. We’re already talking about the election next year, but what sort of President do we want? “A woman.” The problem is us. More precisely, with our expectations.
Actually, I’m a bit on the fence about this issue. On the one hand, of course I’d like to slap silly the next feminist who whines away about it when she doesn’t spend any time on the subway, and it’s completely obvious that any space a man occupies, regardless of how small, is going to be too much for her. As well as for a lot of other people in our modern culture of “all problems are due to men having too much, and all solutions come from threatening or revoking the status of men.” But, that’s not a a man-abuse thing, that’s a thing with people pretending to solve problems who wouldn’t know a real problem, or a real solution, if it walked up and kicked ‘em square in the ass. Very common occurrence these days.
And, I don’t like inconsiderate people on any kind of public transit. Especially, spatially-inconsiderate people. If some ride-the-rails rent-a-cop in a reflective vest comes along to dispense a lecture, what’s the harm?
But Katherine Timpf, writing in the National Review with her tongue firmly planted in-cheek (hat tip to William Teach at Pirate’s Cove), points out the connection being made. And yes, it’s a bit of an unholy alliance, between the police power of the state and unhinged hatred straight from the pages of Jezebel:
Let’s talk about these fucking guys for a second because they’re fucking everywhere. The MTA is full of them. They walk onto the train and sit down like it’s their goddamn living room then spread their legs in a V so dramatic that it wouldn’t be out of place in gynecologist’s office. Why? Who the fuck knows? Maybe it has to do with straight up rudeness. They don’t give a shit that there’s a lady standing in front of them holding a baby or that an old lady with a walker who is actually wearing a shirt from an MS run who needs a seat (I recently saw this happen). They want to sit there and be comfortable and — don’t you know? — there’s no way a dude as macho as him can be expected to sit with his knees together. Haven’t you heard that sitting like a normal person totally makes you gay?
It could also be peacocking. Maybe these fucking idiots think we women are impressed when they act like their penis is so fucking big that they can’t even try to make room for you next to them on the bench. Because if there’s one thing we ladies like, it’s a monster dick the size of yule log (Happy Holidays!) and a man who won’t offer us a seat because it makes him slightly uncomfortable.
Others have said it before but it’s worth repeating: Take modern feminism, remove “men” and replace with “Jews” and you get the Third Reich. Men need to know their place!
Timpf closes with,
I am glad that the government is finally taking action. This is clearly not the kind of thing that could be solved by asking people to scoot over and make room for you to sit down, and I am glad the government is finally doing something about it.
Quite the smackdown when you give it a moment’s thought. Pre-Internet, and pre-feminism, that would have been the completely obvious solution: Just a little bit of that human interaction we’re all supposed to be craving anyway, a tiny bit of confrontation, not even unpleasant, nowhere near the fuck-word-laced tirade you see above, just a “pardon me.” Problem solved.
Now, you have to have an Internet essay — which the actual offender will, in all likelihood, never see. Stoke the stewpot with enough heat and the authorities swing into action. Then we all have a whole new set of rules under which we get to do our daily toiling…to solve a problem that, 45 years earlier, would have become a big nothing with a simple ‘scuse-me.
Progress, this is? The question answers itself.
Another theory about the origins of PA is that it can be seen as the result of an excessively female brain. Women are more likely than men to be co-dependents and have eating disorders. Girls are more compliant than boys, better behaved, and more eager to please. They are better able to figure out the needs of others. They are politically more “liberal,” and more likely to think that an important function of government is to take care of people. Low levels of testosterone in the womb during fetal development is associated with higher levels of empathy in both sexes.
PA may be the mirror image of autism, which is far more common in boys than in girls, and is characterized by an inability to sense the feelings of others. One author speculates that there are probably as many female pathological altruists as there are males with autism.
There are parts of the brain that light up and signal sympathy when we see people in pain or being punished. Psychological studies have been set up in which the brains of subjects were scanned while they watched the punishment of people who had cheated in a game. The sympathy circuits in women’s brains lit up; those in men did not. Men appear to lose their instinctive sympathy for pain when they think it is deserved, whereas women remain sympathetic.
Western society is so heavily feminized that redressing the balance and restoring masculine virtue is the first step to imposing any kind of political sanity. But even if that is accomplished, as Richard Spencer has said in the past, you are never going to get rid of “Right” and “Left.” Or as Jack Donovan might put it, the more masculine “Vertical” and more feminine “Horizontal” viewpoint. The necessity isn’t domination, it’s obtaining an Exit by any means necessary and using the opportunity to create a superior system.
After all, what do we have left? The more talk there is about solidarity and universal empathy, the more social trust and actual community is destroyed. When we hear someone babbling about “self-evident” truths like “human rights,” we know we are hearing a sales pitch just as cynical as any attempt to push another high interest credit card. And when you let Cat Ladies who get off on suffering run your country, you don’t end up with a Great Society filled with compassion, but a Great Slum containing only filth and failure, fit only for demolition.
One learns quickly in the blogger-world — regardless of one’s own positioning on the Autism-to-PA spectrum, I think — that stereotypes involving genders are not quite so much untrue but rather, shall we say, unprofitable. You have to keep sprinkling in these annoying disclaimers such as “of course, men do it too!” or else someone’s going to hijack the whole ensuing conversation with that very point, and the original message will have been lost. And, in fairness, you have to do that anyway because we’re living in a time in which the sexes are swapping and our men act more and more like women.
But, there is a distinct male-female split here. The low-testosterone/empathy connection is interesting, and telling, suggesting there is a semblance of scientific support for this.
The problem with PA is that it is not genuine. The examples that suggest a mental instability, all seem to involve some abbreviation-point at which the empathy is truncated. Taylor, writing earlier, points out
“Animal hoarders” are another example of PA. They fill their houses with “rescued” pets but fail to look after them. They declare their love for animals even as they step over the bodies of dogs and cats that have died of malnutrition. They often neglect their own health, living in tumble-down houses filled with animal filth. Hoarders usually started out with a strong childhood attachment to animals but were neglected or abused by their own parents. They often start hoarding after they suffer some kind of personal setback, such as a divorce or losing a job.
That, too, reflects Hood’s vision of where the country is headed, along with “Crazy Cat Lady” (CCL) syndrome and third-wave feminism. You have this streak of empathy, with its “sales pitch as cynical as a push for a credit card.” Testing it, and putting a big-reveal over it that it’s phony empathy, is not difficult. “So, proggie, should Rush Limbaugh be covered by this free and affordable health care plan?” But the phony-empathy is luminous enough to choose a path for us that otherwise could never have been chosen, and of course, it’s always necessary that there is complete commitment, it’s a one-way trip, there must be no retreat possible. Since it’s liberalism, it’s out of the question for the bold hot empathic new idea to ever be subjected to the tests that would be unquestioned if it were an initiative in a private-sector company; you can’t scope it out, phase it in, run it in a sandbox, see if it works within a tighter perimeter on something relatively expendable. Nope, out of the question — the empathy must flood everything, far and wide, from sea to shining sea.
And always always always, the empathy is engaged in a long walk off a short pier. You reach the truncation point and if you’re not unhesitatingly chowing down the whole whatever-it-is and demanding seconds, the CCLs not only have no empathy for you, they want you gone. Out of the way. They get into their “convert or die” mode — which, curiously, also seems to be an ever-present part of it all. The political movements, the animal hoarding, the fad “science,” the weird new health care laws we have to pass so you can, uh, find out what’s in ‘em, the bad divorces and weird child custody/support arrangements. There’s always some matronly maven building a citadel of perfection, demanding to know whether you’re in or out, but either way no new or unwelcome ideas tolerated. You are to get on board or you are to be vanished.
But the more years I see come and go, the more I notice that’s a constant difference between winning and losing. Winners tend to think about edge cases. They tend to say things like “this will happen, of course” or “that will happen too.” They don’t build “comfort booths” unless it’s absolutely necessary, such as offering space as a business commodity or building a home office. While the losers have their cozy citadels for their own living, around-the-clock, filled with all-of-something, and more importantly, none-of-something-else. These isolated hyperbaric chambers offer them comfort, and comfort only, for there is no beauty.
And this is why we all suffer when they’re put in a position of power: The comfort is only for those who are accustomed to it. The occasional visitor is baffled, even horrified.
There are people starving to death in the world, and he drives an Infiniti.
From the Foundation for Economic Education. Their article, which embeds the clip above, explores the “you should help starving people instead of buying luxury goods” argument in great detail, hacking away at its most vulnerable points: The difficulty involved in defining a luxury good, and the power of exponential growth of material assets.
I have never understood why the discussion drags on so long, how this starving-is-all-your-fault mindset persists among those who are supposed to have at their disposal, and to apply, any sort of above-average mental horsepower. Undeniable: Yes, we do start out in life with disproportionately distributed, unearned, advantages. Undeniable: Yeah, but some of those advantages are earned. It’s not all-one none-of-the-other, it’s a blend. Undeniable: Assets can be used to make other assets; properly managed, a portfolio will grow exponentially.
Unavoidable conclusion: Just as “distribution” is not the genesis of the problem, it cannot be the solution to the problem either. In fact, a measured and perfect redistribution of all of human civilization’s material assets, just might be the best conceivable recipe for keeping poverty going, short of lunging for the short-cut and actually destroying those assets.
I just don’t see how people can work it out any other way. Unless they’re being deceived, or trying to deceive others.