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...
People have neglected considerations of the metaphysical so resolutely and for so long, they think they can make things true by putting it to a vote, and expressing their opinions emphatically.
Critical thinking must be critical. A good example of it would be: You’re at home and you receive a call, in the middle of the day, from very prestigious investment broker telling you about this amazing opportunity, they need the money right away if you want to go for it, be sure and keep it a secret because they only want a few people to have the opportunity…
Non critical thinking would be: They’re so prestigious! Who am I to doubt them? And: How could I get my hands on that amount of money before 5 p.m.? Critical thinking would be: If it’s such a great deal and you only want a few people to know about it, why do you need me? Why even tell me about it? Why not invest in it yourself?
Critical thinking often requires taking an idea seriously when one’s sympathies lie elsewhere. This is something people used to do often. They would attack ideas by taking them seriously. One of the best examples we have of this is something you should’ve already been reading anyway, Marbury vs. Madison, the 1803 Supreme Court decision that established the right of judicial review:
Those, then, who controvert the principle that the Constitution is to be considered in court as a paramount law are reduced to the necessity of maintaining that courts must close their eyes on the Constitution, and see only the law.
This doctrine would subvert the very foundation of all written Constitutions. It would declare that an act which, according to the principles and theory of our government, is entirely void, is yet, in practice, completely obligatory. It would declare that, if the Legislature shall do what is expressly forbidden, such act, notwithstanding the express prohibition, is in reality effectual. It would be giving to the Legislature a practical and real omnipotence with the same breath which professes to restrict their powers within narrow limits. It is prescribing limits, and declaring that those limits may be passed at pleasure.
That it thus reduces to nothing what we have deemed the greatest improvement on political institutions — a written Constitution, would of itself be sufficient, in America where written Constitutions have been viewed with so much reverence, for rejecting the construction. But the peculiar expressions of the Constitution of the United States furnish additional arguments in favour of its rejection.
The judicial power of the United States is extended to all cases arising under the Constitution.
Could it be the intention of those who gave this power to say that, in using it, the Constitution should not be looked into? That a case arising under the Constitution should be decided without examining the instrument under which it arises?
This is too extravagant to be maintained.
Chief Justice Marshall demolishes the opposing argument — that the ordinary statute must reign supreme upon the topic upon which it is narrowly focused, and the Constitution that would ordinarily place a constraint against the necessary authority has no effect — by taking it seriously. He accepts it for the time being, for the sake of argument, then navigates it to see where it leads. “It would be giving to the Legislature a practical and real omnipotence with the same breath which professes to restrict their powers within narrow limits. It is prescribing limits, and declaring that those limits may be passed at pleasure…too extravagant to be maintained.”
My own favorite example is against the idea that our outgoing President has had some beneficial effect on the nation’s economy, that America’s First Holy President “inherited a mess” and “created thousands of jobs.” Taking this seriously, we are beset by a critical question: How? For the sake of our fellow citizens who are still struggling, we must ask what He did to bring such a favorable outcome. It is imperative! His successors must know how to achieve a similar miracle!
It makes as big a mess as you might have expected. One fanboy took on the challenge. In so doing he made the situation worse. Barack Obama fixed our economy by NOT…doing a bunch of stuff His predecessor did. Not torturing terrorists, for example. Eh? Making sure terrorists are comfortable makes the economy more-better? The sweater is already falling apart faster and faster, and all I did was pull one loose thread.
I find this third example most impressive of all: Blogger friend Gerard Van der Leun, former Penthouse editor, dismantles Peegate. Same formula: Take the target argument seriously for the moment…pull on the loose thread, watch the deterioration ensue.
Having lived through that period of Penthouse insanity I thought I had finally seen the last of losers using urination to somehow, someway, claw their way back into the winner’s circle.
Alas, just when I thought I was out, the perverted progressive losers among us pull me back in. It seems they are trying to make the world believe in Trump and “Peegate.”
Really? This seems to be the way Peegate worked:
1) An international business man who has spent decades in the rough and tumble world of real estate development and skyscraper construction and may be presumed to have some sophistication when it comes to wheeling and dealing with governments of all sorts throughout the world travels to
2) Moscow. Not Moscow, Idaho, but Moscow in Russia. That would be Moscow the capital of one of the most paranoid and intrusive governments in the world (Both now and for the 19th and 20th centuries.). It is a society and a government with a long history of…
3) Secret police and the clandestine surveillance of its own citizens and visitors to the extent that the US was digging bugs out of the walls of its own embassy in Moscow for decades. When he gets to Moscow he stays at…
4) The Moscow Ritz-Carlton in the “Presidential Suite.” Since such accommodations are typically only taken by the filthy rich and/or representatives of foreign governments such as, say, presidents. And then this sophisticated and reasonably intelligent billionaire real estate developer…
5) Assumes that such a suite in such a capitol city of such a government has no surveillance equipment at all installed in its rooms, bathrooms, closets, and — most importantly — bedrooms. He then asks the hotel staff to show him…
6) The bed in which Barack Obama and his wife slept in when they were in this same “Presidential Suite.” Upon being show the bed our businessman then…
7) Contacts two high-dollar Russian hookers (who would never, ever, have anything to do with the KGB or other intelligence organs of Russia) and instructs them to…. Wait for it….
8) Urinate on said bed in order to give said businessman some odd sort of thrill and…
9) Said businessman remains utterly positive no agency of the Russian state is running cameras and microphones from every possible angle in the master bedroom in a “Presidential Suite” in a top hotel in the capitol of Russia and…
10) The two damp hookers will never, ever, reveal a word about their golden shower in the Ritz Carleton’s “Presidential Suite.”
While I know that millions of morons are nodding like the drinking bird over the glass in their deep and abiding belief in this overflowing crock, I still find it hard to believe that there are smart people out there that really are this stupid…
Critical thinking is, among other things, reckoning with contradictions. You know you aren’t doing it if someone tells you “The pea is under one of these two shells,” “The pea is not under this shell” and “It isn’t under this shell either”…and your reaction to all this is “Hooray! I learned three things!”
There’s no use crying over the bad results — we, and our precious news-cycle, got punked and good — we may as well acknowledge the obvious. Something is broken; something’s wrong. If the experiment could somehow be repeated a hundred more times, it would’ve turned out the way it did a hundred more times. Whatever makes the President-Elect look bad must be true.
This is right after we all got to watch an aging actress lecture us about the nobility of feeling what other people feel, and in the very same breath completely lose track of how her soapbox rant was coming across to anyone in the country who was not in the immediate vicinity. Without a trace of irony.
It isn’t just a Trump thing. I was listening with half an ear to the confirmation hearings and it made an impression on me that a lot of people in some very high places seem to have fallen into a habit of introducing themselves, or others, in laudatory or in pejorative ways, with some variation of the form “I am / he is / she is / they are a [not-]deplorable person[s], because of my/his/her/their [lack of] belief in [X]…” Where, [X] is something a lot of people might want like the dickens to be acknowledged far & wide as true or false…but, it isn’t really known. The great global-warming swindle is by far the best example, although it’s dirty and contaminated. Proponents of it have succeeded in pushing the idea that we’re debating the insulating properties of carbon dioxide, and in so doing have made “he doesn’t believe in global warming” sound like “he doesn’t believe in the greenhouse effect.” Consequentially, most people with the most adamant opinions about this seem to have forgotten what they themselves are saying: Planet Earth’s ability to sustain life as we know it, for the foreseeable future, is open to question and so we’re going to have to tax & regulate the bejeezus out of ourselves in order to prolong this. That’s the real source of disagreement.
But the issue is not goalpost-moving, so that’s what makes the example dirty. Here’s a clean one: Barack Obama was not born in Kenya. This is almost certainly true; knowing what we know about Stanley Ann Dunham’s whereabouts in 1961, it is logistically very difficult to seriously consider, let alone accept, she birthed a child in Kenya that August. But logistics are not at the forefront of consideration of people who go around saying this. They seek to ridicule and cast dispersions on those who believe that’s what happened — seemingly forgetting that they themselves do not know, and thus aren’t in a position to pass judgment like this. Were they in that delivery room in Honolulu? If not, then why are they using “he’s a birther” as some sort of slanderous intro? Surely, if the target of slander were given to believing spurious things, a better example could be found?
Something has been happening to us, and as usual I suspect if we take the time to self-examine, and the good grace to be honest about what we’re finding as we go along, we’re going to find it’s something that’s been happening for a very long time. It’s tribalism taking the place of the desire to discover what’s really true — what’s really known.
I’m guessing we’ll find out we’ve been doing it to ourselves. Tribalism pulled rank over epistemology when we decided, as a society, we didn’t care to know if a black guy was more likely to rob you or burgle your apartment than a white guy. This was “discrimination,” and it was so evil that in our constant efforts to vanquish it, we didn’t care about what was really true. It’s good that we were so dedicated to seeing to it everyone had an equal opportunity. But I’m noticing it never seems to work out over the long haul when we decide we don’t care what’s true. There always seems to be an unraveling. In this case, a dedication to not caring about who was “more likely” to commit crimes, meant there had to be an accompanying dedication to not caring about statistics; can’t claim that glorious, cleansing apathy with regard to the former, while committing the sin of acquiring & using actual information about the latter. Okay, so we don’t care about crime statistics. That means we can’t care about crime. Also, if you’re smearing people by saying “he thinks black people commit more crimes,” you are obliged, for consistency’s sake, to smear people the same way by saying “he thinks gay people are more likely to molest children.” Again, without reading up on, or giving a fig about, the relevant statistics.
And then you’re obliged to take another step, and another step, and another and another…hey, now that gay people can get married, can they get divorced? Are we allowed to ever think any of them would want to be? Or is that just a straight thing?
There are three factors at work here. One, the “carrot” of positive social reward, as a consequence of thinking the correct things, is more keenly defined. The second, closely aligned with the first, is the “stick” — God only knows what will happen to you if you’re caught thinking the wrong things. The third is where things get messy: It’s the loss of incentive involved acknowledging what’s really true. People like to pretend the last forty years or so have been full of suffering and things have been getting worse and worse, but overall we’ve been heading in the opposite direction. We’ve been living high on the hog, we’re not worried about where our next meal is coming from, and you can tell this by way of a quick profile view of most of us. The truth of the matter is that if we’re wrong about something, we don’t suffer for it, and we know we won’t; we anticipate it. Over the long run, this hurts us.
I think about this every time I go shooting, whether I do well or not. I know I’d be scoring a lot more hits if I were forced to survive on this, as people used to years and years ago. And even then, I suspect they may have been better shots as they reached the end of their ammunition stockpile, compared to when they were just starting in on a fresh supply. There’s something about scarcity that sharpens the mind. It seems we can’t ace anything until we know we’re in a position to lose something.
The Z Man had a very artful way of writing about how this all works, going so far as to argue that diversity hiring is a sign that the employing organization, for whatever reason, just doesn’t care anymore. It’s the same principle: An embiggened margin of error leads to a diminished concern over what’s really true, and invites all sorts of distractions and invitations to contemplate a phony “truth”:
All sorts of silly and ridiculous things are indulged because the margin for error seems endless. You can make up a bunch of silly diversity rules, for example, on the college campus, because little serious work is done on the college campus. Most of what is done is busy work. In the areas where serious work is done, like the hard sciences, you see very little of the PC nonsense we associate with the academy.
When a company that appears to doing real work hires a powerskirt to bring diversity to the firm, it means the insiders have cashed out and no longer think the firm is a good bet. Yahoo made that clear when they hired Marrisa Mayer to diversify the company. She immediately went berserk and started firing men and turning the place into an estrogen circus. This was possible because the smart money had left and they could afford to indulge in some PC jackassery.
That’s the thing about modern liberalism. Identity politics cannot survive contact with reality. That’s because it is the ultimate luxury item. It can be indulged only where the consequences are of no consequence…
This is why we have that tragic cycle: Bad times create strong men, strong men create good times, good times create weak men and weak men create bad times. What we explore here explains the last three-fourths of that cycle-maxim. The good times create weak men because of this undocking from reality, made possible by the higher standard of living that now will not be lasting too long. People indulge these fetishes when they feel like they can afford to do so. It stops when the cupboard gets bare, but there is a lingering question as to how quickly.
During this undocking, epistemology dies. Those who are unfamiliar with the word will not be well-served by checking the reference material; defining “epistemology” is something that can consume whole pages and chapters. It’s better to take it at a lossy, casual, high level and go by the Cliff’s notes. It is a study of the relationship between belief, truth and knowledge. It is an attempt to answer the question: “How come it is you think you know the things you think you know?”
And that’s what is withering on the vine. Nobody cares — right now. The cupboards are too full. Things are so far gone, that some have lost track of the metaphysical; they’ve forgotten that there even is a truth, failed to keep in mind that regardless of who knows what, who’s telling the truth, who’s lying, Barack Obama was born somewhere. People have neglected considerations of the metaphysical so resolutely and for so long, they think they can make things true by putting it to a vote, and expressing their opinions emphatically.
It’s as if we just got done voting on whether the world’s going to end. And there’s a panic that’s set in because the “no it won’t” side is the one that came out ahead.
People care about social stature. You’d think this might nudge them back toward the classic concern about what’s really true, during times of acute embarrassment, as we saw just take place at the expense of Buzzfeed and CNN. But that will all be forgotten tomorrow.
I’m afraid, based on the way I see people acting, things will have to get much worse before they get better. Well…for that, I’m sure people can just blame the new President Trump, ignoring all the cultural makeover that’s been happening for the eight years previous. Their peers will think very highly of them for this.
So at the Golden Globe awards, Meryl Streep gave a speech in which she let it known she doesn’t like Donald Trump, and this went over very well with other actors & actresses in attendance who also do not like Donald Trump. The full transcript is here. It isn’t terribly long, isn’t terribly complicated, and isn’t terribly coherent or terribly accurate.
Nor is it too unusual. We’re often reminded actors and actresses don’t have the same opinions as real people. Is that harsh? Because as near as I can make out, that was Streep’s whole point.
An actor’s only job is to enter the lives of people who are different from us and let you feel what that feels like. And there were many, many, many powerful performances this year that did exactly that, breathtaking, passionate work.
Once when I was standing around on the set one day whining about something, we were going to work through supper, or the long hours or whatever, Tommy Lee Jones said to me, isn’t it such a privilege, Meryl, just to be an actor. Yeah, it is. And we have to remind each other of the privilege and the responsibility of the act of empathy. We should all be very proud of the work Hollywood honors here tonight.
It takes only one intelligent person who never watches any acting, and yet somehow manages to show empathy, to invalidate Streep’s point. No, this is not an actor’s only job, and it isn’t an actor’s job at all, to “enter the lives of people who are different from us and let you feel what that feels like.” That is absurd. And as she demonstrated all too clearly, in the course of attending to that misguided mission, it is necessary to engage in a bit of what might politely be called “nonsense.” Example: Streep made a prolonged reference to the President-Elect ridiculing the handicap of a reporter who has arthrogryposis, an allegation that has been debunked over and over again.
What’s this business with feeling, anyway? Why all this undue weight placed on it? Reminds me of what Prof. Sowell once said,
The problem isn’t that Johnny can’t read. The problem isn’t even that Johnny can’t think. The problem is that Johnny doesn’t know what thinking is; he confuses it with feeling.
This is valuable in that it tells us where Meryl Streep goes wrong. She says things that are not true, and doesn’t seem to realize it, because she doesn’t realize it. She doesn’t know what thinking is.
And it’s valuable because this was — near as I can tell — her entire point, that Hollywood is in a class by itself. That industry, according to her remarks, seems to be headed in the right direction while the rest of us are just bumbling around, bumping into each other and falling down, like Keystone Cops or something I suppose. And what makes them so uniquely right & true? Feeling. Their ability to empathize with others.
Matt Walsh was not impressed by this, too much…
Actors “enter the lives of people who are different” in order to “let you feel what that feels like,” she said proudly. That brought her to her attack on Donald Trump, which inevitably included attacks on the 60 million people who voted for him. Conjuring an image of rabid dogs, she said that Trump’s bullying made his supporters “show their teeth.” She finished, finally, by lavishing more praise on Hollywood and the press. Hollywood “safeguards the truth,” she swooned, and they all ought to be proud of themselves. They can teach the world to be “empathetic” and “understanding.” “The powerful are using their position to bully others,” Streep warned, but fortunately Hollywood rises above it. And from its position of moral supremacy it acts as society’s guardian angels. The crowd of well-heeled angels roared with approval as Streep left the stage.
It was truly inspiring. At least, that’s what I’m told.
Now, two brief notes on all of this:
1. Whatever you think about the content of the speech, it certainly was not courageous.
You’ll notice that it’s never enough for liberals to simply agree with what someone says or does. It always has to be “brave.” Streep’s speech has been described in those terms by countless liberals on social media, along with many similarly glowing adjectives. It’s absurd, obviously. Whether you agree or disagree with what she said, she still said it in front of the friendliest possible audience. She told a group of people who worship her exactly what they want to hear and already believe. She risked absolutely nothing…
2. Hollywood is a disgusting cesspool of nihilism, narcissism, and hatred.
Although Streep hilariously painted herself and her fellow multi-millionaire celebrity demigods as victims who are a part of “the most vilified segment of society,” the truth is that they are not nearly vilified enough. If they were vilified to an appropriate degree, people would be showing up at the red carpet to ruin their 80 thousand dollar outfits by pelting them with eggs — not that I would condone such behavior (publicly)…
Empathy for whom, exactly? An understanding of what? It seems the answer to both questions is “themselves.” Hollywood rarely makes any attempt to reach outside of itself. And putting a gay person in every movie and show doesn’t count. Half of Hollywood is gay, after all. If Hollywood were really all that Meryl Streep cracks it up to be, it would produce shows and films that explore the lives of people who are actually different from themselves. But every time it does, the conclusion it draws is always the same: “These people are freaks and we should laugh at them.”
Seems we have a disagreement! How do we adjudicate it? One has only to envision Hollywood personalities sitting in judgment of this criticism, and speculate on their reaction to it…you needn’t go out on a limb too much. Right? They’d conclude Meryl Streep is right and Matt Walsh is wrong. And how would they know this?
They would feel it.
And that’s the part that really interests me. Time after time after time, if you round up a randomly-selected sample group from among the A-list actors and actresses, you’ll find the group overwhelmingly leans left, in one political decision after another. And they’re going to lean left because of their feeeeeelings. Meryl Streep is correct on this. And if you create a similar sample group out of most other professions…most other professions, not all other professions, just most…that sample group would offer different opinions. It would certainly be to the political right on these decisions, compared to your Hollywood sample group. Butcher, baker, candlestick-maker…auto mechanic, software engineer, dry cleaner, mattress manufacturer…
See, there is a difference, and the difference comes from the job of being an actor. What Streep got wrong, is what she should’ve gotten right before anything else, where she has abundant experience that the rest of us lack — she erred on identifying what an actor’s job is. It isn’t “to enter the lives of people who are different from us and let you feel what that feels like.” An actor’s job is to pretend. It is to take statements known to be untrue, like “I’m Batman” or “I’m the Captain of a Starship” or “I’m a Jedi Master” — and behave as if they are true. To act. That’s what acting is. That’s the definition, and it works better than Meryl Streep’s. Do these things, and show no empathy, you’re a successful actor. This has been proven over & over again. Dwell on feelings, but fail to do the right pretending, and you fail as an actor. It isn’t about empathy. It’s about pretending untrue things are true. That is the job, and we should find it reassuring when we discover actors disagree with us.
Which we will discover, and often. It is the natural and expected result. The butcher, the baker, the candlestick-maker all succeed by recognizing true things, and behaving as if those true things are true. Like: This is good meat, these are guts. The bread’s baked long enough, the bread hasn’t baked long enough. This candlestick is not flawed, this other one is and I can’t sell it.
When people roll their eyes at puffed-up speeches like Meryl Streep’s, with the dismissal of “shut up and act,” it isn’t always just because they disagree with her. Maybe some of them don’t realize it, but there is an entirely justifiable reason to be saying this. Actors pretend false things are true for a living. Entertainers are, when you get right down to it, clowns. We don’t let clowns actually make important decisions about things, especially on behalf of someone else, whose tethering to reality is much stronger.
Related: Don Surber: What did football ever do to Meryl Streep?
Yes, perhaps it’s an opinion I’m better off keeping to myself. Certainly, it’s the minority opinion, and bound to be unpopular. I don’t mean to pick on the girls. This is something that galls me all to pieces, when it’s about male authority figures as well as female authority figures.
Authority figures in movies must use their authority, and not just to win arguments. If it’s a story about authority, it is the story of a decision, which means the story must rely on the decision to make it what it is; and the decision has to make for a good story. Vito Corleone told Sollozzo no to going into the drug business, which was an event that caused subsequent, dependent, weightier events. His son Michael met Sollozzo with Captain McCluskey, and decorated the wallpaper with their brains. Indiana Jones went tearing after a Nazi truck convoy on a horse “mak[ing] it up as [he went] along.” Marshal Will Kane stuck around Hadleyville, waiting for the noon train to bring Frank Miller into town. Walter White decided to start cooking meth. King Leonidas decided to head out an intercept Xerxes’ invading army. Dagny Taggart decided to build the John Galt railroad line. Juror #7 voted not to convict.
These were extraordinary decisions. Most of them had antithetical decisions that could have been made, that weren’t made…these were usually the safer options, with lots of powerful, persuasive arguments about how they should have been the ones chosen, like “it’s the law” or “nobody’s done that before!” Those persuasive arguments made a lot of sense. That’s why the extraordinary decision, the one that was actually made, helped create a good story.
Princess Leia, like all Star Wars women (all 3 or 4 of them) didn’t even make beneficial decisions let alone extraordinary ones. Seriously. Go back and make a list of all the decisions women make, and what comes of them. A woman deciding something, for the most part, is a harbinger of disaster. Hey, I didn’t write it, I’m just pointing out the truth here. Last decision Princess Leia made that led to anything good, was “Go get help from Obi-Wan Kenobi.” Last truly extraordinary decision she made, was “into the garbage chute, flyboy!” How’d that go?
Not my intention to sully the memory of the recently departed. But declining standards are always troubling. If Princess Leia’s story was one of veering away from the commonly-accepted, commonsense decision, spotting some subtle clue that tipped off that this would have led to inferior results, or perhaps gotten some innocent people hurt or killed, and saved the day by choosing an alternative while everyone else was doing nothing but expressing doubts; then I’d be all for this hagiography over the latest fictionalized example of good leadership.
That’s not what Princess Leia has been, because that’s not what Star Wars has been. It’s not the story of authority figures in high places making good decisions that save the day. It’s a story of people in low places, down in the trenches, close to the action, saving the day (after the people in charge have made a mess of things).
And Leia has really been nothing more than the less talented half of the Skywalker twins. With an annoying mouth on her. She’s a “role model” to a lot of people because a lot of people think “annoying mouth” is a desirable attribute to be encouraged in young girls growing up into women. Well it’s not. I like that she ticked off the feminists by wearing a skimpy gold bathing suit, and in so doing inspired the “cosplay” costume that is far & away Number One; I like that the feminists are constantly prepping to do battle against this “objectification,” missing the point that she was wearing this while she killed Jabba the Hutt. It helps show that feminists aren’t in favor of female empowerment after all. I like that they constantly and consistently embarrass themselves this way. I like that people have the opportunity to see this is what post-modern feminism really is. I like that we’re so often reminded, it’s the feminists who can’t imagine a woman could be good-looking, and smart, at the same time.
But Leia was the personification of wise, strong female save-the-day leadership, like Steve Jobs was the personification of a nerd who figures out how to build things that work. Both symbols are rather empty, lacking the full weight of truth behind them. Again: Standards. For a vision of strong save-the-day female leadership, the real-life historical figure of Maggie Thatcher is far better.
Bears repeating, this isn’t girl-bashing. If the story is about exceptional decision-making, it has to include one-to-several exceptional decisions.
Michael Walsh writes in Pajamas Media (by way of Instapundit):
In movies, it’s called the “cheer moment” — that wonderfully satisfying part of the motion picture when the bully/bad guy finally gets his richly deserved comeuppance: Rocky flooring Apollo Creed in the first Rocky; John McClane sending Hans Gruber to hell off a high floor of Nakatomi Plaza. And in 2016, nobody’s demise was cheered more vociferously than the mainstream media’s. But don’t take it from me, take it from a tattered remnant of what was once one of the seven pillars of the MSM (along with the New York Times, the Washington Post, NBC, CBS, ABC, and Time magazine), Newsweek.
Riffing off Ross Douthat’s infamous tweet of Sept. 2015 — “The entire commentariat is going to feel a little silly when Marco Rubio wins every Republican primary” — writer Zach Schonfeld notes:
At best, it’s just a dopey prediction — we’ve all made some of those. At worst, it’s an enduring avatar of the cartoonish arrogance and mass-scale humiliation that overtook the pundit class in 2016. It’s a microcosm of the biggest media trend of the year: total humiliation.
It was not just Douthat. For lots of high-profile media personalities, from Nate Silver to Nick Denton, 2016 dealt an enormous reckoning. Michael Moore made some startling predictions, but few other liberal commentators saw what was happening. Much of the pundit industrial complex spent the calendar year standing athwart history, yelling “It can’t happen here” or “Trump is going to pivot any day now.” Clinton lost. Pundits ate crow, took the L — choose your preferred cliché. One columnist ate his newspaper column, as he had promised to do if Trump became the GOP nominee. Some who got it wrong showed a capacity for self-reflection. Others, like Kevin Drum of Mother Jones, doubled down on their myopic pontificating or continued howling into their social media echo chamber of choice.
It was the year we realized that a lot of Very Important People who get paid a lot of money to know about U.S. politics have little more insight to dispense than the cab drivers they quote in their columns…
It’s a funny thing about narratives. We don’t hear more of them when common sense begins to assert they’re likely to bear fruit. It’s the opposite that is closer to the truth; the loudest ones are the ones that are starting to show some problems. It’s not that people are in a hurry to embarrass themselves. More like, after they’ve emotionally invested themselves in their sandcastle and they can start to see some cracks forming in it, that’s when they start to obsess over it. I think we’re all like that. We work harder at building when we can see the waves are about to crash on it. Believers in the narratives become purveyors of the narratives, and they aren’t purveying it because they believe in it anymore. It’s because they have a need to hear it said a few more times, even if they have to rely on themselves to do it.
They key takeaway is that these amplified narratives, overall, are right less often than a random-chance selection, which has nothing guiding it. With the narrative, the guide is “the more problems you see with it lately, the more often you should yell about it and the louder you should do the yelling.” And, of course, you should up the stakes so everyone can see you’re really serious. It is not logical, but it is often true. We’re dealing with human behavior.
You knew this one would be a lot better than most…
After all that, the American people, looking for a leader, ended up with a choice between ointment and suppository. The fall campaign was an unending national nightmare, broadcast relentlessly on cable TV. CNN told us over and over that Donald Trump was a colossally ignorant, narcissistic, out-of-control sex-predator buffoon; Fox News countered that Hillary Clinton was a greedy, corrupt, coldly calculating liar of massive ambition and minimal accomplishment. And in our hearts we knew the awful truth: They were both right.
It wasn’t just bad. It was the Worst. Election. Ever.
And now, finally, it is time for 2016 to go away. But before it does, let’s narrow our eyes down to slits and take one last squinting look back at this hideous monstrosity of a year, starting with…
Seriously though. Now that we’re down to the final few hours of the year, I’m rather befuddled at the lack of humility on the part of those who were so sure Trump would lose. “Difficult to see, always in motion is the future,” Yoda said.
But most of the loudmouths have gone on to predicting — with zero uncertainty about it, it’s a sure thing, yo — all these high crimes & misdemeanors that will be committed by the new administration. Alright, sometimes predictions are not so far-fetched. Maybe. But wait…when did you guys EVER take a moment to admit “Alright, we were wrong about that other thing”? Just that. Nevermind engaging in some disciplined thought about how to channel this mistake into some learning, to make the next round of predictions moar-better.
Nope, nothing-doing. Just once more, into the breach my friends, and here come some more predictions. And the rest of us are bad people or something, if we don’t take it completely seriously, or harbor any doubts.
So many among us are wondering what we did to make the year go the way it did. Well, maybe it’s got something to do with that…this idea that the predictions of tomorrow are just so undeniable and to be taken just so seriously, but those predictions from yesterday that didn’t come to pass, we can just shrug those away. Silly way to behave, silly way to think…
Kurt Schlicter says stay the course:
Remember, You Know Best for Us. You should do as much as you can to compel us to comply with your enlightened views. Force innocent bakers to bake cakes just because you can. People love that — especially when you simultaneously discover the moral necessity of allowing employees on a chorus line to opt out of entertaining those you deem unacceptable. Also, try to disarm us even as crime rates have entered a dizzying climb thanks to your cavorting with quasi-terrorist mobs and trashing the police — remember, it’s not the fear of being raped or murdered that inspired us to exercise that musty old Second Amendment, it’s racism!
Don’t Hide Your Feelings On Social Media. Social media allows you the opportunity to freely express what you really think to a vast audience — use it! Once, you could only say what you really think in little groups at Manhattan cocktail parties or cafés in Los Angeles, or publish it in obscure magazines no normals ever read. Well, now you can tweet your innermost thoughts and have those views go viral! It used to be a secret that you thought we are idiots for having religious beliefs, but not anymore! Your desire to confiscate guns had to be hidden with weasel words in public, but now you are no longer restrained. In fact, you can loudly and publicly wish us harm — we love being told you can’t wait for us to die off so you can take total control of the country.
Look, you hit a few unexpected bumps in the road in 2016 — I mean, who could have foreseen that nominating someone under FBI investigation might turn out badly? But there’s nothing wrong with what you’re doing — the problem isn’t you. It’s everyone else, especially those stupid, racist, gun nut Jesus people who aren’t bright enough to understand that you are entitled to rule over them. So don’t ever change. Stay the course. Oh gosh, please, please, please, by all means, stay the course.
From time to time, I notice conflict that rises to the level of personal animosity, starts with a simple disagreement. Supposedly there’s some ratcheting up to do from the point of disagreement, one side or both has to mishandle something terribly. Disagreement, after all, shouldn’t lead to a fight. Should it? Look at these other people handling the same disagreement, who don’t end up in a fight like I do. That, surely, should seal the deal.
But, then I look closer. And I notice the conflict was avoided because discussion was avoided…
Then I listen, perhaps this is a mistake. to what the antagonist is actually saying. The “If you’re not convinced by now you never will be, and there’s no point discussing this with you” tactic upsets the whole applecart. People say stuff like that; over the years I’ve come to realize there’s no way they could mean it. If they’re presenting something that is so persuasive as to guarantee, iron-clad, an on-the-spot conversion of all who question or dissent save from those who are most emotionally entrenched in the opposing view — why then would they interrupt themselves while doing this? That doesn’t make sense at all. Could it really be an agitating experience having to explain your position, when logic and/or the facts are on your side? In what way? How? Why? I can’t relate to that. In fact, the only way I can begin to understand it, putting myself in that position, is maybe if I don’t understand the subject matter as well as I’m pretending to understand it…playing the “fake it ’til you make it” game, hoping not to get caught. Really, “I refuse to discuss this any further” looks like that; doesn’t look like anything else. I wonder if those who bandy it about so freely, would be surprised if they learned that. I suspect maybe not, at least not completely.
I’ve come up with some rules about this. The first is that, as much as we all like to win arguments, before that can happen you have to do some actual arguing. That, there, I think is the genesis of the actual problem. People running around all their lives, thinking they know how to argue, when all they’re doing is going through a ritual of of “me hammer, you nail.” So they wade into these disagreements with some bit of trivia they think empowers them with The Ultimate Weapon, puts them on a footing above everyone else. They’re gonna flip those other opinions like pancakes on a griddle. When it doesn’t happen instantly they get frustrated…maybe that’s a tipoff to the mindset. It isn’t happening instantly? T’heck? Aren’t all things worth doing, instant? Turns out…the other side is expecting (and, gulp, is more prepared for it than we are) an actual discussion! So they form this desire, not all that hard to understand, to play this game of leap-frog…to hop over the icky part, which would expose the gap in their understanding, therefore the possibility they might not have the right opinion. They’re essentially saying “When do we get to the fun part, where I tell everyone what to do & what to think, and they do it.”
Second rule is that you don’t get to play the “If this doesn’t convince you, nothing will” card unless there’s a “this.” Not until there’s a such time as you’ve presented something. A great deal of time, it turns out there isn’t any. What there is, is a focus-group track record. The “this” got presented to other people, and those other people, for whatever reason said “Alright, I’ll go along with that” and these earlier encounters convinced the presenter that he was using a superpower-argument, boy oh boy, this really is the Spear of Destiny, the magic spatula for the griddle. No understanding needed! So along you come to actually question how it all fits together…he’s unprepared to answer this, and that’s somehow all your fault.
I saw a fair amount of this in 2016. And I don’t think it’s me bringing it down on myself, pretty sure a lot of other people saw it too. With the elections over, we’re still seeing it…which is a bit odd. I’m suffering no delusions that 2017 will offer a reprieve from it. Maybe! But I doubt it.
My wife sent this to me, with a perceptible undertone of concern. A classic Christmas song got an update earlier this month and the story has gone, as they say, “viral”…
A couple of snowflakes came up with some new lyrics to “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.”
The ditzy types think this is oh so wonderful, so you can find mentions of these “new lyrics” all over the Internet. Over at Huffington Post, however, they made a dreadful mistake…of allowing comments…like these for example.
When sung properly (by a duo like Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Jordan), it’s clear that nobody’s doing anything to anybody against their will. It’s a young couple observing the niceties of what they obviously see as antiquated patriarchal norms.
She doesn’t want to go outside any more than he wants her to, but society is telling her she must.
This song ain’t about staying against her will. She wants to stay but in that time it was Taboo. So she’s making “excuses” to stay. Including the “what’s in this drink” line meaning liquor. Guys do your research first before judging[.]
It’s a song that is entirely about the inherent ambuguity of the human mating ritual and what people do with it, for better or worse. It should be learned from and contemplated, not “fixed”.
It’s also an old song that very few people hear anymore. Perhaps “fixers” like these should focus on the much larger and more culture-impacting array of objectifying, dehumanizing music that fills radio these days. There’s far more appalling to be found in the present day, and it would take more bravery to take it on.
It goes on and on like that. Seems people who are capable of participating in an actual dialog, overwhelmingly, are failing to see the necessity of the “new lyrics” exercise. This is something evident, overall, only to those with the luxury of throwing things to the Internet in monologue-form, without any ensuing discussion possible. Even the NPR article linked above was unexpectedly cool-headed and reserved about this new effort, devoting its final three paragraphs to explaining the other side:
When that song first came out in the 1940s, it was actually seen as empowering for women. Music historian Thomas Riis says the now-controversial lyric, “Say, what’s in this drink?” came across differently in its original context. “Nowadays we see that and we go, ‘Oh, my gosh, this is date rape! He’s putting something in the drink!’ ” he says. But Riis adds that at the time, the phrase was simply about having a drink.
In the 1940s, it could be seen as scandalous for an unmarried woman to be alone, drinking with a man — much less staying the night. So it’s not that the woman in the song doesn’t want to stay — it’s that she doesn’t want to be judged for it. Riis says the song shows a woman debating her options, wondering whether she should risk ruining her reputation by staying the night.
In the end, Riis says, the woman makes a strong statement by making the decision for herself. “In a sense, it’s, ‘I can do what I doggone please. I’m a modern woman,’ ” he says. So, as different as the old and new versions might seem, it might be that they were both about choice all along.
Well, if we’re going to be completely fair about it, we should acknowledge the new songwriters are 22 and 25 years old, and thus missed the point of this 1940’s classic about as much as they should’ve been expected to miss it. Which is all-the-way. But I see two more problems, each closely related to the other.
The first is a problem we see with political correctness often: It exists in a sheltered sphere, free of epistemology or any need of it. There was that incident in Washington, DC awhile ago about the aid who was fired for using the word “niggardly” in a meeting. I’m also reminded of the Fraggle Rock controversy in which a muppet character was thought to have used the word “Jigaboo” when the script says his line is “Gee Gobo, we’re sorry.” Which contains this priceless line from the offended Dad:
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.
The arrogance-on-steroids…just mind-blowing. It doesn’t matter what the character said, it matters what the person heard. This is exactly what they say in sexual harassment classes, right? The intent of the accused is entirely irrelevant, what matters is the perception of the person offended. You know. Right after they say “These new rules are put in place to foster a work environment that is non-threatening and comfortable for everyone.”
This is wrong. The right way to do it is the exact opposite: The perception of the offended Dad rewinding & playing the clip over & over again, is immaterial. What the character said, determines everything, because that’s what was said. Ye gods, it makes me embarrassed even having to type that in someplace where others can read it. So fucking obvious. Well…the young airheads rewriting the lyrics are making the same mistake. The thinking is that the original lyrics could be construed as rapey or something…well…who gives a rat’s ass? Anything & everything can be construed to be anything & everything. Doesn’t mean the person construing is in the right.
The other problem is that granting the early-twenties songwriter lyric-reformers the benefit of any & all doubt about the song as it was originally written — after listening to all of the lyrics, there’s no issue with “consent.” None at all. The chick says “I really should go,” the dude starts plying her with reasons she should stick around, and after listening to him and evaluating it logically, she decides to stay. She decides. See, feminism has been getting away with something here, with this idea that any & all influence a man might have on a woman’s decision, is undue influence. Again: Wrong. Women are people, and people are more intelligent, more wise, make better decisions, when it’s easy to tell them things. Just because he’s saying something and she’s listening, doesn’t mean he’s making the decision for her.
But that’s granting them the benefit of every doubt. Which is wrong, because they misunderstood what the original lyrics meant.
“Women don’t want to hear what you think,” goes the quote by Bill Cosby. “Women want to hear what they think — in a deeper voice.” I’ve found through some painful professional experiences that it isn’t just women who have this problem, and from this I’ve learned I have to be very careful about where I work. “It works, but it isn’t the solution I envisioned when I posed the problem” is a complaint I’ve found I tend to arouse more often than other engineers. Maybe that means I’m really bad at my job. Then again, I notice I arouse this when it really does work…and the problem is one that’s gone unsolved, after others already took a crack at it. That’s not to say I’m exceptionally clever compared to my colleagues, in fact there’s days where I have to wonder. Sometimes I’m right, sometimes I’m wrong; I’m wrong a lot more often than I’m right. Arguing with liberals on the Internet, I’ve noticed over the years, one thing shuts ’em up quicker than anything else: “I likely make ten or more mistakes every day, before you even think about getting out of bed.” They don’t know what to do with it. They belong to the world of winning-arguments, and if you want to win arguments you’re supposed to avoid ever having made a mistake about anything. You’re supposed to play the game of “I must be infinitely wise and know everything, for look how hard it is to tell me anything.”
The big takeaway, in my mind, is not that I’m gifted or make no mistakes or am exceptionally clever, or anything like that. It’s that the solution to a problem that actually works, very, very often, is something different from what was envisioned by the person who posed the problem. Okay, not very often in general; let’s say, very often among the problems that have already been given a good-faith effort, and remained standing with all previous attempted solutions having failed. This is less a matter of learned experience, than a matter of logic. If all solutions that follow a general structure, let’s call it a general structure of A, have failed, we’re looking then at three possibilities: 1) the problem is unsolvable; 2) we have failed in our effort to implement all possible solutions that follow A; 3) there is a solution that is !A. It only requires a casual contemplation to realize the first two possibilities are exceptionally unlikely.
So, yes. The solution that works is not the solution that was envisioned…by the person who only conceived of it, didn’t actually run any tests. That’s why it works, it’s the product of validation. That’s also why it’s different.
But, if you’re working in the wrong place, management doesn’t want to see your solution. They want to see their solution, put together by someone who actually writes code…that actually solves the problem. This can create issues during implementation. It’s not a rare circumstance by any means, in which you’ll make the unpleasant discovery that “it can’t work that way,” and if a solution is to be found that’s actually effective, the paradigm will have to shift. This often heralds a similar issue during presentation to management, which is not always pleased to see the conundrum emerge. A lot of the time, given the choice between a solution that breaks the desired form, vs. leaving the problem unsolved, they’d prefer the latter. It’s become clear to me I’d go much further in being a good fit anywhere & everywhere, if I knew better how to anticipate this. I know I have a handicap there. Just coming up with solutions to the problems? By comparison, that’s a piece of cake.
Well, we’re all like these “I’d rather it stay busted” managers. We have good reason to be. A “Wankel Engine” idea that can solve an unsolvable problem, by operating outside of an established framework, might very well create a hundred new ones. So when you do come up with a new idea, you have to anticipate the resistance. It’s wrong, I think, to ascribe this to narrow-mindedness among the people providing the resistance. You can’t say they’re doing something completely illogical, understandable as it may be; nor can you say they’re doing something logical that defies understanding. What they’re doing is both understandable and logical, even when it rises to the seemingly absurd level of “We’d rather see the problem remain unsolved.” The problem is with the path-forward. Yes, the new idea might be successfully reconciled with the established framework, so the framework can remain standing, retain its integrity, and the problem can be solved. But such an effort requires time and other resources. Maybe, just maybe, the available solutions that follow the orthodox structure haven’t been exhaustively implemented. Maybe it’s not yet time for the dramatically-different new approach…yet.
Maybe “at least it works” is a false observation. Maybe it’s the new idea that hasn’t been tested adequately.
This all fits in to looking ahead to 2017, which I believe is going to be just as perplexing as 2016 was. I have little doubt, because I’m old enough to have lived through it before. We have a new incoming administration that is “conservative” and it’s going to be rolling back, or at least making motions toward rolling back, some of what was done by the outgoing “liberal” administration. The nation at large, whether or not it’s playing the game of “we’d rather it stay broken,” has opted out of the hot new idea. I personally know how that stings, to the people who had the hot new idea, or were making the motions of having a hot new idea. The key point here is that the liberals, while acting out the true meaning of “liberal” ideologically, are acting out the true meaning of “conservative” within our political process. They’re doing everything they can to thwart the mindset of tomorrow, to disrupt the changing of the guard, so they can hang on to the entrenched, orthodox power structure with bloody fingernails. It falls to the conservatives who are faithful to the legacy definition of conservatism — “no-thank-yew to your hot new idea, it’s a bust, let’s go back to the way things were” — to act like liberals within the process, essentially saying “tomorrow belongs to us, yesterday is yours, it’s a done deal, get over it.”
Liberals are having a tough time with this because they’re not learning what all purveyors of hot new ideas need to learn: To have a hot new idea is to endure resistance. You can’t do the one, without going through the experience of the other. It is logical and it is understandable. It’s also unavoidable. It is, you might say, physics. If a vessel on land, sea or in the air moves at any speed, it will encounter a headwind.
This stuff we lately call “liberalism,” in recent years, has been unfortunately coupled with a diseased sort of thinking we might think of as “snowflake-ism.” We could define this at a very high level as non-acceptance of non-acceptance. “How dare you attack my hot new idea with critical, scrutinizing questions about whether it really works and can be practically implemented. Someone should protect me from you.”
If anyone is entitled to this special status, it isn’t liberalism, it’s conservatism. Established methods, established ideas, established frameworks, are established for a reason. There must have been a point, at one time, involved in getting them established. This is why businesses say to other businesses, “give me a quote,” as opposed to “go right ahead and tell me how much to pay after it’s too late to reconsider anything.” Maybe, just maybe, when all’s said & done and all the tests have been applied, we’ll go with the hot new idea and even modify the existing framework so it can be brought into the fold. But when there are other things already working, that’s a big maybe, and there are many tests. For the hot new idea to fail at least one of them, and get pitched out to the landfill, is not at all unexpected. Purveyors of the hot new idea should be anticipating it, and they’re wrong to act abused when called to answer scrutinizing questions, or to subject the idea to an election they might actually lose. The more things that are already working, the more unreasonable that is, and in America there are still a great many things working. It’s a big country.
Every hot new idea should expect to meet up with disagreement. Oh yes, absolutely, that includes this one.
Thank God the election is over. We’ve spent plenty enough time & energy on it. Nevertheless, it is useful to ponder the path forward…the whole reason for us obsessing about it in the first place, after all, is because it matters.
At about the 50-minute mark Newt starts talking about the IYI, the Intellectual Yet Idiot. He should’ve found a way to put this at the beginning.
I was looking it up in my archives, and I came across this: “There’s nothing more frightening than rule by the smart.”
And of course, what geniuses like Rogoff know more than anything is that their great genius gives them the ability to envision a far more perfect world than this imperfect thing we’ve been suffering with so far. Naturally the visions of these geniuses are all variations of the same thing, namely some kind of government program to more closely monitor and/or control the people.
Yes, it’s been playing like a one-note samba since…well, forever really. It probably started playing a whole lot louder with FDR’s “brain trust” but it sure hasn’t subsided much since then. Washington’s got these really smart guys in it, who are going to fix everything, we know this to be true because they have very, very, very impressive resumes…
…that don’t actually have anything on them. Not, that is, anything that has to do with getting actual work done.
Be that as it may, I’m anxious to look past the election, although it’s a cinch that we’ll be arguing back & forth about the 45th President pretty much constantly for the next 48 months at least. After the New Year, I’m bracing for a never-ending drumbeat of “ZOMG!! Did you hear about what he’s done NOW??” Well, if President Trump does something wrong, by all means call him out on it. Just state the case, first, is all I ask.
It’s not reasonable to demand a specific defense, if the attack is not specific. Right?
Quite right. And if the tail end of 2016 has found me exhausted from & unable to tolerate more of anything, it’s the non-specific, incoherent, incongruous, nonsensical, wink-wink-nudge-nudge “let’s see you defend this” attack.
It isn’t just the election. From my Hello Kitty of Blogging account:
People, I notice, have a pronounced tendency to form “logical” conclusions by dismissing any other logical conclusion about the same thing that says something different. The dismissal usually involves mockery, but it can also rely on sarcasm, a bunch of logical fallacies, name-calling, “You’re on the wrong side of history,” et al….
Point is, dismissal is not reasoning. It can be persuasive in an argument. And so, as they win arguments, people get suckered into thinking they’ve reasoned. Then they see they weren’t correct. Actually, the winning of the arguments is a good example of this. “This oughtta convince him/her/them for sure!!” And it doesn’t happen.
“It doesn’t happen” is something we’ve watched take place ALL…YEAR…LONG. I’m not just talking about the election, pretty much done with that now. We would do well to dwell on the lesson. Especially with Christmas, and a new year, coming at us like a freight train with the throttle stuck…
You don’t make a logical argument that “My grandkids will just love this homemade sweater” by sarcastically dismissing the idea that they would prefer socks. It kinda feels like you did, but you didn’t. That’s exactly what’s been happening all year. EVERYBODY knew the election would go one way, and then it went a different way. That’s the way it’s been going down with everything. Think about it. We’ve spent the last year or two, solid, watching established narratives get kneed in the gut…and then the nose, and then the groin, and then in the teeth, and then in the groin again. There’s a quote from Men In Black about this, something about “500 years ago people knew the Earth was flat, fifteen minutes ago you knew there were no aliens, whaddya gonna know tomorrow?”
Almost like a lesson from on high. From someone who must be wistfully wondering…what’s it gonna take??
Found the clip:
What’s happened to us lately? That’s the real question.
I think we’ve collectively developed a real phobia against the future. I say “collectively.” Some of us can look at the future and say what is true about it, “Some parts of this are easy to predict, others not so much. I don’t know what will happen. Every speculation on it is a gamble.” In other words…Let’s See. Let’s-See takes balls, though, and a lot of people are missing this. That is not to say they couldn’t develop the ability if only they made a priority out of it.
Things the way they are, though…they know SO much that is not so. Much of it is about what’s going to happen. Any day now. For absolute sure.
When it doesn’t happen, they can’t say “I was wrong” — can’t even say “I’m surprised.” Surprise seems to have passed out of fashion, but it seems to be more than just fashion. Like I said, above, a genuine phobia.
A good resolution for the general population in 2017 would be to get the hell over it. The future is the future, and the only way to find out what’s going to happen in it, is to wait awhile until it isn’t the future anymore. There is no substitute. That’s not to counsel against trying to speculate, trying to predict, maybe even trying to bet. Nothing wrong with any of these. But a man who is absolutely sure about something that is not a matter of absolute certainty, is not being honest with himself, and when you aren’t honest with yourself it’s impossible to be honest with anyone else.
There is no currency to this, it has six years of dust on it…but, Bill O’Reilly’s final appearance on The View is important…
At least, in the form of a 3-minute YouTube clip, it is informative. In the first third, it’s free-speech this, free-speech that…they have the right!! Eleventy!!
Liberals are huge fans of the dictum that defense of speech must be stalwart and it must be sustained, as an all-the-time thing. Defense of speech has nothing, NOTHING whatsoever, to do with approval of the speech content, supposedly. They may disagree with what you say, but they’ll defend to the death your right to say it, as the cliché goes. To the death! Big, powerful, tall words there…to the death. Yikes! Death smarts!
Okay, nobody dispensed the apocryphal Voltaire quote this time around. They just championed the sentiment. They have the right! Nothing else needs to be hashed out there, nothing else needs saying, because they have the right — case closed. But…defend free speech to the death? When it comes to something that really hasn’t got a chance of ever snagging their approval, the freedom to say it hasn’t got their approval either. They can barely make it past the two-minute mark.
This is one of the most dangerous parts of modern liberalism, and that’s really saying something. This cognitive dissonance. Defending a person’s right to say or do something has nothing whatsoever to do with approval of whatever it is…and then, suddenly, these things are inseparable, I can’t sit here and listen to you say that because that would be approval. The mixed message is dangerous.
To define how it’s dangerous it is first necessary to inspect how it’s dishonest, but fortunately that doesn’t take too long. Obviously if there is a connection between “I support your right to say it” and “I approve of what you’re saying,” but it is only to be put in line-of-sight of those interested some of the time, then the connection does exist all of the time whether it is seen or unseen. Just as a cup of wine is poisoned whether you saw the poison go in, or not, or a hole in a cattle fence remains there until it’s fixed, day & night.
What does honest disapproval look like? It looks like Joy and Whoopi storming off the stage at the end of the clip. And, we’re not seeing it in response to the Muslims wanting to build a victory temple right by Ground Zero in Manhattan. They don’t disapprove of that, and that’s the real issue. It isn’t a free speech issue.
This dishonesty makes it possible to reach a nimbleness and agility sliding around the Overton Window, that could not otherwise be reached. This stuff we today call “liberalism” distinguishes itself from all other political ideologies, through this desire to move the Overton Window, and achieve planned, conscious guidance in how & where the window is to be moved.
If the Overton Window is about what is accepted as mainstream thought, and the movement of that window is a change in what’s mainstream over time, then we could think of liberalism as a push to move the window and of conservatism as opposition to this. Perhaps we could tighten up the precision on that perception by saying: Liberalism is “Hey, why can’t this window be moved over here?” or “What might we do, to push this thing that’s not in the window, into it, or push this other thing that is currently in the window, out?” And conservatism would also involve some thought-provoking questions, such as: “What was the rationale for positioning the window where we find it today, and what might we be losing if we succeed in moving it someplace else?”
Usually, the answer to the conservative question is: Conscience.
There is a window of conscience that is loosely connected to this cultural mainstream-thinking Overton Window; and, it cannot move as quickly. So when liberals delight in their ability to surround us, their fellow countrymen, with their chatter and their ability to move the window around as if it’s a big chess piece on a board, they risk undocking it from the window of conscience. This is aptly demonstrated at the beginning of the clip, when O’Reilly talks about it being “inappropriate” to build this victory temple and obviously the concern is about the feelings of the family members of the victims of the 9/11 attack. This is a matter of conscience. It’s still just a matter of feelings, but still. Regard for the feelings of others is an important source of conscience. The lefty plank of the The View hostesses, will have none of it.
Oh okay. So what other matters of conscience will they not consider?
Once you undock the Overton Window from the window of conscience that lies underneath it, there can be difficulty involved in getting it docked again. For examples, look up any totalitarian regime from the twentieth century, in a country that was previously democratic, and there are many of those. Any nation that ran through Hayek’s Road to Serfdom is an adequate example. Pretty soon, you’re trampling on matters of conscience that are not limited to matters of feeling; pretty soon, you’re running roughshod over actual situations. This is where political dissidents get eliminated, where you have gulags and so forth, where relatives vanish in the middle of the night. Because after all, now we’ve moved the Overton Window, it’s important to do something to show the window’s been moved, and now this thing we want to do is within the mainstream thinking because of that recent movement.
As we see when Whoopi and Joy get up and leave the set — it can be a perilously short amount of time before truth is a casualty, before it is pushed out of the window. We’ll defend to the death your right to say it!!…unless what you’re saying is actually useful information, and verifiable as true, and then don’t count on us so much.
A great question we’ve been pondering lately; it’s one of those philosophical divisions nobody ever discusses, and yet acts as a primordial wedge that causes many other conflicts.
Are you in any position at all to help someone, when you yourself are dependent on somebody else?
I suggest that nobody anywhere is going to offer an answer anything like “mmmm yeah, maybe, I suppose so” — people who answer in the affirmative are going to go all the way, full-tilt. Many of them will offer the Elizabeth-Warren-like justification that independence is a myth, that we’re all dependent on somebody else whether we realize it or not. Some may go so far as to say we’re all better off when there are more functional handicaps being endured, reasoning that the weaknesses that force us to rely on each other will translate to a strength that comes from the greater community spirit.
And then there are the normal people. The ones who will take the time to actually translate this into a series of events that could play out in real life. You mean like…I lend this guy $100 to buy groceries so he can make it to payday, he turns around and gives $50 to someone else? Erm…no. Not okay. It’s not alright to go on welfare and then take in stray pets. You can’t put your family on food stamps, reasoning that it’s too hard to get work because your pickup truck is busted, and then when you get it running again loan it out to your brother-in-law.
In my opinion, the point to the question is not a yea or a nay. The question itself triggers a thought process. I think many who would take a moment or two to seriously entertain it, might come to a disturbing realization that they once had a vision to attain some level of material independence they haven’t managed to acquire, and somewhere along the line they let go of that vision. And at a simpler level, it could trigger another thought that maybe, as they contribute to this growing busy patchwork of dependent people helping other dependent people, whoever’s helping them should have something to say about it before they go taking in more stray cats.
Another thought about this increasingly complex busy patchwork of material need and pandering: Yes it does have its own system of protocol, but is it fair or accurate to refer to this as some sort of “community spirit”? I would venture to suggest no. The test I would apply would be toward the consensus sentiment toward the fellow at the top of the chain, the prime donor, whose alms help those who help all the others in turn, and is at the receiving end of no such system of transactions. Benefactor to all, beneficiary of none. How does this kaleidoscope of beggars view that individual, or that top layer? If this has anything to do with Christian behavior or community spirit, I would expect to see an attitude of gratitude, or something like it. And yet when I see this play out in real life it’s nothing of the sort. With these additional links inserted in the chain, there’s no personal relationship involved. The opting-in attribute has a tendency to become the first casualty; what would have been a voluntary action based on a rational conclusion reached, as in, “I see in you the drive and the willingness to get yourself out of this temporary hole,” becomes an obligation. This transforms the benefactor from an inspiring figure who is acting on his faith in the person on the receiving end, into a stranger who is merely performing the minimal function to meet the requirement he’s supposed to be meeting anyway. No thanks is given because none should be expected. And because these things are expected of him, that means similar expectations can be imposed on everybody else. Regardless of their situation, therefore regardless of their ability to meet it.
This is not civilization. This is the opposite. It is ducks circling a park bench, turning nasty and mean when the bread is all gone. It is sharks in a feeding frenzy. Zombies around a garden tool shed.
The lesson is: Get your own house in order — THEN help others. That’s my answer, anyway. Others will disagree, I’m sure. That’s a good thing. Let the discussions commence.
The liberals are truly going nuts, and it’s beautiful. They recently resurrected Nancy Pelosi for another glorious term winnowing away the House Democrat caucus. Pretty soon it’s just going to be her and some guy representing Berkeley who they recruited while he was shouting “Workers of the world unite!” at bored coeds on Telegraph Avenue. You know, if you want to reach out to the kind of hard-working, salt-of-the-earth, normal Americans who voted for the black guy then allegedly refused to vote for the woman because they are racist, you totally want an ancient, rich, snooty, San Francisco leftist and Botox after-picture like the Nanster.
Did you know that the president-elect has to get China’s permission to take calls from the heads of other countries? Me neither, but the liberals seem to think so. I’m really confused. We’re supposed to hate the Russians – apparently not because they invaded Ukraine or Syria but because their hacking revealed Democrat corruption – yet we’re supposed to do the organ grinder monkey dance for the commie tyrants in Beijing?
I’m hearing we should put aside party differences and concentrate on the future of the country. That seems to make good sense, but it presumes the two parties share a common vision about this country-future. I’m not sure about this.
Maybe that is what we need to be discussing. Now and then I hear liberals and democrats express concern about the skill level of the next generation of Americans, but that’s usually in terms of calling for more immigration because, heck, native-born Americans aren’t up to the challenge of demanding, technical work…better give up on ’em.
They snort at the idea that they want America’s economy to be made more & more anemic…okay, that’s understandable I guess, if that was my vision I wouldn’t want anybody catching on to it either. Would both sides agree, then, that democrats have an interest in social services being put in greater demand? See, most people don’t want that. Most people want their fellow citizens to be filthy stinking rich. Easier to get jobs that way.
The democrats don’t want that. So why make peace with them? Kick ’em when they’re down, they got it coming.
Yeah, the liberals are going nuts everywhere. In Hollywood, they are continuing their bizarre and inexplicable campaign to foist left-leaning fuglies upon American audiences. The sexy supernova that was Lena Dunham has somehow petered out, American men apparently possessing eyes and, equally importantly, ears. I’m required to be shallow since I live in LA, but there really is this thing called “inner beauty.” One can mock the utter cluelessness that possesses this dumpy strumpet to flaunt her figure as if she was Cindy Crawford, Jr., but what actually makes her ugly is the fact that she is just a horrible person – entitled, abusive, dishonest, narcissistic, snobbish and amazingly dumb.
Ah, not nice. But then again, Ms. Dunham is repeatedly putting herself in the public eye. And she’s being approached to do this…by, someone. This is a big part of the reason why liberals eventually lost. When they want to make themselves stronger, they put things in front of us to show why they should be put back in power, and the things they put in front of us consistently show they should not be. They cannot tell beauty apart from ugliness. It’s as if they think these two are interchangeable.
From here. There is an old joke within conservative circles that when democrats say “working families” it is 100% untrue, since they’re not really talking about people who are working, and they are not talking about actual families; they mean non-working non-families. Even the staunchest democrat would concede that this class-designation can certainly include persons and groups who don’t qualify in the strictest semantic sense.
Which would have to mean, when House Minority Leader Pelosi says the party is maintaining its “values” and that is what the values are, she’s describing nothing. She says people don’t want a new direction, which is to be expected of an old-guard dignitary, but you would also expect a stronger statement of what the old direction is.
Or would you?
Liberals are, and have been, as I’ve pointed out — undefiners. And, unproducers. Their appeal has been to the young, and they know it. If there’s little new learning over the previous four to eight years, and lots of new young voters making it to the polls, they win. If there is a lot of learning and fewer new voters, it goes more like 2016. This is common knowledge and not difficult to explain. Eventually, as one lives life, the intelligent voter is exposed to enough government inefficiency that putting more aspects of life under public-sector control loses its appeal, but this life-lesson takes a lot of time. Until the lesson sinks in, “I ran out of ice cream last night, we need a Federal Department of Ice Cream” seems to make sense.
Obviously, the democrat party is about promoting leftism. Leftism is destructive by nature, because it isn’t about improving or reforming the existence system so that it “serves the interests of everyone” as they say. It’s about tearing existing civilization apart, and starting over again. Yes, the Federal Department of Ice Cream is part of that, even if some of its supporters don’t consciously realize it. It’s about destroying the present system by overloading it. It’s called Cloward-Piven and there are those who say that if you’re not up on what this is, how it came to be & what it means, you shouldn’t be voting. They may be right.
Another thing we do as we get older is we learn to create new things that weren’t there before; and we learn that in order to do this, we have to manage details. You don’t need to manage details when you wreck things. Creation — and preservation – require attention to detail, and a commitment to delayed gratification. Because of that, the “I want it now” mentality is always going to gravitate toward destructive efforts, because it has nowhere else to go. Breaking things is fun. And you get to see results right away.
We therefore should not have been too surprised to see Whoopi Goldberg refusing to allow anyone to infer that flag-burners hate the country. There’s nothing too remarkable about such a statement, it is merely the cresting of a mountain of un-definition that has been building up for awhile. We have seen, for decades, liberals lecturing us about other liberals — “Just because he [blank] don’t go jumping to the conclusion that he thinks [blank].”
WHOOPI: The military is not the flag. The flag represents a lot of different things to different people.
WHOOPI: And so you have to keep that in mind because, in fact, that’s what the first amendment is about.
WHOOPI: The flag does not always represent all of its people. All of its people were not taken care of under our flag, so folks know that —
FARIS: I get it.
WHOOPI: People are angry. They sometimes get angry and they burn the flag. Sometimes they burn the neighborhood, you know.
Goldberg seems entirely unaware that if this were to be taken seriously by someone with real influence, it would entirely defeat the “free speech” argument. Here you are burning a flag, and I’m not allowed to infer you hate the USA because “sometimes [people] get angry” and that’s what they do. What, then, is being said? There’s no longer any coherent answer. Whoopi Goldberg says it’s just something people do when they’re mad, like pounding the table I suppose…well then, what are we to think of a law, or ordinance, against pounding tables? Would that be null & void because it would intrude unconstitutionally on the right to free speech? I think we can all agree it would not. People would be compelled to keep their arms by their sides, or gesture with them but don’t touch anything, and state their position coherently. Free speech would survive just fine at the end of the day.
These are connections you can make only when you begin to think like an adult, after you understand the virtues of defining things, managing details, stating ideas coherently, making decisions by way of reason & not by emotion, and recognizing the most probable effects to emerge from prior cause. Also, of delayed gratification preferred over the immediate. The Left, through the democrat party, maintains an opposition to all these things and not merely because they make it harder to elect democrats. Although they certainly do. Within the Obama era, they successfully kept any sustained discussions about these differences from emerging into the mainstream, kept them confined to kooky right-wing blogs, like this one…which nobody reads anyway. “Obama wants it, so just give it to Him or else we’ll call you a racist” would have been the bumper-sticker slogan of the era. Also, with all meaningful discussions truncated, it was about putting unproductive people in charge of the producers, telling them when to produce, how, and how much.
From PJ Media.
Nothing to add. Except one thing, the obvious thing…
…seems we have a lot of people walking around among us, expressing very emphatic opinions about what’s going on and/or what will happen, because being emphatic is about all they know how to do. Even people who have been in the public eye for years and decades. They want to argue, they want to be persuasive, they want to make their points persuasively, but they don’t know how. So they feign absolute, and beyond-absolute, certainty.
There’s got to be a way for me to make some big money off this. Until I figure that out, it’s back to the ol’ grind…
Headlines are hard. Adequate headlines are hard enough, but excellent headlines are beyond my skill level. I’ve written, literally, thousands of them and occasionally one finds the mark, but that’s purely an achievement of good fortune and not method or skill on my part.
Headlines have rules. They have to accurately reflect the subject of what appears below. They have to grab and hold the audience’s attention. And they MUST be brief…or…must they? Brevity, while desirable, is merely a method. The actual objectives are confined to those other two things. You can break established rules and still achieve established objectives…sometimes, even, achieving results superior to what was achieved by those who followed the established rules.
A point which is aptly demonstrated by this:
Yes, Climate Change Is Real — and Skepticism about Its Magnitude is Good Science
Although there is much more to it, our argument can be summed up thus:
• On average, the computer climate models on which alarmists like [Paul] Douglas and [Mitch] Hescox rely predict 2 to 3 times the warming actually observed over the relevant period.
• Over 95% of the models predict more warming than observed, implying that their errors are not random but driven by some kind of bias written into all the models, whether honest mistake or dishonest.
• None of the models predicted the absence of statistically significant increase in global average temperature from early 1997 to late 2015.
This headline caught and held my attention, which is merely the mark of a good headline. Apart from accurately reflecting the subject matter, better than something like “this headline sucks.” What is remarkable is that it did it by breaking all the rules, and spelling out the entire argument, or at least the point where the argument achieves practical complexity by way of its apparent paradox.
I’m biased toward this, of course, because this apparent paradox is something I’ve been pointing out for awhile. I don’t claim to know the tiniest details of climate science, but I can follow arguments, and it’s dishonest to frame the discussion the way the casual observer has become accustomed to seeing it framed. Which is something like: Is climate static, or is it changing? If it’s changing then it must be all our fault and we should tax the bejeezus out of ourselves and give extraordinary new regulatory power to strangers who sit on national and international commissions.
Much more accurate to say: Yes, the climate changes and yes, this change is an effect of…many, many things. Anything that comes in contact with the climate. That’s how physics works. Objects that come in contact with other objects have effects on those objects’ states. And, to what order of magnitude the climate is affected by human activity, is an open question — the whole question. What does the evidence say? Well…that’s where the charlatans start taking over the conversation.
As the article goes on to say,
Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman famously said that the “key to science” is comparing predictions based on your theory with experimental and real-world observations. If the theory disagrees with observation, it’s wrong. The contradiction between observations and model predictions invalidates the models, which means they provide no rational basis for any predictions of future temperature or any policies predicated on them.
As we see with so many other non-disciplines of pop science, you have only to recall the most rudimentary and undemanding criteria of scientific work, to notice that the “science” enthusiasts demanding attention most urgently and obtrusively are operating entirely outside of the method.
The theory we really need to validate, or falsify, is something like this: Yes human activity has an effect on the climate, and the magnitude of this effect is somewhere around the proportion of a hamster fart in a hurricane. Therefore, insofar as shaping public policies to willfully direct what the climate is going to do (to us) over the near future, this is functionally meaningless. Okay, go test that.
A lot of people would like to falsify it. Okay. Construct an experiment that would falsify it, and falsify away.
Libs better be careful with those witty invented-pejoratives…
Now that it’s over, and we’re all done thinking about cooking turkeys and we haven’t yet started on Christmas shopping…this might be an opportune time to define what the Obama Era was. We can get started on that by figuring out what it was not.
It was not a way to heal divisions, certainly not racial divisions. These are yawning chasms, bigger and deeper than they’ve ever been in my lifetime, and let’s face it: If the exercise were repeated a hundred more times, it would come out that way a hundred more times. It is not the Obama way to talk out differences of opinion with the opposition, it is the Obama way to alienate and marginalize the opposition. And that’s what happens when you do that.
It was not a way get the economy humming along, and get all the uninsured people covered. If it was that, in either achievement or in intent, then there would be a “recipe” of sorts validated by experience to have produced these desirable results. The value of such a recipe would be extremely high. Liberals, along with everybody else, would sing its praises, discuss at great length and in great detail how it all works. I’m not seeing any of that at all and you probably aren’t either.
My take on it is that it was about elitism. It was about the few dictating the tastes, selections, values and lifestyles of the many. It was about the premature truncation of reasonable discussions by way of expunging the other side from any discussion, from any circle of influence. Obama said so Himself, right?
Also, about choosing for this elitist influence, those among us who don’t produce anything. It was about the unproductive telling the producers how to do their producing. I do not mean, by “unproductive” — broke. Some of the people who got to wield more influence in the Obama era are, indeed, everlastingly broke. Others make a whole lot of money every day, and have been doing this for a long time. You can’t fault them for not having jobs; they have very impressive jobs. But I notice, when they’re called out to my attention, it is a static situation that these influential people are unproductive. None of the people enjoying this Obama-era heavier influence, would have been interviewed by Mike Rowe on Dirty Jobs.
This matters. Having an opinion is easy. Sticking around to watch that opinion brush up against reality, and objectively determine how that all went, that’s something else. You have to be willing to let go of the narrative that said you knew exactly what to do, if it turns out reality doesn’t smile upon that. And the Obama Era was all about sticking to narratives. That’s a luxury in life; one that is afforded, uniquely, to unproductive people whose bumptious opinions never have to come in contact with reality. Or, if they do, and a conflict ensues, since they’re unproductive people they can afford to demand that reality should yield. People who produce things can’t afford to demand such a thing. They have to be willing to see their preconceived notions defeated, while reality triumphs, if reality determines that’s what should happen.
What’s the one thing I’d like future generations to remember? That liberal democrats campaign for the exact opposite of this — “greater liberty,” and a “system that works for everyone.” The nation is now experienced, and hopefully wise. We know that when liberals get what they want, it turns out to be unproductive people deciding for everybody else, how to buy their health insurance…where their money should go if they don’t…what lunches their kids should be eating…and who else should be allowed to pop into their bathrooms while they’re using them. Remember this.
Obama, and His supporters, had eight years to show us their way. And that’s what it was. That’s what it will be, next time. Choose that, by all means, if that’s really what you want. Choose something else if it isn’t what you want. Don’t forget.
My brother found something funny and fitting.
And, some satire of the whole situation I found to be side-splittingly funny. I quite literally “LOL’d,” and the wife had to come running over to find out what was on the screen.
A lot of my buddies have similar situations in their families, and they’re always asking me for advice on how to put up with this left-wing propaganda. Well, I’ll give you a taste. He’s gonna be all like “you’re just giving ISIS what they want.” I’ll come back at him with something like: “You know, you raise an interesting point there, Brayden. I’ll tell you what, why don’t you invite one of your ISIS pals around the house and we’ll see how much he likes it when I slash his guts out with the turkey knife. You think that’s what he wants?…Am I othering you right now? Did I carpet bomb your safe space? Maybe, just maybe, what ISIS really wants is a world with fewer people like me, who’ve looked evil in the eye and given a few titty-twisters in our day, and more people like the skinny jean cycle jockeys you pal around with at Yale, with your ska music and your websites and ‘fantasy’ sports…”
Put another log on the fire. Pass the cranberries.
By way of Crowder.
I’m late to the party on this thing. I guess that’s the price to be paid for moving on to turkey and cranberries. But having to do it over again, I’d do it that way even more.
Naughty language warning.
“Pokemon Go To The Polls.” Uggghnn…
Just dang. Don’t know what I ate that night, but I dreamed this, vividly, eight years ago…must have made an impression on me because I actually blogged it.
And now, SNL is thinking about it too. Replicating the idea, the warped thinking behind it, some of the snide comments even. I am…just…mind, blown.
Be very careful when ostracizing people. The difference between a fortress and a prison is merely a matter of where you’d prefer to be, and that is something that changes over time…
Update: The earliest example in movie history of the “push a button and make [blank] disappear” thought exercise, to the best of my knowledge, was in How To Murder Your Wife:
The SNL bubble-skit inspires me to wonder, about putting such a “make conservatives disappear” button under the thumbs of liberals to see what they’d do. We should simultaneously wonder about conservatives pushing a make-liberals-disappear button. Although there wouldn’t be much wondering involved in the latter…what’s the downside? “Without liberals, who will raise my taxes, make it harder for me to grow my business, more expensive to open new outlets and hire more people?”
Liberals manufacture: Complaints. Social unrest. New regulations that don’t accomplish what they’re supposed to do, higher taxes just for the sake of higher taxes. New words that don’t make any sense, like “appropriation,” “triggered” and “mansplaining.” Conservatives create machines that actually work, and food. So yes, the liberals would love to be seen making a beeline for the button, especially by other liberals. But you have to wonder if they’d really push it.
If they were inclined to go without the fruits of the work of others, and figure out how to do it themselves…they wouldn’t be liberals, right?
Maybe they’d make a mock-button. Flood the social media with “selfies” of themselves pushing the mock-button. Hey! Why aren’t the conservatives disappearing? We’re all pushing the button!
Related somewhat to the previous.
My wish, that our cacophonous year of “Trump!! Clinton!! Trump!! Clinton!!” get wrapped up here-n-now, and we move on to turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes and later Santa Claus, is tempered by my recollection of prior years. Like many of those who understand what a good thing it was that Hillary lost, I’m bone-weary of watching the electorate fall for liberalism’s siren song again and again. It’s like having a buddy whose girlfriend repeatedly cheats on him, runs up his credit cards, wrecks his car, and watching him just keep taking her back over and over again. Hard to maintain a friendship under those circumstances. After awhile, one comes to realize the drama loop has shrunk down to the size of a Cheerio. Doesn’t matter whether or not this is understood to those still running laps within it.
You reach a point where you’re confronted by a choice: Take your friend’s life-drama seriously, or take your life seriously. Pick one.
It’s sad. Best case scenario is, you choose to take your life seriously, and remain friends with this cuckold who’s been diminished to some sort of a sad clown…you can do that. But the friendship isn’t what it was before. It remains, but has been skeletonized by the exigencies of maturity. Kids can be friends because kids are simple. Grown-ups are more complicated. Their friendships are more complicated, less pure, burdened by problems…particularly if some of the “grown-ups” involved in those friendships, never actually grew up at all. So, question: How does this work when one of these contaminated friendships, involves not a person, but a country? What does the patriot do when his country has spent years and years enduring abuse, and just keeps lapping it up and begging for more?
This is the problem that has confronted American conservatives. The situation is the same: People who take life seriously, need to keep the people who don’t take life seriously, at arm’s length. The origin of the problem is a bit different. It’s a matter of outnumbering. We’ve got these mental midgets that have outnumbered the grown-ups at election time…there are many ways to define them, the way I did it in the post linked above was by observing their need to work from hard, finalized scripts. They can’t tolerate decision-points in the script, can’t put up with any questions. Everything has to be known. It’s easy to pick them out when these “knowns” fail to materialize, as was the case with “Barack Obama is going to fix the economy and heal racial division” and “Hillary Clinton is going to win the election.” Through their failure to admit the script didn’t work and needs revising, the mental midgets not only stick out like glow-bugs, they actually look borderline insane.
Another way to pick them out is after they become fully-indoctrinated liberals, nourishing their own emotional investment in the left-wing agenda. They start to think in terms of outcome. The example we are currently experiencing, while I am nourishing my own emotional investment in dinner rolls, turkey, mashed potatoes and yams, is: If elections were determined by popular vote, Hillary would-a won. That is a child talking. We do not let children sign contracts, rent moving vans, enlist in the military, etc….we confine activities like this, to adults, because adults should be able to treat other adults with respect. “If X and Y and Z, THEN I can get, or coulda-got, my way.” To which real adults say something like: Yeah, and if a frog had wings he wouldn’t have to bump his ass on the ground all the time. So?
So I’m very sick of this. But I’m hoping like the dickens they keep doing it. See, liberals weren’t saying anything at all about the evils of the Electoral College, before the election. Back then, Hillary was going to flatten Donald Trump. It was a done-deal. It was in the script! Now that it’s over, they want to change the rules with their child’s game of “if such-and-such then I could get my way.” It looks petty, juvenile and borderline insane. I hope they keep doing it.
I don’t mind at all admitting it: My hope is that everyone is inconvenienced by this except me.
I’m tired of watching my buddy take his cheating girlfriend back, tired of watching him suffer more abuse. I’m already hip to the problem. Don’t need to learn more. I understand liberals are in a state of developmental arrest, can’t follow rules when the rules adjudicate against their agenda-driven interests. Like the retarded little cousin cheating at Monopoly, making up rules on the fly about when you can’t pass Go and collect $200…they just want to win. Well you know, that just means a person, for whatever reason, can’t be trusted. Stop playing Monopoly with that person. Stop living with, screwing, and lending your car to that cheating ogress. Stop electing liberals to run things.
You have established expert doctrine, majority opinion, and the law. The game that liberals have been running, as they seek to persuade others across the years, has not been particularly complicated or well-concealed. It is subtle only to those who think on it occasionally, observing it in snapshot fashion, failing to note patterns. Just tune in for a bit, keep watching, it becomes obvious: They shift from one to the other. The template they keep in place amounts to something like “this one particular thing out of the three should enjoy infinite influence and count for everything, the other two shouldn’t count for anything.” And then they use a lot of mockery against anyone with a different opinion, to buttress this…but which one of the three takes precedence, that part is not consistent. It is whichever one, under current circumstances, is most friendly to their agenda.
The example that has lately remained unmoved for an impressive amount of time, is “Barack Obama is your President. Get over it.” That’s the law…just like, it’s also the law that next year Donald Trump will be their President, and they should get over it. We can see right now they’re not going to stick that that course, that there’s a shift in the making, one that everyone else should’ve already anticipated. Liberals are making a huge thing out of the fact that Hillary won the popular vote, but it isn’t hard to see that if she lost that too, they’d be shifting to something else. If I’ve done a quality, exhaustive job listing the three, then I guess that would leave expert opinion. Experts would loftily intone to us that entrenched sexism is the reason Hillary lost…
Point is, you can argue anything this way, advocate for opinions both good & bad. It’s all about this thing over here, oh no wait that’s not working in my favor anymore, so now we have to go by that other thing over there. They’ve been doing it to us for a long time. In fact, if you list the six combinations of “[blank] is highly overrated, we should really be deciding this according to [blank]”…those six would capture everything we’ve been hearing from that side. Minus the mockery.
Lately, it’s obvious, and I’m happy that they’re looking like what they really are.
They are, quite plain and simply, cheaters. Straight up. They are golfers who should be kicked out of the club forever, card players who should be bum-rushed out of the casino. You can’t play an honest game with someone who’s constantly chirping up with “Let’s make a new rule that says…” just so they can win. Doesn’t matter what the game is. Without some adult behavior from all sides, it can’t proceed.
What liberals are, is the first guy who would’ve been shot playing poker back in the Wild West. They can’t play it straight. Ever. Because they know they’d lose.
Phil came up with an idea — somewhere — about what to do with this unexpected and bizarre election result, and the idea happens to find harmony with my own idea about leaving the election in the dust and thinking about turkey & cranberries. He said…get this…forget about it for now, but keep an eye on our new President, wait for him to do something wrong and then call him out on it. Meanwhile, if he isn’t doing anything wrong (yet), go back to worrying about the other stuff that really matters.
I know, just crazy talk. Right??
Crazy maybe, but not isolated. Actor Tom Hanks said pretty much the same thing a few days back…
“We are going to be all right. America has been in worse places than we are at right now,” Hanks said. “In my own lifetime our streets were in chaos, our generations were fighting each other tooth and nail, and every dinner table ended up being as close to a fist fight as human families will allow.
“We have been in a place where we have looked at our leaders and wondered what the hell they were thinking of. We’ve had moments with the administrations and politicians and senators and governors in which we have we’ve asked ourselves ‘Are they lying to us or do they really believe in this?’ That’s all right.
“We will take everything that has been handed to us as Americans and we will turn our nation and we will turn the future and we will turn all the work that we have in before us into some grand thing of beauty,” Hanks said, to a standing ovation.
Alright, that’s not quite exactly the same thing. Phil calls on us to do something that takes some maturity, more maturity than is required for simply clinging to optimism. He calls on us to make a plan with some forks-in-the-road, some decision points. A plan with the word “if” in it. Scary stuff!
I found my thoughts gravitating back to this while shutting out politics & elections for a bit — yes, I do that. I was making an effort to read about tech, and in an effort to maintain some professional humility…yes I do that too, or at least I occasionally make the effort…I was perusing this.
What skills do self-taught programmers commonly lack?
Or, to put it another way: what should a self-taught programmer study to get up to speed with his/her formally-educated peers?
I think I’ve got a pretty good bead on the typical Quora respondent. In sum, these are young college-grads who feel like they’re in a class by themselves because they use the metric system. By which I mean, they want to become elitist snobs but they’re not entirely sure how yet, because they’re still prioritizing process over outcome. I can tell this by the questions as well as the answers. I see these questions scroll up like “how many monitors would a good programmer be using?” and, applying perhaps a bit more old-fashioned common sense than would be expected by the person posing the question, I come up with my own counter-question: How come you haven’t already figured it out for yourself? Try one, try two, try three, see what works…
It gets back to the plan that is scary because of what it leaves unplanned. How come everything’s got to be scripted? I can’t relate to this.
Anyway, much more on that later. Someone made a great point to help keep self-taughts like me in check:
It is not skills per se that self-educated programmers lack, but a sense of perspective for the field as a whole. Computer science is large; one lifetime is too short to learn all of it. Autodidacts rarely see this humbling reality as plainly as CS majors. Most CS majors have been crushed by an introductory course in some topic that seemed approachable at the beginning: theory, AI, graphics, operating systems, compilers, databases, etc. The self-taught more frequently live in an unpopped bubble of big-fish-in-a-small-pond self-esteem. Even those rare autodidacts who fully see that CS is bigger than them are at a disadvantage when reaching past the borders of their expertise.
When confronted with a new (to me) problem, the most valuable information I can gather is: Has this problem already been solved? If so, by whom, and how? If not, why? Is it uninteresting? Or so monumentally hard that its solution is a life’s calling? The ability to answer these questions is a primary product of a CS education… [bold emphasis in original]
To which, someone else added…
Self-taught programmers commonly lack humility.
In his years of writing, Mark Twain often crossed paths with self-taught writers. He was disgusted with their lack of humility, and concluded:
“The self-taught man seldom knows anything accurately, and he does not know a tenth as much as he could have known if he had worked under teachers; and, besides, he brags, and is the means of fooling other thoughtless people into going and doing as he himself had done.”
A third one condenses it to coffee-mug-slogan size:
There’s no shame in being proud of the fact that you taught yourself, but you should be aware of the limitations of your teacher.
Well…there is a problem here. (And to be fair, the second respondent goes onto address this somewhat.) There is a crude correlation being imposed that attempts to fasten “having a teacher” to embiggened concept-command. This is not entirely invalid. I’ve often made the observation that programmers are “frosting spreaders” for the most part, possessing only surface-level understanding of some of these concepts, but demonstrating at least some familiarity with a vast array of subjects outside my own periphery; and then there are the “icepick stabbers” like myself. We simply don’t believe in the surface-level understanding. We don’t have confidence in it. We figure we “know” about a subject after we have built something that actually works, which can be very time-intensive. And I know it works this way because I’ve seen the eclectic mix of advantages & disadvantages one would expect to see, given the premise. People who can do things I can’t do, tend to be broad where I’m not. When I can do things they can’t do, I’m deep where they aren’t. It’s two different learning styles, and perhaps it comes from this self-taught-versus-teacher business.
Anyway: The correlation is far from perfect. It isn’t entirely flawed, either. To be dragged across the surface of all the computer science concepts by another, like the head of a mop at the end of a handle, can certainly provide a lot of value. But as an “icepick,” I must point out icepicks can provide value too; I’ve seen it. Particularly when it comes time to diagnose why something isn’t working. Then again, my learning process has not been quick. I’ve been at this awhile. Obviously, we’re looking at two different styles of learning. One says “Follow these instructions, and after awhile we’ll circle back and you can learn why things work the way thy work, and why your instructions had you do that.” The other is more old-school, frontier-style. It says “You can’t pass this point, ever, until you get this working.” Both have value.
There are two sides to the coin. “You taught yourself, so be aware of the limitations of your teacher” is clever, and there is truth in this. You know what else is clever and has some truth to it? “Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach.” Which one is the final word? Neither.
My point is that it is a mistake to toss one over the side and decree that entire generations should be taught the other way. That is a recipe for a glut of instruction-followers and frosting-spreaders.
It leads to an imbalance. An imbalance I unwittingly described awhile back:
Given the choice between a sound knowledge base of verifiable & verified factual information, and the ability to think logically, I would choose the latter.
I expounded on it thusly…
If I have a good understanding of how to figure out what a fact means, but my head is crammed chock full of silly “factoids” that aren’t really true even though they may be repeated by others verbatim, I should be able to ultimately determine some of these conflict irreconcilably with others. From there, I should be able to figure out which ones are suspect and, eventually, which ones should be questioned, and then reconsidered.
If I have a good solid repository of verified fact, but I don’t know how to figure out what these facts are really telling me, I might as well have nothing.
I note, with interest, that a great many of the people who disagree with this adhere to the Quora mindset — they “fucking love science,” as Severian likes to put it. Irony is, the scientific method is pretty much exactly what I’m describing here: Believe in the metaphysical reality, refine your theories and your experiments in a responsible and diligent way, you should approach this reality as time passes. Yes, as a self-taught programmer you will now & then be caught solving problems that have been solved already. I’m guilty of this. But there, we get into the field of economics; who wants to pay a self-taught programmer to use the scientific method on a problem that’s been solved already? Nobody. But, we all participate in economics whether we realize it or not. This is how the self-taught deals with that problem. It’s by self-teaching some more, and some more. No one wants to pay the programmer to solve a problem that’s already been solved, sure, but nobody wants to be the programmer who’s getting told no one wants to pay him anymore. Like anything else economic in nature, the problem self-corrects over time. Just like a flawed theory subjected to scientific practice.
But that brings us right back to the original subject: Plans that are scary, because they aren’t fully solidified, necessarily containing decision-points. My fear, with this Quora-mindset of “self taught isn’t taught at all,” seemingly determined to flood the civilized world with “programmers” numbering in the millions who follow good scripts but haven’t been taught to diagnose an unexpected result, is this: We are pandering to a generational handicap. Johnny Can’t Reason. The deficiency is in making, and following, plans with those scary question marks in ’em. Grappling with the fork in the road. The “if.” By catering to the handicap, I believe we may be asking for a lot more of it; that’s the way enabling works. Hopefully I’m wrong about this. If I’m right, the implications are dire, because the ability to form an opinion from a fact is a rudimentary ability. Much in the realm of what we call “thought” is closed off to you, if you can’t do that much. But everything I see lately suggests, and strongly so, that I’m right as rain. It’s a problem of atrophy. The kids must have scripts to follow, and if the scripts turn out to be wrong, they don’t know what to do. Also, if you bring it to their attention that there is uncertainty about future events going the way they expect, they see no point to pondering it. Why consider this? It isn’t what the script says. Again, it’s a problem of atrophy.
WHICH BRINGS ME….back to this Trump business. Seems Ann Coulter is noticing what I’ve been noticing. The kids can’t grok to an unexpected result, in computer programming or in anything else.
Until the nationwide protests of the last few days, I had no idea how bad the problem was, but our nation is drowning in drama queenery.
The immediate reaction of most celebrities to Trump’s victory was: “THE WORLD IS WAITING FOR MY TAKE ON THE ELECTION!”
Aaron Sorkin and David Remnick, in matching pink housecoats and fuzzy slippers, wrote hysterical jeremiads about the cataclysm of Trump’s election.
Sorkin was especially irked that Trump was supported by white men who don’t appreciate rap music. As proof that the end was near, he triumphantly reported: “The Dow futures dropped 700 points overnight.” After a brief drop, the Dow surged to historic highs, recording its biggest weekly gain in five years.
But I can’t wait to read the letters these guys wrote to their children about Bill Clinton! Don’t leave us hanging guys — post those, too, please.
You tell ’em, Annie! Yes there are people who despise Ms. Coulter, but she speaks for me in spades here. I am most definitely not waiting for your take on the election…or Ann Coulter’s…or even my own. Piss on all that, I’m waiting on sweet potatoes, turkey, duck and bacon.
But still the snowflakes wallow, as loudly as they can. It’s annoying, even to #NeverTrump ers…well, some of them anyway.
You’re upset about Trump winning? Well, guess what? Conservatives were upset about Obama winning twice. Welcome to the party, pal.
Oh, but liberals are special snowflakes whose feelings are more important than those of regular people. They need safe spaces, blankies and pacifiers to cope with trauma and they’re getting them at colleges across America. Therapy dogs were offered to traumatized students at the University of Kansas. Virginia Tech’s HokiePRIDE group posted national suicide hotline numbers. Liberal students are demanding “separate but equal” facilities for black students at the University of Michigan….yes, seriously. So, we have liberals DEMANDING SEGREGATION, but they’re still calling everyone else racist.
It’s odd that all this fuss was made over “Donald Trump will refuse to accept the results when, er I mean if, he loses…” and now it’s gone the other way, the shoe’s on the other foot.
A Washington Post–ABC News poll found that 18% of voters — 33% of Clinton supporters and 1% of Trump supporters — think Trump was not the legitimate winner of the election. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., has called on Congress to investigate the Russian cyberattack on the Democratic National Committee and the election.
Makes total sense. All of that chatter — all those scripts — relentlessly telling us and re-telling us that Hillary was going to smash Donald Trump like a cockroach. It couldn’t have been wrong, it shouldn’t have been wrong. How could it be wrong??
Well there’s an easy answer for that…she was an awful candidate who ran a terrible campaign.
Now the Clinton supporters have to learn to deal with it. All these demands for audits, violent riots, “peaceful” protests that turn out on closer inspection to be violent riots, grief counseling, safe spaces, safety pins, lying about hate crimes…they all amount to one big failure to do exactly that. I just don’t understand perfessor, I ran the tutorial and the computer isn’t doing what it’s supposed to do. The kids are lost.
Kurt Schlichter hit the nail on the head with this…
The Democrats Won’t Autopsy Their Own Corpse
The Democrats already know the cause of their utter electoral humiliation: all those flyover people who had voted for Obama last time were actually racists who demonstrated their racism by not voting for the tired old white lady too.
Far be it for me to help out you terrible Democrat clowns by suggesting that your terrible party has a terrible problem and you might want to figure out how to fix it. Sure, Hillary did get a lot of votes. Maybe even a majority of votes. And, considering we are not a democracy but a constitutional republic, of equal relevance is the fact that I own a hat.
You lost. And it’s because you suck.
Now, you and rest of the unshaven she-beasts and spindly femboys could take this opportunity for reflection and introspection following the election instead of retreating to your campus safe spaces for vegan cookies and awkward hugs. You could try to figure out where you went wrong losing so many voters who you used to have sewn up. The idea is to figure out how you might be able to prevent similar results in the future. Some call it a “post-event analysis.” In the Army – for the goatee n’ scarf gang, that’s the one that fights on the ground – we call it an “after action review.” Coroners call it an “autopsy.”
And you’ll never, ever do it. Why? Because you are liberals and you already have your answers.
Everyone is racist.
Everyone is sexist.
Everyone is stupid.
Everyone but you, that is…
The kids have been going to school; the “higher” education, they’ve been told. And, they have been made to feel like they’ve been learning things. As I pointed out above, learning isn’t really effective if it’s just popping open the cranium and pouring in some “facts,” even if the facts are good, verified, correct facts. This just doesn’t work, at least, not as a go-to method, a monopoly. As we’ve just learned, a lot of the time in life the scripts are wrong. That’s why professors of higher ed have gotten in the habit of repeating the mantra “We don’t teach them what to think, we’re here to teach them how to think.” What a pity that so few of them actually meant it.
For a textbook example of the problem, look no further than America’s First Holy Lame Duck Himself…
Speaking in Greece on his valedictory trip to Europe as president, Barack Obama struck a familiar theme: “(W)e are going to have to guard against a rise in a crude form of nationalism, or ethnic identity, or tribalism that is built around an ‘us’ and a ‘them’ …
“(T)he future of humanity and the future of the world is going to be defined by what we have in common, as opposed to those things that separate us and ultimately lead us into conflict.”
That the world’s great celebrant of “diversity” envisions an even more multicultural, multiethnic, multiracial America and Europe is not news. This dream has animated his presidency.
But in this day of Brexit and president-elect Donald Trump new questions arise. Is Obama’s vision a utopian myth? Have leaders like him and Angela Merkel lost touch with reality? Are not they the ones who belong to yesterday, not tomorrow?
He does this with a variety of different issues. Nationalism, health care, how the election was going to turn out, the economy…
President Obama, in Greece, said world leaders should learn from the U.S. presidential election and pay attention to the public’s fears and frustration about the economy. Why? He never has.
How can a man living in such a fantasy world presume to tell other people how to perceive others and react to problems as if he’s been an innocent bystander witnessing these horrors for years?
Scratch that. He doesn’t think we’ve experienced horrors. He thinks the U.S. economy has been wonderful under his watch. Listening to him characterize his eight-year record is to witness willful blindness on a scale my willing suspension of disbelief is incapable of processing.
The American economy, said Obama, was contracting faster than it did during the Great Depression. “We had to fight back from the worst recession since the Great Depression. … But we were able to intervene, apply lessons learned and stabilize and then begin growth again.” He tastelessly bragged, in front of his Greek audience, that his economy recovered better and faster than most of Europe’s. Then he began critiquing Greece’s economy, as if he is a wizard of economics.
No American politician — and certainly no president — in my lifetime has caused such destruction and suffered so little personal accountability for it. It was ridiculous when he still blamed George W. Bush for his own lackluster economy and unconscionable deficits in the latter half of his first term. It was amazing that he kept making this argument with a straight face through the 2012 presidential election.
But why not? It worked. When you’ve got a liberal media covering your tracks and slanting everything in your favor, you can apparently fool millions.
But when that’s your advantage, there’s a real danger you start to believe in your own bullshit. This is what’s particularly cruel about the Affordable Care Act, President Obama’s “signature legislation” achievement. The results could be metaphorically captured in an assembly of three people: One has medical coverage whereas before, he didn’t; the other has coverage at two or three times the cost of what he had before, because the ACA required his old company to cancel the policy; the third one has no coverage at all and must now pay a huge fine. President Obama’s supporters, working from their “perfessor told me to do this” scripts, believing in narrative but not in fact, cruelly counsel all within earshot to ignore the last two guys. Only the first one actually exists, because he’s the only one who helps the narrative.
This is, in my mind, the most unkind thing Obamamania has done for us across all eight years. If the “change” helped you, that’s wonderful, but if it hurt you then please kindly vanish. Because you don’t help our narrative, and you don’t exist in our world anyway.
What happened earlier this month was that the incurious dimbulbs, ultimately, just hurt themselves. It’s their phobia against plans that contain question marks, their phobia against the decision points, the forks-in-the-road. This idea that the plan can never contain the word “if” — everything has to be scripted. Hillary’s going to say this, she’s going to provoke Trump into saying that, these people will vote this way, those people will vote that way, and then she’ll squash him like a bug. And THEN…oh. Well, how’d that work?
Now they’re all in a tizzy.
They won’t take responsibility for their own actions, even.
It’s easy for the holidays to lose their luster when you can’t even finish your sweet potato casserole without wanting to chuck your plate at your uncle.
The poor dears! They’re being provoked into throwing plates of food across the room.
Well, I hope I’ve seen the last of it. I’ve put up with my share of the goading, pre-election…one occasion comes to mind from the fifth…
P.S. Long time no hear. You just figured out Trump’s not likely to win?
Eww. Well, there’s a thought that has aged about as gracefully as Dorian Gray.
We were just talking about humility, scientific method, being ready for forks in the road, for the lessons that emerge when real life arises to confront cherished narratives. That one, for the author of the jab, must have been particularly jarring. No? You’d think. But you’d think wrong…
For here he is, just this past Wednesday, every bit as certain of events taking place next year, as he’d be if they occurred in the past. That’s a modern American liberal for you, seldom correct but never in doubt. Well, now with this latest rimshot he could very well be right! This time. This very first time. To this, I say exactly the same thing I said to all the wrong stuff that came before:
And there, with those two words, is our cultural divide. This is the problem. Ann Coulter laments that “our nation is drowning in drama queenery.” The real problem is bigger than that, I say. The real problem is this phobia against plans that are real, grown-up, adult plans, containing decision points. Plans that are not plans for children, plans that are not scripts. Too many people “know” way too much, because they MUST know everything — it all has to be scripted for them.
“Let’s see” is powerful. It gives you the tools to think like an adult. But it takes balls. We, as a country, have been losing this. But — and I say this as something of a Trump detractor as well, my first choice was somebody else — the events from earlier this month go a long way toward our maybe, maybe, getting it back again.
And on that note, I circle back around to the very beginning. I think we would all do very well to follow Phil’s advice, wait and see what happens, and respond appropriately. Leave the fortune-telling to the gypsy girls…oh sorry, was that racist of me? Did I wrongfully appropriate a culture just now? Whatever. Pass the gravy. We’re done here.
Well, the election is over and I’m ready to think about turkey. There are some people who disagree with me about this, wanting to hash out the election some more, march in “peaceful protests” about it, shouting slogans like “Love Trumps Hate” and so on. Which somehow involves a lot of necessary fighting and vandalism. I have no way of knowing how many people are in that camp, especially as a proportion to everyone else; I only know that they’re very loud. But even if we can somehow afford the luxury of leaving the election in the dust for the time being, the thorny issue arises to confront us: Dealing with other people. There seems to be a quickening in the air. I noticed it before others had mentioned it in my presence. I think it’s the upcoming holidays.
High drama people and low drama people, all mixed up together, having to share oxygen. And, in a week, a dining room table. A week! Wow. What happened. Some people have it bad. We’ve already made one “contingency plan” invitation, something we never do, to someone at work who really needed it. The idea of things going sour somewhere, and as a result some couple has to spend Thanksgiving dinner at a Chinese restaurant…awful. Couldn’t let that go.
I’m thinking of what I’ve learned over fifty years about how people get along with each other…especially what I learned lately, as I watched half of a nation wax lyrically of the evils of “not accepting the result of an election” — and then, after the election went the way they didn’t think it would go, proceed to demonstrate for the other half, without a trace of irony, exactly what that looks like…along with some other recent lessons I’ve had that I’ll leave unmentioned here. And I’m reminded of something I wrote years ago about how different types of people get along, not with other people, but with things.
3. Because Architects see all things as an assembly of other things, when a complex device is not working properly they want to break it down, find out which component is faulty, and fix or replace it. Then they want to put it all back together again and watch it begin a second functional life.
Medicators evaluate complex mechanisms in bulk. If the entire assembly does not work as it should, they infer that each piece of it must be contaminated by whatever flaw is inside, and their tendency is to counsel toward replacing all of it. If this does not happen, they get frustrated.
With all these issues in circulation in the lead-up to the election, I have often been compelled to make reference to Chesterton’s Fence. What we’re seeing here, is a little bit like that.
In the matter of reforming things, as distinct from deforming them, there is one plain and simple principle; a principle which will probably be called a paradox. There exists in such a case a certain institution or law; let us say, for the sake of simplicity, a fence or gate erected across a road. The more modern type of reformer goes gaily up to it and says, “I don’t see the use of this; let us clear it away.” To which the more intelligent type of reformer will do well to answer: “If you don’t see the use of it, I certainly won’t let you clear it away. Go away and think. Then, when you can come back and tell me that you do see the use of it, I may allow you to destroy it.”
With the Obama era coming to an end, we can look back and see the great part of the damage America’s First Holy Emperor has done to His country, has been not legislative but cultural. He has managed to normalize this practice of going gaily up to fences and pushing reformation plans involving their removal — motivated by admitted ignorance of how & why the fences were built in the first place. It wasn’t racism or sexism that persuaded people to vote this to an end, it was simple fatigue. It was recognition of what is destructive.
But…you can’t vote immaturity out of existence. If I may borrow from Chesterton’s entertaining and insightful thinking model, human relationships can be likened, for sake of simplicity, to the estate of a recently deceased eccentric. Let us say the little old man had made a practice for decades of getting his hands on lamps and extension cords, taking them home, tying them in knots — no two knots in the entire bunch, it seems, are the same — and, going out to acquire more lamps and extension cords. Why did he do this? Who knows. All that’s known is that there is now a little old house packed basement to brim with lamps and extension cords tied up in knots. Worth, perhaps, some great amount of money. But what a raging pain in the ass.
Now as his heirs think about the problem, it is quite predictable we’re going to see the emergence of these two personalities. Some will invest the time in untying the knots. Some will wish they had the time, finding the project captivating. A few will even marvel at the discovery of some knots they didn’t know existed. A lot of us fancy ourselves the practical type, and we might think of ourselves as making the most intelligent decision about each item on a case by case basis. Older, cheaper items with bare wire exposed, are obvious throw-away items; the newer, expensive, construction-grade exterior cords tied in simple overhand and square knots, are keepers. But a great many, perhaps more than half of those assembled, will take the “aw, fuck it” approach to the entire house. It won’t matter to them that they may be throwing away a good chunk of money, perhaps the better half of a million dollars. What fascinates me about the whole thing is, if you were to follow around the aw-fuck-it people minute to minute in their everyday lives, you’ll see they do that with everything. Something — someone — gives them some trouble, they say aw, fuck it. They’ll do something destructive, pursue some other endeavor, get into a jam, and repeat the exercise.
That’s what these Trump protests are. Hillary, as their champion, said it herself: “Half,” which is the one word out of the statement she regretted saying, so maybe less than half, or maybe she meant more — of her opponent’s supporters are in a “basket of deplorables.” That’s merely the “bulldoze the house full of knotted lamps” mindset, on steroids. If people don’t agree with you about everything, deplore them, which means don’t try to get along with them, alienate them.
It’s a lazy mindset. It’s why she lost. She made the mistake of looking like what she really is. We have these very destructive “peaceful protests” right now, because the Hillary supporters would like to practice their aw-fuck-it modus operandi on the rest of us, but they can’t. They don’t have the votes.
A few of them will go through the motions of being thankful for what they have, while following Hillary’s lead and deploring everybody who doesn’t say aw-fuck-it at every houseful of knotted lamp-cords that comes along. Some of them will practice this holiday paradox in front of children. I find that exquisitely sad.
Dashboard is showing 8,172 posts, that’s like what…680 a year or something? That would come to 55, 56 a month. Seems wrong. Or at least, misleading…these days it’s more like single-digits a month.
The presidential election this year is partially responsible for that, it’s been a particularly stupid one. “Trump didn’t actually say that” “The media are lying to you and so is Hillary”…how many times can you write that. Also, the career has been taking off and there are homeowner responsibilities that didn’t exist for us 2 or 3 years ago.
The 26,436 number by “comments” is a more impressive figure. I wonder what that is. “Doesn’t seem like something George Washington would have said” or some such? Perhaps there is a Pareto Principle with the comments…in fact, I’m sure of it. Eighty percent of the total intelligence & insight wrapped up in twenty percent of the comments.
Well, the clarity we manage to harvest from the crop of arguing, I guess it’s always like that isn’t it. It’s messy, but it’s necessary. People tend to accomplish the least when they spend lots of effort avoiding conflict, I notice. This leads to keeping secrets, which leads to idleness…failure to achieve the mission…and, ironically, failure to avoid conflict.
Looking very much forward to the arguing that will be happening next year. Trump Republicanism in the White House, Republican-Republicanism in both houses of Congress. That would actually be a bad thing if those were all the same. But, they’re not. The resulting conflict is likely to reveal some things that should have been revealed, or at least elevated to discussion, a long time ago. It’ll be interesting to see.