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...
Wikipedia’s definition is decent and gets us part of the way there: “…clear, rational thinking involving critique.”
The “Critical Thinking Community” has a number of definitions, as one would expect. And I know maybe I’m not in much position to talk, but the clarity-to-word-count ratio runs a bit on the low side:
…the intellectually disciplined process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and/or evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication, as a guide to belief and action. In its exemplary form, it is based on universal intellectual values that transcend subject matter divisions: clarity, accuracy, precision, consistency, relevance, sound evidence, good reasons, depth, breadth, and fairness.
That makes people feel good when they belong in a Critical Thinking Community, I’m sure, but I’m inclined to believe that’s the primary point of coming up with this definition, which would tend to indicate it’s not helping us as we seek to DEFINE the term. It’s full of glurge which doesn’t define. It does not transform the subjective to the objective, which is one of the things definition is supposed to do. We would have to hunt down the author of it, with each specimen that may or may not be critical thinking, and ask him “Is this what you had in mind?” That means the job of defining remains undone.
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? This meets the Wiki definition; it involves critique.
I would say it is making, or at least pursuing, a conclusive opinion based on the miscellany of available information left after one removes 1) observed evidence, 2) statements of fact & opinion from others and 3) personal biases. Within that residue, critical thinking consists of detecting apparent contradictions, and working to resolve them.
Saw in a comment under a blog post, of which I became aware over a year ago, a great generalized observation of critical thinking, and some of the problems we see with it…although this doesn’t actually use the term.
The fact that increasing sophistication of analysis often causes one to flip back and forth tells us that (1) we should be suspicious when our complicated tools allow us to return to what we wanted to believe anyways and (2) we should decrease our confidence in this process…since even at the highest levels of sophistication available we might expect yet higher levels to change our opinion.
Good advice, for a lot of people I’ve encountered who are a bit too sure of their opinions. You know the type: So much pre-canned data, and statistics, and ALL of it, every jot & tittle, enforces their own preconceived notions. Every speck, every smidgen. Now, this doesn’t apply just to liberals, they don’t have a monopoly on this problem, although doubtlessly they do have a lock on a sizable majority of the suffering from it.
To a liberal, critical thinking is nothing more than maintaining the feeling that that’s what one is doing.
Salt Test (n.)
A simple, logical test to be applied to any declared thing-to-be-done, involving the behavior of the advocates for its implementation: If they get everything they want, will it make them happy?
Tellingly, most efforts to diminish the size and scope of control of government, pass the test. “Just get the government out of [x] and let people decide for themselves.” The irony is that while this leaves the final outcome wide open, it is an advocacy for a testable state: If government does not exert control, it does not exert control. Seems like the very few times such a policy change is put into effect, the proponents of it go away “happy,” or at least, don’t come back pushing for something else. They wanted the government out of it, and the government is out of it, come what may.
Conversely, efforts to embiggen government very often fail the test. They fail the test so often, nobody even bothers to question it or think about it anymore. “Raise the minimum wage to [something] an hour!” “Recognize gay marriage!” “Pass ObamaCare!” “Close the gun show loophole!” “End bathroom discrimination!” “Equal pay for equal work[th]!” And the all time champion, “Make the rich pay their fair share!” A lot of these sound like demands for an objectively testable state, and some of them are. “Raise the minimum wage to” is typically proposed with some kind of a number. But, when & if these proponents are given what they want, they don’t go away happy.
Just like Veruca Salt from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, they derogate the all-important process of demand, as well as the fulfillment of the demand, to mere steps in some sort of endless dance. Just angular distinctions on a merry-go-round that doesn’t ever stop. Embarrassingly, we all have to acknowledge at some point that not only is this true, but we’re all aware of it even when we’re in the middle of giving them what they want…to make them shut up…which doesn’t work, and when it doesn’t work we’re not as surprised as we should be.
Rather like a hostage situation, in one of those weird old movies where the bad guys have the action hero racing from one pay phone to the next with just seconds to spare. We want each step to be the final one, but we’re so busy executing it that we’re distracted from pondering whether or not there will be more to come. And there always is.
Seven years ago, give or take, I was a bit weirded out after having heard Sarah Palin’s detractors demand, over and over again, that she “shut up and go away” — this was late 2009, after she had resigned the governorship of Alaska and essentially had done exactly that thing. Somehow…somehow…this opened the gate on the turbocharger mounted on the Palin-hatred engine. How come? You’ll have to ask them. They got exactly what they wanted, and boy were they ever pissed off about it. So I jotted down that, and a few other observations about people who hate Sarah Palin.
Well…we have much the same thing going on with Donald Trump. Don’t we? His fortune rises and falls, and it is when his defeat seems most certain that the Trump bashers are most piqued.
1. They get pretty darned upset if anyone dares to question their commitment to the conservative cause. Which is odd, because #NeverTrump means there is something more important than that. Right? That’s the meaning. They’ve sequenced their priorities in a way that makes the most sense to them, and defeating liberalism, supporting conservatism, these didn’t make the cut. Why then all the anger directed against whoever notices?
2. They do share a close kinship with liberals, as a matter of fact, in that they’re just so anxious to show what a supreme command they have over the subject matter under discussion. They fancy themselves to be authorities. They want to be thought of as authorities. It is their way of convincing, however, that interests me, much more than the fact that they want to do this convincing: Their method of persuasion is to demonstrate the extraordinarily high level of difficulty that is involved in telling them anything. The foundation of what they seek to argue, therefore, is that people know best after some extended period of time spent not learning anything.
3. They are putting a great volume of energy into bringing about a disaster, for which they will not take any ownership. Some of them are already getting ready to blame the opposition, the “Trump supporters,” for Hillary Clinton’s impending victory. This is unseemly, at best, and a sign of mental illness at worst.
4. They see themselves as independent thinkers. Independent thinkers, by definition, are hard to manipulate, if they can be manipulated at all. They demonstrate this, unfortunately, by being easily offended. That’s a problem, because it’s not hard to manipulate you if it’s easy to offend you.
5. They are very bothered by the lately emerging signs that character no longer matters, or is no longer valued. But they themselves care nothing about their bedfellows in the #NeverTrump orgy, what level of character they possess. Very rarely do I see a #NeverTrump protest that a statement injurious to Donald Trump, while tantalizing, is just too demonstrably untrue, too easily proven false, too craven, too low-balled. Nothing is too low for them. Anybody who shares this common enemy, with them, must be their friend. And then they wonder what happened to valuing character.
6. They maintain that the driving force behind their crusade, is an elevation of standard of human behavior, and/or an elevation of respect directed toward women. Donald Trump apologized for the locker room talk. I’m a big believer in the idea that apologies mean very little, in the sense that packaging is different from content. But packaging does have some value; white flags are flags, they’re supposed to be emblematic, and an apology is a white flag. This should have been the finish-line for them, if those were the goals. Things the way they are, though, #NeverTrump didn’t skip a beat. Didn’t lose momentum. Didn’t even experience a disruption of rhythm. I conclude this is about obliteration of something, it has nothing to do with improving anybody’s conduct.
7. If you remind them the next President is likely to appoint five Supreme Court justices, reliable as a sunrise they’ll come back with “Hillary is no worse than Trump.” This is one of those things people say loudly and often, because they know it is not true and they can’t really provide support for it. That’s why you probably won’t hear them say “Trump is, in fact, so very much worse.” That would fall in line with the sentiment they wish to spread around, but they’d have to support that; so they stop at simply questioning whether Hillary is any worse than Trump, implying that the two are equivalents. But it doesn’t invite additional exploration. It’s like the lyrics to a song, which is what they want. Just something they can repeat, that doesn’t invite inspection. Of course, their detractors certainly can support the idea that Hillary is much worse, but that’s only a problem if an actual exchange of ideas ensues.
8. When people point out the democrats don’t have a counterpart for #NeverTrump, and don’t call out the obvious character flaws in their own candidates, their rebuttal is something like “That’s what makes us the good guys.” Republicans and conservatives, supposedly, police their own. But, after their efforts find success and Hillary wins the election, you can bet your bottom dollar they’ll be crying in their beer about “How come the bad guys keep winning?”
9. They share that particular attribute with impatient children, angry people, social justice warriors, and other liberals: They fail the Salt Test. If it could somehow be worked that they get exactly what they say they want, they’re not happy. This gratification is the beginning of their problems and the beginning of their complaining, and not the conclusion of either one.
10. Most suspiciously: Their whole point is that now that Donald Trump is the Republican nominee, and nobody has even a remote shot at being the next President other than him and Hillary Clinton, the 2016 election is a “wash.” I would expect responsible adults who actually think such a thing, to look forward to 2020. Or, to 2018. Or, look around…put some things on Facebook that are entirely unrelated to 2016-Trump-Hillary-Trump-hate-Trump. Something like, pictures of dinner. Kids. Cats. Stupid Star Wars theories about who Rey is and who Snoke is. Maybe some “Jesus won’t save this little girl’s life unless her picture gets a million likes,” something like that. But no. In this election they think is lost and not worth any effort from anybody in any direction, because it’s all SUCH a lost cause…it’s all Trump hate, all the time. For people who want Trump to win, to talk about it all the time, makes a lot of sense. For people who don’t want Trump to win because “it makes no difference,” that makes no sense at all. If you feel very strongly that something doesn’t make any difference, you do your talking about something else. Right? Life’s only so long, right?
Such very sad news. Words not enough. Treasured memories 💧
— Julie Dawn Cole (@realverucasalt) August 29, 2016
Rather puzzling, at first. You expect, if the actress who played Miss Salt is sad about this latest demise, there should be a temper tantrum or something, not gracious remarks. Well, actors and characters are different. If we can be made to forget this for an instant, or more, that’s the defining characteristic of good acting.
More from her here.
For those who haven’t seen the film, you’re really missing something. Especially if you’re studying, or coping with, spoiled rotten brats:
I’m sure I was a brat once in awhile. Weren’t we all? I seem to recall my parents mentioning it occasionally. In our household, bratty behavior aroused conflict, and the conflict would endure until the bratty behavior subsided. That’s probably all the qualification you need to call out a case of “child abuse” nowadays…the alternative is that bratty behavior does not arouse conflict, and the caricature of that is Veruca Salt’s home life. She gets everything she wants, and this just provokes more and more antisocial behavior, until such time as she learns some kind of a lesson. Which doesn’t happen until she has an experience on the outside…like, in the Chocolate Factory. Like all the other children meeting some deserved fate there, she’d have been much better off if she got her comeuppance earlier.
There is something else that impresses me about Veruca Salt, and other brats that belong to this particularly hardcore strain; something that sets them apart from more generic brats. They all have it in common that they want something. But with the more typical variety, if you give them what they want they at least stop complaining. That’s part of the appeal the starts the enabling process of this brat-vs.-parent codependent relationship: “Just give him what he wants, so that I don’t have to listen to it.” That’s the phrase you hear over and over again as you look into this. Some brats even develop the barest glimmerings of what might be called “maturity,” in that if they’re given exactly what they said they wanted, and discover it wasn’t all it was cracked up to be, this triggers some sort of thought process of “Oh well, that’s my problem I guess, I learned something” and they stop complaining. In this way, they are what might be called “semi-brats.” Worse than some, not as bad as some others. They are, at the very least, learning how to honor some sort of contract, take responsibility for at least their share of something.
The Salt-Brat, on the other hand, is never gratified. Not even a tiny bit. If you had some sort of device that could measure happiness, you wouldn’t see even an incremental gain after they got what they wanted, as contrasted with before. EVER.
And in this election year, and in so many others, we should use this as an assessment against social advocacy groups that attach their identities to the wanting of something. They all want something; that’s what makes an advocacy group an advocacy group. But there is a crucial defining distinction to be made among them, a line to be drawn between the ones that will pipe down & go away happy they’re given what they want — versus, the ones who just keep complaining, so that you end up wondering what the point ever was to listening to what they had to say, let alone giving them what they wanted.
You’re still mad? Still hate us? Shoot…we coulda had that for free.
Such a realization, of course, does not soothe feelings. Doesn’t make conflict go away.
Every now & then liberals will launch a series of assaults, coordinated to what degree I’m not quite sure, that resemble each other to such an impressive extent that they just have to be directed from some central authority. Ever notice this? It became particularly embarrassing to watch about a dozen years ago, when they started insisting President Bush “lied about weapons of mass destruction as a pretext for going to war.” In the blink of an eye, we were up to our eyeballs in people chanting this slogan, or some derivative of it that didn’t vary by much — many of whom we’d known personally for years and years, and had never before used the word “pretext” or anything like it.
Well now that Trump’s the one to beat, conservatives have joined the attack. And there’s a whole tactic that’s been established, cookie-cutter style. I went through and lifted some excerpts from the second-most-recent debate, the one between the two veep candidates. See if you can figure out where I’m going with this…
And I can’t imagine how Governor Pence can defend the insult- driven selfish “me first” style of Donald Trump.
I am interested to hear whether he’ll defend his running mate’s not releasing taxes and not paying taxes.
I can’t believe that you won’t defend your own voting record.
Well, I guess I can’t believe you are defending the position that there is no bias and it’s a topic we don’t even…
If you want to have a society where people are respected and respect laws, you can’t have somebody at the top who demeans every group that he talks about. And I just — again, I cannot believe that Governor Pence will defend the insult-driven campaign that Donald Trump has run.
I cannot believe that Governor Pence would sit here and defend his running mate’s claim that we should create a deportation force to — so that they’ll all be gone.
When Donald Trump says Mexicans are rapists and criminals, Mexican immigrants, when Donald Trump says about your judge, a Hoosier judge, he said that Judge Curiel was unqualified to hear a case because his parents were Mexican, I can’t imagine how you could defend that.
Well, I’m going to see if you can defend any of it.
But can you defend Donald Trump’s claim that more nations should get nuclear weapons?
Six times tonight, I have said to Governor Pence I can’t imagine how you can defend your running mate’s position on one issue after the next. And in all six cases, he’s refused to defend his running mate.
And yet he is asking everybody to vote for somebody that he cannot defend. And I just think that should be underlined.
More nations should get nuclear weapons. Try to defend that.
And I know you can’t defend.
I’ll run through the list of things where you won’t defend…
Can you defend it?
…this is not directed at this man, except to the extent that he can’t defend Donald Trump — Donald Trump has run a campaign that’s been about one insult after the next.
Now this is just one guy, Hillary Clinton’s running mate Tim Kaine, so it’s not incriminating or surprising that it matches up with itself, especially given Sen. Kaine’s behavior overall. The man sat there just acting like some sort of rhetorical volcano, or maybe a talkie-toy with a busted cord, and with his hair-trigger outbursts and lack of creativity lost the debate decisively. But someone, somewhere, with influence, must have decided his tactic was a winning one. We’re starting to see it spread like pimples on social media. “Let’s see you defend this,” “Can you defend this,” “I can’t believe you’d defend it.”
The sloppy thinking…it’s just something to behold. You see it contradict itself, just up above. “I can’t believe you won’t defend,” “can’t believe you are defending.” Which is it? And what are we doing here, exchanging ideas or just expressing disbelief? Because one of those is worth ninety minutes, the other isn’t.
And defend against what? I’m seeing an awful lot of people, Sen. Kaine included, forget about this. How specific of a defense would they like to see? It’s not reasonable to demand a specific defense, if the attack is not specific. Right? And how serious? “ZOMG lookit that!” is not a serious attack. It isn’t any more worthy of a serious rebuttal than any other non-serious argument.
But there is a serious aspect to this. Last I checked, this was America; we discuss things here. In fact, we’re lectured pretty damn often lately about “that’s not who we are” over some issue, usually in the context of having national borders that actually mean something. “Having borders that actually mean something is not who we are” is an absurd idea that’s gotten way more repetition than it deserves, so here is an idea much more worthy: Dismissing ideas without any actual discussion, the way democrats want to do all the time…is not who we are. That is not to say all ideas are to be taken seriously. But it’s pretty easy to demonstrate, when an idea should not be taken seriously, why that is.
I’m very bothered, and I think all Americans should be bothered, by this recent trend of simply dismissing things, ideas, platforms, candidates, by way of saying “let’s see you defend it” when there’s no actual attack. The proper response is really “Alright, but first let’s see you attack it.” If that can’t be done, then of course no defense is needed.
Donald Trump does have a sinus condition.
They’re both under pressure to reduce the number of interruptions, which is good to see. Toward the end, I think they both faltered. Trump probably interrupted more.
Hillary does have “deplorable” judgment.
I’m not sure Russia wants Trump to win, but I’m sure Anderson Cooper doesn’t.
It’s okay for you to go over your allotted time if you’re a woman, and being a democrat doesn’t hurt at all.
Trump is the Republican nominee for a reason. Someone should be making the point that the democrats, when they’re in charge, have shown a consistent pattern of making America’s enemies strong. And, belligerent. I don’t like to see strength and belligerence in our enemies, it’s a bad combination. And Republicans should not be saddled with a long parade of candidates who are afraid to mention this is what happens when democrats are in charge, when it is.
They would both make mistakes. If it’s Trump who is President, my press will tell me ALL about it and the damage will be limited that way.
The democrats really don’t have the first idea what a Supreme Court justice is supposed to do.
The moderators are serving two masters and it isn’t working. They’re supposed to do a fair job moderating the debate, but they have their own constituencies, who don’t want them giving a platform to that purveyor of hate, Donald Trump. So they’re supposed to not-interrupt, and they’re also supposed to interrupt. So they resolve the contradiction by interrupting. The Republican candidate.
Hillary needed to convince people she’s not a compulsive liar. Trump needed to convince people he’s got some decency as a human being and isn’t insane. Trump won.
Wyatt Earp: What makes a man like Ringo, Doc? What makes him do the things he does?
Doc Holliday: A man like Ringo has got a great big hole, right in the middle of him. He can never kill enough, or steal enough, or inflict enough pain to ever fill it.
Wyatt Earp: What does he need?
Doc Holliday: Revenge.
Wyatt Earp: For what?
Doc Holliday: Bein’ born.
I was just noticing a post I put up three weeks ago has fallen out of currency. At that time, you couldn’t go through a week without hearing half-a-dozen times that Hillary Clinton is the BEST QUALIFIED EVAR!! candidate for President…well, that was then. This is now. I haven’t heard that for awhile. Maybe her campaign got hold of what I wrote, and decided it made a lot of sense and they should change direction?
No. This is The Blog That Nobody Reads. And also, there was this thing that happened where she baited Mr. Trump, successfully, with this pudgy beauty contestant. So there are two things that could have changed this course: The media hubbub about Miss Piggy, and Trump’s reaction. To those, we could add a third possibility: Time. Wouldn’t surprise me even a smidgen, if there’s a “how to win an election” white paper out there, a cookbook of sorts, some piece of research that says: Make it about you until there is frost on the pumpkins, then criticize your opponent from that point forward, during the final weeks.
It would be even cleverer if there was no such research. I’ve noticed the #NeverTrump crowd has gotten desperate since Trump’s YUGE embarrassment this weekend, the “hot mic moment” from 2005 where he talked about grabbing pussies. You can see it in their blog postings, the comments they leave upon the blogs, their social media postings, their “tweets.” This is their moment to be right. Trump has to lose this thing, or they’re going to look like asses and they know it. It’s like the guy who decides not to get involved in a mugging, or to help a woman and her infants stranded on the side of the road with a flat tire. Or, not to fight a house fire. If it all turns out to be a lost cause, looks almost reasonable, but if someone happens along to stop the mugging, save the mom with the flat tire, extinguish the fire…there’s no way to look good if you’re the guy who took a pass. Can’t look cool doin’ that.
This, sadly, is what motivates the #NeverTrump crowd. It doesn’t matter if they’re willing to admit it. It’s just true. They’re feeling insecure…Hillary’s campaign, apparently, is playing them like violins. #NeverTrump is easily manipulated, because #NeverTrump is fake and phony. Provably so. Doing the work of God, making a stand for the dignity of women, declaring some sort of war on profanity (in private conversations, which would be manifestly absurd)…all these purposes would be served with Trump’s apology. All of them. Their purpose is not served with his apology, so their motivation has nothing to do with that. They’re the guy who decided not to rescue the mom with the flat tire, desperately trying not to look like an ass. If Trump loses, they get to crow away about “See, told you so! You shouldn’t have nominated that guy! Not my fault for not voting for him, it’s YOUR fault for nominating someone I don’t like!” Seems only fair to them. Mitt Romney’s detractors got to make the same argument four years ago.
You have to wonder who’ll screw it up in 2020, and what their lame excuse will be…
It’s funny, in a sad kind of way, because these people will readily admit their counterparts on the left don’t have the same qualms. Bill Clinton is credibly accused of rape, which is pretty bad…the excuses come out, the wagons are dutifully circled. Okay, it seems reasonable to establish some threshold of proof, and declare it has not been met. But — leftists like to accuse Donald Trump of things, too. They don’t need “hot mic” conversations that were recorded on tape. They speculate. Point is, if you want to catch them hiding behind a double standard, it isn’t hard. You don’t have to wait long. The leftists do not police their own, they let bad behavior slide. Because the political agenda is far too important to them. The #NeverTrump crowd is proud of this…they’re not like that! They’ve got all the faithfulness of an alley cat when it comes to politics. They’ll take their stand with the rest of us against liberalism, but drop it like a hot potato. They’re SO principled! This is what makes the political right the “good guys,” they say.
We-ell…it really isn’t, actually. After Election Day when Hillary is the President-Elect, right after they’re done crying in their beers about “Why do the bad guys win?” they’re going to be blaming someone else. Right? We needn’t speculate. They say so now. So they’re not really owning this decision that character/integrity/morals are more important than a political victory. There’s something awfully distasteful about getting an excuse ready to go, for a failure that’s about to happen and hasn’t happened yet. I’m left wondering when the character/integrity/morals are actually demonstrated. And I think, if that’s what we were seeing, Trump’s apology for his remarks from eleven years ago would’ve counted for something. We want to make correct moral decisions, first & foremost, to set a good example for others, right?
But again, I’m talking logically. These people decide everything emotionally. I lately had something in the e-mails to say about this…
You see it in our elections this year, with this widespread sentiment that Trump, in spite of all of Hillary’s many faults, is the candidate that should be bounced out of this thing, obliterated…make him drop the cartoon hole in the ground, reach up and pull it in after himself…because he’s profane and boorish. You understand what’s wrong with that, since after Trump loses the election and Hillary is President, Trump will continue to be profane and boorish, will still exist. And we’ll be left with a bad President, whom our press will not hold to account.
It doesn’t pass the laugh-test of elementary problem solving, let alone the problem-solving test of elementary problem solving. The problem is that Trump is profane and boorish. If that really is the number one priority and all other problems pale in comparison, and we MUST do something to solve that one…electing Hillary is not the solution. Right? In fact, it would be a much more effective to elect Trump. Put him someplace where he can’t be profane and boorish.
Well, that’s all very silly. GIGO, as we say…Garbage In, Garbage Out. The idea that one guy in the country is profane and boorish and this is some sort of pressing problem upon which we need to fixate — never made a lot of sense in the first place. This is not a thought process for logical thinking or strategy-building, it is put together to appeal to passions and mindless emotion. Vote Hillary, to show Trump how much he sucks! Put that look on his face, that the bad guys in action movies have right before the missile hits their helicopter. The slow-motion, “ZOMG I just realized how much I suck!” face. Again, we don’t need to wait for the patient to admit to his disease: He has given up, at least temporarily, on actually solving any problems, on making anything better. Whether he’s a #NeverTrump who thinks he’s dedicated to the conservative cause (by definition, though, they’re really not), or a liberal who just wants to see Hillary make it in there — they’re way too busy with the effort to show some certain guy how much he sucks, to sweat any small stuff like the economy, foreign relations, ISIS, national security, or the out-of-control public debt.
Trump has repeatedly gotten in trouble lately for being a heterosexual male who likes the look of beautiful women. It was in Hillary’s introduction of Ms. Machado (warning, video behind like auto-plays):
And one of the worst things he said was about a woman in a beauty contest. He loves beauty contests, supporting them and hanging around them. And he called this woman “Miss Piggy.” [emphasis mine]
This fantasy that we can control how people around us look at women, by way of selecting certain people to be elevated to very high positions of authority, has been around a long time. As demonstrated above, it doesn’t make a lick of sense. I suppose everyone can’t think strategically about the problems that annoy them the most, and it’s unrealistic to think we should all “take what we like, and leave the rest” when it comes to the opinions of others. We’re always going to have some control freaks who want to control how the rest of us behave, and if they had the maturity to realize “Electing Hillary won’t fix that,” then they wouldn’t be control freaks in the first place.
But there is a real tragedy taking place here, which seems like it ought to be preventable. How that could be done, I don’t know. But it is decidedly negative energy, and not positive. Hasn’t Barack Obama’s reign been proof enough of that? If His being President ever had a chance of improving race relations in this country — which it didn’t, but let’s just pretend for the moment that at least the chance was there once — it wasn’t really going to be by way of inspiring hope, was it? It was supposed to be a campaign of intimidation. Can we admit that much? White racists would get all ready to do their white racist stuff, and suddenly stop and think “Waitaminnit, the President is a black man, I’d better cool my shit.” Now we can get into how it didn’t quite work that way, because it turns out not all racists are white…but that’s a side point. The main point is that Hillary, and those who support her, are planning much the same thing with women. And if she wins, the effect will be much the same; rather difficult to deny that male-female relations will be affected over the next four-to-eight years, the same way black-white relations have been affected up to now. Also, the main point covers that things are not made better this way, because the methodology is negative and not positive, applying fear and not hope.
But, some women don’t care about this. They’re super-enthused already, recognizing the signs that women are enjoying a certain influence on things, that has eluded them up until now.
Which brings us to an unsavory question. What kind of women are these?
These are absolutely, positively, not women who have a problem with profanity in private conversations among adult men. These are Amy Schumer types. There are those who suppose, and there is a certain credibility about this, that this hot-mic “scandal” will end up helping Trump and hurting Clinton, on balance, if for no other reason than because Americans despise hypocrisy. And we’re seeing a big bundle of it here. So we have our first answer to the what-kind-of-women question: Hypocritical women. The “raunchy comedienne” stereotype that does suggestive things with science fiction fantasy props, but doesn’t want any men anywhere to do something so gauche as…looking at an attractive woman in a bathing suit, and enjoying the sight. That is not to be tolerated.
Unattractive, insecure women, perhaps. Steve Sailer’s Law of Female Journalism is that the “most heartfelt articles by female journalists tend to be demands that social values be overturned in order that, Come the Revolution, the journalist herself will be considered hotter-looking.” Here is a failure that is maintained as a constant, within social justice movements: They work, and think, in passive voice. “Be considered” — by whom? Dudes actually have this problem. I’m a dude. Some women think I’m good-looking, other women are more sensible. Know what I did about it? I rendered the opinions of all the ones who think I’m not good-looking, irrelevant — by marrying one of the ones who thinks I’m good-looking. See? Active-voice thinking, leads to an active-voice solution to the problem. Try it sometime girls!
But…they don’t. They won’t. They have to control how other women are “seen.” I guess that’s the old thing about think globally act locally? They’ve got to control what everyone else is doing.
They have giant holes in them…no, not that hole. A spiritual hole. Like Ringo’s. They can’t ever fill it…
…asks one of my liberal Facebook friends, decisively nudging in an unstated way toward an approved answer of “no.” We-ell…if I’m going to speculate on this with honesty, I have to factor in years, and years, and YEARS of arguing with liberals who’ve been cudgeling me the entire time with entirely unsupported “we all know” arguments. Such arguments are lifted above the depths of inconvenience that goes with the presence of dissent, and the messy business of contending with it. They sidestep it. Hey, it’s a given. We all know.
Or…most of us know. More people agree than don’t agree, and that just proves it, right?
If that is the sentiment — and it very often is — what then is the difference between that, and confessing to a resolute belief in the majority’s privilege to manufacture its own brand of relative-truth, that is beyond challenge or appeal by any other brand? St. Augustine is said to have authored the maxim about “Right is right even if no one is doing it; wrong is wrong even if everyone is doing it.” Alright, maybe he didn’t say it; I’m sure the experts would agree it seems like something George Washington would say. The important thing is, if St. Augustine did say it, would liberals agree?
Or, let’s leave the liberal thing behind for a bit, since that’s not part of the question. The question suggests a fragile absolute. That seems quite precarious to me, since to stick to a minority opinion after it’s been demonstrated to be in a minority, requires some sort of principle. Even if it is an unscrupulous minority opinion, you’d have to show some rugged constitution about it, and a determination to withstand the dissent of “everybody knows.”
That, although we may be loathe to acknowledge it in certain situations, demands character. Something we have to develop over time. We aren’t born with it. And it’s absurd to suppose everyone with a heartbeat is developing it.
I remember one lefty-leaning guy in particular, who left me with a palpable sense of “I don’t think that guy has ever gone against the group-consensus in his entire life.” Thankfully, by this time I had developed the sense of discernment not to say some things out loud. I have an effervescent memory of being tempted and deciding against it. And I can dimly recall the parting-shot he used to inspire this: Something about, me being proven wrong was some sort of fait accompli, since everyone — and I had shown my negligence in failing to figure this out for myself — disagreed. Everyone out of…whom? Smart people? English-speakers? Everyone he knew? Everyone with red blood in their veins? He did not say. But there was sufficient definition in his condemnation to satisfy him, which is what mattered…”everyone” was qualified in some, entirely unstated way, and the St. Augustine wisdom did not apply, so anything else to be discussed was just so much useless static.
It isn’t an isolated incident by any means.
And whenever anyone, liberal or otherwise, indulges in the “I know you’re wrong because nobody agrees,” or its companion of “I know I’m right because everyone knows it” — they are implicitly confessing to being part of the lifelong-bandwagon crowd. That is the equivalent of saying “No I’ve never been in the minority on anything, ever, why would I ever consider it?”
There is a lot of danger involved in assuming the majority is always correct.
Ew…Honey, Snowflake, that’s just…aw no…
I do so love it when a mask slips.
Was Janet Yellen mansplained to by members of Congress who grilled the Federal Reserve chair this week in her semi-annual testimony to the House Financial Services Committee?
On the one hand, this seems an unfair charge. The men at the dais in these kinds of proceedings regularly treated Yellen’s predecessors, all of them male, in a similar manner — interrupting them, patronizing them, and generally making fools of themselves — while the economist in the chair would do his best not to explode.
On the other hand, it’s a tough week to ignore the role of gender dynamics in US political discourse. Just days after Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton was subject to 90 minutes of thinly veiled microaggressions from Republican challenger Donald Trump at their first debate — the interruptions, the remarks about her “temperament,” the questioning of her “stamina,” the criticism of her preparedness — another intelligent woman of great achievement was reprimanded by men of lesser knowledge in her area of expertise.
Thinly veiled what? And you just got done admitting, men who preceded Ms. Yellen in the post she holds, were subjected to “similar” treatment. Perhaps similar is not “identical”; perhaps there are micro-differences in the way the interrupting was done. Since the article does not delve into these, or even examine the question of their existence, it’s hard to say what exactly is being observed here.
This is not to say that Congress doesn’t have an important role to play as a check against the power of the US central bank. These hearings ought to be substantively tough. But do our elected officials have to act so rough in their treatment of the human being sitting across from them?
++blink++ What the fuckety fuck…
Now we have something of a clue. The author of the column is reacting emotionally, describing her feelings as she watched the proceedings. Maybe it was after this she did some research and discovered her objection could be based on feelings and nothing more than feelings, that a bit of careful thought reveals there is no sexism here…it was gracious of her to include this in her second paragraph.
But it was also rather unmanly of her to just shrug it off and continue onward with her screed, knowing full well now that it’s based on nothing.
So is it a joke? If not, then who reads this stuff? I was flailing about for answers, and clicked on the author’s name…
Heather Landy is global news editor at Quartz, based in New York. Previously, she was editor in chief of American Banker Magazine. Heather started her career at Bloomberg News, where she wrote about retailing, the steel industry and the corporate bond market (although not at the same time). She then spent five years on the business desk of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Her work in Texas earned a Gerald Loeb award for beat reporting and helped liven up her lectures as an adjunct instructor at TCU’s Schieffer School of Journalism. Heather also has served as a special correspondent to The Washington Post, covering Wall Street at the height of the 2008 financial crisis.
Scary stuff, when you think about it. The 2008 financial crisis was caused by a bunch of political figures, “men of lesser knowledge” you might say, telling the banks how to do their banking and offering financial shielding, paid for by U.S. taxpayers, from consequences of bad decision-making. It’s a classic case of unproductive people telling the productive people how to do their producing. So the “special correspondent” who covered all this, I suppose, is now writing shell-shocked articles about “do they have to be so rough?” as our top regulator is overseen by our elected representatives, in an effort to keep such a debacle from happening again.
Because that top regulator is a girl. Oh, my. What a powerful argument for not having a woman in Ms. Yellen’s position. Not saying it is politically correct, not saying you can win an elective office pointing it out to anyone, not even saying I’d agree with it…just saying, it is powerful when you consider it logically. After all: How can we stop the 2008 financial crisis from happening again? Make a list of the ways! How long is it? I see only one, and when you take “hold elected and appointed officials accountable” off the list, there’s nothing left.
And it’s obvious Ms. Landy, and God only knows how many readers who agree with her, object to that one thing we can do to keep it from happening again, when a woman is in charge.
Skimming over her archive page, I came across a fascinating bit of literary time-wasting…
What it would mean to have a woman in the White House
What would she get done? The easy argument: Not much. Congressional Republicans have now spent eight years honing their talent at obstructing efforts of a Democrat-held White House. They could see fit to block any of her attempts to introduce reforms, including those that bring women more equal treatment in society and the workplace. But as a legislator, Clinton had a record of reaching across the aisle, especially to her female peers in the Senate, and frequently succeeded in finding bipartisan compromises. Who’s to say she couldn’t do the same from a perch at the White House?
Hillary Clinton got something done? Holy cats! I had to click open that link…whereupon, I found something by Margaret Carlson…
How the Senate’s Women Maintain Bipartisanship and Civility
Congress’s approval ratings may be in the basement, but civility and bipartisanship among its female members is as strong as ever. Margaret Carlson on how the Senate’s women do it.
When Olympia Snowe announced she was leaving the Senate, her Republican colleagues were hopping mad. Her reasons — that the place had become a dysfunctional partisan hell — only elevated their anger. How dare she depart at a time when they might win a Republican majority in the Senate if they kept her seat?
How me, me, me, and male. Now let’s switch to Snowe’s female colleagues, both Democrat and Republican, who were sad to see her go. Snowe will leave a gaping hole in Washington, in their lives, and in the women’s supper club, a group of bipartisan Senators who meet monthly at one another’s houses or in the Strom Thurmond Room in the Capitol. (No, the irony is not lost on them that he was the avatar of the members who would rather pinch a woman than listen to her.)
The club is not a secret, but it is “no boys allowed” and less about conquering new territory than about finding a heightened quality of life as they seek to heighten their constituents’ quality of life. It wasn’t organized as a caucus around a subject, but to restore some of the natural camaraderie that existed before so many members left their families behind and spent every free moment of their nights and weekends fundraising.
Okay, so Hillary Clinton didn’t get anything done after all, and probably wouldn’t get anything done as U.S. President, at least nothing good. Just as I thought before. Headline over-promised, article under-delivered.
I hate to say it, and I can’t completely mean it of course…in my work life and professional life, I frequently meet women who have skill, competence, an understanding of logic and a sense of fairness, women who are not like Heather Landy or Margaret Carlson — but, here we see another powerful argument for keeping women away from the hallways of power, as well as stopping them from writing articles other people might read — an argument worthy of the most blisteringly offensive chauvinist-pig Disney cartoon villain. It’s a “bad” argument only in the sense that it’s so unlikable, but again, it is powerful if you think about it logically. Only by clinging so fervently, so desperately, so emotionally, and in such a womanly way to her feelings of vengeful scorn, can a WOMAN write of “irony,” albeit in parentheses, and in the next paragraph include a sentence containing “it is ‘no boys allowed’ and…about finding a heightened quality of life as they seek to heighten their constituents’ quality of life.” How did an editor not catch this? Were there no male constituents in Maine in 2012? Or in any of the other states represented by other members of the hen-fest? I assume there must have been some…so, to what sort of brain-diseased female-monster does this seem proper? “Go away! We’re heightening your quality of life!”
When do we get to that part about women showing they can do a job just as well as a man? That they can think about actions and consequences in an equally mature way, produce results at least as favorable, pay-forward the spirit of inclusion from which they personally and professionally drew a benefit, provide a positive role model for the girls who are watching them, trying to figure out what sort of women they themselves want to grow up to be…really show us dudes how it’s done. Make us wonder why we took so long giving them the opportunity to participate, possibly putting them in charge, rather than giving us cause to look back on all this as some sort of historical mistake. Did something happen to that vision? It would seem so…
I have a great idea. How about we just stop paying attention to whether this-person or that-person is a man or a woman. Concentrate instead on avoiding disasters, and producing the best results possible. That would require some sense of maturity out of everyone involved, including the people who write about it…I dunno, maybe I’m asking too much here.
How’s this for obvious: Your reaction to the debate says a lot more about you and your priorities than it does about the debate…
The best thing about debates, in my opinion, is how they’re by liberals, for liberals, so you can conduct some psychological research on the fly…
Just as in generic extruded fantasy product novels, the humble dorky awkward farmboy is always the Savior of the Universe, so the Gamma / Liberal is the real hero of whatever situation he’s in, because he has some secret untapped power. The difference between GEFP and real life, of course, is that in real life the liberal believes he has found and activated his secret untapped power: Words!
Observe liberals for any length of time — particularly on the internet — and you can’t help but conclude that they really think they’re winning by being snarky and dismissive. They act as if coming up with a really great comeback 20 minutes after getting stuffed into a locker by the quarterback is the same thing as — no, better than! — beating him up in the parking lot.
Part of this was W. specifically — they’d cling to their precious “he’s the dumbest idiot evar!” narrative even if he trounced Einstein in a calculus contest — but a lot of it is their own insecurities. Which leads them to vastly overrate the importance of specifics, details, and especially “debate” performances.
Figuring out these liberals is just like fighting the Hydra: Resolve a single unanswered question by lopping off a head, two more questions/heads grow back on the stump, and immediately. Hillary is supposedly the better choice, even though her policies are wretched and the results of her meddling, wherever she’s been allowed to meddle, are even worse — because of The Power Of Words. Good ol’ style-over-substance, from the nineties when her husband was boss. She’s the better leader because she’s got the spiffy comeback.
How come it is, then, that she needs help from the “fact checkers”?
“Fact checking” doesn’t pretend to be straight news exactly, but something more authoritative. The conceit of the “fact checker” is that he has some sort of heightened level of objectivity qualifying him to render verdicts in matters of public controversy.
Lately the “fact checkers” have been waging a campaign to portray Donald Trump as a contemporaneous supporter of the Iraq war, contrary to his assertions that he was an opponent. In Monday’s debate, Hillary Clinton pleaded for their help: “I hope the fact checkers are turning up the volume and really working hard. Donald supported the invasion of Iraq.” Moderator Lester Holt obliged, basing a question to Trump on the premise that the matter was settled: “You supported the war in Iraq before the invasion.”
So, it isn’t clear to me that Hillary is winning any sort of war-of-words here; certainly, not that she’s capable of doing so on her own. Nor is it clear to me that the “fact checkers” are actually checking facts. This looks to me more like opinion-checking. As in, I am to think of Donald Trump as a supporter of the invasion of Iraq. Hmmm. Guess I’m outside of the intended audience, once again, since I can recall with clarity what happened. Seems like last Tuesday or thereabouts. I wonder, is this what it’s like to grow old?
But, sometimes fact checkers act like real fact-checkers. It happens occasionally. The WSJ article linked above, brings the example of Donald Trump blatantly misrepresenting one of his prior statements, noted by FactCheck.org. “I didn’t say lie. I said he may have lied. I don’t know.” That was balderdash:
You call it whatever you want. I want to tell you. They lied. They said there were weapons of mass destruction; there were none. And they knew there were none.
Which reflects well, and much more uniquely than it should, on FactCheck. WSJ hits the nail on the head when it remarks: “It was a rare example of a ‘fact check’ that simply checked a fact.”
Regarding who won, Severian concludes in his write-up,
We’ll see. If poll numbers drift Hillary-ward in the next week, she won. But I bet they continue their Trumpward momentum with hardly a pause.
Well…that has yet to be seen. Starting to look like Hillary did win. Guess the “fact checkers” managed to help her!
Where Trump goes from here: He can continue to play it nice like in this first debate — the phrase “Crooked Hillary” didn’t make even a single appearance. Trump, instead, tended to make each squabble about him, which is most easily noted in Hillary’s ambush move involving that plus-sized Playboy model. Trump took the bait. This has a decidedly negative impact over the short term…results I would describe as “mixed” over the longer term.
He could go scorched-earth, like Larry Elder seems to me to be recommending, when you boil his advice down to its bare essentials. There is at least justice in that, since it is generally true that whenever Hillary points a finger, three more curl around and point back at her.
In his position, I think I’d shrug. There is justice in that too. “Miss Universe says you called her ‘Miss Piggy’ after she gained sixty pounds and it made her feel bad.” ++Raspy sigh++ Hillary, is that really the best you can do? Really? Can we get back to businesses, tax policy, jobs, and what are we doing to defeat ISIS?
The President of the United States doesn’t get to decide for the rest of us whether we should think fat porkers are sexy. Article II of the U.S. Constitution does not list that authority.
Now her team is going to be unfairly saddled with the assignment of selling her. Selling the idea that it somehow makes sense, for a nation under attack, to elect as its leader a woman who can’t even stay on her feet and give speeches anymore, when giving speeches is her whole deal. Why put ourselves under the iron-fisted rule of the Wicked Witch of the West, after she’s been doused with the water and is melting into a loathsome puddle? And, in a sad way, I already understand how they’re going to go about doing this. They’re going to declare anybody who believes the nation is under attack, and anybody who believes Hillary has real health problems, to be outside the periphery of the audience they’re trying to reach. And proceed to ridicule them.
Awhile ago, struggling to understand, I noted that the movement of what we today call “liberalism” seems to be split into two halves, which I called the “scheming elites” and the “ignorant commons”. The thing that separates the two, described from a 38,000 foot level, is that the former is accumulating a useful skill by way of evolving strategies that continue to find measurable success, whereas the latter isn’t accumulating skills at all, useful or otherwise. The former sells things to the latter. It is debatable how useful this skill is, because the skill is in communicating with people who don’t learn anything with either success or failure, because they don’t try to do anything. So one half maintains a tethering to reality, by way of refining the art and technique of aggravating passions in the other half, which has altogether lost its tethering to reality quite aways back and isn’t on any road that leads to regaining it.
As a result, both are nuts in some way. I wouldn’t hire either one of them to do anything practical, even something mundane, like trimming the hedge I forgot to trim this weekend. I would expect all of them to lose my sheers, snip off a finger or two, sue me for everything I’m worth, own my house, and then blame George W. Bush for the mutilation. Maybe they’ll find some excuses for new taxes in the meantime. Manage the country’s response to all of the mass shootings and terrorist attacks this weekend & before? Forget it. But…the competence thing with the scheming elites. They did get Barack Obama reelected. I’m still concerned they could get Hillary in there. I have to be. They do know their own people; they know how to communicate with the insane ones. I guess it’s a question of whether that is the challenge that arises to confront them. And if the challenge is something more demanding than that, like learning how to communicate with sane people who actually do constructive things, can they recognize that and meet the challenge. I suppose that’s the question.
One sign that looks bad for them is their own proclivity to argue in superlatives. Last time anyone talked about polls, Trump had closed the gap and there had to begun to appear some local polls in battleground states, that had him squeaking past her. I am sure the scheming-elites are insane, nevermind what victories they may have in the past that they can chalk up to genuine cleverness, because they have continued to do what they did before; they have failed to adapt. “Hillary is the best qualified candidate EVAR!!” This is not the way the so-called “Trump supporters” have pushed their candidate. The #NeverTrump crowd continues to holler that he’s Barack Obama redux, the leader of a cult consumed by a messianic-complex fervor. I haven’t seen it. The argument in favor of Trump was, and continues to be, “alright yes there is something to be desired in both candidates, but here is why you should vote for this one over that one.”
With Trump running neck-and-neck with her, how much sense would it make for Hillary to be sold that way? Lots. Whoever is undecided in the last half of September, is still undecided for a reason. They’re the ones that have to be reached. We’re talking about the coveted “undecided voter,” which the liberal strategists, the “scheming elites,” are supposed to know how to reach. Well the evidence says they don’t know. They may never have. And they can’t learn how. They must have the capacity to embiggen the intellectual frustum, to achieve Aristotle’s “mark of the educated mind,” the ability to entertain a thought without accepting it. Without that, there would be nothing separating them from the ignorant-commons, and we do know they have that mark that separates them. We know this by their achievements selling liberalism. Maybe they’re capable of making the argument but are afraid of ticking off their base.
So it seems the movement, as a whole, is not capable of channeling that paradigm of “she’s bad, but not as bad as he is.” Because they just can’t process the viewpoint intellectually. And, I suppose, we should expect this. Maturity has a lot to do with the ability to choose from among a plurality of options that all suck; if these people had maturity, they wouldn’t be liberals. And when you step back a few paces and look at other matters besides elections, or look at elections in years gone by, you see this continues to be true. Conservatives think in comparatives, liberals think in superlatives. The issue is one of maturity. Grown-ups compare, because that’s what decision-making is.
The “She’s the best qualified candidate EVAR!!” thing has been subtle, but it has definitely been there. I started discussing this on the Hello Kitty of Blogging, and more than one friend chimed in with: Yeah I’ve noticed this…I thought it was just me.
I think they’re going to keep pushing that, and it’s going to continue to hurt them. Liberals, if you watch how they behave for awhile, seldom to never actually argue anything. Have you noticed this? They put together the narrative, as if re-stating it one more time, and/or in greater detail, will somehow convince those who have yet to be convinced. They may do it a couple times in a row, after which they’ll say something like “I can see there’s no point discussing this with you because you’ll never be convinced.” Seems to be lost on them that you have to actually bring something persuasive before you can play that card. When your storm-out-of-room, slam-door-behind-you sign-off statement is “If this doesn’t convince you then nothing ever will,” there’s supposed to be something of substance behind the “this.”
Also, superlatives just don’t fit this case. If Hillary Clinton is the BEST QUALIFIED CANDIDATE EVAR!!!, then what’s up with all that time that got wasted on Obama, Biden, Kerry…Edwards…Gore…Lieberman…? What happened there? Sexism?
Some words not suitable for a workplace or for a general audience:
Listen for the whole ten minutes, because it just gets better and better…
Via Steven Crowder.
This house has been good to us. It has become a sad staple of Americana, the story of two starry-eyed spouses falling in love with a “fixer upper” and making the leap, imagining themselves in a charming, quaint, occasionally madcap lifestyle of mending a toilet seat here, replacing a busted doorknob there…and then, in the ensuing frustrations, discovering themselves neck-deep in a nightmare that comes right up to or crosses the line of divorce. We went in on this with a bit of healthy paranoia, hoping for the best and preparing for the worst at each turn. Did some homework. As a happy consequence, we’ve held our head above water. We haven’t had any floors cave in under our feet or anything like that.
We have been very fortunate. I can’t attribute much of this to anything formulaic, that I could pass on to the next couple in terms of advice; except, we have prospered from buying maybe half as much house as we could’ve afforded. That might be some of it. The rest of it is luck. Well…knock on wood, as they say! At least I can knock wherever I want, with confidence. My fist won’t go flying through anything. But now comes the big deal: The fence.
We have a neighbor who seems to be a responsible and up-front fellow, and the layout determines that he & we are going to have to go in 50/50 on this. That is true of the “good neighbor” section that divides our lots from one another, as well as the exterior portion that is the far more serious matter. This is the full-height arrangement, over six feet, fully opaque, a piece of security equipment first. The street on the other side is a bit rough. This is not an aesthetic ornament by any means. What’s there now has been there since the neighborhood went in, twenty years ago, and it wasn’t built or treated properly. We went in half-n-half with the neighbor already, on a patch job to hold it together until “someday,” after the winter winds blew down a fifteen-foot section. Well, someday is coming up pretty quick, and the time’s come to do it right. It’s looking like, from the blanched expression on my neighbor’s face when we got back some quotes, “who pays for the fence” may become an item of pressing concern in the months ahead.
Or, “who fronts the cash.”
And this brings me to my point: I don’t give a flying fuck. As a responsible homeowner, my first & foremost concern is to get the damn thing built. If we have to front the costs, then that’s what it takes. If we have to handle more than our share when it’s all said & done — which I doubt, I think we’re talking about a man of good character — then, that is what we are going to have to do, and we’ll do it without a moment of additional hesitation and we’ll do it cheerfully. We will do it, knowing that the money we’re spending is equivalent to but a tiny portion of the worth of what the fence is protecting. We place importance on that.
Which brings me to Trump’s visit to Mexico…and the news, mostly on the teevee, about it.
For whose benefit are these stories being produced and aired? Not mine. Not any responsible homeowner, who looks on his duties as an American citizen the same way he looks on his duties as resident of the home. All I’m seeing is implications of Trump’s backpedaling, on the question of who pays for the wall. Nothing about the five positions from Trump’s speech, which is the real story, the real platform of fact from which one would need to make a decision, if one were still in the process of deciding. Or maybe that’s the problem, nobody is left still undecided about whether to support or oppose Trump? Is that it? Then why are we having polls, still?
My fence is going to be the most expensive home repair we’ve done, since we moved into the place. It will also be exquisitely aggravating, since we’ve been enjoying a year of seeing the debts associated with buying it two years ago, finally, and quickly, subsiding…dropping, lawn-dart like, not all the way to zero but headed in that direction. The fence we’ve got planned would reverse a lot of that progress. Or rather, will. The project is coming, the money is as good as spent already. I really couldn’t give two shits about whether our neighbor will pay fifty percent, or twenty-five, or zero. It isn’t on my radar.
With regard to America’s fence, people are getting hurt and killed. It has become de riguer for our governments, at all levels, to respond to the crisis by plying us with a bunch of misleading statistics about the illegal aliens’ propensity to commit crime versus equivalent statistics for the native population — as if that mattered even a tiny bit. Rather than fulfilling their obligation to defend the homeland from invasion, and solving the problem.
Opposition to illegal immigration is not opposition to all immigration. There’s nothing racist about it; what color is “don’t trespass”?
A fence is no more bigoted or xenophobic, than a front door on your house that locks.
And “who pays for the wall” is a peripheral concern at best. That question is nothing more than campaign rhetoric. Put out by those who are running the campaign of don’t-do-anything.
This question on Quora intrigued me, not quite so much because of the educated-above-their-hat-size, “solve all the world’s problems while we still know everything,” seldom-correct never-in-doubt sophistikateds that talk with smiles on their faces & their eyes closed; that’s a Quora staple right there. Rather, I was taken by the unusual experience. You have to read down quite a way to see it, but the answers under this one constitute a healthy mix. Eventually someone with good old-fashioned horse sense weighs in on the issue…yeah. Someone must’ve forgotten to close a door or something.
The answer most representative of the average floats toward the top, and reads like this; the number in agreement is so overwhelming, after awhile you wonder if it’s worth your while to read all the others…that, too, is a typical experience on Quora…
Conservatism, by definition, is about maintaining the status quo. For typical young people, using the US as a benchmark, the status quo isn’t that good. Their interests are thus best served by change, and change is a progressive or left wing thing. They came of age during the right wing G. W. Bush era, with its war mongering, governmental incompetence, crony capitalism, growing economic inequalities, and to cap it all off, a severe economic downturn that has left the employment and financial prospects of Millennials in dire straits compared to prior generations.
And they came of age during the internet era, so unlike prior generations who had to rely on the establishment’s media gatekeepers of TV and newspapers for information, younger people today grew up with ready access to information that directly contradicts shibboleths that prior generations took for granted. So they are far more inclined to question things and challenge the status quo.
The irony is, of course, that this all indicative of an under-challenged, and altogether unchallenged, status quo. “The status quo is not good and we need change,” George W. Bush is a warmonger, economic inequality, blah blah blah…same with the doddering oldsters relying on insufficiently diverse “media gatekeepers” for information, and the young, intellectually nimble New Hotness taking charge, armed with their dazzling array of learning resources.
We’ve seen it all before. And also, bushels and bushels of snooty condescension. Don’t forget that:
The entire world is moving progressively toward more comprehensive welfare states. The era in which it’s OK for a government to let its own people freeze or starve is coming to an end. This is right and proper.
It all seems just so correct and reasonable. Until you stop to think — just how current are these ideas, which are ushering in this bold new age? And the answer is, not very. Discarding phrasing styles and words that have only recently come into existence or fashion, like “[I]nternet,” this all could’ve been written in…well, just about any year from 1917 onward. The overall sentiments of progressivism have remained unchanged in all that time. We’re battling these “conservatives,” who want to keep things the way they are, but our victory is inevitable, because we’re for sharing and economic equality, and the old bastions of stodgy traditionalism favor inequality, but the world is changing. There isn’t a thought in there that’s less than a century old. And the basics of it are considerably older than that…again, still unchanged.
As I’ve noted before, the terms “conservatism” and “liberalism” work much better when you think about it in terms of creation, preservation and destruction. To say, “conservatism is all about what came before and liberalism is all about what’s coming” gels with a lot of definitions that are written and spoken, but those definitions are incorrect a good portion of the time; just as you’d be incorrect a good portion of the time if you said, “East is whichever way my boat is headed (so I don’t need a compass).” The modern era has seen a lot of retreats from liberalism, in other countries as well as in the USA. It happens whenever people figure out liberalism is incompatible with freedom, opportunity, prosperity and stability — which is often. That is somewhat akin to a boat righting its course after heading into the wrong direction, at which time it would be incorrect to say “East is wherever the bow points.” Sure you could say it. But you’d be wrong.
A lot of people are wrong about this. Many among them cling to this fantasy…this old (!) fantasy…that the younger generation, manifested by themselves, is on to some hot new idea and is in the midst of re-making the world around them into it. It does not seem to slow them down, even a smidgen, that they can’t name anything actually, provably new about the idea.
Still, the original question remains. Young people and old people do not look at property rights the same way. This old duffer nailed it, I thought:
Probably, because in order to be conservative you first need to acquire something worth conserving, and that takes time.
Probably, because in order to be conservative you first need to understand how society works, and in order to do that, you have to accumulate enough experience to figure out that your political science teachers were shameless lefty demagogues.
And another one made a good point:
Having trouble getting their first full time job when they get out of school makes people more likely to be a eoconomic liberal. That is they reject the conservative claim that to be unemployed means you’re lazy not unlucky. The generation that came of age since 2000 and especially since 2008 had a lot of trouble getting any job let alone a good one. However I question that they are really socialist any more than the peope who came of age during the1930s were.
This inspires some share of depression, I must say. Young people start working, or trying to anyway, and discover that it isn’t always immediately gratifying. Many among them, I suspect, through this initial effort are forced to cope with prolonged discouragement for the first time in their short lives. If the resulting frustration has a tendency to incline them toward left-wing politics, and I find that quite credible, that would mean it is to the left-wing politician’s advantage to make this experience more discouraging. What evidence is there to suggest this is not the case? And if it is the case, what evidence is there to suggest our left-wing politicians haven’t figured this out already, and are in fact acting on it, doing whatever they can to make it less likely that the average business will go so far as to actually hire someone?
I see precious little evidence to refudiate this…and much to support it…
Save me from symbolic gestures. I’m not yet at the point of begging for the sweet release of death to avoid the next one…but, I might very well miss an important surgery appointment to do so. I’m definitely at the point where the food tastes better and the air seems fresher, when there are none in my presence and none looming on the horizon.
I’m not sure what’s causing this glut. I’d say there are many factors, most of them cultural, some relatively recent and some others decades in the making. My county’s particularly obnoxious plastic-bag rule clearly shows the Overton Window has shifted, and there is something wrong.
There is legislation, and there is enforcement. If plastic bags have a deleterious effect on our environment, it is by way of littering, which is against the law already. As one of my Facebook sparring partners ably summed up the argument, “Since people (as a whole) seem unable to keep the environment clean without the benefit of rules, it’s time to make some.” Yeah alright, that creeped me out a little bit. Insanity does that to me.
People shopping for groceries are not doing anything harmful to the environment. People who litter are doing that. The rules are already in existence, the enforcement may be lacking. A legitimate argument can certainly be held about what to do next, but “let’s make some” more rules is not part of that, if it is to be any sort of reasonable discussion.
This is the old saw about the cop finding the drunk guy scrounging around in the parking lot looking for something, which turns out to be a watch he dropped. After helping with the search for a minute or two, the cop asks some more questions and it turns out the watch was lost six blocks away. So…why are we looking here? “The light’s better.” That’s what these people are doing. Confronting evil is hazardous, takes some balls, and most importantly — is unlikely to result in increased, fawning publicity. I would connect it to the frothy outrage in response to the invasion of Iraq, all those years ago. Right? Passing the resolution authorizing member nations to enforce: No problem! A member nation actually enforcing: PROBLEM.
If we discuss this cultural shift honestly, we have to see it for what it is. You simply aren’t supposed to do any enforcing; you aren’t supposed to confront evil. You’re only supposed to go through the motions. More rules, more rules, more rules…don’t ever enforce anything. It makes the people who’ve already decided not to do any enforcing, look bad.
The rules are always aimed at the same places. Soft, rule-abiding types. They may go along enthusiastically, racked by guilt, or they may go along the way I do, full of resentment. But an uprising is unlikely, so this is the soft, fatty tissue — the yummy part. No claws, no thorns, none of that messy back-fighting stuff. It’s quick, it’s easy, it’s popular. Hey you homeowners, don’t water your lawns, because drought! And hey you law-abiding gun owners, it’s high time we passed some (more) rules against you! Someone who is not you just shot up a school.
We seem to be living in the age of “Go after the ones who didn’t do it.” I’m not sure how we got here, or how to get out of here. But, we’re here. If we really do want things to get better, that’s our first step. We have to break free of that diseased mindset. People are looking for ways they can vote in elections to make things better, and that’s the answer to that question. Skip that step, the rest of the effort isn’t going to matter much.
This past week, just gone by, is where maybe I can show some cautious optimism. Not that I’m bullish on Donald Trump being our next president, but like many millions of Americans, I accept it as a pressing priority that The Pantsuit has to be kept out of that office and sent home. To wherever home is.
Well, maybe now that can happen. Following the resignation of Manafort and the new hire of Bannon and Conway, I’m seeing a new smartness along with a slowly reassuring time-gap rolling by, without too many dumb things being said or done. The “language that caused pain” speech, from what I understand, was all-Conway and that was smart. The “law and order” speech was smart. Heading down to Louisiana was exactly the kind of smartness that had always been needed.
What is left to trouble me, then? I have lots of friends who will line up to ply me with all of Trump’s shortcomings, how he’s “just as bad as, if not worse than, Hillary” — but that’s bull. They’ve allowed their hyperbole to run away with them. I’ve availed them of every opportunity to prove otherwise, and no, there are no fortifying specifics behind such a silly statement. Hillary’s worse, and they’ve made the mistake of taking their eyes off the prize. I’m much more troubled by the idea that Trump could still lose, than that he could win.
And yet I’m still troubled, even discounting the possibility he might lose. I suppose we’re all making the mistake of looking for the very best-case scenario in this match-up, in which all sorts of Americans from different walks of life get to have some say, therefore, nobody’s getting everything they want. Everyone’s got their dream-outcome; everyone’s ratcheted down to their current dream, from many others that would have been better for them, so it feels like we’re all embracing reality when we’re all just really doing more wishing. Mine was, Trump would win and Hillary would lose after more of these — indelicacies. More of the stupid. Not that I like seeing Trump do stupid things.
But I do think the American electorate needs to grow a thicker skin. Without that, let’s face it, when it votes the right way it’s just like the busted clock. Years like this, it seems beyond their ability to even vote for anybody at all; anybody else get that impression? It’s like the voters, as a whole, can only manage to deny, by way of granting consent to the opponent of whoever. It can only reject, never accept. Therefore, who knows what the beast really does want? And why should anyone care?
I’m tiring quickly of this sense that “Everybody Knows” how Trump is unsuitable for this prestigious, high, powerful office. I personally find the whole attitude rather obnoxious. If the reasons are good, give them. As opposed to…
You’ve got somebody out there saying things that used to only be said in the shadows…I think what he’s saying represents something pretty dangerous for our country.
Silly people. You’ve been wasting my time all year long with these things-that-don’t-say-anything. I am left to conclude that what we’re talking about is:
• General decorum;
• The previously-mentioned special strain of Stockholm Syndrome;
If the Trump campaign has started to act smart, of course it’s a good thing because it increases the chances that Hillary will be kept out of the White House. But for all we know, maybe that’s assured already. What’s potentially wrong with it is that the American voter was just starting to go through an awakening, by way of intense discomfort, which is how all such awakenings are achieved. To, when you get right down to it, the difference between substance and packaging.
Here’s how it works. Trump says something that is obviously stupid, and yet it is equally obvious it doesn’t really matter. These conservatives who saw their will thwarted when Rubio and Jeb! dropped out of the race, then when Cruz dropped out of the race, say to themselves, THIS time I will not be denied! And that is when they start to say risible things, like “Hillary is no worse.” This is not a summation of perceived reality. If that were the case, their passions would be on a downward slope as they continue to settle for less and less. That is not what we’re seeing. We’re seeing a level of passion in them that was not displayed previously, when Trump was competing against Jeb!, Rubio, Cruz, et al. If they were honest about it, they would admit that this is a new tactic; a “boy, this will really show ’em, when they see me voting for her, they’ll finally know how mad I am.” But, who among us is honest about what really motivates us to do things?
As far as this recognition that a “higher standard,” or something, is good for society. I agree. It’s one of my 42 definitions of a strong society.
Coarse humor and other material are kept away from children, as well as adults who might not prefer it. The girly mags kept behind the clerk, rather than at knee height out front; the blogger who takes the effort to write “not safe work work language in this video”; the curtain in front of that special room in the back, at your video store; South Park scheduled on the cable teevee for 10pm or later. These are fundamental building blocks of any civilized society. The spicy stuff is freely available, but walled off.
That’s #5. But, speaking as the author, you know, #1 is #1 for a reason…
There is a vast, yawning gap between laws that are written down, and unenforced cultural taboos that are universally observed as a sign of respect the individual pays to the sensibilities of the community. There is an abundance of little things that are frowned-upon, and because they are frowned-upon they are very seldom done. They carry absolutely no penalty whatsoever. In fact, making any kind of “hard” law against some of these things, is one of the taboos.
Decency is a lot like a fart sometimes: If you have to force it too much, a lot of times it turns out to be shit. Oops! Think I just broke the taboo…
If you think this is going toward something about political correctness, you are right.
I am worried. I’m worried that it’s been so long since we’ve seen a problem actually solved, we don’t know what it looks like anymore and we don’t understand the process. The partisanship has just made things worse, when a U.S. President or some other executive inserts himself. Half the time, nothing identifiable actually gets done; if it does get done, then the party opposed to that executive will find all sorts of things wrong with it, while the executive’s own party just cherry-picks anything that might be interpreted as positive news, and hogs all the credit, casting blame upon whoever came before for whatever might not be so positive. People have resigned themselves to the reality that that’s the process. The idea that there are simple and reliable ways to forecast things from other things…genuine causes and effects, with genuine relationships tying them together…gets lost.
I’m also worried about the decisions being made by decent people. If this was some sort of enchantment being worked on indecent people, I would not be worried. But these are salt-of-the-earth types, who have grown weary of seeing “fuck” and “shit” and the like, casually dropped in common discourse. There was a union between them, and the South Park Republican types — they were unified by things that actually worked. Now we have Trump. There is a realignment, a wedge being driven between these two. The decent, salt-of-the-earth types are mulling over the idea of abandoning what works, going with the hot-air politicians who spew empty rhetoric.
Did Trump do it? I think not. He illuminated it. Salt-of-the-earth type used to have a meaning associated with it; you might be a farmer. Or, someone else who does things that actually work. Maybe that’s slipping out of our grip, maybe we’re moving past that.
There is no excuse for going with political correctness. You thought that had something to do with decency? That that was, perhaps, this long-awaited desirable fusion between the high wall that keeps spicy things out of the reach of kids, and the softer cultural taboo as opposed to hard laws? Thought that was it?
No. Political correctness is destruction, plain and simple. We’ve been wandering through the thick of it, like through a fog, since I was a kid. And I just turned fifty.
A little while ago, one of my decent, salt-of-the-earth type friends tried to get me to see the light after I took note of the high level of energy being spent by a couple of annoying cunts, to behave like annoying cunts. He tried to convince me to aspire toward a loftier standard of behavior, and I know that’s what his motivation was because when he failed to do so, he simply…failed. The next step would be to erect whatever sensible divisions became necessary, between his enclave of reverberating opinion, and my own, to keep out this R-rated talk where it is not appropriate. He didn’t, and he wouldn’t, make an attempt to destroy me for my transgression. Or, put me in my place…really show me who’s boss. A crusade for political correctness, as we all know too well today, does not look like that. Political correctness may exact a promise to never repeat the offense again, and it will bulldoze onward in this spirit of “No, you said it! We still GOT YOU!”
Political correctness is political. It is not decency. An attempt to enhance decency, resulting in destruction of the person who caused offense, but realizing no acknowledgement that the better behavior is better behavior — will have failed. Political correctness is about the destruction. If P.C. can bring about the acknowledgement of better behavior, and a sincere promise not to re-offend, but fails to destroy, then it, too, has likewise failed. It’s got nothing to do at all with bringing about a more enlightened or civilized society, and some among us are quite tired of this obligatory expectation that we should treat it that way.
It’s about getting people canned. Period, full-stop.
As such, it does not promote civilized-human behavior. It promotes shark behavior.
We just saw it, didn’t we, in Port Angeles? Quoting from the piece on profanity, linked above:
Whetham’s comments cited by Kidd occurred Aug. 2, when the council discontinued fluoridation temporarily on a 4-3 vote at least until a Nov. 7, 2017, advisory election.
That partially reversed a 4-3 Dec. 15 decision to continue fluoridation for 10 years after Mayor Patrick Downie switched sides.
Whetham was on the winning side Aug. 2 and the losing side Dec. 15.
The roles were reversed for Kidd, a fluoridation proponent.
Whetham did not return repeated calls for comment Wednesday.
“Will we have a list of profane words?” Whetham asked Kidd at Tuesday’s meeting.
Kidd responded that she did not want people to “use profanity, period.”
Got that? The article is worded just terribly…here’s the best I can make out of what happened.
The mayor switched sides…so this bitter old crone who won the fluoridation vote back in December, lost the vote just this month. So here comes that attitude, we’ve seen it before: “Well, darn it, I’m gonna win at SOMETHING here!” Probably aggravated by the anti-fluoridation guy being a little smartass, twisting the knife a little after his victory. So now Port Angeles is suddenly embroiled in this hoop-de-doo about language.
But, it’s not language. That would carry the implication that this is good for the city. It’s not about the city, it’s about this one crone and her hurt feelings. It’s about feelings and not about thought. “Kidd responded that she did not want people to ‘use profanity, period.'”
The request for a list might have been smartass too. But, not entirely unreasonable. The offensive word was “hell,” which is around the periphery of profanity in this day and age. Not Fuck, Cunt, Shit, Asshole or anything of the sort. I just used “smartass” twice, just above. Would I get dinged for that if I sat on the council?
It’s not a trivial question. A rule worth making is a rule worth defining. It’s really all about the definitions; and any of these salt-of-the-earth decent types, if they’re that way because they’ve been busying themselves with building things that actually work, that other people actually need, then they should be able to appreciate that.
The perfect tyrannical society has exactly one rule: “It is a crime for people to do things I don’t like.” That’s just a fancy way of saying, tyranny is not in the cruelty of the punishment, or the innocence of a seemingly innocuous act that could land you in real trouble. It isn’t even invested in the inequality of authority. We live under tyranny when we live under lack of definition. When the severity of a crime is decided in the aftermath. That’s tyranny. That’s what it is.
And we seem to be sharing our citizenship status with fellows who are hungry for it. It’s almost like, in their world, everything turns out okay if we just get rid of fratboy behavior, everywhere. Well, that’s not a rational thought process that leads to good results. That is a phobia, and it should be treated as such.
Forbes investigates. It comes away with a mix: People are generally not in much of a movie-going mood; summer started earlier this year; inadequate marketing.
I have a couple more ideas.
Star Trek’s appeal, as a vision for the future, is reassuring. We didn’t wipe ourselves out of existence, people of all sorts of different nationalities are getting along together. That’s fine, but “reassuring” is boring. Also, the franchise didn’t rely on that part of it as much as it does now. There used to be this thing about “boldly go where no man has ever gone before!” Then that was declared un-P.C., so it became “where no one has gone before.” Then it got reversed, in the worst Star Trek episode ever made, in which the courageous and intrepid Enterprise crew discovers that the warp drive is tearing apart the fabric of the universe or something. Although they didn’t put it like this word-for-word, this effectively flipped the motto around like a pancake being turned: “To timidly avoid going where just about everyone else has already been.”
They just wanted to be socially conscientious progressives, I’m sure. Well, they nuked the spiritual essence of a beloved and revered cultural tradition when they did that…which is what progressives do. So, we’ve got this huge tub full of good-hearted people wearing uniforms, being very careful not to go faster than Warp 5 so they don’t break anything? What’s the point?? How about…just not go? Starting with the premises provided, that is where common sense goes.
Star Wars, in contrast, is two stories. One takes place in the technological realm, involving pilots, ships, space stations, and lasers that go pew pew pew…the other takes place in a spiritual realm, unseen by all who are not “force sensitive.” Good and evil battle each other, in both realms. There you go. Spiritual…and…good & evil. Star Wars believes in the compass points. Evil is objectively evil, no need to debate it. There are good people doing evil things, but that’s consistent with real life — people are books, their good & evil deeds are pages within the books.
Star Trek has a way of crossing this line, into the Hipster Zone in which the deeds themselves can be subject to endless debate, with great points made on both sides, about whether this is good or evil. This complicates things needlessly, since it is not consistent with real life. Best Star Trek movie ever? There’s little or no disagreement: The Wrath of Khan, within which there is no necessity, none whatsoever, to tediously debate the good & bad parts of stealing the Genesis device and killing Admiral Kirk. That’s all-the-way bad, and this bad guy must be stopped. That’s good drama. But this has been receding. With every good act debatable as a potentially bad thing, and every bad act debatable as a potentially good thing, the whole story dissolves into an opera about characters in uniforms flying ships and feeling certain ways about things.
Well…if we don’t relate to the characters, that’s all it takes to send the whole thing over a brink.
But this brings me to my second idea. Following is a list of what the villain is trying to do in each movie, and why; see if you can figure out where I’m going with this.
I: Merge with The Creator, so I can learn my purpose.
II: Kill Admiral Kirk, because I blame him for killing my wife.
III: Steal the plans for the Genesis device, for fortune and the glory of the Klingon Empire.
IV: Talk to the whales, to make sure they’re still there.
V: Go to Sha Ka Ree, to find God, because……….??
VI: Sabotage the peace conference, so we can keep fightin’.
VII: Extinguish the star, killing everyone in the solar system, to go into The Nexus.
VIII: Go back in time and mess up First Contact, to assimilate Earth into the Borg Collective.
IX: Poison the entire planet, killing everybody, because I’m angry about my prior banishment.
X: Kill Captain Picard, and everyone on Earth, because I’m angry about being abandoned by the Romulan government.
XI: Kill everybody on Vulcan, and everybody on Earth, because I’m angry that Spock didn’t save my planet.
XII: Kill everybody I can, because I’m angry that Admiral Marcus woke me up from my nap.
XIII: Kill everybody on the Yorktown, because I’m angry that Starfleet didn’t come looking for me or something.
You see the issue now? There is a gradual but increasing over-reliance on “kill everybody indiscriminately because I’m angry”…which, with all these terrorist attacks, could be said to mirror real life somewhat. But, that isn’t why they’re doing it. This second problem ties in somewhat with the first problem. Star Trek, now immersed deeply into the Hipster Zone in which so few evil deeds can be recognized as decidedly evil, all of them have to be put up to some endless debate, is grasping at straws in a futile search for the few evil deeds that are irredeemable and thus not subject to this debate. And they’re left with only one.
There’s no strategic thinking involved in this. Last time any Star Trek villain did any of that, was twenty years ago. And that, it should be noted, has not aged very well now that it’s established that traveling back in time and changing history, merely launches a new universe. So what the heck? Why not let The Borg go ahead and gobble up Earth like a big fish swallowing a guppy? Earth Prime is still safe.
As the Wrath of Khan decisively proves, the bad guy has a lot of pull in deciding if the movie is going to be any good or not. A lot of pull. More than the hero. It also proves vengeful bad guys can be interesting; there is a way to do this correctly. The bad guy’s lust for vengeance has to make him into a Determinator, that seems to be important. But there are other rules too, because many of the above films had that going on, and they still didn’t work.
Bottom line is, Star Trek is having trouble because it’s in denial of the worthiness of the instinct of self-preservation. What it really needs is good old-fashioned submarine warfare — which Wrath of Khan did have, and which elevated at least one old episode to true greatness. The producers, in their current mindset, won’t green-light this. It would shrug off the hipster mentality that says all life forms are equally worthy, and sometimes the gazelle should stumble so the lion can have a decent meal. That’s not the way it used to work. It used to be, “They’re coming for us, it’s us or them” was sufficient to establish the roles of good guy and bad guy. Today you can’t do that. The lives that are at stake have to be truly innocent, at a distance, multiple in number, and most important of all…strangers. The bad guy’s not coming for you, he’s coming for Boston, or London, or Africa or India, or that solar system over there, or Earth, or the Yorktown, or…
Now that they’ve taken this step of debating all goodness and all evil, into incomprehensibility, for sake of embiggening horizons; they have achieved the exact opposite. Star Trek movies can only have one kind of bad guy anymore, and he can only be doing one thing, for one reason. That doesn’t excite people into attending repeat viewings. And after the movie comes out on video, this doesn’t get the disc back into the player. That’s not enough to make these into bad movies, but it doesn’t make them good movies either.
Nobody ever reads this blog, since it’s The Blog That Nobody Reads, and all…and one of our nobodies wrote in this morning with an inquiry.
Do either of you remember one of Morgan’s posts where he was talking about how conservatives have ceded so much of the public square to liberals because “we’ve got shit to do” and now conservatives are starting to realize that such was a mistake? (I found a few posts where he mentions the idea but I could swear there was one where he fleshed it out.)
These assignments are always pretty tough, for me most of all, because these thoughts are hovering in the background ready to find their way out into the open — and they do, multiple times. As the interested party notes, and this happens often…there’s one post where I really tear down the bunny trail, and it would be good to find that one, not one of the others that came before or afterward.
Well…Score! I think. Half a year ago, this time. Turns out I was talking about science, and what lately has been happening to it. Then I drifted just a bit…
Think back to decades ago when our liberals commanded us to question authority, as opposed to agreeing with authority all of the time to prove we’re not racists. I don’t mean in the build-up to the invasion of Iraq, I mean more like Vietnam. In those days, politics became the dominion of liberals. Conservative parents wanted their liberal kids to get haircuts, and jobs. The liberal kids wanted to protest. From this split came a situation in which the liberal kids concentrated on getting, keeping, and using a voice, and the passion persisted until they were no longer kids. Conservatives, meanwhile, figured out the chickens weren’t going to gather their own eggs, the roofs weren’t going to repair themselves…they didn’t have time for this shit.
Throughout this time, you see the liberals still lost elections. But they lost them after having won the previous elections, after the public got a good clear view of the harm that comes from liberal policies. These decades represent repeated laps around the unnecessary-mistake track; laps taken by, unfortunately, the entire country.
Now we are at a critical juncture. The conservatives who clean the crap out of the sewer lines and lay the foundations upon which buildings will be erected, that will house all sorts of publicly funded liberal-egghead think tanks, have come to the unpleasant realization that previous generations never quite learned: They have to make the time for politics. They’ve got to attend to it, as if it’s yet another chicken with eggs not yet gathered, otherwise everything else they’ve done is for nothing. They’ve got to write the code that works, they’ve got to build the diesel engines that successfully contain the explosions, they’ve got to manufacture the action boxes for 9mm pistols that don’t rupture under the stress, and do all the other things that liberals can never do. Then, they have to participate in politics like the liberals do. And the conservatives have to grow all our food.
Can you imagine a liberal being a potato farmer? It would never work. He would decide “this soil is good for growing potatoes,” and then he would do what liberals do all the time: Promulgate the narrative. The very last thing to figure into his actions would be the lingering question of whether or not the soil is any good…and come harvest time, there’d be no potatoes. If you want a big bundle of excuses about how everything is Republicans’ fault, liberals are your guys. Or, gals, or zhers or whatever. But if you want something to actually work then that’s not where you go. It’s not their bag, baby.
If liberals ever toil away under any sort of standard, their first move is to re-negotiate the standard. They’re so busy re-defining things, they’ve made themselves into strangers to the concept of ever getting any actual work done.
So conservatives have to make things work…food that can really be eaten, code that can really be run, combustion chambers that really do contain explosions…then they have to make time to argue with liberals who don’t have to worry about any of that. Wrestle with the pigs in the mud.
So there are two problems here. One, liberals fancy themselves to be too good for any task that involves dirty hands…any task whose completion status is testable. We no longer live in the era in which such neglect bears consequences. If you think yourself too good to cook hamburgers, you can still get hamburgers whenever you want. So, liberals are running around on the Internet, on blogs and on other forms of social media, because Barack & Michelle have asked them to — and, they’re bored.
The other problem is that if the liberals ever did sweep the sidewalks or embalm the bodies or kill the weeds or design the car engines, they’d just do it until they found the entertainment factor to fall short of their expectations, which would be pretty damn soon. If they didn’t get the task done satisfactorily, who’s to say? So either way, they’ve got a lot more time for this than conservatives do, since the conservatives are doing things that are testable, which takes a great deal more time. Anytime you vote in an election, you have to be prepared to lose; anytime you gamble, you must be prepared to lose; and whenever you run tests in good faith, on anything, you must account for that proportion of times that the tests are going to fail.
Conservatives are building the bridges on top of which the cars are going to be driven — we wouldn’t have it any other way. Would you really want to drive a car upon a bridge built by a liberal? Not if you want to see your next birthday. So people are counting on the conservatives, the conservatives have to work away at the task until it’s really done, and the whatever really does work. While, the liberals are bored…so of course the liberals have taken over the arena of rhetoric. Add to that, the fact that conservatives are naturally harder to get engaged in any sort of coordinated political action, because they think too independently. Contrast the recent Trump vs. Cruz contest, versus the Hillary vs. Bernie contest; no need to comment further on that, I think.
Still, the conservatives win elections. The liberals only have the White House, nothing else. It isn’t because conservatives have gotten good at participating in this verbal cage match. Rush Limbaugh, and a few others in the same business with the same leanings but not nearly approaching his stature — versus academe, cable, liberal blogs that have become media phenomena, the residual power of the printed daily. On top of which, anything anywhere that is any sort of bureaucracy, naturally tugs left.
So why are the conservatives winning elections when the liberals are dominating what the conservatives still have yet to effectively challenge? Just the experience of the electorate, that’s all. Big government looks like the answer, only to people who haven’t actually dealt with it yet. People who haven’t gone through the experience of waiting in line for a building permit…because they haven’t built anything.
You’ve all been watching way too many TV shows where all men, especially all white men, especially white men in commercials, are portrayed as morons. Like that commercial where Tarzan and Jane are looking for the waterfall. Tarzan is made to look like an idiot for not asking directions, yet it is Jane who is expecting the chimpanzee to speak English. But let’s be blunt ladies. Nagging or harping over stuff that you do not understand about men, is why you have no sex life, or no life in your sex, with your guy. The more years in denying and not appreciating who we are, or how we are not like you, or how we don’t think like you, the worse it will get. So if you really want to have the best sex of your life, say to your guy “let’s get lost honey, and then we’ll find our way out.” And then enjoy the process that follows: the fear of not knowing where you are, the challenge of many roads, the characters you meet along the way, the towns you discover, the hidden restaurant no one knew about — all these are possible. And once your guy gets to rescue you both, the rest, well, I leave to your imagination. But there’s one critical thing you have to do to make this work. You have to turn off the GPS. And this brings us to the point of this article…
One of the worst things to happen to cars was the automatic transmission. Women love it because it makes driving easier. Men, real men, despise automatic transmissions, because a manual stick shift gives you more control, more options, more capability, and most important, it is the driver not the car who decides when to change gears, and that is the essence of independent manhood…
My essential theory is that women feel free when they are secure, and men feel secure when they are free. That fundamental difference is at the root of all relationship problems, and in our case here, the root of how technology, or the lack of it sometimes, feminizes men.
He starts with the cars and the GPS…finishes with the guns.
Women, until they’ve shot them, hate guns. All they see are the dangers, the deaths, and the macho attitude they hate. Women who shoot predominantly do it for the self defense aspect. Men, do it more for the art. Now, there have been some absolutely horrible things happening with guns. And those are crimes, so I’m not speaking of the criminal use of guns. Rather, I’m talking about the legal use. I want to step away from the crimes for just a bit, and deal with the technology, and the attraction to guns, by men, who value freedom, and don’t want to be feminized by technology…
Guns go back hundreds of years. The technology is simple. There isn’t a lot to be added unless you get into computerized gunsights, highly advanced scopes, or other advanced technology out of the price range of your average guy at the shooting range. So the attraction is to put a bullet in the tiny center of a target sometimes hundreds of yards away. That is an art. Long time shooters will figure temperature, ammo type, distance, wind, humidity, and any other factor available. It is like telling the weather from clouds, or guessing shutter speeds, because all of these skills require developing talents, skills and instincts, in other words, man stuff. There is another thing men have lost to technology — fussing. Guns can require an amazing amount of fussing. You can take them apart, and put them together. You can clean, polish, work the action, practice, and do an infinite amount of fussing with the guns themselves. You can mount scopes, and all manner of other attachments. If you compete in pistol or rifle there are an infinite amount of modifications and parts that can be added and interchanged. If you load your own ammunition, a whole new category of fussing emerges…The fact that guns are also dangerous only adds to the fascination. Being able to control that force and power, and responsibility, is a huge thrill. Which in a way explains the complete opposition to guns by women and feminist men who don’t want that kind of responsibility. They just can’t understand the attraction because they just aren’t oriented that way, and because they can’t understand guns, or fast cars, or manual cameras, or sextants and ancient navigation, or maps and compasses, or airplanes without a radar baby sitter, or just the simple pleasure of getting lost, all of these have to be done away with, shamed, blocked, condemned, demonized, removed, made obsolete by technology, or confiscated by government regulation. And that ladies and gentlemen is one huge reason why we have a man crisis.
Men have been feminized by technology, and with it, society has become feminized as well. [emphasis mine]
It’s an old problem, actually. But as we continue to describe it, the definitions deteriorate. Men and women, for example. At this late date, a lot of women get it now; and, a lot of men do not. Women, in fact, have often developed quite a passion about this, and in many cases that can be directly traced to the frustration involved in selecting a suitable mate. So the gender divide is diminishing even as the passions that ensconce all the individuals further into one side or the other of that divide, increase.
What you’re left with is a somewhat gender-neutral culture conflict. That’s why I like this thing about “women feel free when they are secure, and men feel secure when they are free.” Because today’s men are assuming woman-like preferences for things, and today’s women are filling the void in masculinity themselves, you have to add “and some men” and “and some women” into that to keep it accurate. But there’s your cultural divide. And I would go further to, just like working the reduction operation in a division equation involving two fractions, simplify it a bit: Security and opportunity. Who among us is prepared to offer up a some of one of those, in exchange for a bit more of the other? I would opine, everyone with a brain. But which is to be sacrificed for which? There’s your divide.
There is a common narrative here that the two sides are chasing, in different ways. It goes something like this: Without me involved in this excursion, failure was certain, but with my contribution we have a fighting chance. Of course that is always exaggerated somewhat — no job is indispensable. The point is that no one wants to be completely replaceable, either. Some of us chafe at the idea, when we learn how to do a new job, of being handed some sequenced script: Push this button, move this lever, light should come on after awhile, turn that key, close the door. Especially when we’re told things like “And nobody knows what the heck is happening when the light comes on, that’s the way we always done it.” How do we know if the light bulb has gone bad? And what if it’s working, and it doesn’t come on so we can execute the next step, what’s the procedure then? Besides of which: That’s not really a skill. A trained chimp could do that.
But to a good half of the people we’re going to meet on any given day, that’s all plenty good enough.
I met someone in one of my old I.T. support jobs who joked about this. “Network goes down, network comes back up again, every other Friday we get a paycheck.”
The two sides seek control in different ways. The people who think the way real men used to think, aren’t happy with their scripted procedures because they want to know how the mechanism works. They’re thinking ahead, to parts failing and breaking, when there’s no one else around to call. But it’s also instinctive; they don’t want to call anyone else.
The other people, who think the way women used to think, and both sexes think now, just want to execute their steps. If this reduces them to automatons who could be replaced with the next generation of unthinking robot, they don’t give a rip; for some reason, this doesn’t bother them. Must be nice. What do they do when the lever won’t move into the desired slot, or the light doesn’t come on when it should? They get nasty, start to assume an air of royal superiority I’ve noticed, and I guess that’s where the transfer of control is. The masculine side lusts after control early, the feminine side grasps at it later, after things have broken.
Someone from work was reading the post previous, and audibly admired the phrase “non-producers tell producers how to do their producing,” which is a bundle of words I’ve strung together many times over the past twelve years in these pages. I’m positive I’m not the first to notice it. I guess that’s how it happens. Someone becomes an “expert” in their job by learning a script, not bothering to learn how anything works…acquires a little bit of authority before the first time being put on the spot when a fuse blows, and then you have the lethal combination. Napoleonic complex, pressure to get the job done, a gizmo not functioning the way it should; and, a gap in technological ignorance that isn’t supposed to be there. Next thing that happens is someone bellowing “Plug The Damn Hole!”, or some variation of that.
Which carries us back to the first observation, about asking for directions. Technology, of late, has veered away from making new things possible and put a renewed emphasis on making things easier that were already possible. This has a tendency to reduce the humans operating the technology to the automaton role, which is keenly annoying to roughly half of us, whereas the other half is gobbling it down and demanding seconds, not seeing a problem with it.
I guess I’m more annoyed — and on occasion, more annoying — than most because of my profession. Most gratifying part of my job is when I get to design how a new software module is going to work, and I’ve achieved some measure of success here by sticking to my old credo of: Keep the humans doing what humans should be doing, and the machines doing what the machines should be doing. That’s served me very well. But, by going through that cycle to earn my next loaf of bread, I’ve become aware of a type of human that — who? or maybe “that” is appropriate in this case — doesn’t mind doing machine work, not even a little tiny bit. Doesn’t mind being replaceable, doesn’t think about it.
No, it isn’t women. There are a lot of guys in this camp. They want to follow the script, push a button, wait for the light to come on and push another button. They don’t care what’s going on inside…and, much more often than not, they hate guns. They’ve often made a promise never to own one, but they have all sorts of ideas about what the next batch of rules about guns should be.
For a number of years now, I have been noticing there are two realities. There is the reality we think about and the reality we feel. A reliable way to distinguish between the two of them is to assess our own likely reactions to the spoken opinions of others. Which very often, as in you don’t have to wait long to see it happen, coagulates into a single chorus with a single melody, harmony and tempo. You also, regrettably, don’t have to wait long to see this consensus depart from the truth that is known. This presents opportunity; without such a conflict, things are not testable, and with the conflict in place, they’re testable. So when that happens, what do you think? How do you feel? And most importantly, how does it make you act?
This is the subject of The Emperor’s New Clothes by Hans Christian Andersen. This is a childrens’ fairy tale about an enclave, within which the spoken/felt reality and the thinking reality take off in opposite directions. The townspeople, reckoning with anticipated consequences, form their opinions based on punishment and reward; in so doing, these fantasy opinions begin to gel with their feelings. It’s a common mistake. And what’s right in front of their eyes, and gathered directly by way of their other senses, after a time carries no influence for them whatsoever. And we see this, here in America, in our elections. Time is another useful indicator of deciding whether an interested opinionated type is driven by thought or by feeling, since feeling is snapshot-driven, unconcerned with whatever came before. Once an election is over, of course, we’re going to all become…and this is as predictable as any sunrise…disenchanted with our day-to-day productive lives being managed by political types who produce nothing.
And yet when the year number is divisible by 4, somehow this all changes. A non-politician as our President? Gasp! The horror! I’ve seen this in midterms, too; in 2010, I had noticed the word “unqualified” was taking on a strange new meaning. If you told things the way they really were, without trying to dodge the truth with diplomatic euphemisms, this set you apart from the political class that inspires our natural resentment during the odd-numbered years; and it made you unqualified for the office. We collectively seem to have a Stockholm Syndrome in place when it comes to the bullshit that keeps us hostage in our daily lives. It would appear we’re now at the point where we demand it. Anybody who can’t supply it to us on a regular basis is unqualified.
Another way to tell thinking apart from feeling. Feeling is loud. It has to be, because in the process of forming this coagulated consensus, it has to be communicated with these “Who’s with me???” text messages, posts, tweets — demonstrations. Thinking relies on perception. If you’re not doing some sort of experiment in chemistry, perception tends to be quiet. And so there is a “Loud Crowd” ready, willing, able and anxious to retort to the above with something like: “Oh no! Sarah Palin was unqualified in SO many other ways!! She’s SOOOOO stupid!!!eleventy!!” but that, again, is feeling and not thought. Thought relies on perception, and do these people personally know Sarah Palin? For the most part, no. Just like they personally don’t know Donald Trump.
Best argument I’ve ever heard for keeping Trump out of the White House: In 2018, under a Trump presidency, it is very easy to make the case that we need a democrat-dominated Congress to keep this narcissistic [fill-in-the-blank] in check. (Under a Hillary Clinton presidency, it is a persuasive argument that we need to elect Republicans.) That’s the best argument. The worst argument is the one I’ve heard most often lately: We cannot afford to have this kind of person with his finger on the nuclear button.
Again, this is feeling, not thought, because it is expression, not perception. Do these people personally know Donald Trump?
What happens when you really look into it? You might be surprised:
And…in the long history of our Stockholm Syndrome, this inter-generational feeling that we have to have unproductive people managing our nation’s production, tell me this: What sorts of men have had their fingers on this button? Forty-two men came before our current President. Those who base their arguments on the idea that occupants of this high office must fulfill some sort of lofty intellectual, temperamental and moral standard — which, it hasn’t been lost on me, goes largely undefined — demonstrate their ignorance of history of these 42 men. Simply put: No. We have not been honoring this high office by installing our best & brightest within. Not even close. Washington and Lincoln were probably okay dudes…Coolidge maybe, possibly Grant in some ways. As to the rest? Hey, they were what you should expect. We’re all human, all flawed. This office has been connected with disappointment, on average, much more often than with any sort of widespread elation over how something was handled. And for the most part, should’ve been. The “unfit for this lofty office” types imagine a halcyon White House history that seldom-to-never actually existed.
The political class, rushing to loudly communicate this feeling so it can be gelled into a consensus, ramping up on both the amplitude and the frequency of the message, expresses its displeasure and its shock that the electorate could even be seriously considering this dirty outsider. I’m guessing the displeasure and the shock are both genuine. And they should be. This political class is just starting to get a reading on just how disenchanted their constituents have become. Some of them might even have received it in full:
YES, there are all sorts of problems with Donald Trump, he’s even dangerous — but still way better than you.
I’m hearing an awful lot about how one candidate or the other is necessary for America’s continuing survival, that America cannot endure under whoever the opposition is. Let me add to that here: America is an organism, and lives under the same laws of nature as any other organism. Organisms endure problems, but only when they are capable of 1) addressing them or 2) adapting to them. When an organism perishes from a problem, it isn’t the problem itself that kills it, it’s the inability to address the problem over time. America has a problem and the problem is not hard to see at all: Our “leaders,” particularly on the democrat side, are not invested in the average citizen’s economic success. The current administration distinguishes itself by presiding over the most anemic economic recovery ever; and yet it, and its spokesmen, and social-networking fan base continue to crow about how awesome it’s all going. There’s your proof. And that’s your consequence of having non-producers tell producers how to do their producing. Is it any harder to start a small business, to keep it running, than it was thirty years ago? What matters is not the yes or no that follows that question; what matters is, why should Obama care.
But the problem goes back to well before Barack Obama. And it isn’t Obama’s fault. It’s the citizen’s fault. Maybe there aren’t enough among the citizenry who are actually producing? But there is this mindset that a politician’s job is to give good speeches. It’s like people have consciously realized, if the politician can speak effectively, he will just convincingly deflect blame for anything that goes wrong, and convincingly hoard credit for anything that goes well; so the “Are you better off than you were four years ago?” of Reagan’s era, will just kind of work itself out, if the figurehead can only speak effectively. So let’s elect charismatic types with perfect pant-leg creases, feel rather than think…all will be good. Take your Soma.
When & if the day comes we finally manage to liberate ourselves from that, we liberate ourselves from misery. President Trump’s temperament is not likely to help make that happen, but it’s unlikely to get in the way of it either. This country has been battle-tested, under the leadership of some very poor presidents with very poor temperament. Think, don’t feel, and you’ll see this is correct. Read your history.
Liberals are a strange beast. They hear Donald Trump saying “Make America Great Again” and take instant umbrage to the implication that America somehow isn’t already great. I guess in their world of must-think-this and must-not-think-that, they’ll not be permitting anyone to think America isn’t great.
Well, I suppose it’s good to see liberals and conservatives agreeing that America is great. Although I do have my doubts about that. Seems this famous speech is still drawing rave reviews…
I have noticed that there is an almost physical impossibility involved in declaring something “great,” until one takes the time and trouble to declare what something is. I alluded in the post previous to some of the life’s lessons I have learned from developing software; that is one of them. You don’t have to look far to find some sales exec extolling the virtues of his company’s software products, how powerful they are, how flawless they are…quality, bug-free, robust, scalable, etc. But you’ll notice they seldom get around to talking about what makes them so. Processes? It must be processes. Design? Implementation? Testing? And then sometimes you’ll have the opportunity to work there, and it turns out it’s like watching sausage being made.
Over time I have been forced to accept an inconvenient truth. There is no definition to be gleaned about what something is, for no such definition actually exists; not unless there is a prerequisite definition of what is to be excluded. In more concise terms: In order to define what something is, you first have to define what it is not.
We have across-the-board agreement that America is great? Very well; what makes it so? It isn’t the sunshine, the irrigation, the quality of the soil we have in mind. Some might be inclined to emit some glurgy syllables about the wonderful people; but, it seems everyone has some codification rattling around in their craniums, somewhere, about which groups of people suck, and many among those sucky people are Americans. So that’s not it.
Because of the exclusion rule, I have come to hold the truth to be self-evident that open-borders advocates do not, and cannot, believe in American greatness. They do not believe America is great now, they do not believe it’s ever been great, they don’t believe it is in America’s destiny, the probable or the optimal, to ever reach greatness. How could they? They believe in entropy.
God Himself is not above the exclusion rule, or I suppose chooses not to bother with getting around it. If we know anything at all about the Kingdom of Heaven, we know that it is exclusive. It goes without saying we’d have a lot fewer worries if that were not so. But it is, and it’s not hard to see why. If we take it upon ourselves to pronounce, breezily, the way liberals pronounce it with so many other things — “From this point forward, anyone can get into Heaven” — just the most cursory level of responsible thinking would compel us to spare our next thoughts for what is about to happen to Heaven. We already know there have been expulsions from it, and for defined reasons; there’s been no call for the Divine Wisdom to re-think those.
I think everyone gets this, whether they’re willing to admit it or not. This Trump fellow has caused a great hue and cry with his talk about building walls. As the critics against the wall-talk engage in their monologues about how bad walls are, how we ought to concentrate our energies on bridges and not walls, I have noticed the subject matter tends to spiral inward, Nautilus style, like a bit of astral detritus zooming along toward the event horizon of a black hole. Into a singularity: I am a good Christian, and Donald Trump is not. Or: His followers are not. It all seems to go toward me & my friends in, and those other assholes out. Every time. And just like the absorbed body can’t ever escape the black hole, the conversation never seems to veer out of that ever again. They speak out against the evil of building walls, while building one. What were Pope Francis’ exact words about this? “A person who thinks only about building walls — wherever they may be — and not building bridges, is not Christian.” That’s a perfect example. The Pope seeks to define what Christianity is, by declaring what can never be a part of it.
It works. But, by working, it reforms the Pope’s statement into an unworkable contradiction against itself.
I’ve noticed liberals have a tendency to attack things, very subtly, by nibbling around the periphery of a thing, attacking the definition of what makes the thing itself, by challenging any attempt to keep anything outside of it. The Republican party, for example: They need to be broader and more inclusive. The Boy Scouts should let homosexuals be scoutmasters. America should let in more immigrants, by which they mean but cannot bring themselves to say, illegal immigrants. Exclusion rule. So I’m theorizing that when liberals break down exclusions from a group, what they really seek to do is to destroy that group itself. How to test it? Simple; take something we know liberals do not want to destroy, see if they have the same desires.
They’re struggling for control of the House, Senate and White House. They have just one of those three things, and have a good chance of losing even that one in November. Where are the calls to make the democrat party the Big Tent party? Let in some stragglers? Hey I like hanging onto my money, I want lower taxes…can I be a democrat too?
Test fails. That proves, or at least fails to falsify, the theory. Everyone with a working brain believes in the exclusion rule, that you define what a thing is, thereby making it stronger, by defining what cannot be part of it. Everyone. But some among us seek to pretend otherwise, because they want to hide what they’re trying to do.
SNUL, and insert standard boilerplate “sorry super busy” excuse here; but, I should totally take the time to re-post this…someone else tried to do that, in a closed group, and failed because it was a Facebook friends-only post.
So he put out the call to the members to send me a friend-request. Good enough, but the thoughts really belong over here in the first place…
Beginning at the beginning…or, Why we argue about politics. More precisely, Why the people who say we should sweeten the discourse by simply not discussing anything, are wrong…
Routines of self-amusement aside, a human effort can involve an endeavor to create, preserve or destroy. Those three, nothing more — but — keep in mind a strategy is different from a tactic. A lot of preservation is invested in the destruction of something that, unattended, would destroy. And a lot of destruction is invested in the creation or preservation of something to do the destroying.
Destruction for destruction’s sake is appealing to the childlike mind because it involves instant gratification. When you’re talking about civilization, it also holds appeal for those who are invested in bringing about civilization’s end, perhaps with an eye toward building a new one atop the ruins.
And the Storming of the Bastille, 7/14/1789, was all about that. The truck-attack that took place on the anniversary of that event, also, was all about that. Liberals coming out of the woodwork to say “They shouldn’t do anything in response, because blah blah blah core values,” also, are about that because that’s acting in preservation of a destructive agent. Notice: These “core values” are undefined (although we know they don’t include protecting the innocent from harm). There’s a tip-off for you: One of the reasons creation and preservation are more boring than destruction, why they demand an ability to work and receive motivation from delayed gratification, is that these require strong definitions. Destruction is appealing to those nursing some phobia against defining anything. You don’t need to define anything at all, other than is the wrecking ball sufficiently massive to topple the structure. Everything else is up for grabs, so you can wink wink, nudge nudge, “everybody knows,” mumble, and chant slogans written for retards that rhyme.
I’m finding the wink wink nudge nudge “we all know” stuff is measurably wearing on me, like the sense of fatigue that descends upon one involved in a genuinely physically exerting task, such as riding a bike up a steep incline. Most especially: “We all know why Trump is just as bad as Hillary,” or “Barack Obama is a lightworker,” or other arguments that won’t hold up to inspection. We-all-know, all too often lately, is simply a euphemism for let’s-not-go-into-it.
We have to distinguish a lot between creative vs. destructive energies in software development. Not consciously, but I find it’s necessary when analyzing the aftermath of something, be it good or bad. Over thirty years, the most common thing I have seen, by far, is this: The implementer is compelled, by decree from the guy who signs his paychecks, to raze something to the ground and start over again. That comes as a consequence of the guy knowing how to write code, knowing how to eventually make it all work, but failing to document his progress. It is exasperating for both parties involved, but in the lead-up, I think more-so to the manager who’s writing the checks. He does not mean to be a destroyer; he does not mean to be into the instant-gratification. The simple fact of the matter is that timesheets are being signed and money is being spent, so there must be some gratification somewhere.
So for decades now, I’ve been trying to learn how to do this, to document the potholes and twists & turns in the road ahead…as well as the road just behind. Revolutionaries who march in the street and chant stupid things that begin with “Hey hey, ho ho” don’t need to worry about any of that. They, as individuals, as well as their movement as a whole, are all riding on pure adrenaline. It looks like admirable, gritty determination, and certainly they like to think of it that way. But they’re not really thinking about progress, forecasts, disappointments, renewal of strategy, persevering against long odds…how much is done, how much is left to be done…any more than a warehouse worker absentmindedly popping the bubble wrap is thinking about how many bubbles are left in the roll.
Destruction is fun. Destruction is quick. Destruction doesn’t require architecture or strategy. It is appealing to the childlike mind.
This past week ended with me making it to fifty. Perhaps that is why reality, and the recognition of it, has been on my mind a bit lately. One of the sobering things about fifty is, like forty and thirty, you know the enthusiasm that surrounded your childhood birthdays is gone and it isn’t coming back. Nobody says “I’m forty-nine and a HALF!” They don’t say, in this bracket, I can’t wait until my next birthday. When people ask if it’s your birthday you don’t say “Heck yeah, where’s my presents!?” And fifty brings an additional splash of cold water, because up to now I’ve had the luxury of thinking, I’m going to check out of this plane of existence before I reach a 100 but I’m still on the first half. When you reach fifty, that’s a mathematical impossibility. I’m not on the first half anymore, unless I’m destined to achieve triple-digits, an outcome we can discard rather safely, I think. So that’s it. Done deal. My center-of-gravity is over the brink. I could ignore that if I choose, but what’s the point? It’s reality. Nobody’s making it out of this alive.
But maybe that’s not it. Maybe what has inspired these thoughts is the news. It made a big impression on me earlier in the week, when I prowled through several pages of new e-mail, clicking open links for further reading as I went, and when I was done I had these browser tabs all the way across my screen…which is typical…what was out of the ordinary was that every single story had something to do with reality, and the avoidance of it. Every single one.
Starting with that annoying Pokemon thing.
While the old, familiar faces are front and center, “Pokemon Go” has taken location-based gaming to a whole new level. The free app-based game creates a sort of “digital world” around physical sites using local time and GPS location, so that digital creatures “interact” with players in real time.
La[u]nched on July 6, the game was installed on more U.S. Android phones than Tinder by the following day, according to app analytics specialist Similar Web. On July 8 “Pokemon Go” was installed on 5.16 percent of all Android phones in the U.S, it said.
As I understand it, you point the device in a direction and the app will use the camera to render the objects in your field of view like always, but then superimpose this creature that isn’t really there. I am impressed by this explosion of energy surrounding this unreality-game. Have to congratulate the designers, visionaries and implementers for having their finger on the community’s pulse, or for their happy accident. We’ve already had our nation’s First Lady launching her years-long promotional campaign to get fatties off the couch and move their asses; she and her costars never enjoyed this sort of success.
People, I continue to learn, really get excited over the little opportunities life presents to ignore, deny or contradict reality.
I wonder if President Obama is feeding off that sort of excitement-burst when He pretends that a speech about fallen Dallas police officers is an occasion to discuss Himself, or that that Black Lives Matter protests are peaceful…
“You’re not seeing riots, and you’re not seeing police going after people who are protesting peacefully,” Obama said Saturday, downplaying the escalating crisis gripping the nation. “You’ve seen almost uniformly peaceful protests.”
In the context of the growing wave of violence and animosity directed at police, the president’s remarks appear downright disconnected from reality.
…or, could He just be playing to a crowd that’s feeling this burst. Or maybe this has nothing to do with what people find exciting or titillating? Could it be just a maturity problem? A failure to develop the intellectual hardiness we use when we take in unwelcome information? An unnaturally high F.Q., or Fantasy Quotient?
That much does seem to be a problem plaguing at least some of the loud, outspoken types involved in these stories, many of whom have inserted themselves into these stories. How many among them would start a “This conversation’s not over until it’s over the way I like it to be over” back-and-forth marathon, upon reading something like this…
Failed liberal policies, not racism, are mostly responsible for the condition in which poor African-Americans find themselves. Welfare dependency and the narrative that because one is black one will always be discriminated against keep many discouraged and defeated.
There are more African-American politicians today than ever, even in the White House. Why isn’t their narrative inspiring the next generation? I think it’s because if the poor were to become self-sustaining they might not need liberal politicians. Poor African-Americans are a core Democratic voting bloc, despite receiving little in return from the politicians they help elect.
What is the biggest lie and worst narrative of all? It’s that politicians can deliver economic and social salvation. Hating the police will not affect this narrative nor will it improve anyone’s circumstances.
[I]t is no accident that Western values of reason and individual rights have produced unprecedented health, life expectancy, wealth and comfort for the ordinary person. There’s an indisputable positive relationship between liberty and standards of living. There is also indisputable evidence that we in the West are unwilling to defend ourselves from barbarians. Just look at our response to the recent Orlando massacre, in which we’ve focused our energies on guns rather than on terrorists.
Saw an excellent article in The American Spectator by Jeffrey Lord pointing out exactly this problem.
Here we go again.
Yet another hotly reported media narrative stamps itself on the national dialogue only to find — oops! — maybe there are actually more facts to be discovered before we know, as they say, “the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.”
This time around the media narrative surrounds the Minnesota shooting by St. Anthony Village Police Department officer Jeronimo Yanez, the shooting victim one Philando Castile. Says a police audio tape of Yanez:
“I’m going to check IDs. I have reason to pull it over. The two occupants just look like people that were involved in a robbery. The driver looks more like one of our suspects, just ’cause of the wide-set nose.”
Then we learn that there are pictures out there of the robber — one of two — committing the robbery, gun in hand. And indeed there is a similarity between one of the robbers and Castile.
Now. How did we learn any of this? From a narrative quite different from the mainstream media’s all-too-predictable “racist white cop kills black man” story — a different narrative that went viral over at Conservative TreeHouse. The TreeHouse story drew instant wrath from liberal websites. Over at Mediaite John Ziegler put it this way:
Shocker! It Looks Like the Media May Have Bought a False Narrative in Philando Castile Shooting
The trouble here is that this presentation of a false narrative instead of the presentation of facts keeps happening over and over and over again. X occurs, the mainstream media jumps for the convenient liberal narrative of the moment — and the facts be damned.
We do have a problem with some “minority communities,” as they call them, becoming estranged from the police personnel who protect and serve them. I’m sure it goes both ways, people on both sides of the divide behaving differently than they’d behave if the divide was closed. But it impresses me that this continues to happen; the examples emerge, and the lately-arriving facts start to create problems for the examples.
Why does it keep happening? It is the advocates whose agendas are connected to the quality of these examples, who get to pick them. Why do they pick such lousy examples, that are damaged so badly, or undone entirely, by lately-arriving facts? Did they not know “Hands up, don’t shoot” was a fraud? Maybe they didn’t care?
I’m settling on that last one, that they just didn’t care. I have to keep in mind, Pokemon-Go has finally motivated people to get up off their asses and exercise. Michelle and Beyonce couldn’t do that. People have a fascination with pretending the unreal is real. There’s just no getting away from it, and I have to think this fascination extends to pretending the unverified is verified.
There’s also a tendency for people to stick their heads in the sand and avoid acknowledging what actually is verified, even people in high level positions:
We’re in a global war, facing an enemy alliance that runs from Pyongyang, North Korea, to Havana, Cuba, and Caracas, Venezuela. Along the way, the alliance picks up radical Muslim countries and organizations such as Iran, al Qaeda, the Taliban and Islamic State.
That’s a formidable coalition, and nobody should be shocked to discover that we are losing the war.
If our leaders were interested in winning, they would have to design a strategy to destroy this global enemy. But they don’t see the global war. Instead, they timidly nibble around the edges of the battlefields from Africa to the Middle East, and act as if each fight, whether in Syria, Iraq, Nigeria, Libya or Afghanistan, can be peacefully resolved by diplomatic effort.
This approach is doomed. We have real enemies, dedicated to dominating and eventually destroying us, and they are not going to be talked out of their hatred. Iran, for example, declared war on the United States in 1979 — that’s 37 years ago — and has been killing Americans ever since. Every year, the State Department declares Iran to be the world’s primary supporter of terror. Do you think we’ll nicely and politely convince them to be good citizens and even (as President Obama desires) a responsible ally supporting peace? Do you think ISIS or the Taliban wants to embrace us?
No, we’re not going to talk our way out of this war, nor can we escape its horrors. Ask the people in San Bernardino or South Florida, or the relatives of the thousands killed on 9/11. We’re either going to win or lose. There is no other “solution.”
That, too, is something I’m noticing over and over again…people choosing their favorite narratives, as if they were choosing a favorite flavor of ice cream, without regard for what’s actually true…
On Monday Detroit Police Chief James Craig announced that the DPD has launched an investigation into Detective Nathan Weekley after his social media post went viral drawing over 40,000 views and a number of complaints.
The officer’s post was highlighted by the left-wing Michigan National Action Network revealing to liberal supporters of Black Lives Matter that the officer called the BLM movement “terrorists” and said that the only way the people would understand how important police are is to stop going to work.
“For the first time in my nearly 17 years as a law enforcement officer,” Detective Weekley wrote, “I contemplated calling into work in response to the outrageous act perpetrated against my brothers. It seems like the only response that will demonstrate our importance to society as a whole. The only racists here are the piece of (expletive) Black Lives Matter terrorists and their supporters.”
Over the line? Of course it’s easy to say so. But it’s not quite so easy to actually draw the line…across one issue and a great many others, keeping it straight as you go. Since when is calling someone a racist out-of-bounds? I’m seeing people do it quite often and not all of them are getting in trouble.
Phil had a good point to make about that…
I always find it fascinating that the people who scream the loudest about racism make absolutely everything about race. There’s nothing more racist than that.
Speaking of reality: John Hawkins came up with an intriguing thought exercise, of what would be going on in the world right now if white privilege really did exist the way some people seem to think it does. Interesting read, chock full of other things I don’t see happening…
1) We’d see frequent discussions on whether bumbling white dads or negative portrayals of southerners on TV and in movies were unfair to white people.
2) The government would be turning down talented black and Hispanic students to allow less qualified white students to get in via Affirmative Action.
3) Minorities would be LEAVING the United States, not making dangerous treks through the desert in the middle of the night to get in.
4) Falsely calling someone a “racist” would be considered to be just as repulsive as being a racist.
5) There wouldn’t be an option to press 2 for Spanish.
Say what you like about these, but at least they’re tests. And I guess the problem really does come right down to that, some of the ideas that are getting the best, most and brightest attention, and repeated most frequently at the highest decibel levels, are untested. Perhaps it is more accurate to say, the tests are wrong. The ideas are tested in terms of how much passion they can arouse, how much attention they can get. Not on the basis of whether they’re correct.
And here I must confront a paradox. It has been a permeating theme, around here, for the last twelve years that people have a tendency to estrange themselves from reality when they feel like they can afford to do so. Rounding up examples of me saying this, or something like it, would be time consuming and a bit pointless. First few times I made mention of this, it was in the context of Saddam Hussein’s old regime being declared, with blustering and theatrical confidence, to be clean and free of any WMD’s by our fellow anti-war citizens and their advocates; seldom correct, never in doubt. What has happened since then has gotten a bit twisty. People are still estranging themselves from reality. But, it doesn’t seem to be because of a feeling of stultifying abundance, or any sort of perception that they’re living high on the hog and reality has become optional.
Quite to the contrary. They’re voting to elect democrats, over and over again, even when they don’t agree with the democrats who are getting their votes. For the same reason the Depression-era voters kept re-electing FDR to further damage the economy. Their feeling is one of desperation.
But not completely. There are several different things happening at once here. It’s a mixed bag. People who say “Black Lives Matter is having a peaceful protest” are, quite obviously, of the opinion that if this statement is not correct, the lack of correctness will be costless to them. They are not in the line of fire. Maybe there is a loss of reputation that would come into play? But that doesn’t seem to count today the way it would have counted, let’s say, two hundred years ago. That bothers me more than anything. It’s like we’ve lost honor. Maybe that’s it. People can’t trust each other. This can be observed in the e-mail, often. People spread rumors, they get embarrassed when the rumors turn out to be false, and then they go back and do it again.
Sometimes they deny things that are actually true, and get told in front of everybody “Here’s a link.” Same embarrassment. Oops, my bad! And again, they go right back to it as if nothing happened.
So we’re going through an extended chapter here, in which reality is not to be taken that seriously, and reputations don’t matter much. Affluence and abundance have something to do with it, or at least they did. Maybe they still do. Desperation, and a feeling of dependence, also have something to do with it. “Must help spread the fable to make sure I can keep getting my vittles.” I guess the bottom layer of the Maslow Pyramid is something we’re enjoying in abundance, and there’s something higher up that is scarce, worth trading away the level of trust others could reasonably place in us. Which in generations past, would have been an irreplaceable thing.
I guess this observation comes down to only just that. It used to be, “If I say this thing that might not be true, my reputation could be wrecked and I won’t be able to get it back again.” That’s given way to, “If I say this thing that might not be true, some political agenda will be advanced, some group will benefit from that, and my stature within that group will increase. And who cares if it’s true or not, anyway?”
You want a pithy, one-sentence summary of what happened in Britain’s recent referendum on leaving the EU? Try this, from a woman in a call center in my district: “It’s the working classes against the smirking classes.”
Now the British class system is so tortuous and complicated that we struggle to understand it ourselves, let alone explain it to friends from overseas. But my hunch is that most Americans will recognize her sentiment.
She feels taken-for-granted, over-taxed, over-regulated, ignored, patronized, lied-to, laughed-at, disdained. She doesn’t expect her politicians to do everything she wants. She’d just like them to listen from time to time.
I have noticed people tend to feel a false sense of confidence regarding overly simplistic solutions to problems…over there. The acceleration of mass communication that has taken place over the last century and a half, or so, has made this easy to see.
It is the assurance of lack of expense that is the trigger; or at least, lack of frequent expense. De-personalization. I recall when people said not so jokingly, “just give it a good kick” when the teevee set wouldn’t pull in the signal. Nobody would think to say such a thing today. Is it because we think of these devices as less disposable than back then? Certainly not. We’re more educated about how electronics work? Hard for me to see; back in the 1970’s, kids didn’t just play with electronics, they actually built them, and the grownups shared this interest in how things function. Whereas today people just think about whatever is on the user interface. So it isn’t ignorance that triggers the “kick the teevee” mentality. It is distance from the source of the problem, coupled with an accumulated sense of frustration.
That’s your “smirking class” for you. They are people just like you and me, who have made the mistake of saying “What Those People need to do, is…” And they inspire the same sense of frustration in others when they do that.
In these modern times, this is a common problem; in previous times, it was a rarity, or didn’t happen at all. People from one class, affect the struggles of people in other classes. This has created the same effect that would arise from a spirited and widespread rejection of conservatism, without any such active rejection taking place. It is a deterioration brought on by way of insufficient faith, of insufficient defense, insufficient vigilance.
We have a conflict between working classes and smirking classes, because it has become an exceptional case that anyone fixates on their own class-workload. The fix is in the First Conquest Rule, that everyone is conservative about whatever he knows best.
So it’s clear to me, now, that when it comes down to a physical contest, we are not obliged, nor allowed, nor expected to defend ourselves. And this is not about gathering factual information, or statistics, to determine the best way to make our communities safer. If it were about that, the gun free zone would be living on borrowed time.
This is about culture conflict, straight-up. Guns bad, drugs good, cops bad, criminals good — who ya calling a criminal, anyway? Women good, men bad, up with ethnic, down with white, up with gay, down with straight, up with grass, down with tobacco, up with lady Ghostbusters, down with James Bond…it’s all about dividing us and tipping the scales in the ensuing culture-conflict, has nothing to do with actually fixing anything.
Except, it seems someone somewhere is choosing the culture. Christianity hasn’t got anything to do with guns…not much, anyway. Just one single thing fastens the issues together, the notion that human life is sacred. And yet when you look at the advocacy groups and the individuals that make them go, the alignment is nearly perfect. If someone opposes gun ownership, odds are they’re not too friendly with Christianity. Some Christians don’t like guns, but it’s hard to find one who will actually begrudge someone else’s decision to own one. They don’t look down on it with sneering contempt like the godless liberals do.
The day after Independence Day, I look around and notice it seems to have to do with independence…versus, dependence. It’s a disagreement of opinion about how government is supposed to function. What are our leaders, anyway? Is it a huge win for us when they escape accountability? Some people seem to think so, and these seem to be the people who think tax cuts are some sort of awful terrible idea. And, guns are bad. And that masculinity is bad too. Okay so when I put all this together, we’re not getting a very appealing picture…having a tough time seeing how anyone can be drawn to it. We react churlishly to anyone showing some individual capability to handle his own concerns, like health care and self defense…except for the strong girl thing, we’re supposed to like that just fine. But “strong” is not the same as being able to defend oneself against a threat. (In fact, that’s the whole idea of owning a gun, right?) So we vote in these leaders and pay high taxes, the higher the better. Make The Rich Pay Their Fair Share, and all that. And these leaders figure out where the money is supposed to go, in order to accomplish…well, we don’t know what. And if they get busted for something, they skate, because they’re just super wonderful mega awesome people or something.
So, after they get all our tax money, they use it to provide the defense against bad guys that we’re not allowed to provide for ourselves? It seems that is not part of the mindset. And that concerns me more than anything else. Providing for some defense for the weak and helpless, against those who would do them harm, is the one thing government is supposed to do. That comes before roads, park benches, sidewalks, mail. That is one of the biggest reasons our leaders are supposed to be accountable to us. Seems to me we’re slowly but surely losing the whole ball of wax.
Thomas Sowell is wondering what we’re celebrating in early July these days. I hate to say it, but I’m starting to wonder that too.
I have a question about this. I think it all comes down to this: Why do we bother with civilization? Some would say it’s got something to do with buying packaged and inspected food off a grocery store aisle as opposed to growing it ourselves, and maybe wiping our asses with quality toilet paper instead of dead leaves. I don’t think that’s it. I’m very sure we’re doing a lot of things with the grocery-bought food, things that even in this advanced era take up a lot of our time, that a hundred years from now will seem pretty wasteful and crazy. I don’t even want to ponder what’s going to happen to the toilet paper thing. But would it be reasonable, in that future utopia, to say “Back in 2016 they didn’t have civilization yet”? I’m gonna go ahead and call that a no, so that means it’s not reasonable for me to say civilization had not yet started in the early 1800’s, which was missing the toilet paper and the deodorant and the air conditioning. They still had civilization, didn’t they?
Civilization, I say, is — I can’t take your stuff away from you just because I’m bigger and stronger. That’s it. Period. Well, that and this too: We have a system of laws, and those laws do not privilege you with a reduced penalty for the same crime just because you are politically powerful, or worth a lot of money. That’s part of civilization too. But first comes the non-brutality. Criminal and civil law. Redress of grievances, protection of the innocent. The strong come after the weak, there are protections put in place. There are preventions before the fact, and penalties after the fact, to protect the weak and undeserving from the strong and malevolent.
If we’re missing one of those things, it’s hard to call a society civilized. And it looks like, without a change in course, we’re losing both of them. Once the course changes, life will get better, but not until then.
…and don’t go putting the cheeks of your ass on counters where they serve food. Don’t be a butt-dummy.
My wife and I lately have been engaged in an effort to embiggen the horizons of someone who’s been raised into poverty. Who this person is, is entirely unimportant, what’s important is that I did not say “raised in poverty.” I said raised into, which is such a broadly experienced and frequently-reoccurring problem nowadays that I’m afraid it’s stained us all. It is rewarding in that it is morally clarifying. Every bad habit that leads to an impoverished lifestyle, you don’t have to think on it too hard to see the cause-and-effect connection. At the same time, it’s frustrating. “Think globally, act locally” — so much easier said than done, especially when you stop to consider how many other people are making the same mistakes.
And, of course we have the mindset. Compassion means, somehow, that you have to disconnect an impoverished living situation from any actions that led to it. Which, out here in the land of reality, is the surest way to sustain poverty. Just keep saying to yourself nothing I did caused this, it just happened to me. Keep treating poverty as something outside your control, an event of bad luck. Envision your control as a nothing, and that is what it will be.
Over and over we have to keep asking ourselves: What is it about the human condition, that compels us to destroy ourselves? There is poverty, and so much more. We work hard at being, and staying…poor. Me, in the e-mails:
What makes people impoverished? These days, we here in the U.S. labor under intense social pressure to affix our agreement to the unwritten dictum: Poverty is to be thought of as unavoidable for those who are encumbered by it, a consequence of birth status. This is a disgraceful bit of poppycock, and an insult against the persons come & gone who lived in prior eras, within & outside of the United States. In this nation, in this time, we enjoy a birth status that has opened up more opportunities than any other, so far as we know within all of human history…Poverty, in the US of A Anno Domini Twenty Sixteen, is, mostly, decisional. Intergenerational poverty in the United States, today, with some statistically negligible exceptions, is always decisional. The best foundation by far for arguing some exception to this, is going to have something to do with geography. Transportation is cheap today. The world is small. Never been smaller. Some people say that’s heartless. I think it’s heartless to allow generations of dignified human beings, through the failure to insert an unpopular opinion in the discourse at the opportune moment, to wallow in poverty when it is absolutely unnecessary for them to do so.
Poverty, I have noticed, probably shouldn’t even be a noun at all. It’s more of a verb. “I’m povertying my kids.” “We’re povertying ourselves.”
One of the worst habits I have seen is to skimp. It holds appeal for those who have taken that first step, that step of “I’m tired of never having any money and I’m going to do something about it.” Seems quite logical, right? And, people do work their way out of the misery this way; they do win. It must be an effective habit, because in this modern era in the United States, we have a lot of slop. There are always ways to spend money more wisely. The problem starts when people neglect the income side of things, forget to ask themselves “How much money am I bringing into the household, and how much money could I be bringing into it?” I think just about everyone is guilty. Certainly, I’m not entirely innocent. The sin is one of lack of moderation.
I was raised in a household in which we were obliged to drape the gently used paper towels over the roll of newer paper towels, thus forcing the next paper-towel-user to tap into the reservoir of the “refurbished” before depleting the inventory of the newer. Also, contaminating said inventory. That’s penny wise and pound foolish. It was Depression-era living, kept around 35, 45 years after the Great Depression was over. Not rational. So you might say I’ve spent a lifetime wondering about the proper balance. Thrift is thrift, after all. Look how the rich people live. They’re thrifty — but, not like that. Nor should we expect them to be “thrifty” like that. You have to live sanely to live richly. I’m speaking generally.
The balance is not hard. It has to do with opportunity. You spend less when spending less does not mean you’re buying less — unless buying less is your intention. You spend less when spending less does not cost you something in terms of opportunity.
There are other ways to avoid poverty. One of the other ways I earn for myself a reputation as a heartless bastard, on the subject of poverty, is to ask that most uncomfortable of questions: What have you done to actually help someone lately? It is not my intention to chide. I’m not sitting on a suitably lofty, superior moral platform from which I could do such chiding. The people who object to this would be surprised at the coldly logical rationale, if they could only understand it: Our economy is based on people helping each other…still…for the time being. Here is a person who hasn’t made the economy work for them, the economy is driven by people helping people — so, what have they done? It is surprising how often “never” surfaces as the answer, if we’re going to think on it honestly. You invariably find a long, sloppy trail of get-rich-quick schemes in their wake. Schemes that were never supposed to actually help anyone else. This does not mean the poor-person is being punished for selfishness. You might think of it as an engineering thing: “I think your problem is over in here, somewhere.”
After you dedicate some real time and some real passion to helping other people, and negotiate in such a way that you don’t give away the store, there are other things. Get a skill. You’re born with talent, but a talent is not a skill. Don’t call the boss a skull-fucking moron. Don’t get (someone) pregnant without intent, or at least, planning and dedicated resources. Ah yes…and don’t confuse a formal education with intelligence. Or skill!
Are your friends idiots? That’s a good way to stay poor, hang out with a bunch of slackers with no ambition. How often does “no money for a beer run” emerge as the most pressing problem of the moment? That’s a warning sign.
I’m particularly keen on this one: Say you do help someone else. Or, someone else helps you. Where does the learning happen? Which way does it go? If the person who needs the help does the teaching, and the person extending the help does the learning, that is not a formula for success. Again, it goes back to cold, calculating, values-neutral engineering. And it’s rudimentary engineering. Doesn’t require any brain-horsepower at all, just requires focus. For people to receive help, and say to themselves “Hey, I should have been in a position to help myself, I wonder what that guy did differently from what I did” is not natural. It requires effort to embark on that thought process. But improvement of the situation requires nothing less.
I said there is poverty and then there is so much more. We also work hard at being, and staying…dependent. There is that Brexit vote. One of my Facebook friends, native of Scotland, is a bit upset with me for finding the event so fascinating now that it’s a done deal, and there’s really no news. I sympathize, absolutely. My defense is two-fold: One, there was not much of a story before the vote — a lot of the hubbub in the aftermath of the actual vote, has been generated by those whose job it was to report on it before the vote. And they were lazily phoning it in, because they generally figured it was a safe bet that the Remain side was going to win. Now the vote is done, and they’re surprised, bruised, anguished, butt-hurt. Which brings me to the second part of my sniveling excuse…the story has changed. I guess Britons cannot relate to this, but as a damn Yankee I’m really not inclined to care much about votes on memberships and policies in Europe. I do care, though, about this weird mental disorder, this addiction to dependence. The Stockholm Syndrome.
The more years I see come and go, the simpler this situation becomes for me. This is a phobia. People have a fear against independence. I suppose they/we always have. Some of us are inclined to defeat such a phobia, others are inclined to learn to live with it, co-exist with it. Like Gollum in The Hobbit, their eyes become accustomed to the dark. Except their obsession is not with power, more like with its opposite, the continuance of a powerless state of being.
Part of the reason I see it as a contrast between light and dark, is the behavior. The addiction to dependence, the phobia against independence, these have a demonstrated tendency to lead to dishonorable behavior. The “Remain” folks would like a do-over. This is exactly the behavior we see in our independence-phobic friends, the liberals, over here in the United States: “Let’s vote, and vote, and vote again, until the vote comes out the way we want and then never vote on it again.” We also see the resolve to live in narratives, to become one’s own self-fulfilling prophecy seemingly without consciously realizing it. The Brexit vote, say the Remainders, will lead to financial chaos and ruin…and they’re working hard to make it happen.
We work hard at being, and staying…ignorant. I see President Obama went on quite a tear on this issue of calling radical Islamic terrorism what it is…
He hammered [Donald] Trump over his “dangerous” mindset and “loose talk and sloppiness” about who exactly America was fighting, implying that Trump’s remarks were actually driving Muslims who might be prone to radicalization into the arms of ISIS.
And he doubled down to repudiate Republican campaigns that he was abetting terrorism by refusing to use the words “radical Islamic terrorism.”
“What exactly would using this label accomplish? What exactly would it change?” Obama asked during remarks at the Treasury Department. “Would it make ISIL less committed to try and kill Americans?” he continued, using a different acronym for ISIS.
“Would it bring in more allies? Is there a military strategy that is served by this? The answer is none of the above,” he said. “Calling a threat by a different name does not make it go away.”
Mike Rogers, former head of the House Intelligence Committee, faulted Obama for treading the same kind of political terrain as Trump with his angry remarks.
“This was the chance for the President to try to bring us together. I think he is so focused on this presidential campaign he let himself go,” Rogers, now a CNN commentator, said on “The Lead” with Jake Tapper. “I just don’t think it looked presidential.”
I suppose some among Obama’s fan-base will take issue with that last comment, and they’ve every right to their opinion. But that just makes it all the more bizarre. President Obama’s point, here, is that He is justified in going through the motions of trying to solve a problem, without ever once verbally acknowledging what exactly that problem is…because there isn’t any reason. Yes there’s a nod toward “driving Muslims into the arms of ISIS,” but the pronounced emphasis in this particular diatribe was on “why should I?”
His message is essentially a shoulder-shrug. And yet He put such passion into it that He lost his composure, in so doing denigrating His own office. I mean, even more than usual.
Compare and contrast with a similar session of feckless-excuse-making, last year:
President Barack Obama said Wednesday that he refuses to describe the Islamic State and al Qaeda as groups fueled by “radical Islam” because the term grants them a religious legitimacy they don’t deserve.
“They are not religious leaders; they are terrorists,” Obama said during remarks at a White House event on countering violent extremism. “We are not at war with Islam. We are at war with people who have perverted Islam.”
Obama said the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, also known as ISIS or ISIL, is “desperate” to portray itself as a group of holy warriors defending Islam. It counts on that legitimacy, he said, to propagate the idea that Western countries are at war with Islam, which is how it recruits and radicalizes young people.
“We must never accept the premise that they put forward, because it is a lie,” he said.
That is, at least, coherent.
Somehow, with this most recent outburst, Obama managed to launch something of a back-n-forth discussion about let’s-not-call-it-what-it-is. And that is the part that concerns me, as well as fascinates me. I even heard one radio guy, certainly no lefty-leaning Obama suporter by any means, denounce the common sense objection of “How you going to solve a problem without calling it what it is?” as “mere rhetorical flourish.”
I guess what’s happening here is that people are really weighing whether or not there’s an up-side, because they are taking the down-side seriously. And maybe that’s to their credit. My problem with that, though, is that I’ve seen so much of this, in families as well as in politics. “Don’t say X, because if you say X you’re going to tick off Y…and Y flies off the handle at anything and everything, so when Y starts wrecking Z it’s going to be all your fault.” I have to ask, at this point, does this ever work? Who’s ever seen this work? I really want to know.
“Crazy Auntie Mabel” is an alcoholic who’s prone to temper tantrums, cannot take responsibility for her own impulse control, so everybody else has to do it for her…walk on eggshells, don’t say the wrong thing. And above all, make sure and call each other out for saying something to tick off Mabel! “Whaddya think you’re doing??” Sorry…can’t relate. There’s a split here, I’m on one side, perhaps on the minority side. And that’s probably because I make a point of not being around people like this. Well, I’m not seeing much inspiration to reconsider that.
This is as self-destructive as the other two, up above. When there is truth, and we make a point of not acknowledging it, we also make a point of not considering it. We begin to behave as if the true thing is not a true thing. This matters, when the thing-that-is-true has something to do with solving the problem that immediately concerns us. Pretending it’s untrue, means compromising our effectiveness at getting the problem solved. Pardon my density, but what part of that is unclear to someone?
We have become so proficient at preserving our own ignorance, that it seems to me our elected and appointed officials are enjoying increased latitude they didn’t have before. To brazenly lie to us, brazenly cover up the lies, brazenly conceal things from us, brazenly admit they’re in the middle of pretending truth is falsehood and falsehood is truth, even right in the middle of insisting how worthy they are of our unreserved faith. At times it seems to me they’re even bragging about it (video behind link auto-plays). I’m not sure what this means. I guess we, as a society, are getting away from the idea that you have to understand a problem in order to do something to productively address it. If that’s the case, I have to wonder where that leads. Can’t be good.
We work hard at being, and staying…aggravated. This is another thing we do to destroy ourselves. It is yet another declining standard. Seems to me we’re stumbling around, especially in the heavily populated areas, being aggravated and occasionally wondering why we’re so aggravated. Unfortunately, it is even more occasional than that that anyone ever consciously or vocally notices: It isn’t supposed to be like this. We shouldn’t be this aggravated this often.
And it isn’t because we’re pre-disposed to being aggravated. There’s a lot of justified aggravation. Far more than there should be. We have built a system that exists to gather aggravation, like a lint trap in a swimming pool filter gathers detritus to keep it out of the pumps — and fling it in our faces like a monkey flinging poo.
I was making a bee line toward the checkout stands in a grocery store the other day, with a bottle of wine in hand. Just that. 1.5L of white wine, nothing else. And I found myself thinking about this scam we have going…supposedly we live under a system of just laws, because the laws are written and ratified by elected officials who are beholden to us. The reason I was thinking it was a scam, was because the self-checkout lanes were all empty and the human-monitored checkout lanes were all full. The lines were snaking backward, into the aisles.
You can’t buy alcohol in a self-checkout lane.
The problem is not that the law happened to be inconvenient to me, in the moment. There is a defense against that, that pretty much all laws are inconvenient now & then, that’s why they have to be laws. That much is reasonable. The problem is a question: Who the fuck wanted this? Whoever said “Without government, who’s going to stop me from buying alcohol in a self-checkout lane”? And while we’re pondering that one, we can think about another question that rises to confront us: With all the self-checkout lanes empty, and all the human-checkout lanes full, who does this law help?
And so I was not in the proper frame of mind to lay my eyes on the sign, affixed to the front of the human-operated checkout lane, several minutes later as I made my approach: Starting July 1, county law will require the store — not to give us bags. We have to bring our own. Now, this is California and we’ve got our share of Gaea-worshipping idjits, to be sure. My irritation here is that they, I’m assuming, have little or nothing to do with this. Oh sure, you’ll find some quotes here and there from those who can’t duck the responsibility and are flailing about for an excuse…
The Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 Tuesday in favor of the ban, joining Sacramento and about 150 other communities in the state that have banned plastic bags that are not reusable. Supervisors said they wanted to end the use of such bags to protect the environment because they essentially last forever.
“This, to me, really is a no-brainer,” said Supervisor Patrick Kennedy. “It has the most benefit for the least inconvenience.”
Supervisor Phil Serna, who introduced the ordinance, said the bags have become ubiquitous and people will adapt to their demise by reusing bags.
Can we drop the phony pretense? This is about fucking with people. Period, full stop. Somehow everything seems to keep coming back to that. And we wonder why we go around aggravated all the time. The answer is, we keep voting for people who want it that way.
No, really, they really do want it that way.
It’s rare when a politician is as honest about his strategy as the New York City councilman largely responsible for the plastic-bag fee about to hit New York City. For his candor, Brad Lander (D-Brooklyn) ought to be considered a new American hero.
Here is progressive politics in 2016: “It works by irritating us into changing our behavior,” Lander said of the bag tax.
It works by irritating us. There can be some debate about the accuracy of one of those verbs, but not the other. Government, when it’s being honest, acknowledges it isn’t your buddy, your helper, your protector, your go-to source for inspiration and dreams.
Nope, the government is now proudly proclaiming itself your irritant.
We work hard at being, and staying…helpless. The Trump phenomenon has revealed this unfortunate tendency on the part of many so-called conservatives who, oddly enough, we see constantly braying about something they call “principles.”
“Never Trump” agitators continue to work themselves up into a sanctimonious lather, indulging in a puritanical alarmism about Trump they normally pooh-pooh when it threatens one of their favored heterodox candidates. Gone are the “half a loaf is better than none” lectures they delivered to hector conservatives into supporting Bob Dole, John McCain, Mitt Romney, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and many other imperfect and idiosyncratic candidates warmly welcomed into their “Big Tent.”
In Trump, they see untold horrors. But Hillary, as the Wall Street Journal‘s Bret Stephens put it, is a “survivable event.” George Will, who has made a career out of tailoring his stuffy but substanceless conservatism to the sensibilities of pretentious, PBS-style liberals, now punctuates with it one more act of preening about supposed GOP indecency.
He is the shocked puritan, who can’t understand how Paul Ryan could end up endorsing such an imperfect man, as if Ryan were presiding over a canonization proceeding rather than a party convention.
I suppose these people, and I, are talking past each other when we speak of “conservatism.” To me, it’s a very important thing because a lot of it is invested in stopping liberalism, which I see as toxic. So it strikes me as odd when people add their voices to such a stoppage, and then when a champion emerges who doesn’t tickle their fancy, suddenly their “principles” compel them to pronounce him inadequate and suddenly liberalism is a “survivable event.” That looks to me more like a cessation of upholding principles, than a continuance of upholding principles. How else should I be reading it?
But I suppose there is an appeal in being helpless, waiting it out while the wrong people are in charge. It spares you from the burden of having to develop a workable plan. Perhaps, for this reason, there is a relationship between this, and the above-mentioned ambition to remain ignorant. It all has to do with the avoidance of actual problem solving. The latest example, at this point, is Pope Francis’ weird comments about gun manufacturers:
“There is an element of hypocrisy [for a Christian] to speak of peace and then manufacture weapons,” Francis said Sunday, according to three separate Italian-to-English translations obtained by the Washington Examiner‘s media desk.
The press was quick to react.
Francis did not outright use the word “hypocritical,” and he did not say that it’s impossible for a Christian to deal also in weapons. Both points, however, were heavily implied.
Engaging in an imaginary conversation with a Christian who is involved in the weapons business, the pope said, “‘No, no Father, I do not manufacture weapons. No, no. I have only invested my savings in the weapons’ manufacturers.’ Ah! And why? ‘Because personal interests are highest.'”
Francis continued, saying in a colloquial manner that the behavior of these men calls into question their ability to be good Christians and to follow Christ’s example…
Well, you know what else you have to manufacture when you manufacture guns? Bullets. Bullets aren’t cheap, and some among us who have made the decision to own firearms also burn our way through bullets; some of us more than others. It isn’t just because we love the great outdoors and are drawn to the smell of gunpowder, although there is that. We are directing our household resources toward this so that if we ever need to have such a weapon, God forbid, we’ll be properly equipped and ready to handle the situation.
Pope Francis ignored this aspect entirely. And I have noticed many among his defenders continue to ignore it. Many among those who do not defend him, but don’t criticize him either, see nothing wrong with these remarks. It is quickly becoming normal for people to entirely fail to factor it into their thinking, that a gun can ever be used for self defense. Even though, to many a gun owner, that is the entire point of having one.
What’s really being normalized, I’m afraid, is victimhood. It’s a “shit happens” mentality. If you get mugged you get mugged, just hand over the wallet, and turn over the information to the police so they can fill out the proper forms and report the statistics to the FBI at year-end…if you survive, that is.
Why don’t we have enough money? Why don’t we know what we need to know? Why are we aggravated so much of the time? So desperate, so helpless, so disillusioned, so insecure? It is by choice. Just because we don’t consciously realize it, doesn’t mean it isn’t true. We’re choosing this.
I’m inspired by recent events…none of them having to do with politics. Well, most of them not, anyway.
Pretty sure I’ve written of this before.
Persistent conflicts among thinking humans, inevitably can be traced to a disagreement, recognized or not, about whether to proceed with the definition of details, and they are between one side with an interest in concealing these definitions and the other side which relies on recognizing them.
The side that is invested in concealing detail, will start conflict to derail the discussions, because that is their mode of thinking and this leaves them with no other choice.
Then, they will blame the other side for starting this conflict.