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...
The democrats are reminding me in the e-mails, again, that I have yet to contribute some money to their campaigns this year. Or, ever. In the wake of Thursday & Friday’s Supreme Court victories, they’d like to see how much cash they can raise, and who can blame them?
But there is just a bit of awkwardness here. There is an important distinction to be made between the messages from the central distribution point of messaging, and the messages that are conveyed in social networking by their paid & unpaid gadflies. Sometimes, however, the distinction is not so important. When one Flying Monkey is saying one thing, and another Flying Monkey is saying exactly the same thing, and another and another…one may draw some safe assumptions about what the Wicked Witch has sent them out to proliferate throughout the Land of Oz. And from all this, I’m picking up that there’s a little bit of a problem.
We’ve won everything!, they say. Now, rustle up some loot to make sure we keep winning! The problem is that everybody’s broke. Leftward-leaning centrists can always be appealed-to to shift priorities just a bit more, squeeze the tube just a bit harder — if the case can be made. But how do you mix up that message with “and there’s nothing the Republicans can do about this, now, ever”? How does that financially stressed constituent justify stiffing yet another sympathetic relative on another month’s rent, or letting the repo man take another car?
They’re reaping what they’ve sown here. Today’s rightward-leaning centrist becomes tomorrow’s leftward-leaning centrist, if times are lean. So the progressives win elections by making sure everyone’s desperate. It helps that, if they do manage to win last cycle’s election, they get some say on the public policies to be applied before the next cycle’s election. Keep in mind “everyone” is not a literal everyone, since this is a game of statistics. You’ve heard that saying “democrats love poor people so much, their policies make more of them”? There’s a lot of truth to that that isn’t just partisan snark. To win elections, they’ve got to have poor people; lots and lots of poor people. There’s no longer any limit to how poor. It used to be, they didn’t want people to become homeless because that might mean those votes were lost to them. Nowadays there are ways to recoup that. Throughout it all though, it’s always been true that if you’re solvent and able to pay your bills and maintain a savings plan, and you’ve rappelled up to the level where you might possibly think about starting your own business, you’re much less likely to vote democrat. My observation has long been true that “They don’t want you to win, they want you to be dependent.”
Under Barack Obama, they’ve managed to achieve this. Now they have the unenviable task of wading out among these left-leaning centrist middle-class types, some of whom are between jobs, or at the very least are feeling insecure about their continuing employment prospects what with the cost of labor heading upward nonstop. Flush with victory and enjoying the ratchet effect, since reversing the effects of this last week’s events is monumentally difficult, perhaps impossible. With a message of: Now is not the time to stop, kick in some more cash.
But, desperation tends to make people think more rationally, and rationally, now is the time to stop. Right now, everything is on the progressive’s side except this one thing. How do we convince the desperate, insolvent people to become even more desperate and insolvent, so we can take their money?
And so they appeal to American values. Their actions on ObamaCare reflect a deep commitment to America’s health care system, since with their new regulations and new fines, and all sorts of other machinery that in different forms displays a long-standing history of making the problem worse, they’re getting more people covered. So the story goes. And the gay-marriage thing gets more people married, that’s certainly a good thing isn’t it? So if you can’t find some extra dimes and nickels in the couch to help ensure our next victories, at least send them our way to give us an atta-boy.
It’s always frustrating watching someone work a scam, being one of only a few who understands it’s a scam. The democrats don’t value health insurance coverage, or marriage, or for that matter the country. They don’t show how much they value something by letting more people into it; it works the exact opposite way. Discuss global warming with the ideologically dedicated sometime, only a few moments will tick by before you see what I mean: “There’s no use discussing this with someone who refuses to recognize [blank].” It’ll happen, because they can’t sell that idea anymore without choosing the premises, and they have a lot of premises they have to dictate unilaterally on that one now.
Also, the millionaire’s club. They like that; democrats just love making money. But, see above. They don’t show how much they cherish the “institution” by letting more people into it. That’s what Republicans try to do right before the democrats start mocking them. Again, it’s the opposite. It’s like a boat. If they’re forcing a boat to take on more passengers, you can bet they don’t like the boat. No use telling them that if it’s filled beyond its capacity, it will likely submerge and take everyone with it. They know!
After all. We’re still reeling from the effects of when they did that to the housing market.
But, a lot of people don’t understand this. And with the economy “recovering” [footnote footnote footnote] the way it has been, this is the only selling point Obama’s crew has to entice decent, but impoverished, people to cough up just a bit more cash, when they’ve already coughed up all they can spare, and there’s no logical reason to kick in any more.
Words mean things.
Our “civilization” at the moment…is embroiled in a cold civil war…between people who refuse to define things, and people who MUST see to it that things are strongly defined before they can do what they do.
…don’t want to sound like a dick or nothin’, but, ah… it says on your chart that you’re fucked up. Ah, you talk like a fag, and your shit’s all retarded.
Perhaps the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will attain the enduring status of the Social Security Act or the Taft-Hartley Act; perhaps not. But this Court’s two decisions on the Act will surely be remembered through the years. The somersaults of statutory interpretation they have performed (“penalty” means tax, “further [Medicaid] payments to the State” means only incremental Medicaid payments to the State, “established by the State” means not established by the State) will be cited by litigants endlessly, to the confusion of honest jurisprudence. And the cases will publish forever the discouraging truth that the Supreme Court of the United States favors some laws over others, and is prepared to do whatever it takes to uphold and assist its favorites.
Older relative wants to know what my thoughts are about the Supreme Court decisions, on which I have yet to find the time to opine. Response I sent,
I have a tendency to view these things as trends, patterns, sets. Let’s see, in this one week there is: Ban the Stars ‘n Bars, make fun of Bristol Palin for being pregnant again, legitimize gay marriage, pretend “state run” is somehow ambiguous…To those, we can add: Persecute “climate change deniers,” since that’s always just sort of hanging around, doesn’t need any kind of actuating event…
That’s five things. Five policy positions that don’t actually make anything better, for the present or for the future, that famous or powerful people can take make themselves look cool, fresh & hip. By “don’t actually make anything better” I do not mean to say they are poorly-conceived ideas or that I disagree with them; the people who do agree with them don’t seem to honestly regard them as ways to make anything better. Only the gay-marriage and ObamaCare positions even bother to go through the motions of such a thing. But those don’t seem sincere. The global-warming people used to at least try to go through these motions. Their position seems lately to have deteriorated into something truly insane: It’s far too late, everyone should have listened to us, we’re all doomed, but let’s move all this money around anyway…in our final moments of existence or something.
I compare those to something like: We need to pass a tax on cigarettes to raise money for schools, versus, no that’s stupid because people will stop smoking and then you’ll be right on the news clamoring about a school funding crisis wanting to raise more taxes. There is an issue on [which] each of the two sides genuinely thinks it is advocating for something that will make things better. The pattern suggests rather strongly to me that, for one reason or another, too much concern about the long-term consequences of an idea, is something that has gone out of style. Supreme Court decisions used to arouse a lot of criticism from all sides over the “awful/horrible precedent” they were setting. Even a revolutionary zealot like Thomas Jefferson, would be motivated entirely by what sort of world he was leaving for future generations, by way of the [policy] changes he was pushing. Now it looks like that’s just an afterthought, if it’s anything at all. People in power want to look cool. Also, like high schoolers, they want to look cool by echoing old ideas brought up already by someone else. On the gay marriage thing, if anybody has a right to claim authorship of the Hot New Idea, it would be Joe Biden wouldn’t it? Obama didn’t have the stones to hit the stump and make this into some kind of “thing,” it was His VP who did that. Now, how come it’s up to me to recall that? The people who think this is some sort of great spiffy idea, don’t value this sort of “courage” very much. So I think of this as a peer-pressure kind of thing, like what I saw in middle and high school.
Theory: What is happening is that our baby-boomers have gotten wrinkly. The revolutionary-minded generation has reached the age where its members are expected to be society’s wise, respected elders, to run things, to become our latest voices of institutionalized knowledge. But they lack the capacity to institutionalize knowledge, to preserve wisdom from previous generations, “old school” horse sense that younger kids can’t bring because this is the sort of thing that has to be…what’s the word. Evolved. Irony is, although the boomers are big on the idea of evolution, they can’t bring this because they’ve never believed in it. They’ve dedicated their lives to the premise that wisdom comes from the young, and the older generation is just a bunch of doddering old geriatrics standing in the way of progress. Now that’s them, and they don’t know how to react to it. And so they react by proffering a bunch of silly ideas, forgetting to ask themselves obvious, elementary questions that drew frenzied, obsessive contemplation by the older generations of years gone by: How does this make things better? What’s the precedent? What does this do to freedom for those who are not yet born?
And so even when they say freedom is what motivates them, the idea they end up pushing has to do with more rules. It looks like they don’t even know what it is.
After I hit “Send” I had a thought: “Evolution” is still highly prized, as it was generations ago, what’s changed is the emphasis within that. From Moses leading the Israelites out of Egypt, or even before then, up until the 1960’s sometime it was: Listen to the old people, because they are keepers of the ideas that are kept. They bear the fruits of eons of painful trial & error, good ideas that are formed by way of process-of-elimination, ideas that we know are right but cannot be formed any other way. The stuff that had to be learned. If you value what is good about evolution, look to the old people because they’re the ones who have it.
Now we still value what is good about evolution, but it is the young people who have it. The only role the old people can play is to try to act like the young people; that, and show us how this “survival of the fittest” thing works, and that’s during their final exit. Clean out the gene pool by eradicating themselves from it. The young people have something of a perceived monopoly on knowledge, theirs is the only knowledge that is worth anything at all.
We’ve lost trust. It used to be, the old people would trust the young people, to renew & carry along the value system that civilization should endure and remain strong. The young people would trust the old people, to intermix a bit of valuable personal experience with the equally valuable legacy-wisdom, to do something besides just repeat mindlessly what they’d been told back when they were the same age. So there would have been this sense of intergenerational trust, going in both directions, and it’s no longer there. We’ve also lost respect. This would start with the obvious realization of “Hooray, I’m all grown-up now, but I’m not the first human being who ever reached adulthood — lots of other ideas have been tried, some of actually worked, and other people have had problems before I had any, so let’s see what came of all that.” That, too, is gone. The loud-crowd, today, always seems to think history began at nine o’clock this morning, and the only purpose for any previously-existing idea is to be dismantled. So some hot new “Beverly Hills 90210″ generation can show how cool it is, and of course they do that by carrying out this dismantling.
A civilization that values its older people will always have to value life. Even if it somehow doesn’t want to do this, it will have no other choice once it makes the decision to honor and respect old people, because we’re all headed in that direction. Conversely, a civilization that reserves all of its respect for the young, will have to place a premium value on death, because that’s the only way anybody is going to stay that way for very long. And of course if nothing is valuable besides whatever is cool, and nothing is cool besides what is new, that makes for an awful lot of wreckage and destruction that’s going to have to be done. And it’s going to have to be done by everyone who wants to matter, and all of the time.
The “ban the flag” campaign is as overpowering as it is speedy, and it is as overpowering & speedy as it is nonsensical. There are some people who like that, of course: Those who have honestly and sincerely thought of the flag as offensive, for whatever reason, and the persons & groups who think of themselves as emerging from this with greater political power than they had before, should the flag fall. Which seems quite likely.
So of course they have their reasons for wanting it all to go down this way. But that doesn’t change the fact that society can’t endure like this. We’ve already had the spectacle of gay marriage, in which an idea that was okay in one year, became not-okay a year or two later. Oh what’s that, you thought that had to do with an expansion of freedom? Silly you. But now, even a year is too long, the “okay/not-okay” axis is flipped in a matter of days. With society’s “don’t you dare think otherwise” taboos being churned around like this, society can’t stand. You’re no longer demanding better behavior out of people when that happens; what you’re doing then is just manufacturing new classes of wrongdoers. Worse yet, the churning is becoming a routine matter. You don’t know what’s okay today that will be not-okay next year — and, I can’t tell you, you can’t tell me. Nobody knows.
How did we get here? If you’ve ever had to attend sexual harassment training, you know, because they repeat it over and over to the point you have to memorize it: “It’s important to remember that the intent of the accused is entirely irrelevant in these matters, it is the perception of the offended party that determines everything.” Frustratingly, it seems they never stop to explain who exactly it was who decided it works that way. Because it can’t work that way. When things work that way, you get silly things like this:
Texan Keith White was furious to hear what he interpreted as a racial slur in a 1984 episode of the Jim Henson series Fraggle Rock while watching the show with his two-year-old daughter. “I heard him say Jigaboo,” said White. “My reaction was to keep replaying to see if that’s what I really heard, and that’s what I heard, and that’s what I hear.”
According to a copy of the script sent to The CW33, which broke the story, the character accused of racial insensitivity is actually saying “Gee, Gobo” — Gobo being the name of the main character. The Jim Henson Company has backed up The Hub’s explanation. Hey, absurd controversies over non-issues in children’s entertainment aren’t exactly unheard of either.
The Hub has since edited Gobo’s name out of the line in an effort to avoid similar incidents in the future, but to White, that’s just further confirmation that he was in the right. “Why would you edit, if it`s a mistake?” he asked. “Why are you going to edit it out? Are you hearing the same thing?”
Silly twit. They’re editing it out, obviously, because they’re tired of dealing with your crap, just as you’re generating the crap because you know people will tire of dealing with it. This story dominated the news cycle at the time it was a thing — now, even with our wonderful Internet with all its search engines, it’s pretty darn hard to scrape together even fragments of it. And that speaks volumes: Over the long haul, none of this matters. The offended dad got what he wanted, he moved on, we moved on — and, we don’t have our sparkling, shining, non-offensive citadel. We’re still just getting offended one thing at a time.
As was the case with Fraggle Rock, on the “flag thing” there is another plausible story about what is meant. Although those who insist “the perception of the offended determines everything” won’t know the first thing about it:
Ben Jones, who played Cooter in the (Dukes of Hazzard) series, runs a chain of “Cooter’s Place” stores in Tennessee and serves as the unofficial head of Hazzard fandom, organizing festivals and making public appearances with his copy of the General Lee. In a Facebook message[,] Jones said the Confederate battle flag was a “symbol of independence,” and vowed his stores would keep selling them until a chilly day in hell.
As for the flag on the General Lee:
That flag on top of the General Lee made a statement that the values of the rural South were the values of courage and family and good times.
Our beloved symbol is now being attacked in a wave of political correctness that is unprecedented in our nation of free speech and free expression. Activists and politicians are villifying [sic] southern culture and our heritage as being bigoted and racist. We know that this is not the case. And we know that in Hazzard county there was never any racism…
We are not racists. We despise racism and bigotry. And we think the people who are creating this “cultural cleansing” are the real bigots in this story.
When we say our flag stands for “heritage, not hate” and “pride, not prejudice”, we mean it. And we believe that old saying, “you can’t know where you are going if you forget where you came from.”
But, don’t we become a better people if we identify these articles of offense, and then take civil and cultural steps to eliminate them? No. It is obvious we aren’t creating a placid and peaceful future out of a tumultuous past when we do that because, well, here we are. And we’ve seen this play out so many times, we don’t even have an excuse left to us for not noticing. My own Thing I Know #52 states it succinctly:
52. Angry people who demand things, don’t stop being angry when their demands are met.
I’m pretty sure Fraggle Rock dad is still pissed, wherever he is. And as the “Fa La La Your La” episode of South Park vividly showed through mockery, openly bragging about having the whatever-it-was, “most non-offensive, non-denominational Christmas ever!” just makes you sound stupid. This particular effort isn’t removing anything truly offensive; at least one of the victims of the shooting certainly didn’t think so.
So we are not improving our society by repeatedly churning-around our societal taboos like this. Quite to the contrary, not-offending is a great strategy for not getting anything done. It is a perfect recipe for blandness, as one of my Facebook friends noted:
This bland world we are creating where everyone thinks alike, acts alike and has the same thing. Flavorless and without texture, it is filled with questions such as “what is your pronoun preference?”
Because using the wrong pronoun is a micro[-aggression] that must be punished.
We cannot stray from the narrative, even in comedy or novels.
Classics are labeled with trigger warnings.
No one has the ‘right’ to practice their religion in public but everyone has a ‘right’ to the products of their neighbor’s labor.
We are all one family. We all live the same way. Wear the same thing. Our history is expunged. Our thoughts are controlled with our speech.
We are politically correct. Our betters will explain the rules and move the bar as we work toward perfect homogeneity.
The question that still remains is: Who are those betters? Because it’s actually worse than this — we’re not only becoming “flavorless and without texture,” we’re becoming intractably addicted to the perils of passive voice. We’re transforming into a gelding-place in which nobody actually does anything.
It’s so bad by now, we actually have a “ballsy” way of showing your cowardice about this issue. Of course, a lot of that has to do with not showing anything, treading very, very quietly. But at least you can say this for Alabama’s Governor…
Alabama’s governor on Wednesday ordered the removal of four Confederate flags from the state capitol, the latest move to remove the controversial image from public places.
Gov. Robert Bentley’s decision comes two days after South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley called for the removal of the Confederate flag from the statehouse grounds in Columbia. The drive to remove the flag from public places and from store shelves has accelerated since then and comes after nine African-Americans were killed last week in what was allegedly a racially motivated attack in a historically black church in Charleston.
I hate to say it, being as I am a Seattle boy who really doesn’t have a dog in the Stars-n-Bars hunt. But, if I have to see that much more cowardliness about this thing, I wish I saw more of the kind Gov. Bentley showed. Make a fucking goddamn decision. It’s sad when I have to ask: Remember decisions? Remember those? “I can’t take the heat on this; the flag goes.” Or, “Fuck all of you people, the flag stays, and if you don’t like it vote me out of office.” The sadness is that either one of those exclamations would be as welcome as the other.
We’ve lost so much testosterone over the years, that we can’t have either one. We’ve got a “flag debate.” Why? WHY?? That’s the part that’s most silly, to me: Take it down, leave it up, but one way or another wrap it up and move on to the next thing. We’ve got murderous prison inmate escapees on the loose — still haven’t been caught, were you following that?
As Rush Limbaugh noticed, none of the backsplash is hitting the democrat party — as it should:
The whole thing in South Carolina, the Confederate flag, it’s not to identify hypocrites or racists. That’s what it’s made to look like. This is nothing more than the latest technique from the Democrat Party to advance their political agenda, with, of course, the media as willing accomplices.
So you can show me all of the Hillary paraphernalia you want with her loving the Confederate flag and kissing the Confederate flag and the Confederate flag all over her campaign operative posters, and Bill Clinton, too, it isn’t gonna matter, folks. It just isn’t going to matter. It isn’t gonna disqualify Hillary. It’s not gonna get Hillary thrown in the same pot with all these. I mean, what Republican had anything to do with what happened in South Carolina anyway? How did this all of a sudden become a Republican Party problem? But it is, isn’t it?
It is, because & only because perception is reality. People are more sensitive to the political currents — but, we’re not becoming more considerate of each other. Information flows so much more quickly, and we get more of it, but in the long run we become dumber because we’re not selecting it accurately, not choosing it, not using it. Our ammunition is more devastating but our aim is lousy.
This is not a party thing, it’s a culture thing. Liberals don’t like the V-8 engines or the pretty girls or the plaid shirts or the meat or the barbecue sauce or the beer or the the “yeehaw.” But if you were to attach that culture to one political party or the other, the democrat party is the one that actually has roots there. On the other hand, speaking of history, why are we talking about the flag all of a sudden? Right, because of the church shooting; we’re supposed to be concerned about shootings. Well, is this going to prevent any? Nevermind the answer — we’ve forgotten to ask the question. We don’t care.
So we know this is not going to do anything to improve the way our society functions, because we know there isn’t anything virtuous about it. Virtue didn’t pick our path for us. What got us down this road was hatred, violence and murder. Is there something I can do, as a hard-working taxpaying homeowning guy who works his tushie off every day, to start a movement that packs this much influence, that up-ends what’s right vs. what’s wrong so quickly and so dramatically? And keeps us all talking about it day after day after day? Something you can do like that? Something any law-abiding citizen can do that’s like that?
So the real problem is not our cultural canvas, or what’s written on it; the problem is who among us gets to make the markings. We’re in the mode right now of allowing evil to make a lasting impression in indelible ink, and good can’t even bring finger painting pots from a Kindergarten class. With that discrepancy in place, it really doesn’t matter what images make it onto the cloth, in the long run they aren’t going to be good. Things will keep deteriorating as long as we allocate greater influence to evil, than to good. Things won’t get any better, anywhere until we change that.
And then once we do, they will.
Is that the excuse? Because it might not be workable, if “The White House was not fully forthcoming”…
The emails obtained from MIT show that on January 8, 2010, Gruber emailed Jeanne Lambrew — the White House’s most important internal employee on Obamacare issues — for advice on how to handle an inquiry from Politico about his lucrative contract. Gruber kept Lambrew and her colleagues apprised of his discussions with Ezra Klein, and Lambrew praised Gruber for “being an integral part” of Obamacare’s development.
I wonder if this bit of fraud is as hilarious to those who were previously able to acquire the health care coverage they needed, and no longer can…
The people we today call “liberals” have such strong opinions about how “those people” should live…
This fondness of “conversations,” which are actually soliloquies, way-off-somewhere — “Those People” conversations. Conversations about the “root causes” of blight, illiteracy and crime, in elitist, overly-privileged, communities nestled deep inside protected enclaves, behind gates and guardhouses, in which there is not much chance for anyone to be bothered with any blight, illiteracy or crime. What guns shall we ban, what health care laws shall we pass, to get things right with Those People? What levers shall we pull, what knobs shall we twiddle.
George F. Will, “Why Liberals Love Trains“:
Forever seeking Archimedean levers for prying the world in directions they prefer, progressives say they embrace high-speed rail for many reasons—to improve the climate, increase competitiveness, enhance national security, reduce congestion, and rationalize land use. The length of the list of reasons, and the flimsiness of each, points to this conclusion: the real reason for progressives’ passion for trains is their goal of diminishing Americans’ individualism in order to make them more amenable to collectivism.
El Polacko comments on Wall Street Versus the Ruling Class, at The Z Blog, to which we are referred by way of Gerard:
This particular iteration of the ruling class has matriculated through the same educational establishment that is now turing out garden variety neo-bolsheviks without marketable skills, slow to marry and reproduce.
They promote and endorse socially dysfunctional behaviors that they would never consider allowing in their own families or peer group.
It’s difficult to determine why they feel it so important to endorse and promote the trendiest of alternative lifestyles, unless you take the pronouncements of the human exterminationists like John Holdren, Ted Turner, Prince Charles and the Club of Rome seriously.
If the goal really is to reduce the human footprint, it is easy to see the current manufactured cultural preoccupation with homos and trannys, the canonization of the supremely dysfunctional and geno-suicidal black race and unrestricted international immigration as several elements of a internationally co-ordinated plan to set the global population at each others throats.
The cloud people are preparing their deluxe underground shelters, already live lives surrounded by armed security completely separate from the rabble, and in the words of Gilded Age robber baron Jay Gould, if things really get out of hand, they would simply “hire one half of the population to kill off the other half”.
They’re forever prattling away about how it ought to be acceptable for “those people” to accept this gap in competence or that one, or this breach of loyalty or that one; what happens if they could be somehow compelled to live as they demand others live, and accept what they demand others accept? It is a question that has plagued mankind for centuries:
The Duke of Wellington appeared to suspect that the crowds believed the Queen (Caroline, consort of King George IV of Great Britain) to be guilty when, on one occasion, he was confronted by a gang brandishing pickaxes and demanding he declare his support for Caroline. “Well gentlemen,” he is said to have told them, “since you will have it so, God save the Queen — and may all your wives be like her.”
It has long puzzled me that the feudalism-libs never seem to get into any sort of conflict with the one-worlder libs. I really don’t know why that is; if I take all of what they say seriously, I have to expect them to start mixing it up like two cats in a bag. It’s just not happening. Why? The only explanation I have is that the two camps are advancing a common agenda, which is helped along sometimes with a people-sorted-into-shoe-bins viewpoint and at other times with a no-such-thing-as-borders viewpoint. It makes sense to presume they’re all being dishonest about their true goals, so many of them have been nailed on exactly this and so many times. But, others among them are not known for being dishonest, just misinformed and under-informed. And they all seem so passionate. But liberals don’t get into conflicts with other liberals about this. They get into conflicts with each other over whether “the time has come” for a woman or a black guy to be our next President. And identity politics, when you get right down to the heart of the matter, are really nothing more than yet another way of separating people. To win elections.
The stuff we call “liberalism” maintains appeal only when viewed from a distance. Perhaps that is the solution as well as the problem itself. Liberalism vanishes overnight, when people everywhere are somehow compelled to live within incarnations of their fondest ideas, when every “Those People” conversation must become a “My People” conversation instead. The stuff ceases to exist, in every single instance or else is forced to transform, which means as an idea it ceases to exist. Well…perhaps such an arrangement is not possible. But at least, now, we have our definition of what the stuff really is. Remember the First Conquest Rule:
Everyone is conservative about what he knows best.
This applies especially to the media and the Democratic Party, too.
Iron Law of Bureaucracy
In any bureaucracy, the people devoted to the benefit of the bureaucracy itself always get in control and those dedicated to the goals the bureaucracy is supposed to accomplish have less and less influence, and sometimes are eliminated entirely.
…in any bureaucratic organization there will be two kinds of people: those who work to further the actual goals of the organization, and those who work for the organization itself. Examples in education would be teachers who work and sacrifice to teach children, vs. union representatives who work to protect any teacher including the most incompetent. The Iron Law states that in all cases, the second type of person will always gain control of the organization, and will always write the rules under which the organization functions.
In New York, which now has four separate licensing tests that candidates must pass, an analysis last year of the most difficult exam found that during a six-month period, only 41 percent of black and 46 percent of Hispanic candidates passed the test their first time, compared with 64 percent of their white counterparts.
A federal judge is now weighing whether the test is discriminatory. Because of complaints from education schools that students have not had enough time to adjust, as well as concern about the impact on minorities, at least two states — New York and Illinois — have already postponed or loosened some of their new requirements.
Nice one, B.D. I see what you did there.
A thought. Because, haven’t you noticed lately, when you take the time to hear-out someone’s opinion, you find it’s nothing more than an opinion about who else should not be allowed to have any opinions?
I’m sorry this has to be said, it should be obvious.
A leader takes charge of the situation — AND — takes responsibility for the outcome. If you do those two things, there aren’t too many other requirements you have to fulfill to be a leader. That whole “inspires others” thing? Seriously overrated.
If you do not take charge of the situation, but you do take responsibility for the outcome, including for the negative outcome, that is not a leader. That is a doormat.
If you do not take charge of the situation and you do not take responsibility for the outcome, that is called a bystander.
If you take charge of the situation, constantly fighting, constantly starting arguments, to make sure nobody else can have any influence at all, but you do NOT take any responsibility for the outcome, then that is not a leader, or a follower, or a doormat, or a bystander. That is what we call a PROBLEM.
Most people…with opinions…are PROBLEMs.
Sometime over the last thirty years or so, it has become fashionable to cloak these opinions about which persons or groups should be entirely defrocked of any influence — as some sort of solution to the stated problem that’s actually going to carry us in a positive direction, somehow. Even Charles Krauthammer fell victim to it six years ago, when writing about “death counseling”:
Let’s see if we can have a reasoned discussion about end-of-life counseling. We might start by asking Sarah Palin to leave the room.
Doctor Zero at Hot Air retorted:
Let me dispense with the most controversial part of Krauthammer’s recent Town Hall column first: this condescending nonsense about asking Palin to “leave the room” while “we have a reasoned discussion about end-of-life counseling.” There’s only one group of people who needs to leave the room during that discussion, and it’s the socialist zealot in the White House, along with the craven cowards in his party. They’ve already demonstrated a remarkable gift for swiftly leaving the room when people start asking tough questions, so we’ll hardly notice when they slink out. Maybe while they’re gone, they could find the billions in Cash for Clunkers money that vanished into thin air.
Those Facebook pages she’s tossing around like ninja throwing stars are eloquent proof that no one has the right to pat Sarah Palin on the head and send her out of the room, while the grown-ups settle down to serious talk. She isn’t just writing snarky rants. She’s providing both devastatingly effective criticism, and substantial policy alternatives. It’s fairly obvious the White House paid a great deal of attention to her infamous “death panel” column.
But let’s not get all hung up on specific issues, or identities of persons who should leave rooms, or which critics are saying so. The problem is with this smug feeling of satisfaction that a perfect, or merely adequate, solution has been has been defined by the critic, when all the critic has done is select the pariah-of-the-moment. It is a pronouncement not of any sort of positive vision, or credible strategy, but merely of distribution of influence: Infinite quota for this person over here, zero for that person over there.
And the problem’s solved!! Or something. But, these types very seldom come back to check on the progress. You don’t see them coming out of the kitchen to ask the diners how it tastes. When & if they ever do, it’s just to assign blame yet again (H/T Chicks on the Right):
President Obama wrapped up a day he began with an angry and frustrated reaction to the mass killings in Charleston, S.C., by acknowledging that he has been unable to change the culture of polarization and gridlock in Washington.
But he also challenged Democratic supporters to do their part to make the political changes rather than remain disillusioned about the inability of the nation’s capital to respond to gun violence and other problems.
“When I ran in 2008, I in fact did not say I would fix it. I said we could fix it,” Obama told an audience of about 250 at a fundraising event here at the stately hillside home of film mogul Tyler Perry. “I didn’t say, ‘Yes, I can.’ I said, ‘Yes, we can.'”
The problem is always “I don’t have enough influence yet,” or “those who are getting in my way, still have too much.” It occurs to me that if President Obama can hide behind those, then anyone should be able to do likewise, and at any time. I daresay no homo sapiens has enjoyed a greater opportunity to solve problems by monologuing, be they living or dead, ever, since the Earth’s crust cooled.
Leaders don’t sit around just waiting for good things to happen, so they can hog all the credit, and then grasping at straws finding someone to blame when something bad happens. That is not what real leaders do. They look for what is in their control, they seek to maximize that control, they make commitments based on what is in that circle of control. And then they take ownership of the outcome.
If there is a problem because someone else also has control, then they approach that entity with rationality and reason, look for common ground in the visions, present some compelling arguments about why their strategy might be the best way to get there. Or, if the visions have no commonality because of differing interests, they negotiate. To defrock that other party of any influence at all, to get their own stuff done, is something real leaders don’t do except perhaps only as a last resort.
When you see a guy who uses that as his “go-to” way of dealing with problems…what you’re looking at, is the problem itself. Not a real leader.
As in, the first tests.
This week has already seen two candidates officially enter the race for President of the United States, neither one of whom is actually for anything, just running on their big, big names. I noticed over on the Hello Kitty of Blogging that a lot of people who lean in all sorts of different directions seem to be unable, or unwilling perhaps, to recognize this key distinction among candidates. Actually, none of the candidates are even mentioning it, even the ones whose prospects would be helped by making an issue out of it.
As usual, it falls to me:
Very first test I apply to any presidential candidate is they have to be FOR something.
Bernie Sanders passes the test, Hillary doesn’t, Carly Fiorina does, Jeb Bush doesn’t, Ted Cruz does, Lindsey Graham doesn’t, Sarah Palin would if she was running, Ben Carson probably not, Chris Christie definitely not.
This is just the very first test. It’s asking so little. A candidate’s long-held personal-pet-peeve, would suffice.
It is positively shocking that half the candidates, on both sides, flunk. They’re just outspoken and so wonderful, with name recognition, and it’s their turn! But, they don’t stand for anything.
We just don’t need it.
Sanders and I don’t agree on much of anything at all, so note: This has nothing to do with my own fors-&-againsts. It’s a baseline. It’s the very first filter.
And I see we have a need to impose it. Everyone wants to be the big-name, it seems; everyone out here wants to rally around that guy. I guess when all the hubbub about a “constitutional republic” has died down, at the end of the day we’re just electing a dictator or something, is that it? Some oracle who’s going to mull over the tough questions four years at a time, do whatever it is he wants to do, think it over during a golf game, shake a Magic-8 ball, and when he comes up with an answer well that means we’re all obliged to support it because we voted for him. Or, lost to the people who voted for him. That’s how it works now?
Not in my world. But, I have more tests.
Second test is, if I wake up tomorrow morning a billionaire, that presidential candidate wouldn’t make me into the enemy. Because I want the economy to do well. That means we’re going to have rich people. If you’re running for President and you think it’s a problem when people are rich, then you just keep right on running…off a cliff.
So, everyone on the left can vamoose. Along with quite a few on the so-called “right.”
Maybe I should broaden this to say: Be pro-people. We don’t need any more arguments about how making money is bad, or we need to learn to get along with less, or the planet can’t sustain any more of us. It isn’t, we don’t, and it can.
Naturally, I’m not done at two. And, at that point, it ceases to be a matter for the Hello Kitty of Blogging…although, perhaps, that is where the people are who really need the input. But most of them have already “unfriended” me or were never on my friends list in the first place.
Third test: I want someone who can argue. I think it would be written right into our Constitution, but back in those days the ability was just sort of assumed. And I don’t mean snicker charismatically at everything or make it impossible for anybody else to do any talking, like Joe Biden did at the Paul Ryan debate. I mean, on an intellectual level, to forensically and methodically attack or defend a position.
The third test would put us in dire danger of having for our next President someone who was champion of the high school debate team, and we’ve had plenty enough of never-never-land already. This country needs like the dickens to start living in reality again, so the fourth test would have to be: The ability to learn from mistakes. I’ve said before how I sometimes completely derail the opposition by saying things like “I make five to ten mistakes before most people even wake up in the morning”? Whoever I’m just baffling by saying that, would fail this test, and we don’t need ‘em. Being unable or unwilling to absorb new or unwelcome information, is not a strength. It isn’t precious either. It’s common and cheap, like pigeon shit on top of a statue. We’re born with that. Toddlers have that.
For the fifth test, I want the next President of the United States to recognize, and believe in the simple truism that, life is not fair. Has that ship sailed already, is it too late to ask this? It seems to be a popular thing to say to white males who were born way too late to ever own slaves, or keep their wives locked up in the kitchen, and are being asked to go without to pay for the past sins of our forebearers. We’ve given women their day in the limelight, and blacks, and gays, and transgenders, I think it’s safe to say that anyone needing some sort of “turn” to “catch up” has had it at this point. And these special privileges have a cost. It’s embarrassing to have to mention it, but it seems lately to be something that needs mentioning.
Six: I want the next President to love the United States as she is right-here-and-freakin’-now. Again, too much to ask? I want the President to love the country the way a man is expected to love his wife.
After those six, we can proceed to the issues…
As soon as an opinion or a cultural trend becomes the “right” or “acceptable” one, and especially as soon as there is a real price to pay (socially or legally) for not accepting or embracing it, the Ball Bearings begin to roll.
I imagine a flat plane, maybe like a massive metal tray, with the free-rolling Ball Bearings headed this way or that, depending on how the tray is tipped at the moment. So, for example, when gay “marriage” was unthinkable in this society, the Ball Bearings were huddled snugly and comfortably on the side of authentic, heterosexual marriage. Believing that man + woman = marriage was clearly “approved thought” — heck, it was axiomatic — and there was no price to pay, socially or otherwise, for holding that universal belief.
But watch the tray as public opinion changes…
All this to say that if you find yourself panicked or despairing at America’s swift decline into chaos, wondering when we entered the Twilight Zone, relax and remember that this is nothing new. Remember that it’s fallen human nature for people to go with the spirit of the age, because being on the “right side of history” is infinitely easier than being on the right side of Truth.
The gay-marriage example is only one of a great many. But, it is the most egregious one in my lifetime. Public opinion goes one way, and a little while later it’s 180 degrees off from that; not only that, but we’re all supposed to be on the lookout for, and ready to prosecute, anybody who defined “marriage” according to what was accepted consensus previously — and in a space of…what? Four years? Three? Two?
You have to forcibly jettison your ability to retain long-term memory in order not to imagine your friends and neighbors as ball bearings. In fact, an analogy more apt, and perhaps more ominous, would be puppets on strings. Ah, but don’t suggest to any of them they’re not thinking independently. You might get bitten.
What’s odd to me about this is that people are not all silent when the time comes to justify group-think. They are often heard to say something about what’s good for the one versus what’s good for the many. But group-think is not good for the many; it dehumanizes the many, disgraces them, robs them of their dignity, reduces them to the status of those puppets on strings, or ball bearings on a surface. Why ever trouble yourself with the senses & sensibilities of someone who has no courage of convictions? There is no point. So in the long haul, in fact in the not-too-long haul, the many is not helped at all. The many is hurt. It’s really no fun being a bearing-ball.
No, group-think is good for the few; those few who seek to influence it. It makes their efforts more profitable. It holds no benefit, material or otherwise, for the many.
Hillary Clinton’s run for the presidency is being launched at a place she considers significant: the Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park in New York.
I’ll bet most Americans don’t even know what President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “four freedoms” are. They are:
Freedom of speech;
Freedom of worship;
Freedom from want;
Freedom from fear.
By positioning herself aside the monument to these four freedoms, Hillary Clinton is telling us what she stands for. It’s not unlike Ronald Reagan launching his candidacy in front of the Statue of Liberty in 1980, or Ted Cruz launching his candidacy for the presidency at the university founded by Jerry Falwell’s Moral Majority.
To Hillary Clinton, and those who support her, these are the most important things.
But are these things reasonable? Or even possible?
The freedom from want idea isn’t intended to encourage or foster charity. It’s intended to establish as a “right” the state of affairs of being comfortable. Originally this meant not being hungry. Now that has extended to education (including college), health insurance (for every conceivable ailment), and as yet untold additional things you have a political right not to have to “want.”
The root issue here is not freedom. It’s entitlement.
The idea that one can or should have a “right” to be free from fear or want explains the development of the entitlement psychology in America, and why it has come to dominate our culture and government. The moment you consider yourself to have a right to one thing that curbs your wants or fears, is the moment the stage is set to have a right to an infinite number of other things to curb your wants or fears. If you’re entitled to feel good and comfortable — well, then you’re entitled.
Who’s to pay for, or provide, these freedoms from want or fear? On the surface, the government. The good graces of the great and compassionate souls like Franklin Roosevelt and Hillary Clinton. But they’re not providing these things. They’re merely the bullies shaking down these “resources” from some to give to others. You might think this is justified; but you should at least acknowledge that this is what’s going on.
One of FDR’s successors pointed out the meaningful differences between genuine freedom, and having all your staples and shelters provided for you, with a compelling metaphor about prison. This shows that not only are Hillary and FDR speaking of something that isn’t actually “freedom,” they’re speaking of something that cannot co-exist with it. Real freedom is going to have to involve some measure of insecurity. With every choice, comes the possibility of making the wrong one and suffering the consequences.
…that, in video games in particular, there aren’t any. Someone who knows these video games a lot better than I do, has declared the time has come to dispense with that.
To be fair, the video does not definitively dispense with it “once and for all” because the people who want to keep complaining, have some rebuttals. Which I’ll not sit here and pretend that I completely understand, but then again, the debunkers have rebuttals to the rebuttals.
And it seems the original point stands: There are quite a few strong female characters. So it doesn’t work to go around complaining that there aren’t any.
So, I stumbled across this: “Why Liberals Are More Intelligent Than Conservatives,” by Satoshi Kanazawa:
It is difficult to define a whole school of political ideology precisely, but one may reasonably define liberalism (as opposed to conservatism) in the contemporary United States as the genuine concern for the welfare of genetically unrelated others and the willingness to contribute larger proportions of private resources for the welfare of such others. In the modern political and economic context, this willingness usually translates into paying higher proportions of individual incomes in taxes toward the government and its social welfare programs. Liberals usually support such social welfare programs and higher taxes to finance them, and conservatives usually oppose them.
It hardly requires any mention at all, but: This bears the tell-tale sign of formulation in an echo chamber, likely with zero input from anyone outside of the desired ideological molding. Every conservative I know, to the last nose, would understand what’s wrong with this: “from somebody else” is missing from right after “larger proportions of private resources.” Experience bears out time after time the verity of the adage, “a liberal is someone so nice he’ll give you the shirt off someone else’s back.” Continuing…
Defined as such, liberalism is evolutionarily novel. Humans are evolutionarily designed to be altruistic toward their genetic kin, their friends and allies, and members of their deme or ethnic group. They are not designed to be altruistic toward an indefinite number of complete strangers whom they are not likely ever to meet or interact with. This is largely because our ancestors lived in a small band of 50-150 genetically related individuals, and large cities and nations with thousands and millions of people are themselves evolutionarily novel.
The examination of the 10-volume compendium The Encyclopedia of World Cultures, which describes all human cultures known to anthropology in great detail, as well as extensive primary ethnographies of traditional societies, reveals that liberalism as defined above is absent in these traditional cultures. While sharing of resources, especially food, is quite common and often mandatory among hunter-gatherer tribes, and while trade with neighboring tribes often takes place, there is no evidence that people in contemporary hunter-gatherer bands freely share resources with members of other tribes.
Again, some conservative perspective would have helped here, as many conservatives have already learned from the experience of approaching & communicating with a liberal “tribe” from the outside of that tribe. No, modern liberalism offers no “evolutionary novelty” from the mindset that curtails the life-staples and other assets from traveling outside the village walls; it is, quite to the contrary, an acceleration of this. Whether it’s intended or not doesn’t matter. Right in the middle of repeating the mantra that they want healthcare for everyone, they want Rush Limbaugh’s kidneys to fail.
But, the comments about evolution are interesting. My reaction was:
This is actually a pretty useful article. It clarifies for me a longstanding question I’ve had about modern liberalism: How can it simultaneously cling to two extreme and oppositional ends of the “‘Let’s help out those who are worse off than ourselves’ vs. ‘Oh well, Darwin'” spectrum? Answer: Modern liberals do believe in, and support, both extreme ends of this spectrum. They’re being…what’s the phrase the article used…”evolutionarily novel.”
It makes perfect sense. Liberals cannot stand the concept of time. They can’t stand the idea that meaningful things happened before they were born, or that meaningful things will keep happening after we’re all dead. They live out their entire lives on a turning-point. EVERY moment between womb-and-tomb has to be “novel.”
When most people use the word “evolution,” and this includes liberals, what they’re talking about is the micro. It’s a point so broadly understood and so obvious that it is seldom clarified: We’re talking about a great many changes taking place across a vast expanse of time, each one by itself so insignificant to easily escape detection, granting that someone was around to do the detecting. Evolution, therefore, requires time. Lots of it. And this is exactly where today’s liberals stop believing in it. They seem much more fascinated in the cruelty aspect of evolution.
And, that’s where the “smarter than you” thing comes into play. I guess when you’re a one-trick pony, you’d better know the trick, right? After I did some skimming around about this person, I noticed the pattern held. Why intelligent people drink more alcohol. Why intelligent people smoke more cigarettes. And, uh oh, now he’s pissing off the wrong people: Why men are more intelligent than women. Oh, no he isn’t. “The answer is: They aren’t.” Notice the “they”; reminds me of that group-collective that used to comment on these pages, whom many of us started to compare to cuttlefish and mollusks because they made comments about homo sapiens as if they were outsiders. This is just one bit of evidence among many suggesting that liberalism, far from being a mark of superior intellect, instead indicates mental infirmity. M/M. Kanazawa seems to be an adult male, so why word things this way?
It reminds me of something someone said here, I think it was Nightfly but I’m not sure, and time curtails me from conducting a responsible search: Liberals evidently perceive an enormous gap in the intelligence spectrum plotted across the population, it’s not bell-curve-shaped for them at all. Everyone who is of like mind, shares the common sky-high off-the-charts measurement of intelligence. Any measured differentiation among that elite crowd, would be meaningless so why bother; functionally, they’re equals, with perhaps some superlative specimens who have established notoriety as political figures or other agenda-movers. And yet, out of hundreds of millions, the next-less-smart guy just beneath them is too dumb to tie his shoes.
It would be interesting to see if this actually works. But, I can’t find any comment section beneath Kanazawa’s articles, so there’s no test, not even any chatter. Just stuff written down, tossed out there and then protected behind an invisible “that’s all anybody has to say about that” barrier.
Which has caused some consternation in the past:
In response to ongoing controversy over views such as that African countries suffer chronic poverty and illness because their people have lower IQs and that black women are “objectively less attractive” than other races, he was dismissed from writing for Psychology Today. His current employer – the London School of Economics – has prohibited him from publishing in non-peer-reviewed outlets for 12 months, and a group of 68 evolutionary psychologists issued an open letter titled “Kanazawa’s bad science does not represent evolutionary psychology”.
What happens when such observations are exposed to commentary from the not-necessarily-like-minded? CylarZ logged on and provided an answer:
It doesn’t take “intelligent” people to make good decisions, and in fact, a lot of really intelligent people do a lot of really dumb things. What a good leader really does is seek wise counsel, then make decisions with discernment. In fact, some liberals are so smart, that they put all their faith into their intellect. They become cocky and overconfident, believing they can think their way out of anything — and this is their downfall.
There is a saying: “Intelligence is knowing tomatoes are a fruit. Wisdom is knowing not to put them in a fruit salad.” See where I’m going with this?
So many names come to mind right now — Stephen Hawking, Richard Dawkins, the late Christopher Hitchens, Al Gore (yes, him) and many other brilliant minds of our time. Smart men…but also foolish, arrogant, and stubborn. CS Lewis on the other hand — widely considered one of the last century’s intellectual giants — was a humble man who realized he had a lot left to learn. He in turn became wise as well as intelligent.
It gets to the point where brainpower is valued over wisdom, experience, or what we’d refer to as “common sense.” Us dimmer bulbs don’t have this problem, as many of us are humble enough to realize we can’t figure everything out on our own. For that matter, many of us are also happier.
Us lesser lights often see wisdom better than really intelligent people do, as we have no reason to think we’re smarter than we really are.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. For all the effort we put into, and the “achievement” we get from, coming up with ways to “diagnose” highly questionable learning disorders as some sort of mental flaw or enfeeblement, we tend to do an awful lot of looking-away when the opportunity arises to define and diagnose mental enfeeblements that might very well be real, and undiscovered. This one has all sorts of tell-tales, there are so many functionally distinguishing ways to get it defined. There is a lack of curiosity about what could best be stated, in question form, as “What happens after my super duper bright idea?” We’ve seen it in our current First Holy President many-a-time: Everything worth saying, is a definitive statement, offering no questions anywhere save for the rhetorical ones. There’s nothing more to be said. Certainly — certainly — no tests to be done.
Which leads to a crisis, repeated over time, involving actual delivery. Would you want to live in a place liberals have been running for awhile? Would you want to live in Detroit, or Baltimore? How about the Obamacare rollout on 10-1-13, is that success? Is that the way we wanna see ‘em go?
George Orwell had a great way of phrasing it: Where’s the omelet? This is the weak spot of modern liberalism. It’s asked after they’ve stopped paying attention, after the “look at my bright idea” phase of the project has been concluded. They’ve moved on to something else.
Maybe they’re trolling conservative blogs, in an office somewhere, on the taxpayer’s nickel. Maybe they’re right here! Nagging me about some spelling error, or “George Washington probably didn’t say that” or some such. The one answer I’ve offered that really confounds this is the answer any flawed Son of Adam would offer, who does not & cannot strive for perfection or godlike insight, and is merely in a daily quest for improved results: Yes, on a given day I make five-to-ten mistakes like that, before most people have gotten out of bed. And they have no idea what to do with that. This is a statement that simply has no rebuttal on their world, for it never would have been uttered on their world, their “Peter Pan” world where nobody ever grows up, and the day-to-day pursuit is for each individual to show how wonderful, amazing and perfect he is. In an enclave of forced equality. The irony.
But making mistakes is how it works on Planet Grown-Up. It is, in another irony, an absolute requirement that must be filled before any “evolving” can be done, with anything. Just about every effort made on anything, is a question and not a conclusive statement. Everything is a shot across a room, into a wastebasket; adults, no matter how practiced, keep watching the ball of paper as it sails toward its target, ready to get up and do the responsible thing if it’s a miss, because there’s a potential for a screw-up in every little thing we do. Everything’s a test.
Our friends, the liberals, seem to be mired in a self-defeating circuit of “Look how much I already know about nature and how it all works, for behold how unwilling I am to learn any more about it.” We have our disasters in Detroit and Baltimore because they never learn to keep the tomatoes out of the fruit salad. They don’t stick around long enough to watch anyone actually take a few bites out of it, let alone offer any feedback.
Jim Powell, writing at Cato, offers a uniquely functional and fascinating background of the document that was ratified eight centuries ago this month:
Before long, the French Prince Louis entered London, and the French controlled castles throughout England. The English Church, however, backed John and refused to crown Lewis as England’s king.
John fled from his pursuers, but somewhere along the line he contracted dysentery and was dying. He appointed 13 executors including William Marshal who was among the most revered knights in England. John died on October 19, 1216, and his nine-year-old son was hastily crowned Henry III. Because he was under-age, Marshal formed a regency government. Although Marshal was able to seize an important English castle from the French, the civil war was substantially stalemated.
With John gone, the rebel barons found themselves in an awkward position – their alliance with foreigners who occupied England. Patriotic English wanted to get the French out. Fortunately, Prince Louis was happy to collect a bribe, and soon the French went home.
Regent Marshal recognized that there was more likely to be domestic peace if some fundamental legal issues were resolved and that consequently John’s repudiation of Magna Carta must be reversed. So Marshal reviewed the document, made some cuts, and reissued Magna Carta in late 1216. Among the cuts was paragraph 61 about the committee of 25 barons who would monitor the king’s compliance with Magna Carta and, if necessary, try to enforce it. Perhaps less important than those words was the fact that the barons had demonstrated their willingness to use force against a tyrannical king.
Many critics have belittled the importance of Magna Carta by dwelling on the fact that the rebel barons were looking out for their own interests as feudal lords. But establishing constitutional limits on a ruler with arbitrary power is always extraordinarily difficult. Some people succeed before others, and their success is likely to make it easier for more people to follow.
Although Magna Carta didn’t derive from the principles of a “higher law,” such as were received by Moses and articulated by Sophocles, Marcus Tullius Cicero, John Lilburne, John Locke, Thomas Paine, Thomas Jefferson, and others, from a constitutional standpoint Magna Carta had similar standing. It didn’t come from rulers. It couldn’t be repealed. It was forever.
I was born and raised in Sweden, which leaves a cultural mark even though I moved to USA in the 1990s and have spent the better part of my adult life as an American. Coming back for a few years has been a shocking experience.
Now, to be clear, it is my opinion that modest immigration is healthy for society and beneficial for trade, cultural development and so forth. Protectionism as a concept is counter-productive, while free trade and the ability for skilled labor to go where they’re in demand is beneficial for everyone.
Having said that, what Sweden is doing is something completely different. The once homogenous population has been forever altered by a rapid and massive addition of people from vastly different cultures and value-systems. 26,8% of the population is now foreign-born or with at least one foreign-born parent, and the national census bureau estimates that some 150 000 per year will arrive to the country of just 9,8 million residents.
There simply is no possible way to absorb and assimilate such volumes of people, period. Then you are merely creating ethnic enclaves, which due to incompatible language, culture and job skills become ghettos, which in turns brews crime, misery and extremism. Once the inflow has exceeded the capacity for absorbtion, further immigration only makes the problem worse.
The issue of a nation or locality’s “capacity for [absorption]” is a game-changer, although perhaps some among the most vocal of immigration supporters won’t be able to see it. Without that, it is fair to at least suggest the writer is nothing more than another expendable xenophobe, blogging away about his disgust that his hometown no longer looks like him. But once we raise the question of whether the regional economy can absorb these new languages, cultures and job skills, we invoke the attribute of testability, which shifts the matter from the subjective to the objective. Now, things can be measured. Whether the new policies take a potentially good thing too far, because measurable.
Then you have the Swedish school system. There really is no nice way to put it; it’s a complete disaster. The minister of education is a man-boy who spends his time making Youtube-videos showing heart-signs with his hands to boost school results, while university-level students can’t read and comprehend the course literature.
Since there is a delay in the changes in the school system, it is only in recent years the full impact of the knowledge-averse “progressive” school system is starting to be felt. Hard facts are largely irrelevant; the important thing is to sit in a group and discuss things until a consensus is reached. But with no hard facts to base the conclusions on, it becomes an exercise in futility because it’s all random assumptions and opinions
Ugh. I’m no expert on what’s currently going on in Sweden, but I’ve got a lot more experience than I care to have with that.
In some ways, I’d compare the country to a farm. Previously, Sweden acted like a sensible farmer and planted wheat here, carrots there, potatoes over there et cetera, by implementing free schooling, sound infrastructure investments, state-financed research and so forth. A few decades later, they reaped the rewards and climbed the prosperity ladder.
In the late 1960s, this pragmatic line was abandoned as leftist idealist Olof Palme took over. But there was plenty to harvest from previous years, so Sweden continued to be the land of milk and honey for a good long while. Then things started drying up, and the process has been one of gradual erosion and decline since the 1990s.
The famous Swedish health care system is a good example. 120 000 hospital beds in the late 1960s became 20 000 today. Cancer patients are put on waiting lists for months. Entire emergency wards shut down for summer. The crumbling Swedish railroad system is another symptom I examined in-depth last year. The aforementioned defense that now consist of about three fat generals and a rusty rifle (bullets withheld for budgetary reasons).
A sensible farmer would see the problems for what they are and hurry to plant new seeds, so as to return to bountiful harvests of wheat, carrots, potatoes etc. Instead, the Swedish politicians goes by dogma and plants what they think SHOULD grow. So they plant M & Ms, hot dogs and pretzels. The results won’t be fully evident for a few years yet, but as the last reserves of the old harvests are depleted, things will get…Interesting.
Good analogy. Progressives, for all their vocal infatuation with “sustainability,” when the rubber meets the road aren’t too much into it. The group-chats, the manufacture of phony-consensus, these all seem to be constantly taking the lead while sustainability takes a back seat.
On both sides of the Atlantic.
“They were rugged fellas!”
“They were men!”
Nothing’s changed. God provides all that is needed, but wrapped up in summers too hot, winters freezing, rocky terrain and lots of danger. The rough-and-tumble types come in to do the hard work, the laying down of the bedrock of the highways and the foundations of the buildings, but before that happens the swamps have to be drained and the serpents and arachnids and coyotes and wolves and ticks and rats and fleas have to be driven out or killed.
Then civilization’s asphalt and stucco and carpeting are installed and that’s when the real ugliness starts. Suddenly, all of the jobs have something to do with moving stacks of file folders from this cabinet over here, to that cabinet over there, and explaining to someone over the phone how impossible it is to do something. Yesterday’s thankfulness to God and careful measure-twice-cut-once decision-making, are replaced with today’s snooty condescension, and bloated retirement plans funded at someone else’s expense.
End result is always the same: An economy on life-support, and a new culture of guilt. Guilt, can’t-do-it, it’s-too-hard, process-over-outcome, blame blame blame, and a prevailing sentiment that the past should be bulldozed. It’s funny how the people walking around in the air-conditioned buildings with the comfy furniture and the plushy carpets can’t seem to appreciate the rough-and-tumbles who drained the swamps, killed the snakes and laid the bedrock. It’s rather like the candle failing to appreciate the table, or a painting failing to appreciate the wall on which it hangs. The candle needs the table and the painting needs the wall, but the table would get along quite well without the candle, and the wall has all the purpose it had without the artwork.
The U.S. economy has not grown at an annual rate of 3 percent since 2005, and not above 4 percent since 2000.
It won’t get out of that losing streak in 2015.
Meaning, it has been a lost decade — amid flattening wages, bottoming interest rates, lower inflation expectations, less borrowing, slowing job creation, aging populations, relatively lower fertility, resulting lower demand, and a financial crisis to boot.
And, whatever tepid growth has been seen since the Great Recession, this may be as good as it gets. At some point, we may have to concede that this is not merely a policy problem. That there may be something more to the slow growth than whether there is a D or an R next to the economy.
It’s us! Oh, I don’t know that to be true. But that last point is a pretty good one since this languishing has persisted throughout cycles of partisan dominance over both the White House and Congress. We should look at ourselves, it’s the responsible thing to do. What’s different between now, and previous generations? When — this year, we couldn’t do something, and a year later, we could. We’re not seeing that now, when we have a problem of a bottomed-out economy and we know we’re going to continue to have it next year and the year after.
Why is our sailboat so becalmed?
Well, let’s see. How serious were we about going to the Moon? Got ‘er done, and a few times, right? How serious are we about the next frontier? A few thought exercises about not coming back from Mars again, dying up there, something for us to contemplate as we listen to our car radios…maybe…those few of us who listen to AM. Nothing comes of it if a rocket doesn’t get put on a pad somewhere.
Our boat is becalmed because nobody is rowing, is the simple and short answer. Is there something more elaborate, unseen, that turns this around somehow? Sometimes, the simple answer turns out to be the right one. A stranger visiting our world, entirely unacquainted with our culture but nominally skilled in language and logic, would have to end up wondering why we are wondering; the question is its own question, for the answer is obvious.
Two or three hundred highly skilled and highly educated engineers to a floor, five floors to a building, forty buildings to a campus and ten or twenty campi in the corporation — which, after slaving away for a year or two, offers up a new phone on which you can slide the icons around rather than poking them. As opposed to: One guy makes an offering. It was usually, and perhaps always, a guy “standing on the shoulders of giants” and building on top of layers that were there before, sure. But still. Now you can take this expensive device, which up until now has only been good for playing Pong, and balance your checkbook with it…and you can afford it. And oh look, now we have a math co-processor. And expanded memory. And then an integrated database. And, and, and. Now, go back and look at the timeline.
Compare it to what we see today, when we wait a bunch of years and — meet the new phone, same as the old phone but with another letter tacked on to the model number. We deserve to be languishing, because we’re demanding way too much out of some things, and next to nothing out of other things. We’re already talking about the election next year, but what sort of President do we want? “A woman.” The problem is us. More precisely, with our expectations.
Actually, I’m a bit on the fence about this issue. On the one hand, of course I’d like to slap silly the next feminist who whines away about it when she doesn’t spend any time on the subway, and it’s completely obvious that any space a man occupies, regardless of how small, is going to be too much for her. As well as for a lot of other people in our modern culture of “all problems are due to men having too much, and all solutions come from threatening or revoking the status of men.” But, that’s not a a man-abuse thing, that’s a thing with people pretending to solve problems who wouldn’t know a real problem, or a real solution, if it walked up and kicked ‘em square in the ass. Very common occurrence these days.
And, I don’t like inconsiderate people on any kind of public transit. Especially, spatially-inconsiderate people. If some ride-the-rails rent-a-cop in a reflective vest comes along to dispense a lecture, what’s the harm?
But Katherine Timpf, writing in the National Review with her tongue firmly planted in-cheek (hat tip to William Teach at Pirate’s Cove), points out the connection being made. And yes, it’s a bit of an unholy alliance, between the police power of the state and unhinged hatred straight from the pages of Jezebel:
Let’s talk about these fucking guys for a second because they’re fucking everywhere. The MTA is full of them. They walk onto the train and sit down like it’s their goddamn living room then spread their legs in a V so dramatic that it wouldn’t be out of place in gynecologist’s office. Why? Who the fuck knows? Maybe it has to do with straight up rudeness. They don’t give a shit that there’s a lady standing in front of them holding a baby or that an old lady with a walker who is actually wearing a shirt from an MS run who needs a seat (I recently saw this happen). They want to sit there and be comfortable and — don’t you know? — there’s no way a dude as macho as him can be expected to sit with his knees together. Haven’t you heard that sitting like a normal person totally makes you gay?
It could also be peacocking. Maybe these fucking idiots think we women are impressed when they act like their penis is so fucking big that they can’t even try to make room for you next to them on the bench. Because if there’s one thing we ladies like, it’s a monster dick the size of yule log (Happy Holidays!) and a man who won’t offer us a seat because it makes him slightly uncomfortable.
Others have said it before but it’s worth repeating: Take modern feminism, remove “men” and replace with “Jews” and you get the Third Reich. Men need to know their place!
Timpf closes with,
I am glad that the government is finally taking action. This is clearly not the kind of thing that could be solved by asking people to scoot over and make room for you to sit down, and I am glad the government is finally doing something about it.
Quite the smackdown when you give it a moment’s thought. Pre-Internet, and pre-feminism, that would have been the completely obvious solution: Just a little bit of that human interaction we’re all supposed to be craving anyway, a tiny bit of confrontation, not even unpleasant, nowhere near the fuck-word-laced tirade you see above, just a “pardon me.” Problem solved.
Now, you have to have an Internet essay — which the actual offender will, in all likelihood, never see. Stoke the stewpot with enough heat and the authorities swing into action. Then we all have a whole new set of rules under which we get to do our daily toiling…to solve a problem that, 45 years earlier, would have become a big nothing with a simple ‘scuse-me.
Progress, this is? The question answers itself.
Another theory about the origins of PA is that it can be seen as the result of an excessively female brain. Women are more likely than men to be co-dependents and have eating disorders. Girls are more compliant than boys, better behaved, and more eager to please. They are better able to figure out the needs of others. They are politically more “liberal,” and more likely to think that an important function of government is to take care of people. Low levels of testosterone in the womb during fetal development is associated with higher levels of empathy in both sexes.
PA may be the mirror image of autism, which is far more common in boys than in girls, and is characterized by an inability to sense the feelings of others. One author speculates that there are probably as many female pathological altruists as there are males with autism.
There are parts of the brain that light up and signal sympathy when we see people in pain or being punished. Psychological studies have been set up in which the brains of subjects were scanned while they watched the punishment of people who had cheated in a game. The sympathy circuits in women’s brains lit up; those in men did not. Men appear to lose their instinctive sympathy for pain when they think it is deserved, whereas women remain sympathetic.
Western society is so heavily feminized that redressing the balance and restoring masculine virtue is the first step to imposing any kind of political sanity. But even if that is accomplished, as Richard Spencer has said in the past, you are never going to get rid of “Right” and “Left.” Or as Jack Donovan might put it, the more masculine “Vertical” and more feminine “Horizontal” viewpoint. The necessity isn’t domination, it’s obtaining an Exit by any means necessary and using the opportunity to create a superior system.
After all, what do we have left? The more talk there is about solidarity and universal empathy, the more social trust and actual community is destroyed. When we hear someone babbling about “self-evident” truths like “human rights,” we know we are hearing a sales pitch just as cynical as any attempt to push another high interest credit card. And when you let Cat Ladies who get off on suffering run your country, you don’t end up with a Great Society filled with compassion, but a Great Slum containing only filth and failure, fit only for demolition.
One learns quickly in the blogger-world — regardless of one’s own positioning on the Autism-to-PA spectrum, I think — that stereotypes involving genders are not quite so much untrue but rather, shall we say, unprofitable. You have to keep sprinkling in these annoying disclaimers such as “of course, men do it too!” or else someone’s going to hijack the whole ensuing conversation with that very point, and the original message will have been lost. And, in fairness, you have to do that anyway because we’re living in a time in which the sexes are swapping and our men act more and more like women.
But, there is a distinct male-female split here. The low-testosterone/empathy connection is interesting, and telling, suggesting there is a semblance of scientific support for this.
The problem with PA is that it is not genuine. The examples that suggest a mental instability, all seem to involve some abbreviation-point at which the empathy is truncated. Taylor, writing earlier, points out
“Animal hoarders” are another example of PA. They fill their houses with “rescued” pets but fail to look after them. They declare their love for animals even as they step over the bodies of dogs and cats that have died of malnutrition. They often neglect their own health, living in tumble-down houses filled with animal filth. Hoarders usually started out with a strong childhood attachment to animals but were neglected or abused by their own parents. They often start hoarding after they suffer some kind of personal setback, such as a divorce or losing a job.
That, too, reflects Hood’s vision of where the country is headed, along with “Crazy Cat Lady” (CCL) syndrome and third-wave feminism. You have this streak of empathy, with its “sales pitch as cynical as a push for a credit card.” Testing it, and putting a big-reveal over it that it’s phony empathy, is not difficult. “So, proggie, should Rush Limbaugh be covered by this free and affordable health care plan?” But the phony-empathy is luminous enough to choose a path for us that otherwise could never have been chosen, and of course, it’s always necessary that there is complete commitment, it’s a one-way trip, there must be no retreat possible. Since it’s liberalism, it’s out of the question for the bold hot empathic new idea to ever be subjected to the tests that would be unquestioned if it were an initiative in a private-sector company; you can’t scope it out, phase it in, run it in a sandbox, see if it works within a tighter perimeter on something relatively expendable. Nope, out of the question — the empathy must flood everything, far and wide, from sea to shining sea.
And always always always, the empathy is engaged in a long walk off a short pier. You reach the truncation point and if you’re not unhesitatingly chowing down the whole whatever-it-is and demanding seconds, the CCLs not only have no empathy for you, they want you gone. Out of the way. They get into their “convert or die” mode — which, curiously, also seems to be an ever-present part of it all. The political movements, the animal hoarding, the fad “science,” the weird new health care laws we have to pass so you can, uh, find out what’s in ‘em, the bad divorces and weird child custody/support arrangements. There’s always some matronly maven building a citadel of perfection, demanding to know whether you’re in or out, but either way no new or unwelcome ideas tolerated. You are to get on board or you are to be vanished.
But the more years I see come and go, the more I notice that’s a constant difference between winning and losing. Winners tend to think about edge cases. They tend to say things like “this will happen, of course” or “that will happen too.” They don’t build “comfort booths” unless it’s absolutely necessary, such as offering space as a business commodity or building a home office. While the losers have their cozy citadels for their own living, around-the-clock, filled with all-of-something, and more importantly, none-of-something-else. These isolated hyperbaric chambers offer them comfort, and comfort only, for there is no beauty.
And this is why we all suffer when they’re put in a position of power: The comfort is only for those who are accustomed to it. The occasional visitor is baffled, even horrified.
There are people starving to death in the world, and he drives an Infiniti.
From the Foundation for Economic Education. Their article, which embeds the clip above, explores the “you should help starving people instead of buying luxury goods” argument in great detail, hacking away at its most vulnerable points: The difficulty involved in defining a luxury good, and the power of exponential growth of material assets.
I have never understood why the discussion drags on so long, how this starving-is-all-your-fault mindset persists among those who are supposed to have at their disposal, and to apply, any sort of above-average mental horsepower. Undeniable: Yes, we do start out in life with disproportionately distributed, unearned, advantages. Undeniable: Yeah, but some of those advantages are earned. It’s not all-one none-of-the-other, it’s a blend. Undeniable: Assets can be used to make other assets; properly managed, a portfolio will grow exponentially.
Unavoidable conclusion: Just as “distribution” is not the genesis of the problem, it cannot be the solution to the problem either. In fact, a measured and perfect redistribution of all of human civilization’s material assets, just might be the best conceivable recipe for keeping poverty going, short of lunging for the short-cut and actually destroying those assets.
I just don’t see how people can work it out any other way. Unless they’re being deceived, or trying to deceive others.
This is a story of how harmless choices can make a harmful world.
These little cuties are 50% Triangles, 50% Squares, and 100% slightly shapist. But only slightly! In fact, every polygon prefers being in a diverse crowd:
You can only move them if they’re unhappy with their immediate neighborhood. Once they’re OK where they are, you can’t move them until they’re unhappy with their neighbors again. They’ve got one, simple rule:
“I wanna move if less than 1/3 of my neighbors are like me.”
These are good shapes, nice shapes. And yet, though every individual only has a slight bias, the entire shape society cracks and splits.
Small individual bias can lead to large collective bias.
Equality is an unstable equilibrium. The smallest of bias can push a whole society past the tipping point.
There’s that phrase again, “tipping point.” While I get the ramifications of the metaphor — it’s got something to do with the state of an object shifting past some point of no-going-back — I don’t really understand what this means, and the website never offers an explanation that’s suitably specific, nothing more specific than “the society cracks and splits.”
Sonic Charmer picked up on this too:
In the long-term equilibrium, whatever SEGREGATION statistic they’re using climbs and climbs above 50%. And so, uh, I guess that’s the ‘harmful’ part?
But why? By the parameters of the model setup, literally everyone is perfectly content in that equilibrium. So there’s no actual ‘harm’ to point to. Yeah, sure, there are visibly-disjoint yellow-triangle neighborhoods and blue-square neighborhoods. But so the hell what?
Actually, if you step back there is one actor who is unhappy in the equilibrium: the website author. In a more-complete picture of this simulation, she would be represented somewhere onscreen with a frowny-face. The cartoon would show those nearly-400 squares and triangles all perfectly fine with their situation, but a frowny-faced judgmental progressive lady somewhere over on the side frowning at them all. “You’re segregated and that’s bad! You should literally all change your preferences and do a bunch of stuff till you’re not!”, she declares.
So yeah, I guess I can’t rightfully claim that everyone is content. It’s not enough that literally everyone else is satisfied. We gotta make the progressive happy.
But that’s just the first problem. There is another: You’ve heard the saying “contentment is the enemy of progress”? There is a lot of truth to that in home ownership. At this point, that’s about the most likely pathway of my wife and me, with our 30-year-fixed on a house we’ll call home for…who knows? All of it? Perhaps. But, most likely five to ten years, somewhere around or just under the average. Is this a bad thing?
The website proceeds from a false premise, that the goal has to have something to do with people being happy where they are. Obviously, it’s aimed at frowny-face-shape people who are considering a relocation, in part or wholly because of the neighbors. I guess that includes me, at least as of yesterday morning, when some crazy-lady walking through the crosswalk in her crazy-lady way lost her shit and started tearing apart a sidewalk placard advertising some hamburgers or something. Made me wonder, just for a second or two but once again, about the wisdom involved in leaving good old whitebread Folsom…
Oh. “White.” That’s the issue, is it? Now I get it, shapes represent color!
Sadly, it doesn’t work because the crazy-lady that makes me want to move out of the neighborhood, has my own skin color, which is white. So although I guess I’m part of the problem the website seeks to address, it fails to address it because what we have here is a guy in a car he owns, being forced by a traffic light to remain in proximity with a pedestrian who is free to move about as she likes, who is crazy, and violent. Turns out, “I’m not happy with this” is a perfectly natural reaction. The crazy-lady is white. The neighbors across the street are not, and sadly they just suffered a family tragedy and are getting ready to move. We’ll miss them, we wish they’d stay. So if we’re really talking about skin color then that’s strike two. I think we’re ready to call out a third problem, since if the statement of the problem doesn’t intersect with reality, the proposed solution probably won’t either.
The fourth problem is in the title of this post, which is a quote from the “box of friendship” section of the webpage, about two thirds down:
All it takes is a change in the perception of what an acceptable environment looks like. So, fellow shapes, remember it’s not about triangles vs squares, it’s about deciding what we want the world to look like, and settling for no less.
This is supposed to be something novel and new, something inspiring that applies to only this particular case. But anybody who’s looked at proggies for any length of time, understands the sentiment is a global and not a local; it is an accurate summary of the progressivism we know today, across all sorts of different issues. And the sense of entitlement is eminent, impossible to ignore, when one considers how this fourth problem conflicts so sharply with the second problem: Contentment is, indeed, the enemy of “progress,” but the discontentment that inspires progress is a privilege. You are not entitled to have it, you need to learn to be happy where you are, with all the violent crazy ladies in crosswalks ripping into your stuff while you wait for the light to turn green.
This is a big problem. In the “wrapping up” section, the web page intones
When someone says a culture is shapist, they’re not saying the individuals in it are shapist. They’re not attacking you personally.
It would seem, at the end of it, that that’s not really true. “Deciding what we want the world to look like, and settling for no less” is a privilege, we see, that “they” are reserving for themselves. What is that if it is not an attack? It certainly is an act of exclusion. One might even say, an act of…segregation.
There is a fifth problem, laid-out artfully, if a bit sarcastically, by texan999 in the comments:
I’m sure the author would be thrilled if every neighborhood had to contain a percentage of right-wing gun-toting Evangelicals consistent with the national average, instead of consisting entirely of hipsters with a strong diversity ethic.
Oh my. Yes. Maybe someone who’s running the happy-shapes website can tote it down to the nearest college campus, show it to students and faculty alike, see if any of the perfectly content shapes behind those ivy walls can learn a thing or two. About diversity of opinion and political ideology. Or…not…
…Trescott University president Kevin Abrams confirmed Monday that the school encourages a lively exchange of one idea. “As an institution of higher learning, we recognize that it’s inevitable that certain contentious topics will come up from time to time, and when they do, we want to create an atmosphere where both students and faculty feel comfortable voicing a single homogeneous opinion…”
The sixth problem is the “A” in S.T.A.C.I., the Abundance. The progressive movement is punch-drunk on the idea that we, the hamsters in the wheels and crawl-tubes they’re buying from the pet shop on a weekly whim (with our dollars), can be taught to like some things and drop our interest in other things. Being liberals, they have arrived at the conclusion about how human nature works that is exactly 180 degrees off course from the way it really works, and if they had the ability to learn from experience and correct this oversight then they wouldn’t be liberals. They think, if they can conceal some of the things we like from our view for long enough, block us from the option of choosing whatever-it-is long enough, we’ll forget that we ever preferred it and our preferences will shift. They also think that if they shove some of the things we don’t like, right into our faces long enough and often enough, we’ll learn to like those instead.
Strangely, when it comes to winning elections, they are capable of learning from experience and honing their techniques over time into something that actually works. They don’t have that ability here, nor do they have the ability to see that what they do isn’t working.
Someone was asking for my critique against Vox’s critique against AGILE.
He dutifully listed the twelve principles:
1. Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software.
2. Welcome changing requirements, even late in development. Agile processes harness change for the customer’s competitive advantage.
3. Deliver working software frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference to the shorter timescale.
4. Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project.
5. Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done.
6. The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation.
7. Working software is the primary measure of progress.
8. Agile processes promote sustainable development. The sponsors, developers, and users should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely.
9. Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design enhances agility.
10. Simplicity–the art of maximizing the amount of work not done–is essential.
11. The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams.
12. At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly.
…taking particular umbrage against #2, “Welcome changing requirements, even late in development.”
Bullshit. That’s fine in the early stages. In the middle to late stages, this is what is known as “mission creep”.
Quite right. Although, for whatever misgivings I may share about #2, I like #8. Then again, #8 #9 and some others would benefit from more specifics. And then there’s this…
“Business people and developers must work together”…”working software is the primary measure”…”best architectures, requirements and designs emerge from self-organizing teams”…these strike me as heading off in the wrong direction. No, I’m not saying non-working software is the primary measure of progress. I’m concerned about the definition of the requirements, and the apparent contradiction. If the best requirements come from a self-organizing team, why is management involved at all?
AGILE seems to start off with an unwarranted — or, at least, largely unearned — fondness for the process of committee thinking. The manifesto reads as:
We are uncovering better ways of developing software by doing it and helping others do it.
Through this work we have come to value:
Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
Working software over comprehensive documentation
Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
Responding to change over following a plan
That is, while there is value in the items on the right, we value the items on the left more.
I see no great harm in “individuals and interactions,” but I have seen the harm done, firsthand, through an excessive cultural reliance on these. It doesn’t come about until the very minimum quantity of chat-session required is something way, way up there, to the point that the cubicle-farm starts to become a noisy sort of a place, and nobody bothers to ask: How come that is? Why so much verbiage necessary to convey a single thought? How come all these meetings necessary to accomplish trivial tasks which should have, by now, become routine for us?
When people don’t ask such questions — disasters do follow. And they’re predictable. The methods become inconsistent, as the details morph and change with the mood of the committee or subcommittee, on the day the meeting or cubicle-chat-session happened to have been held. Worse, it often emerges that you can’t use the software that was designed by committee, until you first form a committee of your own and flesh out these (verbal) details about how to run it. “Working software over comprehensive documentation,” it says.
I know the rebuttal already; it’s made of iron. “Nevermind what you may know about software development Morgan K. Freeberg, or your experience or whatever you may have accomplished — the committee said something different from what you said, and you’re not on the committee.” That’s the rebuttal committees always use. Meanwhile, it would not be inaccurate to say AGILE has become something of a pejorative term, would it? Perhaps not among the managers, or the recruiters.
But when the successful job candidate is told “This work environment operates according to AGILE,” what is the first thought? “Oh good, finally we’re going to get something done that works”? Or something else, more like…”Well this is not going to be my best work between womb & tomb, but fuck it I’ve got bills.”
Prager, whom I mentioned a short time ago, is fond of saying “I’d rather have clarity than agreement.” AGILE seems, to me, to have turned this upside-down, seems to be practicing a sort of negative-image, Bizarro-world version of it. They’d rather go consensus-driven and have the agreement, or a sense of it at least.
(n.) a remedy for all ills or difficulties : cure-all
Image uploaded to the Hello Kitty of Blogging…with…
Hurricanes…more laws, raise taxes
Tornado[e]s…more laws, raise taxes
Hot…more laws, raise taxes
Cold…more laws, raise taxes
Flooding…more laws, raise taxes
Drought…more laws, raise taxes
Earthquakes…more laws, raise taxes
Missing Child…more laws, raise taxes
Someone Offended…more laws, raise taxes
It’s a bit funny, albeit in a dark way, because to those insisting on raising these taxes the ultimate evil would be “to do nothing.” A tax, by the very definition of the term, diminishes you so you can’t do as much. So taking it to extremes, a highly effective way of making sure nobody manages to do anything would be to raise their taxes to “cover” everything they’ve made. And when raising-taxes is the answer to every problem that comes along, why should we not take it to extremes?
They seek to fool others, or else someone else is successfully fooling them. Could be both, but at least one must apply.
Well, here’s a light, breezy topic for us to tackle over a long weekend. Is mankind essentially good and noble at his core with a few outlying, sick individuals messing things up for the rest of us? Or is man prone to evil on a genetic level, only managing a facade of civilization and goodness through strained communal effort? Writing at The American Thinker, Mike Konrad thinks he’s onto the answer, and it’s not a very cheerful one. But he argues that the truth can be found right in the Bible.
What separates Christianity from all other religions is a hard truth: Man is intrinsically evil. This flies in the face of hyper-leftist dogma that man is essentially good; all that is necessary is an environmental tune up.
While it is true that crime is greater in poor neighborhoods — poverty can bring out the worst in people — it is equally true that that potential for evil has to be there. Increasing prosperity will lessen street crime to be sure. Well-fed people have less need to steal, but crime will merely blossom in other areas.
This doctrine is called “Original Sin;” and it has been replaced in our culture by self-esteem.
We are not born with any inherent sense of propriety, respect for property or the sanctity of the persons of others. These are things which are trained into us (hopefully) by our parents and the broader environmental lessons of civil society, assuming one is fortunate enough to be born into a civilized land. That’s why parents inevitably have to begin yelling at toddlers about why it’s wrong to take things that don’t belong to them and stop them from hitting their playmates…Anger, aggression and a desire to fulfill our own needs and desires, even if that comes at a cost to others, seems to be built into our hind brains in some fashion. The idea of organized societies which band together to enforce rules and maintain the rights of individuals is actually a fairly recent development in historical terms.
Coincidentally, a Facebook friend points to me to this essay by Matt Forney titled, provocatively, “The Case Against Female Self-Esteem“:
From the moment they’re old enough to speak, girls in America are bombarded with propaganda that artificially boosts their self-esteem. They’re told that they’re shpecial and you-nique because they have an extra X chromosome. They’re told that they’re smart, that they can do anything, that they deserve respect merely for existing. They’re encouraged to derive self-worth not from their inherent feminine nature but from their college degree, their job or the other illusory trappings of achievement in a man’s world.
Feminists can screech as loud as they want, but they will never change this fundamental reality; men accord respect based on merit, and if girls want to play in our world, they’ll have to obey our rules. Otherwise, they know where the kitchen is. I have more respect for the starving artist couple busking down the street from my house than I do for all the career-driven, Strong, Independent Women™ in the world.
Dennis Prager, also coincidentally so far as I can tell, has kicked off a series exploring the differences between conservatives and liberals that paved his pathway toward the former after being one of the latter, and the first difference fits right into the theme:
I had to understand both liberalism and conservatism. Indeed, I have spent a lifetime in a quest to do so.
The fruit of that quest will appear in a series of columns explaining the differences between left and right.
I hope it will benefit conservatives in better understanding why they are conservative, and enable liberals to understand why someone who deeply cares about the “little guy” holds conservative — or what today are labeled as conservative — views.
Difference No. 1: Is Man Basically Good?
Left-of-center doctrines hold that people are basically good. On the other side, conservative doctrines hold that man is born morally flawed — not necessarily born evil, but surely not born good. Yes, we are born innocent — babies don’t commit crimes, after all — but we are not born good. Whether it is the Christian belief in Original Sin or the Jewish belief that we are all born with a yetzer tov (good inclination) and a yetzer ra (bad inclination) that are in constant conflict, the root value systems of the West never held that we are naturally good.
To those who argue that we all have goodness within us, two responses: First, no religion or ideology denies that we have goodness within us; the problem is with denying that we have badness within us. Second, it is often very challenging to express that goodness. Human goodness is like gold. It needs to be mined — and like gold mining, mining for our goodness can be very difficult.
There’s an update to the Jazz Shaw article that more precisely reflects my own thoughts about it:
Update (Ed): I’ll address this from the Biblical perspective, rather than from the philosophical perspective, as Jazz has done. This debate has raged from the very beginnings of the Christian church, and resulted in forceful denunciations for centuries, until modern theologians revived a few old heresies.
To declare that man is inherently evil is to misunderstand the nature of original sin. God created man in His own image, as He created everything else in the material world. The original sin of Adam and Eve was to reject God and grasp for His status through disobedience, for which they were ejected from the Garden, but still remained in the love of God. Put more simply, “original sin” is the predilection toward sinfulness, but we choose whether to be evil or good. We are not inherently evil, or the sacrifice of Jesus would have been in vain. To consider mankind inherently evil would be itself a rejection of God’s work and His image.
This is really, I think, a difference of opinion about standards. If there are two youths, one knows enough to take off his hat and stand when a lady approaches and the other one doesn’t, it’s not very plausible to try to deny that the well-mannered one is setting a better example. It’s a lot easier to argue against the setting of examples, to start making excuses for laziness. And once you go down that road you’re going to have to go all the way, right? He couldn’t get to school on time, because he was up late doing his homework. But by living together, we defeat the excuse: Are there any other kids in the school who also stayed up doing homework? What time did they get to school the next day? How many of them were late? Well, gee. Standards.
And this goes on to the more serious stuff: The “youths” are smashing storefront windows and starting fires because the neighborhood is blighted and they can’t find jobs. Huh, is there anybody else who can’t find a job? What are they smashing? So I agree with the editor, a debate about “man being inherently evil” somewhat misses the point.
The conservative vision, at least my own contemplation of it, is not about man being tainted with Original Sin but more like man choosing to do, rather than to be. This gets back to Matt Forney’s observation about precious snowflakey females, with their lives essentially being put on a path to ruin, through this repeated indoctrination about how worthy they are — for not actually having done much of anything. It’s not a female problem, there are quite a few snowflakey boys too. And men. And women.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Conservatism, to be worthy of the word, has to be in favor of conserving something, and what this “conservatism” on our minds today seeks to conserve is civilization. This difference Prager is noticing is just one part of it, since civilization cannot endure without the people living in it believing in the power of starting new days with clean slates, believing that the reputations they have, and will have later, and their power to affect those reputations, lies in their deeds and not in their…well, their whatever. That it lies in their doing and not in their being.
Without that, there’s no power at the individual level, no satisfaction at the end of the day about some improvement that was brought-about. Conservative or liberal, nobody with a working brain says to himself at that point, “The world today was a little bit better because I was in it.” At least I don’t think so. Some of us might get to think that about a thing we did — maybe. Once in a great while, if we’re exceptionally lucky and have made the most of the opportunity. But mentally healthy people don’t really think things are like that, just because they were there. Burning oxygen. That’s like a first step to becoming a sociopath.
Related: Imgur…click open the page and read the whole thing…
Also, get a load of the comments. I noticed overall, the closer the comments come to my own opinion, the further away they are from “best” and the closer they are to “worst.” Like for example:
Things like this always piss me off. My dad had it rough growing up. He worked hard and still came out on top. This is disrespectful.
Seems to me the people making all those other commie-comments, and the people up-voting them, are being rather choosy with the blind spots. You had help! You had help! Don’t you dare ignore the fact that you had help! But then we come to some other annoying truths, like…here’s someone who started out humble and ended up making it. Doesn’t even have to be a case of “making it without any advantages,” more likely it’s a case of “make your own advantages.” But the thing is, you can call it whatever you want, cast it however you want to cast it, tell the story long or tell it short…it doesn’t matter. The reds aren’t anywhere to be seen, can’t hear you, left the room awhile ago. Theirs is a monologue and not a dialogue. The “Don’t dare you ignore the fact that” people can’t be told anything.
And what a shame that is! Your chosen subject matter, if it’s based on truth, manifests a pathway. An avenue between starting without, and finishing-up with, this much-desired prosperity, and all these advantages. So they’re working rather hard to maintain a wall of ignorance that, if it were to be breached only a little bit, might directly address some of the problems they claim is agitating them so much.
Conversely, the people who agree with me about it — are we really turning a blind eye to the fact that we, and others who have it about as well as we do, or better, had help? Have you met anyone who actually takes the attitude “No! I refuse to acknowledge any of these rich people had help”? I have heard a great deal more lecturing about such examples, than I have of such examples themselves. I would regard this as a rather silly opinion to have. If you were born anywhere after, say, the 1750’s or so in the First World, you were born in a miraculous place during a miraculous time. Given that, if you still want to play a pity-party and eyeball the ones who are even better off with this attitude of disdain, there really isn’t anything I can do or say that would help you. Other than to advise that without a change of direction, your sense of despair is permanent. This is provable. There is always someone who has more.
Envy, by the way, is a “flaw.” I don’t know of any religion that says otherwise, and if one did say otherwise it would be a rather dick-ish way of looking at the universe and all the things in it…
Do they even? The Psychiatrists, that is. It seems to Dr. Joy Bliss that it’s “taken more seriously by non-Psychiatrists” based on her reading of things like this…
In both initial and ongoing everyday practice, the majority of the respondents use DSM codes for administrative/billing purposes. About half report that they “sometimes,” “often,” or “always” use DSM to review specific criteria with the pa-tient or family and more than 60% use it “sometimes,” “often,” or “always” to review relevant text for specific disorders. In the initial evaluation of a patient, close to 85% “sometimes,” “often” or “always” use DSM diagnostic criteria from memory—but not as much during ongoing treatment.
Overall, a significant minority do not find the DSM to be very helpful in selecting treatment, and about half do not find it helpful for determining prognosis. It is seen as most useful in meeting administrative requirements, in communicating with colleagues, and in teaching.
That is, of course, President Obama. Wouldn’t want to be racist!
But now that we got that out of the way…there’s a question in the comments that might merit an answer, if one can be found…
What does Barry eating Cherry Garcia have to do with Veterans [sic] day?
Memorial Day. Yeah, but…mmm…might have been good to put some thought into how the pic fits in with the occasion, before tweeting. “Freedom Isn’t Free” is what’s on our minds during this so-called “holiday,” and I guess, I dunno, didn’t see this coming but looks like we have a conflict. The democrat party imagines that everything worth having, should be free. And is! Or something. Living down to their rep.
Related: Common Characteristics of Cults.
All reasonable Americans—this statement is true by definition—scoffed in 2008, when then-Sen. Barack Obama, having just clinched the Democratic presidential nomination, proclaimed: “I am absolutely certain that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that…this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.”
It’s been only a fraction of a generation, but the president asserted yesterday that he had mischaracterized that moment. “The planet is getting warmer,” he claimed in a commencement address at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy:
Fourteen of the 15 hottest years on record have been in the past 15 years. Last year was the planet’s warmest year ever recorded.
Our scientists at NASA just reported that some of the sea ice around Antarctica is breaking up even faster than expected. The world’s glaciers are melting, pouring new water into the ocean. Over the past century, the world sea level rose by about 8 inches. That was in the last century; by the end of this century, it’s projected to rise another 1 to 4 feet.
Yes, the lucky cadets were treated to a presidential lecture on, in Obama’s words, “the urgent need to combat and adapt to climate change.”
This is a chorus ever-repeating in the musical that is Marxist insanity: “This thing is absolutely inevitable and unstoppable, so we must sacrifice everything to make it happen.” It is the sort of mental slippage consequential to reading the future, with all the certainty attendant to recollection of the past. Then again, if lefties had some useful comprehension of time, they wouldn’t be asserting in 2008 that this is “the moment our planet began to heal,” and then seven years later that the planet’s sickness was worse than ever before, with not a hint of backpedaling, or “sorry I was wrong,” or “seemed like a good idea at the time” — or even, “key change!”
Such reflections on the elementary human experience of time, reveal brutally that if this ideological movement retains so much as a semblance of sanity, it’s not any brand of sanity that’s useful to anyone else. Continuing,
The most telling assertion in the president’s speech was meant as a throwaway line. Immediately after setting up his some-folks-back-in-Washington straw man, Obama allowed as how “on a day like today, it’s hard to get too worried about it,” the antecedent being “climate change.” It was a cool spring day in New London, Conn.
Now of course weather isn’t the same thing as climate, as global warmists are quick to point out in fair weather. But that’s true of all weather. It is fallacious to attribute bad weather but not good weather to “climate change,” as if every day was idyllic everywhere on preindustrial Earth.
And that, right there, is really the whole problem. “Climate change” is, as the name correctly implies, an assertion that something in nature is undergoing a transformation. We “know” this to be true, because we are applying measurements to this thing in nature, using things that have been created by humans to do the measuring. Left out of the bumptious bullying narrative is any confession that these instruments, and the technologies & methodologies that apply them to the task and interpret their readings, have also been subject to change.
More insanity. The assertion is that we know a thing is changing, because we’re getting changing readings when we measure it — using a “yardstick” that we know is changing. And the insanity feeds upon itself, growing exponentially: There’s no use discussing it with you if you do not acknowledge, without reservation or hesitation, that the changing measurements on this changing yardstick prove that the thing being measured, is changing; and, exactly the way we say it is. Furthermore, that this change represents a problem, which can be solved only by moving money around in the way we say. But it may be too late already! But move the money around anyway.
After all, the thing is inevitable, an absolute certainty, and that can only mean one thing, that we must sacrifice everything to make it happen.
For the past three or four years, I have been keeping a sharp eye out on what happens culturally between the last week or so of January, and the end of February. Seems to me we’re living in an age in which men and women are getting along better than they did before, back in the 1980’s or so, but the tense peace is periodically disrupted by some unfortunate new industries we have going. And at that time every year, there is this pattern that we all get our dander up about womens’ body shapes. It’s a bit odd, because it’s winter. But if you haven’t noticed it maybe you should make a point of watching too. This weird, strained narrative that women, subjected to “society’s unhealthy image of the ideal female body style,” are forced to lose unhealthy portions of weight or die trying, because the awful terrible wicked men want it that way.
Which, a lot of men are going to notice — we don’t. Oh, some do, but not nearly enough to speak for all of us, to settle in some reasonably observed rule about what “men want.” Men don’t want pencils. Men like curves. This ideal body-image that’s supposedly causing the harm, this mop-handle-with-two-balloons-attached, comes from fashion magazines. Which are not run by mean, nasty men, not men who are interested in female body shapes anyhow. Mean nasty women would be closer to the truth. Anyhow. The point is not to get into all of that again, the point is to observe that we keep re-arguing it and re-arguing it some more, right about the time the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue comes out. And, when the Super Bowl is finally finished.
I’ve settled on the theory that it is one of those two things…coupled up with, women are far more up-to-speed with fashion and clothes shopping, and how they are to be affected by the seasons, than men. Their thoughts turn to this. There is apprehension involved because, let’s face it ladies, if it really is that big an issue then it would be healthier to start thinking about it the Labor Day before. But we’re all human, there is drama involved in the holidays and there is drama involved in the football season, drama drama drama. In this imperfect world, the “ZOMG!” sets in January to February, when the tape measures come out, and unfortunately we have a lot of parasitic industries feeding off all that.
Blaming men is always cheapest.
Well, for some four years or so I’ve seen this pattern play out, and there is this resistance when I point out the seasonal nature of it. Like, those most excited about it can’t remember anything long term. But, maybe I should re-think something too, on my end; seems there’s something going on with May. We have the events of the post previous (the overall problem of which is described very capably over here), there is the angry soccer mom road rage incident, there is the body camera that saved the cop from a trumped-up accusation of sexual assault. Emma “Mattress Girl” Sulkowicz is getting in trouble all over again (H/T) and looking for a way to make a buck off all the commotion (H/T).
The infamous “lake temper tantrum” video from a few years ago (earplug warning), was uploaded in July. Those of us who are survivors from relationships like this, wince a bit…
July is not May, so this would be an exception. But we have a very clear trend here. No, it’s not that women entirely lack conflict-resolution skills…I’ll go ahead and include the disclaimer, and the acknowledgement, that it isn’t like we guys have some sort of monopoly on this. Some guys really are jerks, I get it…and yeah, NAWALT (Not All Women Are Like That).
But, there is a problem here with female entitlement. That’s not the point though. My point is, something about May — they seem to forget there is, or “may” be, a video camera running. Only the soccer mom was aware. But, she only became aware after things were already heated — just like Ms. McHenry from last month.
I’m still not entirely down with this new era in which anyone & everyone may be caught on video at any time, and the concept of privacy seems to be headed toward the brink of extinction and at a rapid, technologically-accelerated, clip. I see lots of downsides to it. But then again, these unwarranted (mostly) female feelings of self-entitlement also represent a sort of curse that has fallen on us as a direct result of technology. There is history to this. There must be, right? We don’t develop a problem just overnight with an advisor, who doesn’t advise, thinking it’s somehow okay to tell a male student “Sitting here until someone is available is harassing them,” or a wife who’s in her thirties thinking it’s somehow okay to throw a toddler-tantrum over general maintenance being done on the car.
What worries me about this seasonality is: The root of the problem is this phrase, the “somehow thinking it’s okay.” Our culture has lost a taboo or two over the years, some of the good ones, the ones that had purpose. If there is a May pattern to all these videos getting uploaded, perhaps the pattern only holds with forgetting that there’s a camera — for some reason. Which would be a fascinating thing, in and of itself. But what if it’s only the forgetting about the camera, that is seasonal? What if the behavior persists throughout all twelve months of the year, and it’s only during this small handful of months that it manages to get filmed?
And how far back into the past does this go? How much further back than the beginning of the ability to casually and surreptitiously film this stuff? How many men — er, okay, people — were made to look like the bad guy, successfully, and over how many years? How many decades?
We can never know the answer. We can only ponder the question…
Therefore, she called security.
And as a direct result of that, launched a Twitter hashtag storm…and got herself placed on administrative leave.
A Kennesaw State University has placed an academic adviser on administrative leave while the school investigates a student’s viral 30-second video of his interaction with her.
In the video, Abby Dawson, the school’s director of advising and internships in the Department of Exercise Science and Sport Management, accused the student of “harassment” for apparently sitting in the room and waiting to speak with his academic adviser.
The video begins with the adviser — initially identified by Bruce and other students as Dawson — walking into the room and telling Bruce that he was harassing another adviser, Margaret Tilley.
“I’m not harassing no one,” Bruce said.
“You are,” Dawson replied.
“I’m not,” Bruce continued.
Dawson threatened to call security and told Bruce that he could fill out a form “just like everyone else does.”
Bruce responded that he was just waiting to talk to someone.
“Sitting here until someone is available is harassing them,” Dawson said.
Now on the one hand, we don’t know what went down before the camera started rolling, and it’s clear the altercation didn’t begin at that point. On the other hand, it is equally clear that the school based its decision to start a review of the incident, based on other events antecedent to the incident itself. This is the continuation of a pattern. The reaction of the student body, and of management, make that rather difficult to deny or call into any sort of question.
And the fact of the matter is, taking things a step further after filling out a form or whatever, “just like everybody else,” is not harassment; it’s called escalation, and it’s something we out here in the real world have to do regularly, in fact more often than we’d like. Or if it isn’t escalation, maybe the student just hasn’t got anything better to do for an hour than get this one question answered — which, in the world of student-ing, could very well be a reasonable decision to make. Either way, unless he’s doing something like making faces, or noises, or holding a pillowcase and bloody butcher knife or something like that, you have to wonder about the mindset of Ms. Skinny Pants. The only way this office full of “workers” can get anything done, without feeling harassed, is away all of the clientèle they’re servicing…so they can be left to work the queue of forms, in peace, and at their own leisure?
How efficiently are they working away at this queue? Is there a problem there, that would make the workers feel harassed if the process is transparent, visible to those who are doing the waiting?
I develop web services for front-end developers. I could make a powerful case that I feel “harassed” by their questions…if I chose to make one. It might not stick, since I’m a contractor, but nevertheless in some cases I could bring some good, solid evidence that the inopportune timing of some of these questions has a negative impact on my work. So how come things don’t go that way? Lots of reasons. As I said, it wouldn’t stick; the persons asking the questions, need the answers; they’re already being about as considerate of my time as they can manage, with things the way they are (and there’s nothing in the video to suggest the same isn’t true of the student)…
And finally, but not least significantly, it’s just the way life is. If the work you’re doing is important enough to have an impact on anything, that means someone will have questions. Possibly, even probably, right while you’re in the middle of doing it. It’s a feature and not a bug. It means that what you’re doing, matters. At least that’s how I see it.
But then, I never went to college.
Hat tip to Instapundit.
So last week something very unfair was done to President Obama. Someone captured this video clip of Him speaking about Fox News’ representation of poor people…
…which makes Him look like a strutting martinet, a tinpot dictator ready to clamp down and start controlling how His country’s media presents ideas not to His liking. It also makes Him look like a bit of a nitwit.
What’s unfair is, that’s the general impression here on Planet Earth. But Obama wasn’t speaking on Earth, He was speaking on the Way Hard Fringe Kooky Lefty-Left Butt-Hurt Hatey-Hate planet, where censoring Fox News makes all sorts of sense. Everybody knows it, on that planet. “Everybody” knows just all sorts of things on that planet.
As Megyn Kelly pointed out, President Obama has a very long history of doing this — blaming the reporting, specifically Fox, when He finds that a not-quite-adequate number of His fellow citizens agree with Him about something. She also points out (at about 3:30 here) that this continued carping is “beneath the dignity of the office” of POTUS.
All of which is quite true. On Planet Earth. Again, it’s unfair: Where His Holiness was speaking, different rules apply, both policy and cultural. They’re in their very own orbit, and it seems nothing is beneath the dignity of anything over there.
But logic is universal. That’s the wonderful thing about it. People living in this or that place may not want it to apply, but it still does. So with that in mind, I’m more fascinated with this thing from the first clip (about 0:28):
…It is a constant menu. They will find…(pause)…like…folks who make Me mad. I don’t know where they find them, right? They’re all, like, I don’t wanna work, I just want a free Obamaphone. Or, whatever.
And, and that becomes an entire narrative. Right? That, that gets worked up. Uh, and and you and very rarely do you hear an interview of of a waitress, which is much more typical, who is raising a couple of kids and is doing everything right, but still can’t pay the bills. Um, and so…
Bold emphasis is mine. Well you can see it’s the verbal medium, so obviously that’s true. But it’s also obvious that when I put the emphasis on “narrative” I’m merely acting on the desires of the speaker. He wishes to discuss narratives. His complaint is about narratives. Nowhere, in any rendition of this particular speech I have heard, does He complain about lying, or failure to adequately check-out some story that turned out to be a falsehood before broadcasting it.
So proceeding to the other thing I put in bold, the “more typical” thing — we need to figure out what President Obama means by this, since His entire complaint seems to be relying on some meaning He has in mind for this term. President Obama is complaining about some standard that has not been met, that Fox News has failed to meet. Let’s use logic. There are exactly two possibilities. Literal and figurative:
1. President Obama has access to statistical information that definitively proves there are more waitresses raising two kids, who are doing everything right but still can’t pay the bills, than there are lazy people who don’t wanna work and want a free Obamaphone or whatever.
2. President Obama is applying the informal definition of the word “typical.” He is complaining that the factual information finding its way to Him, by way of Fox News, contradicts His preconceived notions and this makes Him uncomfortable.
having the distinctive qualities of a particular type of person or thing.
“a typical day”
characteristic of a particular person or thing.
“he brushed the incident aside with typical good humor”
informal: showing the characteristics expected of or popularly associated with a particular person, situation, or thing.
““Typical woman!” John said disapprovingly”
The Google definition associates this use of “typical” with sexism and prejudice. Which fits, when you think about it a bit. Prejudice is prejudging, something that is necessary when you have a complaint about information someone has brought to you, that the “narrative” is not as “typical” as something else. Means you must have picked the something-else, first, somehow, and are experiencing pique over this contradiction that was introduced afterward. The learning is making you cringe.
Even “John,” with his sexist prejudgments about “typical” women, isn’t guilty of this. Not as far as we can see, anyway. We’d have to wait and see how he responds, should he find out about a woman who doesn’t fit the mold. But we know more than that now about President Obama.
Here on Earth, that carries some particularly dire implications. Especially about our nation’s Commander in Chief, upon whom the rest of us are relying to be able to absorb information at certain key moments. Information about reality. We do not rely on our Commander in Chief to erect these prejudgments, and then protect them from information about reality that arrives later, like a little boy protecting a sandcastle against a rising tide. We’re relying on Him to protect something else more important.
What President Obama is doing with this complaint, is something typical of the college-adjunct-prof crowd, or more broadly, of those who are sometimes referred to as being “educated above their hat size”: He’s pitching it in the waste bucket, because it conflicts. The conflict is of His making, it is not the product of Fox News; it arises because President Obama has some narratives of His own.
It also seems to have eluded Obama’s notice that here on Planet Earth, “waitress working hard to raise two kids” is not mutually-exclusive from “don’t wanna work, want an Obamaphone or whatever.” Not to disparage the noble waitressing profession, but it’s possible for one person to belong to both groups, and the overlap may be significant. Here again, the literal, statistically-driven version of “typical” doesn’t work. If you were to go door-to-door in the poor neighborhoods, conducting a survey about “Are you a waitress who does everything right and still can’t pay the bills while you’re raising two kids, or do you not want to work and want an Obamaphone or whatever,” you wouldn’t be able to complete it. Well you could I suppose. It would be another one of those bits of faux-research that end up saying whatever the researchers wanted them to say; which, ironically, is exactly what Obama is doing. Point is, it wouldn’t be an objective measurement because the objective measurement isn’t there to be taken.
So this is another unfair thing that was done to President Obama: The cat got let out of the bag. We got to see, here on Earth, how decisions get made over on that other weird planet. How they reach the conclusion first, then do the learning. Ready, fire, aim! And as they do this learning which is way too late for it to have an effect on anything, they react. Emotionally. Using a purely binary approach, of “I approve of this” and “I don’t approve of that.”
Oh, now and then we do see that here on Earth. Quite often, in fact. It usually has to involve liberal democrats, some sort of a committee, or a committee of liberal democrats.
But we think of it as a bureaucratic disgrace. Especially when it costs us something, personally. Over there on the weird strange planet, it’s the way things are done. “Everybody knows”…well…pretty much everything. No learning needed.
Now that He’s been made the victim of this very unfair thing, I’d sure like to know how my country’s president makes decisions about everything else. I think I have a right to know. Does Barack Obama have what it takes to actually learn anything? I mean, things that don’t tickle His fancy?
Does He have what it takes to say something like “Golly, I didn’t know that, that makes Me want to re-think a few things”? Here on Earth, we have to say that quite often. Part of being an adult is, you have to say that on most days about three or four times before the kids even climb out of bed to pour their cereal.
And, it would be quite a kick in the gut to find one of those kids in charge of the whole country — who cannot, will not, receive unwelcome information, who rushes to gutterball the information instead. But then again, President Obama has been in the public eye for a long time now, and I’ve had a lot of chances to see Him do this “Vector Change of Flawed Grownups,” the directional shift of the repentant, but learning. The thing the grownups do several times before the Cinnamon Toasty-Oh’s hit the bowl.
I’ve not yet seen it happen. I’ve noticed, instead, little bits of evidence suggesting we have a man-child from Planet Nitwit in charge of it all.
And what’s particularly impactful about this clip that emerged last week is, it sounds like final confirmation of it. Like a confession. When our Learner In Chief learns things He doesn’t want to learn, He just blames the messenger. And then He brags about it. To approving guffaws over on Planet Lefty Liberal Hatey-Hate Seldom-Correct But Never-in-Doubt.