Archive for October, 2012
John C. Wright’s Journal. I can tell he’s shared the experience:
If someone says, “But once we eat the rich, by what means will the society accumulate and invest capital? In such condition there is no place for industry, because the fruit thereof is uncertain, and consequently no culture of the earth, no navigation nor use of the commodities that may be imported by sea, no commodious building, no instruments of moving and removing such things as require much force, no knowledge of the face of the earth; no account of time, no arts, no letters, no society, and, which is worst of all, continual fear and danger of violent death, and the life of man solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.”
The socialist will reply, “You are a moron. I am smart. You are a reactionary. I am progressive. You are benighted. I am enlightened. I am good, because I want to kill the rich and steal their things and dash out their baby’s brains against the rocks. You are evil.” or something of the kind.
If you say, “Let us grant that I am an evil moron. How can civilization be maintained without specialization of labor, trade and industry, and the other incidental effects of private property?”
The socialist will reply, “You are a moron. I am smart. You are a reactionary. I am progressive. You are benighted. I am enlightened. I am good, because I want to kill the rich and steal their things and dash out their baby’s brains against the rocks. You are evil.” or something of the kind.
This is a very accurate summation of their approach to truth: Through words & deeds, somehow, you get these “brands” for lack of a better term — soon we have all these people walking around who are branded as speakers of truth, and other people branded as deceivers…from that point the immature, childlike and overly-simplistic thinking may be safely engaged, in which these people over here never make any mistakes and those people, over there, never get anything right. And that brand-driven test of “truth” supersedes real science, experimentation, human experience itself, empirical observations…
The way I see it, it’s more of a recruiting tool than a telltale sign of how they do their thinking. Just like these damnable paper/cardboard “vote yes on proposition-whatever” sheets that show up in the mail, the existence of the method is a testimonial that it works, since if it didn’t work it wouldn’t be used. But ya know, maybe I’m wrong about that. Maybe it’s also a tip-off into how socialists do their thinking.
“Communism” is, in my view, functionally synonymous. Yes I would score a zero on that test question, my answer would be marked wrong, but I have my reasons for saying so and they are explained in detail here. I then go on to say…
Its leaders, by their existence, confound this stated objective of achieving a “classless” society, since the leaders occupy a class unto themselves. They monopolize power. They deny their human flaws and failings, and the system of government they establish and maintain similarly denies their human flaws and failings. These dictators cannot make a mistake, ever, since should they ever make one, the mistake will cease to be a mistake on the spot.
Here we have the unworkable contradiction: Whatever you choose to call this system of government and social order, it is about policies being applied universally and with force, so that community members are included involuntarily. The policies themselves cannot be defined since they are in a state of continual evolution, toward the desired objective which is equality. The objective itself is not reached and cannot be reached, since there has to exist some elite layer within the society, of people who have the authority to say what the next wave of policy change is going to be.
It would be difficult to try to overstate the importance of this last point. It is the greater share, in fact something close to the totality, of all the aspiring communists/socialists have to say: “You’re in, you’re out.” As the entry above manages to capture, they apparently can’t make it through a single paragraph without drifting back to it — Hey! You’re not cool! You’re not one of the special ones who should be figuring out what is to be done. You are to be outcast…but not excluded. Everyone must be included in the grand plans, but you are among those who cannot have any say about what those plans should be. Your thoughts are not pure enough. I/We have judged you unworthy.
While writing the post immediately previous, it had eluded my recollection that Joss Whedon was making essentially the same “point,” to the extent that he was actually making one, as those brain-dead kids we just saw in the latest round-up of “indoctrinated younglings sing the praises of Obama.” You know the one; His Majesty is not mentioned by name, but from the lyrics and the timing, you know exactly how they want you to vote:
To be contrasted with the Holy Savior version from just a couple years ago,
Which, in turn, is not to be confused with mmm mmm mmmmm.
Well let’s focus on that first clip up there. It does not mention Mitt Romney whereas Joss Whedon does make a point of calling out Mitt Romney. But they share this common theme, which is worth noting because they’ve both come out in the last few days here…we must do this thing and not that thing, or else disaster will follow. It is obvious that now that the election is less than a week away, and our proggies are getting desperate, they’re taking refuge behind the Ninth Pillar of Persuasion: The Harbinger of Doom. Do as I say or else X will happen. To be fair, many Romney/Ryan supporters are similarly relying on this ninth pillar…but, not exclusively so. And it says something when a challenger can make use of this, as opposed to the incumbent. There has to be some truth to the idea that disaster will follow sticking with the present course, if such an idea can achieve any currency at all. That’s an indicator that things aren’t going so well.
Whedon, as I noted, appears to equate — indeed, is talking to an audience that likewise seems to equate — any decrease in social spending whatsoever at the federal level, regardless of the reason and regardless of the actual result, with a disaster on the scale of a zombie apocalypse. That seems to be the mindset. There is a mommy-government holding my hand and standing beside me throughout all the challenges in my life, guaranteeing a good outcome, and there is the walking undead clawing at me for my brains. Just those two extremes, nothing in between. Question for this crowd: What is the cap to be put on the amount of money spent by this government, on a per-person basis, to head off such an apocalypse? A thousand dollars a nose? A million? I mean, either you’re totally out of control or you’re not. If you’re not, you should be able to come up with a ceiling. What is it?
The delicious irony is that Whedon speaks of zombies. And yet in real, day-to-day life we have no better example of genuine zombie-ness to offer, than the indoctrinated singing kids. Which has become something of an epidemic since about…2008 or so. Mmm mmm mmmmm!
P.S.: If you’re not already reading Jason Mattera’s book, you should be. The metaphor fits the events of this week, and the days ahead, as it never has before.
Well, Sonic Charmer is taking this video way too seriously. I should clarify what I mean by that. I don’t mean that Joss Whedon is saying something different from what appears to be saying; what I mean, by that, is that Sonic is (or seems to be?) misunderstanding the method of delivery.
Interestingly, we’re back on zombies again. This could mean one thing, or another, but I’m sure of one thing about this: Zombie movies are ungodly boring and I wish the whole fad would dry up and flake away, like a pustule or zit. Zombie movies are like slasher-hack-em-up movies without the skinny-dipping, and the girls in skimpy clothes. Who the hell needs that? No really, check out the dialogue it’s exactly the same. “[Name]? Is that you? C’mon, guys, knock it off…guys? It’s not funny anymore…”
But back to Whedon’s video. I, too, fail to understand the connection between zombies and Mitt Romney. All I can make out from the clip is, 1) if/when the Zombie Apocalypse comes along, we’ll all be on our own, 2) Mitt Romney wants to “make deep rollbacks” in lots of social services, which would mean we’re all on our own, so 3) there is a connection between the two because we’ll all be on our own. This says more about Mr. Whedon’s fans, or I should say the fans of this particular video, than it does about Mitt Romney. Apparently, our government has to keep spending between 3 and 4 trillion dollars a year so these quivering neurotics can feel like someone is taking care of them and they aren’t all-on-their-own. Or else…zombie apocalypse.
That is all the sense I can make out of it from taking it seriously. And it isn’t much. So let’s dissect more deeply and inspect some more layers…
The YouTube page has 12,343 comments ready for inspection, and I cannot pretend to have taken the time to do anything more than skim through a relatively microscopic sampling. But the likes/dislikes are leaning toward the positive, with a strength far exceeding ninety percent…and the experience of my skimming shows a similar leaning, these are favorable comments. It is telling that within what I managed to skim, there’s absolutely nothing solid, structured or enlightening. “Joss Whedon is a fucking GENIUS!!!” seems to be the prevailing sentiment as well as the most frequent expression of it, leaving the question posed in the title of this post unanswered.
We have already established that Whedon has his finger on the pulse of a generation — no, not a generation, more like an inter-generational cross section of Americana — and I am not a part of it because I can’t understand his work well enough to appreciate it, and I can’t maintain an interest in what he’s delivering long enough to begin to understand it. The tits, car explosions and guns, it’s like he came up with something that actually did have them, and then in post-production went through some finishing process to strip them all out again. So in Whedon production after Whedon production after Whedon production, I’m seeing something resembling an empty husk, which used to have all sorts of wonderful plot developments and stirring visuals, of which there is nothing left but remnants of marginally good-looking characters delivering lines in a clever sort of way to develop and display their personalities the same way over and over again. Which irritates me to no end, since I already know Malcolm Reynolds is dark, brooding, heroic, courageous, not a hero in the classic sense, et al. The story is lacking, and if I’m looking at my watch while I’m watching the telling of what little there is of it, the telling must be a fail.
And I have much the same reservations toward the clip. I’m looking for something that isn’t there. It isn’t the tits or car explosions or guns, it’s a strand of logic by which Mitt Romney could be connected to a zombie apocalypse. And just like with a Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode, I’m left like a dying goldfish on the floor, gasping for something that isn’t there. In fact, there isn’t anything there except this clever, edgy, deadpan delivery…which must be the point to it all. And I think it is. We’ve got this staggering, brainless gathering of our fellow citizens who are lurching around, eagerly consuming “entertainment” which is also their intake of “news,” although they deny it…and they’re only looking for one thing, which is clever delivery, caring not a bit about the content. Queried about what is so scintillating and satisfying about what they have consumed, their answers are sterilized of anything structurally sound, just like the object of their admiration: “He’s the BOMB!” “You just have to see it, you’ll know what I’m talking about!” “It’s the characters, they’re so well developed!”
And there is a lot of this going around lately: How a thing is said, is everything, and what the thing is that’s being said, doesn’t seem to matter very much. It reminds me of years ago, when we had a very high-profile and much talked about dust-up taking place here, locally, when Sacramento received an award for being “most diverse” in the nation. One of the benefits called out in the magazine article about this award was, there were some seventy languages being used in the school system, and our local radio guys said something like “you’re nuts if you think that’s a good situation in any way” or some such, which offended the Mayor at the time. Who then tried to get them thrown off the air by way of threatening the station’s FCC licensing. It is exceptionally difficult to find a direct reference of this incident on the innerwebz today, which is rather sinister and spooky when you stop to consider the issue is our constitutional right to free speech. But the point is, there is a case in which the expression of an idea — the seventy-some languages — is given greater importance than the idea itself. We saw the same thing going on way-back-when, as the country was going through the turmoil of switching to the metric system, an idea since abandoned. All these ideas were tossed around about the superiority of the metric system and why it makes better sense to count everything by tens…but the whole thing was nonsense because, in reality, the supporters of the metric system didn’t give a crap about the number ten. That was simply not an honest presentation of the passions at work. They just wanted to feel more scientifickul and be more like Europe. If it was about avoiding the problems with measurement errors and conversion, the effective resolution to such concerns would have been to simply stick with what was in place already. In schools, we see kids being pushed to take foreign language classes to broaden their horizons and strengthen their employment prospects down the road; and there is some legitimacy to this. But we also see tell-tale signs that strengthening their employment prospects is not necessarily of paramount concern. And so, again, we see some insincerity; but, again, we also see great weight being given to how something is expressed, at the expense of any consideration for what exactly the idea is.
This may or may not be a “liberal” thing. Somewhere I was reading about the fascination our modern liberals have with linguistics, which noted a lot of these examples, and that Noam Chomsky is, as a lot of people tend to forget, a professor of linguistics. I think party politics may not have much to do with it. It’s more likely we’re looking at a desire for people to be perceived as capable thinkers who are successfully grappling with big, important ideas, when they can’t muster up the intellectual acumen to actually do it. I did sort of pick up that “vibe” as I was skimming the YouTube comments, they looked like the work of schoolchildren who were given a homework assignment of “tell me exactly what it was you liked about Joss Whedon’s video” and wanted to get on with…well, whatever kids these days do when they lie their way out of their homework. So perhaps it’s nothing more than laziness. Or, maybe there is deeper meaning. Maybe a combination of both…like…if you’re intellectually weak but do not want to look that way, the path of least resistance is to display your fascination with how an idea is expressed and then maybe you look like you managed to sift your way through the structure of an argument, when you really didn’t. And so we have — learn a foreign language, use the metric system, but who cares what you’re saying and what you’re measuring. Just like, nobody who likes this video can explain what it’s trying to say. Including Joss Whedon.
The admirers of this particular YouTube movie do look more and more like zombies all the time, now that I think of it.
“Romnesia” — hey, that’s pretty clever Barry. If cleverness could restore our nation’s credit rating, bring the unemployment rate down to George W. Bush levels, and put our enemies on the defensive, then someone like You might actually be qualified to work somewhere in the executive branch…after you got some useful experience, anyway. If only it were that easy.
But, since we’re in that mode, I’ve got one for you.
Obamative Dissonance (n.):
When you tell me nobody knows what the other guy’s ideas are because they’re “all over the map,” then proceed to describe in great detail exactly what’s wrong with them and/or what will result from them.
Now you see…that’s actually scary. The whole reason for electing Barack Obama in the first place — apart from this “Yay, it’s America’s first black president” thing — was to try out yet again something I’ve seen fail over and over and over…so-and-so just got done, uh, managing something, so perhaps all knowledge is generic and we don’t need anybody to demonstrate any specialized knowledge in anything. In other words, running a “great” political campaign is, perhaps, all that is needed. The guy at the top doesn’t need to know about anything practical, since His marvelous head is crammed full of generalized, abstract stuff…although He’s just so prescient and observant and generally wonderful that we’re sure He can grasp everything immediately if He really needs to.
Like most dumb ideas, this falls apart under the weight of simply being taken seriously. Knowing what Obama knows, in the field that Obama knows, should be sufficient to bring good results in matters more technical and specialized…well, coordinating a message is not even venturing outside the field of what Obama is already supposed to know. It is what He does, what His team does, what we saw them do back in 2008 so effectively. It isn’t even branching into a different area of knowledge, it is their primary field of expertise. It is the specialized talent they are supposed to be bringing to the table.
They can’t even do that much. It’s as if someone, whose name we still haven’t heard, was responsible for getting all the work done and got tired of missing out on the credit. Submitted his or her resignation, went off somewhere and became a goat farmer, leaving all the big-name management types high & dry.
We don’t know what Mitt Romney wants to do; Romney himself doesn’t know; but we can tell you exactly what is wrong with it all. It doesn’t even make sense.
They send their toadies out to the social networking sites to repeat this stuff…everybody else can handle it however they like, my chosen method has been simply to repeat it back to them. “Wait a minute, you’re saying it’s a mystery what Romney’s going to do, but you can tell me precisely what will happen in the wake? How do you reconcile that, how do you square that circle?” And there they are. Blink, blink. Derp. Got nuthin’. Boss sent them out on the jousting field with a short lance.
…something. Let’s get through the background info first. Some Republican candidate somewhere fell into a trap, answering a question that is hopefully mostly-useless and should be all-the-way-useless, about what is to be done about a pregnancy caused by rape. The correct answer is, of course, that he would represent his Indiana constituency in the United States Senate in strict accordance with upholding the U.S. Constitution, as required by the oath he would take upon being sworn in. But he was goaded into saying…
I struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize life is that gift from God. I think that even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.
Well, problem: You have to be a whole lot more careful around the zoo tiger that has missed its last two or so feedings, and the Obama re-election beast is so starved with any kind of case it can make to the American voters that its bones are starting to stick out from its fur. So…lights, camera, action! You have the floor, Mr. President!
“Let me make a very simple proposition. Rape is rape. It is a crime. And so these various distinctions about rape don’t make too much sense…”
“This is exactly why you don’t want a bunch of politicians, mostly male, making decisions about women’s health care decisions,” Obama said. “Women are capable of making these decisions in consultation with their partners, with their doctors, and for politicians to want to intrude in this stuff often times without any information is a huge problem.”
Yes, by all means. When our overriding concern is politicians sensibly staying out of matters that do not concern them, and leaving intimate decisions up to the wise and capable voters, then of course our standard bearer has to be Barack Hussein “My wife is bored and wants to tell your kids what to eat” Obama! <eyeball roll>
Which brings us to Cassy’s remark:
Gee, that’s funny. I seem to recall Obama — a male politician — weighing in on abortion in the past. Let’s see… there was his pro-infanticide vote. That’s one notable example. So I guess what he really meant to say was, male politicians can weigh in on abortion, but only if they’re on the “right” side of the issue. Otherwise, keep your mouths shut!
It isn’t just Obama, though. I see this all over the place: Men making this claim that men should not have opinions about abortion…but if another man pipes up and says “It should be legal!” they don’t get in that guy’s face and say “Hey, you! That’s an opinion about abortion, you’re a man, so you just stuff a sock in it pal!” To the last man, it seems this professed abortion-issue agnosticism is entirely phony. “Men should not have opinions about abortion” — means — “Men should not oppose abortion.”
I notice something else, though. When a politician takes charge of something and, next time he’s up for re-election he doesn’t have any good results to offer and has to head back to the “re-elect me so we can keep abortion legal” thing…you know what, President Obama? Those politicians are “mostly male” too! Mostly male, and mostly silly, since a lot of these guys never had anything to do with abortion being allowed (or not) in the first place.
Cassy then goes on to raise an interesting question:
Also, if men aren’t allowed to make decisions on abortion, then why should they be forced to pay child support for children they don’t want? I mean, think about it. Men can’t have a voice on abortion, and they can’t have a choice on whether they want children or not. How is that right?
I can field that one. It goes back to my previous post, in which I said, simply:
I was going through a litany of favorite left-wing issues, categorizing them according to how they meshed up with what I perceived to be three primary base human impulses. Those three impulses being: Resentment, desire for a centrally controlled and micro-managed nanny-state, and belief in a godless universe. Abortion is godless, not only in the act, but in the beliefs upon which it is based. The baby is “tissue.” To those who then ask, if the baby is nothing more than a clump of cells and the rest of us labor under no moral obligation to preserve it, then how are any of the rest of us more worthy of protection than that “tissue”? And the honest answer is: We’re not! Boys, girls, gays, straights, babies, old people, every year in between we’re all just randomly growing and regenerating carbon-based stuff. Stuck here on a tiny rock in space by unplanned cosmic forces. Nothing glorious about us at all. Certainly no reason for being here, no mission, no purpose. Just sit around and be happy. Play a video game and chow down a Happy Meal. Do whatever pleases you.
This is a view of our cosmos, and all the things in it, that is loaded up silly with glaring, unworkable contradictions. Like — now that we’ve been deposited here by random forces, without glory, without purpose, without mission and unworthy of any kind of respect…somehow, we have this [blank]-given right to a more-or-less equal distribution of the wages and assets. We have rights to all sorts of things. Representation at negotiations between labor and management; the job itself; the fruits of the negotiations; health care; using the other bathroom when we’re about to go in for gender reassignment surgery; minimum wage; voting, maybe food, maybe a car…dammit, we have rights!
Right to vote. Right to abort. Neither one of them can ever be infringed upon, because, GRRRR ANGRY HULK SMASH!! Well, when there are two rights that are to take supremacy at all times, and they do not run parallel to each other, they in fact intersect — something’s gotta give. Here, we reach that point when we ask an intriguing hypothetical I’ve posed before: The powers that be fail to pay proper heed to Roe v. Wade, and a referendum question ends up on my ballot asking if I want to outlaw abortion. Do I have the right to cast a vote? Do I have a right to vote yes? To have this vote counted…to see it prevail, if it turns out I’m in the majority? Bounce that one off your liberal friends sometime. Get ready for a deer-in-the-headlights look that will put any real deer to shame.
But I suppose that sounds like, liberalism is in fact anarchy. We have no purpose here, therefore we have no obligation, including obligation to follow the law. How then do we resolve Cassy’s question: The men who are not to have any say about abortion, are to be obliged to pay support when they didn’t have a say in whether the pregnancy would continue. How do we square that circle? The answer is that liberals do not see “child support” the way real people do. You’ll notice they’re very free and easy talking about “obligations” people have, like rich people and corporations paying their “fair share,” humans being kind to the “environment,” giving health insurance to the poor, poor, pitiful poor. Mitt Romney should hire more women. But Thing I Know #52 kicks in…
52. Angry people who demand things, don’t stop being angry when their demands are met.
Liberals don’t see child support the way you and I do, because they don’t see any other kind of “obligation” the way you and I do. The issue with the obligation is not, it has to be met because someone somewhere is counting on it. If that were the case, then the obligation being met, would be a meaningful event. On Planet Progressive, this is not happening. No, the obligation is assigned to help underscore the idea that the person who has the obligation, is not as good a person as somebody else. You’ll notice these people the liberals want to make good, and force everyone else to respect; they never have any obligations. Obama Himself is the extreme example. Everyone who expects Obama to do anything, including maintain a consistent position on gay marriage, or closing Guantanamo, or produce a picture of bin Laden’s corpse, or Obama’s own college transcripts — is a r-r-r-r-acist. Which, in turn, simply means that they are to be shunned by all good liberals everywhere.
So of course men have an obligation to “pay child support.” But the liberals who say so, don’t give a hang about the kids. They just want a reminder that the men aren’t good. So put some obligations on them, because to a liberal, that’s how it’s done.
Another contradiction that is unworkable: The men, mentioned above, who don’t want men to have opinions about abortion. Such passion! But if it’s honest passion, how is it sustained? How do you go about being so opinionated, that you should not have an opinion about something? I call shenanigans. I don’t think the human mind is capable of tying itself in to such a knot. If it is, then it isn’t very suitable for its intended purpose…uh oh…there I go, offending the godless universe again, for how can the human mind be intended for something in its design and implementation, without someone doing the intending, designing and implementing?
Some days I’m thoroughly ashamed of how long I’ve been studying liberals, and how much I still have left to figure out about them. After all, when all’s said & done they aren’t that complicated. I can only conclude that either I’m thoroughly lacking in the skills needed to figure things out, from the simple to the complex, or else I’ve been spending all that time looking for the needle in the wrong damn haystack, studying something that is not the thing that needs studying.
I’m leaning toward the latter. I’ve figured out some things here & there, in my lifetime, that eluded the vigorous and honest presentation of investigative effort of others, whom I knew to offer no small amount of talent when it came to figuring things out. So I must not be completely handicapped there. There is also the matter that in politics, people have a tendency to shape the politics by using their abundant and intense passions to debate a wide variety of issues; it’s fascinating how everyone seems to lose track of how many issues there are, and yet everyone’s convinced their own issue is the most important one. Well, listening to all these arguments about all these issues does open one up to the possibility of error, by way of using one’s energy to look for things in the wrong places. And, I have to ‘fess up that some other people are good at keeping from getting distracted, and for whatever other strengths I might have to offer, I am not one of those people. After many years of being reminded of that I have come to realize I’m simply not comfortable with the horse-blinders on. I don’t recognize the separation of subject-matter. My life experience tells me that work, play, family, friends, raising and educating children, these things are all connected to the way people think, as is this thing we call “politics.” It’s all one big ball of yarn. I’m still trying to untangle it.
And so I have these epiphanies about basic things. Embarrassingly basic, and embarrassingly late.
Like this past weekend: I reflect on it for a few days and a few nights, and realize I can’t think of any political agenda, in my lifetime, leftward-leaning that doesn’t have something to do with resentment.
My fiance and I were talking about this over dinner in Vallejo Saturday night, mulling over the question: How could there be any kinship at all, between feminism and communism? Feminism, at least that brand of it that finds the broadest support, is: If a woman performs the same job as an equally experienced and equally-qualified man, and performs it with an equal level of competence, she should be paid the same. Second-wave feminism, it could be persuasively argued, is first and foremost about this one thing, all other agendas within that movement are derivative of it. It is inherently capitalistic. It is entirely irrelevant in this mythical Utopia that is communism, and suffers from a continual erosion of irrelevance in a society moving toward that ultimate goal. Feminism, therefore, should have an inimical relationship with communism. In theory; but in practice it does not, the two have formed a diabolical, but rather easy, alliance. How and why?
And this forms the epiphany. The two really don’t have anything in common with each other besides resentment. Could it be that resentment is the underpinning, the common foundation, beneath all leftist movements? It was there in the Communist Manifesto. It was there in the storming of the Bastille.
I thought I’d come up with an exception this morning: There is a lot of excitement swirling around about ObamaCare, and of course there is an entire field of socio-economic agitation for reform based on a desire for central management. These people do not all seem resentful, to me. If they are then I think their passion for this “kiosk society” includes a lot of things that are not entirely based on their resentments…but there is the big question, perhaps I’m wrong about this. Perhaps resentment possesses not a sibling or cousin relationship, but rather an ancestral one, to these collectivist/kiosk longings.
Professor Mondo put up a link to his thoughts about Roger Scruton’s writings — which present a powerful argument that this is indeed the case.
[H]e argues that the rise of totalitarian governments (e.g., Nazism, State Communism) in the 20th Century occurred because “there is something in human nature to which they respond.” The temptation is to believe that the failures of the totalitarian states have stemmed from putting the wrong people in charge, and each new batch of totalitarians believes that they will at last get it right.
But what is the human trait that totalitarianism pretends to assuage? This is where I find Scruton to be electrifying. “Totalitarian systems of government and totalitarian ideologies have a single source, which is resentment.” Scruton notes that resentment is a natural part of the human condition, an inevitable consequence of competition for resources. The would-be totalitarian sees the institutions of civil society as creating the inequalities that bred his resentment, and by using government, he would bypass or altogether eliminate those institutions.
It seems what I’m discovering is that I don’t really understand resentment. This comes as a surprise. I’m no saint and I have not spent a life free of resentment; growing up, in fact, I was far more resentful than most other kids, and had more reason for being resentful, at least in my own mind. And I recall that at age 10 I was fooled into “voting” for Jimmy Carter, which is a way of saying I was fooled into thinking it would be a good idea for him to be voted in as our country’s next president. This did not last long, since by 14 I fully understood this was a dumb experiment and, for the good of the country, the peanut farmer had to go. By 18 I couldn’t get out in the morning early enough to cast my vote to re-elect Reagan. But how did resentment feed into these ideas of mine? It didn’t. I recall it all as jumbled bits of accidental wisdom and foolishness, the way I suppose we all recall things in our past, the good decisions as well as the bad.
Those who disagreed with me, though, and thought Mondale-Ferraro was the way to go; I cannot in good conscience jot down any doubts about their resentments, or speculation that they were acting on something else. I have no memories to support such a thing. They imbibed thirstily of the intoxicating elixir of their own resentments, and made sure they were seen, far & wide, so imbibing. Reagan. Watt. Bush. Old white guys. Men. Christians. “Oil buddies.” Oh, and nucular nucular nucular. Right, back in those days the left-wing didn’t ridicule the right-wing for mispronouncing the word, they were the ones doing the mispronouncing. They still wanted to appear super-sophisticated and enlightened, but back then the faux sophistication was found in just mentioning the word as often as possible, not much attention was paid to whether the pronunciation was right.
In the years since then, I lost my interest in politics and became more fixated on meeting the demands of day-to-day living. I guess that happens to most young adults. My interest was aroused, again, when Bill Clinton came along since I could see exactly what he was about to do. What was going on with resentment during that time? Certainly I felt some here & there, but the pressures and demands of adult responsibilities toned it down. Perhaps there is a fundamental difference in world-view there. If others have privileges I don’t have, and because of this I have to do a little extra grasping in order to meet my goals, then it isn’t going to happen unless I have that “Am I over it yet?” moment and concentrate my energies on my own actions and my own influences. Besides, in the meantime, I had been on the other end of resentments as well. That is to say, others had been resentful of me. And I felt the effects of this, which was not an experience I had had by age 10. I suppose that can have an effect.
Anyway: I had another thought about godlessness. These people we call “liberals” and “progressives,” today, seem to be intractably bound to an understanding of the universe and all the things in it, that since living things are capable of developing new traits through a process of evolution, that everything remarkable about every living thing must have evolved that way. They are fascinated with this process of evolution. When they enter into conflict with conservatives about how to interpret the Constitution, they get into this nonsense about a “living [, breathing] document” and they recognize “rights” without even acknowledging the process of recognition, instead insisting that the rights are in a process of evolving. Had I not already parted company with them on any other matter, I would have to part company with them here, for their error is in a childlike confusion between the objective and the subjective. It is a rather drastic confusion taking place because they’re observing a change in an object’s state, while the only thing that has changed is their own sensibilities. Ask a conservative, is slavery wrong today and was it wrong before 1863? And there’s no hesitation about it — it is universally wrong, wrong then, wrong now, wrong when the Egyptians used slave labor to build the pyramids. But the liberals like to live in today, and when they recognize the concept of time they get stuck in this thing about evolution. We must have rights today that we didn’t have then, since the rights come from government, and heck, something has been going on since why else would we be celebrating the 30th, 40th, 50th anniversary of this-thing or that-thing.
Since there is no god, an unborn child is not a child at all but a “choice.” And we should take “In God We Trust” off our money. Also, we are not “endowed” by our “Creator” with certain “inalienable rights.” Been a few years since I engaged in that particular debate, but the last I heard the story was that the words are found in the Declaration of Independence, not the Constitution, which means something because the Declaration is not “legally binding” or something.
So what we today call “liberalism” is a family tree of sorts, an unholy trinity. You have these three doctrines at the top of the pedigree chart — inter-class resentment, the desire for the micro-managed centrally-ordered kiosk society, and the godless universe with the magical force of evolution explaining everything because, science. From those three, all the other positions become clearly defined. Abortion: godlessness, as has been demonstrated already, above. Taxing the rich: Resentment. New and expensive bureaucracies: Micro-managed society. Affirmative action: Resentment. Public education: Micro-managed society. Labor unions: Micro-management, and resentment. Minimum wage: Same. Taking the Boy Scouts to court: All three. Gun control: Micro-management. Environmentalist extremism: Micro-management and godlessness. Can’t buy a 32-oz. soda: Micro-management. Gay marriage: Resentment and godlessness.
But perhaps our pedigree chart isn’t accurate if the three at the top are on equal footing; perhaps there is a hierarchy to be recognized way up there. There is, it could be said, a rather subtle parentage taking place between resentment and Scruton’s “Totalitarian Temptation.” The competition for limited resources concludes with winners and losers, which causes resentment, which would then naturally inspire some juvenile visions about living without said competition. Therefore let’s start regulating and regulating some more.
There is also a subtle parentage taking place between the resentment and the godlessness. After all, what really is our belief system, when we profess a belief in a Higher Power? Summing up the Old and New Testaments in a single sentence, along with the holy books of all similar religions going all the way back to the Greeks and the Romans, what we are essentially saying is: Whether I can see it or not, there is a purpose for what just happened here — it is supposed to have happened. Politics based on resentment will not allow for this, since that viewpoint says that what happened here is not supposed to have happened.
Perhaps it is a linear parentage at the top: Yoda might say resentment leads to micro-management, micro-management leads to godlessness, with a grandparent relationship between the resentment and the godlessness. But maybe at that point we’re just quibbling over semantics.
Mondo goes on to say:
This is what Rush Limbaugh has described as “get even with ‘em-ism,” but for those of us in the medievalism business, we recognize it as the second deadly sin in the Gregorian order: Envy.
This is why I’m sure I’d flunk Mondo’s classes if I ever took them. I know I’m supposed to be thinking about Dante and Milton when we get into those Seven Deadly Sins, but whenever he brings it up, the first thing in my head is Billy Batson walking down that long hallway to meet the old wizard Shazam. But, all the same, I can appreciate why they are “deadly sins”; it all comes down to the simple understanding that a decision made based on any one of those things, will not be made as well as a decision made without them. That is true of all seven, but it is especially true of the envy, which is resentment.
And that seems to be what left-wing politics have become, perhaps what they always were: Making bad decisions look like good ones, by viewing them through a cloudy, colored prism of envy and resentment.
Cross-posted at Brutally Honest.
I don’t think the “live-blogging” works…
I came to that conclusion early this morning as I opened up a Starbucks. After I got hold of my morning cup of hot strong black stuff, when I caught up on the headlines from last night’s debate, I realized this went soaring over my li’l head:
[President Obama:] You mentioned the Navy, for example, and that we have fewer ships than we did in 1916. Well, Governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets, because the nature of our military’s changed. We have these things called aircraft carriers, where planes land on them. We have these ships that go underwater, nuclear submarines.
See, I have this belief about assholes: We can disagree about whether or not a specific person is one, or is behaving like one within a defined setting as we evaluate some defined behavior of his, with reasonable points presented on both sides of such a disagreement. Right up until the individual is trying to be one. Asshole-ish-ness gets an automatic A for effort; if you’re working at it, it really doesn’t matter what the achievement is. People manage to do asshole things all the time without characteristically behaving like assholes, or without the personality deficiencies of assholes, but you don’t apply yourself toward asshole effort unless you’re an asshole.
Yes, that applies to sitting United States Presidents. What an asshole! “We have these things called aircraft carriers…”
I have a dream. It is one fraught with reckless optimism, but not altogether disconnected from reality…that this statement made a bigger impression on people at the time than it did on me. I have a dream that as soon as President Obama got to the “z” sound in “carriers,” millions upon millions of people in the battleground states made up their minds once and for all that we’ve reached the zero with Experiment O. Mull this statement over in your mind a minute or two, and it becomes clear: Some teenager at heart, having successfully used elaborate Marxist rhetoric to get out of garbage-hauling duty for the entirety of his young, snot-nosed existence, managed to bullshit His way into the White House. That is a problem, and by no means a small one.
The Oval Office is infected with a case of CBTA Disease:
CBTA: Can’t Be Told Anything. Applied to an individual who might actually be quite intelligent, but barring some drastic change in mindset, can never know any more than he knows right now.
Right. See, here’s the problem — you should never presume someone is stupid just because you personally don’t like them. That’s a trap. However, CBTA Disease is another trap. The damage done by CBTA Disease can be summed up in a single statement, and here it is: People who have it make better foes than friends. You don’t want these people on your side, you see, because by the very definition of their class, they can’t be told anything. And they tend to think, tragically, that they have managed to “win” every single argument that comes their way…which is quite a few, since they attract conflict like shit drawing flies…simply by demonstrating that they can’t be told anything.
Quoting myself, on some other matter on which I was invited to expound in written form,
[I]t might be summed up as “you’ll never get me to come around to your point of view, so you may as well save yourself some trouble and come around to mine.”
There’s a lot of that going around, lately. I last recall it with…uh, let’s see…oh yeah right, that veep debate with Joe Biden. Do I need to list examples? It would take a lot less time and space to list examples of when Joe Biden was not doing this.
Oh and one other little thing: Who is the knucklehead who thought it was a great idea to use this as a campaign promotion photo?
Just WOW. You can see the intransigence sort of leap right out of the photo, grab you by the neck and shake you. The caption practically writes itself. “Vote for us, we’re rude, boorish assholes who interrupt constantly and can’t be told anything.”
“We have these things called aircraft carriers.” Hey President Obama, your mom’s dead. I’m sure she had some challenges bringing you up right, that’s been made abundantly clear in a lot of little ways now. How about, let the dead rest a bit easier, sort of tone down on her failings in proper parenthood, let us forget about it a little bit. Because when I hear You saying stuff like this, first thing I have to do is envision someone age-appropriate saying it, which would put them somewhere around fourteen, fifteen…second thing I have to do is envision the proper parent mid-course correction, which would in some way concern a split lip. Which, it’s plain to see, and this is exceptionally unfortunate, You didn’t get when You needed it most.
But I’m not worried about Barack Obama being a proper and polite teenager. I’m worried about Barack Obama being my President. Even disregarding the ideological spectrum, this is precisely what I do not want to see in the Oval Office, this swaggering hipster can’t-be-told-anything mentality. What’s the matter Obama, You’re really that sensitive when You encounter someone who doesn’t agree with You on everything? It’s that much of a new experience for You? Because that would be a problem. A real problem. You can’t reconcile it all in that head of Yours, except to imagine that Gov. Romney doesn’t know what an aircraft carrier is?
And, unfortunately, we know the culture is in our nation’s highest office; it surrounds it on the outside and permeates it within. We know Biden is no better. Biden worked long and hard, after all, to make sure we knew.
CBTA Disease; when it rears its head, it’s always an ugly thing.
Let’s see, what’s the absolute highest station in life I think someone should be able to attain, when they’re infected with CBTA. Can’t Be Told Anything…well that would be a good thing to have, if you’re something like, um, say, a driver’s ed instructor in a high school. A prison guard. A collection agent? Those guys might be more effective in their jobs if they can’t be told things. But not President of the United freakin’ States.
Just look at that photo one more time. There is a constituency out there — which might prevail, in this election coming up — that wants these two guys to be this way. Time comes for President Obama and Vice President Biden to reach out to their constituents, and we get this image. It’s like they stepped out of a movie directed by the Coen Brothers, or Quentin Tarantino.
But they’re not in a movie, they’re real people. Running everything. Can’t Be Told Anything…will never know any more than they know right now…incapable of learning anything new. And they’re proud of that.
November 6 can’t come soon enough.
Update: As of today, Oct. 23, it seems Chris Matthews had the opinion that anyone who doesn’t agree the Benghazi attack was about “the video,” needed to “read a newspaper.” Just another example of what I’m talking about…
Update: Just realized the video clip auto-plays, sometimes at least…wonder why it didn’t do that to me before? I am absolutely not in favor of such web shenanigans and will not knowingly be a party to them…certainly not so that my readers can be regaled with the dulcet tones of Mr. Matthews. So you can click the link if you want to view.
Cross-posted at Brutally Honest.
Bruce Kessler’s zombie metaphor, which I linked earlier this morning, got me to thinking about a spirited discussion in which I participated yesterday, the subject of which was Mitt Romney’s statement about “binders of women” and Cenk Uygur’s “fact check” about it:
Now watch this from beginning to end, and take note of two things in particular that Mr. Uygur doesn’t really know: One, that the advocacy group really twisted Gov. Romney’s arm to hire these binders-of-women, and he never would have done so otherwise; and, two, that when people “weren’t looking” anymore, the Romney administration went on some kind of bloodletting binge and fired the women. His entire debunking rests on these two things, which he doesn’t know. Being a proggy means you get to make up stuff.
What’s this got to do with zombies? Well consider the case of President Obama Himself: You may have noticed He’s a black guy. Which is great, because for years and years now we’ve had these cut-rate bargain-basement science fiction shows on the teevee screen and in the movies, where they show us how futuristic and modern and way-off Utopian their little imaginary world is, by having a black president of whatever. See? It’s the future! You can tell because the president is a black guy. No way would we have anything like that in the next hundred years, so this must be the future. So patronizing and so stupid…well…Obama does deserve credit for this much, that’s over and I’m glad to see it go.
But the left-wing in our country, doesn’t think it’s over. This is what it has to do with binders full of women.
One, talking-point: You know, I don’t think the country is ready for a black/woman/gay/Asian/Native American [whatever] of [whatever].
Two, reality: We get one. In a sane universe, this refutes One. Oh my, looks like we were “ready” for a black president after all.
Three, zombie-undead-talking-point: Yeah, but it never would have happened without [advocacy group or associated movement] so you see, when all’s said & done, we still have such a very long way to go.
That’s the zombie spell. That is how the dead argument keeps going. “Yeah, but your arm had to be twisted, you never would have hired her if we didn’t make ya.” Welcome to the land of the undead.
See, there’s something that’s been going on over the last several decades: America’s left has been in a frantic search for some kind of way to act put-upon and oppressed at all times, even right after managing to get exactly what they wanted. That’s because most of the time when they get what they want, it’s as a result of acting put-upon and oppressed. It’s understandable, really. They don’t want to have to trade in next month’s paycheck in order to cash today’s.
And so we have the zombie minority-hiring argument. Hire more minorities! Uh, okay all right…we did. You did? Well yeah but — you never would’ve done it if we didn’t make ya. Our raging incurable case of GoodPerson Fever takes precedence over your case of GoodPerson Fever.
Lost in the bloody apocalypse is the honest and simple point that we shouldn’t be having any “binders of” anything anywhere, except just-plain-people. I’m not sure how we lost sight of that. Just like a zombie plague, it’s happened so fast, and here we are trapped in a shopping mall with zombies clawing at the windows, and nothing left in our arsenal except a weed whacker. Hire this-or-that minority, contract him, elect him, appoint him, accept his application for enrollment…nothing’s solved, nothing’s settled, ever, because we have made the mistake of attaching the livelihood of a loudmouth to the situation where the problem remains unsettled. So we have the national desire to move past something, but we lack the will. Headshot the zombies again and again, they just keep coming.
Maybe the solution is as simple as: Everyone who ran off at the mouth about how maybe America isn’t ready for a black president — should issue an apology. Admit they were proven wrong. Once that is done, perhaps all the libs who are trying to run with this “Romney wouldn’t have hired the women if his arm wasn’t twisted” nonsensical argument, will feel some measure of shame and realize they’re on the wrong track…uh…yeah, that’ll happen.
Cross-posted at Brutally Honest.
So it was decided that Michelle Obama would go to war on childhood obesity. Democrats and Republicans should be able to agree that there’s a lot of it about, and it doesn’t say anything good about where we’re headed. And so it was that the president signed into law the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act. Like I said, all very bipartisan: It passed in the Senate by unanimous voice vote — because who’s against healthy, hunger-free kids? And thus, in order to lend credibility to a make-work project for the Queen Consort, America is now a land in which a government bureaucrat at the Department of Agriculture sets the maximum permitted calories for school lunches across the fruited plain and all the way to Guam. “I’m confident we have a core healthy set of proposed diets for children,” said Kevin Concannon, the U.S. undersecretary for food, nutrition, and consumer services. At the European Commission, the chef de cabinet, despite his title, does not actually determine the national menu. But in Washington, Tom Vilsack, the secretary of agriculture, is literally the chef de cabinet. He sets the set menu — and there’s no ordering à la carte, not when the carte stretches from Maine to Hawaii.
Okay, that’s enough lame francophone punning. This year some guy working in some office someplace some ways down the chain from the chef de cabinet decided to reduce the permitted lunchtime calorie intake of American middle-schoolers from 785 calories to 700 calories. I chanced to read this news while sitting in my doctor’s office staring at a Body Mass Index chart on the wall. If you’ve ever attended a middle-school choir concert and watched a 4′10″ boy warbling along with a 5′6″ girl from the grade below, you’ll know that things can get really wacky developmentally round about Grade Six. But a bureaucrat in Washington has decided that, food-wise, one size fits all. The World Health Organization considers BMI 25 to be overweight for Caucasians but BMI 23 for Asians. Yet a bureaucrat in Washington can breezily impose a uniform calorific intake on the school cafeterias of Honolulu and Buffalo.
The first lady was on hand for the launch of the new federally mandated lunch limits. The stench of failure and risibility has not yet attached to this initiative as it has to so many other Obama-era bureaucratic excesses. But, through September, returning schoolchildren complained about their new, insufficient lunches. Teachers and parents who took up their cause did so in statist terms, beseeching the commissars to raise the mandated calorie limits. Very few did so on first-principle grounds — which is to say the argument that a system in which a centralized bureaucracy attempts to impose a uniform menu on a nation of 300 million people is nuts, and cannot survive. In theory, education is the responsibility of local school districts in sovereign states. Yet somehow a bureaucrat in the Department of Agriculture wound up with a monopoly on what your kids eat.
The First Lady having a cause — that is certainly nothing new. But it is important that such causes be restricted to the “good works” section, things that all citizens of good character and conscience agree must be good works. Literacy. Nutrition. Health. Our left-wing friends are not so sharp at making this distinction, there’s a difference between being in favor of solving the problem, and being in favor of the bureaucratic machinery.
We’re going to have said bureaucratic machinery toiling away under the whim of our “Queen Consort” now, with the police power of the state behind it? Okay, fine. I want to see an Ann Romney/Michelle Obama debate.
If I can’t have that, then…I don’t know. I’d push for abolishing the office, but is there an office? If there is one, it didn’t exactly get built or anything…more like, settled in. Accumulated. Like weeds in a garden, a beehive under a tree, or rust on an iron railing. Probably wouldn’t do any good to abolish the office. Unless we revisited the issue every year or two, made sure another “Office of the First Lady” hadn’t accumulated again, and removed any trace remnants any time we found some.
Either way, this is way out of control. Promoting values versus creating binding national standards, there is a difference ya know. Can’t Michelle Obama run for some kind of elective office if she wants to have this sort of effect on things? Or, once she figures out kids should be limited to 700 calories for lunch, she could write it up and put it through Congress?
6:01:49 PM Bob Schieffer introduces.
6:02:25 PM The candidates walk on. It’s a table format. Oh, goody.
6:03:25 PM A reference to the Cuban Missile Crisis. Neat! Um…why? Anniversaries, they’re a pet peeve of mine.
6:03:40 PM Ooh, we’re starting with Libya. Not good for Bozo.
6:04:26 PM First question to Romney.
6:04:38 PM Romney again starts off with a lengthy list of classy thank-you messages.
6:06:09 PM Mitt Romney congratulates the President on killing bin Laden; the President glowers.
6:06:36 PM Wonder if Romney can feel that laser-like gaze on his neck.
6:07:01 PM Obama: Al Qaeda’s core leadership has been decimated. Decimated? Reduced by a tenth? Hmmm.
6:08:16 PM Obama is taking credit for exactly the same things George Bush claimed to do right before the democrats called him a war criminal. Interesting.
6:08:54 PM Romney is “all over the map.” How come democrats keep doing this? They pass judgment on the problems involved with the plans they don’t like, while simultaneously insisting that they can’t understand what the plans are.
6:10:36 PM President Obama has really done His practicing. He’s glowering like a buzzard. That’s some fine glowering there Mister President.
6:11:26 PM And now we have references to Mitt Romney wanting to turn the clock back. Wow if I was the incumbent President and things looked the way they do, I wouldn’t be taking this tack. “Forward”?
6:12:27 PM “All over the map,” second time using that phrase. I see a strategy has been formed. Like, duh.
6:13:02 PM Romney: “Attacking me is not an agenda.” Oooh…a counter-strategy, and a good one.
6:13:39 PM “Flexibility after the election.” Blood has been drawn.
6:14:15 PM Mister Buzzard is losing His composure a bit now.
6:14:42 PM “Be clear in what you mean,” there’s that thing about consistency again. Who’s advising the President on this thing? This looks to me like a guy-in-glass-house-throwing-stones problem.
6:15:55 PM Schieffer to Obama: Assad in Syria.
6:16:44 PM Obama talks up his multi-natinal coalition. Looking more and more like Bush all the time.
6:18:12 PM Romney discusses the Syria situation: It’s an opportunity. Iran’s route to the sea. Romney and Obama seem to agree on removing Assad.
6:23:15 PM To those who are truly open, Romney sounds like a skilled and experienced problem-solver pointing out the meaningful facts prior to solving a problem. I don’t think this “Romney is all over the map” strategy of the President’s is going to work out well here.
6:24:13 PM Obama invokes the name of John F. Kennedy. Hmmm, that too seems like it could have some drawbacks.
6:24:34 PM Notice Obama is making multiple references to the plight of women around the world. Interesting. Does He have a good record here? I don’t think He’s mentioned this issue as many times over the last five years as He has over the last twenty minutes.
6:26:14 PM Did I hear this right? Obama says we shouldn’t butt our noses into other nations around the year until we get our energy house in order? Has He bought a gallon of gas lately?
6:28:51 PM What is America’s role in the world? That’s a great question, Bob.
6:29:16 PM Oh no, a Mormon used the F word!! …FREEDOM. Ah, music to my ears.
6:31:15 PM Obama says America is stronger now than when He came into office. Uh…fact checkers? Hello?
6:32:32 PM Okay, I want to see Romney talk about labor participation rate. After that I’d like to see him discuss Energy Secretary Stephen Chu’s desire for HIGHER gas and oil prices.
6:33:13 PM “Got us into this mess.” Man, I hope the luster is wearing off that stupid focus-group-tested phrase.
6:34:49 PM Romney says we’re headed toward Greece. That’s good, because we are.
6:35:38 PM President Obama is talking about the lack of job growth in Massachussets when Romney was Governor. I think He might be walking into a trap here.
6:36:45 PM Oh geez, can we dispense with this nonsense about teachers creating business. I’m so sick of it…
6:37:38 PM Good for Romney for bullying the moderator. It’s proper. Let O make His one-sided propaganda and then move on? For shame, Bob…Candy Crowley would be proud.
6:42:49 PM Ooh, Obama says military spending has increased under His watch, but uh oh, Romney has brought details. Has stats memorized about the Navy and so forth. Point Romney.
6:44:07 PM Obama’s rebuttal is that “the nature of our military has changed.” Okay.
6:45:48 PM Obama will stand with Israel if they are attacked. Hmmm…
6:46:52 PM “As long as I am President of the United States, Iran will not get a nuclear weapon.” Really? Sanctions do that?
6:49:28 PM Romney and Obama agree on “crippling sanctions.” Okay that’s good…so they agree on where to stop. Obama seems to insist that the measures stop there, they stop where they start.
6:52:13 PM Obama is once again asserting that He can critique Gov. Romney’s position, while professing difficulty figuring out what it is. Again, who is advising Him on this?
6:54:09 PM “Apology tour!” YES! It’s an issue…GOOD.
6:55:45 PM But President Obama has “fact checkers” on His side. The apology tour, it never happened. Who ya gonna believe, the fact checkers or your lyin’ eyes?
6:57:25 PM Romney gets specific with the “apology tour” stuff. “You skipped Israel,” good. “They notice You skipped Israel,” even better.
6:58:14 PM Oh, President Obama wants to make an issue out of “attend[ing] fund raisers.” Um. You certainly are going a lot of places You shouldn’t be going, tonight, aren’t You?
6:59:49 PM “Credibility,” from being “on the right side of history.” That, in a nutshell, is the problem with today’s liberals having authority on our nation’s foreign policy. That is the most frequent failure point. “Maybe it didn’t work, but we did the right thing!” Welcome back, Carter.
7:01:32 PM “Democrat Senators.” Oh no, Romney left off the all-important “ic.” TWICE!!
7:04:58 PM Class job by Schieffer slapping down Gov. Romney. “With respect, sir…” He didn’t make the mistake of including the word “due.” Well done, Bob.
7:05:56 PM Obama’s doing the buzzard thing again. Obviously been practicing it.
7:08:00 PM The correct pronunciation of “Pakistan” seems to depend on whether your name is “Barack Obama” or not.
7:08:43 PM Obama’s idea of “putting Americans back to work” seems to be confined to public school teaching and road construction. Does He know there are other jobs that need doing?
7:10:46 PM Gov. Romney seems to have a greater understanding of Pakistan’s internal workings than President Obama. In a sane world, that means there is some damage being done.
7:11:39 PM I’d say the Obama administration’s strategy to portray Romney as some kind of a neophyte with foreign policy, is a big fail tonight.
7:14:05 PM Yet another reference from O about the plight of women overseas. This is interesting. It’s obviously a much-emphasized point of debate-prep. He wants to shore up His support from His female base. Because He’s been losing it lately.
7:15:22 PM Rise of China, and future challenges for America.
7:16:06 PM Obama will “insist that China plays by the same rules as everybody else.”
7:18:55 PM The teachers’ union sure is getting their investment back in Obama. Of course, it isn’t their own money they’ve been sinking in. That’s probably why.
7:19:01 PM The buzzard look again.
7:20:21 PM A currency manipulator on Day One. And it leads to some more discussion. I like that.
7:20:51 PM The worsening trade imbalance with China. Glad to see this being brought up. It’s actually been going on for a long time, pre-dating Obama by quite a stretch.
7:22:22 PM O speaks. Oh, dear, here we go again: Government has to seize control of the auto companies or else we’ll end up buying all our cars from China. Well it may be true, but even then, it means what the President is proposing is SOCIALISM.
7:24:13 PM “Attacking me is not…an agenda.” Heh. Yeah, get ‘im, Mitt.
7:25:05 PM The President interrupts to tell Mitt Romney what his position was.
7:25:25 PM “Let’s check the record” — again? Oh that worked out so great last time, huh?
7:26:05 PM Oh good, Solyndra got mentioned by name.
7:26:15 PM “I’m still speaking!” Ha!
7:27:16 PM Uh oh, a disagreement about what the record is going to say when people look into it. Interesting. We shall see.
7:27:47 PM Tax cuts and military spending are bad things, according to Obama. Good, let’s have an election about that.
7:28:42 PM “I couldn’t agree more about going forward but I certainly don’t want to go back to the last four years.” Wow, remember that scene in Robin Hood where he sliced the candles and it looked like he hadn’t done anything until he blew on them?
7:30:03 PM “I think we all love teachers.” Hope those teachers are feeling all special.
7:32:11 PM Wow, Obama referred to being President as a “privilege”!! How many times have I heard Him refer to it that way?
7:33:38 PM “And for that to happen, we need a President who can work across the aisle.” I loathe that principle, but it does have validity to it, and Ronney has it all over Obama here.
7:35:25 PM Good, Mitt got the last word. I think he used it effectively.
So Obama poured hundreds of millions of dollars into ads to paint Romney as unnacceptable.
Well, in four debates (including Ryan), the Romney-Ryan team as painted themselves as perfectly acceptable, even appealing.
A fair summary: Mitt Romney said “This-or-that has been going on the last four years…I love [X], I want [X], I will do [Y] differently in such-and-such a way.” President Obama’s response was: “Yeah, but back when [A] you said [B], Governor. You’re all over the map on this thing and nobody knows what your plan really is. But I can describe in lurid detail exactly what is wrong with it and where it’s going to take us, years down the road, even though I don’t understand the first thing about it Myself.”
To say that a plan is bad and list the undesirable consequences of following the plan, is not entirely consistent with proclaiming that you don’t understand it. Perhaps those two sentiments can be made to mesh together, if one of those thoughts is, or both are, suitably softened up — something the President did not bother to do. So His message came out loud and clear: He doesn’t understand the first thing about what Romney would do, but He hates it.
I guess He’s trying to appeal to the younger generation. Not the ones who sign up to serve their country, go to boot camp, and listen to a drill instructor yell at them about how they better shape up their shit or ship out. But the spoiled, over-educated set who’ve been taught they can solve every problem in the world and know everything, and shrug off every inconvenient argument with the ol’ “I laugh at it so it becomes untrue” defense. The magic-bullet “I say I cannot understand it so you should not understand it either” rebuttal. Emperor Barry is trying to fit in…so His statements during this live, and final, debate become sheer nonsense. Your ideas stink, Governor Romney, even though I don’t know what they are.
Good buzzard-stare, though. Had that one down cold. If I want to model a scarecrow after a living human being, Barack Obama is one of my top choices, right between Hillary Clinton and Madonna.
You can read my comment on the Hello Kitty of Blogging, but some among us have made a point of not creating an account there and presumably cannot do so. Now here’s the problem: Defining communism, communists, socialism and socialists has, in itself, become a tactic used by the communists to make inroads into our country, its culture, and its political process. Here and there you may have seen those enthusiastically-leftward-leaning making a point of questioning their antagonists “Do you even know what Communism is?” and you’ll notice they do not supply any specifics when they do so, nor do they undertake to define how some meaningful misunderstanding might have occurred in the definition of communism.
These words are special in the sense that, they become less useful when they are defined with greater precision:
“Communism” is one of the few words whose definition makes more sense as you loosen it up, make it less specific.
The ultimate precise definition makes no sense at all: Life in a commune, in which property ownership only applies to the community as a whole, individual ownership has been entirely eliminated, and the community is classless. “Communist” would be someone living in, not desiring to build, such a commune. This definition doesn’t even intersect with reality because it has never been successfully put into practice. If the definition is this narrow, then it must forever remain a dream and nothing else. As a practical matter it doesn’t define anything because it doesn’t include anything.
Think how this would work: The assets, revenue-generating and otherwise, would be placed in a common store, and the accumulation of assets along with the associated revenue streams would be parceled out equitably, according to community share or according to need. Someone needs to figure out what that is. We-ell…no matter how you cut that up, that’s power. Not everybody in the community can wield that kind of power. Some sort of officer has to be elected to make these tough decisions. So for the society to be class-less, that office would have to be rotated throughout all the competent community members. Or, you could have some kind of a robot do it. An artificial intelligence to administer the day-to-day living of this community for hundreds or thousands of years…until Captain Kirk beams down to use some Kirk/Spock logic to blow it up or something.
But, no, it hasn’t happened. The communist pattern has been to “elect” some super-duper-special-macho demigod guy to pick the winners and losers. Dictator for life. He can’t make any mistakes because if he ever makes a mistake, it stops being a mistake on the spot. Napoleon. Pol Pot. Mao Tse-Tung. Kimg Jong-Il. Castro. Lenin. Stalin. Pharoah Ramses II. “Class-less” my ass.
The BROADEST definition makes the most sense: Agitation for political reform, cloaking its destructive energies in the disguise of creative efforts, using inter-class resentment and a phony desire for “equality” to make said disguise more effective. A “communist” would be a revolutionary-minded zealot acting on destructive impulses and recruiting outsiders to his agenda by means of the general human emotions of envy, jealousy and resentment.
A communist is distinguished from other political advocates in the sense that when individuals achieve material success, he sees something wrong with it and nurses a destructive desire to “fix” the problem.
So: Communism. Noun. A protocol of political reform — not a system of government — in which the fuel of interclass resentment is used to power an engine of confusion between creative efforts and destructive efforts. Communistic political agendas have it in common that they are deeply invested in rubbing (economically) jealous feelings raw, to confuse the populace into thinking the reformers are in the process of building something when the reformers are really in the process of tearing something down.
They are also to be distinguished from other flavors of political reform, in the sense that they are constantly making an issue out of “equality.” If you come up with a solution that helps a stranger to whom you were not indebted in any way, and in so doing achieve a material profit through a process of trade, the communist sees that as an unsolved problem. There may follow a bunch of empty rhetoric about “I want to make sure the people standing in line behind you have a fair shot,” but that is nothing more than a deception. The material profitability is the real problem.
And so I would call out these common, vital elements:
1. It seeks to destroy. Its political agenda is one of destruction.
2. It seeks to confuse, primarily to present its destructive efforts as creative ones.
3. It does not seek to confuse these destructive energies with creative ones by means of being clever; it seeks to achieve this confusion by means of aggravating natural human jealousies.
4. It defines economic classes according to its own convenience. Its message to the classes is “I am here to represent you, and open a can-of-whoop, bring a beatdown upon those who are one class above you.”
5. In pushing for this, it creates a natural incentive for itself to broaden the population of the lower economic classes, and narrow the population of the higher, more successful ones. Communism constantly makes itself into the enemy of economic success, since it is most durably maintained as a political arrangement when there are lots of poor people and not very many rich people.
6. Its leaders, by their existence, confound this stated objective of achieving a “classless” society, since the leaders occupy a class unto themselves. They monopolize power. They deny their human flaws and failings, and the system of government they establish and maintain similarly denies their human flaws and failings. These dictators cannot make a mistake, ever, since should they ever make one, the mistake will cease to be a mistake on the spot.
7. This new system of government, by insisting on “equality,” insists on failure. As I’ve made the point earlier: What is the big challenge in a potato-sack race, the challenge is that you cannot move your feet too far apart, right? That is the way it is with a capitalist economy; when it is not permitted that people and their prospects can drift too far from the median, the incentive disappears and things don’t go. A dogmatic insistence on equality in all things, stops things from running. When heat and pressure cannot deviate from some established norm, a car’s engine cannot run. When voltage cannot be anomalous, an electric motor cannot run, a light cannot go on, and things don’t work.
I make it a point to try to learn about liberals, not pummel them in some counterproductive caveman “me win you lose” Internet dust-up, when I engage them. I try. It’s not easy, because you have to have buy-in from both sides if you’re going to keep the ego investment out of it and have a truly enlightening exchange of ideas.
But, interestingly, it seems I have come up with a way to effectively service the me-win-you-lose thing entirely by accident, when I was actually trying to service the find-out-what-makes-them-tick thing. Furthermore, I notice 1) I did it twice in a fairly brief range of space, a mere 8 comments total in the thread; 2) both times my argument was unanswered, presumably unanswerable, when one inspects the context and how easy it should have been to provide an answer if there was one; and 3) the two examples in which this took place are quite good, in that they are representative of occasions within our experience as a whole, in which the liberal viewpoint wanders into this (unintentional) trap. Other sides of the discussion can offer specifics. Theirs can’t.
It simply looks like this:
Liberal: [talking point]
Conservative: [request for specifics]
Liberal: derp derp derp.
The two examples in which it occurred were “Do some research on [affirmative action and] privilege,” and “do you even know what communism actually is [as applied to the Obama administration]?” I politely inquire where it is I’ve made any kind of meaningful mistake, specifically, and it’s time for a topic-change. Or cheesecake, or something.
The affirmative action thing is obviously just so much nonsense…”do some research on privilege,” pffft, please stop insulting my intelligence. I suppose I should say a few words about communism, since the answer to the question is yes I do know what communism is, and I’m frankly quite fed up with liberals swaggering around with their condescending and meaningless rhetorical “do you know what it is” questions fully intending to confuse the argument and divert the topic, not in the least bit intending to learn (or teach) what anything is. October is supposed to be anti-bullying month, or something, is it not? Isn’t that as good an example of bullying as any other, trying to intimidate people from talking about communism with pointed questions that aren’t intended to shed any light on anything?
Communism is, simply, living in a commune. But as an objective of political refinement and readjustment within an established society, it refers to an economic model in which private properly has been entirely eliminated and the society is classless. It has not actually been practiced since it isn’t possible. It is a dream. Were it to be a reality, then its proving ground would have been Communist Russia, Communist China or Communist Cuba, or the like, but these countries were not & are not “classless.” Private ownership of property, insofar as it matters, has not been stripped away or eliminated. Communism is, therefore, a Utopian dream; “Utopian” in the sense that the name “Utopia” is thought to be translated from the Greek, “no place.”
And so a Communist would be someone who entertains such a dream.
1. theory or system of social organization based on the holding of all property in common, actual ownership being ascribed to the community as a whole or to the state.
2. a system of social organization in which all economic and social activity is controlled by a totalitarian state dominated by a single and self-perpetuating political party.
3. the principles and practices of the Communist party.
The Communist Manifesto citation, brings us to socialism, and we may as well drill down into that one as well:
1. a theory or system of social organization that advocates the vesting of the ownership and control of the means of production and distribution, of capital, land, etc., in the community as a whole.
2. procedure or practice in accordance with this theory.
3. (in Marxist theory) the stage following capitalism in the transition of a society to communism, characterized by the imperfect implementation of collectivist principles.
A Socialist, therefore, would be someone who labors toward this ideal of communism, along an avenue of incremental displacement of private ownership in favor of community ownership, starting with the means of production. And, as a consequence of this simple recognition, we find the terms “communist” and “socialist” are indeed interchangeable. With the single exception of, I suppose, a person could be called a socialist and not a communist if he wants to adopt a little bit of socialism and then stop at some point…but I dunno. I’m in a state of “I’ll believe it when I see it” about that. I’ve seen of, and heard from, quite a few socialists in my time — never have I made the acquaintance of anybody who, by their actions, championed some limited measure of progress down the socialist path and then actively resisted anything further. That seems to me as likely as your pet dog wolfing down half a beef steak and then saving the rest for later.
Now regarding socialism: We have an interesting quandary here because Definition #1, like so many other dictionary definitions, calls out “the means of production.” This part is lifted from Chapter 1 of the Communist Manifesto; “distribution,” from what I’ve been able to make out about it, is a softening of Marxist terminology to help it make the transformation from an agricultural age into a post-industrial, web-based one. This would help to answer that nagging question someone was raising, “If the government wanted to nationalize Facebook to leverage this ‘socialist’ progress, exactly what assets would it seize?” In the twenty-first century we find ourselves dealing with a lot of assets that only become assets after the distribution has been achieved, and aren’t actually produced anywhere. So the asset, rather than being a shock of grain or the farm tools used to harvest it, is simply thought. And here is the real danger of the communism/socialism dream: Ultimately, to achieve its progress, it has to declare ownership over human thought. It has to nationalize human brain activity itself. At least in this day and age that is the case, and it arguably has been that way for generations.
It could be that the lefties who so bumptiously and bullyingly inquire “do you know what communism is?” harbor their suspicions that I am broadening the definition beyond what is printed in the dictionaries, but are not quite able to define how. Well they’re right, so I will fill the gaps in for them.
Communism, and socialism, in practice are distinguished from other socioeconomic models of function and ambition in the sense that they see all forms of human material success as problems that have to be solved. The only exception to this is human material success that is universal and uniform throughout a defined community. That is okay with them, if it ever happens, but all other forms of prosperity are evil. Communism and socialism see unshared material success as an evil; in fact, they envision the resolution and vanquishing of this evil, as a noble ambition, perhaps in some cases as the absolute pinnacle of human achievement. If the material prosperity does not happen then neither does the evil, and there is no problem that has to be solved. And so they are a perfect negative-filtering of right-thinking and productive people, in that they see achievement as the opposite of achievement, and the reversal or abrogation of that achievement, as the achievement itself. They set themselves up for that grandest and most harmful of human delusions, the mistaking of creative endeavors for destructive ones and vice-versa.
That is a workable “definition” in that it suitably and realistically distinguishes these ideologies from their rival ideologies.
That is the definition I use. I just got specific with it. They can’t.
One thing’s for sure, it wasn’t caused by a push for more home ownership. At least not by this guy.
Maybe this is why they don’t want anyone watching Fox.
Just something to keep in mind, when the democrats insist they need more time to “clean up the mess”:
They have become the party of false-problem-solving. It’s been a good long time, like six years or so since I came up with the acronym C.A.L.W.W.N.T.Y. to describe this fake dance of make-work, this endless merry-go-round litany of “Come A Long Way, We’re Not There Yet.” It usually describes a long, hard process of bringing up one class to enjoy status and privileges on par with another class. But you’ll notice that’s really the lefty approach to everything. “Oh, this is gonna take a long time, we’d better be prepared for a long, hard road.” Translation: You get to sit on your butt and watch me and I’ll make sure I’m fun to watch. Through the years and decades, you get to act like you’re giving up something to help other people when you’re really not. So it appeals to lazy people who want to be given credit. That’s the truth.
I hear a lot of liberals trying to sell others on the “Reagan democrat” thing. Something like “There’s not a dime’s worth of difference between the two parties, and actually I haven’t seen a real leader since Ronald Reagan.” Heard that one?
Well you know how I remember Ronald Reagan, first & foremost? Was a time we had an “energy crisis” that would take a good long time to solve, and it plagued us without an end in sight. We remember the 1970’s and automatically the first thing we remember is this energy crisis. But we do not recall such a crisis from the 1980’s. Nor do we remember President Reagan sponsoring any kind of national tournament to see who could come up with the most ingenious alternative fuel or perpetual-motion device; he simply put an end to hare-brained policies. And, in the end, it turned out we had been told things that were not true; namely, that this problem would take forever-and-a-day to fix. It just wasn’t true.
The picture that you need all these pieces of information to get fully painted, is one in which regulation turns out to not be the cure-all that a lot of people somehow imagine it to be. Some of us have some experience seeing regulation work up-close, and from that we’ve been able to see: If this process ever does manage to fix a problem, it will be like the stopped clock telling the correct time. But it is a political device, working on human perception. To understand the difference between regulating a problem and solving it, you have to notice the details of what’s going on, and a lot of liberals go through life nursing a hostility against details. As has often been pointed out around here, if they had a tolerance for details they wouldn’t be liberals.
The other thing to be learned is, when the regulators actually make new problems by way of their regulating, first thing out of their mouths is “we didn’t make this problem, it was those other guys.” But again, details. You look at what was happening, what was being sold, who was trying to do what, and it turns out the regulators do cause problems.
There is nothing to stop them from doing so. It’s an inherently thoughtless process. The regulators do, whatever, and it’s just assumed that it must be good because it’s “regulating” and that sounds good. Furthermore, if you try to stop them then you must be in favor of the problem continuing.
A dog puts a lot more thought into what it’s doing when it begs for scraps from your dinner table. That is not a personal insult toward regulators, mind you. They spend a lot of their time operating according to written rules that tell them they can’t think about what they’re doing.
I learned a long time ago that part of the price you pay when you go through unique, personal experiences to learn a little something extra about a subject is, you separate yourself from what the big-everybody-else thinks about it. Thus it is with regulation. And this is a source of continuing frustration to me, I have to say…people say “regulate it!” — they do not know what they’re talking about. And I do. And if I try to explain it to them, they aren’t going to understand. I haven’t found a way to get the point across and perhaps there isn’t one.
But it is good that we have the Internet to capture things like Congressman Frank’s falsehoods and duplicity and blame-the-other-guy nonsense. Two hundred thirty-six years, we’re still learning about what kind of government will help matters and what kind of government won’t. But we’ll get there eventually.
YouTube commenter expressing agreement with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Not by name, but by similarity of sentiment:
all hail, the noble mythical job creators… such fantastical depiction. the greatest lie in capitalism is… companies want to create jobs; reality is… they don’t. the real goal is, companies want to employ the least amount of workers, to reap maximum profits. hence why companies ship jobs overseas due to cheap labour. so this whole mantra about the noble “job creators” pushed by the republicans is one of the greatest myths being inculcated at the present.
he seems to know a lot about what he’s talking about, so i think i’ll follow suit and stop using my shift key. hey as a matter of fact punctuation is a pain in the ass as well i think ill stop using that too and forget about using that stupid period thing to end my sentences there is some irony here that hes singling out for criticism these mythical job creators who are essentially choosing the path of least resistance the way all humans do whenever they try to do something they want it to succeed so they choose the least expensive approach kind of exactly the same way this character does when he refuses to use his shift key and this to me is what makes it so sad that this thoroughgoing lazybones is such a genius on how to economize on his own efforts and who knows maybe he is bitter because he sees a lot of business taking place without his involvement and maybe he just isnt bringing the effort to his work i dont know but i do know he certainly seems to feel frustrated and upset toward these businesses outsourcing the jobs but you know it occurs to me that if a business does create a job and then outsource it to china or something the job did get created it just didnt go to him or anybody he knows so maybe in his mind that means it doesnt count and never got created
Uh…that was an interesting exercise. Know what I learned from that? I can’t relate to these people even when I try to. Being lazy in everything, taking the lowest-effort approach toward every single challenge that comes along, after awhile I find I’m doing extra work just to keep it going. Maybe it’s a matter of acquired taste, but I notice I’m putting in a lot more effort into, and progressing much more slowly by, avoiding these little rituals like capitalizing letters, or using punctuation, than would be the case if I just went ahead and did them.
I’ve got a feeling this character is being frustrated by a lot of little problems in life that he’s making for himself. And, most tragic of all, the solution is to make things artificially tougher & less profitable for others.
Rush Limbaugh said something about this kind of thing yesterday, that really went into the details on this and deserves visibility and emphasis…just doin’ my small part, here…
NBC News, the Nightly News, and the Today show today had a story: “Romney’s ‘Binders’ Comment Shows He ‘Doesn’t Have Any Leg to Stand On’ With Women.” I’d like to know from women: What is it like to be this insulted every day? The president of our country and the major media in this country every day insult you by telling you things that you apparently don’t know about what Republicans want to do to you.
And how they look at you. And the things they want to make you do. And you’re no different than just a loose-leaf binder. What’s it like to be routinely insulted like this? What’s it like to be targeted in a way that makes you feel like they think you don’t even have a brain. And then to hear that these people, the ones who are insulting your intelligence, are the ones be who “really” are looking out for you?
What is it like to have to put up with this infantile wording from the president and the media every day during this campaign?
The women I talk to about it, find it just as upsetting as I would if I were a woman. What the HELL, gas is way up over four dollars a gallon, husband can’t find a job, I’m worried about hanging on to the one I have, but I can be soothed and mollified with some muttering about contraceptives and abortion?
“Insult” is precisely the right word. It’s even more insulting that the democrat strategy-makers don’t even seem to be giving it another thought. Here’s some contraceptives, remember-in-November, and move-on.
I’m seeing a lot of criticism coming out from all sorts of directions against the “Romney supporters” for their inconsistency with regard to the weight they confer on national polls. As I understand it, the charge is one of being a fair-weather friend to the credibility of the polls; they dismissed the polls when they gave Emperor Barry a command lead, and now that Mitt Romney is up by five to seven points, we & they are doing an about-face and saying there’s something to be learned from this. Make up your darn minds, you Romney supporters!
Okay, a few points:
First of all, I have seen a very sturdy pattern holding up in which, when a conservative or self-professed Republican or Romney supporter calls the integrity of the poll into question, the issue is liberal bias. This is down to the last nose — I’ve not heard of any exceptions to it at all, anywhere. We can argue about whether the liberal bias is there, which I personally find facile and silly. But the point is that if this is the issue, there’s no inconsistency here. “The poll shows Obama ahead but I’m taking it with a large grain of salt because, liberal bias”…two weeks pass…”The poll shows Romney ahead and I’m taking this seriously because, liberal bias.” Where’s the inconsistency? There isn’t any.
Secondly, I can think of quite a few occasions in my living memory in which the polls said the democrat was doing alright, the big day came and there was this unexpected smackdown. It seems there is some difficulty involved, even in the age of Google, with salvaging the old records so when we argue about this, we end up arguing about our personal recollections. I recall there was some expectation of the 2002 midterms, but President Bush keeping his job in 2004 came as a complete surprise to the proggies, giving rise to instant conspiracy theories about Diebold tampering with the voting machinery. Reagan over Carter in 1980 was an embarrassing turn of events, taking place overnight, I still remember that well. In 2010, Sarah Palin could see November from her house, but the pollsters couldn’t see it from theirs. My point here is, I do not recall it going the other way. Polls say the Republican is winning, winning, winning, we go off to vote and shocker of shockers, the democrat has it! Anybody remember that happening? Ever?
Third…and this is a real question, because I’m completely baffled by it. Are we really still arguing about the news media being biased toward democrats, here? After 2008 I thought that was all settled. How can there be any outstanding uncertainty about it? They shed so much of their vestigial remnants of credibility four years ago that they still haven’t recovered it and I don’t think they ever will. They screwed the country over because they didn’t do their jobs. People are still unclear on this? How? It’s like being unclear on the Exxon-Valdez spill, or the Enron scandal.
Let’s elaborate on that last one a bit. In politics as well as in business, over the last several years I have noticed people have this tendency to confer greater weight on ideas that may or may not make any sense, and may or may not comport with the observations they’ve been making about things…but if they’ve been hearing the idea more often, the idea wins. Actually, I’m not so dim and dense that I just started taking note of this. I was noticing that in childhood because, hey, how can you get away from it when it’s all around you? But my more recent belated realizations about this are more concerned with how far the passion goes. The “echoed” idea can be proven wrong, over and over and over again, right in front of their faces…they’ll still swear by it. I think what we’re seeing here is that evolution isn’t always a good thing, and our evolution came from homo sapiens who happened to live in tribes. Caves, tree forts, teepees, whatever…we’ve got these people, over here, in our community who are “good” and then those other people, on the other side of that hill over there who are “bad.” Nobody in that tribe over there ever does anything right, and nobody over here ever makes a mistake.
And if you can think of any exceptions to either of these, then you must belong over there!
We seem to be grappling with a not-so-new ostracizing against the scientific fundamental of questioning things. The undertone I pick up is one of, “I am accepting this poll without any question at all, and I’m taking offense that you are not doing the same.”
There’s a lot of widespread concern that across the nation, the citizenry is becoming more polarized, divided, contentious. Perhaps that is because we are being given information, not structured or assembled for the purpose of being inspected, that simply doesn’t add up. When this happens, it is only natural that some among us will say well, hey, that is the marching order and I shall follow it…and others will become preoccupied with the realization that, for whatever reason, the discrepancy exists and they are not about to dismiss it just because they’re being told to.
Result: polarization. There are many, many other examples to be offered, this thing with the polls just seems to me like yet another item on the list. Part of what inclines me toward that is the lopsided arguments presented by those who counsel us to believe the polls, uncritically all of the time. It looks to me like an argument of “Yes, sampling with an eleven point advantage to the democrats is quite a skew, and it’s not supported by voter turnout in the 2010 midterms, but…blah blah blah a bunch of stuff, therefore, don’t worry your pretty head about it, just believe what you’re told.” In other words, they concede all the observations and they concede the math and they even concede some of the conclusions to be formed about what it all means. Until you get to the part about calling the meaning of the poll into question. Then they simply abandon that train of thought and can’t, or won’t, say why.
The instructions about what to think today came in crystal clear, dummy. What’s the problem? Oh, and your favorite color for today is pink. You like the number five. The kiosk said so.
YOU are the key to winning this election and defeating not just Barack Obama, but the entire political Left. We are on the precipice of handing these Marxists and lunatics the most crushing defeat imaginable…
My own home state of Ohio is not a tossup. I’ve written before that the thing you need to know about Ohio is that is has correctly voted with the winner of the presidential race in every election since 1960. Ohioans vote with the zeitgeist…and that energy is all going towards Mitt Romney. Ohio, the heart of it all, the Buckeye State, will be in Romney’s column just under three weeks from now.
Mitt Romney is going to win this election and be our next president…but I’d like your help in making that as big a win as possible.
The Left needs to be humiliated and the Ministry of Truth that has supported and enabled the Obama regime for the last four years must be forced into complete meltdown mode…with an unprecedented and historic rebuke of both the Left and Minitru itself. We need as big a win as possible, in as many states as possible…and you can play a big role in this.
I don’t know what your particular talent is, but I know you have one. You are the product of a great many life experiences and the child born to a long line of survivors and thrivers whose hard work and successes put you here today…in this moment…when YOU are needed most. That’s no coincidence. It was always part of the plan. When America needed the help in driving the Left from power in as loud a voice as possible, YOU stepped onto the scene and reported for duty in your own particular way.
That’s the kind of message that is circulating within the Obama-supporting ranks, day and night. “You have a role to play here” is a message that, for many among their number, has a certain novelty about it. It is an economic law of scarcity: They place value on it because they don’t recognize that situation too often. Human plankton, drifting around to the next patch of successes and fails, for all practical purposes randomly.
The sentiment doesn’t travel as speedily among the Romney supporters because for them, it’s business as usual. The unique and novel new role for them, would be as passive bystanders. The cultural clash, again, between people who sign the front of the check and the people who sign the back of it.
It’s making the rounds at the Hello Kitty of Bloggin’. Sheer brilliance in its simplicity. Yes, I never did think on it from this angle, but this probably does have to be explained:
“Dear Liberals. A binder is what people used to put resumes in. A resume is something people use to get a job. A job is what we do to earn $.”
Mmmm, hmmm. A broader perspective, a better understanding, and we can start to relate to each other. Ironically enough, that’s a liberal pipe dream, piping onward at least since the debut of All in the Family in 1968, made into a reality here at The Blog That Nobody Reads.
On a related note, Blogger Friend Phil has some thoughts about the “women in binders” meme and the accompanying jungle-telegraph drumbeat of faux outrage.
I hear my woman unlocking the door right now. So I’ll just ring off here, have a nice home-cooked meal with her (which she’s gonna cook), watch teevee with her and have some more assorted fun and then stick her in a BINDER!!
Reminds me of something…something…can’t quite place it…
That’s it. Music’s better, too.
If you look up the history of feminism in Wikipedia you see it’s a bit of a mess, and I’m thinking this is probably because it is, ya know, the encyclopedia anybody can edit. And “anybody” includes feminists. There is a first wave which is late-nineteenth to early-twentieth century, concerned with suffrage and related issues; there is a second wave starting in the 1960’s and continuing to today, which is more concerned with ending discrimination; and then there is a third wave which defies any description that would be coherent, or meaningful, to anyone who is not a feminist.
I think to understand the difference between second-wave feminism, which exists all the way up to today, and the third-wave variant, you’d have to bring forward something I said in the post previous:
American politics have been invaded by an “incubus” of thought which redefines positive and capable things like “dignity,” “strength” and “power” according to the stature achieved when someone is given material things at the expense of strangers. We’ve got a lot of people walking around among us who appear to think this is what “dignity” is all about: Give me free stuff. I call it an “incubus” because it has apparently raped the legacy feminist movement and sired a bastard child, which is the newer feminst movement, combining the give-me-free-stuff with the older feminist visions. Back in the early 1970’s the message was “we are strong and don’t mess with us,” nowadays it is “we are strong, don’t mess with us, and we can’t make our way in life without you giving us things for free.”
To the best I can make out, this is your second-wave/third-wave split. Second-wave is “I’m a whole person and not some man’s accessory,” and third-wave is “…but give me your wallet.” You might say, second-wave is your ex-wife when she served you with a divorce petition, and third-wave is when the judge ordered you to pay alimony.
The important thing to observe here is the contradiction. Modern feminists are very sensitive to anything that might be perceived to “reverse the progress” of their movement’s foremothers or “turn the clock back.” Rather odd that they’re missing out on the big damage being done.
The truth is, this “incubus” exists in other political efforts outside of feminism. And there’s a stench to it, a trail that can be followed. Every place it visits, every place there is this “shakedown” going on in which members of the aggrieved class are said to be entitled to these material gifts at the expense of the general public — two things happen. The “dignity” and “power” are increased in the politicians representing the class, and these things are measurably decreased in the ordinary members of it. That also goes for community- and self-respect.
It puts the constituency in the position of a duck begging for bread at a park bench. Sure, the duck isn’t thinking about dignity, it’s just thinking about bread. But that’s the point, isn’t it? There aren’t too many less dignified creatures anywhere. And so, from what I’ve been able to tell: You combine second-wave feminism with mooching, you get third-wave feminism. Sandra Fluke feminism. I shouldn’t have to pay for this myself, it’s tooooooo haaaaaard……..
The way it was explained to me, back in the day, was that women were capable of meeting, and deserved the opportunity to meet, expectations that were denied them simply because they were women. Going by this theory, it was an accident of history that Christopher Columbus was not a Christine, or that Neil Armstrong was not a Nellie. Presented with the chance, women would be able to perform these historical feats. I believe that’s true. And so long as it did not impose an artificial force to deny opportunities to males, this was a good vision to have. So what happened? Moocher feminism happened. And feminism is not big enough to serve as a home for both moocher feminism and new-frontier-conqueror feminism.
It seems moocher feminism has won the battle. It’s easier. Give me free stuff…
There is another “wave” that has quietly crept in. I’m reminded of a new strain of “mind control feminism” when I see stories like this…
A new restaurant in Sydney is to remove urinals after complaints that they were shaped like women’s mouths.
The Ananas Bar and Brasserie, a stylish French restaurant in the Rocks district, said the urinals were “a commonly used European design piece from female Dutch artist Meike van Schijnde” but would be removed.
A spokesman said the two urinals – shaped as bright red, wide-open womens’ lips – were supposed to be “playful”.
“We sincerely apologise if they have caused offence,” she said. “They are being removed today.”
The urinals – described by feminist critics as offensive and misogynist – comes amid an ongoing debate in Canberra over sexism in Australian politics.
An Australian feminist publisher and commentator, Anne Summers, said the toilets were “asking men to put their d—- in these mouths as urinals”.
“Misogyny is very widespread, and this is just an example of misogyny,” she said. “The concept is pretty challenging and confronting.”
Now, on the one hand, this is Australia. Where I’m not. But, on the other hand, it is inside a mens’ rest room where, one must presume, the feminists are not. Give them credit for this much, they have preemptively defeated the standard response of “If you don’t like it, don’t go in there.” They’re already not in there. But here we come to the point: The broads in Australia don’t care. This is like the next step beyond the atheist looking around, seeing a memorial shaped like a cross, and filing a suit or complaining. In this story, they’re not even looking around! That would necessarily involve any story of feminists complaining about urinals, and you see from reading this one that this is not the only case.
So let’s put it all together:
1. I am woman, hear me roar, I can get alone fine without you.
2. But I like your wallet with all the money in it. Leave it on the doorstep and walk away.
3. After you clear out of here and get out of my sight, you shouldn’t have any ideas in that dumb male head of yours that I don’t like.
Even Michael Newdow with his bogus pain-in-the-ass lawsuits isn’t asking for this. He gets all pissed off about “Under God” being in the pledge-of-allegiance, when he finds out his daughter is reciting it…so the story goes, anyway.
Now bear in mind…we’re supposed to have respect for this. But it isn’t respectable, because it isn’t consistent. It is a purely separatist movement, but only until such time we start talking about money, then it reverses course and becomes a typical moocher movement. Then it tacks off in a new direction and starts going totalitarian, like Big Brother out of 1984: Thought Police will make sure you don’t commit any Thought Crimes.
Men don’t have this kind of power, because if they did it would be unseemly. We would have to form some organized political movement and start bellyaching about doofus dad movies. Which we do, and some of us prohibit our kids from ever watching them. But this is different; it would go much, much further. We would fill the air with a loud cacophony, make sure nobody can ever escape it, and channel the energy into a take-no-prisoners political movement until someone says…what were those exact words, again? “We sincerely apologise if they have caused offence…They are being removed today.” Imagine that being said about every single pain reliever commercial you ever saw, every single household cleaner commercial you ever saw, every single laundry detergent commercial you ever saw, where the smart sassy wife is using the proper brand and the dumb numbskull hubby is using Brand X. Every single one.
Folks, that isn’t happening. Men aren’t that good at whining. We don’t feel that comfortable with it. More to the point, about forty-five seconds into it we’re driven to think about some other stuff that has to be done…oil needs changing, someone left a light switch on somewhere and it looks like we’re out of beer again. Maybe we don’t multi-task as well, maybe it’s embarrassing for us to go around acting like a victim, people don’t feel compelled to listen to us too much if we do. Maybe it’s some combination of all these things.
But maybe it would be good for the gals if they labored under the same sense of stigma. It all comes down to, victimhood is inherently undignified. It does not advance the cause of personal empowerment. It does not command respect. And the sad fact of the matter is, in the last generation or so this is all I’ve been hearing of feminism: The things indirectly referenced in Thing I Know #322, which actually diminish the importance of women in our society — read those as, abortion and gay marriage — and, the Sandra-Fluke-mooching. What else have feminists had to say lately? Mooching, anti-wife-hood, anti-mother-hood, those pretty much cover all the bases, right? How sad.
The final, unworkable message is: Women are no different from men. Even though they are bound to fail without securing the involuntary servitude of men, and while we’re at it theyalso require dictatorial control over what the men are to be thinking.
That’s just not going to fly. I personally know a lot of women who don’t believe in this and do not support it. But, like all revolutionary movements, this one has ultimately come under monopolization by the radicals. It has become an energy-sinkhole, because it captures all this energy from its surroundings to attract credibility, essentially converting the energy into credibility. And then it takes positions that diminish its own credibility which was supposed to be the payoff for harnessing all that energy.
One, and I have to kick it off with this: Candy Crowley and the false-fact-check. Gee, she “knew” that off the top of her head. And it’s not true. You realize what this means, right? It means CNN, and likely most of the entire mainstream news “industry,” is just a giant Journolist. A huge never-ending circle-jerk of conspiracy about how to lie to us most convincingly, every day. In fact, the Journolist scandal was just the tip of the iceberg, a big nuthin’.
Candy herself admits this is wrong. So, lefties, let’s quit arguing about it:
Two: There is “This proves that other guy is rotten and stupid and evil and nasty,” and then there is “If I were ever on his side, this is where I’d be jumping off the wagon.” I think this is where I’d be jumping off the wagon, were I ever in Obama’s corner in the first place. Taking note of another’s personal success is a personal insult now? How can you live in the same country as me, when you don’t even live in the same universe?
Three: From one of our own occasional comment thread participants, Tracy Coyle: “I thought it interesting that Obama said federal officials should not be telling people about their health choices but federal officials should tell health care insurance providers what they MUST give to their beneficiaries.”
Four: We now have a solid pattern, playing out over a mere five days, of Obama/Biden administration members saying things that are easily proven false and trying to smuggle the bullshit under the radar by means of forceful and bombastic expression of the bullshit.
Like Severian said:
It’s not even the lies, per se — I play poker; I appreciate the strategic value in a well-deployed lie. It’s the apparent belief in the lies. The doublethink, whatever you want to call it. It hurts my brain too much. I can only stay on my high horse so long about how X is categorically bad, full stop, any attempt to imagine a situation in which X isn’t bad makes you the worst person in the world… except when my guy gets caught doing X, in which case it’s not a tactical maneuver, a lie, or even good ol’ fashioned hypocrisy, but a categorical good, and questioning that makes you the worst person in the world.
That shit gives me a migraine.
Five: American politics have been invaded by an “incubus” of thought which redefines positive and capable things like “dignity,” “strength” and “power” according to the stature achieved when someone is given material things at the expense of strangers. We’ve got a lot of people walking around among us who appear to think this is what “dignity” is all about: Give me free stuff. I call it an “incubus” because it has apparently raped the legacy feminist movement and sired a bastard child, which is the newer feminst movement, combining the give-me-free-stuff with the older feminist visions. Back in the early 1970’s the message was “we are strong and don’t mess with us,” nowadays it is “we are strong, don’t mess with us, and we can’t make our way in life without you giving us things for free.” I made this point over at Margot’s feminist blog, before the debate, pointing out that this does not inspire respect for women and is not helpful. Subsequent to that, I asked for a demonstration of Mitt Romney being anti-woman. Someone demonstrated they must not have paid any attention to my earlier comment, because they replied with an Obama campaign “Life of Julia” link, thereby proving my earlier point.
Meanwhile, real dignity and power don’t have much to do with receiving stolen property after making a passionate tearjerker case that you can’t survive without it. That would be, where I come from, the opposite of real dignity, and the opposite of real power as well.
Six: Regarding the lady who couldn’t remember about “education” until she fished a piece of paper out of her pocket. If I never see a debate again, in which the candidates are asked essentially “What are you going to do to erase the challenges in my life?”…it will be too soon. “What are you going to do to get the government out of my way?” — yes. “What are you going to do to get everything else out of my way?” — no.
Seven: I don’t want to see the candidates answer those questions again either. If one or the other were to deliver a polite but vicious Newt-Gingrich type of smackdown, waxing lyrically with a speech about how that isn’t the government’s role and it not an enumerated power in the Constitution, it would be very refreshing at this point. But I suppose that’s hoping for too much.
Eight: Also to be filed under “Were I in His corner, I’d be jumping off the bandwagon right now”: The Barack Obama I saw last night seems quite satisfied with the status quo, seems to think the way things are going is exactly the way it all should be going. I suppose that’s what incumbents are supposed to do. But I thought they were also supposed to come up with a reason why what we’re experiencing, is not necessarily representative of where their leadership is about to take us in the years ahead. The Bush administration talking about “Nine eleven changed everything,” ad nauseum…Obama did none of this. Even when He started fake-taking-responsibility for Hillary Clinton’s fake-taking-responsibility. It’s as if His fine speechmaking is supposed to change our opinion about the way things should be, even to such an extent that having our embassy invaded is suddenly a good thing. This is the real disadvantage of having a Medicine Man in the White House: All His political objectives can be easily met by means of His magical hypnotic powers. Every bungle is followed up by, essentially, “I meant to do that.”
Not falling under the spell here. What a strange way to announce You’re not running for re-election, President Obama.
Nine: Eighteen percent. That’s how much less the female employees in the White House are paid compared to the males.
Ten: A democrat president talking about how to grow the economy is like Wiley Coyote coming up with ideas on how the Roadrunner can go faster. How does your side go about presenting itself as a savior of the economy, when it sees the accumulation of personal wealth as a bad thing? On this, I go back to an observation I’ve made before, that we seem to be arguing on how to improve “the economy” without first coming to some sort of agreement on what exactly it is that term is supposed to describe. I don’t think we agree on this. I think our friends the liberals are describing something different with that term.
Eleven: There is the matter of time. All three debates have maintained an enduring trend in which “moderators” show great enthusiasm in cutting off the Republican with some kind of “that’s enough of that, we’ve gotta move on,” and in the aftermath, the democrat candidate and the left-leaning viewers show no small amount of certainty, and some resentment, that the dem candidate didn’t have as much time to speak when the final stopwatch readings show this is not the case. Of course it always feels like your guy is getting shorted, and feeling is how liberals make their decisions in life. If they measured things objectively and allowed the measurements to overrule their feelings, they wouldn’t be liberals.
Twelve: Can we ditch this whole debate format? Sitting on a high seat, with your feet six inches off the ground, knees splayed outward with your crotch dangling before the audience, it’s as unstatesmanlike as you can get. And it looks just stupid. The only fitting occasion on which people should be sitting this way, is when they grab some liquid refreshments at the bar while waiting for the hostess to find them a table. When there’s no room to stand at the bar. I don’t want the next leader of the free world to be chosen this way. It seems like such a reasonable request. The whole debate process in general is questionable, but this “town hall” thing with the candidates balancing themselves precariously atop high pub chairs is particularly dumb.
From Detroit Free Press.
So I’m reading about what the President needs to do tonight and I’m reading about what the Secretary of State did & said yesterday. It is clear that Clinton’s statement came out of the President’s “debate prep.” Not so much in a “ya think?” way but more in sort of a “like duh” way.
Hillary is clearly playing the good soldier on the eve of the crucial second presidential debate between her boss, President Obama, and challenger Mitt Romney. After Vice President Joe Biden threw Clinton under the bus during the vice presidential debate, stating that neither he nor President Obama knew anything about the security situation in Benghazi, Hillary stepped out to the front to take the hit.
But, from the first link about what the President needs to do, we have…
“The first thing he can do is show up,” says a well-connected party strategist who shares the Democratic view that the president disastrously failed to engage in Denver. “He needs to be Joe Biden without the smirks.”
The strategist wants to see a forceful Obama — a really forceful Obama — take on Romney. “The ’47 percent,’ he ought to be shoving up Romney’s a–,” the Democrat says. “Romney can say he apologized. But Obama can say an apology doesn’t change things. Romney didn’t misspeak. That was a two-minute oration that basically gave Romney’s view of America.”
Problem: Putting this all together and smooshing it around in a big ball, and then adding to that this consequent sub-scandal about the President receiving intel briefings on His iPad, it doesn’t seem to me that this is going to work. It won’t work with the undecided voters and it won’t work with the base either. Depending on how you define “base,” I suppose…
I mean, just think out the message. You’ve got this Holy President who cannot be bothered to show up at intel briefings, opting to receive the briefing content on His iPad so that His time can be freed up because He’s the President and so forth. It obviously doesn’t work because He had to abandon the practice after the Benghazi debacle, under a cloud of embarrassment. But that’s alright because the guy who is going to be the President’s debate opponent, tonight, has a “view of America” that acknowledges that some 47% see themselves as victims and don’t want to take responsibility for anything. Therefore, Romney isn’t going to go around the country and chase their votes because there’s no point to it. And the President doesn’t have a similar view?
What exactly is He doing with all this time saved from not bothering to show up for daily intelligence briefings? He plays a lot of golf, goes out to appear at fundraisers, guests on Letterman and on The View. It has become rather difficult to envision Him burning any midnight oil hashing out details of legislation with representatives from Congress or anything like that, this seems to be entirely delegated to smart legal-beagles who must know what they’re doing…while our First Holy President goes out to give more speeches. Do those speeches have something to do with being a President for all Americans, to contrast Him with that insensitive guy who “doesn’t care” about the “47 percent”? Eh…no. And that isn’t just my opinion, President Obama has made history with His reputation as a polarizing president.
Probably as a result of comments like “cling to guns or religion, or antipathy toward people who aren’t like them,” an infamous snippet He delivered at…yup…another fundraiser. It’s not an isolated case by any means. You don’t have to listen to an Obama speech for very long before you hear it: Some class definition of loathed individuals, people who can’t be reached because the President’s skin is too dark…or they have too much money in the bank…or both of these things. In any case, these are people who don’t need any more influence, they have had plenty enough already. That’s the common theme. It does not paint a picture of an effective critic, who has room to talk about Romney failing to properly care for & about the 47%.
Keep in mind the picture being painted, is not being painted by a conservative blogger, it’s a self-portrait the President is painting of Himself. He travels around the country giving speeches, He’s pretty sure the security things back in Washington will sort of work themselves out — and they don’t — while He delivers speeches excoriating “millionaires and billionaires in their corporate jets.” Right after stepping off one of the country’s biggest jets. Then He rips into Romney for ignoring the hopes and wishes of the forty-seven percent because, you know, ignoring half of America is something I guess you’re only supposed to do when you’re already sworn in, or something.
I don’t think a sans-serif Biden performance is going to polish this turd into a stepping stone for the President’s re-election, I just don’t. President Obama will deliver it all with flourish, and no small measure of talent, I’m sure. He’ll arouse wonderful warm feelings in people who make their decisions with lots of feely and very little thinky, it’ll work on them. But He had them already.
For either candidate, “appealing to base” means, by implication, reach out to the people who’d never vote for your opposition at any rate, and try to ensure they’ll bother to turn out to vote. The Romney/Ryan ticket has very little work to do here. They’ve gone on to the more time-appropriate and potent reaching-out to the undecideds. This counts double, since failure to reach out to the base results in a missing vote, whereas failure to reach out to an undecided voter results in a vote for the other side.
This is where Benghazi has really hurt Obama. He is truly a solution in search of a problem, said solution being, He can convince lightweight thinkers that He’s sort of God or something. So He appears, to airheads, to be a deity of some kind. Well the debacle in Libya creates a need for Americans to be reassured, not quite so much that they have a deity in the White House, but they have someone who’s capable of overseeing things, applying attention to details. Obama’s inflexible answer to this is to say, I’m zipping around the country but it’s alright, stuff’s being handled. Except when it’s not.
That’s the trouble with solutions in search of problems. When a problem confronts them that exists outside of the problem they intend to solve, rather than tailoring themselves to address whatever was not already addressed, their temptation is to tone that part down, pretend it isn’t really sitting out there, doing what problems do…which, by & large, tends to be: grow. The temptation is to simply sidestep reality, something which seems to come naturally to President Obama & crew. I don’t think it’s going to work here. Romney & supporters would have to say okay, and let the whole thing go. Fine, let’s pretend Benghazi never happened.
But that won’t work either. It hasn’t been just Benghazi.
From Professor Mondo.
A couple nights ago my gal and I were getting ready to retire for bed and she put the teevee on sleep timer, on that dreadful doofus-dad show Everybody Loves Raymond which is not that unusual. Hey, don’t be hatin’, I like my gal. Well, something happened on the show that made me LOL. Which is very unusual. The brother, Robert, gave some kind of monologue about how the immediate family is a bunch of “dream killers.” Then Raymond’s wife Debra says she wants to do something, Marie starts opining about the various reasons why it isn’t going to work out, and Robert starts droning away in that bass voice of his, “DREAM…KILLER…DREAM…KILLER.”
Some friend-of-a-friend was saying her husband wanted to do what Felix Baumgartner did with the twenty-four mile drop. She said, not as long as he’s married to her. Someone made the mistake of leaving things so I had privileges to comment, and then I made the mistake of referencing the episode described above, with an epilogue line about how bachelors have invented & discovered pretty much damn near everything. Worded it as mirthfully as I could, hope no one took offense.
Ah, what a charming conflict. It’s child-versus-adult, or balloon-tugging-against-string, or dreamer-against-dream-killer. I think we all have some divided loyalties here.
Honey: Uh-uh! Don’t you think about running off doing no daring-do. We’ve been planning this dinner for two months!
Lucius: The public is in danger!
Honey: My evening’s in danger!
Lucius: You tell me where my suit is, woman! We are talking about the greater good!
Honey: ‘Greater good?’ I am your wife! I’m the greatest *good* you are ever gonna get!
It made a big impression on me last night as I participated in two simultaneous dialogues over on the Hello Kitty of Blogging and I realized I was seeing two simultaneous demonstrations of the same class of event. Demonstration one: A conversation ensued underneath a link to the latest poll results at Unskewed Polls which currently have Romney/Ryan at 55% and Obama/Biden at 42%. And the conversation was: Stop linking to unskewed polls!
I don’t mean to imply that the complainant did not know what he was talking about. I for one am perfectly willing to listen to reason to a math-based argument that says Mitt Romney is not, when all’s said and done, ahead by thirteen points. And the argument was based on math, in the sense that the complainant did mention the word “math.” But I found his syllogism overly simplistic:
1. The more orthodox polls say something different,
2. Blah blah blah blah blah,
3. Therefore, they’re right and unskewed polls is wrong.
Moreover, I found the arguing style to be deceptive. When I said something to the effect of, I do believe there is an effort to misrepresent Obama’s prospects for re-election in order to depress Republican turnout, he came back with “So all the major polls are push polls, all designed to hurt Republicans, all working together to make Republicans lose?” This doesn’t do much to convince me. If the other person’s position is an all-or-nothing and mine is a sometimes-maybe, and the opposition has to rephrase my position into a hardline stance in order to attack it, it just shows they can’t present a compelling case by continuing to define the disagreement as it actually exists.
So I replied this morning, in a way I think nicely summarizes what took place last night…
I think the country is so polarized right now, and this election is so close, and the history of polling is sufficiently filled with debacles in which a democrat victory or a tie was a sure thing but it ended up with a decisive Republican victory — [the polling is] pretty much a waste of time unless steps are taken to ensure the Republican/democrat/independent sampling is aligned with the expected turnout. Also, the profession of polling is partially flawed the same way other professions are flawed, in the sense that when the professionals turn out to be wrong they don’t pay any kind of meaningful price.
They’ve somehow hit on the idea that they can sample a bunch of…whatever, it don’t matta. And if anybody criticizes this practice then the critics must not know what they’re talking about.
No matter how you cut it, it doesn’t make sense to oversample democrats by some number of points when they’re expected, for logical, scientific and history-based reasons, to be under- sampled in the actual turnout. I don’t even see why we’re having an argument about this.
Demonstration two: A commenter here who I’ll allow to name himself only at his own option, replayed a conversation he was having with a more senior gentleman, father of an acquaintance of his, who surprised him with a great big bushel of left-wing propaganda nonsense about Joe Biden having won the debate on Thursday, the only reason he was laughing and snickering like that was because of Paul Ryan’s lies, George Bush invaded Iraq as a revenge move against an assassination attempt on his daddy, all that stuff. This economy was so busted in ’08 that no president could’ve fixed it, we went into Iraq because Bush cherry-picked the intel, stimulus didn’t work because it wasn’t big enough, blah blah blah. Where examples would have been expected, they weren’t offered. Just a bunch of high-level reverberated talking points. But this was a highly, highly intelligent man which made it such a surprise that he’d be jabbering away with such foolishness.
I wonder how it is you think he was intelligent.
I have this theory that, starting in school, we measure “intelligence” in our society by means of: Repeating information the listener is likely to have heard in lots of other places, nevermind whether it’s correct or not, and doing so with great verbal confidence. In this way, I think our schools tend to declare “copying from your neighbor” to be against the rules, and then encourage the heck out of it. To such an extent that our cultural definition of high intelligence amounts to…copying stuff.
I’ve noticed this in a lot of smart, smart people: They don’t seem to have a learning curve anywhere. They become acquainted with a new field of study, and bam, two days later they know just as much as anybody else. Except there’s no originality in any of it. It’s like their “learning curve” is replaced with a “Everything I know I know from somebody else” curve.
Which ties in with that other conversation. The smart, smart guy’s argument essentially boiled down to this: I’m believing the more orthodox polling exercises uncritically, and you should too. He talked a lot about “math” but he really didn’t have anything to say besides just that. I directly attacked the sampling methods, and directly stated what exactly my problems with those methods were; anybody even casually acquainted with statistics should immediately recognize how this is a real problem. But my opposition in that conversation can’t, or won’t, even directly address the counterpoint to provide a rebuttal with some meat to it.
These are not isolated examples.
Over and over again we see people who can, and do, provide some good solid evidence that they aren’t dummies, but only by way of generalities like: use of extended vocabulary, maybe even using Latin phrases, personal reputation, business accomplishments, academic achievements, et al. But when it comes to the subject actually under discussion they can’t bring anything.
Of course, this fits in with my years-in-the-making sense of dread that we’re headed toward an early Idiocracy, a dystopian future in which everything worth using “was built by some really smart guy who lived a long time ago” and nobody knows, or cares, how the damn thing works. Just give it a good kick when it acts up, that usually gets things working again. “Intelligence” seems to have been re-defined to be — the ability to convincingly mimic others. It might have taken place quite awhile back. I remember some four decades ago my first-grade or second-grade teacher paired me up with one of these social-butterfly kids, at the top of the social structure as well as the grade curve, to balance out my various shortcomings. In fact this wasn’t any one particular experience, it happened a few times: Social-butterfly kid would oh so eloquently repeat the lecture of which I was apparently ignorant, and I’d present the difficulty I’d had in applying that to some specific situation…and social-butterfly-kid would simply repeat what he or she already said. It completely blew my mind first time it happened, and the second time as well. Now that I’m a grown-up and it’s still happening, I must confess it still discombobulates me to this very day. Perhaps I’m not alone.
Well, isn’t this embarrassing for the folks in charge.
President Obama is proud of his bailout of General Motors. That’s good, because, if he wins a second term, he is probably going to have to bail GM out again. The company is once again losing market share, and it seems unable to develop products that are truly competitive in the U.S. market.
At least bin Laden’s still dead, or something.
The details are in the article after that first paragraph. They aren’t pretty, but I’d rather concentrate on the human dynamics that come into play when a process has been given great weight, profile and visibility, and after its execution has led to dismal results. I’m seeing a lot of these different behaviors both within and outside of national politics and along with all these different behaviors, I’m seeing misery prolonged well and far beyond the point where people have found it tiresome.
You can tell a lot about a man after he’s attached his identity to a process and been confronted with the realization that it didn’t do what it was supposed to do. To me — although we aren’t too uncertain about how Emperor Barry The First is going to react to this — that is the real story, what is the reaction. Perhaps thousands are possible, and have been shown, but it really all comes down to five major categories I can see. Starting with the most simplistic and working toward the more complex, they are:
One. When the results are inadequate or unsatisfactory, you can simply refuse to acknowledge them.
Two. You can make a decision that fidelity to your failed process is more important than satisfactory results. The “We’d rather leave it busted” response.
Three. You can implement maximum reform with minimal investigation, think of this as “Throw the baby out with the bathwater.”
Four. Opposite of the above, the patchwork solution. Up until this threshold of complexity, nobody has to show any curiosity about anything.
Five. A detailed post-mortem, identifying the points of failure, scientifically; no decisions may be made about anything until this process is complete.
Now, not one among these five is perfect; each may be declared unsuitable for this-or-that situation of reform in the aftermath of failure. Even that last one which might seem most thoughtful, it often emerges that people are exasperated with it and (in that particular situation) they have good reason to be. Towing a big boat up the hill with a little car, like DUH, do we really need to do forensic analysis on why it didn’t work? And then of course, at the opposite end of the scale we have the Obama administration: Of course it worked and you’re some kind of racist to say otherwise.
You know, it’s funny. The gang that’s in the White House right now — not just the top guy — has been talking things up about having a more sophisticated methodology for the twenty-first century, it’s all in keeping with the brand label they’ve been selling as suitable successors to the Crawford dimbulb, rebuilding the country in the aftermath of hayseed wreckage with their hip young metro know-it-all-ness. But whenever their processes have shown this need for improvement or replacement, they’ve adhered themselves, as if with industrial-grade contact cement, to One: Refuse to acknowledge failure. We’ve been seeing this over and over again. We saw it in the Biden/Ryan debate. They’re going to do it with the GM thing. They did it with the oil leak in the Gulf thing, they did it with the bomber on Flight 253, remember that?
Reality creates a conflict with the theory, it is reality that must give way to the theory rather than the other way ’round.
I have been privileged to know more than my share of highly successful, highly productive people. Occasionally, I have been privileged to watch them work, and once in awhile, even see them fail. I try to emulate the best of them, and in this effort I have been forced to set a very low bar for myself — I’m not good at it. But I do notice that, even with the casual acquaintances, I did not have to do too much watching before there was an opportunity to watch them deal with a failure. This leads me to believe their successes in life were not due to an ability to avoid failure, but rather with some good habits about how to handle the failure.
Here is what I have noticed: The successful people I have observed in their dealings with their own failures, were not married up with One, Two, Three, Four or even Five. They mixed it up. You might say they were analytical about whether or not to be analytical. If throwing the baby out with the bathwater was the best solution, they did it, and if patchwork was the best solution they went and did that. They relied on their research where it was appropriate, and they went with the ol’ gut instinct when that was right. They crossed the bridge when they came to it. But they did not enmesh their identity in any one of those five, they did ALL five at one time or another.
That’s the biggest difference between them and me, and I’m trying to work on that. I tend to live in the last one, studying everything on occasions where that is perhaps not appropriate, not the surest avenue to eventual success.
But, this is probably the most significant reason why the country requires a change in leadership right now; the most significant out of many. We’re less than a month away from the elections and the incumbent team’s message about why they should be re-elected, going by the debates, is so far limited to “We won’t let the other guys say anything.” Their fans tell me things aren’t so bad, and I simply ask them: Do I have this right? Team Obama says, the way things are going right now, that’s their vision? That is how things should be going? I never get back a straight answer.
Cross-posted at Right Wing News.