Over at our “daughter” sub-site Rotten Chestnuts, where supposedly I participate in an occasional contribution but in reality I pretty much slack off on the whole thing with worn-down and lame excuses like “work’s gotten soooper busy” and such, Philmon and Severian have been on fire. Severian is always on fire there. Great stuff. Phil got a little bit personal discussing the difference between not-tolerating what someone does, vs. lusting after ripping them apart limb from limb, setting them on fire & pissing on the ashes.
Uh yeah, it’s a shame he had to go defining that difference, but it does exist and sadly, it seems a lot of the people who do the most talking lately, aren’t aware of it.
On Tolerance, Disapproval, Respect, Acceptance, and Living Your Own Damned Life
In our eyes, my wife and I have been married for 23 years. In my parents’ eyes, due to their religious beliefs, we’re not married at all. You see, she is a divorcee, and there was no annulment…They don’t hate me. They don’t hate her. Matter of fact they love her. Dad made it a point to pull me aside several months ago and tell me so.
But…if we were to spend the night there, we would be asked to sleep in separate beds.
In this story there is love, tolerance, disapproval, and respect. They are not mutually exclusive. The leftists have purposely, in a very Orwellian 1984-ish New Speak way…have shaped the way we even [talk] about this by choosing the language with which we talk about these things — and people have gotten very confused. It’s no accident.
Keep in mind I myself am not sitting here saying gays should or shouldn’t be married, or that they’re not married. What I’m saying is that this will not be enough for the leftists. They are out to destroy, and this was just one issue they have usurped to help get that done.
Once again, we see it is all about the definitions. You want to build something, and you want to do a good job so that the thing will stand for years and make you proud rather than ashamed, the very first step is to define what it is. And do a good job of that. You’re not necessarily home-free in the building just because you did a spiffy job in the defining; but, it is very, very hard to do a decent job in the building if you’ve completely pissed in your boot during the defining. Defining is important. It is the laying of the very first layer of foundation. Within the space above that layer, everything is affected by it.
Similarly, if you want to destroy something, the first thing to do is to destroy the definition. Nibble around the edges a bit at first, then look for ways to rip apart that circumference. Once the perimeter is destroyed, the job is all-but-done. An orange can’t remain viable and edible without its peel.
Now what’s happened here is, right before the announcement of the final Supreme Court decisions before recess — a tumultuous time for our country in any year, at least lately — a young racist entered a black church in Charleston and shot up the place. So now we’re embroiled in a “flag debate” about the confederate flag, which is something I find to be very silly. And I don’t mean silly in a “ha ha you’re being silly” kind of a way, more of a “not so sure I want to live on this planet anymore” kind of way.
It’s sad when I have to ask: Remember decisions? Remember those? “I can’t take the heat on this; the flag goes.” Or, “Fuck all of you people, the flag stays, and if you don’t like it vote me out of office.” The sadness is that either one of those exclamations would be as welcome as the other.
We’ve lost so much testosterone over the years, that we can’t have either one. We’ve got a “flag debate.” Why? WHY??
Well, we’ve certainly got some decisions from Justices who are pretending to be lawmakers, something they’re not supposed to be doing. The Supreme Court went full-tilt on unapologetic judicial activism, legislating from the bench without even bothering to pretend otherwise on gay marriage as well as ObamaCare. So now we get to debate the morality of flags, conflicting notions of what marriage really is, and the pretzel-twisty reasoning involved in making President “Can I Live?”‘s most horrid and ill-thought-out plans come to life. All at the same time.
When, quite frankly, I’d much rather think about blowing things up, and hot dogs and potato chips and beer. Oh well, I think the right way to look at this is that at least I’ve got it much better than the families of the people killed in that church. Still and all, something like this is going to happen next summer, and the summer after that and the summer after that. There’s no point wondering about it, we know it’ll happen, and when we reckon with that we’re forced to realize that we’ve lost something. We don’t know if we can get it back. It’s a heavy, depressing thought to have on our supposed “Independence Day.”
Which brings me to Severian’s latest. It really drew my attention when my eyes ran across…
I wonder if this isn’t what Morgan was getting at with “externalysis,” here (please correct me if I’m wrong).
My first response: Derp? What a cool word. I did that?
So I clicked on my own work, and from the date I got an immediate refresh on the context: I entered into a conflict with a psychologist who was not ready to explain her reasoning methods to me, because, it seemed at the time — and this thought has only intensified since then, among everyone involved, not just me — she didn’t have any. It’s a big problem nowadays, and to be fair, it’s not just her. We’ve got this sentiment going on here & there, far & wide, East and West, “I know what I know because, well, aw shucks everybody knows it.”
The unexplainable has become the expected. I’m not sure when or how this transformation took place. It probably happened in stages. What I do know all too well is that now, if you ask the question “Why is it exactly that you think you know what you think you know” — or merely show evidence that you’re wrestling with this, taking in the structure of an argument along with its ultimate conclusion, trying to fill in those gaps — there is this hostility that comes your way that wasn’t there before. It doesn’t have to do with how you’re asking the questions. Maybe it feels that way to the person being asked, if she’s not accustomed to it. It can feel like “bullying” or some such. Of this, I have no doubt…
…and that is one of many reasons why, once we reach adulthood, we’re supposed to work at making decisions by way of thinking rather than by way of feeling.
My verdict: No, we are not discussing the same thing; at least, not on Planet Earth we’re not. But wait a second, we’re not on Earth are we? Severian is investigating that loopy little virtual insane asylum which is the stuff we call “liberalism” in today’s topsy-turvy political parlance. On that strange surreal otherworldly dimension, I must change the answer and say yes, the distinctions that would matter back on Earth, Planet Grown-Up, do not apply here. So out here yes we’re talking about the same thing.
I should explain that earthly distinction. This piece from two years ago is discussing epistemology. The intended emphasis, perhaps understated, is on objective findings. Measurements. “Point X is closer to Point Y than it is to Point Z.” Severian is discussing moral conclusions, which tend to be quite different because they’re often not objective. As I’ve pointed out many a time before, if ever you were afforded the luxury of a long sit-down with the guy who broke into your house, whether you expect it or not, you’re likely to find he has quite a confident rationale for why he was right in his decision to break into your house. Better than even odds, it has something to do with your stuff actually belonging to him somehow, and he was just taking it back again. An angry crowd surrounded a sixteen-year-old girl in Mexico a little while ago and burned her to death; some of those participating “helped out” by restraining the police who were trying to rescue her. This being a revenge killing, there must have been some moral reasoning involved in even that. And we see this over and over again, when people do evil things it emerges that they didn’t short-change the process of moral reasoning or skip it, or maintain some belief that it’s entirely unnecessary. They often reached, for whatever reason, a different conclusion.
That is certainly not to say that all conclusions are equally valid. But after millennia of well-intentioned humans trying to make it otherwise, it remains a subjective process. It isn’t like “Point X is closer to Point Y than it is to Point Z.” It doesn’t just depend on perspectives. It depends on values.
So on Planet Liberal, the answer to Severian’s question is: Yes, out there, we’re talking about exactly the same thing. I’m discussing epistemology, he’s discussing morality, here on Planet Grown-Up these are very different things but out there they are one and the same. You don’t have to discuss things with an enfranchised lib very long to see what I mean by this. You might start with whether or not “health care is a basic human right,” that’ll drive home the point quicker than anything.
There is an irony here: These people we today call “liberals” are supposed to be obsessed with improving all of humankind, carrying us forward to the next evolutionary threshold so that we can, among other things, finally learn to live together even though we all might come from diverse backgrounds. The tragedy is that this is a laudable goal that we really do need to get done one way or another — and it can never be done, not by these liberals, until such time as they start to think like conservatives. Their toolboxes are lacking the tools needed.
It starts with the already-mentioned values. A century and a half ago, our country ended a devastating Civil War and among the many things to come out of that was a wave of new legislation, including three amendments to the U.S. Constitution, the first such amendments in sixty years. This latest revolution at the time said: Yes, there are some values that encompass the entire federation, across all the states, even if some states don’t like it. The Republicans at the time insisted on it, that slavery ends here and now. It’s a logic thing as well as a moral-reasoning thing; it simply doesn’t hold up to say “We’re going to get this nation started so we can be free” and then — same breath — “but, these people over here can’t be free because that’s, like, their status in life or something.” It just doesn’t work. So yes, they rammed their values down everybody else’s throat.
Today’s liberals are often heard to say, yeah and we’re them! The “parties switched sides” or some such silliness. This manifests an ignorance of history, moral reasoning too, and arguably logical reasoning as well. The Republicans of the Civil War era did not go on to say: “Oh yeah, and by the way not only can you not own slaves, but you should plant soy beans instead of potatoes, and use these terms to describe those people so nobody is offended, and your wheelchair ramps have to be such-and-such degrees, and, and, and.” They defined a limited scope of these values that would be made globally enforceable. It gets back to that definitions-thing, again. They did not define this crisply; judges and justices have wrestled over these questions ever since, and in constitutional law that’s called incorporation.
The liberals imagine themselves to be ideological successors to the Republicans who ended slavery. But imagine is all they can do. The only way they are successors to what was done back then, is this: They really, really like the idea of forcing ideas on other people. “We can do that?? Cool!” They don’t get the…pardon the terminology, the nuance, for there is no long, drawn-out meandering discussion about incorporation, no limited-scope applied to the edicts they want enforced without exception from sea to shining sea. From watching them awhile, you see the only criteria they seem to apply is one of cowardice, like the cowardly school principal who makes it his business to expel the “good kids” who get in fights on the playground, even if they’re just defending themselves, but just letting the same behavior slide with the “bad kids” because, well, that’s the routine and whaddya expect. That’s the Modern Left’s version of incorporation: Will they get into some sort of trouble, perhaps meet some harm, by insisting a certain designated target practice the values they thoughtlessly force on everybody else.
Example: The Muslim bakery shop that has to appear in court, because they refused to bake a gay wedding cake. That sort of litigious risibility is reserved, it seems, for the hated Christians — whose tenets require them to turn the other cheek. Leftists apply a selection process to their forced-federalized value systems according to that…and if there is another criterion being applied, I’m not aware of it. Haven’t seen it.
The “Separation of Powers” argument that says the Supreme Court should not be legislating from the bench — they’re none to pleased with that, I know, but I’m not exactly sure what their problem is. The only rebuttals I’ve seen from them are pure mockery, and very ill-considered conjecture about what might be motivating their opponents. Liberals are notoriously bad at figuring out what motivates their opponents. But it seems in these recent cases, they’re all good with the Supreme Court doing what it did, because they like the outcome.
But, that just points out the truth of what Severian was saying,
You do something to someone, you set a precedent; you have no reasonable basis for complaint when the exact same thing is done to you.
Leftists clearly don’t have this. I don’t know if it’s innate or learned, or what, but it makes having actual discussions with them next to impossible. “Gay marriage today, polygamy tomorrow” literally doesn’t make sense to them. They’re not lying — not all of them, anyway, and not consciously. Ok, yes, the Politico types are…but the Sweet Aunt Polly types aren’t. They really don’t see the connection there. They don’t see precedent.
And that’s really what depresses and disappoints me on this Independence Day. We certainly do have some people among us who are not worried about these decisions, who are ready to assure the rest of us that the precedence is all good, there are no problems there. But, these are the people who don’t think of it. They’re not aware of what it is. They can’t tell the difference between “reasoning” that says X is closer to Y than to Z, and the reasoning that says it’s wrong to set a 16-year-old girl on fire.
Over and over again, we’ve seen that they think it’s great when the occupant of the highest office in the land seizes some unwarranted new power and starts making use of it. It’s their guy, after all! And then they’re just completely shocked when the other party wins that same office in the next election. Simply didn’t anticipate it. The obvious problem with precedent, didn’t even faze them before, and they’re not thinking anything about it afterward — they’re too busy complaining about Diebold machines.
What they are, is Medicators, drifting on through life by feeling their way around its challenges, rather than by thinking their way through them.
2. Architects see the entire universe as an assembly of parts, each of which in turn can be further dissembled into smaller parts…As these parts interact with each other, you have an explanation for every single other thing that happens…Object, plus object, plus time, equals event.
Medicators see the entire universe as a situation. Objects within the situation are not separable from other objects, unless you’re casting an object as a catalyst for something that is good or bad. And when that happens, “object” and “event” are functionally synonymous. Neither is terribly complex, they’re just beneficial, damaging, or some other synonyms of those…
11. An Architect is unlikely to suffer from an addiction because he doesn’t possess the requisite sensitivity to his own emotional profile to feel the temporary benefits of abusing something.
Medicators are highly likely to form addictions, usually of all likes and kinds: Substance, alcohol, co-dependent relationships, sex, an engaging video game, etc. That’s what they do. They medicate.
The one thing that really sets a Medicator apart from an Architect, is that given any activity that interacts with the mind, be it work or leisure, they choose a remarkably different role for themselves. They seek, first and foremost, to act as effective stewards of their own emotional state.
This is why precedence falls by the wayside; it’s one reason out of many, at least. “If you do this, then that will happen” is not part of their world. They act like it is — when, true to their nature, it gives them some sort of a “rush” to put on this sort of a show. Like, “we must do something about global warming right now, or else!” But it isn’t an honest statement of their thought process, because they are not sincere believers in cause-and-effect except maybe for a performance causing a crowd-reaction. Apart from that one thing, they don’t really believe in it.
They are bench-warmers in life. Bystanders. Waiting for the producers to produce, by thinking through problems simple & complex, using methods they themselves would never be able to apply. So they can make their claims on the assets that result. They are non-producers, and they just succeeded in writing rules for everybody else. If the host must live according to the rules dictated by the parasite, the end can’t be a good one for either.