Archive for the ‘Poisoning Strength’ Category

Best Sentence LXV

Monday, June 22nd, 2009

The sixty-fifth Best Sentence I’ve Heard Or Read Lately (BSIHORL) award goes to Sissy Willis of SISU for a comment posted on Ann Althouse’s blog. Subject: The Chosen One’s desultory and milquetoast prose about Iranian elections. For the uninitiated, after much criticism for His not saying anything, He stepped down from His cloud and offered

“I do believe that something has happened in Iran where there is a questioning of the kinds of antagonistic postures towards the international community that have taken place in the past,” [President] Obama said at the White House, in a clear reference to [Iranian President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad, who has clashed forcefully with world leaders over Iran’s nuclear program.

While saying it was “not productive” for the U.S. president to be seen as meddling in Iranian affairs, Obama expressed “deep concerns about the election.”

“When I see violence directed at peaceful protesters, when I see peaceful dissent being suppressed, wherever that takes place, it is of concern to me, and it’s of concern to the American people,” he said. “That is not how governments should interact with their people.”

Which inspired Althouse’s rhetorical question: “Do you think he could be blander?” This is our modern Messiah, our digital-age dragon slayer. He who was elected with all this hope, whose magical sword would sever the ties that bind us, and release us from our dungeon of eternal darkness and lead us into the light…it is of “concern” to Him? What items in the vast catalog of human despair were to be made part of His mandate, if this is not among them? Does an executive have to receive a bonus before the Replacement Jesus can begin to be energized, vexed, or inspired? Where’s all the hope, the charisma, the umpshun-in-the-gumpshun, the adrenalized quest for the holy grail of “change”? What a disappointment of unprecedented dimensions. Bland doesn’t even begin to describe it.

Enter Sissy with the Best Sentence. It’s actually two sentences:

Muscular prose reflects muscular thinking (Churchill, Reagan, GW). Flabby prose reflects flabby thinking (Chamberlain, Carter, Obama). Never use one metaphorically-charged noun or active verb when a string of colorless nouns and passive verbs will do.

Hat tip to Maggie’s Farm.

“The Tent Sure is Tiny”

Friday, June 19th, 2009

Amen to that, Melissa. Today’s organized feminists have something wrong with them. They’re getting my OCBASASBDII acting up (Obsessive Compulsive Bullshit Alphabet Soup Acronym Shopping and Behavioral Disability Invention Impulse) as I try, in vain, to meaningfully comprehend what is going on upstairs that stops them from acting like normal, decent, clear-thinking human beings. They’re bringing up the thoroughly debunked urban legend about Sarah Palin and the rape kitsagain. And they’ll do it again and again, anytime Palin’s name is brought back into the news and the general public reaction isn’t already quite as negative and visceral as they’d like it to be.

Meghan McCain, next time you want the Republicans to become more inclusive, I have a suggestion on where else you can swivel your spotlight, you lover-of-big-tents-you. Melissa’s onto something here. You’re needed Mrs. Peel!

Feminists aren’t about defending women, and therefore, they aren’t about defending any other demographic group. They aren’t even about progressive policies; for if they were, it’s reasonable to expect they’d pick some policies that accentuate, rather than diminish, the worthiness and importance of women in our modern society. Abortion? Gay marriage? Those aren’t them. No, they are about finding an outlet for a destructive psychological impulse — the impulse to define anomalous persons as undesirable aliens, separate them, ostracize them, destroy them.

They are at the epicenter of a storm that has engulfed many in this late era. After my Bullshit Behavioral Disability Invention Impulse really gets going, I might think of some letters I can arrange into a cutesy acronym to describe it…or I might not…busy weekend ahead, and all. But the problem that afflicts so many appears to be — a long-accumulated stockpile of skills and long-refined personal drive to destroy things, leaving the sufferer feeling unfulfilled and burdened with a burning, unspoken desire to pretend to be creating something.

One Revolution AwayIn this way, they share a malady with the Obamabots. And they, in turn, with the environmentalists. And all those three, in turn, with all the most powerful progressive-politic types in general. They all have this in common: Meaningless cliches tossed out to suggest something wonderful and grand is being built, but if you watch them across a meaningful length of time you see all they do is destroy things. By now, it’s safe to say that if you don’t have this sickness, you aren’t running anything. Nothing so big that it’s assured to come out on top of things.

That is the root cause of what ails feminism lately, and it’s a far-flung widespread sickness now. All these people perched, like vultures on fence posts in some long-abandoned ghost town, ready to point, to heckle, to invent sordid tales about rape kits, to slander, to excoriate, to shun, to fling their insults. To do as much damage as they can to a designated target…once it’s been designated. All that poo just ready to be flung. And interspersed with all that scat, with all the bile, are these meaningless but carefully-chosen focus-group tested catchphrases that suggest constructing something. “Together we can do this” and all that.

Left to be discovered: Do they have some creative energies that are frustrated with the lack of an outlet? Is it possible that a desire to create can share a single human host with such a passionate impulse to destroy? Or are they wholly lacking in creativity…seeking to find new ways to offer a convincing illusion of something that isn’t there?

It’s late June now. Throughout this year, those who so overwhelmingly won an election — by slandering women, among other things, thereby “uniting” with the feminists one could have reasonably presumed wouldn’t have had their fancies so tickled — have constructed absolutely nothing. Nothing at all. Nothing but staggering debt…and a vegetable garden.

It’s a sweeping epidemic. It’s obviously quite contagious. And deadly. You were worried about Swine Flu?

D’JEver Notice? XXIX

Thursday, June 11th, 2009

So blogsister Daphne took her turn challenging my weird assertions about the laws that are supposed to stop us from puffing away at The Plant. Because, like Mr. Mackie, I say Marijawawna is bad, mmmkay? And suddenly, like the morning after, I had a thought about this I hadn’t thought before.

You know why there is such a deep split about this?

See, what we have here, is a law designed to keep us from becoming a bunch of drooling idiots…

STOP WRITING, please. I said “designed to.” Jeez you people, let me finish a point, you don’t have to keep debating that instantly, every time it comes up. Anyway. The laws against marijuana are supposed to keep us from becoming stupid. And folks like Daphne and I end up slightly disagreeing about it, although our values are pretty much the same, and we’re both somewhat ambivalent about how we’ve come down on the issue because we’ve both confronted the same dilemma and we’ve both entertained the same conflict within us. A law that’s supposed to keep people from being stupid.

Speaking for myself, I do believe you have a right to be an idiot. You might say I have exercised this right on an occasion or two, although that’s a subject for discussion some other time. As I said in the comments, the argument advanced by those who say the criminalization of Marijuana violates a sacred right to be an idiot, is pretty much the most persuasive one I’ve encountered. I’m similarly conflicted on the motorcycle-helmet laws, and the cell phone laws.

I think everyone who shares my general value system, is similarly conflicted. I am more than ready to resolve the conflict out of a sense of personal fatigue…which may be the beginning of an enormous mistake, I admit. But I am. The question is this. Am I fatigued more from having too many laws on the books; or am I fatigued more from seeing people act more, and more, and more like idiots with each passing year?

And you know why the Marijuana question divides us so?

Because it’s the only law — or one of a very, very exclusive selection of laws — that is supposed to stop us from becoming idiots. Think about it. Most of our laws that are built to manipulate us socially, on a state level as well as federal, are designed to stop us from becoming too smart. Or wealthy, or productive, or inspiring to others.

After a bit more thinking I came up with one, and only one, cousin to drug possession/consumption/distribution/sale laws: No Child Left Behind. The same people who argue about drug laws, tend to argue about NCLB — in part because Ted Kennedy helped write it. And there are some who say NCLB is designed to keep our kids stupid, not make ’em smart…others say it has had the stupidifying effect, whether intentional or not. Those splintered factions aside, though, the dynamics are the same and the dividing effect is the same. The people like us look at this nanny-state law that arguably may have the intent, or the result, of slowing or stopping our slide into an Idiocracy nation. And we have think, What’s a bigger crisis? People becoming too stupid, or people living under too many stupid laws?

I suggest that while this is a worthy question, it is also a distraction. A far worthier question would be: Why is this situation the exception rather than the rule? Laws that stop you from defending your family, should they require defending, with a handgun. Bailouts for incompetent, failing businesses. Antitrust laws. Progressive taxes. Teachers’ unions, and the spineless school officials that pander to them, conspiring to teach kids about sensitivity at the expense of readin’, writin’ and ‘rithmetic. Why does it seem to be in our societal makeup to create more and more bureaucracies and laws that have the design, and the intent, of turning us into a nation of helpless imbeciles?

Update: Small-tee tim, the godless heathen, submits a comment that is supposed to disagree with me but bears many of the same sentiments. In a helpful effort to get people to lighten up just a little bit more, he also provides a link to Tammy Bruce’s pages…maybe y’all have seen this clip already.

IT Guys and Marriage

Saturday, May 30th, 2009

Dr. Helen has found something that gets her thinking, and me too.

Eleven men and one woman were asked about what they wished their spouse knew about their job. This is what the men said:

Most of the 11 other respondents’ answers to my question expressed some frustration with their jobs or with their marriages, or both. (The one woman who responded to my question wrote about the guilt-trips her kids lay on her for having to work long hours.) Their responses boiled down to the following five themes:

1. I don’t want to discuss the details of my workday when I get home.

2. Don’t call me at work unless it’s an emergency.

3. If I don’t return your phone call, it’s not because I’m mad at you/don’t love you. It’s because I’m busy.

4. IT management is not a 9-to-5 job. It’s complicated, demanding and stressful.

5. I’m not a tech support person, and I can’t fix all of the family’s home technology problems, especially when I’m at work. I spend my time on strategic issues and networking with other C-level executives.

The men in the article are seen as the “bad guys,” that is, they are seen as uncommunicative and insensitive to their wives–and blamed for their shortcomings. The summary of the piece makes this clear: “your answers spoke more about your communication mistakes at home than they did about your spouse’s shortcomings. Read on for advice on how to fix this before a nasty crash.”

Perhaps these IT men are a bit uncommunicative or perhaps they do have stressful jobs. But can you imagine if the same author interviewed women who were raising five kids and having a stressful time of it? Say the husband was calling home for some spousal care on the phone in the middle of three of the kids having a temper tantrum. Do you think anyone would be sympathetic to his plight and blame the wife for her communication mistakes? I rather doubt it.

I’ve spent very little of my lifetime being a married IT guy…which is a little odd, since I’ve spent all of it being a married-or-not IT guy. Marriage wasn’t happy in my case. I can’t clue you in on very many of the details, because I don’t have memories of them. Going back to anytime before my marriage was officially dissolved, some seventeen or eighteen years ago, it’s mostly just a big blur. A nugget or two from childhood, maybe. But anything before November of 1991, even though it’s my life, recalling something from it is like reading from a blackboard with several thick sheets of dirty plastic stretched across it. Some form of PTSD, I guess.

One thing I do remember: I had some depressed feelings about the yawning chasm between my wife’s interest in my paychecks, and in what I had been doing to earn them. She had such insatiable curiosity about one of those things, and little-to-none about the other. It’s a sad, sad thing, when you pledge your life to somebody and wake up one day to realize they aren’t smart enough to feed the goose that lays the golden eggs.

Back to what Dr. Helen is talking about: It is, of course, an assault upon masculinity; but it’s a rather complex one. What’s happened is that masculinity has been re-defined. A man’s ability to chop wood is worthless, his ability to defend the home from an intruder is worthless, his ability to open pickle jars and kill spiders is worthless. Worthless, as in, a lady who genuinely appreciates these skills, is going to be stigmatized and ostracized by other “ladies.” And on Planet Female, social ostracism has a profound effect that men can’t quite fully appreciate. Instead, women are to value men for: Communication. That’s it, and that’s all. Spending time with the family, being expressive, listening, listening and more listening. Empathy. Chatter. Agreement-over-clarity. Observing, over such a sustained timeframe and to such an intense level, that the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle is actuated, and it becomes unclear who is doing the observing and who is being observed. What Robert Heinlein called “grokking.”

This is not to say that men are valued for their ability to grok. That would call for the fashion-set to show some positive feelings for men, here and there. That cannot be the case. No, the ability to grok, is simply dangled in front of the gentlemen, as a carrot before a donkey. As a prize not to be won yet. As in “I wish you would do X more.” You don’t notice a man who does it well, except in the capacity of someone/something you cannot have. Wives who desire to be accepted by other wives, audibly inform their husbands “I wish you could be more like him.”

The IT guy, by his chosen life-work, routinely commits what today is the great sin: He places his attention on something that is not his woman, and sweats the details — over there. There is no penance for this sin. Off the clock, he may worship the ground upon which his lady walks, but hours before he demonstrated his readiness, willingness and ability to pay attention to something that is not her. This is a stain that cannot be washed away.

And so, in our modern society, after all this “progress” we have been making…the male who actually comes up with something someone can use someday, has to go through life apologizing for the way he lives it. This does a disservice and measurable damage to a lot more people than just him.

Two Dozen Coffee Mugs

Sunday, May 24th, 2009

It’s not about pissing off that one guy, actually; it’s about elaborating on that “Humans Matter” point on which I was ruminating two weekends ago. It occurred to me that, if this was undergo a metamorphosis into an effective campaign to revitalize the Republican party, or at least give new life to someone who would oppose the nihilists who are in charge right now…perhaps this could be most effectively communicated as a limited number of specs on that “Humans Matter” point. In other words, maybe it would be beneficial to make the next few campaigns about mattering.

It seems to me this is the catalyst of what all the shouting is about lately. Is it appropriate for humans, for Americans, to do things that actually make a difference? Without apologizing for it? By that I mean, as individual efforts…rather than these things we should “all come together” to do?

Perhaps it is easy to envision ourselves as not-doing-things, and tearing down anybody else who would think of really-doing-things, simply because we are only casually acquainted with the everyday, real-life benefits of doing things. Or the liabilities involved in not doing them.

So my vision is a set of coffee mugs — sold six or twelve at a time, with twenty-four unique designs. Their designs have it in common that the phrase —

Dare To…

…is right up there at the top.

And then the smaller lettering halfway down says one of the following…

1. Decide Where Your Money Goes
2. Drive Your Car
3. Discipline Your Child
4. Breathe
5. Be an American
6. Support the Troops
7. Clean Up Iraq
8. Support Israel
9. Be, or Appreciate, a Wise Strong Resourceful Manly Dude
10. Be, or Appreciate, a Smart Powerful Gorgeous Woman
11. Support Capital Punishment
12. Organize a Tea Party
13. Defend the Unborn
14. Speak Your Mind
15. Own a Gun
16. Eat Meat
17. Drink Beer
18. Want Terrorists Dead
19. Be What You Are
20. Hang on to What You Have
21. Build Things People Use
22. Watch FOX
23. Vote Against Obama
24. Raise a Boy into a Man

These are all things that have been stigmatized over the last forty years. Or twenty, or seven, or two-to-four.

Not a single one of them should be stigmatized, and deep down, I think everyone knows that.

Let’s un-stigmatize them. Nevermind whether it’s possible, in the years ahead, to get someone elected on that or not. Just forget all about that. Un-stigmatize regardless.

Does Wonder Woman’s Costume Undermine Her Portrayal as a Strong Female Character?

Sunday, May 24th, 2009

Submitted for discussion some nine or ten months ago.

Does Wonder Woman’s costume undermine her portrayal as one of the DCU’s strongest female characters?

Shouldn’t she be wearing something a bit more practical, after all they changed Catwoman’s costume to make it seem more practical & less glamour. WW has worn better costumes such as her armour, than her traditional look. So is it time fo[r] a permanent change?

Someone please point me to the last superhero who restored his or her “portrayal of a strong character” with a costume change.

I’ll tell you what undermines Wonder Woman’s portrayal as a strong character. It isn’t her female-ness. It’s the opinions of all these sycophants that are brought out of the woodwork by her female-ness. Everyone wants to play the game of “The Womens’ Movement Was About To Be Set Back By A Century Until I Spoke Out And Rescued Everything.” And her suit doesn’t cover much, so that just seems to set it all off.

What very few people seem to understand, is that Wonder Woman’s costume actually makes a great deal of sense. A great deal of sense — more than the costume worn by any superhero who wears a cape. What’s the downside? Why would a superhero not wear a gymnast’s outfit and boots? Let’s see…too many people would notice — doesn’t apply. She’s an ambassador. As a super-heroine, she lacks a secret identity, because of this ambassadorial status. Not modest enough — also doesn’t apply. Wonder Woman comes from a place where women prance around naked all day & all year. The costume was selected in order to show us, in the US of A, respect; as a gesture of goodwill. She thinks she’s dressing up. Leaves her too vulnerable — doesn’t apply. Her bracelets deflect bullets. She might get cold? She’s made out of clay.

Wonder WomanI always thought of her as fitting into the Big Three with perfection. Superman’s got godlike powers; Batman doesn’t have any at all; Wonder Woman’s just someplace in between. She gets into a fight in the middle of the city in midsummer, wearing her trademark bathing-suit-and-boots — it’s easy to think she’s human. The fight is taken into a frozen arctic tundra, now you have a subtle reminder that she’s a super being.

In fact, if you want to look at things that undermine her portrayal as a strong female, that would be a far better place to start. The inconsistency. Can she fly? If she can’t, then can she leap an eighth of a mile like the original Superman? Does she have that stupid invisible jet? I really think, if the movie goes forward, the invisible jet should be included only as a joke. What about invulnerability? What happens if she tries to deflect a bullet with her bracelets, and fails? Is it true that her magic lasso becomes as long as she wants it to be at any given time? (I always thought that was kinda silly.)

Super strength? How much? Can she go toe-to-toe with Superman? Could she win? Can she bear his children if she cares to? How’s that work, exactly?

It’s just a fact: If she’s made weaker than Superman, the rights & privileges of ordinary women will survive just fine.

You know what she really needs, is a makeover just like the one slapped down on Superman back in 1986 by John Byrne. That was awesome. The Man of Steel’s powers were limited; he was and is completely vulnerable to anything magic, including the lightning bolts that transformed Billy Batson into Captain Marvel. The silver-age “planet hurling” Superman, you could forget about. His costume was ordinary fabric, and remained intact in an onslaught of machine gun fire thanks to a narrow field of Kryptonian energy that surrounded Superman’s body, maybe a quarter inch or so. So that did away with the absurd notion of Ma Kent “unweaving” the blue, red and gold Kryptonian fabric in Baby Superman’s birth rocket, and re-weaving it into a costume. Plus, if Superman was in the presence of a bomb, the costume would come away intact but the cape would be shredded, maybe set on fire. Way cool.

That’s how you solidify Wonder Woman’s position as a icon that represents female strength. Confine the re-inventing energies to things that really need re-inventing. WW has more than her share of them.

Women are in sad shape right about now. They’re being defended by people who honestly think of themselves as tireless defenders of womens’ position in society, and of womens’ rights; but those defenders don’t believe women are strong or worthy of respect, if they’re wearing certain things. That pretty much sums it all up, I think.

Terrace Five Remains

Sunday, May 24th, 2009

Blogger friend Buck, along with many other folks I don’t respect quite as much, says Terrace Five should’ve been eliminated from the taxonomy of progressive levels of liberal anti-intellectualism and nastiness:

Morgan: We’re pretty much on the same page, now that you’ve submitted your clarifications. I pretty well know where you’re coming from anyway, based on past “discussions.” You’re entirely correct that drugs are another manifestation of The Culture Wars, and we can agree to disagree on that point. That said… I’d delete Item Five in your taxonomy were I you. It is NOT true in all cases, but I suppose that’s life, eh? There are always exceptions that prove the rule… but in this case I think the exceptions cut the OTHER way.

I can tell this is a good idea, because I already seriously mulled over it. The legalize-drugs brigade, contrary to my crude summary, is anything but atomic. There are several sub-factions within it, and although subdividing within an ideology may or may not be productive, you just can’t have it going on without someone thinking about something.

MarijuanaHowever, the “should we legalize drugs” argument never fails to arouse great passion on both sides. For reasons that, I’m convinced, are wholly lacking in merit. It seems on the pro-legalize side, the emotion spews forth from a wellspring of feeling that a number of our current problems would disappear overnight if only the magic legalization were to take place. These troubles are associated with the criminal element; or, rather, with the criminal element being associated with a transaction that would be taking place regularly anyway, be it legal or not.

There is some truth in this. But the notion that the problems would disappear, over a longer term or more instantaneous one, is entirely unsupported.

As I’ve said before, I see government-sanctioned, or government-sponsored, or government-permitted drug use as on the same level of government-managed lotteries. And the lotteries, in my world, rank high on the list of insidious evils. I blame the state-commissioned lotteries for the acceleration in Steve Allen’s Dumbth over the last quarter century.

The contradiction that weighs us down in these modern times, is that the prevailing mindset, lingering so long under the surface, and now bobbing up to the top in this Year of Obama, is that nothing is really worth anything. And yet, somehow, everything is worth yet another explosive expression of anger. Those greedy corporations. Those narrow-minded conservatives. Those irritating white males. Those dangerous gun nuts. Those, those, those, those, those. It is the anger of people who are passionate about freedom, without understanding what it really is.

This is why I would vote to keep marijuana illegal, if only someone would come asking for me to cast a vote. Marijuana makes people think like liberals. Suddenly, freedom is Orwellian. Freedom is freedom to smoke dope — and has little other meaning. If it’s legal to smoke dope, but you must do so in a shitty apartment surrounded with barbed wire, that you cannot leave, day or night, and surveillance cameras record your ever move even when you’re taking a dump…well then, you are “free” because you are allowed to get high.

Some other guy being allowed to raise his sons into real men, to fire a rifle in his backyard, to start a business and keep the profits, to use deadly force to defend his wife from being violated, to bellow at her to please get him a beer without being sent to sensitivity training — he isn’t “free” if the whacky terbacky isn’t lawful in his country, or in his part of it. Freedom, suddenly, is trashing your brain. Just as, in the case of the lotteries, “ambition” suddenly means a hope of matching up those six numbers. That and nothing more.

Those who care about nuthin’-but-legalization, I have confessed, are not that commonplace. Here and there, there are people who care passionately and wax lyrically about the soon-to-arrive magic legalization instant, and yet can form a number of well-thought-out positions on a variety of other issues. However, those who can run off the mouth about it, losing track of the importance of other, unrelated things — this is not quite so exclusive a club. And although I cannot prove it, it is my belief that this is errant thinking. My belief is that, if we were to legalize pot, or legalize drugs overall, things would not get better. I do not believe they would become catastrophic…but I do not believe things would stay the same, either. I think things would become slightly worse, the way things generally get worse nowadays. We’d lose something that is hard to notice, and just a few among us would notice the population is becoming overall dumbed-down yet some more. For this, we would be called kooks.

In other words, I think it would have exactly the same effect as the lotteries. The shift is a subtle one. In 1980, you said “I want to take my family on a nice vacation, so I’m going to work just a little bit harder.” By 2000, you said “I want to take my family on a nice vacation, so I hope those numbers line up.” See the little game? Work is regarded differently, and so life is regarded differently. That’s what would happen with drug legalization. We’d all start to look at life a little bit differently. That is the whole point actually using marijuana, is it not? To make you look at life a little bit differently? To make certain efforts look futile, that normally seem worthwhile when your mind is functioning the way it is supposed to?

The unholy triangle with which we are grappling, is between modern liberalism, drugs that take away the “Give-A-Fuck” instinct like marijuana…and…nihilism. New sidebar addition Self Evident Truths (hat tip, Gerard) expounds on the nihilist/liberal connection:

Here is the key to understanding modern liberals and their connection with nihilism. Modern liberalism bases ideals and programs on “a chaos of the instincts or passions.” Such ideals can only drift from one extreme to another as instincts and passions change over time. Hence, modern liberal politics is a politics of feeling, of self, of instinct, of passions with no understanding of the underlying roots of its own behavior, let alone of the nihilism which drives it.

The lack of understanding stems from liberal nihilism infiltrating into the university system. Once adopted, the university system rejected old values in favor of the new valueless system. In an amplifying feedback loop, the next generation of students came out of the universities not realizing that they lacked anything at all in their education. They didn’t even know enough to ask questions about what they might have missed.

There is a consequence to the adoption or acceptance of nihilism with no regard to US founding principles, morals, or religious constraints. Human nature always has a desire to some kind of foundation, some anchor from which to interpret life. By rejecting the foundational principles of the United States – Christianity, moral living, self-evident truths – the nihilist finds other ideologies to take their place – ideologies based on “a chaos of instincts and passions.”

One of the best known historians of religions, Mircea Eliade, had this to say in his seminal book, The Sacred and the Profane:

Nonreligious man has been formed by opposing his predecessor, by attempting to “empty” himself of all religion and all trans-human meaning. He recognizes himself in proportion as he “frees” and “purifies” himself from the “superstitions” of his ancestors….He cannot utterly abolish his past, since he is himself the product of his past (p. 204).

Those who give up religion, morals and foundational principles cannot free themselves from past principles because they are the products of the past and past experiences. Those who consider themselves “liberated” from the past can only respond to it, since without the past, they have absolutely no frame of reference.

Eliade gives this example of the attempt Marxists made to reject past values. Nihilists who buy into Marxism, Socialism, or Communism should note their dependance on Marx’s substitute religion:

We need only to refer to the mythological structure of communism and its eschatological content. Marx takes over and continues one of the great eschatological myths of the Asiatico-Mediterranean world – the redeeming role of the Just (the “chosen,” the “anointed,” the “innocent,” the “messenger”; in our day, the proletariat), whose sufferings are destined to change the ontological status of the world….Marx enriched this venerable myth by a whole Judaeo-Christian messianic ideology (p. 206).

What does this mean in real world terms? If we take, for example, a look at President Obama and his socially and fiscally liberal policies, we can see that most of his policies lack any definable reference to the foundational principles of the US. Instead, they adopt a Marxist version of a messianic ideology – the desire to create a pipe-dream world absolutely free from human problems. The government itself, just as Marxist doctrine taught, becomes the savior figure of the modern world. Obama becomes its chief prophet.

Those who have not adopted nihilism can immediately see the problems inherent in this system. The ideology leads from a false premise to a false conclusion. Government cannot be salvation, since, by its very nature, is composed of people who do not transcend the problems of the modern day.

Nihilists presume to a knowledge of reality, yet it is knowledge based on a faulty system and a false premise. As Bloom states:

However profound that knowledge may be, theirs is only one interpretation; and that we have only been told as much as [the nihilist founders] thought we needed to know. It is an urgent business for one who seeks self-awareness to think through the meaning of the intellectual dependency that has led us to such an impasse (p. 156).

Without understanding the nihilistic impulse, without understanding the philosophical roots of nihilism, without self-awareness of the lack of knowledge of other systems, the modern liberal has no chance of breaking free from the boundaries set for them by ideologues of the past.

And modern liberals will be at the mercy of today’s ideologues.

This, I fear, is what is to become more popular if legalization takes place. This is what concerns me when I call it a cultural issue. I still say it is immoral and contrary to the philosophies of the American experiment, for people in my location to dictate that people somewhere else should keep it illegal. On that subject, I’m more libertarian — let ’em get stoned outta their gourd, if that’s what they want to do. But on my own patch of ground, I’m voting no.

MarijuanaThe departure from reality people undertake, with marijuana, liberalism and nihilism, is quite profound. Two central themes seem to pop up from out of nowhere. The notion that nothing’s-worth-anything is a central pillar of the nihilism, of course. But then there are all these human rights. A human right to a job, to a house, to food, to a car, to the gas to put in it. Suddenly we’re all Han Solo; hokey religions are no substitute for a blaster at your side, kid. Nobody put us here. Nobody’s determining the outcome of cosmic events. But our skin becomes thinner, and all kinds of different forms of neglect, become violations of our human rights. Human rights. Nobody put us here, but humans have all these rights that other animals don’t have.

That isn’t true of all people who smoke marijuana…bit it is true of most. And this shit stays in your system for a long time. Alcohol, on the other hand, is gone by the next morning. If it isn’t, then there will be a painful reminder to you to show some restraint next time. I keep hearing that marijuana and alcohol are on the same level, or should be. Sorry, I’m just not seeing it. Both can be abused. But with alcohol the abuse comes from excessive use. With marijuana the abuse comes from entering an entire thought culture that surrounds the drug. And the potential is there from the very first puff.

We have far too much dumbth already. We have far too much nihilism, with things the way they are. We don’t need more. And, the idea that there are lots of people who can’t talk about anything besides legalization once the subject comes up…not only remains a sensible recognition on my part, but a proven one. Proven by the very people who want to argue with me about it. I’ve written very few things that have attracted that much comment. And I’ve written nothing, I daresay, that’s attracted that much comment upon such a tiny, tiny subsection within it.

Update: Thanks to blogger friend Gerard, and his superior Google Image Search skills, for the image.

Michelle Obama’s Graduation Advice

Monday, May 18th, 2009

She talks about giving back:

Michelle Obama“Many of you may be considering leaving town with your diploma in hand, and it wouldn’t be unreasonable,” Mrs. Obama said before a crowd of 12,000 wilting in the afternoon sun. “By using what you’ve learned here you can shorten the path perhaps for kids who may not see a path at all. I was once one of those kids.”

Clothed in a long black robe and academic regalia, Mrs. Obama spoke of her own drive to get ahead despite tough odds, recounting the challenges her working-class family faced on Chicago’s South Side.

“You will face tough times. You will certainly have doubts, and let me tell you because I know I did when I was your age,” she said. “Remember that you are blessed. Remember that in exchange for those blessings, you must give something back. You must reach back and pull someone up. You must bend down and let someone else stand on your shoulders so that they can see a brighter future.”

The First Lady then went on to say something about using reason, intellect, logic, tenacity and a strong work ethic to make it a sound business decision for people to hire you. With just the right combination of energizing optimism and scrutinizing skepticism, you can make it.

Nope, actually that last part I made up.

Ah, my mind wanders into fantasy…what if, just once, this nation is blessed with a First Lady who is such a slobbering disciple of Ayn Rand that she finds it impossible to give a speech without quoting from her. That First Lady would, like all First Ladies, stand as a shining beacon of what a smart, resourceful woman can achieve in our society. But then she would go on to say, “Remember: The smallest minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities.” Again and again, she would lapse into a cocktail-napkin biographical sketch of the young Alyssa Rosenbaum, how she fooled the communist officials into thinking she was visiting a relative in Chicago and would be right back. How she fell in love with the United States and its (at the time) fearless and unabashed embrace of capitalism. She would recite, from memory, these tiny missteps in the twentieth century in which our country strayed from its roots and began to slouch toward yet another faux-European, individual-rights-denying, achievement-envying, collectivist-minded socialist mudpuddle.

She would be outspoken about this, using her female-ness to give some provocative speeches her husband, the President, would not be able to. Questioned about this, the President would say something like “yes, she’s very opinionated” and then change the subject to the wonderful things he’s seen his wife do over the years. But not leave her out there just twisting in the wind. Support her…just a little. “Actually, she’s completely right, you know. In the name of helping the poor, we’ve tried all kinds of ways to belittle the accomplishments of the individual, to nurse some simmering resentment toward him, to tax him to death…throughout it all, our poor people have never been remarkably helped by these efforts, and the record is rather consistent in that. I’m so proud of my wife for coming out and saying so.”

In real life, every First Lady has had some kind of pet project which is, in turn, connected to making our society a better place to live. It’s become kind of a momma-and-poppa thing: The President is responsible for the overall health of the economy and the First Lady is responsible, for those who are into seeing things this way, for refining our sensibilities and our values, making sure we put some thought into how we treat each other. With the Bush wives the big passion was literacy. Common theme? Whatever it is the First Lady likes, it’s got to do with making the President’s improvements to the overall national condition into something cyclical. She introduces a set of personal values for the rest of us to follow, that draw upon the successes that were realized in getting the economy going again, and offer a prize of making that economy even more robust. The illustration is one of a resourceful, determined woman making it her personal project to inspire our society to become truly advanced.

Wouldn’t a First Lady who respects and treasures the accomplishments of the individual, fit right into that? That’s exactly what a good momma does, isn’t it? Chastises her “children” to stop looking in their siblings’ cereal bowls, stop bitching about how unfair life has been to them — and use their energies to mind their own business and become better people. Which would mean doing right by whoever signs their timesheets…not necessarily the officials of their local union.

Hey now that I think on it. What’s Michelle Obama done to “give back,” since, unlike most of the rest of us, she’s enjoyed the luxury of a job that never was a real job? In fact, that seems to be an enduring trend, too. Whether they’re First Ladies or not, these “alright now you have to give back to society” people, more often than not, seem to have resumes filled with jobs that aren’t really jobs. And the giving back they seem to be doing, more often than not, seems to be thick on symbolism and thin on substance. Like, for example, just telling the next generation they need to “give back.” Is sowing the seeds of socialism in next season’s crop, Michelle Obama’s idea of giving back?

You think I’m being mean? Get a load of what Neal Boortz had to say about this. Whew.

We’re seeing a civil war, of sorts, take place here. A culture conflict between people who see individual personal experiences to be riveted to what those individuals have chosen to do…which talents they chose to develop…which friends they chose to make…how much goofing off they chose to do — and other folks who see life as nothing more than a rolling tapestry of random stuff. Good stuff. Bad stuff. But always random stuff. From their point of view, it actually makes good sense that when you’re “lucky” enough to come into some good things, you have a “duty” of sorts to spread it around.

Trouble is, their way is just plain wrong. It doesn’t matter if the “rolling tapestry” people happen to be in charge right now. It doesn’t matter if the rest of us have never managed to install a vocal and forceful member from our own side, into the Office of the First Lady. The fact remains that if you always do whatcha always done, you’ll always get whatcha always got. And if the stuff you got happens to be good stuff, not only is it extremely likely that you had to do good stuff to make it happen, but there is an overwhelming likelihood that you’re going to have to do a whole lot more good stuff because it happened even if you’re not that concerned about “giving back.” Like, for example, when your business is successful — hiring lots of people. There. That’s giving back. You gave at the office. Boortz is right to be nauseated by this kind of talk. It is preachy, ignorant, sanctimonious, uninformed, far more self-interested than it pretends to be…and as useless as it is toxic.

First in Family to Coast Through College

Wednesday, May 13th, 2009

The Onion (that means it’s satire, for those who are unacquainted):

“My grandpa wasn’t able to afford school until he came back from the war and got help with his tuition through the G.I. Bill,” says [University of Minnesota senior Daniel] Peterson, reclining on a futon. “He studied hard and took a job at night so he could support my grandma and dad while he finished his degree.”

“Listening to his stories, I promised myself that, no matter what, I would do everything in my power to take it real easy through college,” Peterson adds.

His father a successful engineer, his mother a dedicated social worker, this Rochester, MN native grew up dreaming of an education more painless than the one his parents had known. At 17, he received a letter of acceptance from UMN, and at that moment committed himself to five years of sleeping late, drinking often, and sneaking by with a 2.7 GPA. After scuttling plans to major in video game design, Peterson enrolled in the school’s American studies program, vowing never to sign up for any class that met before 11 a.m. or required him to write a term paper over five pages.
“My father, my father’s father, and all those before them—they struggled and gave it their all so I wouldn’t have to,” Peterson says. “Sure, I could do what everyone else my age does, studying really hard because my parents spent 20 years carefully setting aside money for my education. But I won’t do that to my mom and dad. Not when I can blow off class and do just enough cramming at the end of the semester to pull a B-minus.”

When he’s finished with school, the 23-year-old plans to continue honoring the Peterson name by living off his graduation money for a few months and then maybe temping for a while until he figures out what he wants to do next.

His attitude hasn’t gone unnoticed by his parents.

“I don’t think Daniel is taking his studies seriously,” Peterson’s father says. “When he comes home, I never see him crack a book. He’s always out with his friends or on the Xbox. And now he’s talking about maybe going to grad school.”

“This is everything a father could want for his son,” he adds. “I am so proud.”

Good satire has to have an element of truth to it. The more, the better.

The Onion is known for providing good satire.

I really do wish I could say this was an exception to the rule…but I can’t. I’m afraid it is excellent satire.

Dresden Apology

Saturday, May 9th, 2009

Jammie Wearing Fool, via Ace:

[President Obama] will be aware of the sensibilities of his German hosts before the D-Day commemoration and by traveling to Dresden — a city destroyed by ferocious Allied bombing in February 1945 — Mr Obama will also acknowledge how Germany suffered during the Second World War.

I have deep misgivings about the Dresden thing. But I don’t know enough to condemn them and can’t acquire the knowledge needed to condemn them; I didn’t grow up in that kind of a world. And I know my limitations.

We need a word to describe this. It is escaping a lot of criticism that it rightfully deserves, simply because no word exists to precisely describe it —

— these ineffectual, meaningless, purely-political apologies offered by soft little boy-men who’ve never known war…or who represent a constituency of soft little boy-men who’ve never known war…sitting in judgment of the memories of tougher, stronger, better men who did what they could to end war. Their casual proclamations of what is & isn’t deserving of an apology, have long since exploded past the perimeter defined by the limits of their knowledge. They don’t know what they’re talking about, and they know they don’t know what they’re talking about. It stinks to high heaven.

Thing I Know #61. Disaster is sure to follow when the legacy of a man who has courage, is decided by other men who have none.

Your Hiroshima/Nagasaki apology is just around the corner, I’m thinkin’.

Barbara Ehrenreich and Adam Shepard

Saturday, May 9th, 2009

Stossel, in his latest column Making It. He’s writing about the economy and asking people to keep just a little bit of old-fashioned perspective…

…Barbara Ehrenreich won fame by claiming that it’s almost impossible for an entry-level worker to make it in America. She wrote Nickel and Dimed, a book that describes her failure to “make it” working in entry-level jobs.

Her book is now required reading in thousands of high schools and colleges. I spoke to her for my ABC special “Bailouts, Big Spending and Bull.”

“I worked as a waitress and an aide in a nursing home and a cleaning lady and a Wal-Mart associate. And that didn’t do it.”

If you do a good job, can’t you move up?

“That’s not easy. Wal-Mart capped the maximum you can ever make.” But if you do a good job, you could be promoted to assistant manager, store manager.

“Well, I suppose.”
“I read Nickel and Dimed,” Adam Shepard told me. He was assigned her book in college and decided to test Ehrenreich’s claim.

He picked a city out of a hat, Charleston, S.C., and showed up there with $25. He didn’t tell anyone about his college degree. He soon got an $8/hour job working for a moving company. He kept at it. Within a year, he told me, “I have got $5,500 and a car. I have got a furnished apartment.”

Adam writes about his search for the American Dream in Scratch Beginnings. It’s a very different book from Nickel and Dimed.

“If you want to fail, go for it,” he said.

Barbara Ehrenreich wanted to fail?

“Absolutely, I think she wanted to fail — and write the book about it.”

I asked him for evidence.

“She is spending $40 on pants. She is staying in hotels. I made sacrifices so that I could succeed. She didn’t make any sacrifices.”

I sure wish Stossel went to the universities and asked why, exactly, Nickel and Dimed was required reading. Not that he’d get an honest answer, but some of the tortured excuses might have been interesting. (Update: The DUmmies have more than a few things to say about this.)

Regarding the subject at hand, it really comes down to two fundamentally different ways of looking at the world: If one guy can’t make it somewhere, then nobody’s really guaranteed to get it done anywhere; and, if one guy can do something somewhere, then anyone else can do the same thing anywhere.

Harvard Students Get Rejected

Tuesday, April 21st, 2009

Yes, they really do.

The dirty secret is out. Harvard students fail sometimes. They are denied jobs, fellowships, A’s they think they deserve. They are passed over for publication, graduate school, and research grants. And when that finally happens, it hurts. Big time.

To help students cope, Harvard’s Office of Career Services hosted a new seminar last week on handling rejection, a fear job-seekers are feeling acutely in the plummeting economy. The advice from panelists could have come from a caring, patient parent. No rejection is the end of the world, they said, even though it might feel that way at the time.

Participants, who wore snappy buttons with the word rejected stamped in red, also received a road map of sorts on handling failure, a pink booklet of rejection letters and personal stories from Harvard faculty, students, and staff members.

Anybody else see something terribly wrong with this? I mean sure, it’s better to produce graduates who’ve been “taught” how to handle rejection than graduates who have not been. Sure.

The problem I have with this has to do with what one might describe as the “default.” Toward the end, one authority tacks on the obligatory “Statistically you are rejected, and probablistically it is fair.”

My beef is this: “Fair” doesn’t enter into it. For such an instruction to become necessary for educational value, emotional healing, or any combination of those two…there has to have been a previously-existing delusion that post-graduate life would be rejection-free. I imagine this crop is not going to be the first to suffer this mistaken notion, nor shall it be the last. But I imagine, further, that once the problem has reared its ugly head…and it must have, with some regularity, for the critical mass that demands such an event to pop up…the soothing balm for the hurt feelings just might not constitute the dominant pressing priority.

To put it more plainly. Are Harvard students taught early on that being accepted is the exception, and being rejected is the rule? Regardless of your Alma Mater?

Hat tip: Dr. Helen.

Thing I Know #263. The one thing that’s wrong with higher education that nobody ever seems to want to discuss, is that it is valued through something called “prestige.” Get this prestigious diploma. Get that prestigious degree. Attend a prestigious university. My alma mater is more prestigious than yours. Trouble is that genuine learning has very, very little to do with prestige. It is, arguably, the exact opposite.

The Axis of Evil…Now

Monday, April 20th, 2009

Byron York writes about the Bush speechwriter responsible for the term “Axis of Evil,” and his reflections on whether it fits today.

Recently I called David Frum, who is a friend and also the Bush speechwriter who came up with the “Axis” concept. (He originally wrote it as “Axis of Hatred.”) Given the seriousness of the situations in Iran and North Korea today, I asked, why all the mocking of the concept, virtually from the very beginning?

“The thing I never cease to marvel at,” Frum told me, “is that the phrase has become more and more of a joke even as the demonstration of the validity of the concept has become more extensive.” Frum listed some of the things the public knows now that it didn’t when Bush gave his speech — the A.Q. Khan network, the Iran-North Korea connection, the Iran-Hamas link. That’s just the kind of thing Bush was talking about.

But why were people ever laughing? Well, a lot of them just liked to laugh at Bush. But Frum believes there’s something else — the complicated nature of the word “evil.” “It just seemed overtorqued,” he told me. We use the word “evil,” Frum explained, in two very different ways. One is the totally serious sense in which we describe a very, very small group of bad actors — a group that doesn’t extend far beyond Adolf Hitler. The other is the sense in which we use “evil” as a light-hearted description for things that are at most a bit naughty — like saying we feel “evil” after ordering the chocolate cake. “If you’re not talking about Hitler, you’re talking about cake,” Frum said. “That’s why it was funny.” But that incongruity made it difficult for people to take the “Axis of Evil” seriously, even though it was, and is, quite serious.

…[T]wo-thirds of the “Axis of Evil” are still at it, and still among the most pressing problems facing the United States today. And that’s no “Saturday Night Live” skit.

I have a different thought about that word “evil.” Whether you’re talking about an evil tinpot dictator or an evil slice of chocolate cake, in my mind, is fairly well determined in an instant, right down to the very core of the brain of the person using or hearing the word. I don’t think Frum’s thoughts here make a great deal of sense, frankly, because I don’t think there’s any lack of understanding or ambiguity here whatsoever.

I think that lack of ambiguity is the problem. People laugh at the term…out of nervousness.

It commands a sense of responsibility. It commands action. I say “that guy down the street did something rude…” or “liberal…” or “radical…” or even “environmentally unsound…” and it seems more than reasonable to leave well enough alone, go back to watching Dancing With the Stars and gnawing on a butter stick.

But to say someone close by did something evil — that’s practically the same as demanding someone actually do something about it. Who among us can say out loud “I know of an evil thing that is being done but I’m not going to do anything about it”? Sure you can do that, but you can’t take pride in it.

So if you’re already fixated on laziness, and someone comes along to point out something evil was done, that gentleman is ruling out continued laziness as an option. That’s why he has to be ridiculed and mocked. It’s absolutely necessary.

The irony is, in such a lazy society, the only thing that remains truly evil is noticing evil. And, after a time, the only thing that remains “good” is a readiness, willingness and ability to pretend evil is not taking place when you know damn good and well that it is.

These are treacherous times. We’re allowing our court jesters to become our kingmakers. Down that road lies a sure path to ruin.

“Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil…” — Isaiah 5:20

Cross-posted at Right Wing News.

“Good Job!”-ing Our Kids to Pieces

Sunday, April 12th, 2009

Making your kid feel good about him- or herself: Possibly overblown.

[A]ffirmation overload, most experts agree, is indeed a tough habit to break.

It began as the byproduct of the 1980s self-esteem movement, in which parents and teachers were told to reward and stroke kids pretty much constantly, supposedly to make them confident.

Dr. Ernie Swihart, an author and behavioral pediatrician at South Lake Pediatrics in Minnetonka, decried the self-esteem movement from its inception. Then, as now, he believed kids should be taught to be inwardly focused, self-sufficient creatures able to shift their own gears.

Real self-esteem — for all of us — comes from overcoming an obstacle-laden challenge, he believes, with hard work. Lavishing praise, he contends, is counterproductive and, if anything, makes kids needy and voracious for that other self-esteem-movement buzzword: validation.

Validation turns out to be a rather empty prize. As kids get older, all those other kids who thought they were such wonderful people…sometimes no longer think so. Loss of friendship, now & then, is a natural thing. Loss of self-worth and self-image as a result of losing those friendships — that’s just not natural.

“It’s had serious repercussions,” Swihart said. “These young adults who were raised in the ’80s, now in their 20s and in the workplace — those who received praise, rewards and prizes for everything they did without working very hard — often are very entitled and self-absorbed.”

“And in this economy, baseless self-satisfaction and entitlement are dangerous. Those are the people who are first to be let go.”
Steven McManus, a family therapist in Golden Valley, agreed.

“Although I think this [over-praising] movement is basically rooted in good intentions, these are often the young adults I see as clients,” McManus said. “Often they have difficulty at conflict resolution, disappointment or tolerating any negative emotions at all.”

Apologizing For Its Own Sake

Thursday, April 9th, 2009

The radio guys are talking about Obama’s apology for the United States last week. You know the one; the one that got Charles Krauthammer all ticked off, that he called “disgraceful.”

A nation always loses face when its leader apologizes for what that nation has done — especially when other nations bear some of the blame as well, and their own portion goes unmentioned. The implication is that the apology has been provided for being. But to me, that wasn’t what was particularly annoying about Obama’s apology. What annoyed me about Obama’s apology the most, was that the apology appeared, to me, to be the point of the exercise. I’m unconvinced, in other words, that we had anything to gain diplomatically from this apology. I don’t think any other nation had anything to gain from seeing us diminished in this way, either. I think the point of it was to drop a virtual business card…to accumulate some more identity for Obama…as if He needed any more. To make Him into “The Apologetic President.”

This is what really gets under my skin about it. That it was off-topic.

The other night my girlfriend and I were discussing whether or not it was time to go shopping for some meat. I couldn’t shake the feeling that if Barack Obama knew about our conversation, He’d find it an irresistable temptation to astrally project Himself into our kitchen so He could say “I’d just like to interject one thing — America bears more than its share of the blame, for your meat being gone.” And then vanish again.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: As far as leaders go, the ones who are elected specifically to inspire us to look forward & not backward, with renewed feelings of hope & not despair — Obama is remarkably obsessed with finger-pointing.

I wonder if that’s going to be His downfall? Maybe someday He’ll have an open meeting with someone, and the next day people will say “Did you see what I saw? That other guy had all the ideas about how to fix the problem, and President Whats-His-Name didn’t say a single thing about anything other than how the problem came to be. Some leader.”

Krauthammer Nails It

Monday, April 6th, 2009

Hat tip: Rick.

What I Know About People Minus What I Was Told When I Was A Child, Item #21: People who won’t take the initiative to see what needs doing and do it, don’t want anyone else to take the initiative either.

That’s a more decent summary of European peevishness toward the United States, than anything you’ll ever hear out of the current administration.

If Barack Obama Directed Raiders of the Lost Ark

Monday, April 6th, 2009


Consensual Living

Thursday, April 2nd, 2009

That’s the name of a new way to raise your kid. Cassy calls it just-plain-lazy parenting. Looks like just another way to mass-produce liberals without realizing it, to me.

In the consensual living model, father doesn’t know best. Neither does mom. Instead, parents and children are equal partners in family life, according to the principles laid out at

Founded in 2006 by a group of families in North Carolina, consensual living is gaining ground in alternative parenting communities and online, including a Yahoo group with about 900 members.
Lindsay Hollett of Nanaimo, B.C., says that she began to snap less with her husband, Craig, and her 18-month-old daughter, Kahlan, after she adopted the consensual-living mindset about a year ago.

Her days became more relaxed when she focused more on Kahlan’s needs, she says. If she had a doctor’s appointment but her daughter was feeling grumpy, for example, Ms. Hollett would not force Kahlan to wait with her to see the doctor. Instead, Ms. Hollett might cancel the appointment or arrange alternative child care, she says.

Listening to her child’s feelings doesn’t mean that every last thing is negotiable, such as being strapped in a car seat, she says. But if they have to go somewhere, she adds, “I’ll do everything I can to make the car-seat ride more comfortable.”

For now, Ms. Hollett says, the onus is on her to be a role model for consensual living principles such as empathy and mutual respect for her daughter. As Kahlan grows older, though, “it won’t just be me empathizing with her.”

Understanding a child’s developmental stage is a crucial aspect of parenting, according to Alyson Schafer, a Toronto-based psychotherapist and author of Breaking the Good Mom Myth and the recently released Honey, I Wrecked the Kids.

But, she adds, children must be taught to respect a higher authority, such as social expectations. Cancelling an appointment because of a child’s mood sends the wrong message, Ms. Schafer says. “It’s a parent’s job to socialize a child.”

I was going to enter a comment to the effect that Cassy was being way too premature in her judgment, that I disagreed with her emphatically. It was April 1, after all. But I quickly figured out that I wouldn’t be fooling anyone.

I’d have a great deal more affection and sympathy for this newest method of child-spoilage if it was pure anarchy. As it is…what the hell? Mom and Dad don’t know best, but you have to “respect a higher authority, such as social expectations”?

Isn’t that a rather simplified version of — you don’t know right from wrong, but you need to depend on complete strangers to tell you what it is? From where does all this wisdom known as “social expectations” arrive? From people, right? Who raised those people? Didn’t they have mothers and fathers…who also didn’t know best? So from what terrace does this wonderful knowledge of do-this-don’t-do-that trickle down? Do we just single out whoever among us has the most wonderful hopey-changey gift of gab, and elect that guy President?

Can I be blunt here? Waitaminnit…it’s my blog…of course I can. This universe doesn’t give two shits about your “feelings” or your “needs” — not at any instant in time, not at any moment from cradle-to-grave. It doesn’t care. Hierarchies of human authority, they care. But only in one direction.

When it comes time to get real work done, you have to get your plowing done in the springtime or you can’t plant. You have to get your irrigating done in the summer or nothing will grow, and you have to get your harvesting done in the fall or your product will rot. That’s true of all levels of technology. The compiler doesn’t care if you find the error messages to be discouraging.

It seems to me the real danger of a parenting method like this, is that it will work a portion of the time. It will work when your child is raised to become an adult who is only fit to engage a subset of the experiences that life has to offer. You would have to send such a young adult to college; a good one. You would have to do this, because the life for which you’ve prepared them would be one in which they get to give the orders — using authority they may have, but didn’t really earn with any genuine experience — and then the orders would be carried out by better men than they. Real grown-ups who were raised under a mindset that work, where it exists, is non-sentient, and uncaring about the worker’s emotional state. Guys who can fire guns, sharpen knives and tie knots.

The military has a saying for situations like this: “If you want to know how the war should be going, ask the General; if you want to know how it really is going, ask a Private.” Except that’s different. You have to do a lot of things, grapple with some situations that aren’t under your control, to achieve a pre-defined outcome, to become a General.

Tracy Miller Quinn, owner and operator of a laudable blog in her own right, and mother of two, objects to childless Cassy’s condemnation of the consensual-living model. This leads to a lively and occasionally entertaining exchange. Well, I’m the father of one, who will be turning twelve this summer…so my experience falls short of Quinn’s in some ways, and exceeds hers in others. I think she’s demonstrated here how a point can deliver some merit while remaining devoid of applicability. If Cassy really doesn’t know what she’s talking about (and I’ve been reading her for awhile; trust me, she does), then, in this situation, she’s the stopped clock that happens to be right.

Kids, at the age under discussion, are amazing things. Their brains do not work the same way our adult brains do. They have been designed, and constructed, to do most of their thinking with the orbito-frontal cortex, in a way we can’t match. To do their thinking with the word “no.” This is how they stay alive, when they don’t yet understand the more complicated and involved cause-and-effect thinking, and haven’t yet accumulated the experience necessary to break down abstract ideas according to those terms.

It is…to coin a phrase…an intelligent design. A complex design. A design that incorporates an organism, a maturing process for the organism, and — parents. This consensual parenting, from what I’ve been able to learn about it, is the abjuration of a crucial learning process that must necessarily be achieved in full somewhere around age five, so that the child is ready to build on this knowledge of “no” and absorb more complex lessons later on. If they don’t lay this critical foundation, they can’t be prepared for what’s built on top.

And then what would have to happen is we get more of what we’ve already got, up to our eyeballs: People who aren’t fit to take on real work. Non-sentient work. Work that doesn’t give a flying fig how happy or sad they are at the time they’re expected to take it on. People who are supremely aware of their own emotions, but uncaring about those of others. Because they didn’t learn about that when they were supposed to: At ages one-and-a-half, to five. There never was a need to develop such a skill, at that critical bracket. They would then have to be coddled, their emotions pandered-to, from womb to tomb.

They would be crippled. Severely. If you took a hammer to their kneecaps and put them in a wheelchair for life, you wouldn’t be limiting their prospects nearly as much. Sorry if that comes off as a shocker…but that’s not an exaggeration at all.

Best case scenario is, they will then somehow end up in command of others, who can do the work that has to be done — so they can take the credit for it.

Save up that college fund if you raise your kids this way. Save, hope, and pray. Your kids would have to achieve authority without demonstrating they’re worthy of it, and then cross paths with a prospective employer maintaining high standards for hiring just the right people. But enforcing them only occasionally.

Of course, who am I kidding. American business is being re-defined as I write this…so maybe I’m just another old curmudgeon reciting boring old stories from his rocking chair about the way the world used to work.

This Is Good LX

Monday, March 30th, 2009


Future Present
Posted on March 29th, 2009 by Scipio

Our archeologist, while rummaging among the ruins of our fallen civilization, met a ghost from the long dead race of Americans. The wraith boasted much about what we had been as a people.

We died in the hundreds of thousands to end slavery here and around the world.

We invented Jazz.

We wrote the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Gettysburg address.

We went to the moon to see how far we could hit a golf ball.

We lifted a telescope into orbit that could see to the edge of the universe.

When people snuck into the country against our laws, we made parking lots and food stands off to the side of the road so they wouldn’t get hurt, and we let them use our hospitals for free, and we made their children citizens.

We didn’t care what God you worshipped as long as we could worship ours.

We let the People arm themselves at will. Just to make sure.

We gave everybody the vote.

We built Disneyworld. Just for fun.

We had a revolution so successful it was still going strong two and a quarter centuries later.

We had so many heroes, even at the end, that we felt free to hate them and burn them in effigy.

We electrified the guitar.

We invented a music so compelling that it rocked the world.

The archeologist asked, “If you accomplished all of this, then why did your nation collapse?” The ghost answered, “Because we went insane.”

“Please explain.”

The ghost took a breath and said, “We traded beauty for ugliness, truth for lies, liberty for comfort, love for indifference, responsibility for frivolity, duty for entertainment, history for sound bites, and children for pleasure. We had gold, but we tossed it aside and replaced it with cleverly designed dross. We turned men into women and women into men and marveled at our new creative power. We stopped looking up to Heaven and began to keep our gaze firmly fixed on the ground. We abandoned the old God for a host of hip, cool and slick new ones.”


“Those new gods turned on us. At first they granted us our every wish. They laughed with us. They danced with us. We all ate, drank and made all sorts of merry. All of us exulted in our power. And then…” Here the ghost stopped for a moment. His mouth was half open as if trying to speak. His body shuddered as it remembered an ancient terror. “But there were some among us who felt something was wrong, dreadfully wrong.”

“How so?”

There’s more…much more. What’re you still doing here?

R and R-Lite Instead of D and D-Lite

Monday, March 30th, 2009

Cylarz has a challenge in the comments section that really makes you think. His intent is to show how absurd is the notion that Rush Limbaugh is running much of anything, along with the idea that anyone, anywhere, is somehow forced to listen to him:

Imagine what life in this nation would be like if our parties were Republican and Republican-lite…instead of Democrat and Democrat-lite. The former is what the political scene would look like if everyone were listening to Rush.

It is my conviction that American consensus-politics are revolving on the rim of a large wheel. It is a merry-go-round that spins into & out of, not so much conservatism and liberalism, but fantasy and reality. Right now we’re on the 1976-77 sector of the wheel, wherein we just installed a hopey-changey youthful-charismatic guy who’s gonna solve all our problems. This is an exceptionally narrow pie-slice of the wheel’s orbit. It’s over in the blink of an eye. We see life’s problems are ours to solve and it’s not realistic to elect some savior-champion to deal with them on our behalf…we see it some more…we see it some more…lesson learned. For a few more years.

This dream Cylarz has, is at the opposite side…and is perhaps a little bit wider. It’s the 1969-1973, 1980-1986 side of the wheel.

So it’ll happen. It’ll happen, and we’ll get tired of it. All this stuff is inevitable, as the wheel keeps on turning. That’s my point. We kick the democrats out of power when we get tired of fantasy; when we notice, that to keep liberal ideas even looking good, there’s this never-ending pressure on to pretend simple things are complicated, and complicated things are simple. After awhile we get tired of that and we kick ’em out. We fire the Republicans when we notice, gee, it’s been awhile since we engaged the government to solve a problem and watched the problem disappear before our very eyes, wouldn’t that be neat? (The conservative platform is constructed around the paradigm that this isn’t really the purpose of government; in that way, the Founding Fathers worked under well-defined conservative bias.) People will listen to Rush, to learn what they should’ve learned before they went to vote. It’s already started to happen. It’s that human instinct to think and think and think some more about “did I turn off the stove?” when the car is zipping on down the freeway and it’s way too late to do anything about it.

But imagine if things were that way, and they stayed that way? I notice when we’re in the fantasy zone, we really are D and D-Lite. Oooh, look at me, I’m a compassionate conservative, I can blow money away on bullshit projects just as fast as my democrat “friends”; vote for me. When Republicans are in power the liberals don’t engage in some contest to see who can be the most-moderate lib. They just get all pissy and mumble the word “fascism” a lot.

So lessee…what would happen…

That last election would have been between Fred Thompson & Sarah Palin…and…Joe Lieberman and Ron Paul. Dr. Paul would be considerably more hawkish, his concerns about the constitutionality of the War on Terror ejected from his platform. Gen. David Petraeus would now have a fifth star. We would have pulled out of the United Nations.

A massive stimulus bill would have injected trillions of dollars into the U.S. economy over the next decade-and-a-half…in the form of a tax cut.

Barack Obama’s formidable oratory skills would be deployed where they would do the most good: On a radio or television program, trying to compete with Rush Limbaugh.

The front page of my local newspaper, and yours, wouldn’t speak very often to the plight of: state legislators pretending to care about balancing the budget, homeless people, unionized workers, ignorant addle-brained students who can’t graduate high school because they haven’t learned anything, prison guards, single moms, troubled youth, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. They’d live in a larger, better-informed world. Their headlines would very seldom deploy words like “BUDGET” and “DEFICIT” and “PROGRAM” and “NEED”…instead, you’d see proud, hopeful words in those daily headlines like “FREEDOM” and “OPPORTUNITY” and “LIBERTY.”

Your television “news” program wouldn’t talk too much about liberal programs are going to do. They’d be better-anchored to reality; they’d talk about what tax cuts have done, versus what liberal programs have done.

When some big major mega-city that’s been run by democrats for generation after generation, runs into a predictable budget deficit…you’d hear about it that way. An important part of the news report would be an editorial analysis of some rival city, floating along free of the concern of ever-enlarging social programs, without the deficits and without the liberals running everything. The news report would go through the budgets, line by equivalent line. After all, it isn’t useful news unless we explain why the problem occurred, is it?

Kids can pray in the classroom. Every classroom. If they don’t know English yet, they’re sent to remedial classes to learn it, before they learn another thing. Kids know how to fire guns, shoot arrows, build fires, tie knots. Intelligent Design? It’s recognized as precisely what it is: Just an idea that the universe, particularly the bits of it that make life possible, is here because of non-random activity as opposed to random activity. And then it’s debated. As science. Which it is.

Oh, and before I forget: This asshole is locked up for good, and/or fried crispy.

A convicted sex offender due to be released Saturday from prison after serving 11 months warned in letters that if set free, he would reoffend, even against children. In the letters, Michael McGill begged authorities to keep him locked up for life.

“Please throw the book at me … I’m harmful to others I should be locked up for life,” he wrote in block letters that resemble a child’s writing. “I will sexual abuse men. Do this for the safe (sic) of others then I be able not to hurt anyone else. Judge I’m begging you to put me away.”

In another place he wrote that he had told his two 7-year-old male victims, “I will do more sex crimes with boys 4 to 14. I will molest with boys 15 to 18.”

Neither the Polk County attorney’s office, which prosecuted McGill and distributed his letters to other agencies, nor the Iowa Board of Parole, nor the attorney general’s office, which handles civil commitments for sexually violent predators, says it can do anything to prevent McGill’s release.

Feminists are about as powerful…oh…as they are right now. See, we still have that going for us. People have only partially lost their minds. They’re still not ready to trust feminists again just yet. Feminists get together in their little clubs, isolated from everyone else, sharing notes with each other along with instructions to help-me-hate-this-thing-over-here. That’s the form in which they want to exist. Everyone else, walled off from them, gets work done, makes money, and has fun doing it.

At work, you can still be sent to sensitivity training — if you’ve somehow demonstrated this is necessary. Departments of people are not sent to mandatory sensitivity training. People are not randomly sent to sensitivity training. You can’t unilaterally decide you were harassed; it really does depend on the will and intent of the alleged harasser. And nobody makes any money off of the sexual-harassment racket. If they’re in some position that is created to deal with this in some way, they do it as volunteers, because the issue is supposed to be so important to them…which only makes sense. In other words: Lawyers don’t run things.

Sports Illustrated Swimsuit CalendarIn your work cubicle, or in your office, you can put up a Sports Illustrated swimsuit calendar. If anyone comes by to mutter so much as a peep of protest, that is the one treading on thin ice…not you. The phrases “objectification of women” and “unrealistic unhealthy body images” are about as socially acceptable in that world, as a racial epithet is in this one.

Family comedies do not conclude with a feel-good comedy-tragedy ending with the dad whacking himself in the head realizing he’s been a jerk, or an asshole, or a killjoy, or a workaholic. If anything, they end with the kid whacking himself in the forehead, belatedly realizing he should’ve been listening to his Dad.

Neighbors talk to each other. They have block parties. You don’t need to drive 40, 50, 60 miles into the county to discharge a pellet gun or a firearm. Once the shooting-range is set up, you can do it right in front of City Hall. On weekends, the whole town gets together for target shooting. Somewhere else, they have a beer garden. (You can’t go to the target shooting after you go to the beer festival, because alcohol and firearms don’t mix…yes, Republicans and conservatives do get that. Most of us bathe daily and have all our teeth. Really!)

Men do not stand by, brain-dead, clutching a purse outside the womens’ toilet, awaiting their next orders. They talk to other men. They get together and compare notes. They each express admiration for the sidearm the other fella has purchased to defend his lady and his children, should any bad guys be stupid enough to enter uninvited in the dark of some terrible night. They brag about who achieved the tightest grouping on the targets. And they fantasize, together, like giddy little boys, about muscle cars. Women get together and compare notes too. They don’t brag about whose boyfriend bought them the largest engagement ring, or who took charge of the family menu or what they told the hubby to start eating, or how they keep him from hogging the remote. Their rivalry is engaged, instead, in terms of who does the best job bringing her husband beer. “Oh yeah? I’d never think of handing it to him without the cap already popped off…and it’s always ice cold.”

Vice President Palin is even more influential in her new role, than Dick Cheney was in his. She’s a true role model. Women suddenly want their hair made up into her ‘do, just like they wanted to emulate Hillary’s back in the 1990’s. Palin’s face, in this universe, is everyplace Obama’s face is in this one. Time, Newsweek, US News and World Report, USA Today…et al. (Obama’s face, in turn, could be on a milk carton somewhere.) Everything female is Palin, Palin, Palin. Women want to learn to fly airplanes, to fire shotguns, to ride ATVs, to clean rifles and pistols, to drive a dogsled…and to field dress a moose. The fashionable cliche, assuming there is one, is “Yoo betcha!”

Tenth Amendment, all the way. Some states and counties allow gay marriage and others don’t; some states and counties allow pot, and others don’t. Some states and counties are officially Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Scientologist, if they can get the votes. Nothing is singled out for social stigma, be it positive or negative. So a married gay man just might be an abuser and a generally bad husband, just like a married straight man — “loving” is no longer a euphemism for “same-sex.” And if you smoke pot, you just might have an addiction problem…just like someone who drinks, might have an addiction problem. That means, friends and family might be inclined to intervene if the signs are there. And anyone can be a religious fundamentalist whacko; not just the Christians. If your child needs medical care but you think his sickness is Gods’ will, the nanny-state might eventually interfere — if you’re showing signs of possibly lopping off your daughter’s head because she’d dating the wrong fella, the nanny-state just might interfere with that too. True equality.

When kids get into fights on the playground, all the trouble is reserved for the kid who threw the first punch. The kid who threw the last one, assuming that’s someone else, hasn’t got a single thing to worry about. And that’s precisely the way the world politics work, too.

You may say I’m a dreamer…but I’m not the only one.

Women Would Rather be Models

Monday, March 30th, 2009

Reported, and angstified-over, at Feministing.

Oxygen TV did a poll asking women ages 18 to 34 if they’d rather win a Nobel Peace Prize or America’s Next Top Model. Twenty five percent more respondents said they’d rather win ANTM.

I can explain it. It’s got to do with the nature of women. Women, it turns out, are people…and people, on a nose-for-nose basis, aren’t that wild about accomplishing things right now.

Mr. Rowe can fill you in on what’s been going on lately. Fast-forward to about 16:00 or 17:00…the part where he says he’s got about two and a half minutes left…where he talks about the war we’ve been declaring on work.

Don’t worry. About a third of women would prefer to accomplish something. And to that, of course, you have to add the women who want to accomplish things, but don’t see any real prestige in Nobel any longer. It’s bound to be a sizable chunk. Women can be pretty smart…so I’m told.

But doing stuff that will help other people — as opposed to having other people pay lots of attention to you. Whether you’re polling young women, old women, young men or old men. This just isn’t the right generation in which you should ask questions like those. Helping people. Building things that help people. Setting up systems that help people, creating things that might help people. That involves predicting effect based on cause.

Lots of responsibility involved in that. People aren’t feeling up to it. It’s far easier just to vote for “hope” and “change.”

More Obama Poor-Man’s Photoshop Bumper Stickers

Sunday, March 22nd, 2009

This one is for Gerard

…and this one is for me, based on a thought I got in my li’l ol’ head when I read a comment from Larry:

Background on that one, for those who desire or require it, here.

“I Guess Rush Limbaugh Was Busy”

Tuesday, March 17th, 2009

Glib Gibbs:

Question: “One quick followup: Former Vice President Cheney was on State of the Union yesterday. He had a lot — a lot of criticism of this White House.

“To boil it down, on national security, he said the president’s policies were making the country less safe. And on the economy, he was charging that the president is taking advantage of the financial crisis to vastly expand the government in all kinds of ways — health, education, energy.

“How do you respond to those kind of allegations from the former vice president?”

Gibbs: “Well, I guess Rush Limbaugh was busy … so they trotted out the next most popular member of the Republican cabal.

“I would say that the president has made quite clear that keeping the American people safe and secure is the job — is the most serious job that he has each and every day. I think the president saw over the past seven plus years the delay in bringing the very people to justice that committed terrorist acts on this soil and on foreign soil.

What was the point of that snide little snippet, I wonder? Limbaugh and Cheney aren’t polling well, so any questions they might have to raise, shouldn’t count?

You know, there comes a time that the administration also has to remember that they won the election. People like me who aren’t quite sold on the product just yet, have it intoned, rather indignantly, to them all the time that “Obama won and you need to get over it.” Well, yeah — He won and that has some ramifications. And one of those ramifications is that He needs to stop whining about the last insignificant residues of resistance not quite having been stamped out yet.

I remember a place where the popular folks didn’t have to answer for anything, even the very worst of their ideas, just because they were popular. If memory serves, I think it was called high school. Is that what Gibbs thinks his boss is running here? Because, really, if someone attacks you with an idea and you have a robust defense to offer against it, and you’ve really got a lot of confidence in this defense…it doesn’t matter worth a damn who’s doing the attacking. It isn’t something you need to mention.

Obviously, Glib doesn’t feel this way.

Obama Presses for Longer School Year

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

Yup, I can get behind this one. I can’t fully support his motives, but his position, and his stated reason for it, make perfect sense to me.

President Obama said Tuesday that American children should go to school longer — either stay later in the day or into the summer — if they’re going to have any chance of competing for jobs and paychecks against foreign kids.

“We can no longer afford an academic calendar designed when America was a nation of farmers who needed their children at home plowing the land at the end of each day,” Obama said, adding U.S. education to his already-crowded list of top priorities.

“That calendar may have once made sense, but today, it puts us at a competitive disadvantage. Our children spend over a month less in school than children in South Korea. That is no way to prepare them for a 21st-century economy.

“I know longer school days and school years are not wildly popular ideas, not with Malia and Sasha,” Obama said, referring to his daughters, as the crowd laughed.

“But the challenges of a new century demand more time in the classroom.

“If they can do that in South Korea, we can do it right here in the United States of America.”

“Despite resources that are unmatched anywhere in the world, we have let our grades slip, our schools crumble, our teacher quality fall short and other nations outpace us,” Obama said. “In eighth-grade math, we’ve fallen to ninth place. Singapore’s middle-schoolers outperform ours 3-to-1. Just a third of our 13- and 14-year-olds can read as well as they should.”

Among his proposals: extra pay for better teachers, something opposed by teachers unions.

“It is time to start rewarding good teachers and stop making excuses for bad ones,” he said in a speech to the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

Teachers groups applauded Obama’s speech, largely sidestepping the thorny question of merit pay.

“Teachers want to make a difference in kids’ lives, and they appreciate a president who shares that goal and will spend his political capital to provide the resources to make it happen,” said Randi Weingarten, president of the 1.4 million-member American Federation of Teachers.

Of course, once they’re spending that extra time, what’re they doing?

I can think of two things that would have been of tremendous value to me if they’d taken place in the public school system; one of which would also apply to many others, the other of which, maybe, not so much.

Reconciling a checkbook. I point that out because it’s such an easy exercise that there’s really no excuse for the school not walking the kids through this. You certainly can’t raise the time-honored question “aw c’mon, when am I ever gonna need to do that?”

And, using a binary editor to hack a file. Because whether you grow up into the exciting field of software engineering or network engineering or computer forensics…or not…computer users, I maintain, really should understand what computer files are and how they’re put together. Just like, before you loan your keys to the teenager, they really should have gone through the exercise of pulling the jack out of the trunk and changing the tire, just to show they can do it and to demonstrate a working knowledge of how the parts fit together.

When people talk about having skills to compete in the 21st century, that’s what it means to me. Admittedly, I’m bringing a strong personal bias in to that, but it’s an idea that has some merit. You learn how to work something by understanding how it’s put together, or by understanding how it behaves. If you work with a thing by understanding only how it behaves, you’re working from a script, and that is not competing. That’s “when I press this button, that light is supposed to come on, and…whoops…why won’t it come on??”

And I humbly submit that if education involves something besides enabling self-sufficiency in a little dilemma like that, then a question needs to be opened up as to what kind of education that is, and how it’s supposed to help anyone.

Morgan’s Rules of Government

Sunday, March 8th, 2009

Morgan’s First Rule of Government: Life thrives in order but matures toward chaos. Government has a role as long as order and life serve the same purpose; where their paths diverge, government must yield.

We know what governments look like when they champion order over life. This is exactly the government from which the Founding Fathers defected. Don’t take my word for it, read the Declaration of Independence. Why can’t conservatives and moderates be consistent in the life-versus-absolute-order dichotomy? The hardcore, extreme liberals who now run everything, are: Abortion, global warming, federalism, higher taxes, allowing “sovereign” tyrants to run roughshod over God’s children unfortunate enough to live under them…gun-grabbing even in the aftermath of the Heller decision…the list goes on and on. They are consistent in championing order over life. Why can’t the rest of us be consistent in opposing them?

Morgan’s Second Rule of Government: Consensus thrives in logic but develops toward nonsense. Government has a role in deriving its policies from consensus, as long as the consensus is rational; when consensus becomes silly, government must remain logical.

It’s not that I see the global warming movement as being synonymous with Hitler’s Final Solution — but they ARE driven by the same energies. Raw, passionate populism. Mob rule. “Everybody knowing” things that aren’t really true. Now, look at what global warming is: A tax on progress, designed to deliberately stop things from happening, not to collect revenue. It declares “human activity” illegal. By human activity, they mean life, but they won’t talk about it that way. It would become immediately unpopular if talked about that way. It’s too accurate.

Let’s Run a Rich White Guy

Saturday, February 28th, 2009

Dumbass…stupid…idiotic…dumbass, dumbass, dumbass…

I need to update my list.

“Republican Party Activists” choose Mitt Romney as #1 contender for 2012. Did I mention this is stupid? Stupid as in — why even bother to have an election at all?

Conservative activists on Saturday named former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney the winner of a poll for best 2012 GOP presidential candidate.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney won 20 percent of the vote in straw poll for presidential favorites.

The poll marked the third consecutive year Romney came out on top.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal placed second in the annual poll, conducted at the Conservative Political Action Conference.

Romney received 20 percent of the vote and Jindal got 14 percent.

Close behind were Texas Rep. Ron Paul and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who each received 13 percent of the vote.

Okay, you know I want Palin. And I know “most” of you “party activists,” thinking “independently,” are going to march in lockstep and tell me she doesn’t come off well when she’s interviewed by perky Katie. And of course that means everything.

Here, let’s not have this argument. Neither mind is going to be changed. Instead, just ponder my litmus test…

Interview asks Candidate X the following: “What is your position on torturing detainees by means of waterboarding?” Candidate X can reply…

1. I think it’s wrong, wrong, wrong, although we’ve never done it.
2. It’s just terrible, and on my watch it will never happen again.
3. I don’t have a personal opinion about it but the experts tell me that’s torture, and I believe them.
4. Mister Interviewer, what the f— is your idea for getting information out of these guys?
5. When you think about it, a “civilized” society will do whatever it takes to fight these a**holes, and a “savage” society will sit around doing nothing so it can fool itself into thinking it’s “civilized.”
6. I would like you to define “torture”; we can agree, can we not, that it’s a useless word if it applies to anything you personally wouldn’t want to have done to you…right?
7. Peace is possible if we can get other nations to like us, or at least stop hating us.
8. It’s unconstitutional!
9. That question is above my pay grade.
10. I’ll have to get back to you on that, I don’t have an opinion yet.

My litmus test: Huge plus points for the candidate that answers with 4, 5 or 6 (in fact, MEGA points for the candidate that answers with 5). Enormous minus points for a candidate who answers with any of the others.

And I don’t think Romney would pick 4, 5 or 6.

As God is my witness, if there is one single thing about 21st-century American politics I simply don’t understand and simply can’t figure out, it is: Why is this such a tall fucking order? Seriously. Pardon my french, but this has long ago gotten just a little bit on the aggravating side. I want a candidate that will — for the benefit of all Americans, conservative and liberal — keep the conversation fixated on whether conservative ideas are better than liberal ideas, or vice-versa. Isn’t that what we want our elections to be about? Isn’t that what they’re supposed to be about?

McCain did quite a few things right. But he did a lot of things wrong…and my confidence is sky-high that Mitt would repeat each mistake, faithfully, like he was painting-by-numbers. And those mistakes have to do with reassuring people, people who figure out what offends them before they’ve really noodled out what’s a good idea and what isn’t a good idea, that he won’t be responsible for such offense…even if, in pursuing such an implied pact, he’d be implementing a lot of bad ideas and forsaking a lot of good ones.

Granted, I don’t think Palin is going to pursue the intricacies of cause-and-effect in foreign policy, money supply, unemployment, interrogation techniques, et al, any better than Romney or McCain. But if there’s one thing the conservative movement needs right now, it is representation by someone who will not apologize for believing in it.


Tax cuts work. You can cut the tax rate and in so doing, raise more revenue. It can be done — logic says so, history says so, and when logic and history agree we need to be paying attention. And the reason logic agrees with history, is that when it’s cheaper for people to do things, they’re more likely to do ’em.

You people who want to argue that point, no matter how many letters you have after your name, can piss off. And you people who want me to apologize for believing in it, you can piss off too.

There. Like that. Clean up the language for television and so forth…but there it is. See how easy it is?

I swear to God, it’s like ordering a chocolate milkshake in a burger joint, waiting twenty minutes for it, and then finding out they forgot the order.

What in the hell is so hard about this??

This male chauvinist pig says — let’s recognize strength, and likelihood of success, in a woman when it’s really there. And this time, it’s really there. We need fidelity to principles, and unwillingness to apologize for having them, before we need ability to ingratiate with the Manhattan blue-blood crowd. We already tried the ability to ingratiate. It doesn’t fly. So stop it already. Just. Knock. It. Off. Now.

Update 3/1/09: Okay once again we’re reminded, it all depends on whom you ask. I’m all calmed down now. Cheesy YouTube clip is linked behind the screen cap below…


Tuesday, February 17th, 2009

Are you living up to it?

Deacon’s Bench, via Rick.

Pothead Culture

Thursday, January 8th, 2009

Last night, I was noticing Michael Savage‘s observations about things, match my own, most closely when he says stuff that “everybody knows” is crazy.

Last night it was pot. Now, if I go only by what I’ve been hearing, just the opinions people have about things that they want to put out there whether they can explain ’em or not — we have to legalize this stuff pronto. It is not, not, not, not, not, repeat not, a “gateway drug.” It’s cheap, it’s good for you, it makes wonderful rope and sweaters, and besides if we legalize it we can tax it; that’ll “pay off the deficit overnight,” they tell me. Besides, “contrary to popular belief,” smoking pot increases your powers of observation and concentration. You’d want your brain surgeon to smoke pot.

Well for a melodious, cheerful dinner conversation, you really shouldn’t get Dr. Michael Alan Weiner going about marijuana. This is the point where, I’m going to presume, the guests start to regret allowing the conversation to drift in that general direction, for one quickly gathers the impression the good doctor can barely contain himself. Not only is pot a gateway drug, he says, but it’s a deadly one, one that destroys the consumer’s ability to think. Yes, this is what I’d been noticing. Pay off the deficit overnight, for example. They don’t mean this year’s budget deficit, at the state or federal level; they’re talking about the trillions and trillions owed by our federal government, more properly called the public debt. A little bit of third-grade math is devastating to that argument, especially when you start applying it to interest. Let’s see…ten trillion dollars “overnight” is eight hundred thirty-three billion dollars an hour, which comes to just shy of fourteen billion dollars a minute in tax receipts on legalized, taxable marijuana.

Er, uh, yeah, says the stoner. I was speaking, y’know, whatchamacallzit, metaphorically. Yeah. Yeah sure you were, pothead. You were talking out your butt. You weren’t speaking any way except cheerleading. You were trolling for recruits.

Now I don’t really have a dog in this hunt about legalizing marijuana one way or another, but I really can’t stand looking at an issue too closely when it’s part of something much bigger, which is why we haven’t been talking about pot too much in these pages. It’s not just about smoking pot. There’s a whole culture built around this, and that’s what Savage was going after last night. Here’s his argument: Because of the year we’re in, the potheads are coming into power right now. Seems, to me, this has been going on since about ’93, when Clinton was sworn in. But it’s been getting worse. One way or another the stoners are running the show. We have this window of ages we like to see in our leaders; the ones who make the actual decisions; the baby boomers who latched on, generationally, to the pothead culture, are there right now. So pretty much every office that counts for something — in the private sector as well as in government — is filled by a pothead.

Savage’s condemnation of the plant is even harsher than mine. As I understand it, he seems to believe in once-a-pothead-always-a-pothead…as if, once you inhale in your early twenties, in your late fifties youre still making bonehead decisions. Not sure if I’d go that far. But there certainly is a lag time, and a pronounced tendency to reject humility. I mean sincere, substantial humility. The tendency I see is to say “That must be an okay thing to do, for I just did it.” And it does seem persistent across time: That other guy did something, that’s awful, terrible, horrible, bad. I did something, even something that is against the law…well hey man, it’s all relative.

Savage went on to offer two examples of potheads running the show: Shutting down Guantanamo, or at least ceasing & desisting from the “torture” conducted within, and sending San Francisco’s police department to some kind of sensitivity training. I wish he went on much further than that, and maybe he did but my commute came to an end. I know I could add to a list like that all day long.

But I’m much more into definitions than examples, here. I’m junior to the baby boomers by some twelve to twenty years or so, which means I’ve been struggling awkwardly in their impressive wake all my life and will be continuing to do so until the day I drop dead. I consider myself well-qualified to speak on this. And Savage is right — the smoke-holers are running the show. Stoners hire other stoners. Because it’s them against the world, man. So this is becoming an important issue, one that’s affecting us all even in ways we don’t understand immediately when it isn’t pointed out.

Reefer GirlIt has a lot to do with something called “love”; that’s why you have to immediately stop torturing terrorists, and that of course means you have to stop doing anything that anybody, anywhere, no matter how recklessly, might label “torture.” Pretty much just feed ’em three times a day, fluff up their pillows, find out what else they want from you, go get it, and wait for them to talk. Police shouldn’t hurt criminals, and probably shouldn’t even arrest them for anything either. Countries shouldn’t go to war, no matter the reason. Make-love-not-war.

Conversely with that, whatever the potheads mean by “love,” it doesn’t have much to do with compatibility, because they seem to be insisting that whatever confrontation might possibly happen, does happen. A woman who is madly in love with her man, and none other, is deeply offensive to them. That could be because the feminist movement came to maturity at the same time as the pothead movement. If you really want to piss off a pothead, make a suggestion, in theory or in practice, that a woman who really loves her man will go get him a cold beer out of the fridge. (I’m entirely unsure how they’re going to react if she runs into the bedroom and gets him a jay.) But everything is like that; they don’t want people, in general, getting along with other people. Not across class lines, anyway. The real contradiction here, is that this is precisely what they say they’re working tirelessly to bring about, but I’ve noticed for years now when it’s right in front of their faces they don’t see it that way, and in fact recoil from it. Everyone has to be fighting something — man. Immigrants are constantly “oppressed” by bigoted “xenophobes” who in fact are insisting on nothing more than that the law be followed. Blacks are always oppressed by whites, women are always oppressed by men, citizens are always oppressed by the police and children are always oppressed by their parents. Everyone should constantly be throwing off shackles, storming some fortress or rampart, overthrowing someone, showing ’em what’s-what.

There are no consequences for anything. That’s probably the biggest, most important item, right there. No decision is ever made out of a sense of “if-this-then-that”; there are no domino effects, there is no cause-and-effect. Decisions are made, instead, on value-systems and overly-simplistic “should”s. If you think we’ll be unable to prevent an attack after we stop “torturing” terrorists, well, you’re just wrong. This argument won’t be taken anywhere, logically, mind you. It’ll simply be ended. It’ll be answered with mocking, “The Experts Say,” some quotes from The Daily Show, maybe a recycled line from Nice Guy Eddie in Reservoir Dogs…and that’s about it. If you bring up some solid evidence of your own, such as mentioning Kalid Sheikh Mohammed or Abdul Hakim Murad, well, you’re just a mean unreasonable poopy-head. Trust me on this. I’ve been there.

So it really ends up being a child’s fantasy land, when you get down to it. I don’t mean a small child’s fantasy; I’m talking a teenager, of the slothy kind, the kind that doesn’t roll out of bed or do the dishes or cut the grass without a whole lot of nagging. Every little thing that would require some foresight or manual labor brings forth a torrent of excuses. There are lots of positive thoughts about how we all need to love each other and get along with each other — right up until positive thoughts about other people determine something decisive must be done, something that requires effort. Then we don’t need to think such positive thoughts about each other anymore. Like, for example, very wealthy people are just as much entitled to keep their money as the rest of us, and it’s probably beneficial to allow them to do so, because the rest of us are in a symbiotic relationship with them…that would be a positive, compassionate thought, one that is compatible with the continuing harmonious working of an evolved, civilized society. But you’ll never see the potheads support that one, because that’s just a bit too much civilization and “love” for them to choke down at all at once. Far better to drone onward about being oppressed, man, by that evil corporate America, man.

Every little call to take garbage out, is met with some plea for moral relativism, cry for revolution, or both of those. I mean literal garbage, such as everyday household chores, as well as figurative garbage, like making sure Big Bad Bart catches that midnight train outta here and doncha dare come back. Hippies hate cowboys, I’m sure you’ve figured out by now, and they pull no punches that the thing they hate the most about cowboys, is the white hat, the black hat and the moral clarity. They hate the way this leads to realizations, fifteen minutes before closing-credits, that a real confrontation has to take place…for consequences loom over the “town,” if it does not. The stoner hippie isn’t down with that. He philosophizes his way out of every little thing that needs doing, and all without putting down the doobie or moving his ass off that well-worn mattress.

Hippies and those oh-so-hated cowboys are close cousins, in a way. They’re both all about confrontation. But the cowboy uses bullets instead of rhetoric and the hippy doesn’t like that. The dirtiest secret of all lies within that special hatred for bullets. It isn’t the property damage, or the death, or the carnage, or the danger to the bystanders the hippy hates when hot lead is flying around the saloon. It is the finality of the solution. No more negotiations; they never began. An elegant Obama/Cronkite lilt to the voice doesn’t count for shit. Settlements to disputes are not proposed, only implemented. Nothing is up for appeal.

In other words, decisions actually get made. Situations get changed. That is what cannot be tolerated on Planet Pothead. Ain’t that a kicker? The culture began for the express purpose of upsetting the status quo on a grand, cosmic scale; once it got some momentum built up, it became all about preserving status quos, even within microscopic, practically insignificant settings. Every situational change is a verbal agreement, which is just meaningless jibber-jabber, since every agreement has a loophole.

So I think Savage has a point here, and it’s a little bit of a frightening one when you think about it. Potheads are making the decisions now, and that means all decisions are cosmetic in nature, accountability never figures into it, consequences aren’t to be reckoned with. Do we have a society that can withstand that for long? Are our most influential and powerful positions-of-trust grappling with decisions on a daily-basis, decisions that can be made well, or at least harmlessly, by people who don’t believe actions have consequences? People that are only there to enforce contrarian social codes, love without accompanying feelings of symbiosis, and surreal & tie-died systems of quasi-moral babbling?

Can our culture stand for very long, when there is no human passion worth satisfying except lusting for the perverse, and the next case-of-the-munchies? With every single office that really matters, turned into a “work-free-drug-place”?

There’s the big question.

I guess we’ll be finding out the answer pretty soon, now.

Let’s Not Communicate

Friday, January 2nd, 2009

God help me, it’s happening to me again. Exactly one year ago — which says something about the season, I think — I was bitching away about this bad habit we have of pretending to communicate when, if some supernatural force were to stop time and thus halt the communication, ambushing all who partook with some kind of “pop quiz” about what was said by others, no one would pass. In other words, all this gesturing and mumbling and yelling and “Can You Hear Me Now?” is nothing more than a whole bunch of empty posturing. People do things after a conversation’s over, exactly the way they were going to do ’em before.

Three-hundred sixty days onward, I see something very similar is getting under my skin.

I’m seeing when we do communicate and actually manage to get it done, the communication isn’t done to ensure things get done that were supposed to get done…it’s done to change direction in some way. “There’s been a change in plans.” That, or to notify someone (me, a lot, lately) that something won’t get done when it was supposed to be. All too often, I can’t shake the feeling that if it weren’t for these cell phones, e-mails, instant-messages and other miracles of the modern age, the thing that isn’t gonna get done now, would…just go ahead and get done.

Think of cowboys. Think of farmers. Plan A is to have those cows rounded up, and branded, or those acres plowed, by sundown. Nobody talks to each other throughout the fifteen to eighteen hours save for one word — “LUNCHTIME!” What happens by sundown? The acres are plowed. No one ever had reason to think they wouldn’t be.

But that isn’t the world in which we live, today, is it? We’re too busy communicating.

I find it of particularly great concern that this communication is being used to communicate what is about to happen, particularly with regard to things that were attempted before, and left undone. Someone wants credit for getting ’em done, at last. Why am I hearing about it before it’s done? It’s like sitting on the bed bare-ass naked with your wife, bragging about the heights of carnal bliss to which you’re about to send her. Don’t talk…do.

Just got an e-mail from a relative lamenting all the “media sound bites” about Barack Obama, how he’s chosen to read Audacity of Hope. Even though he leans right politically, he’s “mightily impressed.” Perhaps I should’ve restrained myself. But after two solid years of hearing how wonderful His Holiness is, and nobody saying anything substantive…this bit of fluff mightily impressed me, as tidbit more of exactly the same stuff we’ve already seen. This extra droplet following the flood, concerned me greatly, in view of the challenges we face now — obviously, if we just bought forty-eight months of constructive action and all we’re gonna get instead is a whole lot more talk, this will be greatly damaging to everybody.

That “Reply” button just reaches out and grabs ya sometimes, y’know?

Impressed how? You quit right before you got to the goods.

If this is an exercise in making available that which up until now has been scarce, it is not served well by the provision of yet another glittering generality. Anyone who insists there’s been a paucity of those must’ve been living in a cave. No, where President Chosen One is concerned, supply falls short of demand when one begins to inspect justifications for things. Reasons to think things. Typical exchange:

“He’s the real deal!”
“He just is!”
“I don’t know. I can’t explain. There’s just something about Him!”

Well, there’s something about Him, alright. When the time comes to subject Him to so much of a fraction of the kind of scrutiny that, just because of protocol and convention, comes my way in job interviews…the subject *always* changes. So far it hasn’t been pursued to the point where I can learn something about what He has done. Hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent by Him, and His Holy Acolytes, to tell me all about His Divine Qualifications. The mission description for that was to get ‘er done by November 4th. How could it possibly be that it’s two months later, and it falls to people like you and me to go out and buy a book to learn about what makes Him so grape? He’s supposed to be such a wonderful communicator — it is the ONLY talent He has been forced to show us He has — how come those being given the message, have to extract it out of Him, when all this loot was donated to Him, solely for the purpose of telling us what He wanted to tell us?

And this is my concern. I do not, repeat not, confine it to President-Elect Obama. It is a cultural malaise that seems to have captured us.

Ever try this? Work on a complex task in solitude, one that you can perform from beginning to end while hunched over a computer. (My background is programming, so this is easy for me, while most folks might have to scramble around for something like that…nevertheless, if I can find something like that, anyone can.) Now do this. Do it especially if someone is paying you.

Fire up a spreadsheet, and keep a log of what you’re doing, and when. Work in a timestamp. Make it exhaustive. Record every little thing. Minute by minute, second by second.

By the time you are done, you probably had to take a phone call or two. Maybe you even had to go consult someone about a fact here or there. Now…look at your log. When did you have to talk to humans? Can you pick it out? I’ll bet you can. Big gaps. Huge gaps. Yawning gaps. You think it’s a “five minute conversation,” and through this exercise you see there really is no such thing.

You probably understand, by now, how the farmer got those acres plowed. Once we’re jibber-jabbering to each other, we inhabit a whole different world…minutes and seconds no longer count. And, disturbingly, getting things done no longer counts. We tend to stop behaving as if someone, somewhere, is counting on us getting the job done. Everything’s got an excuse. Everything’s got a “Change In Plans.”

I find this more frightening, in the year ahead, than any “homosexual agenda” or “left wing platform” or…almost as frightening as the appeasing of tyrants. This whole mindset of talk-over-do. Sound bite comes out that Barack Obama is still wonderful, and this is an adequate substitute for His Holiness doing something constructive, especially with regard to that mile long list of things He said He was going to fix. Suddenly, that can be left undone because the object of the exercise was to prove how wonderful He is, and…hey. We already know.

This is something I really don’t think we can afford right now. Seriously. But that’s our mindset. We sit on the edge of the bed, and tell the wife how good it’s gonna be when she finally gets it.

Can’t Fire Off Your Roman Candle In Here If You Blast It Off Out There

Thursday, January 1st, 2009

Jawa Report (image behind this link may not be safe for the workplace):

Some women in Naples said they won’t make love if their men shoot off dangerous fireworks on New Year’s Eve. “Se Spari, Niente Sesso” (If you shoot, no sex), as the reported group calls itself, claims to have signed up hundreds of women in the Naples area to combat celebrations that injure or maim hundreds each year.

I have a theory about women bludgeoning men into the correct profile of behavior by restricting sex:

When they stay silent about it, it always works.

When they blab away about it, it never does.

Well…I shouldn’t say “never,” now should I?