Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Trajectories

Wednesday, August 7th, 2013

Fascinating research by Andrew Thomas and crew over at American Thinker.

Hat tip to Kate at Small Dead Animals.

The Children Are Missing

Tuesday, August 6th, 2013

Paging Baron Bomburst of Vulgaria…the kids are nowhere to be seen

You can drive through residential neighborhoods and never see a single child out playing. We should worry about what this means for the future.

There are still kids in those neighborhoods to be sure; you can see them at the schools getting dropped off by their moms. Few kids seem to walk to school anymore. My old elementary school got rid of the bike racks and turned the enclosure into a garden.

Maybe it’s the phenomena of helicopter parenting. It’s not the cool helicoptering of Wagner and “Ride of the Valkyries” but the lame kind of Barney and songs about feelings.

These kids do nothing without their parents hovering over them – in fact, you hear of college kids referring to their parents as “their best friends.” Gag me.

I went back to my hometown on the San Francisco Peninsula over the Fourth of July. When I grew up there in the Seventies, before Silicon Valley, it was solidly middle class. We weren’t poor, but we weren’t rich. It was a big deal when my parents got a second car; everyone had a station wagon, invariably American made.

Kids were everywhere. We played games on the street – baseball, tag, army. We left in the morning and came home for dinner. There was a big woods behind our house and we’d disappear into it all day, returning with cuts, scrapes and the occasional gopher snake.

But today, nothing. The neighborhood has changed – the Fords and Dodges are now BMWs and Mercedes-Benzes, and minivans replaced the wagons. I know there are kids there, but you never see them. Where are they? Lurking inside the million dollar houses? Doing what?

I went walking in those woods again. There was no sign anyone else does. A wonderland is just outside these kids’ backdoors and they never visit.

My own kids come to me and talk about “playdates,” as if childhood is supposed to be a set of pre-planned enrichment experiences instead of improvised entertainment. Can’t they just go over to their friend’s house and see if Kayden or Ashleigh or whoever can come out and play?

No, I’m told, it’s too dangerous in our affluent neighborhood. And if you look at the Meghan’s Law site for any neighborhood you’ll believe it. All these little flags pop up, each some form of registered sex offender. So, instead of driving these degenerates away, we conform and constrict our lives to accommodate their presence.

I asked a cop friend I served with in the Army if this was just paranoia. He said he wouldn’t let his kids play on the front yard unless he was out there with his Remington 870. That answered that.

My son and I were talking about this kind of thing, indirectly, last week while he was still here for the summer. The context was the tragedy of the girl who died from her peanut allergies. It would be nice to hear from some brilliant scientific minds about the long-term effects of bringing up generations of kids this way…perhaps it’s a bit, er, nutty of me to envision a connection between the whup-whup-whup of the helicopter parenting, and the skyrocketing statistics of the 4A: Autism, ADD/ADHD, Asthma and Allergies. Seems to me the last two among those are verifiable as physiological ailments — it’s highly doubtful a thirteen-year-old girl could actually perish from hypochondria. Could “evolution” possibly work this quickly, in reverse? I entirely fail to see how. And yet the body has lots of ways of adapting to challenges, as well as to lack of challenges. So I can certainly envision that keeping the environment too clean, at the age where kids are supposed to be figuring out how to physically cope with natural pollutants, might cause atrophy at all sorts of levels.

To me, the surest link between our recent spate of cleaner-cleaner-cleaner safer-safer-safer helicopter parenting, and this explosion of 4A stuff, would be the ADHD — whose “father” ‘fessed up, just before shucking his mortal coil, is merely an invention. “Every child who’s not doing well in school is sent to see a pediatrician, and the pediatrician says: ‘It’s ADHD; here’s Ritalin.’ In fact, 90 percent of these 5.4 million kids don’t have an abnormal dopamine metabolism. The problem is, if a drug is available to doctors, they’ll make the corresponding diagnosis.” His words, not mine.

Well, whether my theory is likely or not, it’s certainly a possibility. And I’m much more concerned about how parents neglect the possibility that is there — not only that, but I think it’s on everybody’s minds, in some form or another — than I am about its plausibility, its content, its probability. It’s a possibility that we are harming our kids even in the moments in which we’re “sure” we’re doing what’s best for them. And, it seems to me, whenever we ignore the possibility, as a direct consequence we are confronted with yet more evidence that there’s something to be taken seriously about it. More quiet neighborhoods, more kids vegging out in front of the teevee and the smartphone and other electronic things…fewer sunburns and scraped knees, sure, but much, much more Ritalin. And peanut allergies widespread, today, whereas in generations past they were only an occasional occurrence.

Yeah, I do see a connection. I don’t pretend to be able to explain it fully. But I’ll bet in a parallel universe where the balls are bouncing on the sidewalks again, and the jump ropes are twirling, there are lot of problems encumbering us here that aren’t happening there. Less Wellbutrin during the school year, more Campho-Phenique during the summer.

“The Mind Does Not Digest Them”

Monday, August 5th, 2013

On the subject of something called “the illusion of skill”:

Kahneman begins by talking about evaluations that he, as a young man with an undergraduate degree in psychology, was asked to conduct regarding the leadership abilities of soldiers in the armed forces.

This involved watching how a group of eight collectively solved a problem that involved lifting a log over a wall. By observing the contributions made by each person, and how they interacted with one another, Kahneman attempted to predict the future. Which of these soldiers possessed qualities that would lead them to excel at officer training school?

Later, these predictions were checked against real world results. Kahneman explains:

Because our impressions of how well each soldier performed were generally coherent and clear, our formal predictions were just as definite. We rarely experienced doubt…We were quite willing to declare: “This one will never make it,”…or “He will be a star.”

…as it turned out, despite our certainty…our forecasts were largely useless…

Now here’s where it gets especially interesting:

But this was the army. Useful or not, there was a routine to be followed, and there were orders to be obeyed…The dismal truth about the quality of our predictions had…very little effect on the confidence we had in our judgments…

Even in a situation where people knew that their predictions were invalid, no course correction occurred. Not only did the evaluations continue to take place, Kahneman and his colleagues continued to feel a sense of confidence about what they were doing.

He calls this the “illusion of skill” — and says it illustrates something important about how the human brain works. Similar behaviour has been observed on the part of private individuals who buy and sell investment stocks — as well as on the part of professional investors. In Kahneman’s words:

Mutual funds are run by highly experienced and hard-working professionals who buy and sell stocks to achieve the best possible results for their clients. Nevertheless, the evidence from more than 50 years of research is conclusive: for a large majority of fund managers, the selection of stocks is more like rolling dice…At least two out of every three mutual funds underperform the overall market in any given year…The funds that were successful in any given year year were mostly lucky; they had a good roll of the dice.

Kahneman relates an experience in which he was invited “to speak to a group of investment advisers in a firm that provided financial advice…to very wealthy clients.” Beforehand, the firm gave him access to anonymized data detailing the investment outcomes of 25 of its employees over an eight-year period.

These employees all “felt they were competent professionals performing a task that was difficult but not impossible, and their superiors agreed.” But after crunching the numbers (the same ones that were used to determine the size of year-end bonuses), Kahneman was surprised to discover that the results once again “resembled what you would expect from a dice-rolling contest.”

So what happened next?

What we told the directors of the firm was that…the firm was rewarding luck as if it were skill. This should have been shocking news to them…There was no sign that they disbelieved us…After all, we had analyzed their own results, and they were certainly sophisticated enough to appreciate their implications…I am quite sure that both our findings and their implications were quickly swept under the rug and that life in the firm went on just as before. The illusion of skill..is deeply ingrained in the culture of the industry. Facts that challenge such basic assumptions — and thereby threaten people’s livelihood and self-esteem — are simply not absorbed. The mind does not digest them.

Article goes on to provide a link to Kahneman’s essay.

I think the Nobel Prize winner has discovered Architects and Medicators, the latter of whom have a tendency to, reducing the whole thing down to its most simple and direct level of expression and understanding, go through life making an opiate out of every experience. One thing I’ve noticed about group deliberations is that some of the people in attendance see the meeting activity as not a necessary overhead, but as the thinking process itself. It is a distinction that becomes lost easily, even when the responsibilities are shared effectively. You have mastery over some of the vital subject matters, but others among them are outside of your ken, so of course you will need to share your knowledge with others before a decision can be made…by anyone…

…but then, when the concern turns to simpler things. The most base things. “I like this rock band and I do not like that one” — even things like that, they remain just as dependent on the group-sharing as they were in the business meeting that afternoon. We use words like “introvert” and “extrovert” to describe people who must ration their depleting energy, or enjoy the opportunity to recharge it again, respectively, in these group environments. It is noted that the extrovert, in solitude, is less comfortable and may even become frustrated. What is not much talked-about is the confusion some of them have. They’ve been conditioned to make decisions in groups. It isn’t like painting a picket fence or weeding a garden, you can’t just say “I was doing that activity in a group, now I’ll just do exactly the same thing now that I’m alone.” Making a decision by yourself is a whole different thing, requiring a whole different discipline. It is not raw intelligence, but the selection of disciplines, that sets the Medicators and the Architects apart from each other.

Telling a fact apart from an opinion, is the very first step. There are many more that come after that, but in recognizing the difference between fact and opinion, we’re already outside the skill set usually required in the group session. In fact, the meeting environment has an unfortunate tendency to fuse these two things together. This person over here, that person over there, they throw up these “trial balloons” which function as, and are thought-of as, “ideas”…what does it matter whether they’re factual or whether they involve speculation, reasoning, personal preferences, “shoulds”…they’re trial balloons. Some stay up, some sink to the ground. Decision made, action items assigned, meeting adjourned.

My point is, for someone who makes a living predicting things, it would take a powerful force for them to sit in judgment of hard data documenting that their predictive efforts have been, when measured, correct about as often as a shake of a Magic-8 ball; resolve to take this data and reform their processes, so they can acquire a better result; and then, emerge from the exercise with nothing changed. Especially when they’re convinced they did something to address the problem. This, too, would have to be chalked up to the group environment. People do their “thinking” by throwing up trial balloons and seeing what happens to them…alerted to the plain fact that this has generated a bad result, they do more of the same thinking to try to fix it, and end up making the same mistakes. You always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you always got.

Kahneman finishes strong:

Do the professionals have an adequate opportunity to learn the cues and the regularities? The answer here depends on the professionals’ experience and on the quality and speed with which they discover their mistakes. Anesthesiologists have a better chance to develop intuitions than radiologists do. Many of the professionals we encounter easily pass both tests, and their off-the-cuff judgments deserve to be taken seriously. In general, however, you should not take assertive and confident people at their own evaluation unless you have independent reason to believe that they know what they are talking about. Unfortunately, this advice is difficult to follow: overconfident professionals sincerely believe they have expertise, act as experts and look like experts. You will have to struggle to remind yourself that they may be in the grip of an illusion.

Medieval Pet Names

Monday, August 5th, 2013

Huh. Interesting.

In England we find dogs that were named Sturdy, Whitefoot, Hardy, Jakke, Bo and Terri. Anne Boleyn, one of the wives of King Henry VIII, had a dog named Purkoy, who got its name from the French ‘pourquoi’ because it was very inquisitive.

Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Nun’s Priest Tale has a line where they name three dogs: Colle, Talbot and Gerland. Meanwhile, in the early fifteenth-century, Edward, Duke of York, wrote The Master of Game, which explains how dogs are to be used in hunting and taken care of. He also included a list of 1100 names that he thought would be appropriate for hunting dogs. They include Troy, Nosewise, Amiable, Nameles, Clenche, Bragge, Ringwood and Holdfast.

CREEPY AS F*CK

Saturday, August 3rd, 2013

That’s how I captioned this graphic over at the Hello Kitty of Blogging…exactly, caps included…except without the courtesy-asterisk.

“Creepy” hits the bulls-eye. That’s exactly what it is. Creepiest thing I think I’ve seen all year.

A bunch of Obama loyalists reviewed this with the idea in mind that they would send it out over the e-mail to Obama supporters…like me, heh heh…who had failed thus far to sign Our First Holy Emperor’s birthday card. I know they had the idea of doing this because that’s exactly what they ended up doing.

What’s creepy is that not one of the persons so assembled — not one! — saw fit to say something like “Em, er, maybe this isn’t such a hot idea.”

Of all the people in human history who have enjoyed consistent wins across time, their sense of judgment is most deplorable. Of all the persons with deplorable judgment, they have enjoyed the longest winning streak. Their decisions are going to continue to be stupid and idiotic, as long as this winning streak persists…in fact…it is the nature of things that, should the winning streak continue too far into the future, or too vast a stretch of time rolls by while nature offers them no suggestion that they’re screwing up and need to clean up their act…their decisions are going to become DUMBER. They will ratchet in that direction, with each call being dumber than the one that came before, always and all the time, never smarter, downward and downward until the moment of reckoning comes, like a bowling ball descending thousands of feet through the ocean. Until the impact which is inevitable, no stoppage, no slowing, no change, just more and more downward dumb-ward motion. They will keep on keepin’-on until the day comes that they lose at something.

I hope they blow it for their party and for their agenda, more than for the country.

But this picture shows we are very, very far gone. I’d like to know what these people do, exactly. I wouldn’t trust them to run a leaf-blower over a sidewalk, if I hated the sidewalk.

And yeah, if I had some friends or relatives who supported Obama and were somehow still on speaking terms with me, I’d expect them to go along with that.

Thing I Know #408. You can’t aspire toward success if you won’t spot the fails.

“Are These People Idiots, or Just Criminals?”

Saturday, August 3rd, 2013

I’m drawn to sorting out contradictions; I find it to be educational. It seems to get me in a lot of trouble with people though, and I think the reason why has something to do with the vitals. You have to 1) find the meaning behind whatever is put in front of you, 2) recall something earlier that creates the contradiction and 3) notice it. I guess I should learn to do these things silently, and not point it out.

The social pressure in this day and age, though, is against step #2, the recollection. Stop being difficult, stop remembering things, just think about what’s happening now. Your favorite color today is purple and your favorite number is six…

Anyway, I was intrigued when Steven Goddard found this

Global warming is happening is “10 times faster than at any time in the Earth’s history”, climate experts claim

American scientists claim the planet is undergoing one of the largest changes in climate in the past 65 million years.

Climatologists at Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment have warned the likely rate of change over the next century will be at least 10 times quicker than any climate shift since the dinosaurs became extinct.

If the trend continues at its current rapid pace, it will place significant stress on terrestrial ecosystems around the world, and many species will need to make behavioral, evolutionary or geographic adaptations to survive, they said.

Climatologists at Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment have warned the likely rate of change over the next century will be at least 10 times quicker than any climate shift since the dinosaurs became extinct and this could have a negative impact on some animals, such as polar bears

The findings come from a review of climate research by Earth system science expert Noah Diffenbaugh and Chris Field, a professor of environmental Earth system science and the director of the Department of Global Ecology at the Institution. The work is part of a special report on climate change in the current issue of Science.

The next paragraph, we start to get to the heart of the matter as the current “pause” in the rise of the mean temperature is finally mentioned. From that point to the end of the article, you see what’s happening: All of the alarmist rhetoric concerns projections. So the headline-writer strayed a little bit away from what the experts were really saying. Actually, more than a little.

Alrighty then. Give me a jingle when you have some alarming measurements…meantime…go back to expecting things. Fun times.

The Lurking Variable

Saturday, August 3rd, 2013

Me, writing about a private matter:

As a general rule, at least within my experience, when conflict persists across a great stretch of time among the same people, and about a very limited number of things, it will often emerge that the epicenter of disagreement is some distance away from what’s actually being discussed; it’s off somewhere else, concerning other things that aren’t finding expression. There are ways to assess this. When individuals build up coalitions, and those coalitions align and remain inseparable as new topics make their way to the forefront — that is one tip-off. Example: Find me a hundred people who think human activity is causing climate change, and that drastic action must be taken and soon if an ecological crisis is to be averted; I can probably find, within them, at least eighty people who are not very religious. Probably a good deal more than eighty, in fact. Find me another hundred who disagree, who think the whole thing is a huge scam, I can show you a sizable majority among them who subscribe to some religious system of belief. The significance of this observation is that it is contrary to rational expectations: To the extent that the climate change issue is connected to matters of faith, one would logically expect an opposite correlation to emerge. Those who say all things existing in the universe are just consequences of accidents, should take a fatalistic view of our planet’s climate as well, and those who say we should try to exert control over that climate for sake of a good outcome, should be the ones believing a deity put us here for that purpose. Our experience with people is reversed from what we should logically expect; so on one side of this disagreement or the other, perhaps both, someone is putting group membership considerations above reason and common sense. That, or these positions on the issues are linked by some spurious relationship. And so the neutral observer who desires to find out how others think, then has to look harder for the lurking variable.

Having approached the brink of inserting some roiling manifesto about left-wing and right-wing politics into what was supposed to be a study into other things, I lurched back from that brink and got on-topic again, without revealing my own opinions about the climate-change scam, or religion. Or, exploring any further what the “lurking variable” might be. That’s something more fitting for here, I think.

What I’m talking about in the above — I think, anyway — is guilt. Guilt has an amazing power to make mortals unwise. Not quite so much “stupid,” I hasten to add; many among the guilty insist they are much more intelligent than the average bear, and there is some truth to what they say. But wisdom eludes them. It isn’t too long before all the decisions they make, are made the same way. Unpredictability is a trait of wisdom, I think deep down everyone already knows that, so we should all be concerned when these hyper-intelligent geniuses all decide everything the same way…

IncompatibilityJustice becomes a matter of mob rule. Immigration policy becomes one of “please invade us and make it quick.” Defense, for the nation as well as for the family and the individual, is abhorred. Charity doesn’t count unless it’s the government doing it, government should cover everything from crib to crypt, from lung and brain transplants to hangnails. And who gives a rip if it runs out of money? Just raise taxes on the hated rich. Profits are to be punished. Working is to be discouraged. Oh, they might say a few generally flattering things about people who work…provided those people remain in the middle class, or among the poor, where they belong…but always, more restrictions are to be put in place that make it more of a miracle, less and less frequently occurring, when someone manages to get hold of a job that pays money. Labor unions everywhere. Rules, rules and more rules. The calendar should be busy with holidays and more holidays, retirement has to be guaranteed, and early. And then, should the gravy train still be running, here comes the unaffordable pension.

The birth rate is low. Because, dang right, humans are breaking the climate. The unwise-guilty people insist that sexual preference is an unalterable aspect of one’s birth, but they’re the ones who never act like it. Morning noon and night they campaign, or protest, or push, or advocate in some way more, more, and more gayness. Bend those genders. Every time you see a man acting like a real man, or a woman dressing and behaving with real femininity, you’re seeing something the unwise-guilty people want to destroy, and if they can’t destroy it they want to bury it. You might say wherever their kind is in charge, the only strong gender roles that remain are the ones they haven’t gotten around to getting rid of yet. Men should act more like women, women should act more like men, and the children — well, they should just be expensive. Child support, like gasoline, has to be made more expensive. Oh yeah, and on your way out, your burial should be green. It all has to do with making people into financial liabilities, ensuring they’re never assets again. If some among us think themselves unworthy, then we all have to be. Breeding therefore becomes littering, and is to be prevented, and punished, accordingly.

It’s as if the whole point to life is nothing more than an apology. Sorry we were ever here.

Whenever these unwise-guilty people manage to get something big pushed through…some of their “landmark legislation”…it is a constant that a few mortals become masters of many others, whom they will never meet. Commissioners and czars. Panels. Committees. Boards. Secretaries of Health and Human Services. Another constant: These demigods making such grandiose decisions about the intimate aspects of some stranger’s life, are to be regarded as uniquely qualified to occupy their posts and to hand down these rulings. But nobody, anywhere, can say exactly why that is. A lot of the time, nobody can name any actual accomplishments achieved by the demigods. But the guilty act as if they can indeed name some, in fact, that were they to jot down a list, it would go on for pages and pages…that must be why they’ve never gotten around to getting it done. Why was Janet Napolitano a wonderful mega-awesome superstar Homeland Security Secretary? What qualifies Sheila Jackson Lee to succeed her? Why is John Kerry uniquely qualified to be our Secretary of State? What did Hillary Clinton achieve in that role? Why was Timothy Geithner qualified to be our Secretary of the Treasury? Don’t ask why the demigod is so amazing and wonderful, s/he just is.

Now here is a paradox: These generalities are a constant — you’ll see that they hold true for Europe, as well. Defense is thought to be a sin, taxes are high, government sucks the life out of business, the birth rate is low, all social ills are funded, mediocre embarrassments are thought to be demigods, and the whole mess is unsustainable over the longer term of time. Those who resist this are a bit harder to predict. Wisdom, as I said, brings unpredictability; it is exactly the unpredictability one must expect to see, any time one looks at another person directly struggling with something. But down in the details, where the simpler decisions are made that drive the more complex ones, it is the unwise-guilty people who are unpredictable, and those who resist who will be making the same calls every time. What is the sum of two and two? The guilty have a fear of “horse sense”; they can’t say “four.” There must be some titillating and weird alternate answer, visible only to the few, the empowered, the anointed elites within the unwise-guilty. Four is something an ordinary person would say. Four is what the rubes say. The unwise-guilty people have the vision to see something “better.” There is a most elaborate treatise providing undeniable support for the fact that three is the real-right answer, or maybe it’s five…I’d explain it if I had the time, but you wouldn’t be able to understand it.

How do you achieve success in your more complicated decisions, when as you make the simpler ones, you painstakingly avoid any recognition that two and two make four? Answer: You don’t. When your plans turn to crap, you just blame the other guys. Here is another paradox: Guilty people are good at blaming others. It all seems, to me, so inefficient. If you want to wallow in guilt and you’re on the lookout for reasons to feel guilty about things, and you’re wrong about something, why not just admit it? Kill two birds with one stone. Why go through all that effort to blame others? It’s like a masochist spending his last few nickels for ammunition, then after the shooting spree complaining that he himself is not among the wounded. Dude. You were pointing it the wrong way.

They have so much hatred and anger for those who don’t follow suit. Unwise-guilty people want everybody else to be guilty and unwise. When they run into someone who doesn’t dance the same steps, they call us things like “arrogant.” Conflict arises when questions of two and two emerge, and we have the audacity to say: Four. How dare we! How arrogant! And of course, the conflict is…our fault…why of course it is, how could it be otherwise?

And why are there people who resist, anyway? Most of us are religious. Christianity does wonders to keep one from becoming guilty-and-unwise. It must be said that Christianity has little to nothing to do with not-feeling-guilty; quite to the contrary, it insists that all sons and daughters of Adam and Eve are stained, flawed, and unworthy. That’s the whole point, or a big part of it at least. Old Testament: Adam makes a problem. New Testament: Christ provides a solution. Man breaketh, God fixeth. So, arrogant? No, the opposite. And Christianity is only one possible answer. Among those who resist the whole low-birth-rate, justice-by-mob-rule, high-tax, bankrupt-government thing, our numbers are rounded out by some other secular types who just make it a point to…well, how do I put this…not do stupid dumb things. You might say, asked what is the sum of two and two, they come up with an answer of four because, duh. They figure it out. Perhaps they, too, actually do have guilt over things they’ve done — but they do something to keep it from clouding their decisions.

For me, it’s Christianity. No, it doesn’t make you arrogant. It doesn’t “erase” sin, at least not in the way I reflect upon it. It doesn’t anesthetize you against your own guilt, or make-believe that the guilt is not there. You might say Christianity is a great way to acknowledge you’ve been a pain-in-the-ass, without said acknowledgment making you into an even bigger pain-in-the-ass.

I’ve had a lot of names for America’s guilty-unwise demigod at the tippy top. Emperor Barack The First, He Who Argues With The Dictionaries, Mister Wonderful, President Soetoro…some are my own creation, some are stolen. One of my favorites has been “Replacement Jesus” for that is exactly what He is. Many among His followers have turned their backs on Christ. No Christ for them, but the need for a savior remains. There’s a big hole there. And so, they go out and “buy” this prosthetic Messiah. But it is not a functional prosthesis. It doesn’t actually conquer guilt like the Real Thing does. Therefore, in the same way a false eye doesn’t see, it fails to achieve this “admit you’ve been a P.I.T.A. without becoming a bigger P.I.T.A.” thing.

In Anno Domini Twenty Thirteen, there is no bigger ass-pain than the Obama movement. But here, I have looped back around to belaboring the obvious, and so now I shall stop.

Cross-posted at Rotten Chestnuts.

Filner, Weiner and the Fresh Prince

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013

It bothers me seeing people argue with each other to the point where they get genuinely angry with each other. At least, when there’s little to no cause for the anger. And it bothers me when people start fighting over a baby. Can’t help notice lately that the social media has become, in some places, glowing-red-hot with “my side is better than yours” arguments about whether we need to pay attention to William and Kate’s new baby, now third in line for the British throne, which is something I consider to be a personal preference and therefore a personal decision. I really don’t give a rip. But people who do care, even the ones who care minute-to-minute and care passionately, aren’t hurting me. True, it’s crushingly boring and I can feel my life force being sucked out, I think, when they start talking about what Kate wore when she held the baby. But I can change the channel. It’s something they watch that makes them happy. Let them be.

But I think I’ve figured out why people get so upset on both sides. The don’t-give-a-rat’s-ass people, like me, are the ones starting it by saying things like “our forefathers fought a revolutionary war so we wouldn’t have to give a shit about the baby.” There is both truth and falsehood in this, along with an ugly implication. The truth is, well, it’s true…the falsehood is that someone is forcing everyone else to pay attention to the baby. That is not the case. Again, turn the dial. Leave the room. It’s like the latest Barbra Streisand farewell tour.

And the ugly implication is that, by paying attention to the baby, royal-philes are somehow betraying the memory of the hardy young men at Valley Forge. They aren’t…they’re just fixating on something…but I think when they see this “fought in a revolution so we wouldn’t have to pay attention” meme over and over, that’s the message they’re picking up and they react to it none too kindly. And so, we fight. And it’s silly because there isn’t too much to this apart from a disagreement about preferences and priorities. There’s very little that sets it apart from a choice between chocolate or vanilla ice cream.

However, it is that little bit upon which I would like to focus.

There is something important to be pointed out in the “fought a revolution so we wouldn’t have to care” thing. I often notice when people argue, if we study it a bit we find they aren’t really arguing about the true source of the disagreement, and that is probably the case here. We are arguing about the conflict of visions, between the constrained and the unconstrained.

The thing that is not pointed out, is this: Humans who live in civilized societies, have a hunger for, and a fascination with, equality; the idea that anybody can grow up to become anything. Humans who live in civilized societies have a hunger for, and a fascination with, inequality as well. Deep down, we are programmed to admire the caste system. It’s in our wiring. In fact, we have to do some work to get away from it. Here in America, we consider that our patriotic duty. The “don’t care about the baby” types have completed that intellectual struggle, and they perceive, wrongly in some cases, that the “look at that pretty dress Kate’s wearing” people have not done this and therefore have betrayed their birthright.

It has been made a sensitive issue now that we are living in the age of Obama. All Americans with common sense and a decent, working, long-term memory, have seen how this glorification of living idols can mask over — and perhaps encourage — glaring and dangerous defects in judgment on the part of those living idols, or on the part of their peers or subordinates. For those who lack this working long-term memory, there are the stories of Bob Filner and Anthony Weiner. More democrat men tripping over their own dicks. Twice in rapid succession, we get to repeat the Kennedy/Clinton/Hart/Edwards/Spitzer waltz, with the moves now committed to muscle memory: Contrite apologies in front of banks of microphones, with the wife dutifully standing by…which everyone knows are just apologies for having been caught. We also know the wife isn’t standing by out of love, she’s standing by as a business partner, because with democrat politicians that’s what the wife is. And, since the unfaithful husband is a democrat, there will be the expected and obligatory defiant refusals to step down. The democrats can’t fail standards they never had in the first place. Oh yeah, and “blah blah blah performance in public office blah blah blah private life.”

It’s the unconstrained vision, because the narrative that shapes up is that this guy, because he is who he is, is going to get away with something that would get you, me, and any other ordinary mortal canned without a second thought. The trouble with this is: This thing that sets the whole situation apart, that the guy is who he is, is an unknown — we don’t know who he is, really. Not that way. Bill Clinton was President of the United States, sure, but does that mean all United States presidents should be able to get away with this behavior? Clearly not. Not all former congressmen aspiring to be Mayor of New York should get away with it. It’s the name-recognition that will get them sprung. The brand name. So why is there a brand name? What did these people do? Nobody can say. There was a narrative shaping up that Bill Clinton was in the process of saving the economy…but that’s something democrats say about all their guys, no matter what. And anyway, Bill Clinton knows as much about how an economy actually works, as your dog knows about replacing your car’s valve cover gasket. Most of the democrats saying this knew it was a bunch of nonsense.

The truth is, the democrats won’t resign in the face of these scandals because resignation is an action that has to be taken by the guilty, and when you’re a democrat, all actions are calculated according to their effect on the movement. Now perhaps if resignation had a beneficial effect on the movement, they’d think about it. But that isn’t going to happen, because their movement has to do with tearing standards down, not establishing new ones or standing by the ones that were already there. Their movement is all about winning arguments unconditionally, whether you should or shouldn’t. It’s about being on the side that ultimately prevails, so you can force others to do things your way. “Make things the way we want them to be,” as Anakin Skywalker said — as he was turning to the Dark Side.

This is why the “pure” Americans look with such distaste on the starry-eyed royal-watchers — who are over here. They see people who aren’t quite getting into the Spirit of 1776. They see their countrymen elevating mere mortals to the dais of divinity. And that dais is something to be despised; I can see this side of it, myself. Because it seems to be a constant in human history that when we create new identities for these famous mortal individuals, placing them on such a height that George Washington refused to ascend, even when his peers implored him to — that lofty height where, the moment you make a mistake or commit a crime, it ceases to be a mistake or crime because you’re the mega-awesome guy who did it — the privilege is always abused. That apex-of-the-pyramid guy starts making more of these mistakes he’s allowed to make.

America is supposed to be an experiment in which we just don’t have that going on. We have lately been betraying the experiment. President Obama is just a part of the problem. All these philandering politicians are part of it too — not all of them are democrats — they somehow think they’ve accomplished something great and grand that should give them a pass for these character defects. But if anyone ever asked them what it was that they had accomplished, they wouldn’t have an answer. They’d go with the “worked really hard” homina homina stuff. In other words, this is fast disintegrating into what we were supposed to have been avoiding, a nation of men and not laws, a caste system, a culture of aristocratic entitlement. “Mistakes were made…my wife and I have worked it out…I’m contrite, but DEFIANT!! GRRRR!!!” Please. Please. At this point, I find it quite boring, and not one bit exciting or titillating. The drama is wasted on me.

Just like I’m bored by the comparison between Kate Middleton’s clothes and Princess Di’s clothes when William was born. The difference is that with Kate Middleton, as far as I know I’m looking at someone more-or-less decent, who deserves no grief, instead deserves privacy (and like many royals, probably desires more than she’ll ever be able to have). With the latest philandering democrat males, I’m looking at scumbags who just want power, managed to get power, and don’t want to give it up. Just a bunch of Anakin Skywalkers after the fall, without the breather suit and movie-bad-guy coolness. I’m looking at something worse than faithlessness or power-craziness when I’m looking at them; worse than sociopathy; I’m looking at mediocrity. In my world, a dozen of them wouldn’t get you a cup of coffee, and it isn’t just because I disagree with their politics. And in my world, a cup of coffee doesn’t cost you what it costs at Starbuck’s, I’m talking donut shop prices.

Nancy Pelosi: Creep Enabler

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013

Michelle Malkin:

The most powerful female Democrat on Capitol Hill has turned her back on women. Again. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, entrenched 13-term incumbent, refuses to say whether creepster San Diego Mayor Bob Filner should resign amid an avalanche of longstanding sexual harassment allegations, staff resignations and now a lawsuit.

“What goes on in San Diego is up to the people of San Diego. I’m not here to make any judgments,” declared the very same feminist crusader who has spearheaded unabashedly judgmental nationwide attacks on the so-called “Republican War on Women.”

Democrat Filner’s former spokeswoman revealed Monday that he ordered her to “work without her panties on” and viewed women “as sexual objects or stupid idiots.” Other women alleged that Democrat Filner groped, forcibly kissed and harassed them. His own fiancee broke up with him two weeks ago after taking stock of his “abusiveness” and “disrespect” for women. Filner “apologized” and admitted, “I need help,” but he refuses to step down.

The democrat party seems, more and more, to really be all about nothing more than the avoidance of corrective action. For the “right” people, anyway.

Big Government: What Does it Take for America to Wake Up?

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013

Larry Elder:

Someone did an experiment to test an old tale — that a frog placed in a pot of cool water, which is then slowly and continuously heated, will be boiled to death. By contrast, if thrown directly into scalding hot water, the frog jumps out. But it turns out that, no, once the water got hot enough, the critter hopped out of Dodge.

This raises a question. At what point does the continuous growth and intrusiveness of government make people wake up?

Who is This Obama?

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013

Maureen Scott:

Think: Have we ever heard Obama speak lovingly of the U.S. or its people, with deep appreciation and genuine respect for our history, our customs, our sufferings and our blessings? Has he ever revealed that, like most patriotic Americans, he gets “goose bumps” when a band plays “The Star Spangled Banner,” or sheds a tear when he hears a beautiful rendition of “America the Beautiful?” Does his heart burst with pride when millions of American flags wave on a National holiday – or is he moved to sadness and reflection when someone plays “taps” on a trumpet? Has he ever felt the depth of our admiration of the military, as lovers of those who keep America free feel when soldiers march by?

Ed Driscoll: The End of Asperger’s on TV

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013

Pajamas Media:

Linking to Robison’s article, Kathy Shaidle describes Asperger’s as becoming “the Pluto of mental illnesses,” Robison himself writes that “TV is now forced to adapt to this new, Asperger’s-free reality.” But do they really? As the enormous Wikipedia-style “TV Tropes” Website points out, long after Sigmund Freud’s pioneering concepts have been rendered increasingly anathema amongst modern-day mental health professionals, all psychology remains Freudian on fictional TV. Similarly, I suspect Asperger’s will remain a popular shorthand on television for quite some time to come.

From all I’ve read about it, Asperger’s was obliterated because it became too embarrassing: What the “scientists” call “science,” is the product of a dust-up taking place periodically in great big arenas, involving not quite so much scientists, but advocates. And then this started to come to light. It isn’t really fair, because what was really embarrassing about it was that this charade was never unique to Asperger’s. It seems to have become, more-and-more, the way psychology is done — a few people do something differently from the way “everybody else” does it, and in that direction lies something that maybe could be & ought to be “diagnosed.” For fun and profit.

Related: What’s being “diagnosed,” when you get right down to it, is the one thing that might possibly pay off our debts.

It might be worth noticing, alongside that, that what is being elevated to leadership positions nowadays — quite consistently — is all the impulse-control deficiency and power-lusting that builds up that debt in the first place. I do see a connection between those two things…

Big Sis’ Dirty Secrets Go Public

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013

“Democrats and Republicans largely heaped praise upon Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano after she announced she would resign her post later in the year, but a longtime constitutional attorney says there is not much to applaud – especially for anyone concerned about preserving freedom and limiting government intrusion in their lives.”

John Hayward: The Character of Independence

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013

“What has been missing from all the revolutions that didn’t work out as well as ours? What have we lost, to bring the American revolution to such a perilous hour, in which the restraints upon government decay into first theory, and then fiction?”

Megan McArdle: Why I Think Republicans Will Win

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013

“Since the Civil War, only two Democratic presidents have been succeeded by another Democrat. Both of them–FDR and JFK–accomplished this by dying in office.”

Supreme Court Shutouts Reveal Reckless Decisions

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013

Ilya Somin, USA Today column:

When a president pursues policies that require such expansive federal power that he can’t get a single justice to agree, something is probably amiss.

Stalled Motor City

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013

John Stossel:

MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry…had an extraordinary explanation for why the city of Detroit sought to declare bankruptcy last week: not enough government.

“This is what it looks like when government is small enough to drown in your bathtub, and it is not a pretty picture.” She says budget-cutting Republicans threaten to transform all of the U.S. into Detroit.

What? Detroit has been a “model city” for big-government! All Detroit’s mayors since 1962 were Democrats who were eager to micromanage. And spend.

Professor Backs Statement That God is Racist

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013

The Daily Caller

She said that the pundits at these media outlets — including The Daily Caller — a different god than the biblical Christian God.

“I was coming after their god,” she said. “I was not coming after the God of the scriptures, the God that we know, of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. I was coming after the god they worship, Mammon; the god they worship, racism; the god they worship, white supremacy.”

Butler also expressed gratitude to her tenure status at UPenn, which protects her from being fired no matter how many controversial statements she makes.

“Thank God I got a great institution that takes care of me,” she said. “I have tenure. I can’t get fired.”

I didn’t mean what I said, now that it’s led to some trouble for me, in fact you’re the problem because you failed to tease out this fine little distinction I just now conjured up…and the rules say there shouldn’t be any consequences for my failure to lay down this fine distinction earlier.

This just adds support for the idea that lefties are little kids who grew up without ever having to learn consequences. They apologize and acknowledge incorrect judgment calls, if & when they’re caught screwing around on their wives — that’s about it — but even then, they don’t resign. Nothing to alter the course of destiny. Never, never, not ever.

It’s the other guy who noticed they did something wrong, or stupid, that is the problem.

Fire Created and Stoked by the Left, by Dennis Prager

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013

“For most Americans, their entire informational and intellectual universe is shaped by the left — from elementary school through graduate school, and of course, in the news media. They rarely, if ever, encounter non-left viewpoints. As Diana Mutz, a professor of communication and political science at the University of Pennsylvania, has written: ‘Those with the highest levels of education have the lowest exposure to people with conflicting points of view.’…The left knocks on every possible door in the hope that it will prove how racist whites are. Most of the time, the charges are untrue.”

Really? By Victoria Jackson

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013

“Really? Amy, really? His train wreck of a socialized medicine bill? …The bill that will greatly increase our deficit? The bill that no one has read?!…You would think Amy is smarter than that.””

Hey, she’s a good Manhattan lib. Membership in the clique before common sense.

Profiling, by Walter E. Williams

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013

“You might say, “Profiling is unfair, and individuals should be judged individually!” Taken to the limit, such a position is ludicrous. Suppose police are trying to catch the criminal who just raped a woman in a city park. Would you want them to use sex profiling — i.e., just round up men — or should they round up everyone, regardless of sex? I’m betting that most people would view the latter as stupid.”

The word “profiling” seems to have been re-defined, from what I’ve seen & heard anyway, to something like this: Failing to leap to the very, very most flattering, charitable and/or exculpatory conclusion about someone who isn’t white.

Great Ideas Happen Over Time

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013

…and there is no “Eureka” moment. The researcher had to revise her thinking when her pre-formed narrative went in one direction, and the evidence that was supposed to support it, consistently went off in the other…

Creativity started with the notebooks’ sketches and jottings, and only later resulted in a pure, powerful idea. The one characteristic that all of these creatives shared— whether they were painters, actors, or scientists— was how often they put their early thoughts and inklings out into the world, in sketches, dashed-off phrases and observations, bits of dialogue, and quick prototypes. Instead of arriving in one giant leap, great creations emerged by zigs and zags as their creators engaged over and over again with these externalized images.

Hat tip to Bird Dog at Maggie’s Farm.

And so version control, as I’ve said for years, is important. Git. Subversion. Others. Not just for software development.

How Goes Detroit?

Monday, July 22nd, 2013

Twenty-Five Disturbing Facts:

1) At this point, the city of Detroit owes money to more than 100,000 creditors.

2) Detroit is facing $20 billion in debt and unfunded liabilities. That breaks down to more than $25,000 per resident.

3) Back in 1960, the city of Detroit actually had the highest per-capita income in the entire nation.
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9) An astounding 47 percent of the residents of the city of Detroit are functionally illiterate.

10) Less than half of the residents of Detroit over the age of 16 are working at this point.

11) If you can believe it, 60 percent of all children in the city of Detroit are living in poverty.
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20) When you call the police in Detroit, it takes them an average of 58 minutes to respond.

21) Due to budget cutbacks, most police stations in Detroit are now closed to the public for 16 hours a day.

22) The violent crime rate in Detroit is five times higher than the national average.
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25) Crime has gotten so bad in Detroit that even the police are telling people to “enter Detroit at your own risk“.

The democrats is the edyoomakayshun party. Don’t forget.

Hat tip to Instapundit.

Update 7/22/13: Is your city next? Via Gerard.

Memo For File CLXXXII

Sunday, July 21st, 2013

For quite some time I’ve been convinced that a lot of the arguing people do is about things that aren’t discussed directly within the arguments themselves; they’re arguing about other things. Years ago I noticed that it seems to have something to do with how people have taught themselves to see the world around them, theorizing that every time people have to come up with their own solutions to vexing problems, they further entrench themselves into one of two “sides” of a supreme, great-granddaddy, top-level division, with all other divisions emerging merely as subsequent consequences of that. And then I identified some safe generalizations to make about it. There is a cycle at work here: Each of these complex problems can be resolved in one of two ways; the talents we’ve managed to build up for ourselves since learning to walk, determine how we’re going to try to solve the problem; once we’ve set out to solve the problem that way, our reliance on that certain set of techniques is going to be strengthened, even if we fail at what we’re trying to do. Much like a right- or left-handed person becomes more right- or left-handed every time he or she does something like writing, or shoveling, or anything else that involves hands.

Just wading back into the Architect/Medicator divide, deep enough to wet the toes: An Architect-type is going to rely on his understanding of, and his ability to figure out, cause-and-effect to get what he wants. He’ll try to figure out what the machinery is, what effect a component part has on another component part. A Medicator will rely on his social skills to do it; he’ll share his feelings. The Architect will rely on thinking and the Medicator will rely on feeling.

– I –

The other disagreements, I think, trickle down from that unified-common-ancestor division. Because the Architect plans on recouping his reward after, and only after, he’s puzzled out some Rube Goldberg type of array of interconnected pieces & parts, he works according to a doctrine of delayed gratification. The Medicator, on the other hand, is trying to start a socially relayed narrative of “I want me some of that,” hoping that the communication eventually reaches the ears of someone who will just give it to him, or at least make it more accessible to him. Delayed gratification has nothing to do with this. In fact, since the sense of urgency is what’s being rewarded, he’s really all about the opposite which is immediate-gratification. Why does he place his confidence in this? Because it’s worked. It’s always worked. Since he was a baby, it’s worked. You say what you want, and a bit later you get it. If you don’t get it, you need to try harder.

This may come off as sour grapes from someone who was raised — annoyingly, at the time — with the benefits of delayed-gratification in mind; as in, darn it, those other kids were able to whine and cry and get what they wanted, and I wasn’t. Well, I shouldn’t deny that there’s any of that going on. It would be natural. But that doesn’t invalidate the point, now does it. All that’s been asserted here is that some people have been motivated to work with details and other people have not. That, and the people who don’t work with details, who simply announce what it is they want and are very likely to get it, tend to keep that action-reaction, stimulus-response feedback loop going pretty much womb to tomb. And that these are the people with “charisma,” who walk into a room and light it up. But experience has shown this to be the case. And, it makes sense. Watch one of those room-lighter-upper people some time, you see this isn’t a talent you learn just a couple of Thursdays ago. It’s a skill that is strengthened and sharpened since before the baby can walk.

Some people are naturally bright and accomplished, and can burn the candle from both ends. They can write computer code that others can’t write, and also, brighten up the room by walking into it. But those are very rare cases, they’re the exceptions that prove the rule. There are even jokes about this: “What does a software engineer use for birth control? Personality.”

But the Architect/Medicator understanding goes a bit deeper than this, and takes a turn we don’t discuss before a general audience. There are parts to it that don’t make Medicators happy. That’s why we don’t talk about it; we’re inclined not to do things that make Medicators unhappy, because — well, Medicators are good at motivating people away from things that would make Medicators unhappy. They’re very, very good at this. It’s how they get the things they want, by motivating those around them toward the desired, and away from the undesired. For starters, Medicators are not, contrary to popular opinion, very strongly attracted toward creative efforts. We’re often made to feel like they’re in the process of building something big and grand, and it seldom occurs to anyone to look into the rear view mirror afterward and ask: Okay, so what exactly got built? If you do that, the answer that consistently comes back is: Not really much of anything. If a Medicator movement does culminate in the creation of something that didn’t exist before, it’s usually some kind of rulebook about what other people shouldn’t do. Beyond that, they don’t create much. Their energies tend to go into destruction. You have to think like an Architect to create something of any complexity. That’s only natural, because you have to think about states of objects, and their ramifications, and what-causes-what. That is not the Medicator’s bag.

Obama Wrecking BallAlso, creating things is not very fun; not if you’re disinclined from following the details. And it isn’t fun to watch. Sam Rayburn said, “Any jackass can kick a barn door down, but it takes a carpenter to build it back.” So if you don’t work with details, you’re pretty much confined to destructive efforts in life. This is the hard truth that tends to elude us. You can see it in the Presidents of the United States over the last hundred years or so. We keep trying to find that charismatic guy who just energizes everyone around him, and builds great, grand things. It hasn’t happened. Some windbag gets in there, gives a lot of speeches, and after four-to-eight years we have nothing to show for it but more debt, a lot of wreckage and more rules. The cycle repeats and repeats, and as we get frustrated we’re inclined to blame “the two parties” or “the system.” But deep down everybody already knows it’s the voters who are to blame for this, because the voters “know” something about how people work that they don’t really know. A true creator-of-big-things would not seek this job. If he did, he wouldn’t get any votes. That’s the plain truth of it.

We shouldn’t be entrusting the entire country’s creative efforts to just a coterie of elites, and if we do that, we shouldn’t be confining that trust to individuals whose talents are in destructive efforts. Bad things happen when we do that. That is not to say John Holdren’s weird smiley-face-Eugenicist take on things is the ultimate destination of everybody who has charisma; I don’t even know that the man is a good representative of them. For all I know he could be quite boring, a typical egghead-turned-mad-scientist straight out of the Wolfenstein video game. But…Rayburn, and the barn door. It is easier to destroy than to create. Holdren’s words impress me as the words of someone who simply got tired of putting in effort, and found a way to attach a livelihood to less effort. We’ve thought this before, back in the day: Oh, those undesirable classes of people, they’re too much trouble and they’re breeding too fast. Sterilize them.

Just as a destructive effort can be made to look like a creative one, so too can an endeavor toward chaos look like one toward order. Again, the details: Some are inclined to work with them, others aren’t. If you don’t want to work with details and you’re far enough along in life, and sufficiently entrenched in your chosen method of solving complex problems that you can’t quite build the aptitude to work with those details — your two choices for a life goal are chaos and idleness. And of course no one truly likes to be idle, because that means being ineffectual. And so we have these outspoken people running around, Medicators trying to do their medicating, embarking on all these moral crusades toward chaos; they drive us toward chaos by removing details and definitions from things. I fear that lately this is quickening toward some kind of climax, for haven’t you noticed? All of the big disagreements, lately, have to do with defining things. Or, not-defining things, or un-defining things, or re-defining things. All of our big quibbles seem to have to do with definitions of things. It was not ever thus. Perhaps I’m wrong, and this is all cyclical. Things in nature, particularly with living things, tend to happen in cycles. But then, I think about the Stein Rule that says, whatever cannot last forever, won’t. And yes, it does seem we are approaching some kind of climax. If that’s the case, then a choice confronts us, soon, about order versus chaos. And the choice has to do with the grappling of details; some among us can’t, or won’t. If there is a final “Gathering” about to happen, they’ll either be punished with absolute ineffectuality or rewarded with absolute monopolistic authority, depending on which one we choose.

– II –

From the above, a question emerges: Do the details even matter? This primary-split between Architects and Medicators leads to all, or most, of the arguing we do about anything else, because some of us have learned since toddler-hood that no problem can be solved without grappling with the details, and others among us have learned that there’s no effective solution that truly relies on them, therefore those of us who sweat and lose sleep over them are just being silly. The latter group is often seen, in a ritual that appears to make perfect sense to them, participating in absurd committee hearings and town hall meetings — in some cases even voting sessions, as a legislative body — “passing the bill so we can find out what’s in it,” to coin a phrase. This is, I think, what Dennis Prager was talking about when he said “I’d rather have clarity than agreement.”

I recall, on a personal matter, missing out on a meeting invitation I was supposed to be getting…when I made inquiries, I was told there wasn’t “any point” to inviting me, since it was known that I “wouldn’t get on board” with the prevailing consensus, and I think others have shared this kind of experience once or twice maybe. I suspect it is much more commonplace for this to play out, than for someone to actually admit to it like that, since it’s counterproductive and strange when you think about it: We’re going to have this “meeting,” ostensibly to gather opinions and build this consensus, but the reality is that the consensus is already put together and we’re just going to have this meeting to get it properly disseminated — and, reinforced. The Medicators, it turns out, would rather have the agreement than the clarity. Again, think back to how they become Medicators in the first place. “Mommy! Daddy! Lookit Me!” …and…that’s how you get stuff. That’s how it’s done. Get the attention, first, then get the stuff. In between the getting of the attention and the getting of the stuff, there is the formation of this “consensus” that will say you can get whatever it is you want at the time. It’s a powerful, powerful force, since it’s developed from the early years. Well, the fact is that once that’s done, clarity is going to be a barricade against getting that thing, and agreement is going to be an enforcement. So there is a natural consequential desire setting in here, toward agreement, and away from clarity. Have to pass it to find out what’s in it. No point inviting you to the meeting because you won’t get on board.

And from that, there is a natural desire of Medicators to elevate process over outcome, and a contrary and complementary desire among those on the other side, to elevate outcome over process. It is in the nature of Architects to be MacGyvers. Some of us get into engineering of some kind, in which MacGyver-ing is quite frowned-upon because each device, be it complex or be it simple, is to be designed and then implemented toward a designated and definable purpose, that & nothing more. But the truth of it is: There is no radioactive schism here, between the “Proper Engineering” Architects and the MacGyver-ing Architects. The MacGyver guys who are drawn toward using paper clips & chewing gum as divining rods and time bombs, can be hired on as engineers, observe the rules, and follow them; and the more straight-laced by-the-rules engineers, can be stranded on deserted islands and figure out how to make this-thing from that-stuff just like the best MacGyver there ever was. People adapt. But the broader split between Architects and Medicators, endures, and people cannot simply hop from one side of it to the other. They may think they can, but they can’t. It’s like a right-handed calligrapher doing his work with his left hand; it’s not natural, and if it’s any good, it’s slow. If it isn’t slow, it isn’t any good.

Did You Get Good Results?And so we have people who follow the process, even at the expense of common sense. They may say that they are after good results, and they’ll protest any insinuation that they’ve failed to achieve them; but if you watch them, you see that they themselves do not watch their own results. Nor can those results be even brought to their attention, if they happen to be undesirable results. Theirs is a world in which, when theory encounters a conflict with reality, the reality must yield to the theory rather than the other way around. They do not derive conclusions from facts; they accept and reject the facts, according to whether those facts comport with their chosen narratives. They do a lot of arguing, but if you watch the arguing closely you’ll see a lot of it consists of telling other people not to point something out. My own experience with being told not to come to meetings because I wouldn’t-get-on-board, is a good example of this. When you’re trying to achieve agreement at the expense of clarity, and your supreme goal is to adhere to a process and you’re not really paying attention to the outcome — you’re going to have to start to get choosey about what can & cannot be discussed.

Here we come to another baffling thing about Medicators: They have their own brand of science which works more-or-less in reverse polarity from what we classically understand that word to describe. Theirs is a sort of anti-science, a negative science — it works, not by way of the continuous accumulation of information, but by getting rid of it. I’ve now and then used the metaphor of the sculptor, asked how he goes about carving such beautiful statues of horses, responds with something like “I start with a block of marble and I get rid of everything that doesn’t look like a horse.” That’s very much how the Medicators achieve their agreement; it reveals how this is done at the expense of clarity. And, I suppose that’s why people are disinvited from so-called “meetings.” You start with all the opinions, and you get rid of anything that doesn’t look like the one you want.

WANT. I have to pause to take note of that. Medicators are hooked on immediate gratification at the expense of delayed gratification; they do not deal with details unless they’re forced into it, and even then they only do the bare minimum, falling short of what would be required to anticipate a true need. This is where it comes hazardous to chair these “push” meetings, for purpose of forcing an already-defined conclusion down everybody’s throats, while pretending to “pull” opinions out of those in attendance — this established conclusion very rarely has anything to do with a true need. Medicators live in a world of wants-before-needs because, again, that’s the way it’s worked since before they could walk. If the baby-toddler really did need something but not want it, you’re going to find this is what mom-n-dad figured out for themselves, and provided before the baby-toddler figured out it was going to be needed. So, the baby-toddler grew older and older, being concerned mostly only about wants…and, with very few exceptions, grew up that way. Need is something you worry about when you actually sweat the details. When you’re really building something.

What is there for the rest of us to do? I don’t know. Obviously, the immediate goal should be to try to point out whatever it is that makes this desirable-opinion not really quite so desirable — if there is anything — but do it in such a way that it doesn’t tick them off. Well, it seems that two-part goal is unworkable because it contradicts itself: You have to go along, or else you’ve already ticked ’em off. The Medicator’s OODA loop is one of subtractive knowledge, they are winnowing and not gathering, they’re working like the sculptor with his block of marble. They like to think they’re truly discussing things. But discussing things calls for examining details, and the truth is they haven’t done that since toddler-hood because there hasn’t been any reason for them to do so.

As a matter of fact, eerily enough, an awful lot of the Medicator’s argument follows a rather elaborate but well-established template: This message is banned. I hate it, come gather around and help me hate it. It may be banned in the past, or it may be about to be banned…perhaps there is no movement, in the past or in the present, to get it banned and I am only now trying to establish such a movement. And perhaps it does not cause me personally any great offense, but I am showing my sensitivity by predicting — and I shall not take no for an answer — that some individual or group within my imagination may find it offensive. But none of that matters, for I have deemed the message to be intolerable, so help me get the ball rolling here, help me get “The Wave” started. And we shall rip out this weed from the garden of our larger discourse, and sow salt deep into the ground where it was, so that all our friends and foes will be repelled from ever mentioning it again.

That’s the template, and there’s a lot going on there. First, there’s the idea that we all become “better” in some way…presumably, smarter…from having knowledge removed. That’s your reverse-polarity science kicking in there, they think they’re learning more by way of knowing less. Secondly: The movement to get the knowledge banned, becomes more influential — and respectable — when more people participate in it. This is the consensus-thinking, the agreement-over-clarity; if we “all” agree on it, there’s no need for clarity, because we’ve already agreed. I have to put “all” in scare quotes because, as noted, they’re achieving this consensus by kicking people out of meetings, like the sculptor carving the horse. So their consensus argument ends up being a bit of nonsense, a bit of “We know we’re right, because everyone who agrees with us, agrees with us.” Thirdly, there is the idea that the message becomes a tumor that must be removed from the larger host, not because it is false, questionable or could lead to bad consequences, but because of real or imagined offense. This is in keeping with the clarity-agreement divide. If clarity is your goal, you don’t give a hang about offensive messages; quite to the contrary, you’d welcome the offensive messages before the inoffensive ones, knowing that a paradigm shift that may perhaps be a helpful one now & then, will naturally cause some measure of discomfort, just like a disinfectant on an open wound will always cause some stinging. Don’t you remember what your parents told you when you skinned or elbow or knee by being a bit too adventurous? That’s how you know it’s working. Well, information is the same way. But if you value agreement over clarity, and feeling over thinking, of course you’re not going to want that.

There is also the aggrieved person who is actually experiencing the offense. You’ll notice this is very rarely an individual. This just doesn’t pack a wallop. Imagine you’re at an office party and one of your co-workers experienced some family tragedy, either lately or from way on back. Obviously a joke at his expense referencing such a thing is going to be frowned-upon; but how much? Certainly it isn’t going to rise to the “Don’t bother coming in Monday” level, even if the target of the joke is a high-ranking executive. No, to get fired you have to offend a class. In fact, you have a much better chance of being given the bum’s-rush, offering a hypothetical offense to an imaginary class, than making a real and intentionally mean-spirited offense against an individual. So there is something else that starts to happen here: If you want to protest a real or imagined offense eagainst someone, to make yourself look more sensitive and empathic, you should protest on behalf of a class and not an individual, even if the class’ offense is something you’re only imagining. You have a much better chance of “proving” your worth. The point is, that with this kind of problem-solving methodology in place, and dominating the discussion, the individual always suffers in importance. It is unavoidable.

The sensitivity on behalf of these real-or-imagined classes, and their real-or-imagined feelings of offense, is phony of course. Hyper-sensitivity is not true empathy, although the English language falls short of making any kind of distinction between these two things. That does not mean, however, that this distinction is not there, or that it isn’t extremely important. Empathy is testable.

– III –

Because the Medicators place so much importance on this ritual of finding and censoring messages that might offend classes of people, and are thus inclined to diminish the role of the individual, yet another key question arises which, by answering it in a way that makes sense to them, causes conflict with the Architects who think in terms of cause-and-effect and remain sufficiently disciplined to figure out how to build things that actually work: Can people do that sort of stuff?

You see it in the “gun control” debates, you see it in the ObamaCare debates, you see it in the debates about Boy Scouts and home-schooling and labor unions: Are people self-sufficient and capable…and should they be?. You have to do some digging to find out what people are really trying to advance here (and you’ll notice, since 2005, the link behind that link seems to have died, so it’s a good thing I lifted the text). There are two cultures we’re seeing, here, thriving in their own home turfs, and then coming into conflict when they meet up with each other. The Architect’s frame of mind is one in which something is wanted, or needed, and the person pursuing it can see that certain necessities emerge. Cause-and-effect. So the prerequisites are completed…which requires individual action, or at the very least, individual planning. In the other culture, the want is communicated. It is then to be expected that some kind of system will be set up to deliver. And what if it doesn’t?

Here we see why there is so much complaining going on right now. When you’re dependent, and you don’t see yourself as an active individual capable of putting all the steps in place to reach the goal, and the only thing you can do is communicate the desire and communicate it again until it gets fulfilled, well…you communicate. It ends up sounding like complaining because — ta-da, by definition, that’s exactly what it is. The system is set up, and if it doesn’t work, you complain until it works. Here is something else people should take into account, I think, before enmeshing themselves further into the Medicator mindset: It is conducive, in this way, toward negativity. There’s not much gratitude toward the engineer who has to come out on a hot day and get the ticket dispensing machine working by the light rail station. There is only nastiness when it doesn’t work. The turnstyle is skipped, so the system is robbed of its fare, which is considered to be “just desserts” for the crime of leaving that machine broken. Sometimes, the machines are even more smashed up…that really oughta show ’em.

But the truth is, when people don’t feel like they can do things for themselves, and therefore have embarked on this lifelong journey of greater and greater reliance on the system that dispenses their cough drops and their hand sanitizer and their doggie poop bags and their light rail tickets…and their health care…their confidence is never really complete. This is an exchange of opportunity for security, in which the full price is paid but the prize of the transaction is never quite realized. It “feels” like a win, because Medicators value the security more highly; and feeling is their way of perceiving the world around them, so “feel” is good enough. But, again, results. What are the results. What is the probability that a truly dedicated community-before-individuality kiosk-serviced Medicator is going to achieve perfect attendance at his job or his school, at the end of the year…compared to an Architect type who wears a Leatherman on his belt everywhere he goes…and maybe a gun. Packs his own lunch, packs his own hand sanitizer, packs his own chewing gum, packs his own sunscreen, drives his truck. The price is paid, but the prize is not acquired, for the guy who relies on things outside of himself doesn’t enjoy any greater probability for getting where he wants to go. This has to do with locus of control, the internal versus the external. It isn’t that the light rail will fail any more often than the other guy’s pickup truck — that actually isn’t very likely to happen at all. The question is: What happens next? Do you really think the light rail guy has a backup plan ready if something happens to his ride? Probably not. What about the guy driving his truck, who turned the key and found the engine didn’t turn over? He’s much more likely to have planned for this, and exercised his options. It’s part of relying on yourself, you do what you can as far as contingency planning. It’s just part of what you do.

This is not to say that Medicators cannot admire individuals. They do. They admire…Warren Buffett, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton. But they don’t know why. Ask them what Hillary has accomplished, or what specifically is so awesome and wonderful about President Obama, and you get back this biggest load of undefinable rubbish. Mr. Buffett, of course, is a billionaire, that’s definable. But you don’t have to discuss things with them too much longer, before you discover that in their world that is supposed to be a bad thing, at least when other people manage to do it. So it seems Warren Buffett and George Soros get some kind of pass, they’re allowed to make money? I’m not sure, I haven’t been able to get a meaningful answer out of them on this point, and you probably haven’t been able to either. They themselves don’t seem to understand how it works. Some people are allowed to make excessive amounts of money…and, some people are allowed to have glory, to be credited with individual accomplishments. The rest of us are not. Even if we agree with the political agenda, we’re not allowed to do these things.

But, again — you inquire what exactly are these accomplishments, you don’t get back too much by way of thoughtfulness. Very little detail, aside from what has been copied off web pages. “Worked really hard” and things like that. In the case of Joe Biden, Janet Napolitano and others, it gets downright embarrassing. What wonderful, excellent leaders these people are! And we know this…how? What exactly are the individual attributes they have that others don’t have? Conviction? Wisdom? We hear a lot about “leadership” and “passion,” since leadership can be left vague and undefined, and passion is, well, a pretty low bar to clear. But it is in the nature of the Medicators to confuse the excellent with the mediocre. The vanguards of their movement are all recognizable, nominally famous in some cases. But other than that, there isn’t too much to be specifically explored or cited insofar as what sets them apart.

It seems we can safely conflate this quality of being able to make money, and remain a good person, with this other quality of being able to be recognized as an individual who has accomplished something uniquely his, or hers. What we can’t safely conclude is: Is this merely a desire to advance the political agenda? It does not seem so, to me. There are a lot of good, intelligent people walking around out there who do not self-identify as “left wing” or “liberals.” But they’ll agree that John Kerry is the very best Secretary of State we can possibly have, perhaps even enthusiastically, although they’ll do it by feeling instead of by thinking — such that they cannot name a single quality Kerry has that makes him uniquely suited for this post. Same goes for all the left-wing superstars, or for that matter musicians or actors or anybody else with talent generally acknowledged to be superior to the average, but undefinable. Which I think provides support for what I said up top: Some people learn in childhood how to feel instead of how to think, and as a result, end up putting their faith, throughout their entire lives, in persons and institutions that are arguably unworthy. These people are known for, among other things, treating the entertainment industry as something other than the entertainment industry. They start to respect Julia Roberts and George Clooney and Bono as experts on climate change, and credit them for eradicating poverty in places where they haven’t actually eradicated it yet. It comes from spending a lifetime of treating toys as tools, and treating tools as weird otherworldly things that ordinary people shouldn’t be having.

Hope and HopelessnessThis has an effect on the belief in self-defense. This must be the entrance ramp to liberalism, for the “centrists” who do not self-identify as part of the political left, tend to agree with the political right about it. I’ve used the situation many times before of two students hauled to the principal’s office for getting into a fight, and it is somehow established that one kid threw the first punch and the other kid threw the last one. The common sense solution is that the bulk of the punishment should be for the one who started the fight. Centrists do not side with liberals here, even if those centrists are Medicators; the liberals stand alone in saying, punish the kid who finished the fight, always bring greater injury to whoever is stronger. But, over time, a process of seduction is applied against those whose life-travels have brought them into the Medicator mindset. The feeling over the thinking. The process over the outcome. The external locus of control. After a relentless drumbeat of propaganda, some new ideas set in, much like the serpent slithering in to the Garden of Eden to offer up an apple: Gosh, it’s so unfair…maybe the bully kid started the fight in the first place, because he’s misunderstood.

So this Medicator thinking leads to liberalism, by way of a cognitive avenue that is slick, dark, sultry, seductive, tempting. It’s also just incoherent. The “good” side is the side that manages to get the last word in…but that is only proof of what was known before, because the good side became good during something prior, in which the other side finished off a fight by throwing the last punch. Everything is compensatory, and therefore contradictory. And also useless. You don’t know what is to be done, other than giving this artificial advantage to the runts-of-the-litter who were short-changed, somehow, by nature…or by the marketplace. That much is plain, but what comes afterward is just a big black emptiness. Okay, so so-and-so is going to have the last word on something, and everyone supporting so-and-so is going to feel really good about that. Then what? What do we get, exactly? Fiscal solvency? Or less fighting and we all start getting along? More jobs? Fewer wars? None of these seem to materialize…but again…process over outcome.

I feel badly for them, really. It seems to me that while they talk a lot about hope, they deny themselves the optimistic vision and internal-locus-of-control that is necessary for real hope. They are confusing hope with fear, even in the midst of insisting that hope conquered fear the day their guy won the election. The more you look at what they think they know, and why it is they think they know it…and how they’re motivated to think about the next thing, and act according to it…how they “learn” more by getting rid of knowledge rather than adding on to it…you see they’re living in fear. They’re surrounded by fear, and have no idea that fear is their life-blood, because they refuse to admit it to themselves. But it’s provable, because their so-called “hope” is, as I wrote, “merely the pockets of emptiness between the clouds of dread.” They hope they don’t miss their light rail. They hope they’re not accosted or mugged while waiting at the station. They hope they can find a job, they hope they don’t get sick while they don’t have health insurance, they hope they don’t lose their stuff.

Hoping that something bad doesn’t happen to you, isn’t hope. It’s fear. Nothing more, nothing less.

– IV –

I mentioned that Medicators have a propensity for confusing the excellent with the mediocre. The confusion seems related to, and is perhaps one and the same with, confusing true “hope” with merely an empty pocket within a vast deluge of fear. Since we know Medicators are Medicators because of upbringing, and an insufficiently expanded worldview that makes external-locus-of-control look like the natural order of things (arguably, Architects are Architects for the same reason, they believe in internal-locus becasue they’ve never known anything else), a fascinating possibility emerges: They will not consider the idea that John kerry and Hillary Clinton’s and Joe Biden’s sense of judgment is anything less than stellar and godlike, because they simply don’t appreciate the rewards of truly good judgment. They see it where it does not exist, because they don’t know what it looks like.

In fact, I think they see all sorts of wonderful human qualities, that exist at the individual level, in places where those qualities do not exist — because they just don’t understand them. I do not mean to say these people lack decency, compassion, intelligence, or any of all the other positive human qualities. I wouldn’t say that; I don’t believe it is true. What I mean to say is this: They do not truly believe the individual is the best place to find these qualities. It’s like Sen. Kennedy was saying with his “facing down individualism” thing. But here is an enigma: Because they do not believe it is there, somehow this leads to them “finding” it where it doesn’t exist. This is not the logically expected outcome; if someone believes something isn’t there, I would expect him to do something different — seeing it in front of him, and refusing to admit it. This is more like the exact opposite. All these mediocre democrat public “servants,” they are individuals, are they not?

There is something social happening here. Socially rewarding. And punishing, too. Recall the thing about getting rid of opinions, and facts as well, that do not fit a narrative. Those who’ve been dis-invited from these agreement-over-clarity meetings because they “wouldn’t get on board” know what I know, that before you’re finally asked to step out and not let the doorknob hit you in the ass, there is an escalating procession of these little mid-course corrections…and rebukes…and put-downs and beat-downs, leading, should the ritual proceed this far, to the opening of a can of whoop. And then the final ostracism. Well, that’s the punishment. There are rewards, too, or at least the anticipation of these rewards.

If the narrative is that Hillary Clinton is the smartest woman in the whole world…then, simply put, you have the prospect of increased stature in the community, if you opine exactly that. Similarly, you diminish your stature if you say something to the contrary, or “no I think Sarah Palin might be smarter,” or “If Danica Patrick came in fourth, does that meant there were three guys who did better?” Those don’t fit the narrative, so not only do they get a beat-down, but there is a perceived cumulative reward for those who participate in the beat-down. This is, I think, a holdover from earlier times in which the town hall meeting was only an occasional necessity, and something of a novelty. Survival itself was actually something of a luxury.

When people decide things in groups, it seems to be an inevitability that just a very few within the group are going to amass the lion’s share of influence in deciding what the group is going to be deciding. Someone is at the pinnacle, and it may or may not be the person who wears the actual title. There’s always a lead-dog in the pack…and, as the saying goes, all the other dogs can see nothing but someone else’s ass. If the group is very large, there is going to be an “inner circle.” This part seems almost mathematical: There will be a “Big Five” if the overall group numbers between fifteen and thirty, or so. If there are more than a hundred in the total membership, the inner circle will be between ten and twenty. But always there is that one guy at the tippy top. All these people pack more of a punch than the average bear…but nobody, anywhere, can say exactly why. Other than one word: “Charisma.” Everybody wants to do whatever it is they say should be done, because they look around and see: Everybody else is also going to want to do whatever it is they say. Conflict would be unprofitable, futile, and injurious to the self. It is an expedient calculation.

It is most visible when it doesn’t make sense. Which is something that happens quite a bit, actually. Example: How much does Barack Obama know about health care? Even the most ardent Obama supporter would (eventually) admit this isn’t really Our First Holy President’s shtick, right? Maybe after a few drinks. But here we are; the whole nation is going to count on Him to make the system all wonderful. It’s a good thing He’s not the one who wrote what He’s selling, Congress did that. But then again, it doesn’t seem like Congress understands too much about it either. Again, details. Passing the bill so you can see what’s in it. Does anyone, anywhere, insist this is the best way? No. So how did we get here?

How we got here was group-think. Lots of groups, lots of meetings, in which members of the group were threatened with non-membership if they didn’t go along. That, and the prospect of social elevation for the people who did go along. It always strikes me as a fascinating exercise, and a bit surreal, not unlike watching hot coals around a campfire: Those which are positioned more toward the periphery, will eventually extinguish and become ineffectual nullities, contributing nothing to the fire and drawing nothing from the fire. If they’re shoved inward they have a chance at becoming part of the “inner circle” where the blue flames dance excitedly, and become part of the “in-crowd,” contributing much and drawing much benefit.

Here is the contradiction of the Medicator mindset: It feels, it believes it has some measure of empathy, it relates, it “groks.” With the underdog. It wants the underdogs to be helped — whoever didn’t throw the last punch, should have the last word, remember? So all noble efforts are compensatory in nature, redressing a previous unfair defeat with an artificial victory. Equal, equal, equal, we all should be equal. But it’s tethered inseparably to group think, and group think has to work around a caste system. There’s no other way for it to happen. So as much as they prattle on about “equality,” the truth is that a complete victory here would ruin them, as inequality is the gasoline for their engines. They bludgeon others into this agreement-over-clarity consensus-science pattern of thinking, by way of briberies and threats against the social stature.

You are to go-along-to-get-along…and in so doing, prove what a wonderful person you are. The results are not favorable, we’ve learned; in fact, much of the time they’re quite wretched. We should expect them to be. Because what is really happening here is that, as an arbiter of human goodness, the community or the government is being put in God’s place. We are putting a decision in the mortal domain, what belongs in the heavenly one.

Once that is done, everything rots. Respect becomes phony. People bow to one another…the peripheral coals long for and lust for positions closer to the center…and so they dutifully follow along, and insist that Eric Holder is uniquely qualified to be our country’s Attorney General, he’s an impartial and fair-minded dude and all that. But it’s phony because it isn’t heart-felt, it’s just something muttered to avoid banishment.

Cognitive DissonanceThey say things they don’t really mean. They support a stronger collective, with greater authority and more intrusive powers. But they don’t really mean any of it. As far as anyone can figure, they want more sacrifices to be made from individuals, so the “greater good” can win the day…but they always mean other individuals, not themselves.

The other thing that happens is, weakness and incompetence start to become desirable. Oh, nobody admits it. But…you become what you watch. If the underdog is championed every hour of every day, then the underdog is watched. The mistakes that were made by the underdog, that made him the underdog, are not called out. Instead, they are emulated. The people who are doing much better, on the other hand, are not watched, except with lots of scorn and resentment. Therefore, they are not emulated.

Material goods, be they luxuries or be they vitals, after awhile are no longer earned. All noble pursuits are compensatory in nature, remember, so rather than being surrendered to those who earned them, through hard work, contract, or both; they are made available to those who “need” them. This is a consequence of replacing the blessings of God with the approval of man. It turns out mortal humans don’t do this very well. Weakness and need become the “coin of the realm,” as I think Ayn Rand put it somewhere; and so, people are rewarded for doing all of the wrong things, things that bring injury to themselves, and do nothing to help out the community as a whole.

All this while everyone in the community — all the campfire coals, from the ones around the periphery on the verge of being extinguished, to the ones at the very center under the spectacularly hot blue flames — are under threat of banishment, every minute of every day, for possibly thinking the wrong things. This gets back to the earlier point about transactions, prices paid and prizes acquired; once again, we see it’s a bone-headed transaction because the price has to be paid in full, and the prize is not forthcoming. Opportunity for security; independent thinking for security; plans made that might truly work out, for security. But the security isn’t there. Everyone is under threat of ostracism, all of the time. Because, since humans have made themselves the final arbiters of whether they’re good humans or not, they have made themselves anti-human. They may think themselves wise, and shrewd, and full of “hope and change” and all that. But they’re no longer sacred, because according to their own credo, they no longer exist as the fulfillment of a wish of some greater, higher, more glorious being.

And so this credo leads to a worship of death, in one form or another. It always has. A resentment against success, has to metastasize into a resentment against life itself. It’s unavoidable.

– V –

Since Architects and Medicators disagree on how thinking is done, on whether thinking or feeling is the proper approach to a vexing problem that demands a complex solution, the very structure of the thoughts they think is remarkably different. Medicators live according to the passive voice sentence, the “it was the consensus that…” or “it is recommended that…” It’s almost unfair challenging them on why they think the things they think. It probably feels unfair to be asked, to them. After all, they’re just doing the same economizing that we all do, when it comes to remembering things long-term. The conclusion is important; but who said that? What was the rationale? Aw, heck. It is to be recommended…that…

The conflict that emerges most frequently and feverishly, is the one I pointed out earlier, about solving problems versus following rules. I was reading an interesting article lately on how to establish and preserve a culture of creativity, particularly within Information Technology…no mean feat, that. And it made an interesting point. “In our effort to normalize, standardize and optimize our industry, we have systematically stymied the creative forces in our teams. And that has left us vulnerable.”

But this is a much older situation than IT. It is in the nature of Medicators to take over and dominate. That’s because Medicators cannot truly negotiate; they will not learn how; there is no reason for them to do so. They don’t measure things. Measuring things is just meaningless detail. They are Monsters of the Id, wanting what they want when they want it. And, they get what they want by communicating — so, they have a reason to communicate, but no reason to compromise. They will always come out on top, in any organized society, unless & until specific countermeasures are put in place to keep them from dominating. That’s what has happened to IT, and only in the last fifteen years or so. People approached problems creatively, thinking about details, coming up with creative and productive solutions…sometimes they did it with good engineering principles in mind, sometimes they MacGyver’d it, sometimes it was a combination of those two things. And then, almost as if someone yelled “stop,” they began following rules. If that meant the problem went unfixed, then so be it.

The author of the article ‘fesses up to being part of the problem. Well, I’m part of the problem too. I was promoted from one engineering position to the next, until there was no place higher to which I could have been promoted. Then I became a project manager and started…well…enforcing rules. It became my job to destroy what others had built, because those things did not follow rules.

Process over outcome. It has long held a mysterious allure for us.

The new Jewish bride is making her first big dinner for her husband and tries her hand at her mother’s brisket recipe, cutting off the ends of the roast the way her mother always did. Hubby thinks the meat is delicious, but says, “Why do you cut off the ends — that’s the best part!” She answers, “That’s the way my mother always made it.”

The next week, they go to the old bubbie’s house, and she prepares the famous brisket recipe, again cutting off the ends. The young bride is sure she must be missing some vital information, so she askes her grandma why she cut off the ends. Grandma says, “Dahlink, that’s the only way it will fit in the pan!”

Just as this creates two different cultures, one living independently and one living kiosk-to-kiosk, it also creates two different economic systems. In the one, you work to earn money and then use that money to pay your bills; your sense of independence contributes to, and is nourished by, your work, since without your independence you have no ability, and without your ability you have nothing to sell. In the other, you hobble on from one day to the next, wanting things, and making a pain-in-the-ass out of yourself, to someone, until someone gives it to you. Just like the Medicator babies-and-toddlers being medicated with minute-to-minute fulfillments of their various wants by way of repetition of the “mom dad lookit me” litany. The difference is, of course, that if you earn money with your work, you have a claim on that money; the other guy has to give it to you whether he wants to or not, because it is now your property. In the other economic system, you have to make the guy feel like giving it to you. That’s done by making him feel sorry for you, or annoying him into it. Those are your two choices, and in either case, the results are soft; it may or may not work. You don’t have an actual claim.

Fleeing Their GovernmentOnce again, we see humanity is diminished when we live our lives the Medicator way. Governments always become oppressive, and after a time start to resist, and then attack, the governed. Nobody has a real claim to what they need to acquire, in order to survive. Even the bosses have to follow rules that don’t make any sense, and nobody can say who’s bossing the bosses around, because everything is viewed through a passive-voice frame of reference: The Rules Say that Congress can’t send out Christmas cards. How do we find out who’s bossing around the bosses? Maybe we could shed some light on it if some boss went and broke the rule, and waited to see who came along to punish him. But it doesn’t seem to happen. Meanwhile, the rules beckon not only inaction, but action as well, so we struggle along doing silly things that don’t actually help anyone anywhere. Building products nobody wants. Providing services nobody requested. But working…really, really hard.

This is a road to Communism; which, if we are to define it in a way that is truly meaningful to us and accurately reflects reality, applies not only to living in a commune, but doing so unproductively. It aggravates natural human jealousies to confuse the all-important difference between creation and destruction, and then it uses that confusion to harness good human energy toward destruction while making the actors think they’re acting creatively. It seeks to broaden the population of the lower classes, and to narrow the population of the more affluent ones, so it can achieve the greater support throughout the electorate for legalized plunder. It insists on failure. It guarantees failure. We know it will fail, every time.

STACI: They behave as if S)taple supplies are in short supply and should therefore be rationed — all of the time, as if we’re always in the Zombie Apocalypse, fighting for quarts of gasoline, firewood or drinking water. T)ime always began yesterday, they can’t remember that their last grand plan failed, or has yet to yield success, and total bliss is always just one revolution away. A)bundance is the sure-fire way to force people to like something, and to force people to dislike something all you have to do is conceal it from view and deprive them of it; the exacdt opposite of the way human nature really works. C)ommerce is something that becomes healthier and more robust if there is merely more activity; there is no “business” other than being “busy,” and prosperity doesn’t come from people genuinely helping each other. And I)ncentive is a mythology, if people are told what to do in the right way, they’ll forget all about their natural inclinations. Or they darn well should! Five ideas…five flawed, erroneous, always-mistaken ideas…and you’ll always find at least some of them in the wake of every failed plan from our friends, the liberals, the grown-up Medicators. They medicate too much, and loss of freedom, loss of respect for human life, poverty, blight and disaster, are the consistent results.

When you don’t plan for success, you plan for failure.

– VI –

Because of all the above, the Architects and Medicators naturally disagree on not only what humans are & are not capable of doing, but on what the human individual should be doing. The disagreement is between the ordinary and the extraordinary. In Medicator communities, the natural hostility unleashed against those who don’t fit in, leads inexorably to a lust for more and more cleanliness; more and more purity. This is a problem, because you can’t have “more and more” of something that exists, in actuality, only as the absence of something else. But Medicators work by social elevation. They want to become more-and-more of whatever they are, so they can get closer to the inner circle. They have no other way to succeed…

…they used to have other ways to succeed, but they got rid of those.

And so whatever it is they’ve been cleaning, they have to make even cleaner. Hence the many-times-repeated ritual of “look how much I hate this thing, come gather around and help me hate it.” Cleaner, cleaner, all the time, until there is nothing left to clean. Then, they’re like the dog that caught the car, they don’t know what to do next. Well, actually they do; that is the problem. They know what success, and right-minded thinking, look like — so anything that looks like anything else, must be wrong. So everything has to emulate the model. Which ends up looking rather silly and cartoonish by the time they’re done with it.

Through a long serialization of abuses of common sense, they eventually have to do away with confronting evil in any way. That doesn’t fit the pattern. It’s still something of a mystery as to whether or not they actually support evil, but they certainly do oppose any resistance to it. You have to define things in order to confront evil, like start by defining the evil. That means definitions, and definitions mean details. They’re not fond of details. You can test this: First thing they want done in the presence of an enemy, is to “sit down and talk out our differences with him/her/them.” What’s actually said during these sit-downs? What concessions are made? What promises are extracted? How are these concessions/promises to be prioritized? They will not say. They can not say. Can it really be said they have faith in diplomacy, when they refuse to define what it’s supposed to do? The family has to go the way of the Dodo Bird, that’s another must-have. Family means definitions. Beauty is a human achievement, and they’re none too fond of that…or, at least, they’re much more fond of the natural jealousies that seem to follow beauty around everywhere it goes. Family, and beauty, involve gender roles; gender roles involve definitions.

Modern EducationUltimately, there is only one definition they favor, and that is the definition of a model — a model to be emulated. Emulated competitively, so that the negligible deviations in reality that exist and are forgiven today, become untenable flaws tomorrow that are to be excised on pain of obliteration. When they call themselves “progressives,” that is the progress they have in mind, whether they realize it or not. Progress — subtractive, not additive, using their special brand of reverse-polarity anti-science, which learns in a subtractive way and not an additive one, by forgetting bad things. We are to reach downward and not upward. We are to do less, each year, not more, than we were doing the year before. This is why they’re all for “education.” They aren’t using that word the same way you and I use it. They mean indoctrination. They mean to take all these incoming freshmen, with all their weird strange undisciplined ideas sprawling all hither and yon, and get them all arranged. Synchronized. Make them all the same. Agreement over clarity.

That’s because, in the liberal/Medicator mindset, human deeds are dirt. They are to become “better” by being made less of what they were before; becoming cleaner, not bigger. They are opposed to human achievement, because they are opposed to human life. They see humans as a contagion. To them, the grand achievement is to be a better and better GoodPerson, but the only way to do that is to apologize for oneself and the space he takes up in the universe. And so to become accepted, you become less and do less — then you can feel smug.

Short of that, there is no way to distinguish yourself in any way…and you shouldn’t want to. Producing good results is certainly not an adequate substitute. Your role in this world is to be, and not to do; and what you should want to be, is a nothing. That’s the ultimate goal, to jump into a hole, reach back up, and pull the hole in after yourself. That’s the mindset.

Cross-posted at Rotten Chestnuts and Right Wing News.

Pick of the Week

Saturday, July 20th, 2013

Nick Searcy Apologizes for Chris Matthews

Saturday, July 20th, 2013

Action.

Reaction.

Win.

Wasn’t your apology to give, Mr. Matthews.

Update 7/22/13: BailofRights has an apology of her own to offer:

No, You NEVER STARTED Arguing…

Tuesday, July 16th, 2013

A global-warming alwarmist who writes for TIME Magazine, met up in the airport with someone who’d already figured out the whole thing is a big scam. Teach links to her tale…and makes an observation of his own…

Would you be shocked that this article is in the psychology section rather than science? I’m not.

I’ve learned not to argue too long with people who do not “believe in” human-made climate change. I figure it’s impossible to reason someone out of a position that they didn’t reason themselves into. But the fact is that even those of us who do believe climate change is man-made are in partial denial about our enormous global problems, and almost all of us minimize or normalize the situation.

Most Warmists do not want to discuss this with non-Warmists, because Warmists tend not to have facts on their sides, and one can’t argue for long when they’re only armed with talking points. [emphasis mine]

In the global-warming scam, this happens all the time: A chicken-little will deliver some snotty monologue about “I’ve learned it is futile to discuss it with…” blah, blah, blah. With big smiles on their faces and with their eyes closed.

Erm no, I say. You didn’t learn you should stop discussing it with the other side. The truth is you never started. Oh, you might delight in repeating over and over that the “science” is on your side because CO2 acts as an insulator and the greenhouse gas effect exists. It’s an established fact! Look it up! But when we get to that more crucial, thorny matter…of WEMUSTACTNOWORITMAYBETOOLATE!!. That’s where the problem is. As our illustrious President might phrase it, although He’ll never admit it here — there is no “there” there.

So they indulge in the snotty monologue about not discussing it, because that’s all they have.

It isn’t just global warming. I still remember the argument with the psychologist which never really was an argument at all…it was an inquiry, which met with a barricade of “I’m feeling bullied.” An inquiry that dealt with the fine distinction between actually finding something, and merely speculating on it being there. That’s, like, a defining trait of real “science,” and unfortunately this discussion would meander into that disquieting residual question about whether psychology should be considered a real science. So when she said she felt bullied, I’m sure that was sincere. Just unprofessional as all holy hell. The point is: There, too, we have something that is so obviously “proven” by “science,” that “there’s no use discussing it with” someone who doesn’t immediately and uncritically accept it.

The problem is not that there is futility involved in earnestly discussing what is supposed to be “known.” The problem is, any discussion in which the “known” is subjected to diligent questioning, might strip it of the quality of being “known.” So the proponents did not lately discover that they shouldn’t be doing that. They’ve understood it from the very beginning.

Because they insulate their ideas from challenge, they must insulate themselves from it as well. Because they are protected from honest discussion, they are sensitized to it.

When they finally are exposed to some diligent inspection of their cherished beliefs, whether they say so or not — they feel abused. Uh, yeah, they do. I’m sure when it finally happens, it feels like a real whallopin’.

I recall my son was, at the time his Mom and I split up, eyebrows-deep into this horrible Japanese cartoon about snotty little kids with eyes the size of dinner plates, who’d talk smack to other kids and get their magical creatures into fights with each other. I forbade any merchandise that had to do with that execrable franchise from ever entering my bachelor pad. I didn’t like the way the kids would generate the conflict by talking their smack, and the magical creatures would have to settle it. The message from the cartoon, to me, was abundantly clear: It isn’t up to you to handle anything or fix anything in life. Some magical pixie-dust fairy-goblin will pop out of a distinctive little ball, and make it all right for you. Great, a cartoon is going to teach our kids to become Michael Vick. Just want I wanted. No thanks. I hate that cartoon. Words cannot say how much. To this day I see it as like a second Pearl Harbor attack, I really do.

Anyway, back to the people who want to do a lot of arguing but not really. Maybe I should call these people “Pokemon People.” They generate the conflict, talking their smack…want to control the economy, refuse to take no for an answer, can’t & won’t deal with the resulting conflict. They require, but are frustratingly missing, their magical little creatures that are supposed to leap out of the ball and magically vanquish the “enemy.” Enemy being: Those who are inconveniently asking, just how & why is it you think you know the things you think you know?

I call bullshit on the idea that they have any litany of misadventures discussing things with the opposition, before they finally figured out they shouldn’t do it anymore. That’s a load. This never happened. They never started doing the discussion in the first place. They’ve known from the very beginning that this is something they can’t do. Their ideas are just too fragile.

Hat tip to Maggie’s Farm.

The New AXE Commercial is Offending a Lot of People…

Sunday, July 14th, 2013

…and I have no idea why.

Well, I shouldn’t say “no idea,” that isn’t accurate. I notice it’s one of a great many teevee advertisements that make males look like complete idiots who can’t concentrate on anything. But since they’re all on the infantile side of twenty-three years old, this doesn’t rub me the wrong way too badly…and besides, somehow I have the idea that this isn’t quite the wrench-in-the-cogs that’s causing the ruckus, IYKWIMAITYD.

Hawt women-n-girls is hawt. This one is filed under Aristotle’s Laws of Thought: A thing is what it is. A is A.

There is a Freeberg Addendum to the Aristotle Laws of Thought: When we have to pretend a thing is something other than what it is, to keep someone from getting all pissed off and bent out of shape, it’s time to admit we’re surrounded by nitwits who are just looking for reasons to be offended.

Update: Omigaw, it just hit me like a thunderbolt. I was inspired as I read through some of the YouTube comments. It’s that old disagreement between normal-thinking people and second & third-wave feminists…aptly represented by the Swedes.

Most little girls don’t want to play with dump trucks, as almost any parent can attest. Including me: When my granddaughter Eliza was given a toy train, she placed it in a baby carriage and covered it with a blanket so it could get some sleep.

Androgyny advocates like our Swedish friends have heard such stories many times, and they have an answer. They acknowledge that sex differences have at least some foundation in biology, but they insist that culture can intensify or diminish their power and effect. Even if Eliza is prompted by nature to interact with a train in a stereotypical female way, that is no reason for her parents not to energetically correct her. Hunter College psychologist Virginia Valian, a strong proponent of Swedish-style re-genderization, wrote in the book Why So Slow? The Advancement of Women, “We do not accept biology as destiny…We vaccinate, we inoculate, we medicate…I propose we adopt the same attitude toward biological sex differences.”

Valian is absolutely right that we do not have to accept biology as destiny. But the analogy is ludicrous: We vaccinate, inoculate, and medicate children against disease. Is being a gender-typical little boy or girl a pathology in need of a cure? Failure to protect children from small pox, diphtheria, or measles places them in harm’s way. I don’t believe there is any such harm in allowing male/female differences to flourish in early childhood.

And there is the disagreement that has been flourishing. In the catalogs and ads as well as in reality, boys play with construction tools and guns and trains and trucks, and girls play with dolls. Is this nature or nurture?

I’ve tangled with my share of feminists who insist it is “nurture” and I can tell you this: It is positively mind-blowing how sure they are of their “nurture” ideas without any supporting evidence at all. None. Other than “Our daughters play with dump truck toys and guns so how d’ya like that”…but without actually spying on them, I don’t know how many pecks and bushels of nurture it takes to defeat the few pints & ounces of nature, to manufacture this exceptional tom-girl who’d rather pretend to work at a construction site than to rock a baby to sleep.

My lately-arriving epiphany is this: We’re looking at a mindset here that says YES…boys prefer to shoot rocks at tin cans using a slingshot, only because they have been taught to want to do that…and…admiring Kate Upton’s boobs is an extension of this.

We have to figure this out, because they’re not coming out and saying it. It would sound too silly. Well…of course

Your male eyes are drawn to the image above, only because your retrograde daddy spent years calling you a sissy-boy if they weren’t — it’s all conditioning. Your small-dee dad in his wife-beater shirt, and the “sexist” magazines & commercials; there’s nothing about it in your, uh, hard-wiring, at all. Right, yeah, sure.

Again, nobody is saying this word for word. So it isn’t fair for me to snicker at it as I’d like to…but, it is fair to theorize about it. Especially when I don’t have any other answers.

The Honest “Skyfall” Trailer

Saturday, July 13th, 2013

Okay now DON’T LISTEN to this jackass guy! Because this movie was FUN!

…but…then again…there were quite a few parts to it that didn’t & still don’t make a lick of sense, and pretty much in exactly the way they’re described here. So I guess, alright, you can go ahead and listen to him…

The Two Economic Systems

Saturday, July 13th, 2013

I haven’t pointed it out directly here, although perhaps I’ve made more-than-occasional reference to it…since it’s like preaching to the choir. But it’s probably more appropriate here than as a Facebook post.

There are two economic systems fighting each other for supremacy right now. With the one, you go to a job and exchange your labor for money, your employer gets that money by selling products and services to customers. You take your money, pay your utilities and your installments and buy your food, with what’s left over you either save or splurge as you see fit.

The other economic system is called “Occupy.” In that one, you wait until you want or need something and then you do a lot of yelling and obstructing and generally make yourself into a pain in the ass, until someone gives you whatever it is to shut you up…or, forces someone else to give you whatever it is. Then you shut up until there’s something else you want or need, at which time you become a pain in the ass again.

It is spooky how consistently the Obama administration supports one of these economic systems over the other. I don’t believe in “conspiracies,” generally, but I do think the folks in charge now are fully aware of this battle between the two economic systems…and they have their preference about which one should win. And they’re not alone.

Some of this has been going on for quite awhile, since the industrial revolutions of the 19th and 20th centuries. Hey, that’s why political arguments tend to go on awhile, often spinning around in circles, generating much heat and little light…different classes of people being hurt & helped. Are Barack Obama’s policies “good”? What about Gov. Jerry Brown’s policies, are they “good”? Are labor unions “good”? Do they help this thing we call an “economy”?

Watering My HippiesThe democrats will say: Look at these poor wretches over here, look at this program that helps them. Think about what would happen to them without that program. And there is some truth in this. We know it doesn’t work out over the longer term of time. If it did, you could show me ten big cities that haven’t elected a Republican in a couple generations or more, and I could show you ten little islands of paradise. Anyone want to go traipsing down those solid-milk-chocolate sidewalks in Detroit petting the Unicorns and eating the jellybeans and liquor cups that grow on the trees there? Thought not.

The truth is, this “conspiracy” is not about making it harder to sell or buy things, any more than it’s about helping people. It’s about making it harder to sell or buy things that way. The bureaucrat’s nightmare is that you can wake up one day, see that your house would be better if you added a wing on to it, buy the materials to do it, put in the work, realize the rewards, and everyone goes home a bit wealthier and City Hall is not involved in some way. That would imply self-sufficiency at the individual level. That would imply a strong and proud people, looking to their leaders in government to enforce contracts, defend the nation, police the cities, fight fires, provide sidewalks & other centralized services…and not do too much else.

And so you can’t build the wing of the house. Not just yet; you need a “permit.” Like the radio guys say every now & then — and it’s worth repeating, since people forget it — “permit” is a verb as well as a noun.

You have to feel bad for those Occupy protesters on some level, thinking about what badasses they are, existing outside the hated “system.” Was there ever a more splendid example of human fools, toiling away in an effort diametrically opposed from their purported passions? They think they’re caught up in a struggle between dependence and independence. They’re right. But they’re woefully mistaken about which side they’ve joined.

Related: Charles Koch describes how the minimum wage hurts the poor. ThinkProgress is not fond of having that pointed out…