Alarming News: I like Morgan Freeberg. A lot.
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler: We were following a trackback and thinking "hmmm... this is a bloody excellent post!", and then we realized that it was just part III of, well, three...Damn. I wish I'd written those.
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler: ...I just remembered that I found a new blog a short while ago, House of Eratosthenes, that I really like. I like his common sense approach and his curiosity when it comes to why people believe what they believe rather than just what they believe.
Brutally Honest: Morgan Freeberg is an intriguing guy...[he] asks great questions and answers others with style, flair, reason and wit. On the blogroll he goes. Make him a part of your regular blogospheric reading. I certainly will.
Brutally Honest: Morgan Freeberg is brilliant.
Common Sense Junction: Misha @ Anti-Idiotarian never ceases to amaze me. He keeps finding other good blogs. I went over to A.I. this morning for my daily Misha fix and he had found this guy named Morgan Freeberg in Fair Oaks, California, that has a blog, House of Eratosthenes. Freeberg says its "The Blog That Nobody Reads" but it may now become the blog that everybody reads.
Jaded Haven: Good God, Morgan, you cover a topic from front to back with a screwy thoroughness I find mind boggling. I'm in awe of your thought proccesses, my friend, you're an exceptional talent. You start by throwing in the kitchen sink, tie in someone's syphilitic uncle, bend around a rip tide of brilliance and bring it all home in a neat, diamond dripping package of an exceptionally readable moment of damn fine wordsmithing. I love reading you.
Mein Blogovault: Make "the Blog that No One Reads" one of your daily reads.
Philmon: When Morgan meanders, stick with him - he's got a point and it'll be worth it in the end. He's not a hit-and-run snarky quip kind of guy. The pieces all fall into place like tumblers in a lock and bang! He's opened a cognative door for you.
Rightlinx: Morgan at House of Eratosthenes is one of the best writers out there. I read him nearly every day because he manages to provide an interesting perspective, even though I don't always agree.
Poetic Justice: Cletus! Ah gots a laiv one fer yew...
So says Jim. Yup, I got sucked into another one. And, I have every confidence there are hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, who would agree with Jim on that. Provided they would be compelled to become interested in the exchange.
Ed Darrell did debunk Dr. Sowell, very, very decently. I agree with that; if, by “debunk decently,” we mean “Ed handed down a list of rules that make sense to Ed, about what people should be reading and what they should not be reading.” Ed debunks lots of things this way. It is, for the most part, the only weapon in his arsenal.
Along the way though, the Larry-Moe-Curly triumvirate of Jim Nick and Ed, all communicated the thought with crystal clarity — and it is important to all three of them to get this across, so I have decided I will aid their efforts here. The right wing, which they all think so poorly of, indeed seems to be exempt from the definition of “everyone” as they labor to build the perfect society that welcomes & functions for everyone…gets into the trouble with them, by absorbing information. The left wing, which earns their accolades and adoration, does so by coming up with reasons and excuses not to absorb information. Nearly all the arguments from the friendly crowd at Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub, from what I see, essentially boil down to the statement of “you should not be reading this thing over here.” Whether it’s Dr. Sowell, or Anthony Watts, or Steven Milloy or Gov. Perry of Texas.
Which is, I think, a situation worth commenting on…since it is a situation much bigger than Fillmore’s bathtub. It stands in perfect contravention to the liberal-self-love theme of “our side isn’t afraid of information but those evil Republicans don’t know how to handle it.” For those who can pay attention to things and remember things long-term, that mindset remains valid until arguments are presented on both sides and then analyzed. And then a pattern emerges: Conservatives say “well, like this guy said” and liberals say “I have a pre-catalogued, pre-circulated, pre-rehearsed reason not to read or listen to anything from over there.” They’ve got this blacklist to which they’re steadily adding names of loathed people. Which, ironically, is supposed to be a major selling point, for their side, against the conservatives. It’s supposed to be the right wing that blacklists people.
Now liberals don’t have a monopoly on this. But it certainly has emerged as one of their defining traits. Prerationalism; yellow-light red-light. “I don’t read anything from there and you shouldn’t either, everyone who reads anything from there is less cool than anybody who doesn’t read it.” That’s yellow light. Right light is the tried-and-true “You are no longer of the community, you shall be shunned, whoever does not shun you shall be shunned, whoever does not shun he who did not shun you will likewise be shunned.”
Larry-Moe-and-Curly, in their rush toward prerationalism, missed a point about Sowell and my citation of his column: It needs no “experimental” support, since I did not cite Dr. Sowell because of his base of knowledge, but rather because of his skill with the written word. Sowell had made a good, and important, point.
One of the sad and dangerous signs of our times is how many people are enthralled by words, without bothering to look at the realities behind those words.
One of those words that many people seldom look behind is “education.” But education can cover anything from courses on nuclear physics to courses on baton twirling.
You have to be a subscriber, or some kind of regular reader, of Fillmore’s Bathtub to appreciate what really happened here. The focus of this particular blog is somewhat narrow. There is an occasional historical tidbit about Texas; a lot of sniping and grousing about Milloy’s blog and Watt’s blog; much alarmism about people walking around somewhere, thinking the wrong things, reading the wrong things, which do not service the interests of the democrat party in Texas or in the nation. Lots about global warming, much more about DDT and eggshell thinning. The balance of what remains, and what remains covers perhaps half of the total volume, perhaps more than that — is a lot of bitching about Governor Perry and other Republicans bringing harm to “education” by cutting a budget item, or making moves to cut it. Rest assured, Darrell does provide support for his claims. But you can forget about any balanced argument, any mention of why someone would think of cutting the item. You’d think it would be set up once in awhile to be made an object of ridicule, but I don’t see it happening much. Just — these evil guys who hate education are about to cut something, so help me hate them.
The word “education” is being used as a label which, on inspection does not seem to apply to what would be described by a reasonable person in such a way. And, if the method of argumentation is a model for what this is supposed to mean…well, it doesn’t come off as very educated.
By pointing out that the e-word is very often used to describe a spectrum of things that is so broad as to become linguistically unworkable, it is Sowell that has done a decent job of debunking Ed Darrell and his two lackeys. Reams and reams and reams of what they have had to say, in fact. With just three well-crafted sentences making up two short paragraphs.
The takeaway from all this is another recollection of Thing I Know #183:
When an education has given you the ability to dismiss ideas more quickly, it’s not really an education.
Which I suppose builds on Sowell’s point (before I heard of it). Too many people are living among us and making much out of a habit of blocking information out by means of something they describe with this word “education”; they seem to think of education as a process of essentially sticking your fingers in your ears and going la la la. You see them do this all the time, really — this awful loathed person over here actually paid attention to that awful loathed bit of information over there…therefore…he is uneducated…while, contrasted with that, me and my friends made a point of not paying attention to the awful loathed bit of information, therefore we are better educated.
Nevermind that this “in-crowd” is now thoroughly unable to describe the details of the information that was exchanged, which they then want to complain about. And they’re proud of not being able to explore it in detail, as they proceed to complain.
I don’t know about you. But that isn’t what I think of as “educated.”
By the way. The other article Sowell wrote, which got him on this Larry-Moe-Curly-McCarthy-blacklist thing, so that “educated” people prove their education by making sure they’re never exposed to what Sowell has to say…is here. It makes an important point: “[A] democracy needs informed citizens if it is to thrive, or ultimately even survive.” Many among those who claim to be “educated,” and to value something they prefer to call “education,” don’t seem to be in favor of this informed citizenry. This particular Sowell column is complained about a whole lot in liberal circles, especially on the web. Interestingly, you won’t find too many links directly to the column. Many more of such screeds will only point to other such screeds, and not to the source of the outrage.
Liberals do that an awful lot, I’ve noticed.
Update at 2010PDT Today: The trackback from this post has had an effect very much like tossing a lit match into a barrel of gasoline, as I knew it would. New life has been breathed into Ed’s post, and Larry Moe & Curly are now climbing all over themselves. Once again — it has degenerated into a jerk-off session which examines and re-examines all the things that make left-wing people more wonderful and awesome and decent than right-wing people. Mr. Darrell seems to have forgotten his original point was about the funding of public schools, and now wishes to examine the tragedy of all families in said schools not making an equal amount of money — his new lamentation is about the lack of funding to the households I think.
It’s not possible to determine that, of course. Here’s the thing about Ed Darrell: He goes on and on about such-and-such an opposing force having failed “to provide evidence for their claims” or “provide support for his claims.” But the targets of such criticism are one-up on him, because whether supported or not at least their claims are defined. Ed’s claims are not defined. He links to a page full of statistics and graphs and charts and data, pointing out this debunks something Dr. Sowell said. But there are no specifics. What is being debunked, exactly? I can’t answer that and neither can you, unless your name is Ed Darrell. But Darrell won’t.
But who cares. It’s all about those three being better people…than…whoever is on the other side of some imaginary fence. Makes this quote from Orwell’s 1984 seem apropos:
But always — do not forget this, Winston — always there will be the intoxication of power, constantly increasing and constantly growing subtler. Always, at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face — forever. [emphasis mine]
This is why it’s important to discuss this. Nick Jr. typifies the cognitive dissonance. This is the guy who said:
What is the one thing in this country that can bring everyone together?
…and then self-corrected to…
Correction. That should “the one and only thing that can bring people together in this country.”
If you take the time to look (it’s a lot of looking, Nick’s posts never seem to stand on their own, he tends to post again and again and again, he’s a bit of a scatterbrain) you’ll see pretty much everything he’s had to say is that Republicans are worse people than…something. Liberals, democrats, Michael Moore fans, anarchists, something. It requires a great deal less courage, less intellectual fortitude, to oppose something than to build something.
Nick, whether he realizes it or not — and I think he does, but who knows — entirely lacks passion about the personal goals he has in mind as he has defined them, in writing. He doesn’t really want government, or anything else, bringing anybody together with anybody else. But the Orwell quote, along with Nick’s flip-flopping, really captures what applies to all three. A thrill of victory running in a vicious cycle. A boot stepping on a face, forever.
Again, there is nothing unique here. Nothing special about Fillmore’s Bathtub at all. This is a very big phenomenon taking place. It’s going on, right now, coast to coast. Our liberals are batshit crazy.
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