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...
Wordnik offers a singular definition for a most obscure word, which to the best I can tell, completely fits the meaning I had in mind. I might as well work this the way the children do, weaving it into conversations hither & yon waiting for the smackdown from someone who knows how to use it better than I do. Beats the heck out of making up yet another word.
Prerational (adj.): Antecedent to the maturation of intelligence.
It seems this word can be used to describe “antecedent” within the span of an individual’s lifetime, or within the natural “maturation” of human technological/social progress. It is the second of those that I have in mind.
Liberals like to describe conservatives as evolutionary holdovers; lately, I have been turning this around. But sincerely. I really do think liberals are leftover fragments from human evolution — or at least their ideas are. These people called “liberals” are merely articulating, and making the mistake of placing their beliefs in, ideas that used to make the world go ’round. They are ideas hard-wired into all of us. But they are static ideas, dead ideas, and sensible adults have shrugged them off and left them in the ground, where they belong, to rot.
Let me explain. For me to do that, we need to take a trip backward in time. There are no fragments of bone or pottery to directly substantiate what I’m saying, there is only human nature and the stuff we know about cultures, the periods of time in which they flourished, and how long they lasted. Human nature bears much more of the burden of support for my recollections, here, than the point or section within any timeline, so the classical science of archeology doesn’t help us out here too much. So let us take stock of what we know.
We know that this thing we call a technological society, is a relatively recent turn. At the founding of our nation, just the blink-of-an-eye ago in the grand scheme of things, if you made it your business to go to Philadelphia to argue with your buddies about whether the word is inalienable or unalienable, the right to keep and bear arms, and so forth, you did this after sowing a crop or reaping a harvest. We were an agrarian society just 240 years ago. Somewhere, maybe someone was figuring out how to burn a fuel to move a rotor arm to get the plowing done; but even that first nibble of “real” technology was mad-scientist stuff. Time was precious only because time was needed to work the land. Land was the real wealth.
Now, when you live in an agrarian society and land is the real wealth, your efforts in solitude are vital to your continuing existence but only for the purpose of doing what had been done before. Later on, when technology started to become a dynamic thing and partner itself with farming, you would have to keep “an ear to the ground” and figure out what new amazing bits of information might be available to pare a fifteen hour task down to a two hour task. But while that is only an occasional event, you just toil away. So it would seem natural that whatever is in motion, for the most part, is something “bigger than you.” You work your acres, the wife tends to the house, and far all other concerns there will have to be a town hall meeting of some kind. And why shouldn’t there be one? Land is the real wealth; land defines the nature of the issue; and the land upon which the issue is concerned, is off your spread. It’s a public road, or a public waterway, or something that will or might happen to the entire town. We need to go to a meeting to resolve it.
We also know that compassion is hard-wired into our human character. With or without a technologically advanced society, we are naturally concerned with the economic status of our peers. Or lack thereof. If someone is doing badly, we want to get involved and help them. The more closely we identify with them, the quicker we want to help. We recoil instinctively from whoever else in our ranks, for whatever reason, fails to share in this instinct.
We tend to be more vigilant in seeking out neighbors who might need our help, during the lean times. Liberals find that to be regrettable. They would like this to be a constant floodlight, and not a strobe.
If the person who needs our help, is in that situation through their own doing, we’re slow to factor that in. Even if it has long ago become a cyclical pattern. Conservatives find that regrettable. They think the widow should be given greater priority for our aid, than the town drunk.
But in solitude, attending to our own chores, or together down at the town meeting, we do the best we can and we offer help to whoever needs it. That’s what civilized humans do, without regard to the level of civilization in the community they call home.
It is an inextricable aspect of agricultural living, especially during the ancient times when technology moved more slowly, that innovation must take place almost entirely within these town hall meetings. Well, as anyone who’s ever been in a business meeting knows, group configurations are not amenable to innovative thinking. To engage in innovative thinking with just four or five people assembled, is hard. Really hard. It is several orders of magnitude harder, when the nose count moves up to seven or eight; at that point, you run into the situation where a short, crisp agenda must be put together, and used, and guarded, by a strong chairman. Otherwise, hours will disappear into the void with nothing resolved. By the time you’re up to a dozen people you might as well forget about innovative thinking. If it emerges that something needs to be poked & prodded & researched, or written up into a report, this will be delegated to an individual or a subcommittee. Because, how else could it be done.
The group comes up with ideas. That’s all it does, really. It isn’t fit for narrowing possibilities down, acquiring new information, or anything of the like. This is not where people renew or strengthen their grasp of reality. The only thing upon which they can renew or strengthen their grasp, in that environment, is their own social stature within the assembly. As individuals.
This is the great difficulty involved in chairing a meeting. You’re there to offer your comments on some matter, or to solicit the comments; but those assembled for the meeting, are offering the comments to buttress their own social standing within the community. Generally speaking, altering the outcome of the decision, toward an outcome more beneficial for all concerned, is a side benefit to the individual participant. The primary motive behind his contributions to the discourse, is to elevate or preserve his standing. This is the tragedy of the human condition: Inwardly, we know without anyone pointing it out, that innovation is best accomplished by the individual. But we have it hard-wired into our DNA, over time, by the slow, cruel forces of evolution — to expect all this innovation to take place in a meeting environment. We understand this is ineffective, in the extreme. But the spectacle of it gives us comfort.
Here’s where the trolley starts to come off the rails though. I mentioned the impulse of basic human compassion up above. The meeting environment does not focus this or enhance it; it rather diminishes it. Groupthink, born in an agricultural setting like so many others of the things we do, is accustomed to a farm livelihood. It is accustomed to the idea that manual labor is the only way to prosper, and therefore we should all have roughly the same amount of stuff. It is also accustomed, paradoxically, to the idea that you can only receive this basic, subsistence-level quantity of stuff, if you are “good.” That’s right, groupthink can shut off this basic impulse of human compassion just like a spigot. It is much better at this than any individual.
I’m speaking here of the Freeberg Village Theory, discussed here and here and here and here and here and here. The process by which, in a season a famine, one or several individuals are declared somehow unfit. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one.
The result is ostracism; and, unfortunately, archeology and the other human-history sciences are a help here. We have actual evidence of various cultures sitting down to have meetings of this kind.
And famine being a seasonal thing, it wouldn’t take long to become accustomed to this.
And so, in a relatively instantaneous window of time, the human genome would adapt. We would work for our harvest on our own pieces of land, and then we would move off them, congregating in a public place, to figure out all the stuff that requires figuring-out. All the off-routine stuff. New things. A new tribe has been set up a mile or two away; the hunting is bleak this season; new faces in the community. It works this way today, and it must have worked this way at the very beginning.
To some degree or another, the community adopts socialism. Perhaps we can keep all of our goods and our profits as individuals, but it will be brought to our attention that so-and-so needs some aid and those of us who are in a position to, will get together and provide it. Or perhaps there will be a common store; we will put some allocation into that store, and those who are in need will take some out. Or perhaps that is where all of the community’s wealth must be placed. From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.
But in some situation or another, there will be a pariah. A cast-off. A runt of the litter. A new set of the ostracized will be defined, and then carved off, again and again, every time the provisions become too lean to feed everybody. The community becomes a pencil, and the lean times occasionally force upon us a sharpening. You can’t sharpen a pencil without tossing away some shavings.
Now consider what liberalism is. Think about what they believe. And think about how they do their arguing about what they believe.
We “all” have these “rights”; the rights are not actually codified into any one single document, or even body of documents. Quite to the contrary, the rights are manufactured in a casual way. It seems the test is, if I can think of the right and it sounds kinda cool, then a right it is. And it is non-negotiable.
“All” means the least among us enjoy these rights. It doesn’t seem to apply to a true concept of universality, by any stretch. No, the liberal extolling the virtues of this “right” has some community of people all picked out who are supposed to enjoy the right. In all of Creation, there are few creatures more bewildered than the liberal who has just been asked “can Rush Limbaugh receive new kidneys, if he really needs them, under ObamaCare?”
Also, you can be denied these rights in total if you are defined out of existence in some way. Unborn babies come to mind as the best example; there need not be others, for this illustrates the point. A veritable cornucopia of rights for you that are etched in stone, granted to “the least among you.” But only if you make it this far: To the magical vaginal finish-line. You have to count. You have to live in the commune to receive your sustenance-level package of foodstuffs. Once you count, you get everything, but if you don’t count you get nothing. You are shut out of the village gates, to starve…so the people residing within can receive their infinitely voluminous platters of magical ever-expanding “rights.”
It is not a mental illness or a sign of intellectual weakness. A lot of liberals are actually pretty bright. The thinking that is shut down in order to make liberal ideas look good, is more of a “won’t” than a “can’t.”
It is the natural consequence of doing too much thinking, particularly thinking about social experimentation, political science, and socio-economic realities, in groups. Accepting too casually and with insufficient skepticism, the idea that when we innovate we should do the innovating in a forum so poorly suited for it.
How many times have you argued with a liberal and noticed — it starts with the liberal demonstrating to you the fitness of the idea the liberal is trying to argue. The argument proceeds from that point, like a line being drawn upon a paper, and then it seems to spiral into a black hole…or clamber upon a merry-go-round where it starts spinning in circles. At that point, you’re demonstrating your idea to the liberal and the liberal is sitting in judgment of it. Ever notice they all seem to go that way? And overall, there is a lot of difficulty involved in persuading the liberal to even engage the idea directly, let alone accept it or some piece of it. No, when the liberal sits in judgment, he sits in judgment of you.
There are some things you can point out to try to get the argument back on track. One of my favorite things to point out is “you know, decent people sometimes have the wrong idea, and creepy jerks sometimes have the right one, so it really doesn’t matter if I have these personal deficiencies you’re pointing out…” Kinda gets out of the is-not-is-too stuff. But overall, that must not be a good way to handle it because they head right back to that. Maybe my character flaws are just too glaring.
I must say, though, it tends to have the appearance of a neurotic twitch. Like an inconsolable toddler clutching a security blanket, they continue to catalog the deficiencies of the opposition on a personal level. Very, very odd behavior indeed…for someone who’s supposed to be arguing that “rights” are to be upheld, at all times, in all situations, for “all” of us even “the least among us.”
Another constant in these things is that the liberal isn’t arguing the opposition is bad; what the liberal is arguing, to be absolutely accurate about it, is that the liberal is a better person than this opposition.
It is prerational thinking, thinking from the communal, agricultural eon of human existence. It is the thinking humans engaged before they were truly capable of, or had much need for, intelligent community discourse about complex issues. What the liberal is doing, is exercising an instinctive impulse left over from our evolutionary journey. He is anticipating a famine in the next winter to arrive, laying down the argument that when the time comes to ostracize people from the village, the ideological opponent should be selected for this elimination before the liberal is selected. He is demonstrating his relative worth as a person.
This gets right to the nut of what modern liberal thinking is. It is the polar opposite of what it pretends to be. It is an argument of “when the time comes there’s not enough milk and wheat to go around, everyone remember I’ve earned mine. He hasn’t. I get his.”
And every time a liberal attacks the character of his opposition, what we are seeing is yet another example of this. No, I can’t prove it. But the more we see of liberal behavior lately, the more it becomes rather silly to try to doubt it.
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