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...
Thought exercise: Imagine John “The Duke” Wayne running a blog. I can see this. Now imagine the blog prominently features a personal note to the blog audience, from The Duke, thanking them for taking the time to stop by and read. I can see this too. Now imagine The Duke posting a SNUL, apologizing profusely for not having posted any updates lately…this last one poses some problems.
Sorry about that, pilgrim, I’ve been just so unbe-LEEV-ably busy lately…
Nope, John Wayne would not SNUL. But more important than that, I just don’t have it in me. Seems too much like excuse-making.
However, I do think I should post an explanation. There were just too many objects in the hopper and they went and clogged it up by banging up against each other. Three thousand good men and women died eleven years ago; to say something about any matter unrelated, without first taking note of the occasion in some way, would have been gauche. That’s Tuesday. Monday, this week, there was a massive GoDaddy outage that temporarily took this blog out of existence; the page-hit statistics before & after indicate that this absence might have been felt, by some, and to leave it entirely unremarked-upon while flitting off to other subjects, would have been crass. And now we have the matter of the embassy in Libya being attacked. Details are still coming out about that. That’s three things. Oh yeah, we have the polls that put Skinny Nero up over Mittens by seven points or some such.
Well, let’s take the last first. Severian made a great comment to which I was going to post a response, when the outage happened sometime between 1057 and 1110 PDT Monday. Trying to understand liberalism, he paraphrased…
One of your commenters (Nightfly? Cylarz? Philmon?) came up with the best definition I’ve heard: Liberalism is the lifelong attempt to make high school come out right.
The only word lefties use more than shouldbeforcedto is “deserve.”
You didn’t build that, so you don’t deserve to keep the money you make from it.
You were born white and middle class and American, i.e. privileged; you certainly didn’t earn this; therefore you don’t deserve to keep the benefits of these inherited advantages while others, less privileged, go without.
And certainly the starting quarterback doesn’t deserve to be dating the head cheerleader.
And the thought that all of their self-declared good qualities — intelligence, perception, exquisitely honed sensibilities to the sufferings of others — are also accidents of birth or products of society and therefore inherently unfair never even enters their heads, because to fifteen year olds it’s only other people who ever catch breaks; everything they have is theirs by divine right.
I could write volumes about this stuff. But much of it would be self-indulgent and tedious for others to try to read, since it would consist entirely of incomplete thoughts being pondered as I struggle to figure out something I don’t completely understand. Hmm, come to think of it that’s a good description of most of what I’ve scribbled here over the years.
So I’ve been continuing my struggles, in blogger-silence, while others have labored to answer the same question: Why is Barack Obama any more popular right now, than, say, a painful hemorrhoid? And I think there are three answers for this — three essential components to His bedrock support:
One, those who have calculated (and perhaps experienced) the notion that they will personally benefit from His governance — greed;
Two, those who habitually side with whatever interest in any conflict they perceive to merit “underdog” status — guilt;
Three, those who understand His administration has having a deleterious effect on the country and certain instituions within it — wrath;
One has many parts to it, since a voter doesn’t have to benefit in terms of actual dollars-income in order to perceive a present or prospective benefit overall. Job security will make a nice coin of the realm, sufficient for conjuring up a sturdy motivation. There are public-sector employees, for example the public school teachers and the unions that build their fortresses of power atop the jobs those teachers hold. There are those who make our various social safety nets into hammocks that don’t want the gravy train to end.
Two also has many parts to it, since siding with the underdog has a lot to do with establishing and maintaining a personal sense of identity: “I want my friends and neighbors to think of me as the guy who voted for Obama.” These people, unlike One, are resolutely unconcerned with outcome. They are like Chicago Cubs fans, with the exception that to a Cubs fan, when the Cubs lose a game it is a matter of undeniable fact and the dreamy rationalization that follows is obliged to recognize at least just this much. Obamapologists, as we have seen, are not similarly constrained. Reality itself is like warm putty in their hands. Such is the stately pleasure dome in which one must reside in order to adhere to the narrative in these troubled times.
Three is overlapped heavily with Two. It is almost, but not quite, a perfect subset. Most of the people who “want to be a part of this thing” are angry with, and longing for the destruction of, some designated target and they see Obama as a desirable agent in that destruction. I believe these are the people I notice spewing lots of lofty rhetoric that seems to be associated with building something, that they intend to be associated with building something, creative/constructive efforts, but I notice can’t specifically describe what it is they’re building, and their efforts remain consistently destructive. George W. Bush’s “swagger” makes them angry for some reason. A lot of people are in this camp without realizing it. Sandra Fluke, for example, along with her sympathizers; they are in Group One, but this is secondary to their overlapping membership in Group Three. They’re upset at some “traditional” and “patriarchal” system of values and want to obliterate it.
Now, what to make of this movement in the polls. Three possibilities:
One, the “bounce” is real and Mitt Romney is in some real trouble;
Two, the “bounce” is an illusion created by pollsters who are tinkering with the data to skew the results, to maintain security in their jobs and social statuses;
Three, the “bounce” is a psy-ops campaign against Republican-faithfuls, (mostly) unsupported by (reliable) data, to discourage them into staying home on Election Day.
My sense is that the bounce is more-or-less evenly divided among these three factors. However, Bounce Factor One, which is a genuine groundswell of post-convention support for the incumbent with no trickery involved, consists disproportionately of an engorgement of Obama Bedrock Support Group Two, those who simply want to be on the in-crowd, to sustain and nourish a sense of identity they have built up. They simply do not think things through. They pride themselves on having the right “facts,” but what good are verifiable facts if you don’t know how to use them? And these people do not. I’ve personally had conversations with them that look like this:
OBAMAFAN: (ThinkProgress talking points dealing with cherry-picked data about His Eminence rescuing the economy from “the guys who made this problem in the first place”)…
ME: So do I have this straight? The way the economy is going right now, Obama views that as a success and this is the way things should be.
OBAMAFAN: (Completely incomprehensible and meaningless gibberish)
They’re so fond of “nuance” that they can’t grasp Aristotle’s Law of the Excluded Middle. They come upon a situation in which gray area is nonexistent and is not possible; they cannot recognize it for what it is. And so their argument distills down into nonsense. It becomes “Now that we know what Obama is capable of doing, we must re-elect Him so that He can do something entirely different.”
Those are my thoughts about Obama’s bump in the polls; time will tell if they are correct. Proceeding now to the embassy attack. My goodness, what a delightful potpourri of crazy little thoughts this has stirred up for us, and this illustrates the true damage wrought by liberalism. Why are our most passionate thoughts taking off in a hundred different directions in our nation, here? Why now? Why with this particular incident? This should not be happening; the thinking should be solidified, unidirectional and unifying, crystal-clear. Four good Americans, innocents, diplomats, dragged from the embassy and killed on the anniversary of the most devastating and deadly attack on our nation’s soil. It’s clear that September eleven has been designated “Remind Americans how much they suck day.” Rattling sabers just to keep up some rep of badass-ish-ness, or to get it back again, is a disasteful business. But it becomes a legitimate national security objective when “Remind Americans they suck day” must necessarily involve death and destruction. We draw a line or else we don’t. The terrible truth is that someone has to die either way.
Well I suppose I shouldn’t say that. But we do have a bad habit in the post-World War II United States. We weigh the nationalist, militaristic approach according to death, weighing the deaths that result from the military aggression only but somehow the deaths that result from pacifism don’t register on the scale. We passively allow the pacifist dogma to emerge victorious in this false, one-sided cost-benefit analysis. The bad guys keep getting their way, and every time they do they become more and more emboldened.
This is a very simple argument to make and to understand. Our country continues to pay a terrible price for not hearing it and yet we fail to learn the lesson.
The problem, I think, is not with the composition of the argument, nor with its presentation, but rather with the contrast in argumentative styles. The militarist mindset says “Let us consider the long-term consequences of each approach, and when you ponder that awhile you will see our way is more desirable, for it diminishes the bullying by making the bullying unprofitable.” The pacificst mindset, on the other hand, makes a big show of hand-wringing over the death and destruction associated with the militarist policies; but its argument, boiled down its essentials, becomes one of “You militarist guys might as well convert over to our side, for we shall never, ever consider coming over toward yours.” It becomes exactly what it seeks to oppose: The bullying.
This circles back ’round to Severian’s point about what liberalism is. The definition he’s cited is clear, concise, bumper-sticker-sized, fundamental: A lifelong (and tragic) attempt to make high school come out right. And yet, it doesn’t quite cover all the necessities if it doesn’t make some mention of the argumentative style which has somehow come to be associated with the liberalism we know and observe today. I notice, everywhere I look where the liberals are engaged and trying to win an argument, they’re trying to win it through some clever maneuvering that is disconnected from the presentation of evidence and fact, and building logical observations and calculations on those facts.
Here, I have a great example in mind. There is the immediate question of what to do about this movie, the movie upon which these attacks are being blamed. What is to be done about that? The administration asked Google to take the movie down from YouTube and, from my most recent reading of it, Google has refused to do so but it will block viewings in selected countries. I think what we’re dealing here is a difference in mindsets: There is some trouble in the town, and it’s all going to be made more better if we obstruct the access to some piece of information.
About a month or two ago we managed to slip out and watch Dark Knight Rises, third and apparently final installment in the franchise. One of the things that made me pleasantly surprised with this is, they had this major plotline going on dealing with a decision made at the end of the second installment, said decision had to do with handling a certain bit of information the Obama way. The “wise village elders will conceal the inflammatory information from the unwashed masses” way. This has always bugged me. I thought “Dark Knight” was a good movie, an excellent movie, worthy of owning — yes, we bought it, it’s on the shelf — but I didn’t like that message. And yes, I do see this conclusion to the previous installment as a blemish, and the third installment’s treatment of it as a sort of redemption. In fact, with this addition of the third chapter, it reads like a sturdy fable, better than most of the others, worthy of Aesop. I’m looking at it as: If your statement makes sense, then present it. Argue it. It, along with all the information that pertains to it, warts-and-all. Conceal nothing and misrepresent nothing. For, when you engage in such obfuscation and lying-by-omission, the argument you’re really presenting is “My statement makes sense, if and only if you view it the way I view it, and the way I view it is necessarily incomplete because a complete picture would reveal that my statement doesn’t make sense.”
And who wants to present that kind of argument?
Well, I can answer that: Our modern liberals do. On the Sandra Fluke matter, on the “Warren Buffett rule,” on the raping and murdering of our ambassador in Libya, on ObamaCare, on the you-didn’t-build-that, the case against the Black Panters being dismissed, voter ID, “climate change” or whatever they want to call it today, Wisconsin and the public sector unions, welfare work rules, social security, Medicare, and over-regulating the businesses of those “millionaires and billionaires with their corporate jets” to let ’em know how much they suck and how upset we are with them…on all these issues, the liberal approach is the same, and it reminds me of the sales and marketing folks who were, unwisely, placed in close proximity to me as a software developer so I could see how they work. I’ve never forgotten it, ever. The enduring meme is best expressed as “Right or wrong, we are going to win this argument, because X. Right or wrong.” And then X has something to do with something being given excessive weight in this little melee, which everyone understands deserves no weight at all, but hey reality is reality right? And so it’s an eight hundred pound gorilla that decides everything…right or wrong. Barack Obama is a brilliant speaker and seems like such a nice guy. Seniors rely on Social Security and they vote. Black people, and women who use abortion as a contraceptive method, are angry. Bill Clinton is perceived by these angry women as (somehow) a sexy guy.
So. Liberalism we see today, is a tragic lifelong attempt to make high school come out right — coupled up with, a cynical and delusive way of presenting arguments, involving the deliberate obstruction and obfuscation of information that is crucial to properly deciding issues, in a “Dark Knight” sort of way involving some elite crowd of wise, pure, foresightful village elders who make these brilliant decisions about what details are to be kept from the hoi polloi. It says “I’m going to win this argument, whether I’m right or wrong” about the small stuff, first…like, was our current economic crisis triggered by the banks who hold mortgages, or by regulations passed upon those banks by politicians like Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Barney Frank? The liberals say those bizarre regulations are to be held blameless for the catastrophe, which is to be laid at the feet of “those greedy corporations”…right or wrong, they win the argument. And then that trickles on up to the big stuff, which is: Is America done with capitalism? Because those big companies were “the guys who made the problem in the first place,” should they then be regulated to death just for the sake of regulating-to-death…by the politicians who, when one studies the matter, one sees really were “the guys who made the problem in the first place”?
The real problem is: On issue after issue after issue, common sense goes off in one direction, and then our effective public policies go in the precise opposite direction. The result is, of course, liberals winning, and then public policies becoming enacted that don’t do what they’re supposed to do. Achieving something that is, arguably, the exact opposite of what they were supposed to do.
Can’t blame our country for falling for it during one year, or another year, or for maybe a presidential election cycle — or two. Eight years. Thirty or forty years, on the other hand, seems like carelessness. Or negligence. Or maybe treason and sabotage.
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