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...
Even with the Petraeus/Allen sex scandals and Hostess going out of business, and Thanksgiving looming on the horizon, an improbable leitmotif has retained its dominance over all others: “I’m so sick of all the mud-slinging and campaigning and so glad the elections are over, most of all I’m tired of hearing about what those Republicans need to do to bring themselves back to life again. But, while I’m on the subject, here are MY words of advice for them…” There typically follows some helpful hints for the GOP that seem to have been culled straight from the democrat party, which boil down to: Become democrats.
Well, about that: The constructive advice is going to come after the constructive criticism, and the constructive criticism is two-fold. First, the know-it-alls within the Republican party — and, from elsewhere — identifying Sarah Palin as the cause of all electoral troubles and counseling that she should shut-up-and-go-away, was all wet. Everybody can agree on that, right? It’s been tested and it’s a flop. She was never the problem. C’mon…just admit it…I know you ultra-sophisticateds think so highly of your big brains and such, and difficulty in ‘fessing up to your mistakes is part & parcel of that. But there’s no getting around it, you were wrong on this one. You got want you wanted and disaster followed. You. Were. Wrong.
The Republican story about how societies prosper — not just the Romney story — dwelt on the heroic entrepreneur stifled by taxes and regulations: an important story with which most people do not identify. The ordinary person does not see himself as a great innovator. He, or she, is trying to make a living and support or maybe start a family. A conservative reform of our health-care system and tax code, among other institutions, might help with these goals. About this person, however, Republicans have had little to say.
This is a bit outside my perspective, because I’ve actually worked for entrepreneurs. Quite a few of them, in fact. I tend to forget that this is an experience a lot of people haven’t shared; they hear “stifling regulation” and their eyes just sort of glaze over. They don’t see the connection. Maybe the boss will call them in and give them the “company is like a big clock” speech and give them their walking papers…and maybe he won’t. They aren’t put in a position where they’ll see the cause and effect. The erosion, also, is something that has to be communicated better. Too many of them see ten percent getting laid off and think “Oh well, I dodged that bullet, sucks that I have to do all this extra work though…” They don’t understand the increased likelihood that the next ten percent will also be laid off. That’s what a bad economy is, though. Everyone has to worry, and worry especially hard when they see the next guy being let go. One wave of discharge makes the next wave more likely, not less. The bullet is never really dodged.
And, increased regulation is what starts that whole chain-reaction.
But that is not the sad part. The sad part is, we are re-living what we saw four years ago when Barack Obama was first elected to the White House. It seems so strange, to me; I have, on occasion, been “elected” (hired or contracted or tasked) to do big things, at least, things much bigger than what I had been doing up to that point. Exuberant optimism and sensible pessimism collide, in my mind, to create a cyclone of inspiration which then churns into: What am I going to do on my first day? And, do I know nearly enough about the job, to start answering that question? If I don’t, then what exactly is it that I need to find out?
Obama’s people show absolutely none of this. Perhaps the urges are there, and they desire to conceal them in order to conceal the doubts that are necessarily associated with them. The “projecting confidence” thing, I guess. Well if that’s it, then now, as was the case four years ago, this does not seem too effective. I’m seeing all of the energy going into these tedious monologues about what bad people the Republicans are. It’s weird. It’s as if they haven’t won the election yet.
Where they do have some actual plans, those plans seem to have all the structure of an Underpants Gnome Profit Plan, with a big fat question mark in the middle, that remains a big fat question mark, never clarified…even when the plan fails. When that happens, all that happens is finger-pointing, followed by another underpants-gnome plan with a big fat question mark in the middle of it again.
I’m altogether confused about what to make of it. I’m repeatedly seeing all this lecturing from all sides that Obama is “owed respect because of the office that He holds.” There is legal authority that goes along with that, whether we like it or not, because it is entirely valid legal authority. And hey, He must know something about what He’s doing because of this victory, right? And yet — the very first thing a victorious candidate should be expected to know about campaigning, is when the campaign is over. Obama doesn’t seem to know this and, worse yet, doesn’t seem to care.
Another day, another reason we shouldn’t vote for Republicans. But, not much real leadership.
I was sorry, at first, that the very earliest sign that the election would not do anything helpful for the economy, was the demise of a huge company that makes snacky-cakes and so forth. We have the eighteen thousand people looking for work now, and for all that slippage, there’s not much clear communication of how this all works because, well, it’s just starchy crap you put in a kid’s lunchbox when he’s spoiled. So who cares? So it’s just more economic damage, with the electorate remaining under-informed and confused about the cause and effect…more of the things we have seen plenty enough already. Who needs it. Not much opportunity for education to be going on.
But thinking on it further, I see this is a good illustration of the problem, after all. Hostess wasn’t sunk because of Obama’s disastrous leadership, its demise came about because of union negotiations. And what are those: Artificial constraints. Options systematically eliminated. A bunch of musts and oughts and shoulds, written up into a contract. Lines drawn in the sand, which must be respected by the producers, drawn by non-producers. We have become quite adept at that lately, haven’t we? It is fun to imagine that, in so doing, we are building something. The Hostess thing demonstrates clearly that this is a destructive process, and not a creative one.
Generally, this is where the big mistakes are made: Destructive processes mistaken for creative processes. And so this shows where the mistake was made, in re-electing Barack Obama. A lot of people are having quite a thrill imagining that Obama is building something, but can any among them provide some specific answers about what He is building? There doesn’t seem to be any such answer, anywhere. But the people who believe He’s a destroyer, can certainly provide some specificity on what He’s destroying. That says something.
But, again, the election. Obama won, so He is the better incarnation of the feelings dominating the American landscape now. And I agree with that; this is the dominating sickness. People want to destroy things, and fool themselves into thinking they’re building something.
There is another epiphany to be observed here. The musts, the oughts, the shoulds. We all like to have an impact on each other; I think most people who desire this, would identify within the goals they cherish the most, things that have to do with thinking big. They would say we should try to work with each other, in unity, in part so that we can share the learning experience. Something about how we would benefit from our diverse range of backgrounds, our different points-of-view would provide perspective that would be missing if we were all to work in our silos. Added to that, they would say, we could help each other out, encourage each other, lend a hand. Is that close?
My observation is, whether we like to admit it or not, this is not what we have been doing. We don’t encourage each other by coming together, not under the destructive stewardship of an Obama anyway. The encouragement, experience has shown us, is consistently toward the desultory actions. The ass-sitting. The living at home, on Mom & Dad’s health plans, until age twenty-six. The voting for the candidate who will give you a free cell phone. The ridiculous “Occupying” which means, if it means anything at all, acquiring one’s needs and wants through bitching and complaining and obstructing the efforts of others, as opposed to exchanging goods and services with those others for mutual benefit.
Allow me to offer an unflattering suggestion: We aren’t doing a good job of encouraging each other, because that is not where our efforts have been going. Encouragement is tough, and unappealing; encouragement toward productive actions is even tougher and even less appealing. Meanwhile, there are the musts, the oughts, the shoulds. That is much more fun, because it feels like power. And so our “coming together” energy has been focused on coming up with new restrictions, on telling each other “you can’t do that.” We very often speak to each other of rules that don’t even exist. “You’ll have to take down that American flag, because someone might be offended.” Don’t wear that shirt. Don’t tweet that message. Don’t put that in the “regular” garbage. You can’t say that, it might be construed as [insert something]-ist. Can’t buy any more than sixteen ounces at a time.
And don’t say anything bad about Obama, whatever you do!
It has the feel about it of pointing out the obvious — and maybe it is. But these are the words of people who wish to become guides and teachers, but lack the wisdom for it; they want it just because they have become bored with their ordinary lives. They wish to anesthetize against the boredom by telling others what to do, and it turns out it’s much easier to tell other people what not to do. They counsel us toward together-ness, but it isn’t the together-ness that appeals to them. They do not wish to encourage, they wish to impose constraints. They do not wish to provide lift under the wings of their fellow “birds,” their efforts are entirely invested in clipping those wings. Must not. Don’t. Stop. Can’t.
I have every confidence in the world that, to the last man, they’ll say I shouldn’t be blogging any of this.
But, it’s a problem we’re encountering more and more lately. Everybody wants to be the inspiring teacher, the one who provides the “big” encouragement, who fuels the “big” thoughts. But in practice, this big-encouragement seems to be pretty rare. It’s much more common we see the little stuff, the petty stuff, the can’t/don’t-do-that stuff. The little-rules, conjured up on the spot, even where the rules don’t exist people just make them up, either lying outright or seeking refuge in this craven and cowardly “might be a good idea not to do that” stuff. The ankle biting.
Leadership is reflected in landscape. I still have optimism we can succeed, by way of genuinely encouraging each other, daring each other to dare, dreamin’ big. But four years in, it is only becoming increasingly clear month by month that where that happens under the leadership of Obama, it happens in spite of Him, not because of Him.
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