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...
I’ve been lurking in some of the fool-threads, watching fools from both sides go at it. And it has lately become clear to me that, contrary to my expectations, here in late 2007 the wildly unrealistic and irresponsible “Why Aren’t You There?” argument is still among us.
Back when I provided an answer to it, I had already started to see this repudiated by my most hardcore left-wing friends and I thought it was on the DailyKOS trash heap, or headed there. To the credit of The Left, that is what they do with some of their silliest arguments. They’re like…candy wrappers. Or condoms. Useful for a designated time, for a designated purpose, and once that purpose is fulfilled all you want to do is get rid of it.
Well if the “Why Aren’t You There?” argument is a candy wrapper, it has yet to be crumpled up; the yummy residue of what was inside has yet to be completely dumped out. Bad on them, because this shows the silliest arguments can be imbued with Yoda-like life-expectancies within the otherworldly, surreal existence of The Left. Or, at least, can be. That’s a shame. If the elections next year are about anything, they’re about whether the line tethering The Left to what’s reasonable and real has been badly frayed, or severed altogether.
And since the country needs to have that answered, we should inspect exactly what would be needed for “Why Aren’t You There?” argument to make some sense. Let’s start with the punchline itself, and what’s implied by it. You’re an anti-war lefty; you encounter, stateside, someone who thinks we should be fighting the war when you don’t think we should be. At this point, that could mean a lot of things. Many among us think it was a mistake to go into Iraq, but now that we’re there we shouldn’t leave yet. A dwindling minority of grown-ups among us resemble me, recognizing that our decision was to go in or not go in…and for a number of good reasons, not-going-in was just plain unacceptable. We say this was the right decision — the most ardent supporters, myself included, insist it was overdue — doing it over, we’d do things the same way.
Still others think we should leave Iraq, but it’s appropriate to leave the decision about when, up to the President and to Congress. That isn’t pro-war, but it’s not consistent with the “all anarchy, all the time” passion of the DailyKOS crowd. And so, of course, it goes without saying that the KOS kids hate it.
So the KOSsacks “win” the argument, in their own eyes at least, with four words: Why aren’t you there? Oh my, check my chest cavity, a pound of flesh is missing. For it has now been revealed: I don’t support the troops after all. Why, if I were, I’d be there.
Obviously, this is supposed to impress somebody — somebody who isn’t me. It doesn’t mesh with logic and common sense; not very well, and not at all. If I’m to be smeared as someone who only pretends to support the troops, but doesn’t really, it’s a bit like a wrestling match with the proverbial pig isn’t it? It’s a tad difficult to assert someone supports the troops when he’s running around stateside, grouchily making his peevish rhetorical inquiries into why so-and-so isn’t there, arguing that since so-and-so isn’t there nobody else should be. So I’ve always looked at people who say “why aren’t you there” as saying “I don’t support them, or what they’re doing, and neither should you.” I don’t see how that could mean anything else.
They tell me this is an insinuation I shouldn’t dare make. Well, okay…if I can’t say it out loud, I’ll just have to think it in silence, for I can think nothing else. It just doesn’t seem like a very supportive question to be asking, to me.
But let’s inspect the logic that goes into this. You ask “Why Aren’t You There?” and in response, I go homina-homina-homina…the conclusion to be drawn, is that I’m only pretending there’s a good reason for anybody to be there, by deep down I know there isn’t one because if there was, I’d be there myself.
Okay. So…when people recognize there’s even so much as a peripheral reason for something to be done, they do it themselves.
No exceptions. None.
This is incredible. Consider the ramifications. How many things are there that people do, that I personally don’t do and have not done. I’m not a schoolteacher, I’m not a fireman, I’m not a construction worker. I don’t pick coffee beans or roast them or package them or transport them or sell them; so I can’t drink coffee. Logically, my butt need not fit into the chair in which I’m sitting as I type this, since I don’t build chairs — and I shouldn’t have need to type this, since I don’t build keyboards.
A great rejoinder to this would be “Are you a gynecologist or a cop?” Very few would be able to answer to one of those; by their logic, if they’re gynecologists, we must not need the police, and if they’re police, we must not need gynecologists.
It’s been presumed by some that the typical KOSKid lives in his parents’ basement and doesn’t do anything. I’ve found the crudest and simplest stereotypes are the ones that are lacking in merit, and have settled into a habit of dismissing this one. But the “Why Aren’t You There?” argument tempts me to reconsider it. It seems to me to be an argument acceptable to someone who doesn’t do anything and hasn’t done anything. I’ve met, personally, some folks who have managed to channel vast amounts of energy into coming up with reasons not to do things, enough to convince me this is a modern epidemic — this might be the cause, or perhaps, the ultimate effect.
Maybe the plague of the twenty-first century is not cancer, or AIDs, but sloth. A conviction that, if it is to be admitted that anything is important or worthwhile or beneficial to anyone, some boogeyman might come along and invite the person so admitting, to climb aboard and contribute in some way. I’m gathering that some folks find this horrifying, for the simple reason that a meaningful contribution would be antithetical to the way they’ve lived their lives up until now. It would be an unwelcome paradigm shift.
This is something I already know to be true, about some people. Thing I Know #92. Useful people have a fear of becoming useless that is exceeded in intensity only by the fear useless people have of someday being useful.
So I presume when people say “Why Aren’t You There?,” what they’re saying is they’ve managed to live out their lives without contributing anything whatsoever to anyone whatsoever, and don’t want to change.
That is their right. But it impresses me a lot — and by that, I mean down to the marrow of my bones. We have people serving in Iraq, losing parts of their bodies…coming back stateside, getting patched up, learning how to use their prosthetics, and then asking to go back there again. And then we have other people who have made a sort of religion out of not doing anything that might be helpful to someone, and calling into question whether anyone else should help someone, or even say kind things about those who do.
To put it more elegantly, some among us have a phobia about giving away some of their sweat, while others have no compunctions whatsoever about giving away their blood.
And the bulk of both groups reside in the same narrow age bracket. A five-year window somewhere around the half the age I am now.
I see times of deep, irreconcilable conflict in the years ahead. Something like what we’ve already had for the last forty years or so. But much, much deeper and darker.
As for my answer, it remains unchanged. To oppose YOU. Anyone who asks “Why Aren’t You There?” is, all the bullshit peeled aside, a nihilist. Nihilists are having a fairly good time of it right now; they’re injecting a nihilist marinade into everything we do in public policy lately; and, by nature, don’t support the troops or much of anything else. Someone with principle and brains has to be stateside, to make sure they are opposed.
They are trying to make a lot of decisions for everybody else, after all. Those decisions are not wise. They are not harmless.
They have to be opposed.
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