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...
When Elizabeth Warren went and said her dumb thing there was a lot of enthusiasm about it, as I recall.
…the high level of exuberance that swirls around this little observation she has made, creates another question. Like, why? Why the excitement? What makes people so enthused about noticing how hard it is to acquire a little prosperity anymore, without government interference?
And it seems the bulk of this enthusiasm was clustered around the part of her quote that says…”There is nobody in this country that got rich on his own. Nobody.”
We’re seeing a relapse, because President Obama has said a dumb thing very much like Elizabeth Warren’s dumb thing. We’ve examined the context in detail over here, and then we have one of our favorite liberal gadflies “educating” us about that context, as if we didn’t already understand it, over here. The rules from Planet Liberal apply: Liberal gadfly repeats the same morsel of information over and over again, ad infinitum, as long as everyone else hasn’t come around to the liberal gadfly’s way of thinking. After all, lack-of-comprehension, due to inadequate repetition, is the only possible problem!
As I was noticing yesterday, liberals are frequently caught using an opinion as a metric to gauge all kinds of things…character and personal integrity, intelligence, the ability to think logically, quality of information used in making decisions. There is something fair about this — these things do all factor into the making of opinions. The problem is, you can’t use the output as a metric to gauge the input, when there’s more than one input. You can be a brilliant logical thinker, and if your facts are messed up, then in the end your opinion is going to be hosed. It works the other way, too; your facts can be accurate, verifiable, even complete, but your opinion will end up being a bad one, or a good one only by good fortune, if you are missing the ability to think things through logically. These are all vital ingredients, so if the opinion is a bad one, it only says something is missing, it doesn’t say what. Therein lies the leap to conclusions displayed by our liberals when confronting those who dissent. It is the extravagant leap taken by the fool, who is not accustomed to testing things systematically, and thinks an optimistic vision is all that is needed.
Very often, I notice they fancy themselves to be experts…instant experts…on what the disagreeable person does & does not know. Perhaps conservatives do this as well. But not nearly as often.
In leaping to such a conclusion, they communicate unmistakably, if unintentionally, that their own ability to think things through logically must now be called into serious question. Because they’re failing to do it — and then bragging about failing to do it. That, in turn, calls their opinions into question. Which, in turn, tends to magnify the blight placed on their own positions, since they are frequently caught repeating this sin in the opposite direction: “Whoever agrees with me, must be well-informed, gifted at thinking logically, and have lots of character and personal integrity.” That’s worse than being merely mistaken, or needlessly insulting. It’s reckless.
But I’m interested in this enthusiasm — again. It merits study, maybe even some formalized research. As a psychological phenomenon, perhaps. Anyway, I simply don’t understand it, and after all this attention paid to “What Obama really meant to say, was…” the time has probably come to shift attention, slightly, and figure out what parts resonate, and how, and why. I remember when Prof. Warren’s quote was going around, out on the liberal web sites if you looked up the posts about it, and skimmed over the comment threads, there was this huge swelling of excitement. As in, oh, she is just so, so right about this!
Right about what?
Take a look at Obama’s speech on video.
At 0:56 to 1:00, He makes the point that “if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own” and there are these multiple, affirming cheers. Some of this enthusiasm I wish to study, exists there, I think…of course it’s lacking in the spontaneity you would expect of real crowd enthusiasm. Sounds like it’s paid-for. Maybe it is. “There are a whole bunch of hard working people out there” at 1:19, huge uproar…”YEEEEAAAAAAAHHHHHH!!!! (applause applause applause)” The “great teacher somewhere in your life” comment at 1:33 gets a “Yeah!” Some “Right” and “Yeah” at the notorious “If you’ve got a business…you didn’t build that, somebody else made that happen” (1:46).
Lots more wild cheering at the end, where He makes the point about building the Golden Gate bridge, going to the moon, “you’re not on your own, we’re in this together.”
What’s going on in my mind, is: How inexperienced and ignorant do you have to be, of this kind of technically-demanding problem solving, like the calculations involved in going to the moon — to think it’s some kind of committee project? I realize He doesn’t come out and say that, but there is no mistaking that there is a lowering of a beatdown here, and the beatdown is being lowered upon the ingenuity of the individual.
Go back through the clip and listen to the cheering again. You’ll notice it has a particular crescendo to it during the parts where Obama gets tough with the businesses, lets ’em know that this isn’t all theirs. There is an unmistakable anti-business pattern to it all.
What I’m picking up here, is a conflict between brain and brawn. Someone figures out how a light bulb could work, and after a number of failed prototypes, comes up with a working model. This is put into mass production, and a town is illuminated — hey, he didn’t build that!
Dozens, maybe hundreds, of dedicated assembly line workers translated his working design into reality! That’s the message. And, it is a valid one…they did do that, and the town would not have been lit if it were not for them.
But, on the other hand, the town would not have been lit if it were not for him, either. Our friends from the left side of the aisle seem to be forgetting that part of it; rather habitually.
And so I’m picking up something else here: That the committee project is being used as a sort of a bully pulpit. Or, rather, a decoy. A horse-blinder. You see, it is undeniable that the illumination of the town depends on a successful design, just as much as on the brawn…and so, we have the “we’re all in this together” to help blind us to the contribution of that one guy, who figured out if it would work, and how. You didn’t build that! Somebody else made it happen! We’re all in this together!
It is a conflict, being triggered by the one side that cannot be too forthcoming about what its position really is. It’s a conflict between the brain and brawn, which translates into — the individual, coming up with a complex, capable design, and the group, which…well, doesn’t. Groups don’t do that. Groups arrive at compromises, groups reconcile competing desires and competing interests. And groups fund.
But they’re not so good at experimentation, and they don’t design.
And, let us not forget, this is ultimately about the final conflict: Higher taxes versus austerity. I said some of those cheers & yelps sounded paid-for, and that I think this is likely. But I don’t wish to pick on the labor unions. They do have it coming, but anybody who isn’t aware of their influence by this time, isn’t interested in finding out about it.
There is an amateur part of this enthusiasm, about which I have a much greater interest in doing my learnin’s. The psychology behind it. I don’t think the enthusiasm is about “let’s all participate in this together” — if that’s the motivation, then the planning isn’t very effective because our system of taxing and governing doesn’t do that. Quite a few people who are part of this “everybody” don’t pay any taxes into the system at all, and of those, not too many of them are actually working on building these roads and bridges.
So. Getting “everybody” to do their part, is not the objective. There’s way too much of the real “everybody” being excluded from the semantic “everybody.”
I think the motivation is denial. This is the only viable explanation for the enthusiasm: Somebody designed the light bulb, or a part of that rocket, and that means there is an individual doing remarkable things — we are individuals, but we’re not doing remarkable things as individuals, so we don’t want anybody else doing anything remarkable either.
Not unless they are part of a big, big group. So that we can take all the human effort that goes into something noticeable, and safely anonymize it. So that no one single person can put his name next to something that is good, and receive credit for it, on an individual basis. We’re opposed to that.
Unless it’s Barack Obama.
Or one of His close friends.
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