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...
“Niceness” is a rather shallow set of habits and attitudes more concerned with comfort than engagement, ease than excellence, contentment than striving to do one’s best. It was and is the perfect complement to our contemporary liberal insistence on “tolerance” as the chief virtue. Tolerance, after all, means simply allowing others to do and/or say what we may not like. When one takes things like religious faith and doctrine seriously, toleration can lead to spirited debate and vigorous pursuit of the truth, to everyone’s betterment. We accept that others may hold views we believe are wrong, even dangerous, because the only way to truly change hearts and minds is through civil discourse and example.
Unfortunately, when truth comes to be seen as subjective, toleration becomes the chief virtue, and it comes to mean simply ignoring one’s fellows, in essence not caring what others do. If you leave me alone to do what I want, I’ll leave you alone to do what you want—whatever it is, because truth and virtue don’t really matter, and probably don’t exist in any event. All we have are our own preferences, so that our chief duty is to ignore one another’s actions. The result is a culture in which religious faith is viewed in the same manner as any other “hobby,” whether it is stamp collecting or group sex. In the same way, “niceness,” as opposed to the discipline of civility, can mean simply not caring whether anyone is right or wrong, reasonable, unreasonable, or simply lazy, so long as no one bothers to challenge anyone else.
So we have this attitude and value system — tolerance — making us better in the one situation, and bringing us injury in the other.
What’s the difference? Frohnen writes that it is “tak[ing] things like religious faith and doctrine seriously” that makes the difference, versus “truth com[ing] to be seen as subjective.” Yes, we do have experience to back this up, and I think he’s right there. But at the same time, there is more. I’ve seen examples of people imposing this tyranny-of-nice and, in so doing, destroying excellence. Certainly these people are crusaders against human achievement, in every sense, but I have a tough time seeing them as purveyors of any sort of moral relativism. They do, in fact, have a moral compass. A very definite one. That’s the whole problem. Theirs is a world in which everything is upside-down. Men should be forced, somehow, to find fat ugly women sexy; when we find ourselves awash in puzzles and devoid of any answers, we should look for sagely wisdom in our children; to make our economy stronger, we should stop our most affluent and productive fellow citizens from having anything to say about our public policy, and give the poor greater influence in saying how it should work; men should never have opinions about abortion, but men having opinions about men having opinions about abortion, that’s something to be encouraged. They “know” all these things as absolute certainties and are not about to change their minds. No relativism here.
And yet, these and more are wonderful examples of man taking charge of God’s dominion, and botching it up.
We are fortunate to be living in times like these, in which we can learn so much about how humans make mistakes. The ObamaCare disaster is just the frosting on the cake. Most of us have been availed of the opportunity to debate with our liberal relatives about it all, over turkey and mashed potatoes, and come away with some sense of why the residual support might remain. We’re down to the hard bedrock, now, since the recent damage has been unusually severe. Again, these are not people who see truth as subjective. “Health care is a human right,” I’m sure you’ve heard that one.
Allow me to advance a theory just a bit more complex.
Throughout all of human civilization sufficiently advanced to allow for arguing-about-politics, there have been three forces at work. Depending on the culture, one or two of these may be in recession, and may appear to have vanished altogether, but the three “primary colors” are in fact always there. Just like — and I’ve used this metaphor before — the three colors in a pixel on your monitor. Some may not register anything, but all three are always available, the red the green and the blue.
In politics, until we have better ways to describe them, let us envision these three primaries as: those who seek to preserve order; those who seek to incite chaos; those who cherish liberty.
The order-people are motivated by many things, anything that relies on order. So this primary is found in many composites, even some composites that are opposed to other composites similarly related to this. Capitalists and collectivists alike champion some kind of order. Anyone who wants to build anything has to rely on order. The big-government types and the “Tea Party” types believe in order.
The chaos-people are motivated by a resentment against the existing order. This is an impulse of pure anarchy, but it is hard to trace because the first step toward enacting a new order, is to raze the old one. Anyone who was ever a revolutionary, was a chaos-person, at least in the moment. So many will act on this for a short time, but few will act on it permanently. Yet the few are there. They are pure-anarchists. They do not recognize themselves. I’ve said it before many times and I’ll say it again here: We’ve got a lot of people walking around laboring under the delusion that they’re working to build something great and grand, but cannot define what exactly that thing is that they’re building, because the reality is they’re not building anything. They are destroyers. No one wants to admit he’s a destroyer, but see, there is another thing going on that makes this more common: It’s fun. It’s easy, too. Takes a year to build the barn, and a day to knock it down.
The liberty-people are motivated by a desire to be left alone. Quite understandable, especially when order-people and chaos-people are having a fight, and others around them who are just minding their own business get swept up in the fight, against their will. A lot of people, I see, are motivated by the opposite: They seem to despise liberty. Their own, as well as any liberty enjoyed by anyone else.
Most of the bad decisions made in politics result from one of these energies successfully pretending to be one of the other two. Barack Obama is like this. His movement is a movement of pure wreckage. He’s been in office almost five years, and apart from wrecking things what has He done? If He had what it takes to actually build anything, or bring order, we’d know it by now. We’re still waiting.
And that’s where this whole thing connects back to the Tyranny of Nice, and these deleterious effects it has against excellence and human achievement. We’ve heard a great deal over the last couple generations about “equality.” This is an act of seduction. The charlatan approaches and says, right now we do not have equality, but my plan will make some. It sounds like the construction, or restoration, of order. Sounds like opportunity. This appeals to the order-people and also to the liberty-people, since liberty must give way when the finances are in peril. But the truth is, there is no order to this — you’re not advancing “order” when your idea of order is, “I will decide what’s right, unilaterally, from one moment to the next.” Such wanna-be-dictators become agents of chaos, for they cannot abide any order save for their own idea of order, and they have no idea of order that’s evolved since toddler-hood. Sure, they state it in fancy terms such as “The Secretary of Health and Human Services shall determine” and so forth, but it really just amounts to toddler-rules. I want what I want when I want it. I decide everything, no readiness, willingness or ability to compromise with anybody. That’s not order, that’s really nothing more than an outburst.
And so “equality,” which sounds like a measurement of some sort, time after time becomes some stranger thousands of miles away acting as final arbiter on local issues that, without the passage of some bizarre regulation debated and voted-upon by way of subterfuge, are none of his business. At the end of it, equality has nothing to do with it. It’s the remote-arbitration, the centralization of power, that is the point. This is a rather settled and solidified pattern, we’ve seen it play out many times. We can’t even have our own opinions anymore because the Supreme Court said…Congress said…the Justice Department said…some lawyer will sue if…we did not lose these liberties because we wanted to lose them, we lost them because we were suckered.
The United States, I would opine, is a history-making experiment leveraging the interests of the liberty-people against the interests of the order-people. The conflicts between the two are obvious, and yet the experiment has endured for centuries. Not without problems. Things are a bit scary lately because the destructive forces acting against it are in a state of escalation. They are becoming bigger, stronger, and most frightening of all, more sophisticated across the years. The chaos-tactics invading the experiment we know as America, are evolving, while the experiment they are attacking remains static. The attack may fail ultimately, and the experiment may survive, but not unless the citizens achieve greater understanding about what is happening.
By the time we advance past these many layers of complexity, away from the three primaries, to the point where we can make final definitions to this concept of “tolerance,” something fascinating occurs: All three of these primaries are pulled in to the Opposite Planet, where things are the opposite of what they really are. “Tolerance” becomes intolerance. It must, mustn’t it? If anyone anywhere is not tolerated, we’re all not tolerated, and we must uphold tolerance so that means we have to go one some sort of witch hunt and destroy someone. See the pattern? Man decides what is good and right vs. what’s bad and wrong, without submitting to the authority, wisdom or guidance of God; backward-ness ensues, things are consistently perceived as the opposite of what they truly are. We embark on a crusade of intolerance for the sake of tolerance. Listing the examples from generations past would be time-consuming, as well as pointless. “Toleration becomes the chief virtue,” writes Frohnen, “and it comes to mean simply ignoring one’s fellows, in essence not caring what others do.” Music to the ears of the liberty-people, who simply want to be left alone. But wait — “what others do,” it turns out, has an effect on the liberty-people as well as on everyone else. They forgot to ask some questions about that!
The biggest lie going on in American politics right now is that there is some spectrum involving “left,” “right-wing (and Tea Party types)” and the venerable “independents” or “centrists.” Into that delusive one-dimensional spectrum has been inserted this tragic pejorative “extreme,” which I suppose were all supposed to try to avoid becoming. But look at what we think of as “extreme”: If ObamaCare is so screwed up, and even its most avid supporters are now admitting the launch is an historical failure, the jury is no longer out on that — let’s maybe not do it. We’re living in an age in which it’s become extreme, and undesirable, to delay or avoid doing things everyone acknowledges are bad things.
You know what I call that? I call that mean. We set out trying to be nice, and ended up mean. We’re on the Opposite Planet.
So the time’s come to admit we’ve been snookered, or at the very least we have made one-to-several errors. When you’re lost, you don’t keep driving, you pull over, get out the map, and re-check your bearings. That would be a good thing for us to do right now. Sorry, was pointing that out un-nice of me?
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