Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Descent of Liberalism: Free Falling Isn't Free

This is an extremely busy week, so I barely have time to post. Therefore I may have to rewordgitate some old material. Among other things, I have to rapidly complete my bi-annual continuing education, which I always leave until the last minute. Time once again to be re-indoctrinated into the wonderful world of cultural competence and transgendered sensitivity.

I've been meaning to comment on a comment made by Kepler Sings about a month ago, about the devolution of the Democrat party, as measured by the deterioration of their presidential candidates over the past 75 years. With the ascendance of Obama, the rot is nearly complete, as he will represent the first outright leftist president in our nation's history.

Kepler noted that "If we start from Roosevelt you first have people that wanted security and comfort during the great depression. They decidedly looked to a father figure in Franklin D. Roosevelt. But as the secular humanists take over the educational systems and begin to feed their pupae the same mono-diet, you get Kennedy."

Despite his obvious deficiencies, Roosevelt was at least still a man. Not only was his wartime leadership exemplary, but I cut him some slack economically, because macroeconomics simply wasn't as well understood at the time. True, his instincts were all wrong. Still, it's like blaming an 18th century doctor for applying leeeches, when that was simply the state of medicine at the time.

Kepler continues: "Now, Kennedy is the raffish cad of an older brother." He is not so much a father figure as a sort of glamorous Hollywood type. He represents the inauguration of the television age, as image begins to displace reality. Kepler writes that with Kennedy, "Liberals are not looking so much for an authority, but the beginning of the anti-authority, presaging the teenage rebellion years."

Then, "the seventies bring McGovern, and full blown rebellion... ahh, blessed adolescent indulgence and liberation!" This is followed by the appallingly weak Carter, by which time "liberals have now learned to disguise their liberalism, much as those that refuse to grow up must strive to disguise their Peter Pan dreams of perpetual childhood. Give it the folksy peanut-farmer latex coat."

Then on to Clinton, the undisguised adolescent, and now Obama, who doesn't even seem adolescent to me, just nothing. Not only is he of indeterminate developmental age, but of ambiguous "gender" as well. He has a pseudo-adult mind that can only recycle half-understood slogans he learned in college, and he seems devoid of any manly virtues at all. Like Clinton, he can only imitate them.

But of course, there is no such thing as nothing, only a faux nothing into which demonic energies rush in to fill the void. Which reminds me of a Woody Allen film, in which he is laying on the analyst's couch and says that he's feeling a void inside. The analysts asks, "what kind of void?" Allen responds, "an empty void."

So, just what kind of nothing is nObama and the idiolatry he embodies?

In order to answer this question, let's return to jesterjeer, when I did a series of posts on the psychophysics of falling and the dialectics of nihilism.

One’s political philosophy, whether one acknowledges it or not, is going to depend upon one’s conception of human nature. And if your conception of human nature is wrong, then your philosophy is going to be warped and your system of governance is going to be dysfunctional. I believe leftism is rooted in a naive and faulty conception of human nature, which is why it does not work and can never work. It is not just wrong, but a cosmic error. It is literally an insult to existence.

A while back, Dennis Prager noted that socialist countries are in the process of dying precisely because, within a couple of generations, they produce a new kind of man: indolent, dependent upon the government, spiritually empty, essentially nihilistic. Eventually a tipping point will be reached in which there will not be enough productive people to support the unproductive ones, and that will be the end of Europe as we know it. Note that phrase, a new kind of man, as it is an important point. Genuine religion also produces a "new kind of man." For example, in Colossians 3:9, Paul speaks of putting off "the old man with his deeds" for "the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him."

Now, not only is your political philosophy dependent upon your explicit -- or more likely, implicit -- conception of human nature, but once in place, your philosophy will produce radically different kinds of human beings. We don’t have to look very far to see how this has played out in the United States, for example, with respect to all of the Oh, Great! Society programs that had the cumulative effect of taking a wrecking ball to the black family, leaving it much worse off than before government got involved. One of the last great liberals, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, saw this coming in the 1960s, writing about the “tangle of pathology” that afflicted urban culture. In fact, the liberal meme of “blaming the victim” was first applied to Moynihan.

One of the central divides in the culture war is the question of whether or not mankind is “fallen.” Actually that’s not quite right, because for at least half the country, the whole idea of mankind being “fallen” is precisely nonsense. To the extent that they give a moment’s thought to the question, it is only to mock and dismiss it. Modern secularists are way too sophisticated to ever believe in such crude mythology. What they forget is that mythology is not about events of the past that never occurred, but archetypal structures of the present from which man can only pretend to escape -- or to ignore at the expense of his humanness, precisely.

We all understand that revelation contains timeless wisdom and objective metaphysics that must be “unpacked.” This can only be done through a combination of preparation and grace. No amount of study or of intelligence alone will help you finally “get” religion in the absence of grace. In fact, “getting it” is a fine example of the operation of grace. In this sense, the uncreated intellect -- that part of our being that may know divine truth -- is itself a supernaturally natural revelation of God (as Schuon has expressed it). In other words, understanding God is proof of God. "Truth cannot be told so as to be understood and not believed" (Blake).

There are so many different ways to consider the question of our fallenness. Before he became Father Seraphim Rose (1934-1981), Eugene Rose began work on a book that he never finished, entitled The Kingdom of Man and the Kingdom of God. He completed only one chapter, on what he called “stages of the nihilist dialectic” (later published under the title Nihilism: The Root of the Revolution of the Modern Age), tracing modern man’s fall into the abyss of liberal nihilism. Because in the end, that is what the culture war is really about: objective truth vs. nihilism, subjectivism, and hollow cynicism, which all amount to the same thing.

Rose saw our descent as happening in four stages that he called 1) liberalism, 2) realism, 3) vitalism, and 4) destruction. The first of these, liberalism, is already a sort of “passive nihilism,” because it opens the door to everything that follows -- it is a “breeding ground of the more advanced stages of nihilism.” Why is that? Partly because, under the guise of “tolerance,” liberalism slowly begins to distance itself from, and no longer take seriously, the very ideas and traditions that made liberalism possible. In fact, here is a useful little graph that I stole from American Digest, called the Tyler Cycle -- very similar to our Gods-->Kings-->Men-->Clowns-->Chaos post of the other day:


Look at the rhetorical chasm between the great classical liberal thinkers who founded America and the petty, small-minded leftist liberals who rule today.

“We hold these truth to be self-evident.” That phrase alone would be evidence enough to deny tenure to an aspiring political scientist or philosopher. It gets worse. In the Declaration of Independence, God is explicitly named four times: he is the One who has endowed human beings with unalienable rights that no government may trespass; he is the author of the laws of nature (meaning that our intelligent founders took “intelligent design” for granted); he is the “Supreme Judge of the World” and therefore the source of our objective morality (i.e., the founders were not modern liberal moral relativists); and he is “Divine Providence," the source and end of all our worldly activities.

This kind of intemperate language would never be tolerated by today’s liberals. God? Judgment? Absolute truth? Intelligent design? Objective morality? Reliance upon God? These white European males who founded America were theofascists, just like President Bush.

It's not just leftists, as most human beings do not actually crave liberty, so leftism is really a kind of default setting on our human nature, which must be transcended. As a matter of fact, history will demonstrate the opposite -- that human beings by and large find liberty to be repellant, and much prefer security. This is the difference between classical liberals and modern liberals, and it is also the difference between Europe and America. 2 Corinthians 3:17 says that the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. True enough. But what about all those places where the Spirit isn’t? There you will neither find liberty nor the desire for it. You will find the superficially opposite poles of slavery and license, which amount to the same thing as they pertain to the soul.

The modern liberal, in his descent into nihilism, values security over liberty, equality over freedom, “truths” over Truth. FDR, that patron saint of modern liberalism, unveiled a host of new “self-evident truths” that had somehow eluded our founders in a famous speech.

Roosevelt argued for a new definition of "security," that is, "economic security, social security, moral security." Classical liberalism, which had always been associated with negative liberties -- i.e., the right to be left alone by the government -- was to be replaced by a new vision of positive liberty that now forms the essence of modern liberalism. It is no longer real liberty, because now it is dispensed by the state and no longer abides in the individual. The government's job was now to even keep us free of fear, and “Freedom from fear is eternally linked with freedom from want." But since “want” is literally infinite, this sets up the need for a government that is infinite in its powers. For as the adage goes, any time the government does something for you, it does something to you. Since it now proposes to do everything for you...

Look at the current economic crisis. Liberals wanted to do something for people who could not qualify for home loans. Now comes part 2, in which they decide this week what to do to the rest of us.

In effectuating this new promise of security to all American citizens, Roosevelt argued for a new tax policy "which will tax all unreasonable profits, both individual and corporate." Unreasonable profits. Obviously we are still having that debate today, only under Obama's guise of "economic justice." What is an unreasonable profit, and why is it unreasonable? Here you see how the anti-libertarian, pseudo-religious language of Marxism has insinuated itself into our discourse, further accelerating the Fall of liberal man: we "cannot be content, no matter how high that general standard of living may be, if some fraction of our people -- whether it be one-third or one-fifth or one-tenth -- is ill-fed, ill-clothed, ill-housed, and insecure.”

Sunstein continues: “At that point, the speech became spectacularly ambitious. Roosevelt looked back, not entirely approvingly, to the framing of the Constitution. At its inception, the nation had protected ‘certain inalienable political rights -- among them the right of free speech, free press, free worship, trial by jury, freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures'.... But over time, those rights had proved inadequate, as ‘we have come to a clear realization of the fact that true individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence.’”

Comes now Leftist Man with a new revelation and a new Bill of Rights:

The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the Nation.

The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation.

The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living.

The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad.

The right of every family to a decent home.

The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health.

The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment.

The right to a good education.


Sounds good doesn’t it? No, better than good. It sounds positively utopian! Because now, with my new Economic Bill of Rights in hand, my absence of responsibility and my victimhood are complete. The Government owes me a meaningful, well-paying job, fairness, a house, free medical care, an absence of fear, and full protection from my own bad decisions throughout life!

Obviously, many people want that new deal. But it is the quintessence of a Faustian bargain, in which you have traded God for government. You are now Horizontal Man. You have fallen all the way down.

Wait, that’s not quite right. We still have three more stages to go before man’s degeneracy is complete. To be continued.

74 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I believe leftism is rooted in a naive and faulty conception of human nature, which is why it does not work and can never work....

A while back, Dennis Prager noted that socialist countries are in the process of dying precisely because, within a couple of generations, they produce a new kind of man: indolent, dependent upon the government, spiritually empty, essentially nihilistic."

Hmmm, could you name a few examples of where this rhetoric matches what's going on in the real world? Just curious.

9/30/2008 08:06:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And I'm not saying you're wrong but for the time it seems as though the claims are unsubstantiated.

9/30/2008 08:07:00 AM  
Blogger Aloysius said...

Leftism spills over. Here is an interview with Theodore Hesburgh. I think he has some faith but it is almost overwhelmed.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122272143108887413.html

9/30/2008 08:09:00 AM  
Blogger Aloysius said...

Anonymous, Start with Sweden, then take France, Belgium follows. Amazingly Germany is joining the ranks.

Many former soviet bloc countries are struggling with this part of their past.

One key sign of indolence is a declining birth rate.

9/30/2008 08:12:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmm, and what about them is failing any more than America?

And why not mention China? Or Norway?

And for the countries that you mentioned, how is what they are today make what they once were the problem, if they no longer have a government like the ones of their past?

9/30/2008 08:16:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, one I forgot to mention is Vietnam. Surprisingly for the most atheist country in the world it is the most independently stable country.

9/30/2008 08:19:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I suppose that also requires I note that while Vietnam is hardly a pinnacle of living standards its growth among similar countries decades ago is what makes it stand out.

9/30/2008 08:22:00 AM  
Blogger Susannah said...

Anonymous, some of the most amazing nanny state-ism is going on in Britain right now. Every week a new article comes out, and every week, I think "When are the people going to rise up against this?"

They've essentially got a parallel Islamic court system now.

I call that "dying."

9/30/2008 08:52:00 AM  
Blogger Aloysius said...

Vietnam, China are failed socialist states. A few people there are stepping out but most of the country is trapped in socialist indolence.

But since they appeal to you so much why don't you go live there? Why do so many want to live here?

What is so special about Norway? As far as I can tell it is living off its oil revenue.

9/30/2008 09:37:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would add to that "bill of rights" some guarantee of affection and sexual access to a suitable partner, or at least a good back massage. There's an area where people still struggle with want...

But seriously, I see what you mean. With all of those rights, who needs to struggle anymore? And without effort, joy and windhorse fade away. The spirit droops, and all pathology seeps in. I understand.

9/30/2008 10:16:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I understand Vietnam to be a squalid pesthole in many ways. And that's from talking with Vietnamese people.

9/30/2008 10:19:00 AM  
Anonymous cousin dupree said...

Charlie Don't Surf.

9/30/2008 10:22:00 AM  
Blogger Ray Ingles said...

The modern liberal... security over liberty

Yup, it was liberals that drafted the Patriot Act.

9/30/2008 10:43:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Apropos of nothing, except that learning stuff is never a bad thing, MIT is offering free online courses. That's awesome.

9/30/2008 10:52:00 AM  
Blogger NoMo said...

Ray - Not sure it matters who drafted it, but who voted it into law.

9/30/2008 10:56:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know this sounds radical, but wouldn't it be at least an idea to put on the table, that to ensure stability we as a nation should suspend this year's presidential election and let the current regime provide continued leadership during the crisis?

Who would be in favor of such a measure? I say 'yea'.

Or, perhaps a military solution could be found to this imbroglio; something to think about, anyway.

Let's keep all of our options open.

9/30/2008 11:31:00 AM  
Blogger Ray Ingles said...

Nomo - You mean the vote that took place at one of those "times of urgency, when constitutional rights seem too extravagant to endure", as Marshall put it?

9/30/2008 11:39:00 AM  
Blogger jp said...

You mean keep the statist regime that got us into this mess? It will be a victory for conservatism when Bush leaves--he's one of the most liberal Republicans I know.

How come we tell people Communism doesn't work, they enact Communistic policies anyway, and then when the Communistic policies create economic hell like we told them they would these same people say that now they are justified and that the free market doesn't work?

9/30/2008 11:48:00 AM  
Anonymous marimoishe said...

I'm a conservative, so I'm hardly afire to vote for either of the lackluster Presidential candidates this year, and yet there is NO WAY IN HELL I would ever agree to a suspension of the electoral process. That way lies totalitarianism, no matter which party is in power.

BTW, the Tytler cycle should be familiar to any Latter-day Saints among the coongregation. It strongly resembles the cycle of societal build-up and destruction found again and again in the Book of Mormon.

9/30/2008 12:01:00 PM  
Blogger Susannah said...

As for the "crisis"--I'm not quick to panic when news outlets tell me to.

After having been hoodwinked a couple of times as a younger one, I just don't scare easy anymore.

Wall Street's just holding its breath, waiting to see if they're gonna get free money (free to them, not to us), is all.

And I agree, how come the people who made this mess think they get to fix it? Government is the only institution in which failure confers greater oversight. Let the voting begin.

9/30/2008 12:10:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Speaking of singing and liberalism...

9/30/2008 12:11:00 PM  
Anonymous bob f. said...

he was wrapped too tight for Vietnam.

9/30/2008 12:21:00 PM  
Blogger Susannah said...

Bob, you've got a bully pulpit here, so to speak, and a great track record. I think you have a calling, too, which is why I read your blog along with other forms of cultural criticism. Those who are called are "authorized," to put it one way.

But personally, I'm finding find focusing on degeneracy is not spiritually helpful. It is what it is. That's what we get minus God. Logically speaking, it shouldn't shock us, but given the purity of living waters, pollution always does, and thank God (for it is all his doing) we still have the capacity to be shocked and repulsed by it.

Nevertheless, the locus of the spiritually alive is "in Christ." Hidden away in joy, so to speak, while walking through the trash this world kicks out daily. I'm realizing lately that for *me* to vent spleen about Maher and the-likes-of on my little mommy blog is just that--venting spleen. I want the abundance of my heart to vent something other than spleen, I guess.

9/30/2008 12:22:00 PM  
Blogger Susannah said...

Okay, the Obama worship is REALLY getting weird.

Creepy stuff!

9/30/2008 12:30:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Vietnam, China are failed socialist states. A few people there are stepping out but most of the country is trapped in socialist indolence. "

Failed? Usually while there is growth one wouldn't call that "failed." And while things are getting worse here they gradually get better there. In fact china's middle class is growing rather quickly, while our middle class, well, is gradually disappearing. Why are you arguing what's happening? What's next? If I say China finished building a damn would you say they didn't actually build it?

While most people are still living in poverty in China, the thing is the living conditions are improving. You're looking at totality, I'm looking at change. Just because America is better today doesn't mean it always will be, if you don't think the future matters that's fine, perhaps that's why so many people have had problems grasping why many of our policies are failures, because they haven't yet failed. But, then again by your definition I don't really know what you think "failed" really means.

And the reason I bring up Norway is because it implements many socialistic policies and the people there are some of the happiest and healthiest in the world. They're also fairly active compared to Americans. Which contradicts a lot of what I hear about socialism/communism from people. Usually because they have a simplistic view of politics.

As for Anon 1 who has talked with Vietnamese people, my uncle's wife was Vietnamese, she liked America better, but didn't think Vietnam was bad when she left. So maybe it's who you talk to.

9/30/2008 12:44:00 PM  
Blogger Susannah said...

Sure; it's all in who you talk to. Talk to somebody whom the government has allowed an upgrade in housing, you get "success." Talk to a jailed political or religious dissident, you get the impression: "failure."

And of course, the dead don't talk.

I don't think "failure" means what anon. thinks it means.

9/30/2008 12:59:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think Susannah knows any of Vietnam's governmental practices, yet somehow thinks she'll sound smart when she goes off and says crap that makes me wonder if she still lives in the 80s.

9/30/2008 01:01:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Sure; it's all in who you talk to. Talk to somebody whom the government has allowed an upgrade in housing, you get "success." Talk to a jailed political or religious dissident, you get the impression: "failure.""

Wait have we moved this conversation to talking about America? How unexpected; we now have several examples of all of those things here in the states.

9/30/2008 01:03:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

"Despite his obvious deficiencies, Roosevelt was at least still a man. Not only was his wartime leadership exemplary, but I cut him some slack economically, because macroeconomics simply wasn't as well understood at the time. True, his instincts were all wrong. Still, it's like blaming an 18th century doctor for applying leeeches, when that was simply the state of medicine at the time."

I'll give you the first, but not the later. Economics had already seen and dealt with the issues that progressivists like TR & FDR peddled, and clearly saw what would result from them - but they weren't fashionable to a society eager for Change!. All could easily be seen and foreseen with just a fair understanding of Bastiat's description of the unavoidable consequences of meddling in the free market, which were the essentials of every notion FDR had. Henry Hazlit wrote 'Economics in One Lesson' afterwards in 1946, to point just that out.

9/30/2008 01:20:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

(I know, picky, I'm worked up though.)

9/30/2008 01:21:00 PM  
Anonymous pathetic freak said...

I would add to that "bill of rights" some guarantee of affection and sexual access to a suitable partner, or at least a good back massage. There's an area where people still struggle with want...

9/30/2008 01:25:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

"One’s political philosophy, whether one acknowledges it or not, is going to depend upon one’s conception of human nature. And if your conception of human nature is wrong, then your philosophy is going to be warped and your system of governance is going to be dysfunctional. I believe leftism is rooted in a naive and faulty conception of human nature, which is why it does not work and can never work. It is not just wrong, but a cosmic error. It is literally an insult to existence."

Yes indeedy! Just ask the jester, 'Free to Choose!'? (links to online videos) No way, no 'Free Will', just an illusion. Oh and patriot act, and bush lies, and ....

9/30/2008 01:29:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Wait have we moved this conversation to talking about America? How unexpected; we now have several examples of all of those things here in the states."

Care to elaborate, asshole?

9/30/2008 01:32:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

"Look at the current economic crisis. Liberals wanted to do something for people who could not qualify for home loans. Now comes part 2, in which they decide this week what to do to the rest of us."

To see them in the act of doing unto us as we are now experiencing it, check out the video I linked to here.

9/30/2008 01:39:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

"Sounds good doesn’t it? No, better than good. It sounds positively utopian! Because now, with my new Economic Bill of Rights in hand, my absence of responsibility and my victimhood are complete. The Government owes me a meaningful, well-paying job, fairness, a house, free medical care, an absence of fear, and full protection from my own bad decisions throughout life!
Obviously, many people want that new deal. But it is the quintessence of a Faustian bargain, in which you have traded God for government."

As evidenced by the decay of "a meaningful, well-paying job" (it's not the job that's changed, but the meaning we no longer lend to it), "fairness" (destroyed by entitlement)", a house" (no longer a home)", free medical care" (if you can afford it)", an absence of fear" ( the seeking of which has made us unable to recognize and face up to what should be feared).

Excellent post... I love the days you don't have time.

9/30/2008 01:52:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

ray said "Yup, it was liberals that drafted the Patriot Act."

Yeah... hard to see that one coming.

9/30/2008 01:56:00 PM  
Blogger walt said...

You are now Horizontal Man. You have fallen all the way down.

This, I think, is the GREAT FEAR of the Raccoon. Not that he/she is that, but that it lurks, in potential.

And the right-hand side of the Tyler Cycle demands an "active" approach -- one must "bring something" to living to be on/in that side. The left-hand side reflects a "passivity," and a willingness to receive what others offer.

I've noticed that we, as readers, are especially blessed on those days when Bob says he's pressed for time . . . again, today!

9/30/2008 01:58:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Julie, thanks for the MIT link, looks like they've finally expanded out their online classes from just their 'Engineering' type courses.

Yale has some good ones available also, they had a poli sci one last year on video that was quite good, started from Socrates forward. Even Berkeley... they've got some real vomitous ones too though.

When buying into 'knowledge', Caveat Emptor.

9/30/2008 02:01:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

aninnymouse belched "...nsure stability we as a nation should suspend this year's presidential election and let the current regime provide cont..."

Putin's calling you on line two... how about you going over there to mull it over up close and personal like.

9/30/2008 02:04:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

One thing to bear in mind, though, is that if a course requires a textbook, you still have to get your own. I was just looking at the basic Japanese class; the course materials include the answers, but you still have to figure out the questions ;)

9/30/2008 02:07:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

It's funny how how fast other people picked up that hat, once I finally set it down...

9/30/2008 02:07:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

It looks better on me though ;)

9/30/2008 02:08:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Walt:

It also reminds me of the Wheel of Fortune in MOTT, p. 233.

9/30/2008 02:08:00 PM  
Anonymous ximeze said...

"Time once again to be re-indoctrinated into the wonderful world of cultural competence and transgendered sensitivity."

Oh goodie! Looking forward to hearing all about the asshattedness they put you thru this time. Rich, rich fodder for blogging.

9/30/2008 02:21:00 PM  
Blogger walt said...

Bob,

Thanks for the hint -- I'm hot on its trail!

9/30/2008 02:44:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is time to divest ourselves of our sentimental attachment to the Constitution and the rule of law.

The only way to get the government out of our pocketbooks and factories is to start over from scratch.

The first step in that direction is to realize that the Bush administration is about as good as its gonna get, and to find a way to keep that administration in power for the long haul. Once a sensible regime is securely and permanantly footed, then the dismantling of the House, Senate, courts, etc can be done in an orderly manner, down to the State level and resulting eventually in a pure capitalist economy.

Democracy sounds nice but lets go the other way and see what happens. We have a lot to gain.

9/30/2008 03:54:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Heh - and I thought my braying was loud...

9/30/2008 04:07:00 PM  
OpenID crs said...

Bob, Isn't it about time to ban totally anonymous ids? If folks want anonymity it is easy enough to get but this forum needs to at least have a tighter line on who we are responding to from one day to the next. Even alter egos and sock puppets would be better than anonymous.

9/30/2008 04:09:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Well done.

9/30/2008 04:20:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

CRS:

There's no reason to ban trolls. For one thing, there aren't enough comments anyway. Second, trolls are always either self-refuting or self-beclowning. Third, they are needed in order for people to gain the strength to ignore them.

9/30/2008 04:29:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Now this is an interesting theory.

Key phrase:

"One problem with the void idea, though, is that it negates a principle that has reined in astronomy for more than 450 years: namely, that our place in the universe isn't special. When Nicholas Copernicus argued that it made much more sense for the Earth to be revolving around the sun than vice versa, it revolutionized science. Since then, most theories have to pass the Copernican test. If they require our planet to be unique, or our position to be exalted, the ideas often seem unlikely."

Yes, science forbid we might hold a special place in the universe.

9/30/2008 04:52:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

"Third, they are needed in order for people to gain the strength to ignore them."

No, really, I can quit any time I want to...

*whistling nonchalantly*

9/30/2008 05:02:00 PM  
OpenID crs said...

Bob, I am not saying ban trolls just have them choose an identity. It isn't hard to do but no one can use my open ID CRS but me and while I am anonymous I am consistently CRS.

9/30/2008 07:33:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

And now, for something completely different. If you don't like what you get, just click the picture.

9/30/2008 09:24:00 PM  
Anonymous jwm said...

AN EARWORM GENERATOR???
Oh, Julie that takes cruelty into hitherto unknown dimensions. In fact, I'm sure they opened up three or four new basements in hell just for the guy who thought it up.
And I agree with crs on the troll issue. I don't mind the trolling as much as I do the anonymity. Trolls:
Pick a nic. A troll without a handle is a sad beast indeed. Don't be a sad beast.

JWM

9/30/2008 10:59:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Hi Will,
My condolences for you and Fergus.
I know he's waitin' for you, and probably playin' with Oscar to pass the timelessness.

That was a Beautiful poem you wrote. Fitting for such a cool cat.
A special cat!

God bless you, Will.

10/01/2008 12:51:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Great post, Bob!
Actually, all your posts have always been great, but I thought I would tell ya anyway.
Thanks!

Also, thanks to Kepler for the ideas. :^)

10/01/2008 12:56:00 AM  
Blogger walt said...

Cap'n!

Nice to see you're upright, and typin'! Steady as she goes, right?

Hope all is mo' betta, now!

10/01/2008 03:31:00 AM  
Blogger Ray Ingles said...

Van - Did you see it coming because, y'know, it's true?

10/01/2008 04:49:00 AM  
Blogger Ray Ingles said...

Julie - Science doesn't "forbid we might hold a special place in the universe." It just asks that you produce evidence to the contrary, that's all.

(Of course, if the universe is bigger than we thought, 'special' circumstances are less unlikely.)

10/01/2008 04:56:00 AM  
OpenID kaffepaus said...

Ray, you hold a special place in my universe. Why shouldn’t good old planet earth do the same?

/Johan

10/01/2008 05:40:00 AM  
Blogger Magnus Itland said...

In Soviet Russia, government elects you!

If you want to learn about the Americanization of Norway, I'll be happy to help. I see it happen day by day, working in a state bureaucracy that is being downsized continually, while my taxes go down from year to year.

But I wonder what will become of us when we can no longer ride America's coat-tails into a better future.

10/01/2008 06:13:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

No Ray, I saw it coming because your are a 'true' follower of Hume, and that is one of the natural the end points of skepticism.

Idiocy.

10/01/2008 06:15:00 AM  
Blogger Niggardly Phil said...

Anonny, you're out of your element.

10/01/2008 06:33:00 AM  
Blogger Ray Ingles said...

Van - So conservatives didn't draft the PATRIOT Act? That's not the history as recorded...

10/01/2008 06:54:00 AM  
Blogger NoMo said...

"If we were in an unusually sparse area of the universe, then things could look farther away than they really are and there would be no need to rely on dark energy as an explanation for certain astronomical observations."

Living in a bubble can definitely affect perception.

Interesting.

10/01/2008 07:18:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Ray, sorry, I overestimated you... on this you don't even rise to the level of idiocy.

10/01/2008 07:29:00 AM  
Blogger Ray Ingles said...

Y'know, Van says he knows my positions better than I do, but when we try to discuss it, it seems to be rounds of, "You think this." "No, I don't, and here's why." "But you think this." "I just said that I didn't, and why." "But you think this."

10/01/2008 08:52:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Ray,
If in a time of war, you are more concerned about a bill - whether over or under zealous not the issue - that is concerned with targeting terrorists - the enemy, as opposed to showing some concern about something like the attempt to resurrect the Fairness Doctrine, which once did, and again seeks to, limit the free speech of free people and the communication of that speech whether in a time of war or peace... you've already said what you mean, confirmed your philosophy, and displayed your bias, regardless of what words you may or may not have used to try to appear 'fair and balanced'.

10/01/2008 09:25:00 AM  
Blogger Ray Ingles said...

Van - Um, the return of the "Fairness Doctrine", is only a proposition at this point. The Patriot Act is actually in force. "Whether over or under zealous not the issue"? We were at war when Japanese-Americans were interned en masse, y'know. Was it "not the issue" whether that was "over or under zealous"?

The RICO act was "concerned with targeting" organized crime like the Mafia. And then it was used against tobacco companies. Yes, "over or under zealous" is very much the issue.

10/01/2008 09:45:00 AM  
Anonymous idiot savant said...

Obama is "devoid of any manly virtues at all"? What "manly virtues" does Gagdad have that Obama doesn't? Both seem to be good husbands, good fathers, good, hard-working providers for their families. And I wouldn't be surprised if Obama couldn't kick Gagdad's posterior in basketball and fisticuffs. So, what "manly virtues" is Gagdad talking about?

10/01/2008 12:33:00 PM  
Anonymous cousin dupree said...

I don't presume to speak for Gagdad, but I would assume the usual ones -- honesty, integrity, character, prudence, writing ability, sense of humor, taste in wives, etc.

Plus, I am quite certain he could beat Obama in hoops. Name the time & place.

10/01/2008 12:52:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Dupree that is not what I meant. I just meant that Obama strikes me as a wimpy, feminized, metrosexual sort of man, that's all.

10/01/2008 12:56:00 PM  
Anonymous Ivan Ivanovich said...

The Tytler Circle is interesting. I once made a circle, which I showed as a clock. It was designed to show how communism and fascism sit side by side in their totalitarian nature at 11 O’clock and 1 O’clock while freedom is at 6 O’clock. Of course, anarchism is total freedom so the preferred state is between either 3 and 5 or 7 and 9. Other factors, such as theism or feminism can be superimposed on this model to differentiate which side of the clock we should be on. It also allows the bi-directional movement of the hour hand to account for the pendulum effect.

10/06/2008 05:23:00 AM  

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