Thursday, September 17, 2009

Jimmy Carter: Miserable Failure, Vicious Anti-Semite, or Just Plain Stupid?

Is the Obama administration's refusal to honestly engage the arguments of its critics a conscious strategy or simply an artifact of being among the Anointed? After all, if one is by definition generous, decent, and compassionate, then one's critics must be the opposite. Thus, the demonization of critics as racists, nazis, and thugs may not be a conscious strategy. If it is, it's an appallingly stupid one.

Do they really think it's a good idea to trot out the worst president of the 20th century to viciously slander over half the population? I mean, if it weren't for Carter's little pills, we wouldn't even be having to deal with this Iran problem. I suppose it's possible that his vile message is being orchestrated by the White House, but I like to think that liberals really believe the things they say, and that in their minds, their motives are pure. It's enough just to deal with the substance of their ideas. There's no need to assume bad motives.

For example, I am quite sure that state-mandated racial discrimination is a bad thing, and that it is harmful to its so-called beneficiaries. Thus, one can say that it's a racist policy, but there is no need to impute racist motivations to this or that individual. I know lots of people who are in favor of state-enforced racial discrimination, but they aren't racists as we usually define the term. Condescending toward blacks, yes. Infantilizing, yes. But in their minds, they're trying to do good. They're just misguided, that's all.

This is why Hayek emphasizes over and over that in economics, intentions don't matter, only incentives. Thus, we know that Obama intends to provide universal health care that is cheap, plentiful and of high quality. I don't doubt that. I just know that it's impossible, because he will set up a system of incentives that makes it so. The incentives will immediately swamp the intentions as soon as the system moves from idea to reality, because economics does not lie.

The identical thing happened with the Great Society, which was intended to reduce dependency but only increased it to unprecedented levels. Now if you try to scale it back, you are "cruel" and "heartless."

So the left is full of good people with good intentions, excluding that truly nasty contingent of hardcore leftists which probably constitutes only a quarter to a third of the Democrat party. Unfortunately, those people tend to be the most visible, as they are the activists, intellectuals, and prominent bloggers -- AKA, the ignorantsia.

But for those of you with liberal neighbors and relatives, you know that they are just decent people who have never given much thought to their ideas, especially if they've had the misfortune of attending graduate school. In fact, they are the ones who are most impervious to novel information, due to the element of intellectual pride. Give me ten minutes with my pool man, and I could convert him to conservatism (if he isn't conservative already). But I couldn't change some of my educated relatives in 50 years. No way. They literally don't hear what I'm saying.

Liberals have a hard time understanding that good will ≠ good results. Worse yet, leftist intellectuals can't seem to wrap their minds around one of the founding principles of classical liberalism, that what they think of as "bad intentions" routinely give birth to good results.

But in reality, of course, the bad intentions are not really bad; they only become so in the leftist's mind, because they convert self-interest into selfishness, two very different and often antithetical things. For a self-interested person is rational, predictable, responsible, stable, future-oriented, and deeply interconnected with a small circle that he especially cares about and which cares about him.

In contrast, collectivism erodes self-interest and replaces it with raw selfishness. Once the state is powerful enough to dole out favors to particular groups and interests, everyone is in competition to gain the favors in exchange for propping up the state and giving it even more power. This is why the huge federal bureaucracy initiated by FDR became the metastasizing autopoietic monster it is today. No one can control it because of the system of incentives it has instantiated.

In turn, as Mark Steyn has argued, this is perhaps the greatest existential danger of Omamacare, because government-controlled medicine changes a people forever. Once we cross that rubicon-job, our very lives are intertwined with the State in the most intimate manner.

I don't know if this is a conscious strategy on the part of the left -- I'm sure that for some of them it is -- but socialized medicine may be the death blow to classical liberalism and to any semblance of the founding vision of the United States. From then on, every political battle will be fought on leftist turf.

Can you imagine? Every national election will be about greedy Republicans trying to take away your healthcare. Democrats will simply replicate their longstanding strategy toward Social Security, only on a mass scale. To be conservative will be to touch the Third Rail of "free" healthcare and thereby go up in flames. In this new context, a garden variety conservative will sound as extreme as, say, a Bircher or Paulian today. That's how it is in Western Europe, where their "conservatives" are just leftist-lite.

Hayek makes the important point that when the outcome deviates from the noble intentions of the left -- which it virtually always does -- they never return to first principles and inquire as to whether perhaps there's a bug in the system. Rather, they usually jump to the conclusion "that sinister forces must have foiled our intentions, that we are the victims of some evil power which must be conquered...." Our intentions are good. Our ideas cannot have been wrong.

This is where the inevitable demonization and conspiratorial thinking come in. People don't want nationalized medicine? They must be racists! War going badly? Bush lied us into it! Worst hurricane in history? Bush hates black people! Doubt the significance of manmade climate change? You're a Holocaust denier! Etc.

Leftists "are ready to accept almost any explanation of the present crisis of our civilization except one: that the present state of the world may be the result of genuine error on our part and that the pursuit of some of our most cherished ideals has apparently produced results utterly different from those which we expected" (Hayek).

Could it be that the War on Poverty results in only more poverty? Or that government discrimination does not end discrimination? Or that military weakness is provocative to the enemies of liberty? Or that aid to Africa freezes it in a state of dysfunction? Or that pouring more money into a bad educational system makes it worse? Or that subsidizing college increases the cost of tuition?

This is why I don't agree with, say, Rush Limbaugh, who believes that Obama is following the tried-and-true Marxist strategy of intentionally making things worse in order to justify a more massive power grab. I don't see any real need to go there and to attack motivations, as does the left.

Again, it is enough to address their bad ideas, which Limbaugh already does so well. Then again, since so few people engage the ideas, one can well understand the strategy of personalizing the debate and demonizing the opponent. Who knows. Maybe all is fair in this kind of Cosmic War, since the future of civilization hangs in the balance.

*****

O, just like I pictured it. You gots to have freedom:

93 Comments:

Blogger NoMo said...

A guy who followed me into a market the other day asked where I got my bumper sticker (Carter 2.0 with a pic of Obama), then said, “I don’t remember well, but wasn’t he kind of a bonehead?”

Uhhhh, yup.

When the Peter Principle applies to heads of state, especially POTUS, its no longer humorous. Its scary.

Back to the post.

9/17/2009 07:52:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Question - Jimmy Carter: Miserable Failure, Vicious Anti-Semite, or Just Plain Stupid?

Answer - Yes.

Sorry, ok, I'll read past the title now.

9/17/2009 08:09:00 AM  
Blogger Warren said...

>> Do they really think it's a good idea to trot out the worst president of the 20th century to viciously slander over half the population?

No, I really doubt it. Osama bin Laden's favorite author is a roving agent of chaos, as far as I can tell, following no agenda but his own, and not giving a damn what damage he does, or to whom. I suspect that Obama would like to strangle him, actually.

And why so timid in calling Jimmah "the worst president of the 20th century"? For my money, he easily knocks James Buchanan out of the all-time bottom spot.

9/17/2009 08:18:00 AM  
Blogger Warren said...

Good anti-Queeg rant:

http://rsmccain.blogspot.com/2009/09/andrew-jacksons-mother-advises-this.html

9/17/2009 08:40:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"In contrast, collectivism erodes self-interest and replaces it with raw selfishness. Once the state is powerful enough to dole out favors to particular groups and interests, everyone is in competition to gain the favors in exchange for propping up the state and giving it even more power. This is why the huge federal bureaucracy initiated by FDR became the metastasizing autopoietic monster it is today. No one can control it because of the system of incentives it has instantiated."

222
years ago today
some young radicals got done haggling about how to govern free people, and keep them free, and signed a Document to do just that.

It offered as a, then powerful, incentive: Freedom and Liberty.

It's up to us to keep it an attractive one.

9/17/2009 09:08:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Hint: Our abandoning our friends and alies to the mercies of hungry tyrants... not a good incentive for promoting Freedom and Liberty.

9/17/2009 09:13:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

This is why I don't agree with, say, Rush Limbaugh, who believes that Obama is following the tried-and-true Marxist strategy of intentionally making things worse in order to justify a more massive power grab.

That's a good point. I think most conservatives recognize that average people, whatever their politics, have good intentions and aren't automatically bad people for thinking that universal health care would be "nice." But with politicians, it's easy to ascribe darker motivations, especially when they're in a position to carry out those nice intentions and we have to live with the results.

That said, you can learn a lot about a man by the company he keeps. Obama may not be an overt Marxist trying for a massive power grab to enslave Americans to the state for generations to come (even though that may be the fruit of his endeavors), but some of his favorite people are still race-baiting, America hating, honest-to-goodness thugs. In that light, the good intentions come across as more of an empty veneer, and the few glimpses I've seen of the guy underneath that (f'rinstance, those times when he "accidentally" flipped the bird while talking - post victory - about Hillary and McCain) don't give me the warm fuzzies.

9/17/2009 09:19:00 AM  
Anonymous looptloop said...

Is this a blatant attempt to seed the "Search of the day"?

But I'd vote for Thomas Sowell if he were a transgendered Guatemalan poetess who thought that shaving his legs was a form of oppression.

9/17/2009 09:28:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"This is where the inevitable demonization and conspiratorial thinking come in. People don't want nationalized medicine? They must be racists! War going badly? Bush lied us into it! Worst hurricane in history? Bush hates black people! Doubt the significance of manmade climate change? You're a Holocaust denier! Etc."


I have no need of monsters - reality is terrifying enough for me. And backroom potboiler conspiracies are for penny-ante piker’s. Once you've accepted that reality is optional, all adherents become unwitting conspirators.

Self made monsters in shining armor.

9/17/2009 09:30:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have no idea how any rational person could live through eight years of George W. Bush and yet still be able to straight-facedly churn out a turd like this about Carter and Obama.

9/17/2009 10:07:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I believe you.

9/17/2009 10:08:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Anonymous said "I have no idea how any rational person could..."

I know. Goes with the name. It's self evident.

9/17/2009 10:14:00 AM  
Anonymous Butters said...

"Or that subsidizing college increases the cost of tuition?"

Do you have any empirical proof of this? Just because Hayek or Schuon say something, doesn't make it true.

I go to university in Canada, and my tuition is much lower than it would be in the U.S. Over here tuition for one academic year is $6000 at a good University (University of Toronto), whereas in the U.S. it is $30,000 or more at a good University (e.g. Harvard).

Your claim about education can be easily empirically disproven, but then, I should have gotten the clue from your excessive protestations against the Left's connectedness to reality, that this is a case of protesting too much.

9/17/2009 10:14:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

I go to university in Canada...

Well, that explains a lot.

9/17/2009 10:17:00 AM  
Anonymous Skippy G. said...

University of Toronto = Harvard

Heh.

9/17/2009 10:22:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Tuition Rising: Why College Costs So Much.

9/17/2009 10:24:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

See also Going Broke by Degree: Why College Costs Too Much.

9/17/2009 10:28:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Well you know, the more students they have at a college, the more tuition will be. How does that work? Colleges do not pay for their operation costs (now, this is traditional colleges) through tuition mainly. It is through grants and endowments. More students = more teachers / buildings / service costs = higher tuition to offset it. if 80% of their money comes from an endowment which does not increase with more students, then the 20% which comes from tuition will only, say, double with a double student population. That means 120% of their original money. If realized costs are 30% more, then tuitions must go up 25%.

I don't know for certain if all colleges work this way, but I do know some colleges have hurt themselves badly by becoming too 'populist' in their leaning. Not to mention the fact that a higher student population probably means lower standards, which means fewer graduates per capita, which means fewer outstanding alumni per capita, which means fewer endowments per capita... it is a different system and always has been.

9/17/2009 10:47:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

btw, that video is awesome. It looks a lot today's APOD.

9/17/2009 10:48:00 AM  
Anonymous hoarhey said...

Hey Butter,

What's the tuition cost for someone actually taking a full course load? Depending on one's major, your $6000 figure morphs into something approaching $10,000. Remember, we have the internet down here too.

9/17/2009 10:49:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Keep in mind the top marginal tax rate in Canada is close to 50%.....

9/17/2009 10:59:00 AM  
Anonymous Butters said...

$6000 is my tuition for my final year as an undergraduate student at the University of Toronto, and I'm taking a full course load (100%). My degree is Honours Bachelor of Arts (in Philosophy and Political Science), which is less expensive than, say, Engineering; but even an equivalent degree from a good University in the U.S. will cost about $30,000.

Taxes may be higher in Canada, but that does not prove that subsidizing education raises tution fees in particular. Maybe it raises income tax, or has some other adverse effect, but to say it raises tuition fees is demonstrably false.

I should mention, somewhat unrelatedly, that Leftism is not equivalent to Marxism. Perhaps you should not use the two interchangably when you're criticizing, especially since some Leftists abhor Marxism as much as libertarians do.

9/17/2009 11:11:00 AM  
Anonymous hoarhey said...

Butters,

WHAT IS THE CURRENT TUITION FOR AN UNDERGRADUATE ENTERING THE UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO AS OF SEPTEMBER 2009?
Is it possible that I know more about the University of Toronto's tuition costs from a simple google search than someone actually attending the school? YUP!
Just because you're grandfathered in at your rate doesn't mean that the price is the same now.
And as far as Canadian taxes, they're picking your back pocket to subsidize your education. What is the REAL cost? Get a clue.

9/17/2009 11:20:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your garden variety conservative IS a Paulian already. He just doesn't realize it yet.

9/17/2009 11:21:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Ho boy.

Well, you've come to the wrong place for an argument; this is abuse, donchu know?

Now there's a song in my head...

9/17/2009 11:24:00 AM  
Anonymous hoarhey said...

And don't equate U. of Toronto with Harvard or Yale. Try looking up tuition at a good State University for an equivalence, it's within a few thousand of what's being paid by freshman at your school. Add in the costs of what the Canadian govt. is picking out of your pocket in subsidies and the "bargain" you're receiving ain't lookin' so good. Do they teach 'there's no free lunch' in the College of Philosophy and Political Science?
Admit it, you're just into the idea of Joe the trash collector paying for your education.

9/17/2009 11:30:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

parkay said: "Do you have any empirical proof of this? Just because Hayek or Schuon say something, doesn't make it true.

I go to university in Canada..."

As has already been pointed out, your source of error is self evident. While it is unlikely you'll be able to use it (Comparing Univ of Toronto with Harvard? Really?! Why not really make your point and compare Univ of Mo with Harvard? I know, you don't get it, no worries. College students... lol.)

Here's a U.S. Gov. House study for you, lots of foot notes,:

"Joint Economic Committee Study, Jim Saxton, Chairman, Oct 1997 - College Affordability: Tuition Tax Credits vs. Saving Incentives
Executive Summary

"The steep increase in tuition is largely attributable to a growth in college costs during the 1980s. College administrators contend that changing demographics in higher education since 1980 have necessitated an increase in costs in order to provide a high quality education to a more diverse student body. They argue that government appropriations to higher education did not keep pace with rising expenditures. As shown in Figure 3, government funding per full-time equivalent (FTE) student grew in pace with inflation between 1975 and 1993, but college spending per FTE student rose by 38 percent. College leaders argue that the government's failure to increase funding when costs were rising necessitated an increase in tuition to make up the shortfall.

Click here to see Figure 3.
… Much of the spending was merely an attempt by colleges to keep enrollment high in order to attract more state funding and did nothing to improve the quality of education. Thomas Sowell of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University notes that colleges and universities have expanded their bureaucracies, overseas facilities, and programs beyond what was needed to meet demand or improve educational quality.9

The evidence suggests that the structure of the federal aid system has contributed to the problem of uncontrolled costs and associated tuition hikes. Institutions generally base their spending decisions for the following year on the amount of revenue they project to earn in that year. The more money they expect to earn from various sources, the more spending they decide to undertake. The wide availability of federal aid thus encourages increased spending and subsequent tuition hikes.

V. Conclusion
Although the federal aid system has helped millions of students over the years, it has also contributed to some discouraging trends: tuition is rising…

These trends have occurred because the federal aid system is inherently flawed and could be improved upon to provide greater benefits to students. Federal financing of higher education does not provide colleges with incentives to restrain costs, and therefore encourages tuition hikes…

The HOPE Scholarship recently enacted into law will not improve college affordability because it fails to address the core problems of the federal aid system. Instead, tuition tax credits will only create windfalls for colleges that adjust their tuition upward to absorb the additional revenue."


After reading and digesting the full study, and it's empirical evidence, you may want to take a look at Walter E. Williams: Is College Worth It?

9/17/2009 11:33:00 AM  
Anonymous hoarhey said...

Butter,

Come out of your little cocoon and actually do a some research.

9/17/2009 11:36:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Hoarhey asked "Do they teach 'there's no free lunch' in the College of Philosophy and Political Science?"

Probably not since Prof. John Ridpath left.

9/17/2009 11:38:00 AM  
Anonymous hoarhey said...

Another clue,

Leftism = Marxism

Except to a leftist.

9/17/2009 11:40:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

One does not alter the cost of something by manipulating its price and concealing the true cost. For example, we all pay more in medical expenses because doctors have to charge more to make up for for what they get paid by Medicare to treat the geezers. If you can actually prove that the fabled free lunch exists, there's a Nobel prize in economics waiting for you.

9/17/2009 11:41:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

To put it another way, taking water out of one end of your pool and pouring it into the other end is not an effective way to fill it up.

9/17/2009 11:43:00 AM  
Anonymous Butters said...

I'm entering my final year now, i.e. my final year starts in 2009. The tuition fees for 2009 for me should be the same as for everyone else.

But suppose they aren't, and I'm somehow immune to the tuition fee hikes. Even if it is now $10,000, that would still be cheaper than $30,000.

To say that subsidizing education increases tuition fees is demonstrably false, unless you drastically redefine the term 'tuition fees'. If tuition fees is equivalent to all costs -- from income taxes to the price of groceries -- then technically non-college students are also paying tuition fees since they have costs too. According to your semantic maneuvering, every person on Earth who has ever spent any money is paying tuition fees.

If your point is that subsidizing education increases taxes, you should say so, rather than stating that it increases tuition fees, which is demonstrably false. 'Tuition fees' is defined as that bottom line on your University invoice that tells you how much you owe your University. If you're paying more for groceries or generally more to the Government, that may leave you with less money at the end of the day, but that spent money is still not tuition fees.

Furthermore, unless the person paying the tuition fees is in the upper income bracket, they won't actually be paying more in taxes. I don't pay more in taxes due to my reduced tuition fees (since I'm too poor to be taxed), so even with your conveniently redefined terms, I am actually paying less than I would in Amreeka.

You can try to weasel your way out of your error with semantic maneuvering, but the fact remains that the statement: 'subsidizing University education increases tuition fees' is demonstrably false.

9/17/2009 11:52:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

You've done it! You've disproved the law of supply and demand. Now go pick up your Nobel.

9/17/2009 11:56:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Butters,
all jesting aside, I'm going to offer you some well-intentioned advice. I doubt you'll take it, as you have no reason to respect my opinion, but here it is anyway:

First, I'd like to note that I've looked at your blog. At a guess, I'd say you're female, 21-23, strongly feminist. You seem to be going through some rough spiritual times right now, to which many of us here can relate. A few weeks back, GE posted a link that I found tremendously helpful, regarding dark nights of the soul. Perhaps you will find it helpful, too.

Second, being an undergrad in your final year of college, and especially being a philosophy major (I married one, so I know whereof I speak), you are at the age of invincibility. There is no argument we can offer here for anything that will convince you of what you do not wish to believe, and more than most people you have the tools to effectively and possibly permanently defend yourself against truth, should you choose to do so.

Based on your posts, there is a lot about the world and about god/ the Absolute that you do not wish to believe. I would kindly suggest that maybe, instead of deciding that because you dislike something, (for instance, Christ's sacrifice) it must be false, you should consider whether you properly understand the principles and principals in question. There is much about this world and about spirituality that is extremely hard to face, but slamming the door will not make it go away. And it might end up hurting you, in the long run.

Third, when you look at the world through one set of lenses (feminism, for instance), everything becomes tinted and your perception is distorted. Sometimes, that's useful, but every now and then it's best to take those lenses off and see the world as it is, and remember that the tinting may reveal a little, but it also hides a whole lot. Putting something in front of your eyes does not change the light one iota. It simply changes how you, and you alone, perceive it.

Good luck to you in your studies, and don't despair when it seems that grace has left you. Sometimes, that's when it's working for you most of all.

9/17/2009 12:01:00 PM  
Blogger Anna said...

Subsidizing tuition changes the (price-setting and budget) incentives landscape and warps the relation to the market - in specifically identifiable ways even, not just overall or in general. I've seen or heard it fully delineated but don't remember where at the moment unfortunately. It might be also be spelled out in the document cited by Van.

9/17/2009 12:01:00 PM  
Anonymous Butters said...

Marxism does not equal Leftism: this is Political Theory 101. Leftism can also be, for example, anarcho-socialism. Or it can Keynesian economics, or a social democratic model.

Marxism has its own particular set of assumptions (dialectical materialism etc.) and every Leftist does not share those assumptions. I'm not a Leftist myself (more of a Centrist, I guess), but I know many Leftists who despise Marxism. Sometimes the word Left is used to describe anyone who's a feminist or anti-war, and with that broad meaning it is definitely not equivalent to Marxism. But even with the narrower original meaning of economic Leftiness, it is still not necessarily Marxism.

There are non-Marxian socialisms as well, e.g. Christian socialism, Owenite socialism, agrarianism and so forth. This is not an ideological position, it is merely fact, as plain and obvious as that there is more than one type of Conservative, from the Burkites to the neoconservatives, and they don't all agree on everything.

Given how many insults have been thrown my way, it is profoundly ironic and telling that the criticism leveled against 'the Left' as a group prone to insulting their opponents rather than engaging with them or addressing their criticisms, applies just as much to those on the Right in this conversation (and indeed, on most occasions). In this situation it is I who raised criticisms, and you lot of impeccable intelligent economics-comprehenders who threw around insults without even beginning to address my points.

Why don't you look in the mirror, hypocrites.

9/17/2009 12:05:00 PM  
Anonymous Butters said...

@ Julie

Thanks for the good wishes :) However, a few things:

1. I'm still trying to figure out the meaning of Christ's sacrifice, so I have no fixed position on that. I'm not certain of anything with regard to his crucifixion.

2. I'm sort of post-feminist, and in fact feminism is not very important to me. I am a feminist in the broad sense of the term, but I do not see the world through feminist lenses. If anything, I see it through 'Christian' lenses, though strictly speaking I am not Christian. Some of the views I hold are seen as anti-feminist (e.g. I'm broadly pro-life), and I'm very critical of organized feminism.

3. I don't know about the age of invincibility thing, but I think I'm a pretty open-minded person. My point was simply that tuition fees are not increased by subsidization of higher education, and no one has been able to prove me wrong. I did not assert anything about the general economic feasability or desirability of such subsidization, which is what everybody else has been focusing on. If anything, it is the other characters in this conversation who appear to be at the age of invincibility, given how they've disregarded everything I said and kept harping on about how it costs a lot to subsidize things (a claim I never disputed).

9/17/2009 12:14:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have no idea how any rational person could live through eight years of George W. Bush and yet still be able to straight-facedly churn out a turd like this about Carter and Obama.

Oh, because Gagdad absolutely hated Bush too. I mean, look at all those posts heavily criticizing Bush.

9/17/2009 12:27:00 PM  
Blogger christian soldier said...

RE: the title of this post and the answers to the three questions :

true
true
true
C-CS

9/17/2009 12:29:00 PM  
Anonymous hoarhey said...

Butters,

Go look at the University of Tornto's own tuition fee schedule page, MORON!
And a dense moron at that.


W.V. masta

What we'll have with universities keep churning out the likes of butter.

9/17/2009 12:46:00 PM  
Anonymous hoarhey said...

"Jimmy Carter: Miserable Failure, Vicious Anti-Semite, or Just Plain Stupid?"


Ummm,
All of the above?

9/17/2009 12:48:00 PM  
Anonymous hoarhey said...

I'll give you the lesson plan butters, to make it easy.

1. Go to the U. of Toronto tuition schedule page and see what the current rate is, not what you were grandfathered in a four years ago.

2. Check out tuition costs ant an EQUIVALENT university such as a USC or a Penn State.

3. Factor in the monetary exchange rate from Canada to the U.S. and also the amount of government subsidy (taxation) that comes directly from the pockets of the private sector and tell me that your tuition is such a bargain.
If not now, you'll be paying through the nose for it the rest of your life.

9/17/2009 12:55:00 PM  
Blogger Anna said...

Here is a potentially interesting article regarding tuition rates and financial aid. (I haven't read it all quite yet...)

http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=3344

9/17/2009 01:13:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Butters,
on points one and two, fair enough - reading a couple of blog posts of course gives only the roughest of rough sketches of who you are. I picked "feminism" as much because it stands out prominently on your sidebar as anything.

On point three, I'm going to take it step by step:

My point was simply that tuition fees are not increased by subsidization of higher education, and no one has been able to prove me wrong.

This does not mean you are correct. Your failure to understand all of the arguments (which are much more involved than I suspect anyone here cares to explain; sometimes, it takes entire books, not merely tossed-off comments) does not invalidate the arguments. Nor does it mean that we don't understand them.

If anything, it is the other characters in this conversation who appear to be at the age of invincibility, given how they've disregarded everything I said...

Again, with all due respect, a couple of points:

I may be wrong, but I believe the age of the average regular here is at least between 40 and 50. Obviously, I come in a bit under that, but I still have roughly a decade of life experience outside of academia beyond what you have. Virtually all of us, again with only a couple of exceptions, started out at some point on the left. Even the very far left. Most of us have college degrees. We have been where you are. If your arguments are disregarded, it is for the same reason that you probably wouldn't take advice from yourself about boys from before you hit puberty.

Things look a lot different with time and life experience. Furthermore, we deal with some new person much like you on a regular basis, who comes barging in brimming full of confidence to make the same tired and flawed arguments. Usually, they are also increasingly rude about it. We know, from bitter experience, that no argument we make to counter yours will make you see our point. Partly because you simply lack the background work and experience, and partly because often it's counter-intuitive to anybody still entrenched in the educational system.

In short, you don't know what you don't know; we can't convince you; and - surprise! - we don't really want to try. We're bored with that. If you keep insisting on making foolish arguments, we will keep insisting on mocking your foolishness.

So. If you respect anything that Bob says here, I recommend taking what you like and ignoring what you don't. Lots of people do that, and are happy with it. Maybe consider that there's about four years worth of backstory and reference upon which conclusions are being drawn (and that's only in discussion here) that we accept because it's been proven months or even years before you wandered by. There are literally thousands of pages written by brilliant thinkers past and present on matters of faith, history, psychology, culture and economics which have been read and are regularly referenced - and that's just by Bob, and that's just this year. Lots of us do what we can to keep up, but he's got a pretty big head start.

You are like an algebra student who has wandered into a calculus class. You might do better to just try to take things in for a while, especially when something seems counter-intuitive. If you want to really understand the arguments here, do some research and reading of your own, beyond what's required for school.

We didn't just jump to these conclusions based on airy fairy tales. We've lived them, inside and out. Maybe someday, you will too.

But first, maybe consider and respect that there's an awful lot you simply do not know. And you won't, so long as you keep arguing.

9/17/2009 01:17:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

butters,

Hmmm... your reply to Julie shows some potential sense... I'll drop my previously scheduled mocking of parkay, and keep my comments pared down to the merely annoyed.

You said "To say that subsidizing education increases tuition fees is demonstrably false, unless you drastically redefine the term 'tuition fees'"

If it's demonstrably false, cut the crap and demonstrate it. You haven't (you do realize that, right?), so get a clue, follow a link or two. Read. Ask questions. It's actually you who need to dig a little deeper into (at the very least) what tuition fees are and how they are arrived at. I linked to a House of Representatives study above that looks into more than just one facet of what affects tuition fees, with plenty of other studies referenced as well, giving all the ‘empirical proof’ your little heart could desire. Before you go whining about how we here are mocking you, take a look at your own silly assertions to see why.

"If tuition fees is equivalent to all costs -- from income taxes to the price of groceries -- then technically non-college students are also paying tuition fees since they have costs too."

Sophistry like that will give us all a laugh, but it won't get you any respect. If you've been reading here even only as long as since your name first popped up a week or so ago, you should already know that brushing aside the depth of conversation here with such silliness, or patronizingly shallow statements such as,

"Marxism does not equal Leftism: this is Political Theory 101. Leftism can also be, for example, anarcho-socialism. Or it can Keynesian economics, or a social democratic model."

, will get you nowhere. If you want to see how shallow a caricature your comments are, dig back through the last years posts and comments. Then go back over the two + years of nearly daily posts prior to that, where nearly all varieties and strains of leftist thought, economic and philosophic, have been delved into, along with the various shades of "The Right" as well.

"...demonstrably false… demonstrably false … demonstrably false "

As Inigo Montoya might say "I do no tink dem woids meen vat you tink daa meens" In fact, I don't think that what you think, means what you think you thought it meant. Such as, “Just because [someone, including you] say something, doesn't make it true.”, and yet here you are saying that, because you say that Gagdad’s brief quip (summarizing an application of one of the basic principles of economics, which has been dug into here in depth on many occasions) is “demonstrably false “, we are suppose to accept your saying that it is so, because you say so?! You see the problem there?

In the past few years we've dug through these issues here, and most of us have done much more on our own as well. It is you who are showing up here without your homework, or even your class schedule, reading from a day one class syllabus as if you were delivering your dissertation.

Being ignorant isn't a problem. Demonstrating it as if it is a virtue, is.

9/17/2009 02:12:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Oh...fine Julie. Say what I was going to say, say it first, more clearly and politely.

Sheesh.

(showoff)

;-)

9/17/2009 02:17:00 PM  
Anonymous ximeze said...

"...then technically non-college students are also paying tuition fees since they have costs too."

Bingo Butters: your U of T fees are what they are because YOU'RE reaching into the pockets of other Canadian tax-payers to defray the real cost of your schooling. Yes, even the ones who don't get to go to school.

It may cost you less on your end, but other people are picking up part of the tab for you.

9/17/2009 02:46:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Van - what can I say? Great minds think alike, even if they speak with different accents ;)

9/17/2009 02:50:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Also, I'm trying to be nice, 'cuz she reminds me of my niece who came out to stay with us last weekend so she could take the MCATs in Phoenix. About the same age, bright kid, vegetarian, heart o' gold, gorgeous & promising. It's been a pleasure to watch her political ideas mature from college-induced leftism to a more realistic view of the world. What can I say? I kinda hope Butters can make the same progress.

9/17/2009 02:58:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm usually a troll, but I'll point out some issues with Butters' argument anyway.

First, she picks a rather picayune point to go after, even for a troll. The post not only has nothing to do generally with education subsidization, but also does not rely on it for any significant support. The paragraph also starts with "Could it be..." -- clearly Bob thinks all of those things are indeed true, but he states it as hypothetical to illustrate the alleged failure of the LEFT to reflect on their policy choices.

A worse offense, though, is she impermissibly restates the argument into something Bob did not say. Let's review:

Bob: Or that subsidizing college increases the cost of tuition?

Butters: the fact remains that the statement: 'subsidizing University education increases tuition fees' is demonstrably false.

But Bob never said tuition fees increase. He said the cost of paying tuition increases. This includes the subsidization the government is doing to cover tuition, as well as the other costs of this subsidization (remember, he did not say the "price" of tuition, which could be interpreted as the sticker tag, but the cost of paying it).

Thus, I see all the defenses of the costs increasing due to taxes, etc. as legitimate, and Butters' attempted sidetracking of it to the actual price that gets billed to the student as failing to address what Bob actually said.

I would warn that I have no economics degree. I would also warn that I am highly disinclined to defend Bob or the bulk of the posters here usually, and actually would find most of you rather loathsome were I to judge just based on your comments (though I do agree with some of the policy statements here).

9/17/2009 03:23:00 PM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

Butters, do businesses ever pay their own taxes?

9/17/2009 04:30:00 PM  
Blogger katzxy said...

Slightly off topic, but hopefully within the general spirit of this blog.

Without a world view to organize and filter sense impressions, I suspect we'd be overwhelmed. Yet to improve our understanding of how the world works, we've got to test our views against reality, a reality filtered and organized by the very thing we're trying to check.

Now that could be a hard box to break out of. Or maybe I'm wrong and just confused.

The vertical, both (↓) and (↑) seem to me the best way out of the trap.

So I ask those who have traveled this or similar road, am I asking the right question?

9/17/2009 04:55:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Katzky, good question.

I was just reading this (Schuon again):

The objection that we cannot know things as they are in themselves utterly fails to do justice to the fact of cognitive adequation, hence to the very nature of knowledge; what is decisive here is that the whole purpose of knowledge is to become conscious of a given reality: it is not the mode that counts but the thing. Differences in the viewpoints of different spectators do not prevent their perception of one and the same object from being adequate and unanimous; the fact that a tree appears smaller when seen from a distance creates no difficulty as far as objectivity and certainty are concerned. Once there is a separation between subject and object - this is cognitive polarization - there can be no absolute knowledge, but this does not prevent relative knowledge from still being knowledge and not something else, and thus "relatively absolute", if one may use such an expression.

I don't know if that helps much. Looked at another way, if there were no absolute, all would be relative - which is to say, nothing. The fact that we can know means that there can't not be an absolute.

Or maybe the answer is just "Yes."
:)

9/17/2009 05:28:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

One more thing - there's a logical followup to the above quote (later in the same section) which I would be remiss not to include:

Our knowledge of things is inevitably relative, and being relative it is also fragmentary; the cosmos is woven of relative objectivity and relative subjectivity; without relativity, there could be no existence.

9/17/2009 05:39:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Julie said Schuon said "... and thus "relatively absolute", if one may use such an expression..."

If I may be so bold, I'd suggest Contextually Absolute.

9/17/2009 06:23:00 PM  
Anonymous Cousin Dupree said...

Wo. I think that Pharoah Sanders clip just blew my mind.

9/17/2009 07:33:00 PM  
Anonymous Petey said...

Yes, it's very accurate.

9/17/2009 07:34:00 PM  
Anonymous Cousin Dupree said...

Even the black circles?

9/17/2009 07:34:00 PM  
Anonymous Petey said...

Oh yes. We work with being but non-being is what we use.

9/17/2009 07:36:00 PM  
Anonymous Cousin Dupree said...

Like container and contained?

9/17/2009 07:37:00 PM  
Anonymous Petey said...

Womb with a pew.

9/17/2009 07:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Cousin Dupree said...

So I have a prayer?

9/17/2009 07:40:00 PM  
Anonymous Petey said...

Yes, but that's all.

9/17/2009 07:40:00 PM  
Blogger katzxy said...

Julie, thanks.

One thing that Schuon suggests to me is that even though our knowledge is relative, we can still apprehend the truth, at least well enough. And that's encouraging. And if we can get at the truth, at least well enough, relatively speaking, then we can correct misunderstanding. Even deep misunderstanding.

9/17/2009 08:19:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Carter is our most popular ex-president by a good margin. Suck on it, hataz!

9/17/2009 08:28:00 PM  
Blogger Susannah said...

Ummm...did you read your link, Anon?

9/17/2009 09:12:00 PM  
Blogger Susannah said...

Great discussion here today. I wish we weren't so busy here memorizing history timelines and Latin declensions. Like to wrap my mind around more of it. I loved this post, Bob, and really agreed with it! I get the same vibe as Julie, though, re: the president. What he sat under for 20 years (outright heresy, and racist at that); associating with a domestic terrorist without a second thought, apparently; private sector takeovers; appointing a shadow cabinet; the whole paramilitary force proposal he brought up during the campaign; flag at whitehouse dot gov with no concern about how Orwellian it would appear; the "dear leaderish" father-figure style speech to the youth of the nation; the weird, sycophantic *worship* (literally) proceeding from his most ardent supporters; and more... All told, they kinda give me the willies. He's either so full of himself and his leftist conditioning he's clueless how he comes across to red-blooded, liberty-loving Americans; or, he's got ulterior motives. Either way, the outcomes of his proposed policies are dangerous to true liberty. Anyway, would it be okay to share the post? I know you don't want to attract undue attention.

9/17/2009 09:25:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bob, with this post you have gone off the deep end.

Take a deep breath, pause and compose yourself.

Good food, sunshine, quiet...adequate rest, the company of trusted friends and family...
nurture yourself.

Spend time in nature, and in the now, to regain balance.

The hideous culture war which fascinates you and fevers your mind is largely a chimera...stay rooted in what you can see, hear, taste and smell...eschew reading or looking at media for awhile.

You have become a toxic carrier of bad vibrations and are the puppet of unsavory forces from the vital world. Get free and return to you Self now.

After that, you can get back to political blogging but for now you've had enough, grandson.

Tasurinchi

9/17/2009 09:37:00 PM  
Anonymous Oh, sorry, I meant Satan said...

Bob, with this post you have gone off the deep end.

Take a deep breath, pause and compose yourself.

Good food, sunshine, quiet...adequate rest, the company of trusted friends and family...
nurture yourself.

Spend time in nature, and in the now, to regain balance.

The hideous culture war which fascinates you and fevers your mind is largely a chimera...stay rooted in what you can see, hear, taste and smell...eschew reading or looking at media for awhile.

You have become a toxic carrier of bad vibrations and are the puppet of unsavory forces from the vital world. Get free and return to you Self now.

After that, you can get back to political blogging but for now you've had enough, grandson.

9/17/2009 10:53:00 PM  
Blogger Susannah said...

Beach boys now playing in head. Thanks, anon.

9/17/2009 11:06:00 PM  
Blogger Susannah said...

Er, Satan.

9/17/2009 11:06:00 PM  
Blogger Susannah said...

Weirder and weirder. http://hotair.com/archives/2009/09/17/great-news-in-class-rings-get-your-obama-tag-now/

9/18/2009 12:01:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

ninnyTazingtItchySatan said "...carrier of bad vibrations and are the puppet ..."

Poor sock puppet, sounds like he needs some Dr. Scholl's foot powder and some Good Vibrations.

9/18/2009 05:32:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Hey itchy, Don't worry.

Susannah... you were saying?

9/18/2009 05:46:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Susannah:

Feel free to share away. I don't mind attracting the right people, only the wrong ones. In fact, I'm a little intrigued at how popular the blog suddenly becomes when I write about politics for several days in a row -- like two or three times the traffic. Things like the Charles Johnson parody always cause a surge in readership. I'm kind of curious about how far it will go, so I think I'll stay on politics for awhile, and then drop a big spirit bomb and drive them all away -- although perhaps a dozen new readers will stay on for the other stuff.

9/18/2009 06:14:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bob, we can look throughout history and find examples of how misguided you are.

But seriously, for everything you claim, you never actually back it up with any real world examples. You just keep talking, as if your words enough are proof of the concepts.

Personally, you're bullshit.

9/18/2009 07:02:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I don't know how many more ways I can say that I believe you are sincere.

9/18/2009 07:18:00 AM  
Anonymous Butters said...

Very few people actually addressed my point, but sifting through all the personal insults and presumptuous pronouncements of my ignorance, I found one final refutation of my point:

"Bob: Or that subsidizing college increases the cost of tuition?

Butters: the fact remains that the statement: 'subsidizing University education increases tuition fees' is demonstrably false.

But Bob never said tuition fees increase. He said the cost of paying tuition increases. This includes the subsidization the government is doing to cover tuition, as well as the other costs of this subsidization (remember, he did not say the "price" of tuition, which could be interpreted as the sticker tag, but the cost of paying it)."


This, ladies and gentlemen, is a good point, and I now concede that I was wrong. However, none of what was said elsewhere even got to my point, instead making general economic remarks about how subsidization is ultimately more expensive. Just because somebody fails to convince somebody else, doesn't mean the other person is ignorant or stubborn.

Furthermore, I'm not a Leftist, and I have not stated where I stand on various issues. I did not even question 'economic wisdom', merely that subsidizing education increases tuition fees, which it turns out was not what Godwin was asserting.

If it was what he was asserting, however, he would be wrong; and it has been demonstrated as false already by the lower tuition fees in countries that have subsidized education (Germany, for example, has no tuition fees at all). Here is one piece of proof:

http://www.portal.mohe.gov.my/portal/page/portal/ExtPortal/Agencies/Cost_of_Living/Tuition_Fees

9/18/2009 09:27:00 AM  
Anonymous Butters said...

An additional point about the term 'troll':

I agree with Godwin and others who are critical of Leftists, that they have the tendency to silence disagreement. I find that generally speaking those who are Center-Right, or just Center, are the most open to discussions with those who disagree with them. However, the use of the term 'troll' to describe anybody who disagrees with a blogger IMO is contrary to the spirit of the marketplace of ideas.

A blog should be a place where ideas can be exchanged, as long as a certain level of civility is maintained. That is why I do not post comments that are insulting to the blog poster, except in response to an attack. That, IMO, is not trolling, but is rather civilized disagreement. Trolling is disruptive, not merely inquisitive or even dissenting; and if mere disagreement or a question are seen as disruptive, this seems to reflect underlying insecurity and an intolerance for dissenting ideas on the part of the person feeling disturbed.

Thus, instead of dismissing or insulting people by calling them trolls, I suggest people's questions be answered or their criticism addressed; and the term 'troll' be reserved for people who are actually using verbal violence and not merely disagreeing.

9/18/2009 09:33:00 AM  
Anonymous Butters said...

Sorry, previous link was broken. Here it is again:

http://www.portal.mohe.gov.my/
portal/page/portal/ExtPortal/
Agencies/Cost_of_Living/
Tuition_Fees

I put spaces in there, so you'll have to paste it into one line and then remove the spaces.

9/18/2009 09:38:00 AM  
Blogger Anna said...

Butters,

The problem is that the sticker price is relative. Any government can foot any amount of hidden cost and keep the price to the student the same or nil. But in the US, the government doesn't absorb all of that so the price for the student does actually go up over time. Earlier this week actually, coincidentally, I was looking up the history of college tuition on Wikipedia (whatever anyone thinks of Wikipedia aside, but there were some interesting charts and graphs) and it really has gone up - a lot. The universities don't temper their wants with what people would be willing to pay, they present those budgets to the state which feeds into it. A quick-shod explanation, but that is how it seems to me. The real cost is transferred to the tax payer who isn't the one partaking of the service but who is 'commanded' by the state to pay for it. Like I said, this is how it seems to me. What would keep a university from asking for more money in that case? Just curious. And whether or not it would necessarily raise the cost, it does seem to have happened here.

9/18/2009 09:59:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Anna - that's how it seems, because that's how it is. It's a tautology that any state-funded institution gets its money from taxpayers. Since individual taxpayers are not given the option to pick and choose how their money is spent (which is unfortunate - how awesome would it be to just check a box next to stuff you want to pay for, and actually have your taxes allocated where you say? Free market tax distribution...) all taxpayers subsidize the cost of education at every level. And if you or your kid decide to go to a private school or no school, your money is still spent to cover the cost of the education of others.

Furthermore, state monies are generally given on a "use it or lose it" basis. It should go without saying that universities virtually never willingly choose to cut back, but there are plenty of incentives to come up with new ways to get and spend more.

Butters,
again with all due respect because you seem like a nice person, here's the thing:

Read your first comment again. You chose a weak argument on a niggling point, missing the much larger context of the post; you dissed a mountain for a fissure. You are also, simply, incorrect, but we've already established that you aren't willing to change your mind about tuition. Enough said on that score, imho.

Your initial comment was combative in tone:

"I should have gotten the clue from your excessive protestations against the Left's connectedness to reality, that this is a case of protesting too much."

You could have made your argument about tuition without the ad hominem. You yourself set the tone of the ensuing discussion.

So when you say this:

"That is why I do not post comments that are insulting to the blog poster, except in response to an attack."

you're just beclowning yourself.

There's really nothing more I can offer you. Either you'll take my earlier suggestions in the spirit in which they're given, or you won't, it's no skin off my nose.

But if you continue to pick stupid arguments, refuse to listen to the opposing side, and then complain when you're not taken seriously, I'm going to look into acquiring state funding for your own personal Waaahmbulance.

Is this how you act in class discussions at school? And if so, how's that working out for you?

9/18/2009 10:49:00 AM  
Blogger Anna said...

Julie,

Not to mention that many private colleges and universities accept subsidies. I think, even, that schools who opt out of that ring also aren't eligible for federal student financial aid programs. I'm not certain, but there might be something to it. I'd have to check.

The article about tuition and financial aid I posted yesterday pointed out also that intellectual independence is potentially compromised by so much subsidy and aid. I only skimmed it but was pleasantly surprised that it started by referencing Hayek.

9/18/2009 11:16:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

And one more point to consider is quality of education. If you look at elementary ed in this country, for instance, it's basically at the mercy of the NEA. Looked at a certain way, how is the situation any different from that of a third world country that depends on foreign aid, only the aid never quite gets where it's supposed to be going while the organizers and the local thugocracy seems to be living pretty fat? They need those people to stay poor, or else well-intentioned Americans won't fork over the dough.

Over and over, we hear about how more money is needed for our precious schools, but the state of the schools never really seems to get any better, at least to hear about it. I bet the state of the NEA's expense accounts is doing just fine, though. Maybe they could use another admin building here or there, or some more team-building exercises in exotic locations... yeah, that'll improve the quality of education around the country...

9/18/2009 11:33:00 AM  
Anonymous Butters said...

On the contrary I did listen to the other side, and admitted I was wrong. It is the other side that did not listen to me.

My initial comment was not combative, it only contained a subtle insult, and that's really not enough to qualify it as trolling. Subsequent comments changed the tone from civilized-with-one-vaguely-snarky-sentence-at-the-end to truly combative and insulting.

Plus, it's not like I'm the first person who's been called a troll. I see the way dissent is silenced on this blog, with some exceptions (you, Anna, and a few others). Good example of this phenomenon are characters like Van and hoarhey (especially Van, who is very devoted), who do not wait even a few minutes to personally attack anyone who questions Infallible Godwin.

9/18/2009 11:41:00 AM  
Blogger Anna said...

Julie,

Right. Also, money isn't going to solve all of schools' problems. Think of what can be accomplished with paper and pencil. Fancy computer-aided overhead power point systems won't substitute for sound, inspired, innovative, real teaching. I know there is something to be said for good and adequate tools but it's not the end-all-be-all, at all. So the dire "need" for the money funding those organizations like you mentioned is even more a matter for question. But attention to dilapitated buildings is one thing that is very important (black mold, for one, is a danger) and to think that they remain tattered and unimproved even with a lot of funding is scandalous.

9/18/2009 11:48:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Anna - yep.

9/18/2009 12:26:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

butters said "On the contrary I did listen to the other side, and admitted I was wrong. It is the other side that did not listen to me."

Ah. That and your "IMO" 's deliberate dropping of the "H", I think sum it up well. You came in looking for a fight, or at the very least, to be deliberately abrasive, and received the appropriate tone in response.

Well, Julie has already taken the main points, so I'll just address the leftovers.

"Plus, it's not like I'm the first person who's been called a troll..."

Personally, I didn't take you for a troll. I saw your profile when you first entered a week ago, and from that I saw no reason to treat you as a troll, though it looked likely that we'd not agree on much. Disagreement, or even making foolish statements doesn't make you a troll. Blatant asshatery and blatant evasion of backing up your statements with any reasoned arguments, does. See the long history of yee-hah, godinpotty, mtraven, and the like for reference. What I did take you for, was being very young and full of sophistry - you've yet to demonstrate otherwise.

Your initial comment, and later 'admission' shows you to see no further than narrow particulars, deliberately (or ignorantly) avoiding principles... not a good recipe for respectful consideration. However, if you do intend to attempt to support your positions with something other than assertions, and not evading arguments or evidence (did I miss your response to my comment including the House link ref... or are you still thinking about that...?), well, I look forward to it (other's may tire of us quickly, but we'll see).

"I see the way dissent is silenced on this blog, with some exceptions (you, Anna, and a few others)."

Dissent? Silenced? Please. You're not going to find many deleted comments here that weren't deleted by the author. And of course Ignorance and stupidity are gleefully whacked, but it in no way silences dissent - it's a blog, deal with it. Warren & I have disagreed often, Joseph as well, Lance? You out there? and others... principled disagreement, enjoy (sometimes perhaps too enthusiastically, true, but, sorry, fun is fun), I in no way want to 'silence' disagreement with me (or Gagdad), I enjoy it thoroughly... but I'm sure as heck not going to ignore what I disagree with, or what appears to be flat out foolish or taunting. Don't like it? Oh well, maybe you just enjoy talking a good game and aren't up to backing it up..?

"Good example of this phenomenon are characters like Van and hoarhey (especially Van, who is very devoted), who do not wait even a few minutes to personally attack anyone who questions Infallible Godwin."

Heh, Gagdad doesn't need me to defend him. I am however very devoted to defending what I see to be "The Good, The Beautiful and The True"... attack or offend that... and I'll be be in your font asap.

Prove me wrong, and I'll happily & gratefully admit and apologize... doesn't happen often, but it has, and I don't mind one bit.

Otherwise, unless Cuz asks me to tone it down or mosey on, I fully intend to enjoy whatever opportunities you or anyone else provides for an enjoyable round of recreational slamming.

9/18/2009 03:59:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

"...like Van and hoarhey (especially Van, who is very devoted..."

Uh Hoarhey... I think you let me get top billing there, and Cuz didn't even get an honorable mention... what's up with that?

;-)

9/18/2009 04:03:00 PM  
Anonymous Butters said...

Van,

Nope, I haven't 'looked for a fight' since I was 16. I only say what I think is correct, and usually expect (or at least hope) that I get a civilized, non-antagonistic response. Sometimes I ask questions out of curiosity, or let it be known that an alternative or dissenting view exists.

But it depends on the crowd, at the end. There was a Buddhist online community, for example (I'm not a Buddhist but this is just an example), where members would respond to a correction or a challenge with love and respect. Nobody was silenced in that community.

Being rude to people and attacking them does amount to silencing. It is silencing when it is aggressive, and done by a group (i.e. a group of people attack an individual). This was both.

You can disagree with someone without attacking them. Take, for example, Anna's comments, which contain no personal attacks. Though I did attack Godwin subtly in my original comment, it was a mosquito bite compared to the barbaric behaviour certain other people have shown.

And at the end of the day I admitted I was wrong about my original point, which is better humility than the mere placement of an 'H' in IMO. It is one thing to assert you're humble, but another thing to actually be humble (not that I'm saying I am, necessarily, but merely that placing 'H' in IMO is not a final measure, or a measure at all, of actual humility).

9/18/2009 04:22:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

butters said "I only say what I think is correct, and usually expect (or at least hope) that I get a civilized, non-antagonistic response."

This has probably already been done to death, but I am a flogger, so... here I go again.

Obviously I am pleased to engage in an argument, but I don't take the gloves off without having first perceived (of course I could be wrong, happens) rudeness having been initiated on the other's part. My first comment here in One Cosmos a few years ago, was in disagreement with a post dealing unflatteringly with the Greeks. I'd been reading awhile, and although I wasn't quite sure what was up with the Petey poltergeist (sorry Petey), or comfortable with the religious nature of the blog at the time, but I could see that there was a whole different way of viewing these things than I'd imagined before, and was interested. Anyway, while the post had some very good points, the Greek ref got my goat a bit, but I managed to state my case without being insulting or rude, there was some back and forth, and I think we all understood each other's position without having fully agreed with each other. Occasionally here, some of our opinions on the Greeks, the Enlightenment, Ayn Rand related ideas and so forth, won't mesh, and while we don't see eye to eye on them, there's will be several comments back and forth - usually illuminating (speaking of which, where's Will gotten to again?), even though without reaching full agreement.

The point of all that (you may occasionally see 'long winded' thrown in my direction), is that the combative, pouncing, etc, is nearly always brought in by the first commenter. There are areas where many of us disagree with each other (Nomo, can I get a "Yep!"?), without being insulting, or feeling we need to defeat the other.

"Being rude to people and attacking them does amount to silencing"

Again, entering rudely (you may not have seen it as such, but I think you can tell that a number of regulars here disagree with your assessment) will get a gleeful whacking. Whether or not that 'amounts to silencing' is up to you.

"where members would respond to a correction or a challenge with love and respect"

Yeah. Good luck with that. Personally I'll return love and respect with love and respect. I am aggressive and persistent, I will return dig for dig, and will escalate when I detect rudeness, deliberate insult, evasion and BS... sometimes I may get a wee bit enthusiastic - and will usually say sorry afterwards... but rolling over meek and mild - it ain't gonna happen.

"... which is better humility than the mere placement of an 'H' in IMO"

I used to write it as "IMHO (pause for laughter)", but don't bother anymore - it isn't terribly applicable, however it is something like a "excuse me," or "pardon me"... a civility (yes, coming from me, pause for laughter) not terribly significant in and of itself, but noticeably marked by its absence.

"Take, for example, Anna's comments..."

Each of us see different things, and respond accordingly. I personally, pay attention when someone, Julie, Anna, etc, do give a more careful response to someone I'd whacked. Maybe they saw something I missed, sometimes I'm wrong. Sometimes I'm wrong on the other end too. I held back on mtraven long after Gagdad and all else saw he was a two bit troll... I thought I saw some care and interest for truth and justice... I was big time wrong, and after the several dodges, evasions and flat out prevarications, I threw in the towel and now whack at him and his sock puppets right off the bat, they deserve nothing better.

Again, if you want to disagree, I've no problem with that, and look forward to it, but condescension, patronizing or being rude - as opposed to hearty debate - will get responded to. Whether that is 'silencing' or not, is up to you.

9/18/2009 09:05:00 PM  
Blogger ndh777 said...

It is more than likely that politicans like Obama and Carter know the evil of their intentions and are not just acting on good will like one person wanted to say here. How is there good intentions in: allowing people to kill innocent babies (abortion), willing to reason with uncivilized peoples with words who only know violence, allow the murderers to go free and/or be in jail to harm other citizens (no against capital punishment), not allow citizens to defend themselves against intruders with weapons (strict gun control not allowing citizens to have guns in home)...I mean really. You cannot be just ignorant and support these things. Maybe mentally retarded, but that's a different story and I am sure that we can all agree that Carter and Obama are not mentally retarded. Maybe tools, but these tools know exactly what kinds of jobs they are doing for their master designer.

10/13/2009 06:52:00 PM  

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