September 01, 2013
— Gang of Gaming Morons! Well, this thread still isn't as relevant compared to the gun thread but the news still comes.
gaming below.... more...
— Ace Amateur hour.
Ah that's too bad. But then, a president once said of politics, if you want a friend, get a dog.
Obama's got two of them. And I don't mean Bo and Sunny.
Apparently John Kerry had a tough time explaining his boss' weakness and fecklessness with Chris Wallace.
Last night I saw David Axelrod tweeting that with Obama punting to Congress, Congress is now "the dog that caught the car." In other words, he was claiming a hearty pro-Obama spin, similar to but a little different than BuzzFeedBen's and BuzzFeedChuckTodd's. Axelrod's suggestion is that Congress was chasing down this car (the Syria issue), not having any idea what to do with it, and has now caught it, and aren't they in trouble now.
Well, ultimately, they can just do what dogs do when they catch a car: Nothing. Which is what Congress should do about many invitations to authorize war.
Though I do enjoy Axelrod's suggestion that all decisions about going to war are just so much jockeying, spin, and politics. Revealing.
Update: Even David Sirota gets it. Bam!
Update: A commenter put this bee in my bonnet. He didn't say this, but he talked about something reasonably close to it and suggested this:
When Obama was planning to strike Syria without Congressional authorization, word went out from his conspirators that there would probably be no presidential address on that matter. That Obama would not be on TV. They claimed this decision was made because TV is "old technology" and they would rely on the "new technology," apparently consisting of cutting-edge press releases, to note the US was now engaged in war without a vote in Congress.
Obviously this decision was made because the strike would be unpopular and Obama didn't want to strongly associate himself with it.
But notice that yesterday, when he announced the more popular decision to punt to Congress, suddenly the "old technology" of the Televised Address was totally relevant again.
Unpopular Decision: TV is old technology. Obama will just Like his unilateral war on FaceBook.
More Popular Decision: Straight to a national televised address.
— Open Blogger
The Beginning of Fall Is Always Tinged With Sadness
Good morning morons and moronettes and welcome to AoSHQ's stately and prestigious Sunday Morning Book Thread.
Last week, moron commenter "Laurie David's Cervix" put me some Scholastic Book Club nostalgia:
Recall the teacher passing out the monthly order sheet, then that great day when the boxes arrived in class and you could pick-up your stack of new books.
I'm sure a lot of us have fond memories of this. You could sometimes pick up some pretty good books. LDC also provided a link to Scholastic Book Club Covers of the 60's and 70's.
Lots of good memories there.
I would like to recommend British YA author John Christopher, some of whose books are still in print, particular his "Tripod" sci-fi trilogy, which really ought to be made into movies. I'd bet they'd make a crap ton of money. They started a Tripods TV mini-series in the early 80s, but it was never completed.
The underlying values of these books are exactly what we would want: honesty, courage, friendship, integrity, doing the right thing under difficult circumstanced (I guess that's courage, isn't it?), perseverance, loyalty, etc. I read an interview with Christopher a few years ago, he's an old man now, sounded very conservative.
His other sci-fi books are good, too, but out of print. Your local public library is probably the best place to find them.
August 31, 2013
— Ace Someone pointed out to me her website-- she quit being a lawyer in order to become a painter.
If you don't remember Betsy, she embarrassed herself by fulminating at the Washington Post that statutory rape by teachers of minor children was no big deal and no one dies so why are you being such big meanies about Love, anyway?
Below, most of her page explaining her Art.
At various points in the text, I will intersperse a picture of one of her actual, real, honest-to-goodness paintings.
In 1998 I walked away from a "successful" career as a litigator in order to paint.
Also walked away from a "successful" understanding of the proper use of quotations marks.
Nah I get it, whatever, she's trying to say that's what "Society" deems "successful."
But I sorta don't think she was that successful at it, or even that "successful."
I work at my Dupont Circle home/studio in Washington, D.C., in the company of three cats and, on occasion, the elusive and multi-talented EMT, musician and environmentalist, Bob Fener. I am largely self-taught, although I have studied with several very gifted Washington area artists including Annette Polan (portraiture), Patrick Kirwin (realism and illusion), and Mary del Popolo (color).
Like most artists, I paint because I have to; the paintings are lined up inside my head demanding to be realized.
"Demanding to be Realized,"
an acrylic by Betsy Karasik
— Ace It's a tribute to Winnie Mandela, who just emailed me to say, "I think I'd have preferred a marble bust."
No really, it's an installation at a women's prison in South Africa where Apartheid protesters such as Winnie Mandela were incarcerated.
And this daring female artist had a Lightning Stroke of Inspiration: What if art celebrating womanhood was basically a silly joke incorporating the avant-garde theme of Giant Vagina Puppetry?
Does the Pulitzer committee give out awards for daring innovation and novelty in art? If so, this lady's a Lock.
I literally have never, in my life, seen a female artist create a cutesy-poo representation of a vagina and then slap the OUTLAW ART label on it. Literally, never.
This has never, ever, never never ever been done before, and I mean never, and also ever.
Oh by the way it's supposed to "spark a dialogue" or "raise questions" or whatever the ckuf the last 53,381 vagina art installations were also supposed to do.
At this point, I must ask myself: What dialogue still remains? Which questions are still on the To Do list?
Oh I should add she did add a big innovation to The Same Thing We've Seen Seventy Three Bazillion Times: a canned sound effect of a woman screaming, and then a sound effect of a woman laughing.
Which I guess Raises Still More Questions and Sparks Even More Dialogue.
A long, long time ago this actually was, for five minutes, close to daring or unexpected. That time has long since passed. This is no longer morally offensive -- again, that stopped 15 years ago. It's artistically offensive. You can't keep doing the same thin act forever, Ladies.
Let me practice a little and try to translate this French report. (Warning: I'm okay at this but this might not be quite accurate, and confession, I have to hit google for some of these words.)
So I'm going to try a combination translation/fisking. Like combining some personal homework with some blog work. Indulge me. It's a Saturday.
— CDR M
Hmmm, not surprising. The President does not care if Congress gives him approval to strike Syria, he's gonna do it anyway.
A senior State Department official tells Fox News the presidents decision to take military action in Syria still stands, and will indeed be carried out, regardless of whether Congress votes next week to approve the use of such force.
The official said that every major player on the National Security Council including the commander-in-chief was in accord last night on the need for military action, and that the presidents decision to seek a congressional debate and vote was a surprise to most if not all of them. However, the aide insisted the request for Congress to vote did not supplant the presidents earlier decision to use force in Syria, only delayed its implementation.
Krauthammer is right. Amateur hour indeed. more...
— Ace Twitchy goofed on this yesterday.
The Washington Post announces a new Common Core centered on the 3 R's: readin', writin', and rape.
As protesters decry the leniency of Rambolds sentence he will spend 30 days in prison after pleading guilty to raping 14-year-old Cherice Morales, who committed suicide at age 16 I find myself troubled for the opposite reason. I dont believe that all sexual conduct between underage students and teachers should necessarily be classified as rape, and I believe that absent extenuating circumstances, consensual sexual activity between teachers and students should not be criminalized....
I do think that teachers who engage in sex with students, no matter how consensual, should be removed from their jobs and barred from teaching unless they prove that they have completed rehabilitation.
Wow, rehabilitation. Throw the book at 'em, huh?
But the utter hysteria with which society responds to these situations...
Just let that sink in.
This wasn't a spontaneous comment; she chose those words, edited those words, resolved upon those words for her final draft.
...does less to protect children than to assuage societys need to feel that we are protecting them.
You know what would protect them? Making teachers who have sex with their minor students go to "rehabilitation," Filner style.
I dont know what triggered Moraless suicide...
Her family has some thoughts on the matter. You might want to peruse them.
..but I find it tragic and deeply troubling that this occurred as the case against Rambold wound its way through the criminal justice system. One has to wonder whether the extreme pressure she must have felt from those circumstances played a role.
One might also wonder if the statutory rape of a minor had something to do with it, but only an uptight grumpus would think that.
Ive been a 14-year-old girl, and so have all of my female friends.
All my current friends are 14-year-old girls. We have pool parties and sometimes we massage each other.
God bless you for your work, Madame. Me and my 14-year-old jailbait posse are sick of society looking askance at our Forbidden Love.
When it comes to having sex on the brain, teenage boys got nothin on us. When I was growing up in the 1960s and 70s, the sexual boundaries between teachers and students were much fuzzier.
Yet another Aged Bent Hippie here to tell us all dirty stories about the dawn of Free Love and the Steam Engine.
Throughout high school, college and law school, I knew students who had sexual relations with teachers.
Sidenote: It has always been legal to have sex with college students and law school students, unless it's a Doogie Howser situation.
Note how cavalierly she merges "sex with adults" with "sex with children."
To the best of my knowledge, these situations were all consensual in every honest meaning of the word, even if society would like to embrace the fantasy that a high school student cant consent to sex. Although some feelings probably got bruised, no one I knew was horribly damaged and certainly no one died.
No one died?
You know what else no one typically dies from? Rape. Maybe we should take a second look at rape generally.
On the other hand, awareness of sexual harassment was also much lower. Pretty much every woman I know has been sexually harassed in at least one, and usually many, of her jobs and/or academic settings.
Let's stop talking about this stupid Criminal Sexual Abuse of a Child Issue you're all on about and talk about what really matters, the sexual harassment I experienced in my pre-menopausal years.
Incidentally, you know what else no one typically dies from? Sexual harassment.
I was fired from a waitressing job in Boston in 1979, during my first year of law school, after I refused to sit in the managers lap like the other girls. I would have much rather seen that sleazebag dragged through the legal system than certain teachers I considered friends despite their sexual relations with students that today would land them in jail.
Yes he should go to jail for the rude and bad behavior of asking you to sit on his lap and then firing you from a shitty job that you didn't want, but child rape? Eh, no one dies.
The point is that there is a vast and extremely nuanced continuum of sexual interactions involving teachers and students, ranging from flirtation to mutual lust to harassment to predatory behavior. Painting all of these behaviors with the same brush sends a damaging message to students and sets the stage for hypocrisy and distortion of the truth.
NAMBLA just emailed me: "She gets it! It's all about protecting the Children from damaging messages about repressing their desires to have sex with adults and society's hypocrisy!
This is what we've been trying to say!
Finally! Someone has the guts to say it!"
Many teenagers are, biologically speaking, sexually mature.
And hot. Don't forget hot.
And also unspoiled and unschooled in the ways of love. Easily manipulated and shaped into one's preferred sexual forms.
Which, let's face it, are just other words for "hot."
Pretending that this kind of thing wont happen if we simply punish it severely enough is delusional.
No one pretends this, idiot. No criminal law on the books pretends that if we just outlaw a thing, it will all magically stop. (Except for gun-control laws, of course.)
We know banning murder does not stop murder. But this antiquated notion of "criminalizing crimes" has several salutary functions, such as reducing the number of murders. If murder were not illegal, we'd have a shit-ton more of it, believe me, Sister.
No one has ever said the law against murder reduces the murder rate to zero. This is rather obvious, "Lawyer."
But what would the murder rate be if murder were, insanely, not a crime? Think about it.
Would the murder rate double? Not even close. As a first approximation we'd guess it would increase by a whole order of magnitude -- ten times as many murders -- and that's probably lowballing it.
People like killing each other a whole heck of a lot. And despite this idiot's assertions to the contrary, people also notice that young but sexually-mature (or close to it) girls can sometimes be rather attractive.
Without a law criminalizing either of these natural (and bad) impulses, we'd have a hell of a lot more murders, and a whole hell of a lot more sex with children.
Now sit on my lap and tell me about the days of Woodstock and "The Charleston."
If religious leaders and heads of state cant keep their pants on, with all they have to lose, why does society expect that members of other professions can be coerced into meeting this standard?
By the way, this woman is a lawyer. Just pointing that out.
A more realistic approach would be to treat violations in a way that removes and rehabilitates the offender without traumatizing the victim.
NAMBLA just me an email, which says "MegaDittos-- we just don't want to traumatize the victim."
The intensity of criminal proceedings, with all the pressure they put on participants...
Again, protecting the children from the "pressure" of having their Special Love for Coach Billy exposed before the world.
Oh God, now she doesn't even think sex with children should be punished with mere stigma. Even that is too great a penalty to pay for Love.
Love of Children. The Greatest Love of All.
...the community and media scrutiny, and the concurrent shame and guilt they generate, do the opposite of healing and protecting the victim.
NAMBLA just sent me a third and final email:
HEALING and PROTECTING the CHILD!
YES! YES! YES! YES!
Attached to the email was the picture of a post-orgasmic penis in its early refractory phase.
Yet another case of a media outlet putting a sad woman through the ritual cruelty of public exposure of her stupidity and delusion in order to garner some Humiliation Traffic.
They do this to women a lot.
September 03, 2013
— Ace A Vice reporter went Corey Feldman's birthday party -- which Feldman charged men $250 for the privilege of attending, though women and/or prostitutes could attend for free if they agreed to walk around in stripper lingerie for the entire night -- and was permitted to report on it, on the condition that Corey Feldman would have the power of final edit over the article.
No reporter should ever agree to let his subject edit his work, of course. But offered the opportunity to peek behind the scarlet curtains of the "Feldmansion" (as Feldman decrees his stately pleasure dome*), one can understand if the pillars holding up journalistic ethics might buckle and break beneath the pressure of Awesome.
Long story short: The reporter called Corey Feldman a total SadDouche. He did this by sarcasm. Instead of calling Feldman's party sad, weird, weird, and sad, he called it "f***ing awesome" with a little too much gusto.
So much gusto, in fact, that no one could possibly miss his intent to convey the opposite impression... No one, that is, except Corey Feldman himself, who seems to have been absent the day they taught "Come On, Dude!" in "Come On, Dude!" school.
Of all the sad parts of the short article, the piece's saddest passage is this one:
DISCLAIMER: I was only allowed to attend Corey's birthday party under the condition that he have final edit of whatever I write. Below is the text approved by Corey Feldman
Emphasis added for cruelty.
It's funny, weird, sad, and cruel. So read it if you want to read about the sad world of Corey Feldman, and also the dickish, abusive world of reporters who are sometimes smarter than their subjects and can thus exploit that inequality for purposes of communal humiliations.**
Content warning for lots of pictures of women in stripperish lingerie pretending to be excited to be at Corey Feldman's Feldmansion.
Corey Feldman has by now reacted angrily to the piece whose text he approved, accusing himself of slander and threatening to sue himself for defamation.
Actually, given the fact he blessed the text, he has shifted his anger to the "horrid pictures," which he claims were carefully culled in order to make an aging child star surrounded by strippers and charging his "friends" for admission appear to be pathetic. But I think in reality he's mad that he didn't catch the sarcastic tone of the piece, and he can't say "You tricked me and it wasn't even that hard to do!" because admitting that would be the final humiliation.
"Top o' the world, ma!
Top o' the world!"
* Caveat: It's not a dome, does not appear stately, and the "pleasure" seems to come chiefly in the form of surprise Celebrity Guests such as DJs no one's ever heard of. And Ron Jeremy. Who I believe I once read will literally go anywhere he's invited if there is free food. (I really think I read that.)
** Not really a shot at this guy-- I would have done the same thing. In fact, I imitated his jokes in this post.
But that's sort of why I feel the pangs of shabbiness here -- because I personally would have enlisted myself into the cruelty and I don't think I would have let my conscience trouble me too much about it.
What the reporter did to Corey Feldman was unwarranted and mean and also just what I would have done, too.
At the end of the day, the dirty little open secret about humor is that an awful lot of it is grounded in cruelty and humiliation.
August 31, 2013
— Ace Okay he didn't exactly say that but that's the general message.
It's on now, if you can bear it.
Update: Obama will now seek congressional authorization, most likely because he eagerly wants a debate on these serious issues, in much the same way that he eagerly wanted a debate on NSA surveillance practices and just forgot to say so until he was forced into a debate by Edward Snowden. (A debate which he has yet to honestly engage, by the way.)
— Open Blogger I thank God that Mrs. Muse and I were able to homeschool our 3 children. It did bug the hell out of me, though, that I pretty much had to ask the state's permission to do so. But that was only a minor annoyance. Despite being scrutinized by ignorant government bureaucrats, at least I live in a country where I could actually keep my children from the tender ministrations of the state.
In Germany, not so much:
At 8:00 a.m. on Thursday, August 29, 2013, in what has been called a brutal and vicious act, a team of 20 social workers, police officers, and special agents stormed a homeschooling familys residence near Darmstadt, Germany, forcibly removing all four of the familys children (ages 7-14). The sole grounds for removal were that the parents, Dirk and Petra Wunderlich, continued to homeschool their children in defiance of a German ban on home education.
The children were taken to unknown locations. Officials ominously promised the parents that they would not be seeing their children anytime soon.
That last bit is rather frightening. So is this:
Dirk Wunderlich described the frightening turn of events.
I looked through a window and saw many people, police, and special agents, all armed. They told me they wanted to come in to speak with me. I tried to ask questions, but within seconds, three police officers brought a battering ram and were about to break the door in, so I opened it, he told HSLDA.
The police shoved me into a chair and wouldnt let me even make a phone call at first, he said. It was chaotic as they told me they had an order to take the children. At my slightest movement the agents would grab me, as if I were a terrorist. You would never expect anything like this to happen in our calm, peaceful village. it was like a scene out of a science fiction movie.
The husband is being a bit naive here, I think. After all, having a bunch of jackbooted government thugs suddenly breaking into your house in response to activities not approved by the state is not exactly unknown in German history.
— Pixy Misa Open thread.
— Dave in Texas College football action today, in full swing.
Full. Swing. All times eastern.
Buffalo at Ohio St. (2) at noon.
Toledo at Florida (10) at noon something.
Rice at Texas A&M (7) at one. Johnny Football at one forty-five.
Nicholls (?) at Oregon (3) at 4:00pm
Alabama (1) at Va. Tech at 5:50pm
Eastern Washington (3?) at Oregon St. (something) at 6:00pm
Georgia (5) at Clemson ( at 8:00pm
and on Sunday, Sunday Sunday (really?) Ohio at Louisville (9) at 3:30pm
So there's the top ten action for the, weekend now I guess. Is this Sunday thing new? I guess pre-season NFL action left that door open.
Have a great weekend morons, watch some football, grill some meats. Put a helmet on in case of trouble.
OH, and a reminder that @MikeTalley73 set up a couple of college football pickem groups if you feel like playing 16167 16172 16176 password is: paulanka
August 30, 2013
— Purple Avenger Because who visits the Whitehouse and how often is none of your effing business
President Obama and his successors in the Oval Office are not obligated to make public the names of individuals visiting the White House, according to a decision of the federal Circuit Court for the District of Columbia made public Friday...
McBombypants - TBD
— Ace I'll have to post over there myself this weekend.
Make sure you visit the site and maybe offer a kind word.
— Ace Trust me, this is all more interesting than you're probably thinking right now.
Robin Thicke is the son of Alan Thicke, which makes him irredeemably Canadian. Despite this pathetic joke of a backstory, he currently has America's #1 single, and it is the longest-surviving #1 on the charts for two years. It's currently the number-two selling record of 2013, with five million copies sold, and will easily beat the number one selling record, which only has sold 5.7 million copies. As "Blurred Lines" is not yet even beginning its fall down the charts, it will definitely sell 6 million and probably 8.
In addition, it's the number one song in half the countries around the globe, and where it's not number one, it tends to be in the top 5.
Here now some interesting things about the song, which you can mention at dinner parties or with music-oriented youths who attempt to rob you at gunpoint.
— CDR M
Obama's impotent 'sham across the bow'. Not only have the leaks weakened the value of any strike now, but telling your enemy that you're only going to launch a few missiles and then hit the links won't do any good. Top. Men.
This administration already has had a habit of spilling the classified beans for political gain, on drone "kill lists" and cyberwarfare against Iran for instance.more...
But in previewing his all-for-show mini-attack on Syria, Obama might as well be telegramming Hitler that there are these five beaches in Normandy where something interesting might happen at 6:30 a.m. on June 6.
— Ace So: Let's evict white liberals from their self-segregated tony suburbs and diamond-studded city neighborhoods and force them to relocate in poorer districts.
The idea is precisely the one put forth by Allison Benedikt: they'll finally have "skin in the game" as regards economically distressed neighborhoods, and therefore will be incentivized to use of all of their abundant money and all of their long-rumored talents to improve the living conditions therein.
Let's do this.
Don't think about it. Let's just do it.
That's the new paradigm. Thinking is for queerz.
You have a problem, you start passing laws and abrogating freedom.
Or, in Benedikt's terms: Let's not coerce, per se. Let's just say that any liberal who doesn't do this voluntarily is a terrible, morally-bankrupt person.
A more limited version of this -- and a more serious version -- is Meghan McArdle's formulation.
And I am on the record as saying that if you oppose vouchers, you have a moral obligation to send your kids to public schools in a horrible urban school district, rather than skimming the cream from said school district by decamping to the suburbs as soon as your spawn reach school age.
Precisely. If you oppose vouchers, you are morally obligated to treat your children with the same disdain you treat other people's children. If you support the Teacher Unions No Escape policy, you must suffer it yourself.
— Ace Remember how Barack Obama was going to unite the world and build coalitions and finally respect the authority of the UN?
Remember how going it alone in matters of war used to be a bad thing, even when you went it alone in a coalition of 40 countries?
As I predicted (and look, this was obvious, I know, but I want to point out how predictable they are) in the podcast, Obama's decision to fight a war unilaterally (maybe the French will serve as cheerleaders) will be portrayed by the media as tough and heroic -- a weary sentinel keeping a lonely vigil on the ramparts of liberty.
And so it has come to pass.
Meanwhile, Obama claims he hasn't made a decision but also calls Syria's alleged gas attack a "challenge" to
the world himself.
Let me suggest that when someone creates and propagates the paradigm, himself, that if he doesn't bomb a country then he has been successfully "challenged," he's decided to bomb that country.
Obama adds that he is thinking about a "limited, narrow act." Again, a purely cosmetic action to save face.
Which is not a good reason to
on countries which haven't attacked us.
He's broadcasting his plan to conduct a bombing campaign which is designed to be ineffectual. Its ineffectuality is its chief recommendation, he says.
They told me if I voted for John McCain, I'd have a president who bombed countries on shaky evidence without any coalition behind him or any authorization from Congress, all to appease his medieval sense of masculine honor, and they were right!
The Lines Have Become Blurred: So say administration people about the "red lines" which have become "Blurred Lines" which must be unblurred.
They think in pop-song thought-balloons.
— andy On today's episode, Andy, Drew M., John E. and Rick "T-Bone" Tempest are joined by David Freddoso, Editor of the Conservative Intelligence Briefing. We discuss Syria, Amateur Webzine Slate's rapid descent into shameless clickwhoring, Cory Booker's imaginary friend "T-Bone", and the Prius full of sad clowns that is MSNBC.
David is the author of three books that might be of interest to you: Spin Masters: How the Media Ignored the Real News and Helped Reelect Barack Obama (2013), Gangster Government: Barack Obama and the New Washington Thugocracy (2011), and the New York Times bestseller The Case Against Barack Obama: The Unlikely Rise and Unexamined Agenda of the Media's Favorite Candidate (200 .
RSS (Note: If you subscribed to the RSS feed before August 30, 2013, please resubscribe using this updated link)
[Ace]: I wanted to get this up before 5 but I realize most of you won't listen until later (if at all). So use this as an open thread in the meantime. By the way, good show this week. I heartily recommend me.
— Ace Ann Althouse writes of Flaubert's La Dictionairre d'Idees Reçues, or "Dictionary of Received Ideas." A comical, cynical spoof of the Thoughtless Thoughts people are infected with.
This is what I think Jonah Goldberg was talking about in his Tyranny of Clichés.
It's these automatic thoughts that cling to the brain like parasites that destroy thinking and reason. Rather like, and I don't think this could possibly be a cliché, alien Body Thetans of idiocy that are interfering with the lucid functioning of our own spirit Thetan.
Amusing Ourselves to Death briefly noted the long, long history of Thoughtless Thoughts. In pre-literate cultures, when all knowledge was stored in human memory and recalled by verbal trope, it was useful to have cute and memorable aphorisms, appellations and other received wisdom in the form of canned cliché. Thus all dawns reflexively had rosy fingers, and were you to dig into the ground, you'd find some money rooting all evils.
Although we've long since gained the capacity to write and read, we've kept many of the Automatic Associations we've been taught.
Liberals, I think, are especially prone to this, for a bunch of reasons. First of all, they dominate the culture and the natural dialogue so their Thoughtless Thoughts crowd out all others. Perhaps there are some anti-gay people who would like to establish the Meme Thetan that Gays Are In Revolt Against God, but they can't, because liberals have established their own reflexive clichés about gays: They improve neighborhoods, like cupcakes a whole heck of a lot, and are perfect fashion accessories for women entering their middle years.
And beyond that, while liberals really like to think that they Think an awful lot (reflexive liberal Thoughtless Thought on liberals: Our major failing is that we're too reasonable and overthink things!!!), in fact, they don't think very much at all.
I think in terms of psychographics, Liberals are better Students than the right. Understand here that I speak of the group, not any individual case. I think Liberals are more educable, and conservatives more resistant to education.
And there's a flip-side to this: People who are more "educable," as I call it, are also more pliable, more deferential to Assumed Authority, more dedicated to the goal of Pleasing Teacher. Less likely to rebel, less likely to quesiton.
This is why they make, on paper, such fine administrators of the National Bureaucratic state. And why they make, in reality, such terrible ones.
There's an old bit of Received Wisdom I heard about the Chinese Bureaucracy, an idea and innovation squashing institution that nevertheless persisted for over a thousand years (and still does). It persisted so long because, while it is bad, it was never quite awful enough to spark a revolution. It was always on every Emperor's to-do list to reform the bureaucracy -- but always at number 12 on the list.
No Emperor ever gets to number 12 on his list. No Emperor ever gets much further than Number 3.
And so a fundamentally poor cadre for administering the state limped along for over a thousand years, retarding Chinese advancement... but its effects were merely subtly pernicious.
Had the Chinese Bureaucracy been worse, China would have done better.
And so it is with Liberals, as far as group psychographics. They're overinvested in repeating back What Teacher Said and underinvested in questioning received wisdom.
I've been on about this basic point for years. I can't credit someone as a thinking person when I ask him for his first reaction to the word-stimulus "USAToday" and I can predict his response -- "McPaper" -- as precisely as I can predict that a cow will come trotting toward the barn when I ring the milking bell.
(Caveat: I have no idea if there's such a thing as a milking bell.)
No one who reacts with the precisely predictable conditioned behavior of a moth drawn to a light-bulb can be credited as fully "thinking."
As Jonah Goldberg argues (I take it-- I haven't read the book), part of the reason for the liberal dominance over the culture and lately politics as well is that it is extremely hard to argue someone out of a proposition he was never argued into in the first place. The public did not decide Barack Obama was extremely intelligent, cultured, articulate, and spiritually uplifting. The public had this word-cloud about Barack Obama drilled into their heads for two years so that when they finally saw the man speak, in all his umming and uhhing glory, there was hardly any space in their minds for their own analytical and impressionistic portrait of Barack Obama. The neurons necessary for storing such electrical wisdom were already all taken up by Extremely Intelligent, Cultured, Articulate, Spiritually Uplifting.
Oh and possibly actually The Second Messiah. Or, to our Jewish friends, just The Messiah.
Sometimes I catch a little heat from commenters who object to my going off-script, as it were, to get into these sorts of Not Really Politics topics.
I have to tell you that if you're conceiving of "politics" as the surface game of just shouting back and forth that abortion either is, or is not murder, I don't think you understand how people's minds are actually shaped. People talk in the language of reason but they actually think, or rather do not think, in the language of myth.
Any effort to reclaim the nation for the Enlightenment and for Classical Liberalism must begin with Breitbart's oft-quoted motto, "Politics is downstream of culture."
Defects in political thinking -- such as an embrace of socialism -- are merely the symptoms. To address the actual disease, one has to first treat the underlying disease, which are defects in thinking, period, and minds fevered by all the superstitions spread virally by the plague-rats of Chomsky, Marx, Zinn, Chuck Todd, Brian Williams, Anderson Cooper, and the rest of the forever chattering National Greek Chorus of Dumb.
I could go on. I usually do. But I'll wrap up.
I don't think most people grasp what Breitbart's slogan means. It's not just knowing what's going on on Girls, for crying out loud. It's understanding that people's political landscapes are just the surface expression of deeper structures of thought and tectonic plates of superstition.
And having blathered on too long, I'd like to suggest our own sort of Devil's Dictionary, or Dictionary of Received Ideas, those reflexive, look-ma-no-thinking Thoughtless Thoughts the American public has been conditioned to believe without even realizing they believe anything of the sort.
Easiest and most prominent starting entry:
RIGHTWING. Should be followed by "extremist." Possessed of something called "Lizard Brains." Usually found beating their wives, bashing gays, and shooting black people for no reason at all. Hate Science. Grizzled veterans of the War on Women. Opposed by pragmatic, rational, non-ideological centrist problem-solvers (see Democrat).
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