Archive for October, 2011|Monthly archive page
Like everybody I have psuedo-friends on Facebook – psuedo because they were people I went to high school with 10 years ago and haven’t seen since.
One of them is a girl who now works with autistic children doing something or other. I don’t know the details, only that she constantly posts autism awareness crap on her wall.
But apparently she also loves gay people because she posted a piece of propoganda designed to make us feel … well, something. I presume it’s guilt. It was a map that showed the states that allowed gay marriage in one color and the states that allowed first cousins to marry in another. Her accompanying comment was something along the lines “our country is messed up!”
…to which I commented, “Yes, really. Look at all those gay marriage states!”
She replied saying something like, “Gee, we should be more forward thinking like those states that allow cousins to marry.”
Well, I’m always a big fan of using my own opponent’s arguments against them. The gay marriage people make it so easy.
“How dare you tell me who I can and can’t marry! Why can’t I marry the person that I love?!”
However, not to be fooled, she threw this at me in response:
“Are you really drawing a paralell between gay civil righs and incest? Hard to believe we were both raised in the north!”
First, let me tell you about the high school we both went to – it’s about as white bred as it can possibly be. We had fewer than 5 black people in our graduating class of over 500. It is overwhelmingly conservative and it is also the biggest high school in a county which ranks comfortably in the top 10 counties by household income nationally. There were also fewer than 5 (openly) gay people in our graduating class, although that number is probably closer to 20 in adulthood. One of my best friends as a child came out late in college, for example.
After we graduated from our incredibly progressive and diverse high school, I went to a university in one of the most liberal states in the entire country. She went to a Christian university in a state further south than I did, where she still currently lives, and is in a relationship with someone in the army.
If you didn’t know anything else about me or her, most people would call me the liberal and her the conservative, but this entire tangent only speaks to her ridiculous comment about being raised in the north. Who does she think she is?
Anyway, this is a classic example of why the gay marriage argument is stupid. One of her idiot liberal friends chimed in and said something like, “yeah, you’d think the conservative types would be against first cousin marriage too!”
Well, personally, I am against both gay marriage and cousin marriage. I think marriage in general is pointless if you’re not going to have kids. The only other reasons you’d get married are for things like power of attorney and visitation rights etc. etc., but those can all be setup in legal agreements outside of marriage. No, one of the real reasons is because there are tax incentives for married couples, so, in other words, the reason is greed. But I digress.
The only reason that cousin marriage (and in theory sibling marriage) is illegal is because it increases the likelihood of producing children with genetic disorders, because double-recessive conditions are more likely to express themselves.
But what about gay marriage? Gay couples have no chance of producing children with genetic disorders, but they also have no chance of producing children at all!
And while you might argue that the only thing that matters is the chance to produce retarded babies – since gays have zero chance, their marriage is okay, but since cousins’ have a significant chance, their marriage is not okay.
In other words, it’s better that a child not be born at all rather than be born with a handicap. Woah. That’s a pretty crazy sentiment, isn’t it?
Okay, problem solved: cousins who love each other can marry all they want; they’re just not allowed to have babies. Woah. That’s a pretty crazy sentiment, isn’t it? What’s next? I think I recall a social experiment called eugenics about a hundred years ago that force-sterilized retarded people to prevent new generations of retards. Eerily similiar social policies, aren’t they?
What about first cousins where one cousin is adopted?
You might be bold enough to claim that genetics don’t matter and that it’s familial ties that do, but frankly, who are you to judge who a person loves? Isn’t that the argument I hear when I suggest it’s not natural or right for a man to love another man? Can you explain to me why your assertion that a cousin who falls in love with her cousin is aberrant, but a man who falls in love with another man is not? I didn’t think so.
I find it particularly ironic that a girl who works with disabled children would discriminate against couples with an increased chance of producing disabled children (e.g., the people who employ her). I could pose this question:
Given a child, Derpy, who has a genetic disorder, whose parents were first cousins, what could you have changed to prevent Derpy from being born with a genetic disorder?
One possible answer is to change the fact that Derpy’s parents are cousins and make it so they aren’t genetically related.
One thing that is NOT an answer, however, is to change the gender of one of Derpy’s parents. If Derpy’s parents were gay, then Derpy never would have existed in the first place!
Or how about this one?
Global warming cooks alive everybody except 5 people: you, and two couples. One is a gay couple and one are first cousins, a man and a woman. You can only save one, and you’ll die in the process. Which couple do you save?
If you save the gay couple, you’ve doomed humanity to extinction. If you save the first cousins, you’ve doomed humanity to the possibility of a lot of genetic problems, which may or may not result in eventual extinction.
People who are pro-gay-marriage hate these examples and don’t like to even bother with them because they’re “sensationalist” or “straw-men” or whatever other invalid criticism they like to throw at them. The truth is that deep down in places they don’t like to go, they know perfectly well that there is no good biological basis for allowing gays to legally marry, so in order to be pro-gay-marriage, they have to ignore any biological arguments entirely. In so doing, they open up the incredibly simple counter-argument, namely, “If gays, then why not also cousins?”
They are then faced with their own hypocrisy, because they cringe at the idea of cousins marrying, or the idea of Warren Jeffs marrying 90 12-year-olds, in the same exact way that the opponents of gay marriage cringe at the idea of gays marrying. They are then forced to admit that they have no actual argument for or against any kind of marriage. They have no argument at all, in fact – all they have is a moral belief that gay marriage is okay.
Well, gues what? The people who strike it down in their own states have a moral belief that gay marriage isn’t okay, and you can’t possibly ask them to change their beliefs because they have equal justification to ask you to change yours. You are not morally superior, or rationally superior. You’re nothing and you have nothing, so please, shut your damn mouths.
I guess the entire point of the picture was to suggest that if cousin marriage is legal then shouldn’t it be legal for gays to marry too? In other words, shouldn’t two wrongs make a right?
NO, STUPID! Cousin marriage should be stricken from the books, not gay marriage added!
Come on, people. This isn’t that hard.
I’ve been paying as little attention this movement as possible because it reminds me of the 2003 mass whining about the war in Iraq which as we see 8 years and 2 administrations later had absolutely zero effect on anything, because why would it?
My father-in-law tipped me off to a tumblr page about this nonsense. Apparently they’re now calling themselves the “99%”. According to the sidebar on this page, “We are getting nothing while the other 1 percent is getting everything.” I don’t even know where to start with these people. I think the images speak for themselves. Read a couple, you’ll see what I’m talking about.
I’ll tell you some of the things that the 99% are getting. A comfortable suburban existence, a car, a digital camera, an internet connection, TV, enough food to make them fat, cigarettes, liquor, and enough free time to whine about all of this on the internet.
I mean, seriously guys, that’s a pretty remarkable definition of nothing.
Each and every one of these protesters who are busy blocking traffic in major U.S. cities lives better than about 5 billion other human beings. If you count how many people who have ever lived, which have been estimated at 100 billion, then you live better than 99 billion other human beings have ever lived.
What the fuck are you complaining about?!!
I swear to God, if there were ever an effigy to the entitlement culture these protests would be it. These assholes have the luxury of sitting around on the street with signs and posters – in other words, not working – and they’re still going home to a warm place to live and still have plenty of food in their bellies. Even if these protesters literally had no other material possessions, they’re still well off. But the fact that we even know about these people is due largely to the fact that while they stand in the street and complain that they don’t have anything they are busy tweeting with their iPhones. I’m gainfully employed, by the way, and I don’t have a smart phone because I think they’re overpriced and a data plan would put an unnecessary financial strain on my family. Actually, it wouldn’t strain my family at all; I’m just cheap.
But back to the point, these people, despite these luxuries – and let’s face it, that’s what they are – are still whining because a very small number of people in the world have managed through some means to become astronomically wealthy? I’d like to point out that almost every person who is super rich today is super rich by the fruits of their own labors, not because they were born into it: Ellison, Gates, Jobs, Slim, Obama, to name a few. I got a bachelor’s degree and yet somehow I don’t feel as though I am entitled to a 200 foot private yacht. If I were to listen to these protestors it seems I may conclude that I need my bumps felt.
But okay, fine. Let’s shelve these obvious arguments for a minute. One of the prevailing themes among these protestors is the “American dream.” Note the operative word dream. As I understand it this phrase came about to describe the idyllic lifestyle sought by returning G.I.’s after World War 2. Since then, it has apparently transmogrified into meaning, “if you manage to get a diploma in any field from any university, you are automatically rewarded with a job that pays 6 figures and the accompanying privileged SWPL lifestyle.” Seriously, I can’t tell you how many of these tumblr pictures are hand-scrawled notes about people whining about how their college degrees cost them enormous sums of money and they have not seen any return on their investments. I don’t need to tell you – just look for yourself. The tumblr is filled with them. Here’s one:
It really makes me wonder what these children’s parents said them as they were growing up. I constantly here phrases from this movement like, “I was told that if I got a good education I would live the dream and have a good life” and variants thereof. When they say, “I was told” I must ask by whom?
It’s no secret that from the minute my generation was born our parents, and everyone else’s parents, essentially every adult, heaped upon us this notion that we must go to college. At my high school, virtually entirely white, something like 96% of the graduating class went to some form of college. 96% of them did not graduate from college, of course. But at least they tried. Part of the reason that high schools go along with this is because it would be incredibly difficult for them to teach us anything if there weren’t some good reason to learn the crap they’re teaching. Our transcripts were viewed in high school as our golden ticket to college, which we were assured would lead to a good, comfortable life. This meant that we had to get good grades in high school or our transcript would be crap and we would never get into college.
And the same tired crap was repeated to us in college as well. “If you don’t get good grades,” they warned, “no employer will want to hire you out of college because your college transcript shows you were a slacker.”
Well, that turned out to be a giant lie, at least in my experience. I graduated from college with a 2.9. I earned 112 credits in my first two years (you can do the math on how many credits per semester that was). It then took me 2 years to earn the remaining 8. When I interviewed for my first job, the subject of grades didn’t come up. In fact, the guy who interviewed me never even saw my transcript because generally, interviewers don’t. The evil corporation which hired me needed proof of my college degree (because they don’t hire people who don’t have degrees), but the only person who ever saw that proof was an HR drone. We didn’t talk about my course work. We didn’t talk about my grades.
But back to the parent thing, my parents told me from the day that I was born that there is no such thing as the “American dream” and that you are what you earn and that if you make decisions for yourself based on the world as you want it to be instead of the world as it actually is, you’re going to find yourself poor and unhappy. If I had followed my “dream”, my life would be drastically different than it is today. There’s even a chance that I would be out there in the rain carrying a sign whining about evil corporations.
Instead, I’m writing this blog post from the comfort of my home on my lunch break (for which I am getting paid by an evil corporation because I’m salaried, and salary is grand) because, as my parents instructed me, I took a pragmatic approach to life. I made sure to make decisions that would ensure my basic needs are covered first.
When I was in college, I minored in anthropology because I enjoyed it. I might have majored in it. The reason that I didn’t is because my parents were paying my tuition and they would have stopped if I majored in something that would not translate into gainful employment. My parents viewed college as an investment, not as a 4 year vacation after high school.
It would be incredibly disingenuous of me to sit here and claim that I got to where I am now – namely dry, inside, and not whining about a job I don’t have – without the guidance of my parents. They gave me good advice, and I followed it. I am strong-headed and stubborn and I probably would not have followed it if there weren’t some financial incentive to follow it. I am pretty sure I wouldn’t have graduated from college otherwise.
A lot of you will immediately say, “oh, well, easy for him to say, mommy and daddy paid for his tuition!” Well, let me tell you what my parents did. They made me take out loans for school. They promised me that they would pay them back if I graduated and if I graduated with a major that they approved. (English was not one of the options. Neither was anthropology). This had two effects: first, it motivated me to actually graduate because I didn’t want to be saddled with debt (and an inability to pay it back, since graduating college and almost graduating college are two very different things). Second, when they did pay my school debt off for me, it made me glow in the dark in the eyes of creditors: here’s a 22-year-old kid who just paid back thousands and thousands of dollars of student loans. I started my life with a credit rating of almost 750. My first credit card had a $17,000 limit on it (which my income at the time did not justify).
I’m where I am today largely because my parents were smart and told me the right things when I was growing up. I never entertained these illusions that if I just went to college and majored in anything I wanted that there would be someone somwhere offering me a cushy high-paying job doing exactly what I love. I viewed college as an investment because that’s how my parents taught me to view it, and I viewed getting a job after college as requiring some type of skillset that I had to develop – and no, critical reading of 19th century literature is not a skillset that employers want. My dad always told me that I had to have some market value. My skills had to be able to translate into money for someone or I would never make any. Nobody pays English majors to write short fiction stories. So I didn’t major in English.
My dad also warned me not to major in something that everybody else on the planet majors in. English is the most common major in the country. Have you ever heard the phrase “supply and demand?” There is almost zero demand for English majors and there’s an overwhelming supply of them being churned out of expensive universities year over year. Because of these two simple, well-known facts, I put two and two together and realized that it would be very stupid to major in English, so I didn’t.
And now, 10 years later, I am not marching in the streets because I don’t have anything to complain about. And I bet I do a lot more writing, just here on this blog, than almost every English major in the country. I am also willing to bet that the things I write are read by far more people than almost anything the typical English major has ever written.
So, to come back to the main point of this post, a question to these “occupy”-ers:
Why are you protesting corporations? Why Wall Street?
It seems to me that these people are not protesting corporations per se. They’re protesting the fact that these same corporations did not gift wrap a high paying job for these unemployed people and present it on a silver platter. The message that I hear from these people is incredibly incoherent – I can’t find a single example of something they’re actually proposing; no concrete change to the system that could be reasonably implemented. It’s like a discorded chorus of, “Rich people shouldn’t be so rich. They should share it with me so I can buy a yacht too!” Jealousy has been around forever and it will never go away.
If the employment rate was 1% and these corporations were giving “living wage” jobs to everybody off the streets, there wouldn’t be any protests. We know this because during the 90′s when unemployment was closer to 5%, which is probably about the lowest it’s ever going to get because about 1 in 20 people are just patently unemployable, there weren’t marches in the streets. There wouldn’t be any protests because these people would be at their wage slave jobs, but also because they, like me, would not have anything to complain about.
The reason that these people are protesting evil corporations and Wall Street is because the majority of them are unwilling to blame the man they elected. I’m certain that if Bush were still president we’d see a lot more anti-Bush posters in the crowds. They’d still whine about corporations, certainly – that’s an age-old favorite. But I’m hearing a lot of noise from these people about how they’ve lost all their hope and feel “disenfranchised” in the past 2 years. In other words, the man they elected to bring Hope and Change to the country has instead made them feel totally hopeless and “disenfranchised.” They’ll still reelect him in 2012 because they’re idiots, but that’s another discussion altogether. As an aside, “disenfranchise” was one of my dad’s favorite phrases to mock. Any time he made me do something I didn’t want to do, and I complained, he would ask me satirically if I was feeling disenfranchised. This taught me not to complain.
What the great many of these people should be protesting is not Wall Street. You can’t blame these guys for taking bailouts from the government. Remember: the government invented the phrase “too big too fail” and were the ones handing out the money. Granted, the occupy movement seems to imply that government and Wall Street is one big good ole’ boys club which looks out for each other (i.e., the collective plutocracy) and that is certainly true, but neither Wall Street nor the federal government is to blame for your current life situation.
You should be protesting two groups:
First, protest your parents and the way you were raised!
The “American dream” has not become some kind of impossible thing because of Wall Street or Barack Obama or Bush or Congress. It’s become impossible because you were fed lies your entire life and you believed them, and nobody was around to show you how deep the rabbit hole goes. You were told that all you needed to do is buy an expensive (mostly useless) education - the pricier, the better – and you would have it made for life. This is America, not Japan. Couldn’t you have figured out that college educations aren’t reserved for an elite few these days? Couldn’t you have figured out that a college educated 20-something is a dime a dozen these days and the supply is rapidly outpacing the demand? Well, I guess you couldn’t. That’s probably also why you think it’s a good idea to sit around on Wall Street with signs as if anyone is going to notice or care.
I’ll tell you what’s going to happen: after a few more weeks of this, people are going to get bored. Winter’s coming. It’s going to get cold. The fad will pass, nothing will change, nobody will care, and the phrase “Occupy Wall Street” will be a Jeopardy answer five years from now and once in awhile someone will make an edit to its Wikipedia page.
Second, protest the institution of higher education in America!
I know that student debt and degrees not equaling jobs is only one aspect of these protests – plenty of middle aged people are whining about their lack of employment also, but this is the one I want to focus on because by and large it’s the single biggest problem that is plaguing young people today.
The problem with America’s economy is the lack of unskilled labor jobs. It’s all being outsourced to other countries. My sister’s roommate at her expensive presitgious private university earned an illustrious double major in English and Philosophy. She once scoffed at my sister for majoring in pre-med, saying, “College is about learning. You shouldn’t go to a university just to get a job. That’s what trade schools are for!” After summarily destroying her roommate on the GMATs my sister went on to grad school and to a comfortable high-paying job in the medical field. Her roommate got a job as a telemarketer in a call center and tried to commit suicide 2 or 3 times post-college (and failed). Too bad she didn’t major in pre-med; she’d have succeeded for sure if she understood anatomy and physiology.
There aren’t many telemarketing jobs left in the United States. They’re staffed with English majors. That’s because English majors are unskilled labor.
The giant lie that our culture and the money-grubbing universities tell you is that if you get a college degree, it will somehow help you and be worth the investment. The truth is that the vast majority of degrees that are awarded year after year are frankly not worth the paper they are written on, but they cost $100,000 or more to attain. You come out of school only slightly more employable than you were without one, and you’re also saddled with crushing debt. You’re in the same labor pool as people who didn’t go to college and there just aren’t that many jobs out there for people without very specific, desirable skills.
Thus, college grads are forced to take jobs that they consider to be beneath them and are therefore extremely unsatisfied and malcontent, and that’s why they’re marching in the streets. They don’t want to stock shelves in a grocery store. They have a college degree! I remember reading somewhere that something like 40% of doormen in New York have 4 year degrees. I didn’t know studying the collected works of William Shakespeare was a prerequisite for opening and closing doors for hotel guests, but apparently it is.
That’s what you should be protesting.
Protest the fact that you were told lies. Protest the fact that colleges are charging you an arm and a leg for a degree that does not pay for itself. Protest the fact that a university will charge you $100,000 for an English degree that is worth nothing. Imagine if any other corporation – yes, private universities are for-profit corporations – charged you $100,000 for a commodity that had no value. You could sue them, right?
Or is it just caveat emptor?
All that said, I still empathize with these protestors, but not for the reasons behind the cause they’re championing.
If I were protesting anything, I would protest the fact that our economy is rapidly reaching a point where the average American is not smart or skilled enough to participate in it.
I work in a technical field. I’m a software developer. An engineer. I am good at math, and I can do things that lots of people can’t. That’s why I get paid good money. It’s a highly intellectual pursuit and humbly speaking, most people are simply not smart enough to do what I do. I was born with my gifts, so in that sense, I am lucky.
In the old days, such as the world my parents were born into, there were tons of manufacturing jobs in the U.S. and even if you were not very sharp in the head, you could still make a decent living for your family (decent by their standards. Your 1950′s line worker at GM would not protest in the street because he couldn’t afford an iPad, but today’s line worker will). Nowadays, those jobs just don’t exist. The skill requirements for virtually every job that pays well enough for the typical suburban white person raised by baby boomers to take without marching in the streets about how shitty it is are getting higher and higher, and thus excluding more and more people.
There is no solution to this problem.
We’re at critical mass. The only thing we can do is wait.
I honestly believe that one day, all of the demands of these Occupy protesters will actually be met – a living wage will be provided to every person regardless of whether they are working or not – but only because we will replace all of our unskilled labor jobs which form the basis of our economy with robots. When robots are growing, harvesting, processing and preparing all of our food with little human intervention, and when robots are building our homes, paving our roads, felling our timber, and manufacturing our furniture, when robots are building our cars and our computers and mowing our grass and cleaning our sewers, then we’ll see the living wage. When time stops equaling money, then we’ll get there.
But for now, it’s just not possible for so many reasons. If one person isn’t working, then someone else needs to work twice as hard (or, in money terms, produce twice as much value). That’s asking an awful lot. The Occupy people are looking at these super rich CEO types, who “produce” many thousands of times the living wage and could therefore subsidize with their fortunes, in theory, thousands of people. That’s short sighted. If they sat down with a paper and pencil and worked out how few very rich people there are vs. how many “poor” people there are, it just doesn’t work. Plus, the number of rich people would go down because nobody would aspire to become rich if they know their efforts are just going to go to someone else who isn’t working. That’s why communism failed – hard working successful people are not known for their generosity. Look at your hero, Steve Jobs. That man didn’t contribute even a penny of his billions to any type of charity. He could have handed out iPads for free to every single one of the Occupy protestors and barely felt it, but he didn’t. What makes you think he’s going to give anyone a living wage?
Ultimately, what will happen is that every country’s economy will catch up to where America’s is – nobody will want to do unskilled labor because it doesn’t pay enough. Right now, we outsource our manufacturing to China and we insource our lawn care jobs to Mexican immigrants. Eventually we’ll run out of poor 3rd world people to dump our low paying jobs on. In my industry we’ve already seen it. In the good old days, you could get 10 Indians for the cost of 1 American. Now you can get 1.5, or maybe 3 if you hire cheap young grads with no experience, so we moved to China. In only 5 years we’ve seen the same thing – they’re getting more and more expensive. That’s happening everywhere.
But the world is a big place and there are lots and lots of poor people. Eventually, as I said, we’ll run out of those people. I believe that we’ll see robot automation out of both natural technical progression and out of necessity long before we run out of cheap unskilled labor from other countries, and then we’ll begin to see true socialism because it will actually work.
I have no problem with socialism’s principles, but I don’t condone robbing Peter to pay Paul.
If Peter is a robot, I don’t care. As long as some person – rich, poor, or otherwise – in order to finance some kind of global living wage isn’t forced to work harder or give up what they’ve rightfully earned according to the rules of fair economy (e.g., supply and demand), then I think it’s a great idea. It will have consequences, for sure, but bearable ones.
Ultimately, these protests are just too soon. The utopia they envision can’t happen yet. I believe we will begin to see it take shape in our lifetimes, but it’s 25 to 50 years off. I suspect that my grandchildren will grow up in a vastly different world – one in which you really can go to university and major in anything you want just because it interests you and for its own sake, and you can pursue whatever endeavor you want without regard to how much money it will make you because you can live comfortably on a free living wage. I wish I were born into a world with that opportunity and I wish that I could make it happen right now, but I am a realist and I understand the way the world is and I understand what we need to get to where the Occupy-ers want to go, and I know it can’t happen yet. Money will become something nobody really worries about, and will be seen as a luxury rather than a necessity.
But that’s the future. As for the problems of right now – you’re wasting your breath. Go home and try to get a job. And throw Obama out in 2012, please, seriously.
Of all the misguided beliefs people tend to develop are that people whose political views are different from yours must be intellectually wanting. I find that this belief is more common in liberals, but only slightly.
It’s easy to understand where it comes from. You reach your conclusion about the way society ought be structured and how government ought do that structuring, and along the way, the notion that your conclusions arrived only as a consequence of your intellect takes root. Therefore, since you also believe that intellect is a linear scale and that higher levels of understanding on every thing which could be understood can only be reached by a higher placement on the IQ number line, if someone has not reached the same conclusions about society that you have, the must be dumber than you, because they did not reach your “level” of understanding.
Every step of this line of thinking is flawed.
The underlying flaw is to believe that your political oultook is a function of intellect. There’s a very small chance that this is true. I believe that poltiical views are a function of the core of your personality, and intellect only rationalizes them and allows us to talk about them in pragmatic ways, such as translating into legislative policy. There are very smart liberals and very smart conservatives and all manor in between, both politically and intellectually.
I don’t like to insinuate that liberals are stupid, because many people I know who voted for Obama are not stupid. So it really aggravates me when liberals insinuate that all conservatives are stupid, particularly since 99 times out of 100, I know that I am objectively more intelligent than the person who is making that claim, at least on the basis that they’re making it. I score very highly on standardized tests. Is that what they mean by intelligent?
My intelligence allows me to articulate my core feelings and to formulate societal rules based on them, but I would still be a conservative even were I unable to do so. I believe a large segment of the conservative voter base is unable to do so. I also believe a large segment of the liberal voting base is unable to articulate their ideas either, which is why politics is awash in canned talking points. It’s also why politicians merely repeat these talking points ad nauseum and never actually say what intelligent people want to hear because the middle of the bell curve would be too slow to appreciate it.
I think this is one of the reasons that the more intelligent segments of either political party likes to call the other feeble-minded, because they’re not looking at the segments of the other party whose intelligence is on-par with their own but rather the morass of idiots. In my case, when I think of a liberal, I generally think of the morons who whine about evil corporations and blood for oil and so on and so on. The problem is that even the intelligent liberals still deal in the lowest-common-denominator messages because they have to, and the same goes for conservatives.
I think ultimately, the difference between liberal thinking and conservative thinking comes down to group orientation. Liberals are pro-group and conservatives are pro-individual. Too much group-think leads to Marxist collectivism and too much individualism leads to an anarchic dystopia.
But this has nothing to do with intelligence. Even if there were a definitive correlation between raw IQ and political affiliation, we couldn’t show causality.
So, do me a favor, regardless of whether you’re a conservative or a liberal – stop insinuating that those politically opposed to you are categorically stupid. The truth is the majority of people are categorically stupid regardless of how they vote, so let’s just leave it at that.
Over the last couple of days I’ve been thinking about anonymity, of this blog, and of the internet in general. I wrote a post justifying why I keep the site anonymous, and the post’s comments section rapidly devolved into a pissing match with long time reader Tim Weaver. You will note that said post has been deleted.
I also fulfilled the request of someone whose name I had reposted from an online petition in an earlier post, after saying that I wouldn’t. I changed my mind.
The reason that I changed it is actually thanks to Tim Weaver. I read a post of his on his new blog about how Obama is basically a failure of a president. Tim and I first started bickering on each other’s blogs during the 2008 campaign, and I recall stating not so subtly that Obama was not a fit and proper person to be president. Not that McCain was much better, but I knew Obama would make a mess of things and he has.
So it got me thinking about this person whose name I initially didn’t want to redact. One of the observations I made in my initial post on this subject was that when you Googled her name, my blog was the #2 hit, and actually, any links that were relevant to this person in question fell below my post, because there is more than one person with that name in the world and the first hit wasn’t her. I also pointed out that the internet is forever.
But then I thought longer about it and I realized that I love the internet because it lets you be anonymous when you want to be, but at the same time, it punishes you when you aren’t (whether by choice or by accident). I know that the internet is forever, but I wish it weren’t. Every person says things they may grow to regret, and we should all be allowed to grow out of our beliefs. The petition signer may have come around to the fact that the notion of forgiving student debt outright is ludicrous, but were I to leave that petition signature and its accompanying comment on my blog in perpetuity, the world would never know that because all they’ll see is what this person may have thought when she was 24.
Ultimately, one of the reasons that I write these posts is because I want people to change their minds about things and come around to my superior worldview. It would be hypocritical of me to ask people to change their minds, but then never actually let them by enshrining what they used to think on the internet forever.
I do want to reiterate one point that I made in my original work on anonymity, though. It’s not cowardly to host an anonymous blog. In my view, it’s foolish to host a blog which discusses polarizing topics (e.g., politics) under your real name unless you are making a career for yourself as a political analyst. The only people who would find my blog by Googling my real name (were I to use it here) are friends and family. I don’t want to offend my friends or my family. I do share this blog with some people (who therefore do know my real name), but I do so selectively. I only share my blog with people who won’t get their panties in a bunch.
My godmother defriended me on Facebook because I commented on her wall that I didn’t think Obama had done anything to deserve the Nobel Peace Prize. A general rule of thmb is not to discuss politics at work, or with family, and that’s why I don’t use my real name on this blog.