Thursday, November 09, 2006

Seeing the Unseen

One of Whittle's infrequent, but amusing and excellent, essays is here.

I just read it now.

It's amazing how certain ideas just spring forth at the same time; I like this essay particularly because he references the very same examples of Lincoln, Rome, Liberal Cognitive Egocentrism, the psychological impact of media misreporting biases, and Democrat statements of Hussein's imminent threat that I have recently alluded to! And ties it all together in the context of the raving 9/11 conspiracy commenter I revealed.

All in one neat package.

I'm rather sure he doesn't read my blog either... :)

Instead, this is some evidence of the sheer correctness and obviousness of what I've been trying to convey.

Some excerpts:
Critical Thinking -- the ability to analyze data, determine it’s usefulness and fidelity, to learn how to assess reliability, question methodology, weigh expertise and all the rest -– is in shockingly short supply these days. It’s not just a shame; it’s an epidemic, it is a fatal metastasizing disease in a democracy where information is used by the public to make the decisions that steer the ship of state. For the ability to think critically allows us to see the unseen; to find the truth behind the falsehood, as well as the falsehood behind the truth.

Today, it seems that legions of people – growing legions – are falling victims to ideas and beliefs that on the face of it are patently false…things that are so clearly and obviously nuts that you really have to wonder what deep, mighty engine of emotional need could possibly drive a brain so deep into a hole. Seriously now, there are millions and millions of people on this planet who will torture logic and reason to mind-bending extremes in order to believe monumentally ridiculous “theories”… theories drawn from an emotional need so warped and debased that you are catapulted beyond anger and disbelief directly into pathos and the desire to call 911 before these people hurt themselves.
People like Michael Moore and Bill Maher and Keith Olberman would not be able to figure out how to close the canopy on an F-102. These people would be weeping with fear when those afterburners light up and you barrel down that runway hoping that engine doesn’t flame out and roll you inverted into the asphalt, or when you’re rocketing through the soup at 300mph watching two little needles chase each other, praying the next thing you see out the window is a runway and not a mountain goat.

George W. Bush is not stupid. It’s not possible to be a moron and fly a supersonic jet fighter, and everyone knows it.

What George W. Bush is, however, is inarticulate. English is his second language. From what I can see he does not have a first language. Abraham Lincoln spoke in simple frontier language in an age of rhetorical flourish. Like Bush, he was considered a bumpkin and an idiot, and like Bush, he realized that there were times when having people misunderestimate you repeatedly was a real advantage. That’s goal-oriented. That’s playing the deep game. That’s cunning.

I personally have gotten to the point where Bush’s malapropisms cause me to look at the floor and shake my head with an affectionate smile, in much the same way supporters of his predecessor used to do with every new revelation of coerced sex from former employees. He is what he is. But he is a damn sight more intelligent than the graphic designer in the Mini Cooper with the Village Idiot sticker. Me, personally, I look at the man’s entire catalog of flaws in the same way Lincoln looked at Grant and his drinking: I can’t spare this man. He fights.
Now, let’s suppose the U.S. went into Djibouti with the Marines, and stole every single thing that’s produced there in a year…just grant the premise and say we stole every goddam thing they make. If we hauled away all of Djibouti’s annual wealth, how long would it run the U.S. Economy, which is 7,481 times greater?

Well, 8,760 hours divided by 7,481 gives you an answer of 1.17 hours. In other words, it takes the U.S. 1.17 hours to produce what Djibouti produces in a year.

If the US really did go in and steal everything that the bottom thirty countries in the world produce, it might power the US economy for two or three days.

Conversely, the billions and billions of dollars the US spends annually in aid, rent, etc. – plus uncounted billions more from private American charities – would supply the entire GDP of Djibouti for hundreds of years.

Where’s your Imperialism argument now?
Doves think the choice is between fighting or not fighting. Hawks think the choice is between fighting now or fighting later.
I cannot think of a single example where appeasement – giving in to an aggressive adversary in the hope that it will convince them to become peaceful themselves – has provided any lasting peace or security. I can say in complete honesty that I look forward to hearing of any historical example that shows it does.

What I do see are barbarian forces closing in and sacking Rome because the Romans no longer had the will to defend themselves. Payments of tribute to the barbarian hordes only funded the creation of larger and better-armed hordes. The depredations of Viking Raiders throughout Northern Europe produced much in the way of ransom payments. The more ransom that was paid, the more aggressive and warlike the Vikings became. Why? Because it was working, that’s why.
This projection of rationality onto irrational people is the linchpin of the liberal failure to understand human nature.
Telling reasonable people what they want to hear is a survival skill for criminals [and terrorists]. They don’t get very far without knowing how to play people.

Recent reports of the advanced state of the Iraqi nuclear weapons program, and the confirmed presence of 700+ chemical shells leaves this chestnut in some disarray. However, even if you take that away, the entire concept is a cowardly and petty retreat spoken by people who know better.

Here is a pretty decent encapsulation of what both Republicans and Democrats had to say about Saddam and WMD’s. You will find Bush’s and Rumsfeld’s rhetoric somewhat less adamant and warlike than that of Mr. and Mrs. Clinton, John Kerry, John Edwards, Al Gore, Robert Byrd, Nancy Pelosi, Hans Blix, Madeline Albright, Sandy Berger and all the rest. These were elected representatives who studied the same intelligence that the White House did, and came to the same conclusion.

Unfortunately for them, Al Gore in his unbridled enthusiasm went and invented the Internet, and so now there is a record of what they said and when, available to the great unwashed masses. It shows a group of people deeply concerned about what was a pressing threat to this country. And now, almost all of them claim they were lied to? Are they capable of reading intelligence reports themselves, or did Bush have to read it to them aloud, with them seated at his knee in My Pet Goat fashion, skipping the parts he didn’t think would make a good sell? Some people say that they did not get the same intelligence that Bush got.
As they say, read it all.

To top it off, I even was entranced by the same advertisement he saw as a boy in comics, about that backyard Nautilus submarine for $6.98 -- and I finally got to find out what it really was, which I had wondered about all this time.


Post a Comment

<< Home