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2. Moore’s Challenge

There is something mysterious about the notion of ‘good for’. Consider a possible world that contains only a single item: a stunning Vermeer painting. Leave aside any doubts you might have about whether paintings can be good in a world without viewers, and accept for the sake of argument that this painting has aesthetic value in that world. It seems intuitively plausible to claim that the value of this world is constituted solely by the aesthetic value of the painting. But now consider a world which contains one individual living a life that is good for them. How are to describe the relationship between the value of this world, and the value of the life lived in it for the individual? Are we to say that the world has a value at all? How can it, if the only value it contains is ‘good for’ as opposed to just ‘good’? And yet we surely do want to say that this world is better (‘more good’) than some other empty world. Well, should we say that the world is good, and is so because of the good it contains ‘for’ the individual? This fails to capture the idea that there is in fact nothing of value in this world except what is good for the individual.

Thoughts such as these led G.E. Moore to object to the very idea of ‘good for’ (Moore 1903, pp. 98–9). Moore argued that the idea of ‘my own good’, which he saw as equivalent to what is ‘good for me’, makes no sense. When I speak of, say, pleasure as what is good for me, he claimed, I can mean only either that the pleasure I get is good, or that my getting it is good. Nothing is added by saying that the pleasure constitutes my good, or is good for me.

But the distinctions I drew between different categories of value above show that Moore’s analysis of the claim that my own good consists in pleasure is too narrow. Indeed Moore’s argument rests on the very assumption that it seeks to prove: that only the notion of ‘good’ is necessary to make all the evaluative judgements we might wish to make. The claim that it is good that I get pleasure is, logically speaking, equivalent to the claim that the world containing the single Vermeer is good. It is, so to speak, ‘impersonal’, and leaves out of account the special feature of the value of well-being: that it is good for individuals.

Indeed, one way to respond both to Moore’s challenge, and to the puzzles above, is to try, when appropriate, to do without the notion of ‘good’ (see Kraut 2011) and make do with ‘good for’, alongside the separate and non-evaluative notion of reasons for action. Thus, the world containing the single individual with a life worth living, might be said to contain nothing good per se, but a life that is good for that individual. And this fact may give us a reason to bring about such a world, given the opportunity.

I like these thought puzzles.

I mention it only due to Thom mentioning FDR's 4 freedoms, one being 'freedom from want'. In the utilitarian field the topic might be well-being/.

.Language was mentioned a few posts back. Trump speaks at a 4th grade level according to some linguistic commentary. Speaking at a level they can understand is about right. "Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader?" was on TV awhile back. Maybe Rubio and Cruz ought to try some Mister Rogers speak to gain ground among the gop base.

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douglaslee
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

(also response to #51)

Hi Doug, and thanks for being glad I’m still here—I’m glad you’re still here too. Well, yeah, I’ve been gone, first off to visit one of my sons and his family for a week, then busy back home with a garden project. While in Campbell, CA, we spent most of a day wandering a Zen garden (Hakone Gardens, in Saratoga) and that had me eager to get home to implement in my own space some of the concepts I learned there, such as the honoring of weathered wood, of stone, and time. It has me conflicted, in a way, now that I think about it— my love of solitude and creativity vs. being and doing with loved ones. As much as I take joy in family and the mutuality of all of that, I still crave me-time. It’s a contradiction, considering that post at #47, where I wrote about selfishness and the cult of self. The thing is, one shouldn’t have to choose between either, and I feel extra, um, wealthy for having that choice, for having both my peeps and the freedom to be on my own.

I know you like Saul, and I know that I shouldn’t be turned off by Camille Paglia’s blurb; I know that you’re reading Hedges’ Empire of Illusion (I read it awhile back and did not find one word to criticize, btw. He always makes sense to me, is always coherent and more—eloquent.) I also know all of that stuff surrounding the Reagan BS, not that it helps with the word reason. I do wish somebody would please grok what I’m complaining about, with the use of that word by Saul. Honestly, Doug, I do wonder why you don’t see my point (if you don’t), given your interest in Skeptic’s Dictionary, etc., which reminds me of our sharing of a strong antipathy for the Irrationals, that is, Believers in Hogwash, those who engage in magical thinking, psychic phenomena, and etc. Isn’t that because we value reason?

I’m a Utilitarian too, btw. I like Peter Singer, especially for his views on veganism, abortion, animal rights and more. I suppose I also share the valuing of pleasure —the hedonism within utilitarianism— as long as what gives one person pleasure does not interfere with the human rights of another person or persons. For example, just because some guy takes pleasure in raping women doesn’t mean he gets to do that. One person’s pleasure —even one State’s pleasure?— does not necessarily a happy world make. Anyway, I certainly agree with your disdain for religious sado-masochism. Such a bore all that is, such irrationality!

Why Things Bite looks great. No problem— I also share a skepticism about technology, the absolute dependency on it for solutions. Love science, but also recognize its limitations and the vulnerabilities and frailties of the humans who employ it.

We’re not so far apart, but I need to get back to bed now, to conquer this middle-of-the-night insomnia. More later, I’m sure.

Zenzoe
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

From Hedges "Empire of Illusion" re:Language "The culture of illusion thrives by robbing us of the intellectual and linguistic tools to separate illusion from truth. It reduces us to the dependancy of children." (I mentioned 4th grade level above) "It impoverishes language"

Princeton Review analyzed transcripts of debates using a standard vocabulary test to detrmine minimum level required to grasp the text. 1858 - Lincoln, 11.2 11th grade Douglas 12.0 or High School graduate. 1960: both Kennedy and Nixon used 10th grade levels. 1992: Clinton- 7.6 or 7th grade, Bush- 6.8 or 6th grade, Perot- 6.3 or 6th grade 2000: Bush 6th grade or 6.7, Gore 7th grade or 7.6.

Trump's 4th grade level gets more support, those elitist 6th graders are arrogant liberals.

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douglaslee
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

Zenzoe, I'm responding to your post #49 with these lines in #53 taken into consideration:

Quote Zenzoe:

I do wish somebody would please grok what I’m complaining about, with the use of that word by Saul. Honestly, Doug, I do wonder why you don’t see my point (if you don’t), given your interest in Skeptic’s Dictionary, etc., which reminds me of our sharing of a strong antipathy for the Irrationals, that is, Believers in Hogwash, those who engage in magical thinking, psychic phenomena, and etc. Isn’t that because we value reason?

You seem to be focusing on the use of a word that means a lot to you in a very carefully determined way, reason. I get that. Grok is such a mystical word that I have some trouble using it, but maybe I grok grok in the way you are groking reason, which is why I too think the use of reason in this dialog can problematic.

What I see Saul saying is that he, yes, values reason as part of a full panoply of human characteristics, but he does not value reason above all else. Which I guess is characteristic with his sense of democracy. Now it seems to me that's what a number of people, including Chris Hedges, Vandana Shiva with that "mechanistic thinking" metaphor that others use as well, the two Jensens we've brought in to conversations, and a few others -- a very, very few I might point out, so that to me those few are precious voices, all of them in a world of machine-like dominant thought -- are all trying to say in their various ways. If you grok what they are trying to say, then recognize how lonely those voices are in this austere anti human wilderness of neoliberal, neoconservative domination of our shared cultures, then I would imagine that getting past the language to the visions they try to share would also be something worth valuing.

I found myself exploring Saul first off just to see why Chris Hedges claims to have been influenced by him, especially his Voltaire's Bastards tome. I don't always see word to word with Saul in his narrative, but I have come to trust his inner vision that's clearly guiding him through his arguments; that is, to trust that he is desperately, even passionately trying to figure out some of the same anomalies of this technocratically run world that have troubled me since the day I woke up off the coast of Vietnam after asking myself, nearly into a fit of insanity, why I was there when everything in my being told me how wrong it all was.

I personally find that his arguments that involve the kind of amoral aspects of Cartesian logic getting separated from our other human capacities are useful for me in putting together something that informs my own adamant concerns about how technocratically-run institutions rule us beyond our own individual attempts at finding reasonable solutions to live our own lives in some sensible way. He takes me back through the history of the Age of Reason to figures like Loyola and his Jesuit training, which was an educational program (Loyala and his cohorts called it a Ratio Studiorum, or study plan, in 1599) that educated figures like Descarte ("I think therefore I am), Cardinal Richeleu, Voltaire, Francis Bacon and others who I have read without the benefits of Saul's historically informed narrative, so for that I am grateful. I've been making many new forays into that history as a result. Saul is, after all, a historian at heart, so for me he brings in missing pieces of history to my own struggle to create some sort of ongoing narrative to help me make sense of our plight. As an aside, I was turned away from the teaching of history in high school, as I find in my discussions many were, and that emotional block thereby caused me to carefully ignore history for a long time.

I, for one, had no Idea that Ignatious of Loyola, who led his group of Jesuits off on this historically significant rational tangent, in any way related to horrid technocratic figures of my generation like Robert McNamara and Henry Kissinger. Finding out he was a military man who'd experienced a religious conversion after being wounded in battle makes a little sense, however. I grew up around the University of Michigan (regarded as one of our nation's top tier public universities) hearing people talk in reverent tones about the quality of education they could get at a private Catholic run university in not too distant Chicago, Loyola University (according to Wiki, Loyola University is listed as one of the top 100 in the world), That was the extent of my historical reference with the name. I looked into it and now I see the name Loyola associated with all kinds of educational institutions. Now, after reading Saul's historically-informed narrative, the reverence of the university makes a lot more sense to me. A piece of a puzzle is in place. It's almost like a veil has been lifted and a whole lively scene's been revealed.

And this modern day educational structure, religious in its founding, Saul shows how it's been embedded in the very scientific management technique that I know as Taylorism. That's like a big, aha! for me. But it may be meaningless to others who don't see the insidious nature of that efficient rationally scientific management program that's been adopted by educators of all stripes and embedded into all our business and educational institutions today.

I don't see Saul putting down reason, as what I think he's careful to demonstrate is a logical reasoning creating a kind of pure and objective thought apart from a whole context of other aspects of reasoning as something to be shunned. And this is the tricky part of using language. That holistic reasoning, which is the reasoning that I get you are calling for, which I feel, I grok I hope, you are saying, is truly what he is striving for. So sometimes we have to play loose with the language, and sometimes we must be very precise if we are to have any hope of communicating. It's up to us when and how to do that. In a later book he seeks to use a linguistic concept, equilibrium (On Equilibrium), to explain that more inclusive and contextual form of reasoning. He shows me that he's well aware of this linguistic problem that's putting you off. I see him cautioning us on the imperative to put reason above all else, as in making it into a kind of dictatorship of mind.

I merely hear him raising doubt with a long and historically informed narrative on the evolution of reason into this now elevated state of reverence. A state of inclusive agreement where someone in a position of authority can reason that I should not take it upon myself to decide that being drafted and going off to fight a war is immoral, as the technocrats, lawyers and judges were able to do when I rebelled against this rational dictum. I discovered de facto through experience how meaningless I, as a whole, thinking, feeling, emoting human being am to this system. My meaninglessness was no longer an abstraction.

Sitting in a jail cell does give one time to sort things out. But I don't think what I sorted out then, and what I've been sorting out since, was what the technocrats had in mind. This is no different to me in character than what I read in your Vandana Shiva quote. The knowledge that Saul's thoughts influenced and informed Chris Hedges's reasoning, in writing that I've followed since discovering War is a Force that Gives Us Meaning just after those horrid events of September 11, 2001, does not go without notice. But if his use of the word "reason" is like the scratch in a 33 rpm record of your favorite music, then I get that too.

But after all the distractions on our predilections for language, this level of analysis and discussion about how our world works can help us to understand how the technocrats decided to pump high acid water through an aging water distribution system in a rusting post industrial city. And Hedges's call for rebellion has context.

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.ren
Joined:
Apr. 1, 2010 6:50 am

Ren, sitting outdoors just awhile ago, after having absorbed your generous and meaningful response —I wanted to let your post be for awhile— and reading an article entitled “Killer Bunny in the Sky, A drone war begins between vegans and hunters” from Harper’s Magazine, I hear the harsh, rasping sound of some electric tool begin next door, perhaps a grinder of some kind, and I am forced to give up on my quiet reading moment. So, here I am again, in front of my computer.

We’re surrounded by technology. I dare you to live your life without it.

While visiting my family this time, I watched my grandson (age 9) playing video games, sometimes by himself, sometimes with his friends. We want to think these children will grow into compassionate, ethical human beings, despite the near-continual influence of these games with their extreme violence, but I’m not so sure. When I hear the chatter between two boys as they play one version of Minecraft —which I thought was a nonviolent, building game— I can’t help but be horrified: “After we kill these guys, we’ll kill all the babies,” with mutual looks of boy-bonding enjoyment. Then later, I learned that my grandson has decided he wants to grow up to be a weapons designer.

My sons grew up playing Dungeons and Dragons. That didn’t ruin them forever, despite the game’s being about killing, a lot; they’re both compassionate, decent and good people now (code for liberals). One is a software engineer, the other a physics grad who was a laser engineer for a long time, then quit and became a math teacher, after his company wanted him to get a security clearance and work for the war machine. But how to extricate oneself from this technological world and live a pure life, certainly presents a challenge.

I’m relieved to know that you grok —”Mystical” word? Really? ;-)— my discomfort with John Ralston Saul’s use of the word reason, and I do feel that you do grok it, so very well. I hope you know too that my objection also rose out of my sensibility about language, and that I think it’s fair to expect thinkers to make some effort at finding “le mot juste,” otherwise what we get is a corruption of the language that all of us can agree is a bad thing. However, don’t despair— I am also more willing now not to let what feels like a misnomer get in the way of appreciating the man’s contribution to our understanding and his place among our best thinkers. If I see the word now in whatever readings of his work I might try, I will see it more as shorthand code for extreme anti-humanism, or that pure, cold, reductionist/mechanistic mind-set that might be known as scientism, as opposed to a balanced appreciation for science and holistic knowledge.

Quote Vandana Shiva:
The object of knowledge is violated when modern science, in a mindless effort to transform nature without a thought for the consequences, destroys the innate integrity of nature and thereby robs it of its regenerative capacity. The multidimensional ecological crisis all over the world is an eloquent testimony to the violence that reductionist science perpetrates on nature.

Contrary to the claim of modern science that people are ultimately the beneficiaries of scientific knowledge, people - particularly the poor - are its worst victims: they are deprived of their life-support systems in the reckless pillage of nature. Violence against nature recoils on man, the supposed beneficiary of all science. http://archive.unu.edu/unupress/unupbooks/uu05se/uu05se0i.htm

Douglaslee, re language: Do you remember Adlai Stevenson? I was just a girl when he ran against Eisenhower for President, but I remember his eloquence. I do think it’s fairly well agreed these days that an intellectual such as he would never be voted into the Presidency (sigh). Bernie Sanders, while clearly intelligent, can’t be described as an intellectual, nor would he work at looking like one. He does a pretty good job of using plain language in his appeals to the voters.

Rachel Maddow did quite a good job last night, reacting to “New e-mails paint Snyder into corner on Flint crisis.

Factories have been dumping toxics into the Flint River for over a century, as I have read— lumber mills, paper and meat packing industries, auto plants. The river caught fire twice in the 1930s. You crap on Mother Nature, and, well, you crap on yourself.

I'll be back...

Zenzoe
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

Grok music video w/great artwork. I had this LP when it came out, didn't know it was Grok related (hadn't read Heinlein yet).

Thought of making a slide show of that video intertwined with my own pictures from baby to death to play at my funeral or memorial. I don't believe in either of those in a church, but they're not for the dead. The compilation would defintely pose questions.

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douglaslee
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

Quote douglaslee:

Grok music video w/great artwork. I had this LP when it came out, didn't know it was Grok related (hadn't read Heinlein yet).

Embarrassingly enough, I had read Stranger in a Strange Land way back when, but the ONLY thing I had retained of it was GROK. That stuck, nothing else did. That’s why I missed Ren’s connotation, his association with the word as “mystical.” This morning I went ahead and read Wikipedia’s notes on the book and was amazed— had I been even minimally conscious while reading that book? Apparently not.

Quote douglaslee:

Thought of making a slide show of that video intertwined with my own pictures from baby to death to play at my funeral or memorial. I don't believe in either of those in a church, but they're not for the dead. The compilation would defintely pose questions.

I like that idea. Leave your people with questions. Disturb them, or surprise them, or leave them wondering.

That reminds me of this: I shared the film Samsara with family on my recent visit. They were disturbed by certain segments of it, amazed at others. It’s good to be disturbed sometimes.

Quote .ren:And this modern day educational structure, religious in its founding, Saul shows how it's been embedded in the very scientific management technique that I know as Taylorism. That's like a big, aha! for me. But it may be meaningless to others who don't see the insidious nature of that efficient rationally scientific management program that's been adopted by educators of all stripes and embedded into all our business and educational institutions today.

This brings a few things to mind. First, again, the documentary Samsara. It has a number of scenes related to assembly line industry, none more disturbing than this sequence: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h7tHZxUIndw

I’m also reminded of the experience of shopping at Lowe’s hardware store, where they’ve installed self-help checkout machines and provide only one or two actual humans to checkout your purchases. That is perhaps related to the notion of “efficient rationally scientific management,” but in this case Lowe’s puts the customer to work without pay, so that Lowe’s doesn’t have to employ as many paid human workers. I find it incredibly offensive and refuse to use the machines. I prefer the human contact to whatever “time-saving convenience” might be gained by using a machine to checkout my stuff. I notice that a lot of other customers feel the same way and are willing to wait in line just to get the personal service. The corporation tries to remove the human factor from their enterprise, but at some point such extremist rationalizations must meet our resistance. How frustrating for them it must be, that we refuse to OBEY!

The Science Channel has a program entitled “How It’s Made.” I must admit, it’s fascinating— assembly-line, factory manufacturing. An example, stuffed olives: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CWyGEcAipFs Sorry, but I can't resist those— yummy!

Zenzoe
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

Not much time to comment. I'm getting ready for my weekly social event, coffee with friends at our one coffee cafe in the area. It's on the Willipa River in South Bend, a five mile bike ride for me, this morning it will be in a soft rain.

I read Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land as part of my brain candy reading on the side in high school. I was already feeling the stranger in a strange land, being a farm kid bussed ten miles to school in a very civilized college town, Ann Arbor. So the metaphor of the Martian groking was very significant to me.

And I thought a lot about Groking at the time. I think that word has become as used as it has because of all that was going on then, illustrated by doug's reference to Leon Russel, who I heard singing his Stranger in a Strange Land when I got back from another Mars, where a war was raging, who sums up the period from Dylan, to then, Dylan who wrote and produced the next song Leon sings, Hard Rain's Gonna Fall. While I appreciate Russel's art, nothing can replace my own first listening experience to the spare, simple Bob Dylan with his guitar version. And so I had to find it so I could leave YouTube with that mood it helps me get to.

Hard rain could also be called acid rain. Acid rain was falling then. The lakes where I fished in Northern Michigan were losing their complex eco structure as the life that created the web of life could not adapt so suddenly to the new flush of acidic water. Kind of like humans in Flint, though in that case the acid was releasing the lead poison and possibly the legionaire's disease.

I have that movie Samsara in my collection. I don't have movies in my collection I don't appreciate, so... It's vivid imagery speaks volumes to me. I'm glad I can see.

And Lowe's. Tes, technocracy at work through the efficiency-seeking minds of the technocrats. Ellul talks of our institutions as a form of technology. Another aha! moment in reading for me. Saul talks about the two forces we are struggling with, or under if you will, the Hero and the Technocrat. Two metaphorical forces that play out in our technocracy's mythology. Mythology as a foundational structure as Garrett was talking about earlier, a structure from which we have difficulty breaking free even when we try. And I have, being the proverbial stranger here. One of the technocrats he gives serious thought to is Robert McNamara. And of course we have the Heroes (I'm also thinking Joseph Campbell as I write "Heroes" here), with the Hero John F. Kennedy who puts Robert McNamara in a position to do the most damage in terms of transforming bureaucracies and military organization into these mechanistic, anti human forms. All that was in the mix while I was reading Stranger in a Strange Land and listening to Dylan's Hard Rains Gonna Fall. and not to forget, With God on Our Side. You'll see both those cuts were from 1963.

Now I have to get into some rain gear. I'm glad it's nearly fifty degrees out this week.

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.ren
Joined:
Apr. 1, 2010 6:50 am
Quote .ren:

Not much time to comment. I'm getting ready for my weekly social event, coffee with friends at our one coffee cafe in the area. It's on the Willipa River in South Bend, a five mile bike ride for me, this morning it will be in a soft rain.

I read Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land as part of my brain candy reading on the side in high school. I was already feeling the stranger in a strange land, being a farm kid bussed ten miles to school in a very civilized college town, Ann Arbor. So the metaphor of the Martian groking was very significant to me.

And I thought a lot about Groking at the time. I think that word has become as used as it has because of all that was going on then, illustrated by doug's reference to Leon Russel, who I heard singing his Stranger in a Strange Land when I got back from another Mars, where a war was raging, who sums up the period from Dylan, to then, Dylan who wrote and produced the next song Leon sings, Hard Rain's Gonna Fall. While I appreciate Russel's art, nothing can replace my own first listening experience to the spare, simple Bob Dylan with his guitar version. And so I had to find it so I could leave YouTube with that mood it helps me get to.

Hard rain could also be called acid rain. Acid rain was falling then. The lakes where I fished in Northern Michigan were losing their complex eco structure as the life that created the web of life could not adapt so suddenly to the new flush of acidic water. Kind of like humans in Flint, though in that case the acid was releasing the lead poison and possibly the legionaire's disease.

I have that movie Samsara in my collection. I don't have movies in my collection I don't appreciate, so... It's vivid imagery speaks volumes to me. I'm glad I can see.

And Lowe's. Tes, technocracy at work through the efficiency-seeking minds of the technocrats. Ellul talks of our institutions as a form of technology. Another aha! moment in reading for me. Saul talks about the two forces we are struggling with, or under if you will, the Hero and the Technocrat. Two metaphorical forces that play out in our technocracy's mythology. Mythology as a foundational structure as Garrett was talking about earlier, a structure from which we have difficulty breaking free even when we try. And I have, being the proverbial stranger here. One of the technocrats he gives serious thought to is Robert McNamara. And of course we have the Heroes (I'm also thinking Joseph Campbell as I write "Heroes" here), with the Hero John F. Kennedy who puts Robert McNamara in a position to do the most damage in terms of transforming bureaucracies and military organization into these mechanistic, anti human forms. All that was in the mix while I was reading Stranger in a Strange Land and listening to Dylan's Hard Rains Gonna Fall. and not to forget, With God on Our Side. You'll see both those cuts were from 1963.

Now I have to get into some rain gear. I'm glad it's nearly fifty degrees out this week.

I like the way you took that full circle, among other things...

Around 1963, I was in the art department at one of our California State Universities ($50 per semester tuition back then). That’s when my design instructor invited some of us to his home to listen to “this great new recording artist,” as in Bob Dylan, whom I’d never heard of. But that’s how I came to know the music. It was also in that instructor’s classroom that we got word of JFK's assassination.

Then I married in a Methodist church, but only on Reverend Bill Steel’s condition that we attend church for a year, a promise we didn’t keep, btw. Still, that was where we saw the brilliant Dr. Strangelove, during the church’s Wednesday night film showings. Bill Steel, thanks for trying to wake us up.

Eve of Destruction sure takes us full circle. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IFZUDQ85bFU

Zenzoe
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

That was on Hullabullo, I remember both the song and show.

As for reason, i_thought_i_could_reason_with_antonin_scalia_a_more_naive_young_fool_never_drew_breath/? Maybe Scalia read Saul and used him as an excuse to rule from the bench like a pseudo pope. Reason and reasonable were not in Scalia's vocabulary.

Antonin Scalia generally detested science. It threatened everything he believed in. He refused to join a recent Supreme Court opinion about DNA testing because it presented the details of textbook molecular biology as fact. He could not join because he did not know such things to be true, he said. (On the other hand, he knew all about the eighteenth century. History books were trustworthy; science books were not.) Scientists should be listened to only if they supported conservative causes, for example dubious studies purporting to demonstrate that same-sex parenting is harmful to children. Scientists were also good if they helped create technologies he liked, such as oil drills and deadly weapons.
Science was obviously the devil again, and DNA his most clever work yet. The human genome is obviously god created from his breath like it says in genesis. Man cannot know god's secrets. Let's get another nut case appointed to replace scalia, maybe pat robertson, or benny hinn, or that texan mega church guy.

btw, same source as the quote had an article by an author of 50 reasons to read 50 books you haven't seen since high school. On his list is Pilgrimage at Tinker's Creek by Annie Dillard from 1975 which shows how the reading lists do change. That was a Pullitzer and it's on a top 100 list for nonfiction. She has a web site.

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douglaslee
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

Quote douglaslee:

That was on Hullabullo, I remember both the song and show.


Also relevant today & full circle:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AglW6QpmPp8

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gv1KEF8Uw2k

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ScxI94XDdtY

http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/tesla/signs.html

I lived through the Vietnam war from the safety of distance, though it was painful enough to have to stand by helplessly without the power to end it. One personal casualty of the war was my relationship with my beloved grandmother. We disagreed, and I allowed that to come between us. I suppose on the positive side, therefore, I can say that any delusion I may have had, or have now, about my infallibility got lost as well, at least in retrospect, or regret. Regret is a sobering thing, eh?

Quote douglaslee:

As for reason, i_thought_i_could_reason_with_antonin_scalia_a_more_naive_young_fool_never_drew_breath/? Maybe Scalia read Saul and used him as an excuse to rule from the bench like a pseudo pope. Reason and reasonable were not in Scalia's vocabulary.

Antonin Scalia generally detested science. It threatened everything he believed in. He refused to join a recent Supreme Court opinion about DNA testing because it presented the details of textbook molecular biology as fact. He could not join because he did not know such things to be true, he said. (On the other hand, he knew all about the eighteenth century. History books were trustworthy; science books were not.) Scientists should be listened to only if they supported conservative causes, for example dubious studies purporting to demonstrate that same-sex parenting is harmful to children. Scientists were also good if they helped create technologies he liked, such as oil drills and deadly weapons.
Science was obviously the devil again, and DNA his most clever work yet. The human genome is obviously god created from his breath like it says in genesis. Man cannot know god's secrets. Let's get another nut case appointed to replace scalia, maybe pat robertson, or benny hinn, or that texan mega church guy.

Kim Davis seems like an apt replacement, on a certain level anyway.

My favorite part of that article comes at the end: “He died as he lived, gun at hand, dreaming of killing helpless prey from a position of safety and comfort.”

Oh, and then there’s this: “His own weapon was the poison-barbed word.” “Poison-barbed word.” Excellent!

Quote douglaslee:

btw, same source as the quote had an article by an author of 50 reasons to read 50 books you haven't seen since high school. On his list is Pilgrimage at Tinker's Creek by Annie Dillard from 1975 which shows how the reading lists do change. That was a Pullitzer and it's on a top 100 list for nonfiction. She has a web site.

I think you mean “Pilgrim at Tinker Creek,” right, Doug? Anyway, you might enjoy an article she wrote in this month’s Harper’s all about fan mail she has received over the years, some really goofy stuff, such as, “You are my friend, Annie Dillard, you are my true fucking friend.” A philosophy professor sent her “the world’s largest hair ball,’ found in the belly of a dairy cow.”

She writes, “A book club that had been discussing one of my books raised some questions for me. The first was: ‘Should this book be read between the lines or between the words?’”

And this: “In the years since, I found myself becoming a letter writer and an email writer instead of a book writer. Now I no longer answer strangers. I miss the people and welcome the time.”

And then, “Under the heading Miracles of Nature — a private category of mine — a woman begins calmly enough: ‘One summer day, I was sitting in the parking lot of McDonald’s, Flushing, New York, eating a quarter-pounder and enjoying the familiar scene, when I heard a strange scraping sound, barely audible, coming from the passenger seat occupied by a standard box of regular-size Kleenex. As I watched with appreciation, the available Kleenex began a slow descent into the box through its slit.’” [my italics]

Gaston Bachelard writes that there “will always be more things in a closed, than in an open, box.

Zenzoe
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

So, I wake up and revive the fire from some coals, make my first cup of coffee, sit down to read some email, Truthdig sends me a link to this week's Chris Hedges article: The Graveyard of the Elites. It begins:

Quote Chris Hedges:

Power elites, blinded by hubris, intoxicated by absolute power, unable to set limits on their exploitation of the underclass, propelled to expand empire beyond its capacity to sustain itself, addicted to hedonism, spectacle and wealth, surrounded by half-witted courtiers—Alan Greenspan, Thomas Friedman, David Brooks and others—who tell them what they want to hear, and enveloped by a false sense of security because of their ability to employ massive state violence, are the last to know their privileged world is imploding.

Ahh, Chris. Don't you just love his eternal optimism? Kind of like hoping we'll get something better than Scalia in this ever downward spiral as we witness "The carnival of the presidential election is a public display of the deep morbidity and artifice that have gripped American society." The beginning of his next paragraph.

Quote Zenzoe, post #60:

I like the way you took that full circle, among other things...

I think that's what they may mean by being on a roll. Anyway it was one of my few stream of consciousness rolls here, pretty much unedited, as I was about to roll out the door. And that's literally. I keep my bicycle hanging in the house in hopes of preventing its potential theft; it cost me more than the 1965 high performance convertible Mustang I bought new in 1965, in which I was driving, listening to Barry McGuire's On the Eve of Destruction (thanks for that), the day I'd received my draft notice. I was wondering just what to do. His lyrics weren't helping.

I'd just got into Annie Dillard's very popular and thus very hard to get into writing class at Western in Bellingham, where I was trying to finish an MFA in writing, when my ex decided she'd had enough of my childish desires to crawl out of my family's perpetual ignorance and become literate, and she blew a big hole in my mind at that time. Pilgrim at Tinker's Creek really got to me on a lot of levels. I can relate to the wounded in nature crawling away to survive.

Now I'm going to sit back with another cup of coffee and listen to "good news week" while I finish Hedges's article.

.ren's picture
.ren
Joined:
Apr. 1, 2010 6:50 am
Quote .ren:

So, I wake up and revive the fire from some coals, make my first cup of coffee, sit down to read some email, Truthdig sends me a link to this week's Chris Hedges article: The Graveyard of the Elites. It begins:

Quote Chris Hedges:

Power elites, blinded by hubris, intoxicated by absolute power, unable to set limits on their exploitation of the underclass, propelled to expand empire beyond its capacity to sustain itself, addicted to hedonism, spectacle and wealth, surrounded by half-witted courtiers—Alan Greenspan, Thomas Friedman, David Brooks and others—who tell them what they want to hear, and enveloped by a false sense of security because of their ability to employ massive state violence, are the last to know their privileged world is imploding.

Ahh, Chris. Don't you just love his eternal optimism? Kind of like hoping we'll get something better than Scalia in this ever downward spiral as we witness "The carnival of the presidential election is a public display of the deep morbidity and artifice that have gripped American society." The beginning of his next paragraph.

Quote Zenzoe, post #60:

I like the way you took that full circle, among other things...

I think that's what they may mean by being on a roll. Anyway it was one of my few stream of consciousness rolls here, pretty much unedited, as I was about to roll out the door. And that's literally. I keep my bicycle hanging in the house in hopes of preventing its potential theft; it cost me more than the 1965 high performance convertible Mustang I bought new in 1965, in which I was driving, listening to Barry McGuire's On the Eve of Destruction (thanks for that), the day I'd received my draft notice. I was wondering just what to do. His lyrics weren't helping.

I'd just got into Annie Dillard's very popular and thus very hard to get into writing class at Western in Bellingham, where I was trying to finish an MFA in writing, when my ex decided she'd had enough of my childish desires to crawl out of my family's perpetual ignorance and become literate, and she blew a big hole in my mind at that time. Pilgrim at Tinker's Creek really got to me on a lot of levels. I can relate to the wounded in nature crawling away to survive.

Now I'm going to sit back with another cup of coffee and listen to "good news week" while I finish Hedges's article.

You did it again. (I resolved to stop typing smiley faces and/or winkie faces.)

Here ya go:

http://www.truthdig.com/images/made/images/cartoonuploads/8E7FCDE2-7E0A-4B7A-A17B-BD7FB2A7365C_590_447.jpg

http://3p3mq242g5jc2ki76r3wi6fq.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/flintfeatured-450x270.png

http://www.thedailycall.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Scan-16.jpeg

Zenzoe
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

From Hedges' article ren referenced,

Politicians

cannot—and do not intend to—end the futile and ceaseless wars, dismantle the security and surveillance state, halt the fossil fuel industry’s ecocide, curb the predatory class of bankers and international financiers, lift Americans out of poverty or restore democracy. They practice anti-politics, or whatBenjamin DeMott called “junk politics.” DeMott defined the term in his book “Junk Politics: The Trashing of the American Mind”:
The country is hooked on junk, goddamn The Pusher man,

btw,notice a connection between your MFA ren, Zenzoe's Graphic Design education, and my own at UC's DAAP? Our mindset is influenced by Liberal Arts, which has died as a field of study in deference to a Business education, or systems technocracy, covered earlier. I don't even know if students today know what Humanities are?

Fortunate Sons that died for Halliburton, Pratt Whitney, and other members of the MIC Ike warned about. They did not die for their country. Not since WW2 has any American died for their country, and that includes Korea.

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douglaslee
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm
Quote Zenzoe:

Here ya go:

http://www.truthdig.com/images/made/images/cartoonuploads/8E7FCDE2-7E0A-4B7A-A17B-BD7FB2A7365C_590_447.jpg

http://3p3mq242g5jc2ki76r3wi6fq.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/flintfeatured-450x270.png

http://www.thedailycall.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Scan-16.jpeg

Thanks for those cartoons, Zenzoe. The times may be a changin, even our planet's living environment may be, but the system is not. It's calcifed.

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.ren
Joined:
Apr. 1, 2010 6:50 am

Yeah, the Pusher-man all right.

Notice some of the flavors of Saul in Hedges's article. His slow motion corporate coup d'etat was Saul's line in Voltaire's Bastards. The courtiers. The courtiers are one version of Pusher-men. Saul calls those technocrats like Kissinger and McNamara courtiers. The K-street hoard that descends on both national and state legislatures to push for laws that favor corporate interests.

And those interests bring us back to the dying of the liberal arts. I mentioned Taylorism earlier. Know how many people I've talked to over the years who never even heard of scientific management? Almost everyone, and I'm talking people my age. Yet we are so indoctrinated with the language of corporate management that almost everyone speaks it, believes in its message, which in Taylor's own words was to make life better for all. But not noticing while doing so we are made into machines with special skills that fit the machinery of neoliberal corporate organization. Where's the place in all that for sitting back and contemplating?

I mean, why be shocked when art, literature, and all the beauty that arose from the Age of Reason disappears from the efficiently managed school system? Why be shocked when the minions themselves agree that teachers and their unions must be done away with and our education system dismantled and privatized (as Reagan did so well to one of the best where Zenzoe was paying a small fee for tuition in her day, before Reagan came along)? Why the shocked tones? Or is it more like the shock of Captain Renault in Rick's cafe to "find that gambling is going on in here"?

Why the shock when the whole system produces a Flint scenario, where the specially trained humans no longer have jobs and the tax supported municipalities can no longer afford to provide water services for them?

Frederick Taylor In The Classroom: Standardized Testing And Scientific Management

Abstract

By requiring the use of multiple-choice, standardized testing for assessment purposes, the federal and state governments are intruding upon the prerogative of teachers to teach what they want in the manner they see fit. These requirements echo the attempts of Frederick Taylor and other practitioners of what Taylor called "scientific management" to control industrial workers around the turn of the Twentieth Century. Forcing teachers to address content that can be measured in standardized tests and to avoid more analytical material hinders learning. Doing so also devalues the profession of teaching in the same way that scientific management devalued the role of skilled craft workers in American factories.

______

The best example of Frederick Taylor’s ideas at work in education today are high-stakes standardized tests -- tests which have a significant effect on funding for schools and the careers of individual students. Although these exams can create enormous tension for students and administrators, it is teachers whose lives are most affected by them. Thanks to mounting pressure to get students to score high marks, teachers must concentrate on teaching the curriculum chosen by test-designers rather than local school boards or themselves. Furthermore, because preparation for multiple-choice or short answer questions that make up these tests require only a superficial understanding of complex material in order to answer them correctly, they provide no rationale for teachers to reinforce more complex concepts that take additional effort for students to understand. Since teachers do not need to teach or themselves understand abstract concepts that cannot be measured on standardized tests, creative pedagogy is not rewarded in this new regime and the quality of learning among students inevitably suffers. Like skilled workers in industrializing America, teachers’ prerogatives are disappearing and the talents that they once utilized daily are increasingly no longer called upon.

If a school’s life or death depends upon the results of standardized tests, it is only natural that a school would focus upon those subjects that will be on these tests and ignore those subjects that won’t. The most obvious manifestation of this is the phenomenon of “teaching to the test,” i.e. teaching students how to fill in the greatest number of correct bubbles, and precious little else -- regardless of whether such a skill is applicable to situations outside the testing environment. There is good reason to believe that this practice is now common in American classrooms. For example, consider Texas, a state that has pioneered the use of standardized testing in its education reform efforts. This is how four researchers from the RAND Corporation explain gains made by Texas students during the administration of Governor George W. Bush:

TAAS (Texas Assessment of Academic Skills, the state-mandated achievement test) questions are released after each administration. Although there is a new version of the exam each year, one version looks a lot like another in terms of the types of questions asked, terminology and graphics used, content areas covered, etc. Thus, giving students instruction and practice on how to answer the specific types of questions that appear on the TAAS could very well improve their scores on this exam (Klein, et. al, 2000.

In some cases Texas students are taught not to bother to read the passage on their reading questions, but to choose what looks right from the available answers (Lutton, 2001). Anybody who ever took a Princeton Review course to raise their SAT scores knows why understanding the mind of test creators improves results, but it certainly does nothing to improve a student’s practical knowledge.

In his first address to a joint session of Congress, President Bush argued, “If you test a child on basic math and reading skills, and you’re teaching to the test, you’re teaching math and reading. And that’s the whole idea” (Bush, 2001).

_______

....schools whose test scores do not improve must change their curriculum in order to boost student performance after only one year (Dewar, 2001). Schools in this position will be compelled to teach standardized test content to the detriment of other kinds of knowledge. In this way, the process of improving standardized tests can actually bring about a significant decline in actual, practical learning.

(my bold, .ren)

Bush: "And that's the whole idea." So reasonable an argument that Congress was persuaded. What's education for, after all? Even my Croatian peasant grandparents knew shortly after they came to this country in the early twenties. "Go to college, get a good job" they would tell me, over and over as I was growing up.

A friend of mine who just turned fifty is sitting at home now (well, not all the time, he's looking for work) because he refuses to teach that way. If he wants to go to work for McDonald's flipping hamburgers he says he has to hide his Master's degree in education.

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.ren
Joined:
Apr. 1, 2010 6:50 am

Because I am truly culturally deprived when it comes to television, commercials, and casino extravaganzas I innocently asked when I read these lines in Saul's Voltaire's Bastards (1992), who the hell knew anything about Donald Trump in 1992, let alone a Canadian intellectual?

Quote John Ralston Saul:

The property developer existed long before capitalism and will exist long after. He is usually linked to financial institutions, which deal in the abstractions of capital, or to those which administer inanimate goods, such as notaries or government departments. Donald Trump and Robert Campeau existed in the Middle Ages and in the nineteenth century without being considered capitalists. Solvent or bankrupt, they are not capitalists today.

Saul, John Ralston (2012-12-25). Voltaire's Bastards (p. 361). Free Press. Kindle Edition.

So this morning I get my answer, from a Tomgram that came in my email (Don't Cry for Me, America: What Trumpism Means for Democracy), containing a link to this 80's commercial, where a Henry the VIIII steps forward and says "Now this is a castle!":

Trump Castle Casino, Atlantic City

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.ren
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Apr. 1, 2010 6:50 am

Quote douglaslee:

...btw,notice a connection between your MFA ren, Zenzoe's Graphic Design education, and my own at UC's DAAP? Our mindset is influenced by Liberal Arts, which has died as a field of study in deference to a Business education, or systems technocracy, covered earlier. I don't even know if students today know what Humanities are? ...

Actually, as a side note for the record, my major was in Fine Art, but within a general academic curriculum offering classes in history, art history, science, English, foreign languages, anthropology, psychology, and etc.— you know the drill.

I am not convinced that the picture for American higher education is a dire as the impression we’re getting in reading Hedges, not that I don’t respect his opinion. A cursory search for humanities programs in universities finds plenty to consider, at least in California. However, my daughter-in-law, the one who teaches in the School of Public Service at Boise State University —she has a book out now entitled Underpressure: Coal Industry Rhetoric and Neoliberalism (one brainy woman, that)— provided an article that reveals a great deal about the current difficulties for teachers and scientists, specifically relevant to the Flint water scandal. Here it is:

The Water Next Time: Professor Who Helped Expose Crisis in Flint Says Public Science Is Broken

...

...I’m really surprised how emotional this interview is making me, and I’ve given several hundred interviews. What these agencies did in [the Washington, D.C., case] was the most fundamental betrayal of public trust that I’ve ever seen. When I realized what they had done, as a scientist, I was just outraged and appalled.

I grew up worshiping at the altar of science, and in my wildest dreams I never thought scientists would behave this way. The only way I can construct a worldview that accommodates this is to say, These people are unscientific. Science should be about pursuing the truth and helping people. If you’re doing it for any other reason, you really ought to question your motives.

Unfortunately, in general, academic research and scientists in this country are no longer deserving of the public trust. We’re not…

...Q. I keep coming back to these university researchers in Flint who said: "The state has 50 epidemiologists. They say that the water’s safe. So I’m going to focus my energy on something that’s less settled." How do you decide when the state should be challenged?

A. That’s a great question. We are not skeptical enough about each other’s results. What’s the upside in that? You’re going to make enemies. People might start questioning your results. And that’s going to start slowing down our publication assembly line. Everyone’s invested in just cranking out more crap papers.

So when you start asking questions about people, and you approach them as a scientist, if you feel like you’re talking to an adult and they give you a rational response and are willing to share data and discuss an issue rationally, I’m out of there. I go home.

But when you reach out to them, as I did with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and they do not return your phone calls, they do not share data, they do not respond to FOIA [open-records requests], y’know. … In each case I just started asking questions and turning over rocks, and I resolved to myself, The second something slimy doesn’t come out, I’m gonna go home. But every single rock you turn over, something slimy comes out.


Q. You teach a course on ethics and heroism at Virginia Tech. How exactly does one teach heroism to college students?

A. We teach aspirational ethics. What I teach my students is, You’re born heroic. I go into these animal studies, and heroism is actually in our nature. What you have to do is make sure that the system doesn’t change you, that our educational system doesn’t teach you to be willfully blind and to forget your aspirations, because that’s the default position.

We talk about the realities of heroism too. It’s not fun. These are gut-wrenching things. But the main thing is, Do not let our educational institutions make you into something that you will be ashamed of.

...

I've only had time this morning to scan new comments here, so I'll have to catch up later. Just wanted to share that much in the meantime.

Zenzoe
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

Your son has good taste.

Hedges and Nader

Militarized Education Security and Intelligence degrees offered by for profit diploma mills. However, Arab&middleeast studies and Arab speakers are nonexistant.

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douglaslee
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

It's necessary to keep this information on top and in sight. And I am glad to see it's getting around in our academic circles. The stuff I posted about Marc Edwards the first of Feb is now well buried, and the last post on that thread hardly encourages anyone to look upwards to see what, if any, is actual information about the issue. So, stimulated by your article/interview with Marc (from the thread started by dArKeR: Virginia Tech's live report on Flint MI):

Virginia Tech's press release: Engineering’s Marc Edwards heads to Flint as part of study into unprecedented corrosion problem

And this guide to the study he's talking about: Guide to FlintWaterStudy.org

And the project summary that earned them the grant money ($50,000) to do the study:

Our VT Research Team wins $50,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to study Flint water

And of course, not to neglect history, and his previous efforts in similar situation closer to Virgina Tech, Washington DC: Virginia Tech professor uncovered truth about lead in D.C. water May 23, 2010

At one point in the process he was really being beaten down:

Quote Robert McCartney, Metro Columnist:

For a while, the crusade cost Edwards money as well. In 2004, he passed up a $100,000 EPA contract to consult on the issue, because he felt that he would be working for the wrong side. He put his family in debt by spending tens of thousands of dollars, mostly on fees for endless Freedom of Information Act requests to get data critical to his research.

"It's something I took on not quite as a hobby, but more as a curse that I was carrying around all those years," Edwards said.

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.ren
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Apr. 1, 2010 6:50 am

Nader says exactly what I was thinking: if Sanders openly states long before the campaign and voting for a Democratic candidate's over that he is willing to support Clinton if (when) he loses the nomination, then, after getting all these people behind him and extremely hopeful that their support will get his domestic message (forget for the moment that he's got no similar foreign policy message) all the way to the White House, those non mainstream Democratic progressives, who may well outnumber actual Democratic party members, will feel, once again, a huge sense of betrayal.

In a national climate, where a huge force driven by hatred is rising, that sort of emotional betrayal can be extremely debilitating to any type of serious, humane progressive movement. The damage that Obama already has done with his Presidency's betrayal of that Hope he ran on -- and I personally know way too many people who are almost completely fed up with politics as a result -- will be unimaginably multiplied.

This sets up a national atmosphere where a very dangerous movement like the one that seems to be behind Trump's flamboyant though ultimately pretentious anti system message to prevail. And this will be done out a kind vacuous ignorance that grips a whole host of pissed off people who ignorantly place blame in the wrong places. I feel many of the ingredients are coming together for achieving the final stage of another fascist state.

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.ren
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Apr. 1, 2010 6:50 am

Once he had the data, Edwards said, "it took me all of an hour to see that something very bad had happened to D.C.'s children." Blood lead levels had risen to dangerous levels, at least partly because of previously reported increases in lead levels in the drinking water. That meant hundreds or thousands of children suffered reduced IQ and organ damage, he said.

It took several months of number-crunching to establish a scientifically valid link between lead in the blood and lead in the water. It led to an award-winning research paper published in January 2009.

That study blew a hole in the CDC's 2004 report. The agency had said "no children" were identified with elevated, unsafe blood levels, "even in homes with the highest water lead levels."

The CDC now concedes that its scientific credibility has suffered a blow. It blames the problem largely on poor writing in the report. "Looking backward six years, it's clear that this report could have been written a little better," said Tom Sinks, deputy director of the CDC's national center for environmental health.

Edwards said the CDC is still trying to hide its misdeeds. "There's a lot of lessons here for how science can go awry, how bureaucracies can use science to hide the truth," Edwards said.

That's why society still needs knights-errant like Edwards. Nowadays, they wield a laptop instead of a lance.

1000s of predominanyly black DC children get reduced IQ. Maybe Scalia knew of this when he said non whites should only go to lesser schools where they might perform better.

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douglaslee
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

Quote douglaslee:

Your son has good taste.


He does, and, believe me, so does she.

Quote douglaslee:

Hedges and Nader

Militarized Education Security and Intelligence degrees offered by for profit diploma mills. However, Arab&middleeast studies and Arab speakers are nonexistant.

That’s a scary interview about militarized education, Doug. I looked up the schools listed as the 100 most militarized universities in America. At number 93 is the University of Denver where my niece teaches political science. I’ll have to ask her about that the next time I see her, especially with regard to any particular academic-freedom issues she may be aware of in her department. I will say this: she’s considered a “bad-ass” professor by her students, in a good way, of course. https://news.vice.com/article/these-are-the-100-most-militarized-universities-in-america

Quote .ren:

It's necessary to keep this information on top and in sight. And I am glad to see it's getting around in our academic circles. The stuff I posted about Marc Edwards the first of Feb is now well buried, and the last post on that thread hardly encourages anyone to look upwards to see what, if any, is actual information about the issue. So, stimulated by your article/interview with Marc (from the thread started by dArKeR: Virginia Tech's live report on Flint MI)...

Oops. I should have known you’d be fully informed about the guy. I might have first searched to see if anybody here had been discussing his activities re Flint (I’d never seen that thread), but in keeping with my standard, distracted participation on this forum, I didn’t. Whatever, like you suggest, it’s good to let the info bubble up to the surface again, so that it’s not forgotten.

I realize that it’s heresy in these here parts, where Hedges, Chomsky and Nader have become progressives’ go-to thinkers about American social and political issues, to ask that progressives, such as those three, try not letting their idealism blind them from seeing the pitfalls within their own [possibly] one-sided views. Quite honestly, sometimes I get weary of what looks to me like whiny, left-wing, know-it-all tunnel vision. Is America truly the “shit hole” (as characterized recently by one of our participants on this forum) my fellow progressives seem to think it is? I mean, have my monthly checks from Social Security, which keep me humbly afloat, essentially deluded me into thinking my government hasn’t quite gone fascist yet, and the U.S. is still a pretty damn great place to live?

Heretic. That’s me, I guess.

Another word: Pyrrhic.

With that word in mind, I’m thinking about what a Bernie Sanders victory might turn out to be. After all, what does he offer, really, as a plan: Supposedly, a revolution will occur after he’s elected, meaning that millions of Americans will suddenly rise up and be the force that initiates the changes he has proposed, and capitalism will just lie down, admit defeat and be kaput, once and for all. Um, hello? I don’t think that’s going to happen. And to suggest that’s going to happen may be the worst sort of magical thinking I’ve seen in a long, long time.

Is it possible Bernie Sanders engages in a positivity-fascist crime, by making claims and promises with only the hope of citizen revolution in his political quiver? I think maybe he is. After all, when was the last time he stood in line at a supermarket and observed the people in the check-out line with him? Is it realistic to think those people are, underneath their lust for fruit loops and soda, revolutionaries who can’t wait to turn America into a dreamy socialist utopia? I don’t think so. I’m afraid it’s gonna take a hard look at the complexities and roadblocks a progressive president will encounter in what will have to be a slow and difficult transition toward our democratic socialist ideal. And it doesn’t look to me, as much as I like Bernie Sanders, that he can do anything but fumble the ball once he gets into office. Once that happens, guess what happens to the image of democratic socialism in the public mind— kerplop! Seems to me that’s only going to set us back. What could be more demoralizing than that?

Be gentle with me. Just wondering...

Zenzoe
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

There are more voices than the trinity you mentioned.

the-mad-violence-of-casino-capitalism/

he politics of terror, a culture of fear, and the spectacle of violence dominate America’s cultural apparatuses and legitimate the ongoing militarization of public life and American society.

Unchecked corporate power and a massive commodification, infantilization, and depoliticization of the polity have become the totalitarian benchmarks defining American society. In part, this is due to the emergence of a brutal modern-day capitalism, or what some might call neoliberalism. This form of neoliberal capitalism is a particularly savage, cruel, and exploitative regime of oppression in which not only are the social contract, civil liberties and the commons under siege, but also the very notion of the political, if not the planet itself. The dystopian moment facing the United States, if not most of the globe, can be summed up in Fred Jameson’s contention “that it is easier to imagine the end of the world than to imagine the end of capitalism.” He goes on to say that “We can now revise that and witness the attempt to imagine capitalism by way of imagining the end of the world.”1

I have been checking on the degrowth conferences w/Naomi Klein, Rees, and others. I really don't think the species will survive. There will be extreme violence and a protected class guarded from the violence said class created. 100 years tops. 50 years hence will mark the first time global population shrunk. Some indigenous will not even be counted as missing because they were never alive in the first place, according to the empire.

The gop has been out to kill Social Security since it was created. Ike accepted the New Deal, and even embraced it. Even Nixon did revenue sharing and launched the EPA. Then scandal plagued gipper skated clean out of the WH. Neoliberalism was an infection with no antidote or vaccine.

Vietnam was not a loss in some circles. In spite of it being started based on a fraud, Tonkin Gulf. The country was allowed to kill 58,000 of it's children because it killed 6,000,000 of them (Vietnamese,Laotians, Cambodians). 100:1 kill ratio is a win in empire circles. Israel subscribes to this too. 1500 Palestinians killed for 13 Israelis, 7 of whom were IDF, is even better than 100:1 in Operation Cast Lead. The UN ruled it a crime, the US abstained.

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douglaslee
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

http://www.brockovich.com/ Erin was on Maher's highlighting the multiple cases of water poisoning. All across the country, municipal water, rural water, and county water services are offering poison right to your tap. MmmMm

btw, not just lead, but an occasional legionaire's contamination, ameobas of unknown origin, and other prove toxins that cause cancer.

Now, this will keep the Soc Sec system fully funded. These people being killed off will die before they can collect any of the Fica they've paid, so they are dying for their country.

Poison update

afterword

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douglaslee
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

It's not so much magical thinking as the truth Zoe. If you listen to everyone else seeking the dubious privilege of sitting in the oval office Sanders is the only one telling the truth. When the GOPs can get torn away from talking about the size of each other dick it's all "I can do this, I will make that happen", and Clinton sends the same message, "I will, I can". I, I, I and yet again I. Listening to Sanders though it's, if we do this....... we can, we will, that is as a collective. And it's the only truth spoken on the campaign trail by any one. Those of us old enough know realize Sanders platform is nothing at all remotely close to socialism but only would be one or two tentative steps back towards recovering what has been nibbled away at for the last forty till there's nothing left for anyone but the few.

Do I think America has the stomach for the sustained effort of working in the political sphere for the next 10 or 15 years and beyond of the reclamation work needed of this system from local school board to the oval office? No I don't. If the Sanders run was a long shot to begin with, the chances of the revolution that would be needed to rein in what has been wrought over the last 40 years couldn't be written into the script by a million monkey's on a million typewriters in a million years. If Sanders is guilty of anything it's he hasn't come completely clean about the actual effort it'll take for his proposals to become a reality. But he is the the only one talking 'we'. Not I or the size of ahem, the opponents hands.

rs allen
Joined:
Mar. 15, 2012 4:55 pm

Kind of a tangent, but militarization vs military strategy. Thomas PM Barnett, author of Pentagon's new map challenges "Iran is evil, only evil, and must be destroyed" gop central meme. Iran has never annexed neighboring land, unlike Israel. It has never started a war. It lost over a million of it's mostly males of a 55,000,000 total population in the war reagan stirred up between the Iraq and Iran. Brits sold the poison gas to Sadaam to gas the Iranians but he used it on the Kurds. Anyhow, including the 1952-53 over throw of a democratically elected government replaced with a fascist suppressive prick with secret police forces exterminating 1000s, they might have some issues with the US. However, the young want to be westerners, they love western culture. They are in the middle of US's supine position toward the saudis that have been funding alqaeda, and isis, and arming them.

Iran is the good player in that region, and offers stability against the wahabism infection that is creating an ever growing number of jihadis.

This was 10 years ago, and guess where Iran is now? Our side against Isis. Also the Kurds are on the same team even though Turkey guns down their advanced patrols in the middle of an advance against Isis.

rule of thumb, if the gop are for it . it's wrong. They think Iran is a threat and will bomb it because Bibi said jump.

Bibi might be afraid of them because they're not Arabs, but Aryan. Not all Aryans are nazis, but brainwashed people quit thinking a long time ago.

Maybe Trump could get the aryan nation crowd behind him by meeting with the President of Iran. Sorry, I just started smiling, I have a sick sense of humour, but damn that's funny. The whole Charade* of this election is funny.

*Free movie Charade

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douglaslee
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

Indeed Doug something like a smash up of Dancing with the Stars meets Days of our Lives with no Rocky and Bulwinkle for comic relief.

rs allen
Joined:
Mar. 15, 2012 4:55 pm

Sorry my bad Doug, my imagination just can't stretch todays politic assembly within the shouting distance of a Hitchcock film.

rs allen
Joined:
Mar. 15, 2012 4:55 pm
Quote Zenzoe:

Quite honestly, sometimes I get weary of what looks to me like whiny, left-wing, know-it-all tunnel vision. Is America truly the “shit hole” (as characterized recently by one of our participants on this forum) my fellow progressives seem to think it is? I mean, have my monthly checks from Social Security, which keep me humbly afloat, essentially deluded me into thinking my government hasn’t quite gone fascist yet, and the U.S. is still a pretty damn great place to live?


Science as a knowledge base is built by stumbling through the darkness of doubt. My own narrative is based on my constant attention to the sciences, especially the science of ecology, by my studies of which I earned a Bachelors of Science instead of a Bachelors of Arts from my undergrad degree. I would much rather have stayed entirely in the arts, especially literature, but unfortunately for me I happened to take a hard look at what I was learning in an introductory ecology class as a sophomore.

Developing a broad and apocalyptic vision from this doubt-created base is exhausting. More, even, potentially terrifying to an imaginative mind. But more and more scientists are coming out of their laboratories, violating their implied oath to stick with their myopic focus on science and stay out of politics, because they are having problems applying doubt to the knowledge base that's providing us with the necessary information to make long term decisions about our collective (whether we want to admit it's collective or not) behavior on the biosphere of this planet.

I don't work out of that rising awareness by scientists I'm hearing about, that's just something that's apparently happening as I have developed my own narrative over a lifetime. A narrative that sort of begins in earnest where I mentally mark my own actual conscious waking up at an early morning moment in February, coming out of my sleep in my "rack" in the bowels of a Navy ship off the coast of Vietnam. I feel like, despite the struggle I was going through up to that moment, I was sleepwalking until then. But that's a personal statement and not meant in any way to convince anyone of anything I might say now. What I'm working out of is my own lifelong experience. These other "whiny" voices don't actually fill the skeptical blanks in my narrative; what they do is give me at least a moment's heartful feeling of synergy to get through to the next sentence because its nice to know I'm not entirely schizoid and alienated from all people the way someone close in my own life was for most of her life.

I can't really add anything of substance to doug's or rs's posts, which clearly address your expression of doubt. Besides, please, doubt away. As I said, the knowledge base we attribute to science comes out of constantly applied doubt to the hypnotic persuasion of a reasonable narrative. After all, human thought is anything but objectively, rationally perfect, no matter how loudly and floridly the authoritarians may scream to convince us they are. And as rs, points out, they do. My own interpretation of potential consequences of what's taking place is as dire or perhaps even more so than theirs, if that's possible. It's a cold awareness, and I do need some warmth from time to time. I'll just say that mine's based more on an ecological analysis of the effects of the current human cultural experiment, sometimes called neo this or neo that, than any abstract political analysis. Those are just the frosting on the cake I've been baking all these years.

Though I'm often labeled, I don't self identify as a progressive or any other political label. But I do consciously avoid "progressive" because I don't want to infer any unintentional associations with the notion of progress that invokes an infinite expansion of technology for everyone's betterment, including the technology of applied institutions, which of course Bernie or anyone elected would be dealing with as President, that, and this is the key problem to me, I feel grips much of humankind at the moment, especially those most benefitting from it. And we all know who they are. Every morning we look in the mirror at them as we brush our teeth.

And while I'm well aware that "progressive" also applies to a historically traced stumbling progression of human rights out of a Dark Age of elite authoritarian rule, an ever indoctrinating rulership supposedly stood up to by the figures we look back to invoking an Age of Reason, I begin before that, as a very primitive primate, who never accepted the authoritarian structures of civilizations that created those Dark Ages. It just took me about 19 years to that moment off the coast of Vietnam to see it. So for me, there's no where to progress to if I stop right here with me and what I'm willing to do. Which, sometimes, it takes a lifetime to figure out. Reason and doubt can do that to the mind.

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.ren
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Apr. 1, 2010 6:50 am

Yes, definitely Badenough (Boris).

The Charade movie for me is like a shower for my mind, having been dumpster diving in American foreign policy, a stench lingers. Hitchcock, Grant, and Hepburn are a pleasure. George Kennedy just died and he's in it too.

Thanks rs, the imagery is perfect, and funny as hell.

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douglaslee
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

No I liked it, really, and perfectly fitting. Absurdity is entertaining. Rocky and Bullwinkle are there in my images. Maybe even Dudley Doright too.

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douglaslee
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

Quote douglaslee:

There are more voices than the trinity you mentioned.

the-mad-violence-of-casino-capitalism/

Doug, I should have said “the likes of,” for I know full well of the others. And I am quite aware of the ills of our current version of capitalism and don’t disagree. Not at all. In short, I do believe I am fully aware, despite what may have seemed like naivete in my comment of #74. Please don’t give up on me yet, I say with a sad smile.

Quote rs allen:

...Do I think America has the stomach for the sustained effort of working in the political sphere for the next 10 or 15 years and beyond of the reclamation work needed of this system from local school board to the oval office? No I don't. If the Sanders run was a long shot to begin with, the chances of the revolution that would be needed to rein in what has been wrought over the last 40 years couldn't be written into the script by a million monkey's on a million typewriters in a million years. If Sanders is guilty of anything it's he hasn't come completely clean about the actual effort it'll take for his proposals to become a reality.

Exactly my point, in part, rs. Thanks for getting it!

Quote rs allen:

But he is the the only one talking 'we'. Not I or the size of ahem, the opponents hands.

I seem to remember Donald Trump saying “Together we’ll make America great again,” over and over and over again. And Ted Cruz: "Republicans, together we have a choice." It’s a small point, but I think that’s something politicians have a habit of saying, all of them. I’ll bet I could find others talking “we.”

Zenzoe
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

How Science Makes us Better People

One other thing, re:Brockevich's brain eating amoeba infecting many red states. They should be examined forensically, are they the skinniest amoeba ever seen? How can they survive in a region with no food?

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douglaslee
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

Their 'we's are wee wees, Rubio wants 'we' to be the gop, Ted wants 'we' to be conservatives only. That is their unifying call. Trump gets white supremacists in his we.

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douglaslee
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

Quote .ren:

Quote Zenzoe:

Quite honestly, sometimes I get weary of what looks to me like whiny, left-wing, know-it-all tunnel vision. Is America truly the “shit hole” (as characterized recently by one of our participants on this forum) my fellow progressives seem to think it is? I mean, have my monthly checks from Social Security, which keep me humbly afloat, essentially deluded me into thinking my government hasn’t quite gone fascist yet, and the U.S. is still a pretty damn great place to live?

Science as a knowledge base is built by stumbling through the darkness of doubt. My own narrative is based on my constant attention to the sciences, especially the science of ecology, by my studies of which I earned a Bachelors of Science instead of a Bachelors of Arts from my undergrad degree. I would much rather have stayed entirely in the arts, especially literature, but unfortunately for me I happened to take a hard look at what I was learning in an introductory ecology class as a sophomore.

Developing a broad and apocalyptic vision from this doubt-created base is exhausting. More, even, potentially terrifying to an imaginative mind. But more and more scientists are coming out of their laboratories, violating their implied oath to stick with their myopic focus on science and stay out of politics, because they are having problems applying doubt to the knowledge base that's providing us with the necessary information to make long term decisions about our collective (whether we want to admit it's collective or not) behavior on the biosphere of this planet.

I don't work out of that rising awareness by scientists I'm hearing about, that's just something that's apparently happening as I have developed my own narrative over a lifetime. A narrative that sort of begins in earnest where I mentally mark my own actual conscious waking up at an early morning moment in February, coming out of my sleep in my "rack" in the bowels of a Navy ship off the coast of Vietnam. I feel like, despite the struggle I was going through up to that moment, I was sleepwalking until then. But that's a personal statement and not meant in any way to convince anyone of anything I might say now. What I'm working out of is my own lifelong experience. These other "whiny" voices don't actually fill the skeptical blanks in my narrative; what they do is give me at least a moment's heartful feeling of synergy to get through to the next sentence because its nice to know I'm not entirely schizoid and alienated from all people the way someone close in my own life was for most of her life.

I can't really add anything of substance to doug's or rs's posts, which clearly address your expression of doubt. Besides, please, doubt away. As I said, the knowledge base we attribute to science comes out of constantly applied doubt to the hypnotic persuasion of a reasonable narrative. After all, human thought is anything but objectively, rationally perfect, no matter how loudly and floridly the authoritarians may scream to convince us they are. And as rs, points out, they do. My own interpretation of potential consequences of what's taking place is as dire or perhaps even more so than theirs, if that's possible. It's a cold awareness, and I do need some warmth from time to time. I'll just say that mine's based more on an ecological analysis of the effects of the current human cultural experiment, sometimes called neo this or neo that, than any abstract political analysis. Those are just the frosting on the cake I've been baking all these years.

Though I'm often labeled, I don't self identify as a progressive or any other political label. But I do consciously avoid "progressive" because I don't want to infer any unintentional associations with the notion of progress that invokes an infinite expansion of technology for everyone's betterment, including the technology of applied institutions, which of course Bernie or anyone elected would be dealing with as President, that, and this is the key problem to me, I feel grips much of humankind at the moment, especially those most benefitting from it. And we all know who they are. Every morning we look in the mirror at them as we brush our teeth.

And while I'm well aware that "progressive" also applies to a historically traced stumbling progression of human rights out of a Dark Age of elite authoritarian rule, an ever indoctrinating rulership supposedly stood up to by the figures we look back to invoking an Age of Reason, I begin before that, as a very primitive primate, who never accepted the authoritarian structures of civilizations that created those Dark Ages. It just took me about 19 years to that moment off the coast of Vietnam to see it. So for me, there's no where to progress to if I stop right here with me and what I'm willing to do. Which, sometimes, it takes a lifetime to figure out. Reason and doubt can do that to the mind.

Ren, now I am happy to have posted my complaint and doubts as to the pessimism of our best intellectuals on the left, if only to have elicited another thoughtful comment from you. I did kinda hope, though, you might be reminded of Saul’s cautions against dogmatism, in favor of balance and moderation, and see that I may be supporting that idea, in my little way.

I do believe that’s my basic question— do not our lefty intellectuals err in their extreme sense of pessimism about our American life? It can be argued, such “truth” tellers commit the false logic of cherry picking. So much gets ignored, is all I’m saying.

On the other hand, and not that I doubt the depth of your perspective by way of ecological study, but I do believe one can arrive at a similar awareness via other modes, say, via the artist’s sensibility. Here, I might admit that the doubts I expressed at #74 could be viewed as devil’s advocate, given that my strongest sense of our future as a species, and that of the planet, actually coincides with yours and that of all the other lefties I have read over the years, including Doug and rs allen —not that I label you as “lefty” particularly. In fact, if my artwork reveals anything, it reveals that. A few years ago, for example, I produced a large painting with definite apocalyptic undertones (I would show you, but I don’t trust computers to accurately duplicate colors, etc., and, besides, I’d have to insist you not say one word about it, because, believe me, I won’t like anything you say, or don’t say!). Anyway, the point is, from the work I recognize my essential sense of doom. It’s there.

Still, on that other level, I can’t help noticing how the far left tends to vilify the so-called moderates, and even refuse to entertain evidence contrary to their dim view of, say, mainstream Democrats. I find that kinda troubling, or disturbing. When something seems as unfair as that, I’m gonna notice. That "either you're with us or you're against us" kind of thinking, that cultish flavor, stinks, IMHO.

Zenzoe
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

Cruz's Sister Soljah moment video

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douglaslee
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

I'm rather sorry I dragged the conversation down into the mud wrestling spectacle that politics have become I was enjoying the heady discussion under way.

Ignore me, I'll go away now.

rs allen
Joined:
Mar. 15, 2012 4:55 pm
Quote rs allen:

I'm rather sorry I dragged the conversation down into the mud wrestling spectacle that politics have become I was enjoying the heady discussion under way.

Ignore me, I'll go away now.

What ARE you talking about?! I would miss you, rs. And btw, I laughed out loud so hard at Doug's offering of...

Quote douglaslee:

Cruz's Sister Soljah moment video

...but then I had promised myself to stop typing LOL. Just know I did do that, Doug. So wonderful, that bad lip-reading of Cruz. Any more?

Zenzoe
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

I saw no foul. I post brevity breaks on all the time. I have to look for humor for my own sanity.

In the link I posted re:science, another article was on site from Scientific American. I used to value that mag, but read of some new owners with questionable agenda and now have to question any articles they print.

The water crisis in the states is serious. When it starts killing people I think it qualifies as serious. Erin and the Professor are really heroes imo. Will anyone ever be held accountable? A: No! That's not what Americans do. It pisses me off, but ever since I read of the deferred prosecution scam in Rolling Stone, I am not surprised. Hell, Rick Snyder is still in office and won't step down. Getting caught is just an increased cost of doing business American style. The penalties are paid for by the fraud not caught. Jail is only for ethnic folks.

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douglaslee
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

Great thread, thanks.

nimblecivet
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm
Quote Zenzoe:

I did kinda hope, though, you might be reminded of Saul’s cautions against dogmatism, in favor of balance and moderation, and see that I may be supporting that idea, in my little way.

I thought somewhere in all that rambling, that's what I was doing.

Anyway, from John Ralston Saul to you,

Quote John Ralston Saul, The Doubter's Companion:

DOUBT The only human activity capable of controlling the use of power in a positive way. Doubt is central to understanding.

The ELITEs of organized societies define leadership as knowing what to do. The citizenry are not so certain. their response is to doubt, consider, and deliberate. That is, to question, contemplate and weigh carefully.

Most human activities are divided into three stages. The act of doubting is the second and is the only one which requires the conscious application of our intelligence.

The first stage consists of the reality by which we are faced. This is always a confusing mixture of situations out of our control, attitudes clouded by received wisdom and a variety of cure-all solutions. The third stage is what we call decision-making. In a rational society this is supposed to be the result of having a solution produced by the correct answer. Decision-making is, in fact, an overrated business, rarely more than mechanistic. It, in turn, is followed by a minor, passive business – the management of the decision taken. Given our obsessions with LEADERSHIP and right ANSWERS and our fear of doubt, we have been slipping into treating this managerial stage as if it were of primary importance.

Doubt is thus the space between reality and the applications of an idea. It ought to be given over to the weighing of experience, intuition, creativity, ethics, common sense, reason and, of course, knowledge, in balanced consideration of what is to be done. The longer this stage lasts the more we take advantage of our intelligence.

Perhaps this is why elites move so quickly to limit doubt and consideration. Those who gain power almost automatically seek to leap from reality to solution, from abstraction to application, from ideology to methodology. This is as true of contemporary rational society as it was of those dominated by religion or monarchies. Deliberation is mocked as weakness. Consideration is rushed through, if possible eliminated. The effect is to reduce the intelligence of the citizenry to received wisdom, unconscious or secretive procedures, and mechanistic actions.

Healthy democracies embrace doubt as a leisurely pleasure, and so prosper. Sick democracies are obsessed by answers and management and so lose their reason for existence. But, above all, doubt is the only activity which actively makes use of the human particularity. See: ERROR and HUMANISM.

John Ralston Saul, The Doubter's Companion: A Dictionary of Aggressive Common Sense, 1994, 109-110.

(Capitalized bolded words in the text refer to other entries. Any typos are mine. .ren)

Quote Zenzoe:

On the other hand, and not that I doubt the depth of your perspective by way of ecological study, but I do believe one can arrive at a similar awareness via other modes, say, via the artist’s sensibility.

I don't propose a linear, singular approach to anything. As Raul, I believe in doubt as the practice of leisurely contemplation. And I've sought leisurely contemplation throughout my life, almost to a fault -- by some standards. I remain rebellious to those standards. Art is also a part of my process. And, please, my perspective is open to doubt. I doubt it all the time, no matter how certain I may sound.

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.ren
Joined:
Apr. 1, 2010 6:50 am
Quote douglaslee:

The water crisis in the states is serious. When it starts killing people I think it qualifies as serious. Erin and the Professor are really heroes imo. Will anyone ever be held accountable? A: No! That's not what Americans do. It pisses me off, but ever since I read of the deferred prosecution scam in Rolling Stone, I am not surprised. Hell, Rick Snyder is still in office and won't step down. Getting caught is just an increased cost of doing business American style. The penalties are paid for by the fraud not caught. Jail is only for ethnic folks.

I just look at it as another brick in the wall Doug:

guernica painting high resolution

Eh, yeah I've been known to mix metaphors, but in case you were looking for this from the late 70's here it is:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YR5ApYxkU-U

rs allen
Joined:
Mar. 15, 2012 4:55 pm

Oops, damn I did it again. Okay guys, I promise no more butting in, I'll shutup and listen.

rs allen
Joined:
Mar. 15, 2012 4:55 pm

A wall the Mexicans paid for?

btw, I saw an image of the left panel of Picasso's Blue in a tv show, they had it hanging horizontal. Yes you can play the guitar on your back, but really?

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douglaslee
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

h the-mad-violence-of-casino-capitalism I posted earlier. Henry Giroux reviews a book by Yates on inequality, but not a Krugman, Stiglitz tome w/We can fix it or tweak it theme.

Unlike so many other economists such as Paul Krugman and Joseph Stiglitz who address the issue of inequality, Yates refuses the argument that the system is simply out of whack and can be fixed. Nor does he believe that capitalism can be described only in terms of economic structures. Capitalism is both a symbolic pathological economy that produces particular dispositions, values, and identities as well as oppressive institutional apparatuses and economic structures. Yates goes even further arguing that capitalism is not only about authoritarian ideologies and structures, it is also about the crisis of ideas, agency, and the failure of people to react to the suffering of others and to the conditions of their own oppression. Neoliberal capitalism has no language for human suffering, moral evaluation, and social responsibility. Instead, it creates a survival-of-the fittest ethos buttressed by a discourse that is morally insensitive, sadistic, cannibalistic, and displays a hatred of those whose labor cannot be exploited, do not buy into the consumerist ethic, or are considered other by virtue of their race, class, and ethnicity. Neoliberalism is the discourse of shadow games, committed to highlighting corporate power and making invisible the suffering of others, all the while leaving those considered disposable in the dark to fend for themselves.

Yates makes visible not only the economic constraints that bear down on the poor and disposable in the neoliberal age of precarity, he also narrates the voices, conditions, hardships and suffering workers have to endure in a variety of occupations ranging from automobile workers and cruise ship workers to those who work in restaurants and as harvester on farms. He provides a number of invaluable statistics that chart the injuries of class and race under capitalism but rather than tell a story with only statistics and mind boggling data, he also provides stories that give flesh to the statistics that mark a new historical conjuncture and a wide range of hardships that render work for most people hell and produce what has been called the hidden injuries of class. Much of what he writes is informed by a decade long research trip across the United States in which he attempted to see first-hand what the effects of capitalism have been on peoples’ lives, the environment, work, unions, and other crucial spheres that inform everyday life. His keen eye is particularly riveting as he describes his teaming up with Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers in the 1970s and his growing disappointment with a union that increasingly betrayed its own principles. For Yates, the capitalist system is corrupt, malicious, and needs to be replaced. Capitalism leaves no room for the language of justice, the social, or, for that matter, democracy itself. In fact, one of its major attributes is to hide its effects of power, racial injustice, militarized state violence, domestic terrorism, and new forms of disposability, especially regarding those marginalized by class and race. The grotesque inequalities produced by capitalism are too powerful, deeply rooted in the social and economic fabric, and unamenable to liberal reforms. Class disparities constitute a machinery of social death, a kind of zombie-like machine that drains life out of most of the population poisoning both existing and future generations.

FDR saved capitalism from itself. The shit Yates observed in his travels is reagonomics in it's 3rd and terminal stage.

The-Great-Inequality-Critical-Interventions-

I am going to post the above book on the degrowth thread too. They are kind of complementary movements. The flaws of capitalism create the eternal growth paradigm, an impossible end with no alternatives even considered, or Milton Friedman's 'Reason' illustrated. "There IS no other system" and his disciples parrot it while they ignore the coming collapse.

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douglaslee
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm
Quote nimblecivet:

Great thread, thanks.

Hello, NC.

Zenzoe
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

Yes, thanks for that. And I wonder if JRS would appreciate this one, which I know you do.

It can be a relief to let go of being right, or infallible, or of trying to be the dispenser of truth, in some ego-driven desire to appear more-enlightened-than-thou. How comforting too, understanding that everyone makes mistakes, including oneself. As my grandmother used to say, “to be positive is to be wrong at the top of your lungs.” Also, often as not, the more vociferous the attitude, the more likely others will doubt you, and more likely you’re not so sure yourself, underneath it all.

On the other hand, truth does exist. And sometimes it needs to be told, and loudly, especially in the face of blind denial. It took Germany itself some twenty years to come to terms with the truth about Auschwitz, for example, when from 1963 to 1967 the Frankfurt Auschwitz Trials publicly exposed the crimes and horrors committed by German authorities —mostly low-level SS officers— in that hideous camp.

Absent such a look in the mirror, a nation fails itself, fails to sober up and get healthy again. Absent the truth, including the bare fact that certain things are plainly and sickeningly wrong —and the wrongdoers must be held accountable— then a nation, or a person for that matter, just degenerates into a vacuous, valueless thing. In any case, it does nobody any good to refrain from judgment. We have the capacity and the right to judge, where true wrongs have occurred.

One has to wonder how long it will be before the U.S. comes to terms with its own war criminals—Rumsfeld, Cheney, Bush, Kissinger, et al. For that matter, how long before Rick Snyder and his helpers face the music.

Zenzoe
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

Aah, what's a few lowered iq's?

Maybe the owners only consider it all for the good, after all who needs smart people wandering around thinking about how they're getting screwed. Meanwhile they get to pocket a few bucks along the way. Win win.

Don't drink the water

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=psIuidkkLjI

rs allen
Joined:
Mar. 15, 2012 4:55 pm

I'm confident JRS would appreciate Only an Expert. I wouldn't be surprised if Laurie's read some JRS, or JRS inspired works like CH, before writing that. But of course she's her own deep well of artistic inspiration, and therefore an artistic quenching of thirst for those of us who feel parched.

I feel like we've worked this topic far enough for me, and your post was a good conclusion. This morning's emailed link to an unusual mid week rant by Hedges (The Revenge of the Lower Classes and teh Rise of American Fascism) touches me on this issue of doubt, and I'd go through it, piece by piece to demonstrate just how and when I doubt these rants, and how I see the irony in the seemingly "wrong at the top of your lungs" tone I sometimes hear when reading him. I know, it could be the truth, but the tone of it rubs me wrong somehow.

I am still trying to figure out what the U.S. actually is that would or could come to terms with its criminals in the way Germany came to terms with its. There's a process, I believe, that involves the ego rising then falling horribly, tragically that maybe must occur before red haze of hubris itself can withdraw and clear, common sense can appear to be applied. Obama and both Clintons belong on that list of yours to be brought before a court of accounting, as does Lyndon Johnson, his technocrat behind the scenes (appointed by the slain Hero Kennedy) Robert McNamara, and slew of others who've passed on unscathed, died wealthy while never having been brought to terms for their role in the ongoing international crime drama we call Foreign Affairs, as if that were the title for a 19th Century novel.

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.ren
Joined:
Apr. 1, 2010 6:50 am

Behold The Trump's Crime Family's Disrespect of Life & Humanity....

Thom plus logo In a time when wildlife populations around the world are crashing, endangered species tremble on the verge of extinction, and the entire web of life is at risk, the son of the President of the United States went to Mongolia and shot an endangered species, the largest sheep in the world with 6 foot horns.
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