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Tuesday

You have to wonder how many Americans realize that the people running the place are simply... Oh, I can't even find a word. If I say "insane", it's likely to elicit a knowing chuckle, but little real understanding. If I say something like "retarded", or "evil", or "out of touch with reality", I'll just get a quick dismissal as a malcontent or worse.

What can I say to express the fact that these people are literally insane, retarded, evil, out of touch with reality, or all of the above? The meanings of those terms are so diluted from overuse - even the term literally doesn't mean literally anymore - that they have no real meaning. Try, just for a moment, to understand that I mean them exactly in the way the dictionaries would have them.

Billy points us to another example for which there is simply no rational explanation. A school district in Detroit built two schools celebrated for their "green" qualities. These schools are hailed as marvels because they use 20% less energy. But they don't serve their purpose, they can't be used as schools, at least not on warm days, and so today they sit empty.

I can build something in the next 5 minutes that uses 100% less energy than any school out there. Like, a pile of rocks. But that wouldn't be a school, now would it? No more than these buildings plopped down in the middle of some Detroit parking lot are schools. Sure, they use less energy, but that's only because they don't do things that require energy, things like keeping the temperature inside livable, that are, by the District's admission, necessary for them to be a functional school.

It's astounding that such complete absence of thought, of principle, integrity, and simple common sense can be out there for everyone to see, yet most people choose not to see them, to put them off to good intentions, bad judgement, or even corruption - as if empty good intentions, bad judgement, and corruption are simply meaningless eccentricities.

It's not a mistake, it's a concious decision to choose form over the function. But if you're going to do that, what is the purpose of making it in the first place, in any form? Is anyone out there capable of judgement anymore?

Hello... Hello... Anyone?

Comments

I guess I qualify as anyone. Well written, well said, exactly the right question:

<i>"It's astounding that such complete absence of thought, of principle, integrity, and simple common sense can be out there for everyone to see, yet most people choose not to see them, to put them off to good intentions, bad judgement, or even corruption - as if empty good intentions, bad judgement, and corruption are simply meaningless eccentricities."

I hope you keep going, keep writing, and don't despair. Billy is listening and so am I. It's not untoward that we often see things from a slightly different perspective. That's the purpose of a thoughtful discussion, to elicit unexpected yet pertinent input. Years ago, Billy argued that we were past the point of a political solution. I found it persuasive and focussed my efforts on urging freemen to think of and for themselves as an "endangered species." I still think that's correct -- and further, that millions of Americans share the belief that nothing is possible except to keep their heads down and sock away as much as they can before it all goes to hell.

Sad situation, ain't it?

Anyway, keep going. We have more work to do and you're on the right track.

W.

Posted by Wolf DeVoon at Friday, June 02, 2006 06:51 PM

Wolf,

Millions may indeed believe that "nothing is possible except to keep their heads down and sock away as much as they can before it all goes to hell.", but how many of them know the reason why?

I'll bet that 99% of those purported millions write it off to government not doing what it should be doing. Corey Maye, the "Bridge to Nowhere", Bush's nation building, high gas prices, uncontrolled immigration, dysfunctional schools - these are the things that people think are the reasons. In other words, "good intentions [gone bad], bad judgement, or even corruption" - just meaningless eccentricities.

Few of them will ever understand that these are not the disease, they are the symptoms. There's like, what, maybe twelve of us, out of all those millions, that know better? What the millions think will turn things around from that brink of hell are the same things - different in form but not in substance - that are driving them over the cliff.

I'm not despairing, I'm a boundless fount of optimism compared to Billy, for instance. But even Billy aside, I'm fairly optimistic for the long run. (I'm just wondering if I'll still be running by then.)

I'm tired of wringing my hands over the symptoms, I'm looking for the roots, and for the cure. And to maybe teach the occasional somebody what I've learned.

But even that isn't for the purpose of fixing it. We're not only beyond a political solution, we're beyond any kind of collective solution. It's every man for himself, now, which is the way it should always have been.

I'm looking for the roots so it can point me to a way out, a way to leave it all behind to rot and get on with my life. The only reason I care about convincing anyone else is that it would be nice to have some company.

Posted by kylben at Friday, June 02, 2006 08:22 PM

Well, let's make a list of possible culprits or causes:

(1) wealth effect
"It is surprisingly cheap to buy a man's soul..."

(2) tiny little errors
Aquinas used Aristotle's theory of universals to explain magic transubstantiation of wine into blood, which pretty much killed predicate logic

(3) expediency
The infant USA was bankrupt, forcing a majority of States to accept the Federalist argument hook, line, and Hamiltonian "implied powers" sinker. The Great Depression doubled the ante and neutered the Supreme Court.

(4) Truman's gambit
Sorry -- this is a conspiracy theory -- but I think 1948 was the root cause of 9/11, GWOT, and whatever's next.

It seems to me that what's needed is a new frontier colony, able to re-enact the American Experiment of secession. I don't know where or how, but I know it entails hardship and sacrifice.

Posted by Wolf DeVoon at Saturday, June 03, 2006 01:23 AM

I'm not sure we've (you and I) established a common "what" to seek the causes of. Or, to put it another way, your causes (above) are my results, or symptoms - except maybe for number 1, but that is, I suspect, only a small part of things.

There are frontiers left, the difference now is that not only must the civilization of the frontier be produced from scratch, so must the land itself.

Posted by kylben at Saturday, June 03, 2006 08:49 AM

I agree twice. First that the arc of my intellectual career is over, yours yet to blossom fully, which pleases me enormously. Second that it makes sense to raise new land from international waters, which Patri Friedman and others proposed. Mars is centuries in the future and almost certainly as I've predicted, decidedly unfriendly to freemen.

My very best wishes to you. I'll stay in touch when I can.

Posted by Wolf DeVoon at Saturday, June 03, 2006 12:04 PM

Hello Wolf,

I still read and collect all that you say for it always had a profound effect on my thinking - yep! it did and I have never ceased to admire you. That is a given. It's hard to reach you - I know why - but nevertheless you are wonderful, still.
Q

Posted by Theresa Rosewood at Tuesday, October 24, 2006 12:23 AM

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