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Hyperbole, spin, moral relativism and George Soros
Posted by: McQ on Saturday, February 03, 2007

Apparently the little sojourn in Davos over the past week has brought the best out in anti-American rhetoric. Not willing to be topped by John Kerry's the "US is a sort of international pariah", George Soros, the bankroller of a $26 million dollar effort to unseat George Bush in '04, stepped up to the mike:
After asserting that the United States is recognizing the error it made in Iraq, Soros said, "To what extent it recognizes the mistake will determine its future." He went on to say that Turkey and Japan are still hurt by a reluctance to admit to dark parts of their history, and contrasted that reluctance to Germany's rejection of its Nazi-era past. "America needs to follow the policies it has introduced in Germany," Soros said. "We have to go through a certain de-Nazification process."
Of course, when taken to task his spin-meister stepped in:
Soros spokesman Michael Vachon told Page Six: "There is nothing unpatriotic about demanding accountability from the president. Those responsible for taking America into this needless war should do us all a favor and retire from public office."
No Mr. Vachon, there is nothing unpatriotic about demanding accountability. But then that's a red herring isn't it?

That's not at all what Soros was doing. But one thing it does do is put Soros firmly in the Michael Moore camp of the extreme left.

Divider

Bryan weighs in: This is a strong reminder of Ted Rall's piece not long ago about banning the Republican Party. What kind of mindset does this speak to?

Bryan weighs in more (6:47 p.m. EST): I said this in response to one of our commenters, but it bears front-page treatment:
Well, besides tripping over the already-tired Godwin's Law in comparing the Republican Party to the (original, German) Nazi Party—and a little less so to the genocidal Turks and imperial Japanese—it's offensive because a man who so prominently supports a party calling itself the Democrats openly advocated that this country do to the Republican Party what the Allies did to the Nazi Party.

Now, he said, "We have to go through a certain de-Nazification process," so there's some room to believe that he doesn't think we should be as extreme. But after the Allies finished hunting down, trying, and executing prominent Party members, the occupation forces dismantled and banned the Nazi Party, and then the Germans banned Nazi symbolism. Why compare his prescription for dealing with the GOP with what we did to the Nazi Party if he doesn't mean to go nearly that far? There are far less extreme examples of "accountability" to use, if he'd bother to look any up.

I don't think Soros represents "mainstream" thought in the Democratic Party, although I do see a great deal of ugly partisan sniping these days that goes beyond your usual "aren't they just a rotten, stupid bunch" ranting (not to say that Republicans aren't guilty too). But this goes a bit beyond tribalism; tribes don't always seek out the eradication of other tribes.
 
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Previous Comments to this Post 

Comments
Davos Douchebaggery.
 
Written By: Uncle Pinky
URL: http://
Hey, we had Chris Hedges just last week calling for prosecuting "the Radical Right" under hate speech laws. Every time I run across this kind of crap, I put in a couple hours at the range.
 
Written By: SDN
URL: http://
The sad part is that Mr Soros represents mainstream liberal thinking....
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Soros = Hitler

De-Nazify that, you socialist pricks.
 
Written By: Watcher
URL: http://www.watcherofweasels.com/
I don’t know, somehow this one just hasn’t riled me up. It is a strange and misguided comparison to make, but it seems obtuse to me, perhaps I’m simply not reading an offensive enough meaning into it.

As for Soros representing mainstream liberal thinking, if that is true, I have paid attention to the wrong liberals. If it were true, I would hesitate to call it, "thinking," since it seems more a product of instinctual political tribalism. and because to me thought constitutes a realistic philosophical position or set of plausible, useful policies, not some wealthy fool’s overplayed rambling.
 
Written By: Paul A. Brömmer
URL: http://www.vikinghats.com
Paul:

Well, besides tripping over the already-tired Godwin’s Law in comparing the Republican Party to the (original, German) Nazi Party—and a little less so to the genocidal Turks and imperial Japanese—it’s offensive because a man who so prominently supports a party calling itself the Democrats openly advocated that this country do to the Republican Party what the Allies did to the Nazi Party.

Now, he said, "We have to go through a certain de-Nazification process," so there’s some room to believe that he doesn’t think we should be as extreme. But after the Allies finished hunting down, trying, and executing prominent Party members, the occupation forces dismantled and banned the Nazi Party, and then the Germans banned Nazi symbolism. Why compare his prescription for dealing with the GOP with what we did to the Nazi Party if he doesn’t mean to go nearly that far? There are far less extreme examples of "accountability" to use, if he’d bother to look any up.

I don’t think Soros represents "mainstream" thought in the Democratic Party, although I do see a great deal of ugly partisan sniping these days that goes beyond your usual "aren’t they just a rotten, stupid bunch" ranting (not to say that Republicans aren’t guilty too). But this goes a bit beyond tribalism; tribes don’t always seek out the eradication of other tribes.

Edit: I think I’ll put that in the front-page post, actually...
 
Written By: Bryan Pick
URL: http://www.qando.net
Hey, we had Chris Hedges just last week calling for prosecuting "the Radical Right" under hate speech laws. Every time I run across this kind of crap, I put in a couple hours at the rang
e.

Chris Hedges is one of America’s most important moral thinkers right now. His book War is a Force That Gives Us Meaning is a must read (I assign it to all intro to international relations courses). I look forward to reading American Fascists. While I don’t agree in using hate speech for prosecution, the tide is finally turning against the right wing talk radio partisan crowd. Sadly, it’s doing that just as the Democrats seem to be mimicking the worst of the far right. Luckily there are many Republicans and Democrats who aren’t falling into that sort of thing — hopefully they can wrestle power from the extremes of each party. Hedges is the kind of thinker who doesn’t fit into a partisan camp, but because he writes out of principle and experience (his defense of the Ten Commandments in Losing Moses on the Freeway is brilliant — one of the most important books in terms of America losing and needing to regain its moral center in recent time), he’ll anger people. He refuses to be PC.

 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
And wouldn’t you know it?

The Washington Note is giving nothing but kudos to Soros.
 
Written By: Bryan Pick
URL: http://www.qando.net
Thank you Bryan, that addresses my bemused response handily. I can be unimaginative sometimes since the more monstrous possibilities of what statements of this sort might have been meant to mean are so outrageously unconscionable to me. I suppose I found it difficult that he could seriously have meant that Republicans should be treated like Nazis. In truth I thought he might somehow be referring to some past national misdeed, but I confess that none that seemed to fit his statement have occurred to me. It is a point that I would, for curiosity’s sake at least, like to see Soros pressed on, although I don’t too much expect to ever see that.

My response it, however, still rather muted by the impossibility of what he seemingly wants. Unless I am being unimaginative again regarding that.
 
Written By: Paul A. Br&#246
URL: http://www.vikinghats.com
Chris Hedges is one of America’s most important moral thinkers right now.
Just out of curiosity, what makes you think Hedges is a "moral thinker"? I don’t know much about him other than he was a NYT reporter, and that he was booed when he decided to proselytize at a commencement speech. From what I’ve read of him, his barbs are awfully one-sided. So, I’m just wondering what makes his morality so important.
 
Written By: MichaelW
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
Just out of curiosity, what makes you think Hedges is a "moral thinker"?


Ain’t it funny how a "moral thinker" wants to silence the religious right?

Hedges is moral because he’s a lefty, and all lefties have good intentions. Got it, Michael W.?

Scotty Herbs: Where do you see the Far Right trying to take control of the economy via govt. fiat? Yeah, me, neither, I don’t see it.
the tide is finally turning against the right wing talk radio partisan crowd.
And that’s why Air America just went bankrupt, yet all the radio righties I listen to keep going into more FREE markets.
 
Written By: Come on, Please
URL: http://
As for Soros representing mainstream liberal thinking, if that is true, I have paid attention to the wrong liberals
The Dem mainstream is sure happy to take his money though...
While I don’t agree in using hate speech for prosecution, the tide is finally turning against the right wing talk radio partisan crowd.
That’s mighty big of ya Erby, that you don’t "agree" with using hate speech to persecute political enemies. How is the tide turning against talk radio exactly? It’s not Rush Hannity et al are losing listeners, ad revenue, etc. Oh, do you mean the Fairness Doctrine? It’s just another way to silence speech liberals disagree with.

You’re a fascist in academics clothing. Plain and simple. Hedges is also a fascist.
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
You’re a fascist in academics clothing. Plain and simple. Hedges is also a fascist.
Godwin’s Law. Over the top, silly, insults. You must be feeling frustrated, eh?

The times, they are a-changing. (smile)
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Just out of curiosity, what makes you think Hedges is a "moral thinker"?
Read War is a Force that Gives Us Meaning, and Losing Moses on the Freeway. The latter is an especially good effort to argue against moral nihilism or relativism, and embrace the values of the ten commandments as important in our modern consumer driven society.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
That is ironic Erb. You support as a moral thinker, and a sign of positive change, a man who somehow finds the prosecution of thought he disagrees with, while calling them fascists, a reasonable argument. Smile all you want, but it says a lot about what you consider moral and reasonable, and it is pretty ugly.
 
Written By: Lance
URL: www.asecondhandconjecture.com
Lance;
Glad to see I’m not the only one who noticed.
And here we go again with the "Bush is Hitler" meme. apparently, for all their denials, about having EVER suggested Bush was Hitler, they’ve forgotten all about that now, and are swinging in behind and in support of Mr. Soros.

I guess I’m not surprised. Perhaps integrity was a bit too much to expect from Democrats. One might even point to this being a serious case of redirection...
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://
Hm... I forgot to mention the Nazi Party members who lost their jobs in government, were relegated to manual labor, ended up imprisoned in camps, etc.
 
Written By: Bryan Pick
URL: http://www.qando.net
Read War is a Force that Gives Us Meaning, and Losing Moses on the Freeway.
I was asking you what you think. If I read the books, I don’t need you. What is it about his thinking that makes Hedges a "moral thinker" in your view, much less such an important one?
The latter is an especially good effort to argue against moral nihilism or relativism, and embrace the values of the ten commandments as important in our modern consumer driven society.
What makes it so good? And which of the commandments informs us about our "consumer driven society"? That catch-phrase alone gives me a pretty good idea where this is heading.
 
Written By: MichaelW
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
Sounds to me like Soros is endorsing a variation of McCarthyism.
 
Written By: h0mi
URL: http://
Erb wrote:
his defense of the Ten Commandments in Losing Moses on the Freeway is brilliant — one of the most important books in terms of America losing and needing to regain its moral center in recent time
Is "Thou shalt not commit adultery" defended? If so, was Bill Clinton condemned? If not, why not? Or did Hedges substitute a commandment of his own?
 
Written By: Jim C.
URL: http://
Remember when the left kept warning us about how Bush was fascist and no more elections would be held and how free speech was being silenced?

Was it all simply projection?



 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
If so, was Bill Clinton condemned?
Condemned? I wouldn’t go that far. But I never really liked the guy, and his war in Kosovo lead to a lot of needless death and destruction. I personally think no more highly of Clinton than I do of Bush.

As for those who wonder why I consider Hedges such an important moral thinker, all I can do is recommend the books. Any explanation is otherwise vague, I consider him that because of the moral and ethical content of his writings. He goes beyond politics and addresses core issues facing our increasingly relativistic and even nihilistic culture.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Condemned? I wouldn’t go that far. But I never really liked the guy, and his war in Kosovo lead to a lot of needless death and destruction. I personally think no more highly of Clinton than I do of Bush.
He wasn’t talking about your opinion of Clinton, he was asking about the book. Either you’ve misunderstood the point or you tried to deflect it, but you didn’t answer the question.
 
Written By: Steverino
URL: http://steverino.journalspace.com/
He wasn’t talking about your opinion of Clinton, he was asking about the book.


The book was not a list of people who are "condemned," it is an interesting and pertinent discussion of values in America. I don’t believed it delved into the personal lives of political figures, it was more autobiographical and reflective. You should really read it — and stop seeing the world through political lenses, politics is only a small part of our culture.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
The book was not a list of people who are "condemned," it is an interesting and pertinent discussion of values in America.
You’ve misstated the purpose of the question. For a college professor, you’re terrible with argument logic. Go back and read Jim C.’s post. Pay particular attention to his question, "Is ’Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery defended?’ ." Answer that one, then answer whether the book broadens its defense of the 10 Commandments to public figures.
You should really read it — and stop seeing the world through political lenses, politics is only a small part of our culture.
You have no idea what lenses I view the world with, so spare me the sanctimony.
 
Written By: Steverino
URL: http://steverino.journalspace.com/
…”and stop seeing the world through political lenses, politics is only a small part of our culture. “
Since I have reviewed his blog, I am somewhat an expert (as these things are determined on the internet) on Professor Erb. I don’t know if it is real or simply an intellectual conceit, but Professor Erb has not admitted to himself that he is selling the Liberal Narrative. He points out that he has dealt with the major inconsistencies of the Holy Writ For Liberals (NYT), he doesn’t support the jingoism of Kos, and he has arrived at his political convictions (which only fortuitously correspond with the LN) through entirely independent means. You are free to demean shallow-thinking, politically-motivated liberals (as he occasionally does, I am sure) but it really is outrageous to accuse him of being one simply because his beliefs harmonize with the LN.
He is what used to be called a “fellow traveler” in the days of the Josef Stalin apologists. A cynic would say that he is your standard liberal who has developed what he believes is a fool-proof method of defending his beliefs to critics. If properly used, it forces critics to read the books that he cites before they can become privileged to criticize his views. Your standard expertise in criticizing liberals is no good here, for he is, a la Marc Anthony, not one. Of course, those who are qualified to criticize Professor Erb are other academic types who have read the same books – who just happen (again; just an incredible coincidence) to be liberals.
Should you take his advice and read the books, it is likely that you will disagree with their conclusions. Then, my friend, you “just don’t get it” and may be disregarded. After all, you are really not a qualified academic, are you?
So save your time. Ivory is pretty impenetrable. As a practical matter, should one choose to engage Professor Erb, standard liberal bashing techniques work as well as anything. Professor Erb will reject your frame, but no matter; other readers will recognize the fact that it fits almost exactly.
 
Written By: notherbob2/robert fulton
URL: http://
Godwin’s Law. Over the top, silly, insults. You must be feeling frustrated, eh?
LOL you can’t call Godwins Law on me calling you a fascist. That only applies to Nazi references. What kind of academic are you? As for feeling frustrated, not really. I feel more pity for people like you and Hedges than anything.
The times, they are a-changing. (smile)
Not really. It is always the time to fight for my beliefs. Especially more so when our opponents don’t merely wish for our defeat, but our persecution, so you and Hedges do.

 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Especially more so when our opponents don’t merely wish for our defeat, but our persecution, so you and Hedges do.
You’re being silly. But that’s typical. I do think think the political pendulum is swinging leftward, but it’ll swing right again. Alas, neither direction seems to bring much good.

"Is ’Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery defended?’ .
He talks about the importance of each of the commandments in a separate chapter.

Erb has not admitted to himself that he is selling the Liberal Narrative
And what, do tell, is the "liberal narrative"?
Should you take his advice and read the books, it is likely that you will disagree with their conclusions. Then, my friend, you “just don’t get it” and may be disregarded.
Not at all; if someone can give a good reason for disagreeing with basic conclusions, that’ll be interesting, and people will disagree legitimately on fundamental issues of value.

And engaging someone through the "standard liberal bashing technique" is laziness; it’s admission that one can’t deal with real give and take, and real arguments.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
You’re being silly.
Denseness alert! Hedges- that "great moral thinker" has spoken out several times now to prosecute the religious right and/or the GOP or to curtail their rights to speech. But I’m the one being silly to note that? And I’m the one being silly when I note that you probably agree in theory since you praise the man and assign his books?

Ah, but such "logic" is typical of you.

 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
"...is laziness; it’s admission that one can’t deal with real give and take, and real arguments."
Translation: "If you don’t accept my framing of an issue, you are lazy. Real give and take involves your acceptance of my framing and you must respond only to my questions - those are the "real" issues, after all."

Perfectly fine (and time-honored) in your classroom, Professor. Not so good on the internet.
 
Written By: notherbob2/robert fulton
URL: http://
"And what, do tell, is the "liberal narrative"?
I know, you come to bury it, not to praise it.
 
Written By: notherbob2/robert fulton
URL: http://
Translation: "If you don’t accept my framing of an issue, you are lazy.
Don’t go into the translation business, you’re not very good at it. I said if you simply bash someone with a "typical liberal" (or, conversely, typical conservative) bashing, rather than dealing with the content of what they write, you are lazy. Anyone can do that.

I certainly do not expect people to accept my framing of the issue, but I will not accept others demanding I accept their framing of an issue. That’s why people have to listen to each other, and try to understand other points of view. Is that so hard?

And I still have no clue what you mean by "liberal narrative."

And to shark:
Denseness alert! Hedges- that "great moral thinker" has spoken out several times now to prosecute the religious right and/or the GOP or to curtail their rights to speech
On what, specifically? Be precise. I doubt very much he or anyone would want to prosecute you on the things you’ve been saying. (And that was your complaint, that somehow people wanted to prosecute you.)
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
That’s right Scotty....down the memory hole with it!
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
"I certainly do not expect people to accept my framing of the issue, but I will not accept others demanding I accept their framing of an issue. That’s why people have to listen to each other, and try to understand other points of view. Is that so hard?"
"Translation: "If you don’t accept my framing of an issue, you are [demanding]. Real give and take involves your acceptance of my framing and you must respond only to my questions - those are the "real" issues, after all."
"On what, specifically? Be precise. I doubt very much he or anyone would want to prosecute you on the things you’ve been saying. (And that was your complaint, that somehow people wanted to prosecute you.)"
I have had enough of this classroom b*llsh*t. All readers (which includes Professor Strawman) know what Shark was saying. Professaor Erb orders: "Be precise." Does Shark’s charge require more specific specification? Only if one is maneuvering desperately to set up the strawman that "Hodges is after Shark" for what he is saying or has said. The clear (specific) issue is whether or not Hodges has advocated prosecution of right wingers for their rhetoric. Did he or did he not?
If he did, then right winger Shark is justified in feeling that Hodges has advocated prosecuting people such as he for expressing their views. One tires of the puerile prostestations of Professor Erb.

Google "liberal narrative" or try the campus library, with which I suggest you have entirely too close a relationship, if in fact you are ignorant on this matter, which I doubt.



 
Written By: notherbob2/robert fulton
URL: http://
I don’t believe Hedges has said anything that would warrant Shark thinking he wants to prosecute him. Unless you shows otherwise, he has the burden of proof. That’s basic. Clealry Hedges never said "prosecute all right wingers for anything conservative rhetoric!" He would have to have said something like that for what you say to have merit.

Also, I googled liberal narrative, and the cites generally talked about liberalism as an ideology (Lockean liberalism — free market, limited government, natural rights, individual liberty) and its modern development. The American politics jargon use of "liberal" usually means leftist, while liberalism in that ideological sense stands for pro-market limited government beliefs. So you accuse me of selling the traditional pro-market limited government attitude? Well, Ok...
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
So predictable:
”… one has no choice but to obfuscate. While this is workable in academia (should I say overworked?) blog comments just won’t handle it.”
Your behavior is:
“I will not accept others demanding I accept their framing of an issue. That’s why people have to listen to each other.”
OK. I will listen first. I hear you. Bye.
 
Written By: notherbob2/robert fulton
URL: http://
I don’t believe Hedges has said anything that would warrant Shark thinking he wants to prosecute him
Because he didn’t use my name specifically?
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
OK. I will listen first. I hear you. Bye.
You’ve been playing games, unwilling to engage in real discussion. I understand. You know you wouldn’t fare well. Farewell!
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Soros is making basically wrong assertions:
"To what extent it recognizes the mistake will determine its future." He went on to say that Turkey and Japan are still hurt by a reluctance to admit to dark parts of their history, and contrasted that reluctance to Germany’s rejection of its Nazi-era past. "America needs to follow the policies it has introduced in Germany," Soros said. "We have to go through a certain de-Nazification process."
It does not make much of a difference one way or other. Since we should compare apples with apples, Japan and Germany were both military powers defeated in WW2. There is scant evidence of the Japanese suffering or the Germans having an advantage. Now they are both rich, powerful nations with a high standard of living.

 
Written By: unaha-closp
URL: http://warisforwinning.blogspot.com/
See how listening works? I agree that if I knuckle under to your imperious framing, bolstered by your insistence that obscure tomes I have not read contain the real wisdom on all issues that are “important” I would not fare well. No better than your hapless students, when faced with these tactics, no doubt. They have the dubious advantage of having read the books at issue. I’ll bet they make fine ego-boosting cannon fodder. I do have one apology to make, if you can be taken at your word about your google result.
I should have suggested that you google for the information rather than stating a particular phrase (in quotes, even) that could be interpreted as a “link”. It sounds like google simply provided information on “liberal” (as it often frustrates me by doing) instead of the entire phrase. Sorry.
 
Written By: notherbob2/robert fulton
URL: http://
I agree that if I knuckle under to your imperious framing,
Except, of course, there was no ’imperious framing.’ Hedges, a Pulitzer prize winning best selling author was brought up, and I said my opinion was that he was one of America’s most important moral thinkers, and I noted a couple of his books. You seem very upset that I stated this opinion, and have descended into silly insults with no substance. That’s fine. But I still maintain that War is a Force That Gives us Meaning (students love that book) and
Losing Moses on the Freeway
are excellent books. It would be good for you (as it’s good for anyone) to read things with which one doesn’t agree and engage different opinions.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Hedges, a Pulitzer prize winning best selling author was brought up, and I said my opinion was that he was one of America’s most important moral thinkers, and I noted a couple of his books.
I can agree he’s important, but I can’t believe he’s a net positive influence, or even that his influence is a near breakeven for good/bad outcomes.

And no, I don’t read texts the premises with which I disagree, except with an eye to discrediting them.

Bad memes deserve extinction not promulgation.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
students love that book
Hmm. That must mean it’s good stuff, right?
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
And no, I don’t read texts the premises with which I disagree, except with an eye to discrediting them.
That means your beliefs are more faith-driven than reality driven (faith in a set of ’premises,’ not a religion, presumably). I routinely challenge myself with books and arguments that are contrary to my core beliefs, since I am not so arrogant to think that I have figured out the right basic assumptions about reality that I simply am out to attack those who disagree and defend any sort of dogma. Alas, I fear we have too many people like you who have made up your mind and simply search for whatever supports your biases while looking at ideas you disagree with only towards discrediting them. That is a good strategy if you want to avoid having to deal with a reality which may not always conform with your beliefs.

I never cease to be amazed how people can hold on to views that seem totally in contradiction of reality for so long...global warming, Iraq (at least now the reality in Iraq has gotten so bad people have finally given up on that mantra of ’steady progress,’ which was self-evidently not true long ago), etc. The Communists did that as well, and look where it got them. I believe that the mark of an intelligent, educated person is the refusal to give into the arrogance of thinking that they’ve figured out the world.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
That means your beliefs are more faith-driven than reality driven (faith in a set of ’premises,’ not a religion, presumably)....
...and so on and so on.

Your last post amounts in fact to criticizing me for learning from history and experience.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
Your last post amounts in fact to criticizing me for learning from history and experience.
Not really, it amounts to criticizing you for apparently assuming that what you learned is accurate and not staying open to changing your views. I’m not entirely sure what you mean by "premises" there. If by that you mean core beliefs about how political reality operates, then my criticism would be to embrace a kind of ideological holy war rather than a pragmatic approach to settling political disputes. Such premises are likely unfalsifiable assumptions, creating a world view about reality which you believe accurate, but which cannot be proven such. Since others have different world views, we can choose between a clash of ideologies (the story of the 20th century), or keep an open mind to other "premises" if they can be defended rationally and with evidence.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Then you ignore the history which falsifies your premises (re Vietnam) and you accpet too eagerly untested knowledge (re Global Warming) which fits them.

There is nothing which distinguishes the modern left from the Enlightenment—as opposed to the Rosseauian inspired Endarkenment (hit tip to Billy Beck)—which has been proven to be of benefit to humanity.

First rule of holes, quit digging when you are in one.

Put the shovel down Scott.

We have nothing to learn from Marx, Foucalt, or Chomsky, except how not to do things (a narrow focus on some linguistic questions excepted).

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
hit tip /= hat tip

Argh! TDP
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
Then you ignore the history which falsifies your premises (re Vietnam) and you accpet too eagerly untested knowledge (re Global Warming) which fits them.
History certainly does not falisfy my premises on Vietnam. Perhaps you interpret history to do so; I daresay your interpretation of history is odd, and the fact you think it "falsifies" shows you don’t understand historiagraphy and are rather naively and arrogantly assuming that what you believe is proven truth. That’s the most dangerous kind of intellectual arrogance out there, it closes and shuts down minds, and makes them incapable of self-critical thinking.

We have nothing to learn from Marx, Foucalt, or Chomsky, except how not to do things (a narrow focus on some linguistic questions excepted).
And this is because you assert it? Marx clearly was wrong, but we can learn by studying some of his ideas (and of course he would not have supported what was done in his name). Foucault is more impressive than Chomsky, though ultimately I find neither persuasive. But they have ideas that are interesting and in some cases they have a lot to teach.

And global warming? Kiddo, virtually the entire expert and scientific community is in agreement on this one, despite a few dissenters. For you to dismiss that because your political bias has convinced you other wise is again, ignorant arrogance.

Clearly you have your biases, you have convinced yourself that you are right, and frankly, you are an example of what I work every day to try to help students not to become. I’ll think of you as sort of an anti-inspiration :-)
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
History certainly does not falisfy my premises on Vietnam.

The view of the person’s in charge of the Tet Offensive is that they had utterly bl_own it, and but for the American public believing Cronkite’s misinterpretation of that event, the VC had blown it.

The Vietnamization policy was a success, as shown by defeat of the 1972 invasion. There is no evidence that defeat could not be replicated into the indefinite future, absent American fecklessness.

Of course your view of the proper course carried the political debate, and so we were feckless—you and your co-religionists snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.

You are free to show evidence to the contrary if you actually have any facts with which to support your faith.

part 1
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
fact you think it "falsifies" shows you don’t understand historiagraphy and are rather naively and arrogantly assuming that what you believe is proven truth.
I’ve read translations from the V_C reports and their commander’s diaries. You are free to supply other translations if you feel those are inaccurate. The defeat of the 1972 invasion is simply not in question, it happened. If you can show that the communist powers were able to ramp up deliveries of supplies in such a way as to negate American air support, feel free to do so if you can.
That’s the most dangerous kind of intellectual arrogance out there, it closes and shuts down minds, and makes them incapable of self-critical thinking.
I have presented facts in support of my assertions.

You have not.

You have not presented old facts in a new light, you have not presented new facts which might cause me to call my conclusions into question.

You have supported your assertions with nothing but hot air.

The arrogance here isn’t mine.

part 2
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
Marx clearly was wrong, but we can learn by studying some of his ideas (and of course he would not have supported what was done in his name).
Marx behaved in a repulsive manner to the other people in his life whom he might be expected to be tender towards and caring of. I have no reason to think he would only rail at the failure of those who attempted to implement his mad views of human nature.
Foucault is more impressive than Chomsky, though ultimately I find neither persuasive.
!
But they have ideas that are interesting and in some cases they have a lot to teach.
All but universally, they teach by being examples of bad judgment.

part 3
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
And global warming? Kiddo, virtually the entire expert and scientific community is in agreement on this one, despite a few dissenters. For you to dismiss that because your political bias has convinced you other wise is again, ignorant arrogance.
Find a climate model that confirms the Global Warming (TM) theory, that human activity is largely responsible for global warming and that it is wise to have governments make the West more command economies—and less wealthy ones—than they already are in a likely sustainable and successful attempt to alleviate the worst outcomes predicted by the theory The catch is the climate model has to replicate the present when fed the data of the past.

The characterization of the feeling you are having now that you’ve read that if you are intellectually honest is, "Not in the face."

part 4
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
Clearly you have your biases, you have convinced yourself that you are right, and frankly, you are an example of what I work every day to try to help students not to become.
Well I’m sure you don’t want them to be careful, skeptical thinkers who can draw conclusions from the past which they can then defend with clear, relevant questions.

Questions you aren’t trying to answer, by the way.

I hope your students are both reading this and have good pqker faces.

Yours, TDP

part 5

PS I posted this in 5 pieces because the "blacklisted words" filter wouldn’t let me put it up any other way. I have no idea why.

Unless Q&O has banned my sig.
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
Well I’m sure you don’t want them to be careful, skeptical thinkers who can draw conclusions from the past which they can then defend with clear, relevant questions.
"Drawing conclusions from the past," is tricky because context changes. People should develop hypotheses based on the past, but then be skeptical thinkers not just of what conclusions or hypotheses others have drawn, but also self-critical about their own conclusions. Intellectual arrogance is the most dangerous failing in the search for truth; people start treating their ’conclusions’ like faith, something they know for certain and want to defend. That is the path to irrationality.

It appears that you have a bit of that intellectual arrogance or lack of self-critical thought, but perhaps that’s just your blog posting style (appear certain in debates) and not your true reflective nature. I hope so.

But disagreement is good because it aids our self-critical capacity if we LISTEN to another position rather than simply seek to defend what we believe and oppose other beliefs.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Unless Q&O has banned my sig.
Nope.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog

 
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