Saturday, January 30, 2010


(fm the BC thread "Obama at the GOP retreat")

Good people permit me to suggest that while we should all approach a new voice in a spirit of good fellowship and open inquiry we should also adopt a three exchange rule. If after a third encounter a commentator fails to respond maturely and resorts to defamation, ridicule and embarrassing exposures of personal problems that could credibly be considered as efforts to impede the functioning of the forum or to obscure other subjects then they should be placed on Ignore, possibly with the aid of Tocque, and left to do what they do best, masturbate in the corner.

The thing to do with the unclubbable who seek to soil the rug in the Club is to Club them decisively so there is no ambiguity as to where they belong. Permit me to demonstrate.

You lad, I do not say Sir as that is an honorable term that I have no reason to believe that you have earned, are confused about many things. Among them are basic matters of documented historical record, principles of physical causality and economic realities and the most simple and nearly universal laws of acceptable social conduct. Unfortunately your ability to properly process information in these areas is clouded by you own sense of dysfunction and rage caused by the hostility that you can not conceal regarding your own father and the community that produced you. You inability to accept and function within that community may be aggravated by your own social and sexual dysfunction and insecurity that you project out into hostility towards your father and others who you presume to identify with him. That is your problem and not anyone else's. Here is another piece of bad news for you. Your mother had sex with your father and probably enjoyed it. The fact that you were produced is merely an unfortunate result. Everyone concerned probably had better hopes. You are a terrible person, now go away and do not bother your betters again.

It must be a source of some grief to Teresita when some preening fool out of a cable television unreality show comes around to reinforce all the worst stereotypes about homosexuals. The equivalent for some of us would be if a relative from the Old Country came to visit and acted like they were auditioning for a road show production of Borat. It becomes hard to argue for the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell after meeting such a person. Not because of any interest in what they might do on their own time behind closed doors but because they are simply the kind of person who, issues of sexuality completely aside, should never be given access to weapons or trusted to act correctly in an emergency. That does not mean that the linkage of the two issues is fair or even rational in all cases. Todd Beemer, whose father spoke at the Foley Square rally against the KSM trial, proved the contrary. It was an honor to shake that gentleman's hand and thank him for raising his son to be a Man. Until we come up with more accurate ways to measure fitness we must use the tools we have.

I treat everyone on a case-by-case basis.

An admirable stance to take. The problem is that in dealing with the thousands of choices and value judgments that we must make on a constant basis the ideal standard just does not work. We all compartmentalize and stereotype, we have to. The trick is to figure out when it a Todd Beemer that we are dealing with and invest the extra effort into evaluating them. Despite the claims of the Utopians we simply can not do that in every case. Consideration is considerate, meaning courteous, but it is also expensive. It takes a consideration, to use the word in an obsolete sense of a payment, in the sense that time and effort are money, to consider, meaning to evaluate, each human being as the unique individuals they are to be evaluated solely on their personal merits. So we sort people into bins, by race or class or sex or any of thousands of other criteria. Doing so is a natural biological function. It is a feature not a bug.

What a broad education and experience, what used to be a Liberal Education, should give is enough of a basis to permit someone to sort the individuals and problems that they deal with into more compartments, in a process similar to Roman Law. That Liberal quality also allows us to recognize the special cases that are truly worth the extra investment needed to lift them out of the box and deal with them as individuals.

We are in agreement about the trolls, that was one point about my demonstration, and in disagreement about something far more interesting. I did wonder though if you might feel an urge to say to such a person, "Listen jerk you don't speak for me" or even portray yourself more like Harriet Nelson or Laura Petrie to make the distinction clearer.

There is another issue that can be discussed separately about stereotypes and how some members of sub-groups seek them out and conform to them. Examples include the self absorbed and destructive homosexual, the self absorbed and destructive Islamist, the self-absorbed and destructive Leftist. Do I begin to detect a pattern? Why are such stereotypes so prevalent, why do members of the sub-groups concerned tolerate members of their communities who reinforce those images, and why do they fear the tolerant traditional society more than they do other intolerant sub-groups? Whose problems are these? Do they belong principally to the larger society or to the members of the stereotyped sub-groups?

it is an essential human quality to rise above our own creatureliness

You did not address my central point. Stereotyping is essential even if it yields a sub prime result in a specific case. You cannot function without doing it. To not do so would mean to not process events and then not rely on past events in considering new problems. That would be to truly have to deal with each encounter as a unique case. In so doing you would constantly "live in the moment." That is not a quality that we prize in humans although we admire it in our dogs.

As Jesse Jackson observed anyone who while alone on a inner city street at night sees four black males approaching who appear to be between the ages of 15 and 25 and who does not feel fear is insane. Perhaps a suburban liberal will run up to them and say "Hello" but normal people will at least finger their cell phone and consider where to run. It is entirely possible that the 4 youths are members of the Raging Rooks chess team and might be the nicest kids you ever meet. That does not change the fact that you need to process information with prior experience, both yours and others since we are social beings with language, taken into consideration. As with any tool the key is to understand it and know when and how to put it down.

Don't be so hard on yourself and feel called upon to reject all stereotypes. You are probably correct in your prejudice that 99% of the time the JWs will be a waste of your time and at best boring. One benefit of having a shepherd was that the Witnesses never came to my door and did not bother me on the street. On the other hand one time in fifty just for laughs you might want to invite one of the Mormon teams in for coffee. They are often interesting people.

(who described her experiences with missionaries)
You sucker punched me with the Xena in the window. In fairness to the Mormons they know how goofy their scripture sounds and their argument that it is not how they should be evaluated as a community makes some sense. They seem a very practical group not given to abstract references to a text to justify impractical actions. Granted though that their conduct towards women and minorities left much to be desired. The question is whether that was deep culture rooted in the religion or a shallow community value that was projected back into the religion and can be easily changed? My suspicion is that the oddities of the BoM are less important than are those of the Koran and hadith, which do have an immediate daily impact on how Moslems interact with others. There is nothing wrong with Scripture, it is a very good book.

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