The Fallacy Of “Appeal To The Middle”

(I’m sure there is a real name for the fallacy.) One sometimes hears, often in political arguments between opposed views where someone attempts a moderated stance, that “the truth lies somewhere in the middle.” This may or may not be true; if one side is saying the equivalent of “2+2=4” and the other is saying “2+2=5”, then the answer is not “somewhere in the middle.” Likewise, if one side is saying the equivalent of “2+2=5” and the other is saying “2+2=6” then the answer is still not somewhere in the middle.

Voting For Moral Purity, Instead Of Policy

The average voter — in particular, the average primary voter — cares a lot about moral purity and expressive politics. So if you disempower the money, you empower the ideological purists who want candidates first and foremost to demonstrate fidelity to shared principles.

Everyone with a party affiliation (formal or informal) thinks this applies only to people of other parties. Bad news: it applies to you too.

Also, as I have opined in other venues, if you remove the money then you are left only with personal connections. Money is a much more transparent and quantifiable way to see who is influencing whom, than trying to decipher who is connected to whom.

Via Money Still Fuels the Political Machine – Bloomberg View.

Birth Control Mandate Waivers For Me, But Not For Thee

Some 204 outfits favored by Democrats were granted waivers by the president from ObamaCare, which means their employees do not have the right to employer provided birth control. These include upscale restaurant, nightclubs, and hotels in then-Speaker Pelosi’s district; labor union chapters; large corporations, financial firms, and local governments.

Women did not march through the streets to complain on behalf of their downtrodden sisters at Boboquivari in San Francisco which sells porterhouse steaks at $59 a pop and such. Apparently they are up with laws written on Etch-a-Sketch boards which the president can rewrite at whim. And their moral outrage is dependent on whether or not the employer is a Democrat crony.

via Articles: Let's Build a Stairway to Alberta.

Why Democrats insist on lying about how ‘poor’ they are

Why do all these exceedingly well-off [Democrats] keep trying to convince us we’ll see them at the dollar store?

It’s all part of the increasingly delusional myth Democrats tell themselves that they are the tribunes of the middle class. In fact, their party is a strange two-headed beast — picture a Cerberus featuring the faces of Barbra Streisand and Lois Lerner.

The Dems are a coalition of ultra-rich cultural-elite donors on the one hand and government employees and their clients on the other.

See also the phrase “prolier than thou”. Via Why Democrats insist on lying about how ‘poor’ they are | New York Post.

Bush Admin Blows CIA Cover = “treason”; Obama Admin Does Same Thing = “a mistake”

Many observers seem satisfied with the White House’s explanation that the incident was just a regrettable error. And that is indeed what it appears to be. But such assessments represent a remarkable change in tone from the discussion several years ago, when the George W. Bush administration leaked Valerie Plame’s identity as part of a bitter fight over the origin and direction of the Iraq war. Back then, it was quite common to hear the words "traitor" and "treason" used to describe top Bush officials involved in the controversy.

To be perfectly clear, this is not about Bush v Obama. It’s about how reporters take sides. Via When Bushies blew a CIA cover, it was 'treason'; now, it's a mistake | WashingtonExaminer.com.

The Rise of Crown Government in America

… once you have a chief executive chosen by popular election, you are in trouble. The “extreme” measure of the legislature removing the head of state happens much more readily in parliamentary systems … we are just about the only country without a parliamentary system that isn’t pretty far along on the autocracy spectrum.

… the problem with popular election of Prime Ministers, and especially of Presidents, is that they become much more powerful than legislatures. They have national legitimacy, they can present a unified front, and they can dominate the news media. Separation of powers is a pipedream.

via The Constitution, the President and Us | askblog.

Do Not Resign — Make Them Fire You

Make them fire you. If you resign under pressure you have basically no legal standing. Make. Them. Fire. You. If they pressure you to resign, you should write a letter, declining to resign, declining to take any responsibility for your private, off-duty, speech and/or actions. Specifically point out that you are exercising your personal discretion to engage in political and social commentary regarding current events, that you are not willing to be subjected to a hostile work environment for your unorthodox political views, and that you are not willing to explain or defend or justify those personal political views.

Always make them do their own dirty work.

via Vox Popoli: Mailvox: employment advice.

Doris Lessing on Communism and Language

It is not a new thought that Communism debased language and, with language, thought. There is a Communist jargon recognizable after a single sentence. Few people in Europe have not joked in their time about “concrete steps,” “contradictions,” “the interpenetration of opposites,” and the rest.

The first time I saw that mind-deadening slogans had the power to take wing and fly far from their origins was in the 1950s when I read an article in The Times of London and saw them in use. “The demo last Saturday was irrefutable proof that the concrete situation…” Words confined to the left as corralled animals had passed into general use and, with them, ideas. One might read whole articles in the conservative and liberal press that were Marxist, but the writers did not know it. But there is an aspect of this heritage that is much harder to see.

Even five, six years ago, Izvestia, Pravda and a thousand other Communist papers were written in a language that seemed designed to fill up as much space as possible without actually saying anything. Because, of course, it was dangerous to take up positions that might have to be defended. Now all these newspapers have rediscovered the use of language. But the heritage of dead and empty language these days is to be found in academia, and particularly in some areas of sociology and psychology.

via Questions You Should Never Ask a Writer – New York Times. Looks like she has a longer form of that article here.

How The New Deal Ruined The Arts

Poetry is an industry. It has always been an industry. It is something that people do. Writing poetry is work. You may be paid for this work in money, or you may be paid in the esteem of your peers, or you may be paid only in your own satisfaction. But you are paid.

Before the New Deal, poets were paid either in the esteem of their peers, or in book royalties. …

Here is the way poetry works now. The business is teaching. The currency is the book. Now that Tryfon Tolides has a book, and one published by Penguin at that (rather than, say, Dirt River Press), he can get a teaching job. His teacher, Karr, has “made” him. …

When I say “teaching job,” of course I don’t mean eighth grade. With a Penguin book, Tolides is qualified to teach creative writing anywhere that has an opening. Of course openings are scarce these days, because everyone with an IQ over 95 is going to college and the system simply cannot be expanded. …

… one ascends in the poetry world exactly the same way that one ascended in the Soviet intelligence services: by joining the right clique and remaining loyal to it. It is a pure pyramidal patronage system.

… There is simply no independent pool of taste. There is only a vast river of books released by an endless stream of careerists. …

And worse, what these careerists seek is not even good filthy money. Teaching poetry is an abominable career. Unless you are ridiculously lucky, your students are subhuman morons, your pay is laughable, your prospect of tenure is nonexistent.

However, you are paid with something that no money can buy, the social status of poet. And no one – and I mean no one – in the world looks down on a “published poet.” …

What a pathetic and contemptible system! These people are nothing but bureaucrats. And the situation is only getting worse.

via Unqualified Reservations: Tryfon Tolides: an almost pure empty poetry.