Tuesday, August 24, 2004

It Sure Beats Paying for Hammock Time

Thanks for the Memory to Tim Worstall

Not long after Tim and Triticale linked to my Niemoller Post, I saw a significant spike in the number of visitors to my site. So when I went to Tim's blog and noticed that he's blegging for a charity, I cound't resist the temptation to help.

Tom's started a campaign called the Anybody but Sully Project. His goal is to raise more funds than Sully did in his recent blegging campaign. Not orders of magnitude more, not even multiples of, just more than -- even if he only beats Sully by one red cent. All of the money qill go to a charity in Portugal (where Tim lives) that assists handicapped children through equestrian therapy.

Now, the charity alone plays my heartstrings like Jimmy Page. But toss a chance to sully Sully into the pot, and you have an irresistable mix. Go check it out, and if you can, give.

What Would Niemoller Think?

(Originally Posted 23 August 2005 at 9:54 AM PDT)

The other day, I posted a comment to this post on Triticale's blog. In it he recounts a story that's a sad example of just how dumb we've become. One of the reasons I titled my blog as I did is because it's my opinion that the quality of reasoning in America has gone rapidly downhill in recent years -- rapidly downhill as in "like a meteor in a gravity well". And I believe this lack of reason and logic is a major factor in the strident tone of modern political discourse -- because so many opinions are based on emotion and not on thinking, any dissent is viewed not merely as a philosophical difference, but a personal attack.

And so, I made the following comment, with apologies to Pastor Niemoller:

First they came for Logic, and I did not speak out, for I did not think logically.

Then they came for Reason, and I did not speak out, for I did not think reasonably.

Then they came for Thesis and Synthesis, and I did not speak out, for I did not think synthetically.

Finally they came for me, and I could no longer think for myself.

UPDATE 24 Aug 2004:
If you compare the quote above to the original or the ones quoted at Triticale or Tim Worstall, you'll notice that the order is slightly different. Last night as I was lying in bed, I realized that I wanted to put them in descending order from what I perceived as the most advanced of the three concepts, formal logic, to the most foundational, thesis and synthesis. This way, not only is it a fairly deft (if I do say so myself) play on Niemollers original quote, but it also shows the regression than can be observed in modern thought: starting with a lackadaisical attitude towards formal logic and the avoidance of fallacies, and deteriorating through a cessation of any reasonable attempt to make ones arguments correspond with ones conclusions, to the loss of any ability to synthesize original ideas from what you already know whatsoever.

As soon as I had this thought, I realized that if I made the change, and even more so if I explained the change, there would be some who would accuse me of thinking too much. This, of course, cemented my decision.

Swift Boat Tea Party

Thanks for the Memory to Michelle Malkin.

Borrowing insight from Belmont Club and Thomas Sowell, and then synthesizing it into her own piquant analysis, Michelle points out that this controversy represents a very serious threat to the mainstream media's pythonesque (and by that I don't mean Monty) grip on the minds, if not the hearts, of the American public.

For generations the media has constituted a de facto totalitarian regime ruling the realm of discourse in America. But the natives have been restless for years, as evidenced by the popularity of talk radio, the amazing success of Fox News, and most recently, the blogging phenomenon. The Powers That Be knew there were rebellious factions out there, but they managed to maintain control, managed to supress or ignore any story or information they did not approve.

But the Swift Boats issue has changed that. Despite the media's best efforts, the story got out. And ironically, it may have been the actions of their own Viceroy, John F Kerry, that finally made the difference. If Kerry hadn't so actively tried to supress this story, it may have gone nowhere. But by attacking it, he acknowledged it, and the genie was out of the bottle. Now the media must deal with a story they didn't generate, and their damage control efforts are in high gear.

While they may eventually succeed in this effort in regards to this story, the damage is done. A precendent has been set, and like the first shots in any revolution, what matters is not always who wins this skirmish, what matters is the fact that the war has begun.

Moments of Serendipity

Walking past the Red Register Guard newsstand this morning, I noted the following headline, which will be posted online at noon PDT.

Nader campaign says 25,000 signatures collected in Oregon

For those not familiar with Oregon election laws, if true, this means he'll be on the ballot as a presidential candidate, he will NOT have to rely on a write in vote.

Now, I have no illusions that he will siphon off as much of the Democratic vote as he did in 2000, but when you couple the number of extreme left voters in Oregon who WILL vote for Nader with the pro-Bush tendency I noted has been observed among many independents here, and for a Bush supporter, this is very very good news indeed.