Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Had Too Much Therapy

For the denizens of the therapy culture 2016 was a very bad year. Most especially, the New York Times had a really bad year.

How bad was it?

It was so bad that it had to semi-apologize for slanting its election coverage and leaving its readers completely in the dark as to what was happening in the country… to say nothing of… in the world.

Now, the Times editorial board has offered up its therapeutically correct way to process what happened in 2016. Since this is the Times everything bad that happened is the fault of Donald Trump. Everything good that happened is to the credit of Democrats and progressive forces.

Strangely, the Times does not notice that throughout 2016 we only had one president, Barack Obama. It does, however, give Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama credit for inspiring people. We will not repeat our criticism of the Michelle Obama school lunch reforms, the ones that caused more and more American children to go hungry and that wasted astronomical amounts of food.

As for Hillary, she “inspired” women with an appallingly bad political campaign. She disregarded normal rules and failed miserably as Secretary of State. To top it off she was the primary enabler of her sexually abusive husband. If you ask yourself—as well you might—why charges of misogyny never stuck to Donald Trump, look at his opponent, and especially his opponent’s husband.

Funnily enough, the Times editorial is presented as a therapy session, a cosmic therapy session, at that. The title echoes the Beatles’s song: Hey Jude. What could be more cosmic than that?

One does not understand why anyone needed a cosmic therapy session, because the qualification makes no sense, but, hey, it’s the Times. Show some empathy.

The Times opens its editorial:

Let’s pretend we’re in some cosmic therapist’s office, in a counseling session with the year 2016. We are asked to face the year and say something nice about it. Just one or two things.

The mind balks. Fingers tighten around the Kleenex as a cascade of horribles wells up in memory: You were a terrible year. We hate you. We’ll be so glad never to see you again. The silence echoes as we grope for a reply.

This explains a great deal. It tells us that the Times editorial board has overdosed on therapy. It tells us, as I have been saying for longer than I care to recall, that some people in New York City have had too much therapy. They see human relations as therapy and they see politics as therapy. They live in what Saturday Night Live has called a bubble. Now we know that the bubble was created by therapy. If you did not believe me when I said that therapy is more about indoctrination than about healing, you need but read the Times editorial.

One notes that the Times, for all of the therapy its editorialists have done, has nothing resembling self-awareness. It whines about the fact that people in West Virginia voted in very large numbers for Donald Trump and tries to explain it away as a function of racism or sexism or whateverism. It does not question the fact that Hillary Clinton’s margin of victory in Manhattan was greater even than Trump’s in West Virginia.

Doesn’t it see that it has been promoting and enforcing groupthink? It should ask itself why all Times readers think the same thoughts-- all the while seeing themselves as free thinkers. You might think they need therapy. Now we know that they have had too much of it.

One would like to think that therapy teaches people how to evaluate their thinking and conduct objectively. You would be wrong. At least, the therapy that Times editorialists know about has provided nothing of the sort.

Where cognitive treatments teach people mental balance, an objective appraisal of the evidence, the Times therapy does just the opposite. It cherry picks facts that affirm its bias and ignores the rest. It wants to be part of the cause, even if it looks more and more to be a lost cause.

Speaking of therapy, consider the fourth of the famous 12 steps: Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves. Some Times columnists, one thinks of Jim Rutenberg, have done said moral inventory. The Times editorial board has not. This tells you why 12 Step programs work better than standard insight-oriented therapy when treating addictions and alcoholism.

“Ask Polly” is bad enough. What do you make of conjuring up “a cascade of horribles” to describe the year 2016. Whatever its demerits, it’s rhetorically inept. Does it not remind you of the “basket of deplorables,” the absurdly insulting and contemptuous phrasing that made many Times readers laugh out loud?

Apparently, Times readers are now clutching their Kleenex and whining about the election results. Shouldn’t the Times have considered that the denizens of the therapy culture are acting like they are emotionally overwrought, morally adrift, dazed and confused. This does not attract adherents to your cause.

When you allow yourself to be overtaken by emotion, as Hillary supporters have shown these past two months, people are less likely to entrust you with power. You cannot argue that Trump is irrational when you are showing yourself to be even more irrational.

One recalls a Biblical injunction: Physician, heal thyself. Or, ατρέ, θεράπευσον σεαυτόν. 

But, the Times editorialists are in touch with their feelings. They are angry. They have learned in their cosmic therapy to express their feelings. In this case they hate 2016. I am sure that this is causing a great deal of pain to 2016. They seem to believe that there is a special virtue to acting like a petulant child throwing a tantrum.

As for the Times assertion that Donald Trump is “unfit for the job,” whatever made them think that Barack Obama had anything resembling a qualification for the job. Or that Hillary Clinton did, beyond a bunch of empty sinecures?

The Times does not cast the cool eye of reason on 2016. It casts a bucket of hot emotion. Having taken one too many baths in moral equivalence it tries to balance bad things from the right against bad things from the left, that is, bad things from the right against bad things by Muslim terrorists:

Yet so many bad things happened, from the unthinkable to the horrifying to the merely shocking. Things fell apart. Tyrants and terrorists trailed blood and rubble across the Middle East and Europe. Refugees drowned in the Mediterranean. Right-wing extremism and xenophobia were on the march. The American election let loose old racial hatreds. The planet got hotter; the Arctic went haywire. The world was burning or smoldering or blowing up or melting.

Note that the phrase “so many bad things happened” is infantile. It tells us that all the therapeutically-inspired regression has served a purpose. Not a good purpose, but a purpose nonetheless.

Who, pray tell, was in charge of America when all of these bad things happened, when things fell apart? That was not a trick question.

Like the Obama administration the Times will not name Islamist terrorism. It is happy to balance the appalling number of acts of Islamist terrorism against right wing extremism and xenophobia. The reason things fell apart, for those who care, is that the Obama administration chose not to fight radical Islam, chose to withdrawfrom world leadership with its tail between its legs  and has directed its rancor at American Islamphobes. Thus, dividing the country

Given that Obama has been projecting weakness to the world for these past eight years, it makes sense that the Times editorialists want to project strength. As of now, the more Democrats protest about how strong they are, how tough they are toward Vladimir Putin, one cannot help but recall that these people had a chance to project strength and squandered it.

The Times tries to find reason to hope. It does not recognize that America was fed a diet of hope and empty promises for eight years and had decisively rejected it. But, the Times does not much care about reality. It cares about its favorite causes. It thrills to the fact that the minimum wage is increasing.

If you are looking for consolation, if you believe that your cosmic therapist will save your soul by giving you a pep talk about how all is not lost, and if you believe that you should be cheering in the streets because the minimum wage has increased, you need a lot more than therapy.

Think I’m kidding? Not at all. The Times wrote:

The most powerless of economic players, low-wage workers, kept pressing for a $15 minimum wage. Rallies across the country in November invigorated the cause, which is succeeding against long odds. More than two dozen states and localities have raised minimum wages as the movement has gone mainstream.

One might ask  how many inner city youth are not going to get hired in a first job because they cannot contribute $15 of value to an enterprise, but the Times does not care. It is grasping at straws and it has found a rather thin one in the minimum wage.

Anyone with a fair sense of the problem with immigration would know that the Western world is being flooded with immigrants. A well-informed individual would also know that Europe is suffering a massive problem by the influx of criminal refugees.

Anyway, the horror of increased immigration has been extensively documented… on this blog, for example. The Times has no awareness of the fact that this horror is an important and salient political reality. And that it was not created by Donald Trump.

The Times does not understand that the Brexit vote and the Trump campaign have something to do with the fact that Western countries, beginning with Germany and extending to Obama’s America, have been absorbing too many unassimilable immigrants.

For the Times, reality does not count. Reality may bite, but therapy has taught its editorialists to opt for the right feelings:

The most frequent targets of the dehumanizing rhetoric of the Trump campaign — immigrants and refugees — found welcome in many communities. Families opened their homes to displaced Syrians. Churches gave sanctuary to unauthorized immigrants. Governors and mayors, teachers and lawyers, faith leaders and congregations vowed to resist any efforts to demonize the foreign-born.

For the Times the true fight is against intolerance. If only we were all nicer, the Islamist hordes would be better behaved. It’s the kind of thinking that loses elections.

And then the Times recites the usual litany of leftist causes. It thrills to the fact that the country is more conscious of the criminal behavior of white policemen, but ignores the less-than-heartwarming story, which it itself has reported, about black-on-black violence in Barack Obama’s home city of Chicago.

And then, of course, the Times wants the country to be more united than divided. It blames the divisions on someone who is not yet president. Thanks to therapy it has learned that the past eight years of the Obama presidency, a presidency that radically divided the nation, is for nothing when compared to the big, bad Trump.

It’s what happens to your mind when you have too much therapy.


Sam L. said...

"...Germany and extending to Obama’s America, have been absorbing too many unassimilable immigrants." It's their refusal to assimilate that's the problem.

This is but one more, not that I needed one, reason to distrust the NYT.

Ares Olympus said...

I've not been to therapy over Donald Trump's election, but I have tried talking to many people, seeing if I can tease out the Trump supporters in my midst.

I wasn't as subtle about it as I should be, and had to break the cardinal rule against talking publicly one of the evil 3 - sex, religion, and politics. My only defense is I try to speak to to people one-on-one, so difference of opinions don't have to be broadcasted.

One marketer I met at a Thanksgiving dinner at a local church, he admitted he voted for Trump, and I didn't want to argue too much, so I just said "You're responsible for everything that happens" while he responded "I'm not the only one who voted for him. Plus Minnesota's plurality went to Clinton anyway, so no Minnesota Republican electors had the indignity of voting for Trump.

And at my family Christmas eve, my cousin and her husband both admitted voting for Trump. I asked my cousin if she was proud Trump won, and she said yes, and I left it at that. But her husband was more assertive, and his argument came down to "We need to give Trump a chance" to which I asked "Do I have a choice here?"

The trickiest issue I've wondered about is why Trump's words affect me so negatively, why do I take him so personally. And basically its clear that Trump shames me. It shames me that America would vote for an assclown like Trump for President. And perhaps it is just an accident that Democrats picked an inferior candidate, but I don't believe that. I mean besides calling Trump supporters a basket of deplorables, that's about the meanest thing she did.

And Trump himself admits he is a fraud. He says "Drain the swamp" because people told him to say that, and people cheered when he said it, but after the election admits he didn't mean it, it was just a rally. And when he said "Lock her up", he admits he didn't mean it, the Clinton's are nice people.

And he promised to build a wall with Mexico to keep out the criminals and rapists, and we don't yet know if he'll really build anything at all. And maybe national security is an important issue, and probably a country that spends $600 billion on its military every year can afford a $30 billion wall. But why did he have to say "And Mexico will pay for it?" And why did he accept an invitation to meet with the president of Mexico, and walk away saying they didn't discuss Mexico paying for the wall, but as soon as he got back infront of his deplorable mob, who demand punishment for bad people, that he went back to calling for Mexico to pay for his wall?

So my working theory is that a large number of people in this country are struggling in various ways, and of various issues of personal responsibility, and external circumstance, but have felt ashamed of their predicaments. And this has brought up an honest shame that needed somewhere to go, and that shameless Trump came along and could find people to punish. So he helped punish some 20 republican presidential candidates, humiliated them, and he won the nomination, all without a single newspaper endorsement. And in the end, he beat Clinton, who represented the status quo, of a country that is no longer working well for a large number of people.

So the shame I feel now is a sort of punishment that people are inflicting on America, because they've been under their own shame for the last 8 years. And it can feel triumphant to finally have a person who is big enough to carry their shame, and redistribute it to all those who have not been paying attention to the suffering around them. And now here we are, with someone who is president because he can say and do outrageous things without consequences, and who will have more conflict of interests than any president who ever preceded him, AND his followers don't care.

And now we get to learn first-hand what happens when a shameless person gains power through the shame of his followers, i.e. let the scapegoating contine.

Olympus Ares said...

Nosy little bugger, aren't you?

Unknown said...

The minimum wage thing will turn out to be a win for the elites - they only care about a few small areas all of which can likely support $15. San Francisco can - sadly Fresno can't. Nor Bakersfield - nor for that matter anything that isn't within 60 miles of the Pacific Ocean. No one in California cares - because - if you don't live in the right place well... who cares about you anyway.

So they will ignore the effects of all the small towns and rural areas and only report on what's happening on their street. Becuase - who cares what happens anywhere else.

Washington just voted in a raise to $13.50 - Seattle and Tacoma are already going to $15 - so they basically just screwed every small town not located in one of the 5 main counties surrounding Puget Sound. Becuase - who cares?

California grows well over half of all produce in the US. They've just guaranteed a 50% increase in labor costs. Not just for produce but for everything needed to grow produce, to package it, to ship it. California simply levied a significant tax on America to support their own state - How much will that hurt CA exports to the rest of the nation? Hard to say. Will your food costs be going up - yes. Will your extra hourly wage cover it? Maybe, maybe not. Remember the real minimum wage is $0.00

Anonymous said...

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Ares Olympus @January 4, 2017 at 4:15 PM:

"I've not been to therapy over Donald Trump's election, but I have tried talking to many people, seeing if I can tease out the Trump supporters in my midst."

You'd benefit from cognitive behavioral therapy. Clearly you are OCD about Trump, and relentlessly trying to project your anger onto anyone you can find, as though you are somehow wise and others welcome your advances (or need them). Your one-on-one conversations are a broadcast. Perhaps you need to accost and heckle Trmp supporters riding in coach because you've given into the idea that you're merely trying to "express" yourself.

You voted for Obama, and you haven't taken responsibility for everything that has happened in the last 8 years. How dare you set such a standard for others.

Typical of the conceit of the self-congratulatory and morally magnificent.

You are truly insufferable. I am glad I live far away from you.

Ares Olympus said...

Richard Blaine said... The minimum wage thing ...

I agree a national or even a state minimum wage doesn't make a lot of sense, where the cost of living varies greatly. If you make an effective minimum wage within high-cost metro areas, you're too high for smaller towns where housing is much cheaper.

Living in flyover land of Minnesota, relatively cheap living, I can't imagine how people make it at all in places like California, where an average small home might cost a half million dollars or more, and I imagine lower-income workers end up living farther away and commmuting many hours each day.

It is really surprising the economics of individual families work at all, or so far, but we know necessity is the mother of invention. So in collective desperation things like minimum wage seem like one of our last-resort solutions to keep everything going one more year. And its worked so far.

Core inflation may be low, but housing, health care, and college costs seem hopelessly broken, and cheap debt is the other last-resort solution that keeps everything going one more year.

IAC seems th imagine I'm acting "self-congratulatory and morally magnificent" being critical of Trump, while I merely see him as least likely to offer constructive solutions to keep everything going one more year. So people are tired of "one more year", and so bigger changes are needed than the system can support.

Trump said "What do you have to lose?" while I think we have a lot to lose, but like they say about economic bubbles, I also accept we've all already lost, and we just don't know it yet. And so when the "new debt bubble" can't grow any more, there's going to be unavoidable pain for all of us, and no president is going to be able to reverse that.

I think it would have done us some good to do a little fair and unfair scapegoating of the bankers and slice-and-dice wallstreeters that converted junk debt into AAA. But I expect the reason Obama couldn't do it is because bankers and wallstreeters were encouraged to do what they're doing, no different than Wells-Fargo firing 5300 employess given impossible sales goals, and competing against employees which had the lowest ethical standards or risk being laid off.

Anyway, once that sort of corruption is exposed, the who system goes down, and perhaps Trump is the president who will let it collapse, just as we should have done in 2008/09, except the smartest guys in the room convinced themselves that we could borrow ourselves out of harms way.

And here we are, with collectively unpayable debt, collectively stretched to our limits, and the largest generation of baby boomers ready for their retirement on financial markets that can only keep going up by inflation going up faster.

I have sympathy for the Republicans. Collectively we have too great expectations that no future can meet. And to give the Republicans credit, they're willing to cut our Social Security and Medicare to save it. Its surprisingly honest, although Donald Trump doesn't seem to support that program, so its GOP war for the next 4 years it seems.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...


"IAC seems th imagine I'm acting "self-congratulatory and morally magnificent" being critical of Trump, while I merely see him as least likely to offer constructive solutions to keep everything going one more year. So people are tired of "one more year", and so bigger changes are needed than the system can support."

You mean like "shovel ready jobs" and "if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor?"

That's just for starters.

Pardon me if I vomit when you talk of "one more year." You'd give Obama 4 more years if you could.

You're insufferable in that you draw people out to demean and humiliate them for their choice in voting. You said it is your goal. So yes, I do have a judgment of that. I think you're a jerk, and not worthy of polite company.

Ares Olympus said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ares Olympus said...

IAC, "You're insufferable in that you draw people out to demean and humiliate them for their choice in voting."

That's an interesting perspective. It is true that a vote is a very small activity, and that voting for a fraud is in some sense better than not voting at all.

My intention isn't to shame as much as to connect cause-and-effect. I want people who support Trump to do more than vote and then disavow responsibility for the consequences.

Since we agree four more years of Obama (or Clinton) won't make America Great Again, a vote for Trump is as good of a Hail Mary pass as America has, and that's exactly what it is.

I do accept the idea that sometimes the man makes the office, and sometimes the office makes the man, and we can hope Loser Donald won't be making the office, but that the office will make him into a better man.

And GWB believed God wanted him to be president, and Minnesota's local access to the will of God, Michele Bachmann, she said praying during election night helped shift the vote for Trump, whether God was changing ballots while they were being counted, or whether the prayers were influencing people's decisions in the preceeding hours, days and weeks, surely God can do anything.

And if it seems like I'm mocking religious proclamations of divine interest and interference in Human Affairs, it does seem to be a necessary starting point. I do tend to think if miracles happen at all, it must be through the holy spirit infusing divine knowledge into individuals, like God giving Moses the vote to stand up to the pharaoh.

Of course, in this case, Trump is now the new pharaoh, so perhaps it is now not only up to Trump to rise to the occasion, but that people who support him to rise with him, and find their own access to the holy spirit, and know how and when to prod him to do the right thing, without needing 7 plagues first.

And that also reminds me of the whole problem of religious beliefs - anything bad that happens can be attributed to the will of god, punishing the guilty, or perhaps the plagues also show the innocent also are punished for having a bad leader. But its still a messy blame game.

Will the next economic crisis be caused by Single-sex marriage, or transexual bathroom rights? As soon as you go into that frame of mind, it seems infinitely easy to scapegoat people you don't like, and explain your suffering as caused by their confusion or immorality.

Anyway, what we agree upon is that a President Clinton, and a Republican House and Senate are a bad mixture, and surely nothing good could come from that stalemate, and so now the Republicans have inherited President Trump, and he is theirs, and they are his, and they are all collectively responsible for our well-being.

And despite the fact they can't be 100% responsible for the past, and can't be 100% responsible for what other actors will do in the next 4 years, they are in charge, and they'll own what happens next. And we have to all hope that our republic is stronger than whatever mischief they can inflict.

I tend to think that end of the United States must be coming soon, and it will be a civil war, except one where the south again tries to secede, perhaps after the Republican disasters become apparent by 2020, and Democrats take over everything again in 2020. But when the Southern states ask to leave, clearly we should let them go this time.

A Southern hatred of the Federal government is clearly warranted with all the interference since the first civil war, and our ancestors screwed up, by keeping the cancerous south in the union. So next time we can let the people go, and see what's left. That's my scapegoating, but I admit it is simplistic, and no walls are sufficient to face what the future, thinking of the 2016-2032 time frame, will demand from us.

I hope Trump supporters are paying attention to real news, if any is left. It's simply frightening to see what sort of world we've created via alternative media. Anything is possible in a post-truth world.

Stuart Schneiderman said...

Let's try to avoid the ad hominem attacks. Besides, AO has donated to the blog, so treat him with a little more respect.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Whatever you say, Stuart. I just hope you gain some perspective on what Ares Olympus has done to the readership and participation on your blog.

If you feel the real estate Ares takes up by cutting-and-pasting peripheral nonsense in your comments section is worth the eye-rolling and click-aways, then I suppose Ares' donation is worth it. I submit it is not.

It's your blog,of course. You can do whatever you want. That said, your making logical fallacy defenses of the most logically vacant commenter here is unfortunate. All things considered, I've been quite restrained.

Again, it's your choice. Think about what Ares costs you before admonishing your most admiring and loyal readers. If it's about the money, well... then it's about the money. Yet that's a high price to pay for the disrespect, obloquy and ceaseless chirping he "contributes" here.

Your message is important, and Ares has degraded the discourse and exchange here for some time now. With deep respect for your talent and intelligence, I recommend you consider the cost.

Happy New Year.

Ares Olympus said...

I don't know if I've ever been disliked as much as here.

I didn't come here to agree with people, and I do try to widen debate more that condemn anyone. I know my efforts are slight and Stuart's writing is much stronger than my little corner efforts at understanding.

I don't want to risk offering a personal attack, but it's clear is that Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD is taking personally my efforts to expose Trump, much more than any actual people I've spoken to in person. (I know, my offensiveness is wider, like long copy&pastes.)

But at least on the issue of President-elect Trump, it seems no warning is too small, even if none of us can guess what will happen next. We're off the political map, but we've been there economically at least since Fall 2008 anyway.

And for many months IAC has expressed great delight in Donald Trump's take downs of life-long the political powers in his way, and now we get to see if this delight will surivive the next 4 years.

Myself, I might actually find myself cheering for Trump sometimes, like when he calls out the House Republicans for trying to end an independent ethics board as the first act of the new year.

I can't predict what is going to happen at all, but I like to speculate in contradictory ways. And when faced by intractible problems, perhaps breaking things is the best way forward? I'd never want to be personally responsible for that, but in this case I get to play both sides - against breakings, and yet seeing someone who is fearlessly willing to do so, while I can only observe in horror.

Trump's potential foreign policy scares me the most, since there's no one who can override his rash acts, but apparently Nixon had some angels around him when he was drinking, and at least we know Trump doesn't drink.

But putting an man-child in charge means we all have to pay attention, in the same way that North Koreans have to pay attention, but we've not yet seen anyone actually jailed for their free speech. And we've not yet seen any billionaires jailed on fraudulent charges like Putin has done.

Trump is a blackbox, and we don't know what sort of inputs will most help us stay safe. It sounds like many of the people around him in the past have assumed he wants yes-men, but that may be their own arrogance. If Trump becomes more than he is, it will be cause people trust that Trump really will listen to divergent opinions, and change his mind in more thoughtful and rational ways that we expect.

We really have to hope he has good people around him. I can't imagine anyone disagreeing with me on that, except maybe on wondering who the "good people" are. My good people worry about consequences, but maybe real good people take bold actions and trust in their ability to make many small mistakes quickly and end up with experience to avoid larger ones later.

We've avoided nuclear attacks on cities for over 70 years, but maybe we need one sacrifical city in 2019 that will help us avoid World War III in 2024, and we can someday thank Trump's impulsiveness for forcing the issue and unifying the world against nuclear holocaust. I can imagine such things, but its all above my paygrade.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Ares Olympus @January 7, 2017 at 11:06 PM:

"I don't want to risk offering a personal attack, but it's clear is that Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD is taking personally my efforts to expose Trump, much more than any actual people I've spoken to in person."

I am not taking anything personally. I'm continually astounded at your lack of self-awareness. You believe what you say, yet claim to be uncertain, open-minded and objective. It's truly beyond me to understand how you don't see that people here think you're cracked when you utter such rubbish. It may work with children young and old, but I recommend you see it doesn't pass muster here on this blog. You can't get away with that kind of crap here.

And you're not exposing anything about Trump, save your own ignorance.

In terms of the "any actual people [you've] spoken to in person," be it known: I pity those you've actually spoken to in person. You try to draw them out into the open so you can attack them on ground of your choosing. It's pure cowardice. They probably have no idea what you've got in store for them. They probably want to talk about the weather, the Vikings, the Wild, the Twins, or even broom ball. Doesn't sound like you'll permit them that comfort in polite company.

And my assertions on that point are NOT ad hominem. That's by your own hand.

Trump will start a nuclear war? That's so preposterous. I thought you said he was a "blackbox," yet you speak with so much certainty... ye who claims to be so uncertain. I'm embarrassed for you. You're the "man-child." Your view of Trump is a projection.

"My good people worry about consequences." Yet you (and they) voted for Hillary. Damn the consequences, eh? Most of the people I know who voted for Hillary did it with pure blindness. To them, there were no consequences. She was another Messiah, this time with a vagina. Identity politics, equally grotesque.

"I don't know if I've ever been disliked as much as here." I suggest you do some real soul-searching on that one. The answer is out there... somewhere. If you care to inquire. I've explained it so many times, so many different ways. Perhaps you're not considering what I have to offer. Certainly that is your prerogative. But it doesn't mean I'll stop. Believe it or don't, I actually care about you. And not in a condescending way. Clearly you have a mind. Clearly you have energy. You're not in a forum where everyone agrees with you, so clearly you're curious. That said, your energy can be directed much more productively, and with greater perspective and humility.

There's a lot of wisdom on this blog, my own contributions excepted. Stuart is a genius in the focus of the subject matter and the depth of his perspective. You might learn something if you consider what's said here by many of the commenters. Stuart is much more polite, but I won't pretend to read his mind. Look at so many of the commenters. There's evidence of real classical learning here. Enduring influence, quite apart from the trendy nonsense that passes for education these days. Soak it up. I learn something here every day. That's why I keep coming back. I keep trying to get away, often believing that being here is a time sink. Yet I'm in awe. Stuart keeps writing, people keep commenting, and the conversation goes farther. It's beautiful!

Your view of "cause and effect" seems to suspend the reality of your role in it. I suppose that's above your pay grade, too.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Ares Olympus @January 7, 2017 at 11:06 PM:

Yet I do wish you a Happy New Year. I don't hate or loathe you. I don't pity you, either. I still remember you stood against your brother's addiction. That's a profound act of love. I engage you because I see some hint of possibility, but your tone is so snide that I often fall into the trap of responding in kind. Too often. And I own that character failure, not you. It's my choice. The reason I think you a "jerk" in the context I offered earlier is that I think you're being disingenuous in conversation with others, and I feel sorry for them. They're probably out having a nice time, and here comes Ares Olympus (or whatever your name is) to skewer them. Seeking to draw people out in order to condemn them is worst form of arrogance and cowardice all mixed together. I remain convinced you're better than that. Start acting like it. I'm sure it doesn't widen your circle.

Ares Olympus said...

IAC, I'm sorry that my assertions often seem preposterous to you. It would be nice to believe I'm the only one who is confused, and everyone else sees things as they really are. I mean I don't believe that, but it is a possibilty that needs some attention. I don't know what my blind spots are nessarily, and I therefore have to try to communicate to people who see things differently, and see if I can explain how we see things differently, at least guessing.

At to my offensiveness, I consider myself self-aware enough to test judgments I apply to others onto myself, and if I don't wish to consider my own base motives, I'm more careful to not presume what motivates others. I don't use labels like racist or sexist or things like that, but I do consider fear is real, and it distorts perceptions.

Like you have no fears at all that the temperament of Trump increases the dangerous of nuclear weapons, while this is a real fear to me. People who say they want to be "unpredictable" are dangerous, even if in reverse, like if an enemy decides a first strike is a safe bet against an unpredictable rival. But more I simply see no moral use for nuclear weapons what so ever, and merely having them fightens me, and I accept someday we may not have a stable and rational government, or someone with a religious fundamentalistic perspective may gain power and use that power for their own fantaties, ones that would not be a problem if we didn't present this unnecessary danger.

What I do know is that the cold war ended some 25 years ago, and we still have nuclear weapons sufficent to murder billions of people, and now Trump is talking about restarting an arms race towards newer weapons, while we don't even know who are enemies are, our what we are willing to do.

Even if we presume madmen in the government of Iran, and they managed to get nuclear weapons, and means to deliver them to a distant target, and even if they succeeded in doing so, who should we hold responsible for that. Does it really make sense to threaten millions of people with death because of the madness of their leaders, when they have no power to prevent that madness.

I mean as a citizen of the U.S. am I responsible if Donald Trump is a mad man or are those who voted for him responsible?

My only answer is that we used nuclear weapons once, and they were small atomic bombs, unlike fussion boms that are much larger and never been used. We have yet to experience a thermonuclear war, and I have no trust that mad men won't be in positions of power, and sooner or later will use them.

And as long as the U.S. presumes the right to hold them, others will aspire to them, and someday we'll all pay for this arrogance, whether Donald Trump's insanity or another's leads to it.

So if an unstable president is sufficient to demand attention to this 70 year old problem, then we'd better take advantage. As a country we should decide on exact scenarios where using thermonuclear weapons are justified, and when they are not. And if "no first strike" is the best we can do, then at least let us say that. But Trump wants to be "unpredictable" and that should scare all of us, whatever bad logic he uses.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Ares Olympus @January 9, 2016 at 4:04 AM:

So much fear. You make me sad.