Walking the walk

It is said that, just before the Sino-Soviet split, Nikita Khrushchev had a tense meeting with Zhou Enlai at which he told the latter that he now understood the problem. “I am the son of coal miners,” he said. “You are the descendant of feudal mandarins. We have nothing in common.” “Perhaps we do,” murmured his Chinese antagonist. “What?” blustered Khrushchev. “We are,” responded Zhou, “both traitors to our class.”

Hitchens, Christopher, Arguably, Atlantic Books 2011.

I find this anecdote likely too cute to have played out exactly like this and I am naturally cynical about such things. Besides no black and white footage of this exchange seems to be available on YouTube, furthering my skepticism. (Unlike the Kitchen Debate some years later). Like the biblical Thomas I am, these days, less inclined to accept things on faith and hearsay alone.

kitchen debates

As an aside. Can you imagine Donald Trump getting all up in Vladimir Putin’s face. And then poking him with the finger. I can’t. I amuse myself by imagining Vladimir grabbing Donald by the lapels and then hip throwing him in a slow motion arc before bouncing his head on the concrete. Ippon! (Based purely on relative CQC skills, not to be read as an endorsement of Vladimir Putin or for that matter, Richard Nixon)

Those espousing ideology (and inflicting this ideology on others) often don’t live the ideology themselves. We all know examples of this sort of hypocrisy. The socialist politician that lives in a mansion. The Neo-marxist professor who goes home to his upper middle class home in a nice leafy green suburb. The Union bosses having lunch at the Ritz-Carlton. The preacher with the Gulfstream(s) in the hanger.

A strange condition of the human condition is that the duality of our ‘leaders’ is not only accepted but also defended (or at least completely ignored) by their adherents (often with insane zealotry). A social throwback perhaps ingrained in our natural proclivity towards tribalism in which all fealty was sworn to the chief.

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The exception to this case is the Capitalist. Which in a world of sanctimonious bullshit seems weirdly refreshing. You will rarely (if ever) find someone espousing Capitalism as the one true path, living in a shack next to an open sewer. I also think you will likely find the capitalist has less disciples willing to rush to his defence.

Although unlikely in my life time, I am hopeful, that one day, humanity will cast off both our appreciation of -isms and the yoke of having to be ‘led’ by someone, either through an autocrat or via ‘democracy’.

One day they will (also) say Joey was a head of his time. I’d like point out that is is untrue and that Joey was, for the most part, just thinking about getting head.

Put up your Dukes…

The fine people of Minnesota (to be enunciated clearly in Minnesotian) have again demonstrated their penchant for progressive politics.

Duke, a nine-year-old Great Pyrenees, has won his third term as mayor of Cormorant, Minnesota, in a landslide election victory. He also (apparently) has the highest approval ratings in the United States.

This story pleases me more than it probably should. But I’m happy to just roll (around on the grass) with it.

Yay Duke yay!

Dick move

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While I love Thomas Sowell. I want to edit this quote. ‘most of what they saved up’ and ‘rather than to their heirs?’. That seems more inclusive. Pretty sure girls can save as well.

In any event. No. I can’t explain why this is. It seems like a total ‘Dick move’, double taxation and just… did I say ‘Dick move’ already? Well lets just underscore that for effect.

Its likely because the dead just lie there. And take it. Instead of rising up to feast on the living in a vengeful night of… well…  vengeance.

My strategies to counter this eventuality are two pronged (I mean taxation as opposed to the zombie apocalypse)

  1. Don’t ever die. Or
  2. Don’t have anything the government can take from me at the point of my demise.

Both of which are quite tricksy.

Or we could you know… vote. And change bad laws. I have more faith in the not dying part of my strategy.

High noon equivalency

I tend to favour Western Philosophy. Likely for the reason that I’ve just been exposed to more of it. Thats not to say I don’t ‘culturally appropriate’ concepts from Taoism or Buddhism, or any other -ism that I like and find compatible with my Joey-OS… its just that when it comes down to fundamentals it tends to be predominantly Greek in origin.

The internet these days feels a lot like the domain of madmen and gunslingers where civil discourse seems to be the exception rather than the rule. Venture a political opinion or engage in satire anywhere and you’ll soon find yourself being called out onto Main street to settle things with six shooters.

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‘All I said was Jordan Peterson* makes some good points’. ‘Shut up you fucken Nazi’.

Unfortunately these bouts happens figuratively, with mean spirited insults traded in a public sphere with ideologues lining up behind their champions with ancillary barbs. I think people would be kinder to each other if a difference of opinion could actually lead to duels to the death on some dusty, rutted thoroughfare. That way all the assholes (on both sides of the divide) would be dead… and we could move on with constructive debate and dialogue. (the dream)

*I use Jordan Peterson as an example because he seems to be quite loathed (at the moment) But really you can substitute Joe Rogan, Dave Rubin, Sam Harris or Christina Hoff Sommers in there (to name but a few who I think get unfairly mailgned for thinking out loud)

Whatever happened to the Socratic Method?

The Socratic method is a form of cooperative argumentative dialogue between individuals, based on asking and answering questions to stimulate critical thinking and to draw out ideas and underlying presumptions.

If Plato, debate and conversation isn’t really your thing, how about some good old fashioned Eastern philosophy. Specifically the concept of Yin and Yang.

Yin and Yang (literally dark and bright) is a concept of interdependence and interconnectedness of concepts that while seemingly contradictory are deeply necessary for the functioning of the natural world. Yin and yang should be thought of as complementary (rather than opposing) forces that interact to form a dynamic system in which the whole is greater than the assembled parts. 

Whatever you believe to be true (the light), without some darkness (opposing ideas) to balance you out, you are not whole. Seek some of it out. That doesn’t mean you have to agree with the ideas that you find in opposition to your own, but appreciate that they exist, and that they exist for a reason.

In all honesty I haven’t always been civil to people. (I’m trying to be better about that) And I’ve definitely tweeted and posted stupid stuff that would (these days) lead to a rabid mob with pitchforks descending on my domicile. But how great is it that we can change our minds and evolve our ideas as we grow and experience? All of us want to be judged by the sum of our whole surely? And we would balk at our entire being getting categorized and judged by single tweet or quote. I know I would. So why do we do it to others?

downloadI don’t like quoting from the Bible. So instead I’ll quote Brodie from Mallrats. ‘Touch not, lest ye be touched’.

I think those are pretty good words to live by. And (as an added bonus) has good synergy with libertarianism (which I love).

Herewith endeth my rant.

 

The wisdom of Thomas Sowell

I really like Thomas Sowell. He is likely one of my most ‘screenshot’d’ personas. I find him incredibly adroit. It also makes Twitter think I’m a right wing conservative…. because you need to be clearly defined, labelled and classified as one thing or another. Its a notion I abhor since I really struggle to keep my big crayon colouring between the lines.  Instead I like to think of myself as straddling the political divide… with my testicles resting lightly on the cool linoleum that paves the aisle.  Proving not only that I can do the splits… but also that I probably should have worn pants.

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I don’t think I could ever improve on a Thomas Sowell quote. I am not that ego-maniacal… but I would like to (humbly) propose an addendum.

Isn’t it more of a windfall to have even been born at all?

I mean the odds are pretty much stacked against you. Galactically* I mean. That you should exist at all is pretty fucken amazing. You get to experience life. Well done. You’re a winner. (go get a sticker)

*you know, Pale Blue dot, that’s not too hot and not too cold in some nowhere, backwater part of some galaxy.

But hey if you want to waste your time comparing your state of a ‘aliveness’ with somebody else… go for it. I just don’t think its very useful.