Friday, June 18, 2010

Of Independence Day, Dirty Jobs, and Best Friends

The wife was watching "Independence Day" the other day. Nice human race comes together to thwart extinction, underdog beats the technologically superior parasite race that has come to feast on us sort of escapist movie.

I've gone over my favorite part before many times with people, and that's when in under 24 hours the down-and-out genius with the cute ex-wife figures out enough about an alien civilization's computer system and languages to write a virus that will take it down, and on top of that figures out how to dial up and connect to that system and upload it 20 minutes after taking off toward the alien mothership in an alien fighter craft they know just about zilch about.

But when it comes to entertainment I have an amazing knack for willful suspension of disbelief, and therefore I can enjoy movies lots of other people can't even when things like that bug the heck out of me. (Don't even get me started on "The Day After Tomorrow" or "Twister". But they're still fun.) On the Independence Day issue, though, a co-worker noted that it's all explained by the JGIAG -- Jeff Goldblum Is A Genius -- plot element that he says pops up in Jeff Goldblum movies.

However, this time through "Independence Day", our tortured widower president who is Hawkeye Pierce and apparently Tom Cruise's "Maverick" character rolled up into one ... gives a rousing, unifying speech about how the world will come together and defeat this menace..

It's a great sentiment, and I'm all for bottom-up world unity.

But this bit stuck out at me as a Progressive wet dream:

"But should we win the day, the fourth of July will no longer be known as an American holiday, but as the day the world declared in one voice ..." (blah blah blah)
So America is no place special and it would be best if we would forego celebrating our founding, our independence.  (But by all means keep celebrating Cinco de Mayo.)

And a few other things happened over the last few days. One of them was the "no best friends" meme that has been recently yammered to death in the conservative media. Of course, it's not "fair" to have anyone stand out above the rest, these "experts" want everyone to be the same, presumably to eliminate envy. Plus there's the whole Marxist idea of breaking down the family, replacing allegience to family with allegience to state and making the children as unlike their fathers as possible. Very Orwellian Marxist (Yeah, people forget that 1984 was an anti-socialist work. "Ingsoc" was newspeak for "English Socialism".) And I suppose this is a logical extension of that idea. There shouldn't be anyone you're closer to that you might trust an opinion from over that of the state.

It brings to mind a bunch of children living their lives in drab uniforms with the same haircuts and eyes always on the chalkboard/overhead/TV monitor of state instruction.

Indeed, all of the great statist movements from the pure socialist to the national socialist flavors have been offshoots of progressivism.  Fascists were progressives, and admired by progressives here in the United States.

And then last night we were watching Mike Rowe ... a compilation episode, where he was talking about lessons learned. And he brought up "experts". Beware of "experts", he pointed to a Mike Rowe motivational poster which underscored his statement.

I don't know if you've ever seen this excellent motivational type talk he gave a few years ago -- but you should if you haven't -- and in it he talks about the sheep castrating incident. Before taping the episode, he had gone to the "experts" on what the most humane way to castrate sheep would be, and they said the rubber band method.

But when he got to the sheep ranch to do the deed, they cut them off (actually bit them off) and he said "woah, woah, wait"... aren't you supposed to do it this way? The ranchers explained why they don't, and even illustrated it by doing one that way.

The one they did that way went over and laid down near its mother in extreme discomfort, probably for the next several days -- while the ones who had been done the, uh.. "surgical" way were off frolicking again in minutes.

Which brings us around to this. The progressivist worldview is based on the idea that "experts" will run society from the top down. It is justified as "democratic" by saying that that's what everybody wants whether they know it or not.  By progressive "logic" it's really bottom-up, it's just that too many people are too stupid to realize that that's what they would vote for if they were smart.  So they are constantly trying to deceive people into voting more for top-down government, which they happily supply when they succeed, citing that 50.1% of the people voted for it and the other 49.9% are just to stupid to know they actually like it. You know, we'll just pass the bill so everyone can see what's in it, and all.

But of course, the classical liberal (now called Libertarian and in America typically classified as "conservative") would say that people should make their own decisions, including the decision involving whether or not to consult an expert in the first place, and if they want to, which expert(s) they will consult.

Because the fact of the matter is, "expert" in today's society is more likely to be an academic designation than one reflecting experience actually doing the thing at which they're supposed to be expert.

And so we have a "Constitutional Scholar" for a president, and he's surrounded himself with academics who have spent their lives theorizing a society where outcomes are equal and everybody's happy because of it, and the people who actually make stuff and design stuff and fix stuff or want stuff made or designed or fixed don't have any say over how much they can charge or pay, or are restricted from doing things or hiring people to do things at their own discretion because it might violate the governing monopoly's idea of "fairness".

So we have state-imposed collectivist rules that inhibit us from accepting help with the Gulf oil disaster from other countries, and a myriad of state agencies with various regulations all with veto power over any emergency plan the people trying to cope with the problem especially on the oil damage prevention side because they might squash an egg or spoil the spawning habitat of a fish (that's going to be killed anyway by the oil they let come ashore -- but hey, rules are well-meaning rules, and they must be followed) -- and the administration's response is to talk to academic experts and give speeches about how it's been on the case since "day 1", busily talking about it and putting boots to necks and trying to figure out whose ass to kick. Meanwhile, the oil continues to spew and the containment effort is less than what it could be.

And of course the speechified solution to all of this is to grow government, pass cap and trade, add more regulations (was this a problem of not enough regulations or regulations not being followed?  Time will tell) and more and more "experts" making more and more rules and siphoning more and more money from the private sector to use to selectively enforce more and more state control over everything, stimying growth, innovation, or pretty much any movement at all not directed by "experts" while we wait for Unicorns to show us the way to efficient wind and solar energy.


mkfreeberg said...

Wow, you got all that from one of Mr. Emmerich's most lackluster efforts?

Nice coverage with the strafing run, but you missed just one, and it's like the itch under the cast that the coat hanger cannot quite reach:

You cannot have these experts in a world in which everyone is resolutely equal. Both of these articles of their faith are non-negotiable, and each is irreconcilable with the other. Since this creates an unworkable contradiction, it makes them all the more powerful; once the plan is implemented, it must be interpreted. It cannot be left un-interpreted, since it does not make sense on its own. We're absolutely, positively, purely equal and yet we have these superhuman experts at the top? To say nothing of, on the other end of the spectrum, these awful evil Gun-n-Bible clinging Republicans whose opinions aren't supposed to count for anything?

A complete victory here would ruin them.

Regarding the "Make 7/4 an international holiday," I don't think that's progressivism talking, it's Hollywood; which is slightly different, since Hollywood is (lest anyone forget) a rich greedy evil capitalist-pig business with the best of 'em. See, in London and Paris, it seems they like to watch movies. They vacation more than we do, so it's pretty big money.

Glad to see you back, Phil.

philmon said...

Yes, an excellent point I left out. "The little people" (a term they have problems with when OTHER people use it, but not when THEY "stick up" for "the little guy") are their -- the experts, the intellectual elite's ... lab rats to experiment on. They are not and cannot be among the governed. Definitely ireconcilable.

I would argue, though, that today's progressives use their disdain for American exceptionalism as a "Goodperson" badge. At least for the moment, they have a tendency to elevate the non-American above the American, if only as a tool to subvert "American Culture" (which they would call "white" American culture) to suit their ends. And secretly they want the entire world ruled by the U.N.

You know, the body that created the Israel they love to hate.

Full of contradictions they are, mmm, yes?

Whitehawk said...

Great post. Covered a lot of ground. Regarding the oil spill, I have had the feeling that we have stumbled into a storyline that is a cross between Alice in Wonderland and The Wizzard of Oz. The answers we are given have nothing to do with the questions asked. Sometime soon the president is going to have to come out from behind the curtain of "experts" and "media image builders" and provide a real life solution. It will happen as soon as he realizes he is just a dude from Illinois not a real wizzard.

philmon said...

How about this solution?

Whatever oil company other than BP gets in here and caps this thing first gets the well and all new gulf permits & contracts for the next decade.

Whitehawk said...

Ah! You might be a real wizzard! Problem is that sounds too American.

philmon said...


Cylar said...

What I wish American people everywhere, right and left alike would realize:

We're not going to burn less oil in the US, at least not as a result of the oil spill in the Gulf.

That means one thing. It means that less oil being pumped out of the Gulf via offshore deepwater definition means more oil being imported from foreign countries. (I don't see increased shallow water drilling or drilling on land, to compensate for the deepwater rig shutdowns.) There's only one alternative - bring in more of the stuff from other countries.

I was explaining this to someone earlier today. And I added - increasing the percentage of oil imported from other countries merely gives those countries additional leverage over the US economy, and some of those same nations don't have our best interests in mind.

I went on to mention that during the Saddam era, the US was actually importing some of its oil from Iraq as per the UN's Oil-For-Palaces, I mean, Oil-For-Food.

I had to explain this to my cousin when he tried to debate Charles Krauthammer's observation that part of the blame for the Gulf mess can be laid at the feet of environmentalists and their restrictions on shallow-water and on-land drilling. (My cousin tried to argue that those methods have their own spills.) I pointed out, via Facebook post, that shutting down drilling in the Gulf merely means buying more of it from countries like Nigeria, who drill a lot dirtier than we do and are even less equipped to contain the damage from a major spill.

There's just no getting through to liberals. When you smack them with this clue-by-four, they fall back to their default stupidity about how wonderful wind and solar would be, if only those nasty oil companies (and their bought-and-paid-for Congressional Republicans) would get out of the way.

philmon said...

"... those nasty oil companies (and their bought-and-paid-for Congressional Republicans) would get out of the way."

Heh. You didn't happen to catch Glenn Beck's monday TV show, didja?

One of the few outside of the "Founders Fridays" I've caught recently.

If you're having arguments about Republicans bought and paid for by oil, I highly reccomend you do a YouTube search for Glenn Beck 06/21/10. As usual, it's split into 4 parts, so you have to make sure you find all four.

Well worth watching. Yes, there is some speculation in there but there are also a lot of stubborn facts that would have "convicted" any Republican president long ago.

Incidentally, if solar and wind could produce energy on the scale we need with the reliability we need, nobody could get in their way.