« In ten years, YHB is most likely to be doing laundry | Main | Book Report: Maskerade »

If he's for it, I'm agin it, and veesie versie

Your Humble Blogger doesn’t know anything about the people behind this, but I was pleased to see Shut It Down October 17, 2007 linking anti-war activism to the labor movement (or what’s left of it). I started musing about how Labor took a very long time to line up against the Vietnam War, and eventually did so only partially, reluctantly and mildly. In large part, I’m told, this was because Labor didn’t want to be on the same side as those disgusting hippies. And, in fact, Labor became socially conservative and the Teamsters supported Ronald Reagan, etc, etc, and the left and Labor went their separate ways.

And I was wondering to what extent the people who still support the invasion and continued occupation do so because it pisses off the liberals.

Now, when I mentioned this to my Best Reader, she was understandably offended that I would accuse people of supporting a war, with its attendant blood and loss, just to piss off the liberals. And she was right. Nobody really supports our overseas adventure just to make me eat my liver. That would be crazy.

On the other hand...

YHB has spent a while on this Tohu Bohu hocking about heuristics, about the ways in which philosophy helps us make decisions about our lives. The world is too complicated (says I) to try to think out every decision you make. You need rules and patterns to help you through the day. On the other hand, your rules and patterns are not as complicated as the world, and will often be wrong. That’s OK—you can survive being wrong, now and then. But you will do better (says I, again) if you put some work into your rules and patterns, and put some effort into understanding how rules and patterns work, and most important, if you remember that they are just rules and patterns, and not the immense complicated universe itself. Right? Got it? Let’s move on.

In politics, one of the ways to make life easy for yourself is to identify a set of principles and policy applications of those principles that you like, and a set of those you dislike, and then to find a political Party that overlaps with the good ones pretty well and avoids the bad ones pretty well. Then you just pull on the big lever with a D on it. Or an L. Now, you will be wrong sometimes, but most of the time, you will have voted for the person more in tune with your principles and policies.

But there are always new circumstances, and always new policy applications of your principles to those new circumstances, and the Party has to do that, and isn’t it better if you help it? Because, after all, the more your Party agrees with you, the more you will agree with it, and the fewer times you will pull a lever for a candidate that turns out not to share your principles and policies—or, worse, the less time you will have to invest in finding out if it would be a mistake to pull the lever for your Party’s candidate. Etcetera, etcetera, it goes on and on. You know my thinking about all this stuff, right?

But here’s another thing: there is a group of people who I now can trust to be consistently wrong on principle and policy matters. If Our Only President and his cabal of incompetents and crooks thinks that a military strike on Iran or privatizing Social Security or wiretapping without warrants or even the passage of a particular immigration bill would be a good idea, I can oppose it purely on reputation, and by Gd I will be right so often that I may as well save the time I might otherwise spend thinking and play another round of Jellybattle. And isn’t that what a heuristic is all about?

The supporters of Our Only President call this Bush Derangement Syndrome, but of course it doesn’t seem remotely deranged to me. How could it?

But surely, then, there are people who can use Your Humble Blogger as a measure of wrongheadedness. Or they can use the Democratic Party, or Michael Moore, or Ted Kennedy. These are my opposites, and if they want to use us the way I use Our Only President and his cabal of incompetents and crooks, well, far be it from me to dissuade them.

In the same way, a Teamster might well look at a 1969 hippie and say that the hippie supports the use of mind-altering drugs, promiscuous sex, long rock songs with heavily layered sounds and lots of keyboard, long hair on men, casual violations of the law, disrespect for the older generation, rejection of capitalism, rejection of religion, rejection of cultural norms, and a contempt for him and his family, and think if these guys are against the war, then the war must be better than it looks. Which goes to show that these patterns can’t really be relied on—when it comes to something important like war or salvation or pizza toppings, you have to view the results of your heuristic with suspicion.

And, by the way, if you are going to rely on a bad-example-rule, it’s probably a good idea to find out what your opposite actually does think and espouse. The people who I suggested were still supporting the war to piss off the liberals may (if they exist at all, and I suspect they do) have an image of The Liberal who supports, oh, the use of mind-altering drugs, promiscuous sex, long rock songs with heavily layered sounds and lots of keyboard, long hair on men, casual violations of the law, disrespect for the older generation, rejection of capitalism, rejection of religion, rejection of cultural norms, and a contempt for them and their families. Most of us have gone right off keyboards. Heck, only a handful of us have really rejected capitalism, more’s the pity.

Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,
-Vardibidian.

Comments

Talk radio has been non-stop gleeful about the taser incident in Florida. Can't stop laughing about how great it is that this student got tasered. The best part is the student begging for mercy right before getting tasered, except that the really best part is the pain the student actually experienced. And why? Because it was some liberal student, and they don't like him on a gut level, so it's really fantastic that the kid got tasered, because incredible pain and fear and injury and risk of death is PERFECT when you don't like somebody! I seriously haven't heard people this happy on the radio since the Sox won the Series. And I listen to a lot of radio.

Yeah, I'm sure these guys have much better reasons for supporting the occupation. They've shown such morals and capacity for reason.


Post a comment

Please join in. Comments on older posts will be held for moderation. Don't be a jerk. Eat fruit.