Oh Mike Rowe

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Have A Nice Day

I’m currently working on two editorials.  I’ll get them up as soon as I’m finished them.  I hope they are at least half as decent as warranted by the time it took to write them.  In the mean time, I really just wanted to vent about something that really “gets my goat.”  (Goats are quite popular, so I wanted to include them in this.)

amqeo4I do often engage in “Interweb discussions.”  I’m not really trolling.  I like to discuss issues with a variety of perspectives.  I also find it’s challenging to have to defend your perspective.  It helps you refine your talking points.  Also, as I’ve said in the past, “You cannot claim an idea as your own until you can defend it.”  There’s a variety of reasons, most of which are constructive… and sometimes it’s just fun.  I do it all the time, with all sorts of individuals.  But there’s one thing that typically ends the discussion.

Invariably, there comes a point where someone drops a hyperlink and suggests you “do some research” or “read up” on a topic.  (Yes, this happened today.)  I have a few triggers, and this is one of them.  It makes me irate.  Not on every topic… there are issues that I’m not well versed in:  If the conversation is sports, even the average five year old can tell me that I don’t know what I’m talking about… because I typically do not.  Among my peers, there are issues they tell me that I have to do more reading on a topic and that’s fine, too.  My point is… I do admit that I don’t know everything.  I’m constantly learning.  And I don’t even mind if someone asks me what my understanding of an issue is, or what my background on a topic is, to try and understand how deep my perspective goes.  That’s fine.

There are other times where I just really get irate.  Quite often, my response is “have a good day” or just “fuck off.”  But what I really want to say is:

fuck-youAre you fucking kidding me?  Because I did not write an entire essay on a topic in a comments section, replete with footnotes, you are going to condescend to me that I need to “do more reading” on a topic?  How did you even get on that high horse?  I studied political science at UC Berkeley.  I’ve discussed this topic with Nobel Laureates.  I have a post-graduate degree in political theory.  I’ve spend more than a decade of my fucking life studying these thing.  Who the fuck are you to tell me that my knowledge is insufficient?  I have colleagues that are in almost every field of this topic.  Just because I don’t agree with you, suddenly my perspective isn’t valid?  What are your fucking qualifications on the subject that make you more of an authority than I am?  Why don’t you go fuck yourself?  Maybe you need to read a bit more on the subject before you step to me.  It’s not my fault that you are unable to understand my perspective from the few words that I took the time out to contribute?  Instead of being condescending, how about a fucking “thank you” for me taking the time to share some of my perspective that I’ve dedicated so much time and debt to obtaining?  You can kindly go fuck yourself.

That’s what I want to say, but I don’t.  Partly because I do deplore elitism.  It feels elitist to brag about my education.  I don’t know why it is… it’s not like it was just handed to me.  I had to work hard and fight for every bit of it.  I guess it’s another reason it really pisses me off.

I do use the names of philosophers and authors I have studied in the past… mostly to define my perspective.  It’s more pedagogic than anything.  When I say “Montesquieu,” it condenses an entire philosophy into one word.  Similarly, I can point out that Arendt or Marcuse had explained an issue in a certain way, without having to reiterate what they said.  It’s more shortcuts than anything else.  The desire isn’t to be elitist about my education, but simply to support my claims.  I’m trying to show that I didn’t just make things up on the spot.

But there’s more to it than just the condescending tone.  It’s demeaning.  And that’s typically something else I want to respond with in these instances.  Someone drops a link.  (And it’s different when it’s a link to the exact thing being discussed.  Like if we are discussing Lenin’s Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism and someone drops a link to the pdf of the text, that’s fine.)  But to say something along the line of “read this blog,” or “read this Wikipedia page,” or even “read some essays on this website,” it just demeaning.tumblr_lnauy7qhlC1qlk9yko1_500

The amount of research involved in studying these topics is quite extensive.  Just recently, to write one essay, I had to read Arendt’s Origins Of Totalitarianism, Erich Fromm’s The Fear of Freedom, Althusser’s For Marx, Marcuse’ One-Dimensional Man, a half of a dozen of texts from Max Weber, and a handful of other texts.  None of that is “light reading.”  It’s tedious and arduous… and then, I didn’t just have to read them, I had to understand them.  Not only did I have to understand them, but I had to show that I understood them.  I had to elaborate on them.  And following ALL of that, I had to contribute my own original thoughts on them.  And this wasn’t even a dissertation or final paper.  It wasn’t something I was trying to publish.  It was just an assignment.

To suggest that your little internet resource is somehow more comprehensive than the knowledge that I’ve gained is just offensive.  We all do it sometimes, I understand.  And people that do not know me might think I’m just another prat on the internet espousing some uninformed theory.  I understand that, too.  I do accept that the intent is rarely to offend.  But that’s the thing about being offensive, sometimes the intent doesn’t matter.  If we want to have discourse, it’s important that we actually have discourse.  If you want to just be an ideologue espousing your perspective and just dismissing any opposing perspective, that’s fine, too.  I can do that.  But I really don’t see the point.  And if it comes down to credibility and rhetorical ability, I highly doubt you will come out on top.

Chinese Boogeyman

There is a plethora of things that I wanted to write about today.  (Once could also say that “I have a plethora of piñatas.”)  One common theme that has been appearing in regard to the hypocrisy of Hobby Lobby is that they purchase a large amount of goods from China.  The hypocrisy involved here is pointed out at the fact that China not only has large, state-sponsored use of contraception and abortion, but the claim is that China encourages infanticide and forced abortions.

chinese-flag-It’s true that this happens in China.  And it happens more in China than in the US or most of Europe.  But China also has 1/3 of the world population.  It’s likely that almost anything involving humans happens more in China than anywhere else in the world due to the sheer number of the population.  It’s a complicated situation.  I deplore cultural relativism but at the same time, I deplore demonization.  I feel a lot of these comments do amount to both, honestly.  I’ll try to explain why.  At the same time, all of this has led me to wonder why it is the American Left feels the need to demonize China.

Continue reading Chinese Boogeyman

Can't Well Reason With Ideologues

I was writing the other day about ideologues.  I pretty much finished it when two individuals decided to go all Mick and Mallory.  I felt that, given the gravity of what happened in Vegas, the issue warranted a much more deliberate and reasoned analysis.  This is also a prelude to a larger topic of ideologues in contemporary society, but I have decided to break it down into several pieces.

web-conspiracy-lgToday, I want to turn focus on the American Libertarians (hereafter just called “Libertarians”).  I stumbled upon a listicle on a blog that stuck with me and I found to be emblematic of my critique.   The article I came across this listicle on a website titled Top 10 Reasons Libertarians Aren’t Nice To You.

Just to make things clear, the word ideologue means “an adherent of an ideology, especially one who is uncompromising and dogmatic.”  The etymology of the word comes form the French word idéologue from the beginning of the 19th century.  I am not using “ideologue” as a means of emotional appeal or an attempt to demonize oppositional perspectives.  It’s actually quite the opposite.

First, let’s look at the “Top Ten Reasons Libertarians Aren’t Nice To You.”  Continue reading Can’t Well Reason With Ideologues

Government Propaganda

My last entry came off a bit like a “pro-government” piece.  It was even accused of being “government propaganda” at one point.  I can assure the reader that it was not the intent.   I originally wrote a fairly decent follow-up but it wasn’t saved as a draft.  I’ll attempt to do it again.

The main point of the previous article was to showcase why I did not believe the Left should showcase Edward Snowden as a “hero” for the Left.  I do admit that quite often I write performatively, instead of descriptively.  And there are times I mix the two together.  So, this is to clarify a lot of the points.

Rousseau_pirated_editionThere are a few things that I think are important, though.  One is that not everything is a zero sum game.  I’ve talked about this in the past.  There are times when A and B are not valid options.  I also do not think that being critical of something means you are totally against it.  I also do not believe that admitting something is valid is in total support of it.  To that end, there is a bit of “pro-government” rhetoric to the previous piece.  There’s a bit of that to all of my work.  Why?  Simply because I do believe that some form of government is beneficial, if not necessary.  I’m not an anarchist.  I have never claimed to be.  (Not that all anarchists are against all concepts of government, nor that I have a problem with the a lot of the concepts of anarchist philosophy.)  So, yes, I am “pro-government.”  But not necessarily any specific government.

I think it’s also important to point out that every article, essay, or written work has a bias.  There are attempts to minimize bias, but it still exists.  In my attempt to do this, I try to explain my perspective —- my ideological leanings.  It’s not that I believe these are the only valid perspectives.  It is that there is a whole history of thought behind that which I claim.  To that end, I also dislike relativism.   Continue reading Government Propaganda