Hit Me With Your Best Shot

Hi reader gangos of mine.  Now that I’m back blogging more regularly for a while let me put a challenge out there for you – particularly those of contrary views to mine.  How about we see if people writing comments can try and  generate a few dozen (or a few hundred) words that form real content and demonstrate (as I would expect from my students) evidence of critical thought?  Unlike the last couple of comments posted by others to the blog, for example.

Don’t get me wrong:  I appreciate ANY comments.  It means someone is reading this stuff and I’m not just spray painting the ozone with my punditical forays.  I’m just asking you if you could up the amps a little bit.  Don’t just tell me I’m a pompous jerk (heck, that’s a given—who else but  us PJs spend their precious time blogging, for heaven’s sake?  We’re pompous enough to think anyone gives a flying fig….).  Don’t just tell me you are laughing your posterior off.  Tell me and the other readers WHY this is the case.  What’s the logic?  Where’s the evidence?  With a little thought I’m sure that some of you out there should be able to really eviscerate me.  Heck, I  find holes in my logic all the time. So let’s engage in, at least on occasion, something approximating  thoughtful and civil discourse.  ‘kay?

And, if you don’t want to—if you prefer the polemical and the pungent—well, then, keep on commenting anyway.  But do know I might be pushed to the point of dropping the big ‘ol “nanny-nanny-boo-boo” bomb on you from time to time.  (I apologize to any of my readers of tender heart whom I may have offended with such coarse language.)

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13 Responses to “Hit Me With Your Best Shot”

  1. refriedgringo Says:

    (crickets)

    You’re completely polarized, you know. You believe in a system, an ideology, that preaches while holding a safety net, no different than any right-wing blowhard. Do you know what their jobs are, these politicians? To get re-elected. Period. On both sides of the aisle.

    Look what just happened in Massachusetts. Change the laws in order to maintain the power. Everything that is currently being done in the United States of America, along with everything that has been done in the past, is all about control. It has absolutely nothing to do with what is in the best interest of the people. Brush up on your Plato.

    Feel free to inform all of us concerning what ideology we should be believing in. Meanwhile, I’ll continue to listen to the sweet sound of…

    (crickets)

  2. Augmented Ballot Says:

    Just want you to know that I’m still enjoying the blog and that you’re not just whistling to a Tourette’s ward.

  3. Carl Luna Says:

    Hi Augmented: Glad you enjoy the read. We must remember that one man’s Tourette’s ward is another’s philosophical forum (e.g. The Glenn Beck show)…..

    As for Mr. Refried, patience, dear boy. You have not vanquished me with your repartee. As I wrote in my last response to you, it’s been the weekend, dude. I don’t work weekends (and this blog is part of my professional persona, not my life.) I spent the weekend with my wife seeing my mother, having lunch with my mother-in-law and her 92 year old sister, going up to LA to have lunch with our daughter in college, watching movies with the daughters at home, walking the dog, shopping and squeezing in sushi and a tango show (at Pampas in Kearny Mesa, my favorite Argentinian if any want wants the review. ) Now that my work week resumes I’ll take some time and chew on your meaty post and spit something back to you. So chill, my friend. The discussion will continue.

    Lunacy

    • refriedgringo Says:

      Carl, you are wise to take your time. And I will take mine. But please refrain from posting about dancing celebs, or other such nonsense. And keep in mind that I also have a family (which does not include Ms. Fish – bad guess, and somewhat tasteless), including daughters, and I cook for the family and still find time to do this (and my blogging is FREE! imagine that). But you need to come to terms with the fact that your professional persona (which would otherwise be an oxymoron), really is your life.

      We are what we do. And, I’m either about as old or else older than you are, so “my boy” becomes a ridiculous term of endearment. And don’t spit something back at me. Think about it. Write it well.

  4. Carl Luna Says:

    As for your “polarized” comment, I believe they call that system democracy. Politicians want to be reelected. To be reelected they ultimately have to make people happy. They make enough people unhappy they get deelected. They make enough people really, really, unhappy they get revolutionated. Maybe our system is drifting towards that point. I don’t think so. Things aren’t that bad, yet. In the interim, the toilets still flush, food is still in the stores and bands of ferrel dogs are not prowling the streets preying on the kids. It isn’t that bad. Though I agree systemic changes need be considered before it
    gets that bad. As for Plato: that old crotchety reactionary Greek thought society should be ordered under a handful of genetically predisposed selfless guardians who would do what THEY thought was in the best interests of the people. In other words, Plato was an authoritarian socialist. I don’t The Republic is exactly the shooting script your aiming for. And what IS this “best interests of the people?” How do you define it, explicitly, in terms of tax rates, line items, programs, policies and administrations? Wanting the “best interests of the people” is like saying “have a nice day”—short on sentiment and commitment.

    As for you latest comment, Refried, you are a man more dedicated to the cause than I. You post multiple comments for days. Me, I take weekends off. You are really giving your all! As for my posts, like Jack FM, I play what I want. You read what you want. Works for me. As for you and Ms. Fish – it’s called humor. Maybe not good humor, but an attempt none the less. As for finding time to do this – what makes you think there’s money in this? What did you pay to read it? There’s my income stream. As for my life being defined by my professional persona – if you believe that you are what you do—you live to work and do not work to live—then we have a very different life attitude. When I am on my death bed (and, hopefully, not in my high velocity death vehicle…) I do not anticipate my dean, president, editor or other professional colleagues to be by my side. I do hope that I will be, by the time of my demise, decades out of this professional persona having had years of new experiences to weave into my life’s tapestry. But, c’est la vie. You be you and I’ll be me.

    • refriedgringo Says:

      I think we have a failure to communicate here, Mr. Luna. I’ll break this down, then, slowly. Let’s examine some of your statements.

      “As for your “polarized” comment, I believe they call that system democracy.”

      Polarization was not what the Greeks had in mind when it came to democracy. It was, in essence (again, I will go on about Plato sometimes), self-rule. Equality and freedom. Self-responsibility. Polarization (New Latin from the Greeks!) is an invention by politicians to divide and conquer. And oh, how they have conquered, these modern-day politicians.

      Which brings me to Plato. He saw it coming. You wrote:

      “As for Plato: that old crotchety reactionary Greek thought society should be ordered under a handful of genetically predisposed selfless guardians who would do what THEY thought was in the best interests of the people. In other words, Plato was an authoritarian socialist.”

      This is a very poorly constructed argument. Plato’s complaint was that elected officials will become corrupt at best, and tyrants at worst. And this is a truth, almost 2,500 later! Even the United States of America, which probably has the best example of a democratic republic, is a shining beacon of corruption and tyrannical rule. As for your posit on Plato being a socialist:

      “Until philosophers rule as kings or those who are now called kings and leading men genuinely and adequately philosophise, that is, until political power and philosophy entirely coincide, while the many natures who at present pursue either one exclusively are forcibly prevented from doing so, cities will have no rest from evils,… nor, I think, will the human race.”

      Doesn’t sound like socialism to me. That’s from “Republic”, I will assume that you read it at some point, but may not have understood the “old crotchety reactionary Greek” bastard. Bascially, he knew that politicians, in order to (your words) “be reelected they ultimately have to make people happy. They make enough people unhappy they get deelected. They make enough people really, really, unhappy they get revolutionated.”

      So, what’s a politician to do? Lie. LIE like a maniac. But seem sincere. And steal, get everything you can just in case you become “deelected”. But use whatever means necessary (print lots of money you don’t have, give away cars, anything!) to get reelected.

      Right?

      “The Republic” (note: it’s “Republic”, no “The”) isn’t what you want as a base for your ideal society, but it is a handy tool of what you do not want society to become. Plato’s wisdom wasn’t so much in what might have worked two thousand years ago, it was a warning about what we were in store for in the centuries to come.

      “How do you define it, explicitly, in terms of tax rates, line items, programs, policies and administrations?”

      As little of everything as possible. Tax rates? A percentage, straight up, no shelters and no deductions. No one should get a write-off because of over procreation. People don’t need programs and policies and administrations, they need to self-determine their own destiny. That isn’t, nor should it be the job of government.

  5. Fish Says:

    Oh brother.

    Refried, if I am not mistaken and my eyes don’t not deceive me, I don’t believe you were speaking of the system, you were speaking of El Profe’s view of the system when you spoke of a polarized view. And I further do not believe that you were refering to Plato’s notions, not advocating Plato run for President for Life. As far as generalized statements, “Things aren’t that bad yet” is about as wishy-washy as you can get when speaking of the current state of American affairs. I certainly don’t see anything about tax rates, line items, programs, policies, and administrations in there, or anywhere else in that little spitball.

    Of course that’s just my eyes, they could be lying to me.

    LMFAO

  6. Fish Says:

    Excuse me, I meant of course to say *do not, not don’t not.

  7. Fish Says:

    Serves me right for writing too fast, that post is full of errors, so here is the edited version:

    Oh brother.

    Refried, if I am not mistaken and my eyes do not deceive me, I don’t believe you were speaking of the system, you were speaking of El Profe’s view of the system when you spoke of a polarized view. And I further believe that you were refering to Plato’s notions, not advocating Plato run for President for Life. As far as generalized statements, “Things aren’t that bad yet” is about as wishy-washy as you can get when speaking of the current state of American affairs. I certainly don’t see anything about tax rates, line items, programs, policies, and administrations in there, or anywhere else in that little spitball.

    Of course that’s just my eyes, they could be lying to me.

    LMFAO

  8. refriedgringo Says:

    “Refried, if I am not mistaken and my eyes do not deceive me, I don’t believe you were speaking of the system, you were speaking of El Profe’s view of the system when you spoke of a polarized view. And I further believe that you were refering to Plato’s notions, not advocating Plato run for President for Life.”

    Absolutely correct. Plato warned of the evils, that’s the thing we can carry with us in this quest for a better humanity. I didn’t read Plato’s “Republic” until I was well out of college. And when I did, I got chills. Not over his ideal society (although it’s interesting to note that someone from way before Jesus rendered unto Caesar would have such insight), but over what he predicted of democracy.

    An aside: I read “Republic” mostly in a one-room apartment in Tijuana many years ago, while briefly separated with my wife. Three liters of beer and thirty pages of Plato were an excellent prescription every evening. I purchased the book for twenty-five cents from a Mexican street vendor. Not that I didn’t know about Plato, but the book certainly helped to shape my perspective of politics. I still have that book around here somewhere. Best quarter I ever spent.

  9. Carl Luna Says:

    “Polarization was not what the Greeks had in mind when it came to democracy. It was, in essence (again, I will go on about Plato sometimes), self-rule. Equality and freedom. Self-responsibility. Polarization (New Latin from the Greeks!) is an invention by politicians to divide and conquer. And oh, how they have conquered, these modern-day politicians.”
    When I referred to your polarized comment I meant the basic political philosophy expressed by the rest of the text and not “polarized” itself. Democracy can lead to polarization though it can also lead to broad coalitions—FDR, Reagan—that unites the broad middle. Indeed, much of the current climate of polarization is a fiction of the political punditry class and extreme partisans on the edges of both the major parties. There is substantial public consensus on issues ranging from the environment to abortion according to poll after poll. Ultimately, the Median Voter Theory tends to win out, driving both parties back towards a middle ground. Right now the national median is shifting a tad more left after having shifted a tad more right since the 1970s.

    “Plato’s complaint was that elected officials will become corrupt at best, and tyrants at worst. And this is a truth, almost 2,500 later! Even the United States of America, which probably has the best example of a democratic republic, is a shining beacon of corruption and tyrannical rule.”
    No, Plato’s complaint was that people in general, but for a shining, golden few, were corrupt, selfish and driven by the false concerns of a material world that doesn’t even exist. As such, beyond—just maybe—the capacity to acknowledge that they should be ruled like sheep by the shepherds of philosopher kings, the people could not be trusted with any real power. (Thus Plato becomes “The Philosopher” to St. Augustine and the greatest classical influence on the early Church—and the symbol of the Bishop becomes the shepherd’s crook.) As for this “tyrannical rule” –excuse me? Who, exactly, is this Tyrant—the single person with the power. Now you can argue that, on bad days, this Republic has pushed towards Oligarchy and even real Democracy in its negative Aristotelian formulation, but not Tyranny. On good days we achieve much of what was hoped for in the Aristotelian polity.
    “As for your posit on Plato being a socialist”
    Plato distrusted commerce to the extreme a posited a guardian class– living communally—again, such as the Church priesthood would develop. The masses would be allowed such economic freedoms as the state would dictate. Doesn’t sound like the old Greek was a Friedmanite.
    “So, what’s a politician to do? Lie. LIE like a maniac. But seem sincere. And steal, get everything you can just in case you become “deelected”. But use whatever means necessary (print lots of money you don’t have, give away cars, anything!) to get reelected.”
    So, what, Plato WAS right? The People are really THAT stupid so that, consistently, for 220 years, they have elected lying fools, knaves and crooks to run them? Is that why the US and other electoral democracies are rat holes of poverty, misery and pestilence? Is that why electoral democracies have been on a downward slide for two centuries, producing the lowest standards of living on the planet? I think you argue more from spleen than from fact. The fact is, this so-called “shining beacon of corruption and tyrannical rule” has done fairly well over the last two centuries compared to systems of government that have far more in common with the ideas of Plato—authoritarian states and their “guardians” of the people and revolutions. Plato has far more in common, ultimately, with Marx than he does with Locke or Mills.
    “As little of everything as possible. Tax rates? A percentage, straight up, no shelters and no deductions. No one should get a write-off because of over procreation. People don’t need programs and policies and administrations, they need to self-determine their own destiny. That isn’t, nor should it be the job of government.”

    OK, so you’re a Libertarian. Fine. But when you say people just “need to self-determine their own destiny”, what if I think my destiny is to bash you over the head and take your stuff? Or how about my destiny is to earn an MBA from Harvard and manage hedge funds in which I take huge risks with your money while telling you the best and brightest minds of finance have certified the investment as basically risk free, pocketed huge fees for my services and then walk away when the whole thing crashes? If my destiny is to be stronger than you or smarter than you or luckier than you, can a victimize you as much as I want to the exclusion of any notion of your natural rights? Bit Ayn Rand, for my tastes. So yes, the government that governs best governs least. But the government that governs too least is Somalia. Balancing the extremes—not rushing one way or the other—is the balancing act of democracy.

    Nice discussion.
    Lunacy

    PS– RF: Next time you are down and out in TJ, find a quarter copy of Aristotle and Aquinas–better read for the money than Plato though Aquinas will probably go better with a good wine and I’ve always had a sneaking suspicion Aristotle would have liked tequila.

  10. nan Says:

    30/love refried and fish

  11. Carl Luna Says:

    “30/love refried and fish” Nan? 30/love? Really? I’m feeling so John McEnroe.


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