In Praise of Living Uncomfortably

 

I watched an episode of the Rubin Report from a year ago in which Dave Rubin interviewed actor Richard Dreyfuss. The reason Dreyfuss appeared was to flog his book: One Thought Scares Me…: We Teach Our Children What We Wish Them to Know; We Don’t Teach Our Children What We Don’t Wish Them to Know. From the Amazon precis:

We’ve let the meaning of America be reduced to guesswork. It might not be too late.

Our democratic republic is failing, and it shouldn’t be a surprise. We can’t fly a plane without training; we can’t practice medicine without attending medical school. And yet we expect the American people to wield the full power of their citizenship, the product of the most revolutionary governmental thinking in human history, without any education.

We no longer teach our children the Bill of Rights or Constitution. We don’t teach the Enlightenment values that underpin them. We don’t teach the critical thinking skills and mental agility necessary for our own sovereignty. We’ve stopped teaching civics, and now we can’t have a civil political discussion. The American experiment may fail if we don’t act.

Given the intensity of my current worries about the Republic, and my personal outrage at the insults to the Constitution, listening to Dreyfuss gave me pause. His own personal story is from the Left. His family and friends were avowed communists. But his version of American communism was decidedly inept and hypothetical and not at all the raging menace of the Comintern. He feels that traditional Americanism was strong enough to withstand the broad disagreements between Communism and Capitalism and to benefit from the push and pull. Dreyfuss felt that American communism arose quite understandably from the poverty of its adherents as a desire to make their lives better, to make the system work better for them.

His pitch is not for one political movement to win over another, it is that the system created by our Founders in America is a system where multiple political movements could coexist, and the debate between them would benefit everyone. Today, such coexistence is in question. And the fact that there is even a question of coexistence is worrisome.

Here I will depart from my recollection of what he said to extend his thoughts in a direction his comments took me: Our national motto — E Pluribus Unum (From many, one) — is a recognition of a stable plurality, not a goal of eliminating plurality. When you eliminate plurality you have a totalitarian state. That is the end point of “winner take all, forever” politics.

The very genesis of this website, Ricochet, is for civil discourse on politics. But our debates sometimes devolve to the level of the current “national conversation” — that is to say, it is no conversation at all. It is easy to see factions develop on various issues. What animates each commenter is the belief that their thinking, analysis, or outlook is more correct than the alternative. And we lose sight, in so doing, that it is the conversation that will lead to outcomes that, if not ones with which we are entirely comfortable, are most likely to sustain and improve our society.

This is a hard thought to hold on to. It is particularly difficult if you believe that you are the one who must always compromise, your positions are the ones that routinely lose, and the outcomes are destructive of the society in which you and your children should live. For this reason, I struggle. I worry about America and its future. Dreyfuss is worried, too.

How do we differentiate between natural societal evolution and a drift into totalitarianism? It is the Bill of Rights. If we shout loudly and argue fiercely, but uphold our Bill of Rights, we’ll be okay. If our governments and our courts will not respect and defend the rights of individuals set forth in the Bill of Rights, it does not matter what political theory is being pursued, it is totalitarian.

No matter our political views and preferred policies, the antecedent question is, do your views and preferences uphold the Bill of Rights? If they do, then the outcome is, at a minimum, livable and may actually be beneficial. A welfare state is constitutional — we can decide as a people how much we will pay for government and its wealth redistribution. A communist/socialist state is not — it commands the means of production. Debate — even heated and hateful — is constitutional; censorship — even of bad ideas — is not.

With the foregoing in mind let me also call your attention to recent comments by Candace Owens. Nellie Bowles in her TGIF column in The Free Press includes this item:

Candace Owens, a star conservative commentator now building her own media company, argues that it was a mistake for the U.S. to enter World War II. When a journalist asks to confirm this, saying: “So, you think that America shouldn’t have gone into that second world war?” Candace replies: “Yeah, and that is a radical statement. People don’t know how to deal with that because we’ve all been so brainwashed by the school system to believe that ‘Look how great things are. . . . ’ This whole idea of international liberalism—now it’s not just about your problems, it’s about solving the world’s problems. Let’s make sure that in Pakistan there’s a trans flag waving. No.” So, England should have fallen to the Nazis. Because otherwise we get The Trans Flag. This is where the new right is at. They believe World War II was a mistake; the Nazis would have been fine controlling Europe, which is none of our business anyway; and when Japan bombed Pearl Harbor we should have said, “Thank you! Hawaii always seemed gay to us too! Men wearing necklaces made of flowers?!” Thanks for bravely saying what no one else will dare to, Candace.

If you go to the linked video from the quote you can verify that Candace actually said that. But if you watched the interview you will see what Candace (IMO) is saying: “Things are such a mess now with global governance and endless war, shouldn’t we reexamine the decisions made in the 20th century to understand how we might have prevented things evolving to where they are? I don’t know the answer. I know that you have to fight wars. But could we have fought them differently, pursued different strategic objectives, picked different allies than we did?” Candace is married to George Farmer, son of Michael Farmer who sits in the British House of Lords. So I don’t think Candace wanted Nazi Germany to win the war. And it is unclear how we could have avoided fighting the Axis Powers given the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and Germany’s declaration of war in response to our declaration of war against Japan.

But reconsidering the implications of Manifest Destiny policies and envisioning a different rollout of history is not the worst idea. It lives in the counterfactual. But thinking through how things might have been different is useful in examining which options we have in the here and now. This is an example of plurality.

If the ideas are bad they need both to be heard and demonstrated in debate to be bad. If our debates are rigged, we need to find a way to un-rig them, not substitute one rigging for another. In other words, we need to embrace being uncomfortable. The greatest tool in the totalitarian’s toolbox is chaos — chaos that makes men beg for normalcy even at the loss of autonomy. The greatest defense against giving into those feelings and empowering the totalitarian is to learn how to live with uncomfortable ideas and difficult people, to understand that that is the price of liberty.

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  1. Susan Quinn Member
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Excellent post! We can go to all kinds of efforts to avoid being uncomfortable, and most of those efforts get us into trouble. Your idea reminds me of a Zen saying, “Not knowing is the most intimate.” Many of us hate the unknown, the unpredictable, the undefinable future. But if we live our values, and knowing that we can’t predict the future, we can find a level of comfort in knowing that we simply don’t know. And that’s okay

    • #1
  2. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Historical events in hindsight may always seem to have some degree of inevitability, but I think Ms Owens should be expected to provide a more detailed alternative analysis.  Otherwise it’s just another “What If The South Had Won The Civil War?” college dorm room BS discussion.

    • #2
  3. philo Member
    philo
    @philo

    Re: …In other words, we need to embrace being uncomfortable. The greatest tool in the totalitarian’s toolbox is chaos — chaos that makes men beg for normalcy even at the loss of autonomy. The greatest defense against giving into those feelings and empowering the totalitarian, is to learn how to live with uncomfortable ideas and difficult people, to understand that that is the price of liberty.

    This is a wonderful passage.

    I will just stress that to live with “the uncomfortable” is the exact opposite of rationalizing away every “uncomfortable” to allow one’s self to ease back into a rather isolated chaos free zone inside our perimeter. The hard shell of anti-intellectualism required to maintain that confined space has a crippling effect on the mind for continued liberty. Yet, so many insist on the more comfortable path. Alas, free will…

    “Serenity now! Serenity now!”

    • #3
  4. cdor Member
    cdor
    @cdor

    I haven’t been following Ms Owens. She sure is pushing out the box these days. She’s looking to create her unique path, as she must. However, she seems to be throwing a lot of grenades along her way. 

    Some ideas do not easily co-exist. Communism and Capitalism are among them. But that doesn’t mean they can’t be discussed. Discussing the differences serves to strengthen the understanding of one’s own beliefs. Thanks for another very thoughtful post @rodin.

    • #4
  5. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    cdor (View Comment):

    I haven’t been following Ms Owens. She sure is pushing out the box these days. She’s looking to create her unique path, as she must. However, she seems to be throwing a lot of grenades along her way.

    And that doesn’t seem especially valuable to me, not if she’s not at least starting some kind of alternate conversation.  Otherwise it seems like others on the Left who are certain they need to destroy Western Civilization but have no real idea or plan for what to replace it with.  aka the old “Don’t tear down a wall until you find out why it was there.”

    • #5
  6. Rodin Member
    Rodin
    @Rodin

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Historical events in hindsight may always seem to have some degree of inevitability, but I think Ms Owens should be expected to provide a more detailed alternative analysis. Otherwise it’s just another “What If The South Had Won The Civil War?” college dorm room BS discussion.

    Fair comment. And if you watched the video interview I thought she was aware that her thinking was notional at this point and requiring more thought. She was questioning the inevitability — particularly as if it was inevitable then the next steps, too, are inevitable and we aren’t going to like them very much.

    • #6
  7. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey
    @GaryMcVey

    Owens, and anyone, has the absolute right to examine history, raise questions, and wonder if we could have avoided WWII, or ended it faster with less loss of life. I did a post last year about open questions of 1939-’41. It didn’t take any courage on my part. (It probably helped that my conclusions were, in the end, fairly mainstream; the Nazis weren’t going to negotiate in good faith and were prepared to kick us out of the Atlantic. Hitler didn’t leave us any choice.) 

    Let’s not play games, though. All this wide-eyed, “can’t I even raise the issue?” martyrdom on the part of some WWII skeptics can be honest, but it sometimes can be anything but. It can be a laundered way of sneaking in the old accusation that we were tricked into war by….well, I don’t want to say…rhymes with “shoes”, rhymes with “blues”.  

    • #7
  8. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Rodin (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Historical events in hindsight may always seem to have some degree of inevitability, but I think Ms Owens should be expected to provide a more detailed alternative analysis. Otherwise it’s just another “What If The South Had Won The Civil War?” college dorm room BS discussion.

    Fair comment. And if you watched the video interview I thought she was aware that her thinking was notional at this point and requiring more thought. She was questioning the inevitability — particularly as if it was inevitable then the next steps, too, are inevitable and we aren’t going to like them very much.

    Well, yeah, but what’s the point?  If we didn’t get into WW2 there wouldn’t be any problems with FISA warrants?  Yeah, Because maybe the Nazis win?  That’s not a “plus” in my book.

    Even if the US getting into WW2 was “bad,” it could still very easily be “least bad.”

    • #8
  9. Rodin Member
    Rodin
    @Rodin

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Rodin (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Historical events in hindsight may always seem to have some degree of inevitability, but I think Ms Owens should be expected to provide a more detailed alternative analysis. Otherwise it’s just another “What If The South Had Won The Civil War?” college dorm room BS discussion.

    Fair comment. And if you watched the video interview I thought she was aware that her thinking was notional at this point and requiring more thought. She was questioning the inevitability — particularly as if it was inevitable then the next steps, too, are inevitable and we aren’t going to like them very much.

    Well, yeah, but what’s the point? If we didn’t get into WW2 there wouldn’t be any problems with FISA warrants? Yeah, Because maybe the Nazis win? That’s not a “plus” in my book.

    Even if the US getting into WW2 was “bad,” it could still very easily be “least bad.”

    I think you are viewing her comments too narrowly. What actions did the US take from 1900 on that if different would (a) have changed developments in 1914-1918?, (b) have not made us a “necessary” target of the Japanese?, (c) affected evolving alliances in Europe? etc. When you start with that view you move away from the specific exigencies of defeating the Japanese by the most expeditious means, saving Great Britain, making a deal with Stalin, etc. This is not a comprehensive list by any means, but it starts to suggest larger global forces that might have moved in different ways and created fewer opportunities both for military adventurism and the dominance of intelligence agencies and global finance.

    • #9
  10. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    Rodin: What animates each of the commenters is the belief that their thinking, analysis, or outlook is more correct than the alternative.

    Isn’t that true by definition?  If you don’t believe your “thinking, analysis and outlook” are “more correct”, wouldn’t you change your thinking, analysis and outlook to the ones you believe are more correct?

     

    I’ve never met anyone who intentionally believes incorrect things that they think are incorrect.

    • #10
  11. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Rodin (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Rodin (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Historical events in hindsight may always seem to have some degree of inevitability, but I think Ms Owens should be expected to provide a more detailed alternative analysis. Otherwise it’s just another “What If The South Had Won The Civil War?” college dorm room BS discussion.

    Fair comment. And if you watched the video interview I thought she was aware that her thinking was notional at this point and requiring more thought. She was questioning the inevitability — particularly as if it was inevitable then the next steps, too, are inevitable and we aren’t going to like them very much.

    Well, yeah, but what’s the point? If we didn’t get into WW2 there wouldn’t be any problems with FISA warrants? Yeah, Because maybe the Nazis win? That’s not a “plus” in my book.

    Even if the US getting into WW2 was “bad,” it could still very easily be “least bad.”

    I think you are viewing her comments too narrowly. What actions did the US take from 1900 on that if different would (a) have changed developments in 1914-1918?, (b) have not made us a “necessary” target of the Japanese?, (c) affected evolving alliances in Europe? etc. When you start with that view you move away from the specific exigencies of defeating the Japanese by the most expeditious means, saving Great Britain, making a deal with Stalin, etc. This is not a comprehensive list by any means, but it starts to suggest larger global forces that might have moved in different ways and created fewer opportunities both for military adventurism and the dominance of intelligence agencies and global finance.

    Sounded to me like she’s saying “we shouldn’t have gotten into WW2” not so much “WW2 could have been avoided by different actions taken decades earlier.”

    You know what else might have avoided WW2?  Germany, especially, not starting WW1.  So it seems more appropriate for her to criticize Germany, not the US.

    • #11
  12. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Rodin (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Rodin (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Historical events in hindsight may always seem to have some degree of inevitability, but I think Ms Owens should be expected to provide a more detailed alternative analysis. Otherwise it’s just another “What If The South Had Won The Civil War?” college dorm room BS discussion.

    Fair comment. And if you watched the video interview I thought she was aware that her thinking was notional at this point and requiring more thought. She was questioning the inevitability — particularly as if it was inevitable then the next steps, too, are inevitable and we aren’t going to like them very much.

    Well, yeah, but what’s the point? If we didn’t get into WW2 there wouldn’t be any problems with FISA warrants? Yeah, Because maybe the Nazis win? That’s not a “plus” in my book.

    Even if the US getting into WW2 was “bad,” it could still very easily be “least bad.”

    I think you are viewing her comments too narrowly. What actions did the US take from 1900 on that if different would (a) have changed developments in 1914-1918?, (b) have not made us a “necessary” target of the Japanese?, (c) affected evolving alliances in Europe? etc. When you start with that view you move away from the specific exigencies of defeating the Japanese by the most expeditious means, saving Great Britain, making a deal with Stalin, etc. This is not a comprehensive list by any means, but it starts to suggest larger global forces that might have moved in different ways and created fewer opportunities both for military adventurism and the dominance of intelligence agencies and global finance.

    Sounded to me like she’s saying “we shouldn’t have gotten into WW2” not so much “WW2 could have been avoided by different actions taken decades earlier.

    You know what else might have avoided WW2? Germany, especially, not starting WW1.

     

    “Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the Western spiral arm of the galaxy lies a small unregarded yellow sun. Orbiting this, at a distance of roughly ninety million miles is an utterly insignificant little blue-green planet, whose ape descended life forms are so amazingly primitive that they still think digital watches are a pretty neat idea. This planet has, or had, a problem, which was this. Most of the people living on it were unhappy for pretty much of the time. Many solutions were suggested for this problem, but most of these were largely concerned with the movements of small, green pieces of paper, which is odd, because on the whole, it wasn’t the small, green pieces of paper which were unhappy. And so the problem remained, and lots of the people were mean, and most of them were miserable, even the ones with digital watches. Many were increasingly of the opinion that they’d all made a big mistake coming down from the trees in the first place, and some said that even the trees had been a bad move, and that no-one should ever have left the oceans.”

    • #12
  13. Rodin Member
    Rodin
    @Rodin

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Rodin (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Rodin (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Historical events in hindsight may always seem to have some degree of inevitability, but I think Ms Owens should be expected to provide a more detailed alternative analysis. Otherwise it’s just another “What If The South Had Won The Civil War?” college dorm room BS discussion.

    Fair comment. And if you watched the video interview I thought she was aware that her thinking was notional at this point and requiring more thought. She was questioning the inevitability — particularly as if it was inevitable then the next steps, too, are inevitable and we aren’t going to like them very much.

    Well, yeah, but what’s the point? If we didn’t get into WW2 there wouldn’t be any problems with FISA warrants? Yeah, Because maybe the Nazis win? That’s not a “plus” in my book.

    Even if the US getting into WW2 was “bad,” it could still very easily be “least bad.”

    I think you are viewing her comments too narrowly. What actions did the US take from 1900 on that if different would (a) have changed developments in 1914-1918?, (b) have not made us a “necessary” target of the Japanese?, (c) affected evolving alliances in Europe? etc. When you start with that view you move away from the specific exigencies of defeating the Japanese by the most expeditious means, saving Great Britain, making a deal with Stalin, etc. This is not a comprehensive list by any means, but it starts to suggest larger global forces that might have moved in different ways and created fewer opportunities both for military adventurism and the dominance of intelligence agencies and global finance.

    Sounded to me like she’s saying “we shouldn’t have gotten into WW2” not so much “WW2 could have been avoided by different actions taken decades earlier.”

    You know what else might have avoided WW2? Germany, especially, not starting WW1. So it seems more appropriate for her to criticize Germany, not the US.

    Disagreeing with current US policy and thinking that decisions might have made in the past that would make the US of today more safe, secure and caring for its citizens doesn’t sound to me like criticizing the “US” per se. No doubt she has substantial animus for Nazi Germany. 

    • #13
  14. Rodin Member
    Rodin
    @Rodin

    Miffed White Male (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Rodin (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Rodin (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Historical events in hindsight may always seem to have some degree of inevitability, but I think Ms Owens should be expected to provide a more detailed alternative analysis. Otherwise it’s just another “What If The South Had Won The Civil War?” college dorm room BS discussion.

    Fair comment. And if you watched the video interview I thought she was aware that her thinking was notional at this point and requiring more thought. She was questioning the inevitability — particularly as if it was inevitable then the next steps, too, are inevitable and we aren’t going to like them very much.

    Well, yeah, but what’s the point? If we didn’t get into WW2 there wouldn’t be any problems with FISA warrants? Yeah, Because maybe the Nazis win? That’s not a “plus” in my book.

    Even if the US getting into WW2 was “bad,” it could still very easily be “least bad.”

    I think you are viewing her comments too narrowly. What actions did the US take from 1900 on that if different would (a) have changed developments in 1914-1918?, (b) have not made us a “necessary” target of the Japanese?, (c) affected evolving alliances in Europe? etc. When you start with that view you move away from the specific exigencies of defeating the Japanese by the most expeditious means, saving Great Britain, making a deal with Stalin, etc. This is not a comprehensive list by any means, but it starts to suggest larger global forces that might have moved in different ways and created fewer opportunities both for military adventurism and the dominance of intelligence agencies and global finance.

    Sounded to me like she’s saying “we shouldn’t have gotten into WW2” not so much “WW2 could have been avoided by different actions taken decades earlier.

    You know what else might have avoided WW2? Germany, especially, not starting WW1.

     

    “Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the Western spiral arm of the galaxy lies a small unregarded yellow sun. Orbiting this, at a distance of roughly ninety million miles is an utterly insignificant little blue-green planet, whose ape descended life forms are so amazingly primitive that they still think digital watches are a pretty neat idea. This planet has, or had, a problem, which was this. Most of the people living on it were unhappy for pretty much of the time. Many solutions were suggested for this problem, but most of these were largely concerned with the movements of small, green pieces of paper, which is odd, because on the whole, it wasn’t the small, green pieces of paper which were unhappy. And so the problem remained, and lots of the people were mean, and most of them were miserable, even the ones with digital watches. Many were increasingly of the opinion that they’d all made a big mistake coming down from the trees in the first place, and some said that even the trees had been a bad move, and that no-one should ever have left the oceans.”

    Just so.

    • #14
  15. Headedwest Coolidge
    Headedwest
    @Headedwest

    Dreyfus has a good point about the deletion of civics from the high school curriculum. My civics class taught me a lot about government worked and why things like, say, the electoral college came to be.

    Somewhere between me and my children that course disappeared.

    Why? What was the argument that led to it being dropped? I had no contact with people in public education at that time so I have no idea why it happened.

    • #15
  16. Headedwest Coolidge
    Headedwest
    @Headedwest

    Duplicate

    • #16
  17. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey
    @GaryMcVey

    There’s a remarkable consistency about what overseas dictators think and say about us, whether they are left or right, royal or rebel in origin: “The US has its finger in every pie, meddling everywhere”, “pushing their own supremacy disguised by feigned morality”…”it’s a materialistic country, slaves to the buck, in love with machines”.  Whether it was Hitler or Stalin, Gandhi or De Gaulle, they see us as bossy hypocrites. 

    Is there a coarse grain of truth to that view? There is.

    But is it largely the consoling lies of frustrated men who wish they wielded American-scale power? It is. 

    • #17
  18. GlennAmurgis Coolidge
    GlennAmurgis
    @GlennAmurgis

    The problem wasn’t US in WWII, it was that they thought they could repeat this for every issue rather than looking at the state of the issue and apply a solution for it. 

    • #18
  19. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    Gary McVey (View Comment):
    But is it largely the consoling lies of frustrated men who wish they wielded American-scale power? It is. 

    I think more than that, and worse than that, they deflect responsibility from themselves onto us. They do this constantly. Whenever their countrymen look for accountability and answers on things that go wrong in their own country, the dictators tell them that the problem is our fault. 

    • #19
  20. Rodin Member
    Rodin
    @Rodin

    GlennAmurgis (View Comment):

    The problem wasn’t US in WWII, it was that they thought they could repeat this for every issue rather than looking at the state of the issue and apply a solution for it.

    MarciN (View Comment):

    Gary McVey (View Comment):
    But is it largely the consoling lies of frustrated men who wish they wielded American-scale power? It is.

    I think more than that, and worse than that, they deflect responsibility from themselves onto us. They do this constantly. Whenever their countrymen look for accountability and answers on things that go wrong in their own country, the dictators tell them that the problem is our fault.

    Two things (actually 4) can be equally true: (1) “othering” and deflection is always a useful strategy for tyrants to pacify their populace (cf. 1984), (2) US belligerence in WWII was a net good not only for the populations that were occupied but for the populations that were defeated, (3) realpolitik, not American superpower status, best serves average Americans, and (4) international finance, more than free market capitalism per se, is the dominant economic model of the 21st Century and does not represent the best life for Americans going forward. But my purpose is not to argue for any particular proposition, but to introduce the need to be able to talk about alternatives rather than organizing into battling intellectual camps. Few of us (and I exclude myself) have such breadth of knowledge and command of detail that we cannot benefit from hearing others. And, sometimes, it takes provocative viewpoints to shake us out of our assumptions and reexamine what we know and believe. The provocateurs should not be rejected, but engaged — at least until one determines that provocation is a pose and artifice, not the reflecting of honest belief.

    • #20
  21. DaveSchmidt Coolidge
    DaveSchmidt
    @DaveSchmidt

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    There’s a remarkable consistency about what overseas dictators think and say about us, whether they are left or right, royal or rebel in origin: “The US has its finger in every pie, meddling everywhere”, “pushing their own supremacy disguised by feigned morality”…”it’s a materialistic country, slaves to the buck, in love with machines”. Whether it was Hitler or Stalin, Gandhi or De Gaulle, they see us as bossy hypocrites.

    Is there a coarse grain of truth to that view? There is.

    But is it largely the consoling lies of frustrated men who wish they wielded American-scale power? It is.

    Best post in this discussion! 

    • #21
  22. David Foster Member
    David Foster
    @DavidFoster

    “Problems X, Y, and Z exist, and alternative Q was chosen N years ago, therefore Q was the wrong decision” is not a valid syllogism.  It may well be that if alternative non-Q had been chosen then a worse set of problems might now exist.

     

    • #22
  23. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    David Foster (View Comment):

    “Problems X, Y, and Z exist, and alternative Q was chosen N years ago, therefore Q was the wrong decision” is not a valid syllogism. It may well be that if alternative non-Q had been chosen then a worse set of problems might now exist.

     

    Thus the “don’t kill baby Hitler” stories.  This may be the better alternative timeline.

    • #23
  24. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    I’m going to disagree with the premise. So there!

    I think this. . .

    Rodin: No matter our political views and preferred policies, the antecedent question is, do your views and preferences uphold the Bill of Rights?

    . . . contributes to the problem of the movement toward totalitarianism rather than alleviates it. 

    I’m not the first to think the Bill of Rights was a founding mistake. It is used by statists to both a) limit our natural rights to those enumerated and b) gives the false impression that rights are dispensed by government. With the advent of policies such as DEI, you are now granted the “right” not to be made uncomfortable. 

    I propose that the great loss of our constitutional republic is due to the widespread misapprehension of what our government is for. Namely to secure our natural rights and otherwise leave us the hell alone.

    • #24
  25. Mark Camp Member
    Mark Camp
    @MarkCamp

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):

    I’m going to disagree with the premise. So there!

    I think this. . .

    Rodin: No matter our political views and preferred policies, the antecedent question is, do your views and preferences uphold the Bill of Rights?

    . . . contributes to the problem of the movement toward totalitarianism rather than alleviates it.

    I’m not the first to think the Bill of Rights was a founding mistake. It is used by statists to both a) limit our natural rights to those enumerated and b) gives the false impression that rights are dispensed by government. With the advent of policies such as DEI, you are now granted the “right” not to be made uncomfortable.

    I propose that the great loss of our constitutional republic is due to the widespread misapprehension of what our government is for. Namely to secure our natural rights and otherwise leave us the hell alone.

    Great comment, Western!

    The Founding Fathers wrote the Constitution because we were creating a new national Government, and it needed a Bill of its Rights.  Without a written grant of rights from us, that Government would have no legal right to do anything. Why have it then? 

    The promoters of what was labeled “Bill of Rights” effectively subverted the Constitution, by inverting the pyramid of authority. Now the implicit assumption became that WE only had those rights that our servant (which we created solely to serve us) had decided to grant us.

    • #25
  26. aardo vozz Member
    aardo vozz
    @aardovozz

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    Owens, and anyone, has the absolute right to examine history, raise questions, and wonder if we could have avoided WWII, or ended it faster with less loss of life. I did a post last year about open questions of 1939-’41. It didn’t take any courage on my part. (It probably helped that my conclusions were, in the end, fairly mainstream; the Nazis weren’t going to negotiate in good faith and were prepared to kick us out of the Atlantic. Hitler didn’t leave us any choice.)

    Let’s not play games, though. All this wide-eyed, “can’t I even raise the issue?” martyrdom on the part of some WWII skeptics can be honest, but it sometimes can be anything but. It can be a laundered way of sneaking in the old accusation that we were tricked into war by….well, I don’t want to say…rhymes with “shoes”, rhymes with “blues”.

    Blue Suede Shoes?🤔

    • #26
  27. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    Mark Camp (View Comment):

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):

    I’m going to disagree with the premise. So there!

    I think this. . .

    Rodin: No matter our political views and preferred policies, the antecedent question is, do your views and preferences uphold the Bill of Rights?

    . . . contributes to the problem of the movement toward totalitarianism rather than alleviates it.

    I’m not the first to think the Bill of Rights was a founding mistake. It is used by statists to both a) limit our natural rights to those enumerated and b) gives the false impression that rights are dispensed by government. With the advent of policies such as DEI, you are now granted the “right” not to be made uncomfortable.

    I propose that the great loss of our constitutional republic is due to the widespread misapprehension of what our government is for. Namely to secure our natural rights and otherwise leave us the hell alone.

    Great comment, Western!

    The Founding Fathers wrote the Constitution because we were creating a new national Government, and it needed a Bill of its Rights. Without a written grant of rights from us, that Government would have no legal right to do anything. Why have it then?

    The promoters of what was labeled “Bill of Rights” effectively subverted the Constitution, by inverting the pyramid of authority. Now the implicit assumption became that WE only had those rights that our servant (which we created solely to serve us) had decided to grant us.

    Well, I was hoping to start a conversation, but I see we are in violent agreement.

    • #27
  28. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    MarciN (View Comment):

    Gary McVey (View Comment):
    But is it largely the consoling lies of frustrated men who wish they wielded American-scale power? It is.

    I think more than that, and worse than that, they deflect responsibility from themselves onto us. They do this constantly. Whenever their countrymen look for accountability and answers on things that go wrong in their own country, the dictators tell them that the problem is our fault.

    c.f. “Babylon 5: Crusade” episode “Visitors From Down The Street.”

    • #28
  29. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    DaveSchmidt (View Comment):

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    There’s a remarkable consistency about what overseas dictators think and say about us, whether they are left or right, royal or rebel in origin: “The US has its finger in every pie, meddling everywhere”, “pushing their own supremacy disguised by feigned morality”…”it’s a materialistic country, slaves to the buck, in love with machines”. Whether it was Hitler or Stalin, Gandhi or De Gaulle, they see us as bossy hypocrites.

    Is there a coarse grain of truth to that view? There is.

    But is it largely the consoling lies of frustrated men who wish they wielded American-scale power? It is.

    Best post in this discussion!

    Yes, and another example is people in other countries intent on who gets elected President HERE, while we rarely give a flying fig who is President of Belch-istan or whatever.  Obviously THEY understand, themselves, that OUR President matters more than THEIRS does.

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  30. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Miffed White Male (View Comment):

    David Foster (View Comment):

    “Problems X, Y, and Z exist, and alternative Q was chosen N years ago, therefore Q was the wrong decision” is not a valid syllogism. It may well be that if alternative non-Q had been chosen then a worse set of problems might now exist.

    Thus the “don’t kill baby Hitler” stories. This may be the better alternative timeline.

    Right, everyone familiar with the milieu understands that trying to STOP Hitler is what CAUSES Hitler.

    Or worse.

    • #30
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