Cocktails With the “Reality-Based Community” — Oblomov

 

I attended a wedding recently. It was a very high-end, mostly New York crowd, with lots of lawyers and investment bankers.

Here is a nearly verbatim transcript of a “conversation” I had with one banker. This guy was not yet drunk.

Me (to a friend): …so, in my experience, the Russians and others we negotiate with have palpable contempt for us.

Him (butting in): It’s not just them, everybody has contempt for us. We should just mind our own business and not try to solve everybody’s problems.

Me: I agree, but we are a superpower and we have certain responsibilities.

Him: Why do we have responsibilities?

Me: Our friends rely on us to do certain things around the world.

Him: Eff them. The only things we should be doing is things that benefit American taxpayers.

Me: I couldn’t agree more. There are some advantages to the taxpayers from living in a superpower though.

Him: That’s effing BS. The government is run by the big corporations. They’re the only ones who get any advantages. I know, I work in that world. And I’m something of a world affairs scholar.

Me: So why did we fight the Cold War? Was it to benefit the big corporations?

Him: Yes. They’re the only ones who benefited. And it was totally based on paranoia.

Me: What about the Nazis? And Imperial Japan? Was that all paranoia too?

Him: The big arms manufacturers are behind all wars. They control all governments.

Me: Well, I think all those powers were threats and we responded like any great power, for geopolitical…

Him (cutting me off): And I’ll tell you another thing. Those effing right wing Tea Partiers. I hate those right wing mother effers.

Me: Why do you hate them so much?

Him: They’re effing ignorant. They want to get rid of the Fed!

Me: I think what they want is to curb government spending and return to constitutional principles like limited government. They’re just Reagan conserva…

Him (cutting me off and moving closer): There is no intellectual content to any of that. Bunch of morons.

Me: There’s no intellectual content to constitutional principles?

Him: Listen, I’m a naturalized citizen, and let me tell you, Americans are the stupidest effing people on the planet. Your average American is an effing moron. Just think, they shut down the government! And for what? Because they’re afraid of Socialism? They just don’t want people to have healthcare! Me, I care about other people. Mother effers. You know the big insurance companies? They are my clients and they love Obamacare.

Me: How is that an argument for Obamacare? Anyway, didn’t Obama have something to do with the shutdown? He loves these crises. He could have stopped the shutdown any time he wanted. But he benefits politically, so he let it drag on as long as possible.

Him: That’s BS. They’re all just a bunch of Baptist religious fanatics with no education.

Me: That’s not true, and isn’t that just religious bigotry? Anyway, I’m sympathetic to them, I have plenty of education and I’m an atheist.

Him (moving closer, yelling and sticking a finger in my face): I’m sick and tired of you right-wing nut jobs. Let me tell you, it’s the people like me, the people who make over a million dollars a year, that carry all the weight in this country.

Me: I’m not a spokesman for the Tea Party. And if you’re complaining about taxes, why do you keep voting for Obama?

Him (yelling): What’s your problem with Obama? That he’s a Socialist?

Me: Get your finger out of my face and don’t yell at me.

Him (yelling louder): Why do you hate Obama? Because he’s black?

Ah yes, the lovely face of our enlightened rulers. 

This experience and others like it remind me that, odious as Obama is, he is ultimately merely a symptom, not the cause, of deeper problems. I am even willing to listen to any reasonably informed person making the case that he is not the worst president we ever had. We have had bad presidents before and muddled through. The system was designed with sufficient play in the joints to withstand the stress of bad leadership. However, it cannot survive an ignorant and corrupt leadership class.

There are 52 comments.

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  1. Oblomov Member
    Oblomov Post author
    • #1
    • April 16, 2014, at 8:41 AM PDT
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  2. Misthiocracy grudgingly Member

    Things I would never talk about at a wedding.

    Weddings are an occasion for celebration, not conflict.

    But that’s just me.

    • #2
    • April 16, 2014, at 8:48 AM PDT
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  3. KC Mulville Inactive

    Yesterday, Jonah Goldberg reviewed the movie Captain America on NRO. During the review, he talked about the ubiquitous notion (on the Left) that our real problem is … Fear. 

    It comes out of the liberal-left’s response to the Cold War. The so-called anti-anti-Communist left routinely argued that anti-Communism was rooted in paranoia not reality. Never mind that there really were Communists working for the Soviets in the U.S. government. Never mind that the Evil Empire really was evil and an empire. They held that it was unworthy of America to be overly concerned about such things.

    It is fear that holds us back from trusting government, thereby preventing government from doing all sorts of egalitarian, society-leveling things … like taxing the richness out of the rich and giving it to the poor ( … well, giving it to the poor after we take care of expenses, you understand …).

    • #3
    • April 16, 2014, at 9:10 AM PDT
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  4. Roberto, Crusty Old Timer Member

    That was something of a rare treat, having an opportunity like that to converse with such an erudite and sophisticated “world affairs scholar”. I’m rather envious.

    • #4
    • April 16, 2014, at 9:23 AM PDT
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  5. Vance Richards Member

    “Him (butting in): It’s not just them, everybody has contempt for us. We should just mind our own business

    That alone made me laugh. And when he pulled out the race card, that was more or less an admission that you won the argument (but you’re still stupid and a racist).

    • #5
    • April 16, 2014, at 9:32 AM PDT
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  6. Oblomov Member
    Oblomov Post author

    Vance Richards: And when he pulled out the race card, that was more or less an admission that you won the argument

    Ah yes, the race card: the last refuge of a liberal losing an argument.

    • #6
    • April 16, 2014, at 9:44 AM PDT
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  7. HeartofFLA Inactive

    Just think! In 2017, you will have the same conversation with the same guy and he will ask you..

    “Why don’t you like Hillary Clinton? ‘Cause she’s a woman?

    • #7
    • April 16, 2014, at 10:19 AM PDT
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  8. namlliT noD Member

    Oblomov: Him (cutting me off): And I’ll tell you another thing. Those effing right wing Tea Partiers. I hate those right wing mother offers.

     Me: Why do you hate them so much?

    Ah, there’s the problem. 

    I think a more fruitful response might be along the lines of, “Wow. Your position is based on hatred, your argument is based on swearing, and you viscously attack people whose views you are unfamiliar with. In what parallel universe is that civilized? I find that horribly offensive. Sorry man, I gotta go.”

    Check, and mate.

    • #8
    • April 16, 2014, at 10:23 AM PDT
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  9. Tuck Inactive

    I’ll say this as a native New Yorker: New Yorkers as a group have the most amazing combination of ignorance and arrogance I’ve ever seen. The DeBlasio election was a pretty perfect example: no-one voted, and they got a complete disaster. 

    That’s the example of their superiority for the rest of the country.

    • #9
    • April 16, 2014, at 10:24 AM PDT
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  10. Amy Schley Moderator

    Tuck:

    I’ll say this as a native New Yorker: New Yorkers as a group have the most amazing combination of ignorance and arrogance I’ve every seen. The DeBlasio election was a pretty perfect example: no-one voted, and they got a complete disaster.

    That’s the example of their superiority for the rest of the country.

     Was talking to a friend at church about our possible move to Texas.

    “You know the only problem with Texas? I lived there for years and loved it except for one thing. It’s overrun with Texans. Nowhere else are there people so proud about so little.”

    To which I replied, “Have you ever met a New Yorker?”

    • #10
    • April 16, 2014, at 10:33 AM PDT
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  11. True Blue Inactive

    My favorite part is where he states that he’s a “naturalized American,” as though that conferred on him an invaluable perspective. We doltish natural-born Americans couldn’t hope to keep up with the big-brained erudition of foreigners. Is it too reactionary for me to say that if he has such contempt for America he should hit the bricks? I suspect we’d manage just fine without him. Can’t we get immigrants who don’t hold us in contempt?

    • #11
    • April 16, 2014, at 10:47 AM PDT
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  12. Fricosis Guy Listener

    So his clients were insurance companies which loved Obamacare. Did you ask him if he ever asked his clients what Obama’s [expletive] tasted like?

    Of course, now that I’m married, I’d never engage in such provocative banter at a wedding.

    But when I was single? Provoking some loudmouth IB to take the first swing is Wedding Crashers 101.

    • #12
    • April 16, 2014, at 10:49 AM PDT
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  13. The Mugwump Inactive

    Why is it people on the left rely so heavily on “effing” as an all-purpose adjective? I’m quite sure I didn’t hear even one F-bomb at the Ricochet meet in Colorado Springs. I guess Joe Biden and his ilk don’t think it’s a big “effing” deal.

    • #13
    • April 16, 2014, at 11:11 AM PDT
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  14. Misthiocracy grudgingly Member

    The Mugwump: I’m quite sure I didn’t hear even one F-bomb at the Ricochet meet in Colorado Springs.

    The Ricochetoisie is too creative for that. When we curse, we do it with style.

    Oh yeah. I almost forgot, fellow babies…

    • #14
    • April 16, 2014, at 11:20 AM PDT
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  15. Joseph Stanko Member

    He sounds like a fool, sure, but what precisely makes him a “ruler” and a member of the “leadership class?” The fact that he’s a rich investment banker? The fact that he votes Democrat?

    I voted for Bush in 2004, does that mean that for 4 years I was a member of the ruling class and didn’t even realize it?

    • #15
    • April 16, 2014, at 11:46 AM PDT
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  16. Austin Murrey Inactive

    Amy Schley:

    Tuck:

    I’ll say this as a native New Yorker: New Yorkers as a group have the most amazing combination of ignorance and arrogance I’ve every seen. The DeBlasio election was a pretty perfect example: no-one voted, and they got a complete disaster.

    That’s the example of their superiority for the rest of the country.

    Was talking to a friend at church about our possible move to Texas.

    “You know the only problem with Texas? I lived there for years and loved it except for one thing. It’s overrun with Texans. Nowhere else are there people so proud about so little.”

    To which I replied, “Have you ever met a New Yorker?”

     As a Texan, you can tell your friend that he doesn’t seem very bright and we’re better off without him. Who does he think made Texas the way it is, the Germans?

    • #16
    • April 16, 2014, at 11:58 AM PDT
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  17. namlliT noD Member

    The Mugwump:

    Why is it people on the left rely so heavily on “effing” as an all-purpose adjective? 

    Because when they’re all angry and fuming they don’t have to logically consider the positions of the people they’re talking to, or even the consequences of their own positions.

    That’s completely fine, it’s a gift, use it as such. When they swear you’ve won the debate, though you have to point that out to actually win. And you get to be offended, putting them in the position of having to apologize to save face. It’s really a win-win-win.

    • #17
    • April 16, 2014, at 12:16 PM PDT
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  18. jonb60173 Member

    Wow, well that effin ruins that party! Between people like that and writers in the media it baffles the eff out of me how they can be educated to the extent, in his case makes over a million per annum – yikes!!., they make good money, or write for a paper and then have a bullet point depth of political knowledge, and then they’re vehemently belligerent about it. You’d think somewhere along the line they’d connect the dots to the logical conclusion. True confession – would’ve voted for Obama in ’08 but learned my lesson about voting for the unknown with Carter. I have to live with that.

    • #18
    • April 16, 2014, at 12:30 PM PDT
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  19. Brian Watt Member

    I’m convinced that the numbers of intelligent liberals who can carry on a civil and rational discussion are getting as rare as the desert tortoise or the Delta smelt. When I posed to a liberal friend the other day that some people who had lost their previous healthcare coverage and were forced to sign up for Obamacare that their premiums had increased, her response was “That’s a lie!” End of discussion. Not, “Really? I don’t think that’s accurate” but an intense and sharp response with an undercurrent of rage. I don’t know why liberals are such angry and unhappy people. The country has never been more socialist and we’re all getting so much closer to utopia…as soon as we can make those rich capitalist racist bastards pay their fair share. 

    By the way, I think your wealthy wedding acquaintance owes me some money. He’s clearly taking home much more than he should get. Have the world affairs scholar contact me.

    • #19
    • April 16, 2014, at 1:29 PM PDT
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  20. M.D. Wenzel Member

    Austin Murrey:

    As a Texan, you can tell your friend that he doesn’t seem very bright and we’re better off without him. Who does he think made Texas the way it is, the Germans?

    Well, they are responsible for Shiner Bock and Kreuz Market

    • #20
    • April 16, 2014, at 1:50 PM PDT
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  21. Jimmy Carter Member

    He sounds like Facebook personified.

    • #21
    • April 16, 2014, at 5:28 PM PDT
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  22. Underground Conservative Coolidge

    What great country did he flee? I’d be very interested in knowing what his native country is.

    • #22
    • April 16, 2014, at 5:54 PM PDT
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  23. Oblomov Member
    Oblomov Post author

    Underground Conservative:

    What great country did he flee? I’d be very interested in knowing what his native country is.

     South Africa.

    • #23
    • April 16, 2014, at 6:08 PM PDT
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  24. Western Chauvinist Member

    M.D. Wenzel:

    Austin Murrey:

    As a Texan, you can tell your friend that he doesn’t seem very bright and we’re better off without him. Who does he think made Texas the way it is, the Germans?

    Well, they are responsible for Shiner Bock and Kreuz Market

     Schlitterbahn, baby! Texas is great because of the Germans!

    • #24
    • April 16, 2014, at 7:38 PM PDT
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  25. Western Chauvinist Member

    True Blue:

    My favorite part is where he states that he’s a “naturalized American,” as though that conferred on him an invaluable perspective. We doltish natural-born Americans couldn’t hope to keep up with the big-brained erudition of foreigners. Is it too reactionary for me to say that if he has such contempt for America he should hit the bricks? I suspect we’d manage just fine without him. Can’t we get immigrants who don’t hold us in contempt?

    Only if their native tongue isn’t effing Leftism. It seems most immigrants who speak English at home are reliably Left. Not too many Delingpoles and Hannans immigrating, unfortunately. The ones I’ve met come here for the business opportunities, ironically, and then vote to turn the US into the corporatist administrative nanny state they left behind. And then are p.o.ed with conservatives for trying to retain a distinction. Go figure.

    • #25
    • April 16, 2014, at 7:47 PM PDT
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  26. Roberto, Crusty Old Timer Member

    Oblomov:

    Underground Conservative:

    What great country did he flee? I’d be very interested in knowing what his native country is.

    South Africa.

     Ah I see, all that is obscured is now revealed. President Zuma is able to enjoy his harem of multiple wives with only the fairest breeze of criticism yet here in the US we are such prudes regarding marital matters. 

    Well take heart unnamed party guest, we are well on our way. A few more years and no one will even dare to criticize someone having a full host of “wives”.

    • #26
    • April 16, 2014, at 8:40 PM PDT
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  27. DocJay Inactive

    “If you put your finger in my face I will break it.” “I’ll do whatever I please and another……owwwww”. Snap.

    • #27
    • April 16, 2014, at 10:55 PM PDT
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  28. Joseph Eagar Member

    KC Mulville:

    Yesterday, Jonah Goldberg reviewed the movie Captain America on NRO. During the review, he talked about the ubiquitous notion (on the Left) that our real problem is … Fear.

    It comes out of the liberal-left’s response to the Cold War. The so-called anti-anti-Communist left routinely argued that anti-Communism was rooted in paranoia not reality. Never mind that there really were Communists working for the Soviets in the U.S. government. Never mind that the Evil Empire really was evil and an empire. They held that it was unworthy of America to be overly concerned about such things.

    It is fear that holds us back from trusting government, thereby preventing government from doing all sorts of egalitarian, society-leveling things … like taxing the richness out of the rich and giving it to the poor ( … well, giving it to the poor after we take care of expenses, you understand …).

    I’ve noticed this too. It’s like everything they disagree with must, by definition, be rooted in delusion.

    • #28
    • April 17, 2014, at 12:25 AM PDT
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  29. William Laing Inactive

    To Oblomov:
    Welcome, Ilya Illich!
    your superb post very nearly had me getting out of bed to go to my computer fortunately the iPhone lets me respond from here

    • #29
    • April 17, 2014, at 12:53 AM PDT
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  30. MACHO GRANDE' (aka - Chri… Coolidge

    Your wedding buddy is a walking and loudly talking cliche’. He is a cardboard cutout of an American.

    I hope he enjoys all the benefits that have come from 2 centuries of mostly not doing the crap that Barry’s pulling. It must be a comfortable perch to sit in while looking down on those mid-western folks.

    Some people can’t be reached.

    • #30
    • April 17, 2014, at 3:35 AM PDT
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