Quote of the Day: The Unreasonable Man

 

“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” – George Bernard Shaw

This quote has never been more appropriate. We are energy-independent due to George Mitchell, who unreasonably pushed fracking through until it became economically viable – often against the opposition of the “reasonable” among us, who said peak oil was simply a fact. There is no shortage of food due to Norm Borlaug, who unreasonably insisted we could increase food production despite the claims of “reasonable” people that we needed to end food shortages through population reduction. We are on the cusp of affordable space travel due to the insistence and efforts of unreasonable dreamers like Elon Musk, who found ways to dramatically cut launch costs, despite the claims of the reasonable that it could not be done.

Over the next few weeks, we will be hearing complaints of how unreasonable some people are being. But if we want progress – real progress, not the return-to-Medieval-feudalism of the so-called Progressives – root for the unreasonable man.

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  1. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Seawriter: The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man. – George Bernard Shaw

    Also all flaming disasters. “The US won’t sell us helium because we’re Nazi swine? Fine. We’ll go with hydrogen. What could go wrong?”

    Never mind me. I’m not for “going along to get along.” I’m just sharpening the swords.

    • #1
  2. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    Percival (View Comment):
    I’m not for “going along to get along.”

    Are unresasonable men ever for going along to get along? And yet progress is made by the unreasonable men among us.

    • #2
  3. philo Member
    philo
    @philo

    Seawriter: …root for the unreasonable man.

    Of course, rooting for him is just as much a self-defense position:

    NOW THAT THE BLACKLIST HAS ARRIVED, WILL SHOW TRIALS BE NEXT? The Left’s Post-Trump Enemies List:

     

    • #3
  4. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Seawriter (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):
    I’m not for “going along to get along.”

    Are unresasonable men ever for going along to get along? And yet progress is made by the unreasonable men among us.

    Reasonable men should be able to see why it is a bad idea for one party in a two-party system to be able to steal elections with impunity. If that one party gets away with it, there will be no democracy to speak of.

    • #4
  5. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    I was prepared to disagree. I almost always disagree with Shaw. Someone had probably called him unreasonable, and that was the reason he said what he said.

    However, to Seawriter’s take on the quotation, I say, “Amen!”


    If you would like to participate in the Quote of the Day series, our sign-up sheet for November awaits. Dates as early as Sunday (tomorrow) are open as of this moment.

    If, on the other hand, you want to share with Ricochet the thanks you have to give, you might consider Group Writing, for which the theme this month is: Cornucopia of Thanks.

    • #5
  6. Al Sparks Thatcher
    Al Sparks
    @AlSparks

    Percival (View Comment):

    Seawriter: The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man. – George Bernard Shaw

    Also all flaming disasters. “The US won’t sell us helium because we’re Nazi swine? Fine. We’ll go with hydrogen. What could go wrong?”

    Never mind me. I’m not for “going along to get along.” I’m just sharpening the swords.

    I have read one assertion, this was decades ago, that argued that the danger hydrogen poses is overblown (uh, no pun intended).  My take is that there are safety measures that could significantly reduce the risk of hydrogen.

    And helium is rare, and more expensive than hydrogen.

    The air ship era included journeys where those hydrogen air ships came into contact with lightning, which was successfully overcome.

    But there were other dangers associated with long distance oceanic air ship travel.  Storms.  These airships were more vulnerable to storms than, say, a transatlantic ocean liner like, say, the Titanic (ok, bad example, sort of; it wasn’t taken down by a storm).

    Pure hydrogen doesn’t burn.  A mixture of oxygen and hydrogen does.  One theory is that the Hindenburg fire occurred because its skin was porous, and that the fire started outside, not inside.

    Air ship travel was on its way out because of fixed wing aircraft.  The Hindenburg only hurried that along.

    • #6
  7. Al Sparks Thatcher
    Al Sparks
    @AlSparks

    Seawriter: This quote has never been more appropriate. We are energy-independent due to George Mitchell, who unreasonably pushed fracking through until it became economically viable – often against the opposition of the “reasonable” among us, who said peak oil was simply a fact.

    Senator George Mitchell?  Of Maine? (Not an oil state.)  Maybe not being from an oil state was one of the reasons.

    I disagreed with him on most issues, but he was the last Senate Democratic Leader that I could have respect for.  Harry Reid?  Chuck Schumer?

    Very slimy compared to Mitchell.

    • #7
  8. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Al Sparks (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    Seawriter: The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man. – George Bernard Shaw

    Also all flaming disasters. “The US won’t sell us helium because we’re Nazi swine? Fine. We’ll go with hydrogen. What could go wrong?”

    Never mind me. I’m not for “going along to get along.” I’m just sharpening the swords.

    I have read one assertion, this was decades ago, that argued that the danger hydrogen poses is overblown (uh, no pun intended). My take is that there are safety measures that could significantly reduce the risk of hydrogen.

    And helium is rare, and more expensive than hydrogen.

    The air ship era included journeys where those hydrogen air ships came into contact ,with lightning, which was successfully overcome.

    But there were other dangers associated with long distance oceanic air ship travel. Storms. These airships were more vulnerable to storms than, say, a transatlantic ocean liner like, say, the Titanic (ok, bad example, sort of; it wasn’t taken down by a storm).

    Pure hydrogen doesn’t burn. A mixture of oxygen and hydrogen does. One theory is that the Hindenburg fire occurred because its skin was porous, and that the fire started outside, not inside.

    Air ship travel was on its way out because of fixed wing aircraft. The Hindenburg only hurried that along.

    In the gas envelopes, there would have been no problem. If a leak developed in one of the envelopes, any source of flame would lead to a conflagration.

    There has long been a theory that the Hindenburg was sabotaged. It wouldn’t have been that tough to do.

    • #8
  9. J Climacus Member
    J Climacus
    @JClimacus

    I see what you are getting at with the Shaw quote and I agree with it to the extent that Progressivism tends to squelch genuine technical innovation.

    But I also think that one of the differences between conservatives and progressives is that conservatives respect nature, while progressives attempt to defy nature. And in the words of Vitaly Klitschko, “you can’t trick nature.” This was the reason he gave for retiring from boxing as he aged.

    As long as our “unreasonable men” try to adapt the world but respect nature (and especially human nature) in the process, they are to be lauded. In other words, as long as they are reasonable enough to adapt the world to human nature. When they become “unreasonable” to the point that that they attempt to adapt human nature itself, and natural human institutions like the family, they are to be resisted with everything we have.

    That is where we are with progressives. They have no respect for nature, for human nature in its sexed duality, for natural human institutions like the family with a father and a mother, and in general organic institutions vs. the overpowering technocratic state. They are unreasonable and not in a good way.

    • #9
  10. The Unreasonable Man Coolidge
    The Unreasonable Man
    @TheUnreasonableMan

    I couldn’t agree more

    • #10
  11. Al Sparks Thatcher
    Al Sparks
    @AlSparks

    Percival (View Comment):

    In the gas envelopes, there would have been no problem. If a leak developed in one of the envelopes, any source of flame would lead to a conflagration.

    There has long been a theory that the Hindenburg was sabotaged. It wouldn’t have been that tough to do.

    You can say the same thing with modern passenger aircraft.  So many moving parts, many of them small, that can go wrong.  The airlines have extensive safety measures, which include inventorying a mechanics tool box after every shift.  I think it includes serial numbers.  A missing tool can ground an aircraft until its found.

    It’s amazing how safe they have become and remain.

    A hydrogen airship could probably have a similar safety record (except for the risk of stormy weather) with modern practices.

    • #11
  12. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Arahant (View Comment):
    I was prepared to disagree. I almost always disagree with Shaw.

    It’s a valid default position, especially in George’s case.

    • #12
  13. J Climacus Member
    J Climacus
    @JClimacus

    Al Sparks (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    Seawriter: The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man. – George Bernard Shaw

    Also all flaming disasters. “The US won’t sell us helium because we’re Nazi swine? Fine. We’ll go with hydrogen. What could go wrong?”

    Never mind me. I’m not for “going along to get along.” I’m just sharpening the swords.

    I have read one assertion, this was decades ago, that argued that the danger hydrogen poses is overblown (uh, no pun intended). My take is that there are safety measures that could significantly reduce the risk of hydrogen.

    And helium is rare, and more expensive than hydrogen.

    The air ship era included journeys where those hydrogen air ships came into contact with lightning, which was successfully overcome.

    But there were other dangers associated with long distance oceanic air ship travel. Storms. These airships were more vulnerable to storms than, say, a transatlantic ocean liner like, say, the Titanic (ok, bad example, sort of; it wasn’t taken down by a storm).

    Pure hydrogen doesn’t burn. A mixture of oxygen and hydrogen does. One theory is that the Hindenburg fire occurred because its skin was porous, and that the fire started outside, not inside.

    Air ship travel was on its way out because of fixed wing aircraft. The Hindenburg only hurried that along.

    I just knew a guy named “Al Sparks” would have to comment on the Hindenburg. :)

    • #13
  14. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    Al Sparks (View Comment):

    Seawriter: This quote has never been more appropriate. We are energy-independent due to George Mitchell, who unreasonably pushed fracking through until it became economically viable – often against the opposition of the “reasonable” among us, who said peak oil was simply a fact.

    Senator George Mitchell? Of Maine? (Not an oil state.) Maybe not being from an oil state was one of the reasons.

    I disagreed with him on most issues, but he was the last Senate Democratic Leader that I could have respect for. Harry Reid? Chuck Schumer?

    Very slimy compared to Mitchell.

    The oilman George Mitchell from Galveston, TX

    • #14
  15. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Seawriter (View Comment):
    The oilman George Mitchell from Galveston, TX

    Yes, this one:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_P._Mitchell

    • #15
  16. Gary Robbins Reagan
    Gary Robbins
    @GaryRobbins

    Seawriter (View Comment):

    Al Sparks (View Comment):

    Seawriter: This quote has never been more appropriate. We are energy-independent due to George Mitchell, who unreasonably pushed fracking through until it became economically viable – often against the opposition of the “reasonable” among us, who said peak oil was simply a fact.

    Senator George Mitchell? Of Maine? (Not an oil state.) Maybe not being from an oil state was one of the reasons.

    I disagreed with him on most issues, but he was the last Senate Democratic Leader that I could have respect for. Harry Reid? Chuck Schumer?

    Very slimy compared to Mitchell.

    The oilman George Mitchell from Galveston, TX

    Seawriter wrote an excellent book review of this George Mitchell of Texas.

    • #16
  17. Al Sparks Thatcher
    Al Sparks
    @AlSparks

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    The oilman George Mitchell from Galveston, TX

    Seawriter wrote an excellent book review of this George Mitchell of Texas.

    I’ve heard of the guy, though I never associated the name with him.  And yes, what he did was high risk and commendable.

    It’s good to see an American success story like that, outside of the software successes of Silicon Valley.

    If we had more guys like that, we’d have our jetpacks and flying cars, instead of “great” phones.

    • #17
  18. Al Sparks Thatcher
    Al Sparks
    @AlSparks

    J Climacus (View Comment):

    I just knew a guy named “Al Sparks” would have to comment on the Hindenburg. :)

    I may have been called something like “flammable” in the past, though not quite in those words (more like “loose cannon”).

    I look at some of the stupid things I’ve done over the years, and I’m lucky I’m in one piece.

    • #18
  19. Ralphie Inactive
    Ralphie
    @Ralphie

    What about the unreasonable woman? Just kidding. It seems like yesterday the idea of man/woman/it/they/xyzshe identity was of utmost importance in the progress of the world.

    • #19
  20. GrannyDude Member
    GrannyDude
    @GrannyDude

    philo (View Comment):

    Seawriter: …root for the unreasonable man.

    Of course, rooting for him is just as much a self-defense position:

    NOW THAT THE BLACKLIST HAS ARRIVED, WILL SHOW TRIALS BE NEXT? The Left’s Post-Trump Enemies List:

     

    I’m thinking of signing up. Let’s get everyone we know to send dozens of postcards to AOC (or whomever) saying “Hey! Add Me To The Enemies List!” 

    • #20
  21. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio…
    @ArizonaPatriot

    I disagree with your examples. I remember being a reasonable person in the 1980s, studying economics, and anticipating that technology would solve the food, oil, and other resource issues.

    Affordable space travel? Sorry, that’s SciFi silliness. There’s no where it go, and little to see. I imagine that there may be some rich people willing to waste money on a sightseeing trip to low Earth orbit, but it is a gimmick.

    You wanna colonize the Moon or Mars? Try Antarctica first, for a few decades.  It is incomparably more hospitable.

    • #21
  22. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):
    It is incomparably more hospitable.

    And more fertile.  A least you have a permanent supply of water and you can eat penguins.

    • #22
  23. J Climacus Member
    J Climacus
    @JClimacus

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    I disagree with your examples. I remember being a reasonable person in the 1980s, studying economics, and anticipating that technology would solve the food, oil, and other resource issues.

    Affordable space travel? Sorry, that’s SciFi silliness. There’s no where it go, and little to see. I imagine that there may be some rich people willing to waste money on a sightseeing trip to low Earth orbit, but it is a gimmick.

    You wanna colonize the Moon or Mars? Try Antarctica first, for a few decades. It is incomparably more hospitable.

    There is a tendency to think of space travel like Columbus discovering the New World. The New World was an untapped natural resource that happened to have the perfect environment for human life and its support. All extraterrestrial worlds that we might possibly visit are irradiated, lifeless rocks or blobs of gas utterly hostile to human life. Visiting them has the value of a stunt and not much more, which is why there was no point to the Apollo program other than proving we could do it.

    Visiting another world involves lifting ourselves out of a deep gravity well and descending into another, to find what we already know is there: A big rock. It’s fun to send probes and robot explorers to these places but there is no reason to think it will ever go much beyond that.

    • #23
  24. Unsk Member
    Unsk
    @Unsk

    A sentiment for our times.

    J Climatus:

    But I also think that one of the differences between conservatives and progressives is that conservatives respect nature, while progressives attempt to defy nature.

    Fixed version: But I also think that one of the differences between conservatives and progressives is that conservatives respect Reality, while progressives attempt to defy Reality.

     J, I hope you don’t mind my revisions. 

    Welcome  y’all to the Magical World of Fantasyland  in government writ large, plus a heaping dose of the Police State if you don’t wholeheartedly agree with the Fantasyland narrative to come. 

    • #24
  25. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge
    Fake John/Jane Galt
    @FakeJohnJaneGalt

    philo (View Comment):

    Seawriter: …root for the unreasonable man.

    Of course, rooting for him is just as much a self-defense position:

    NOW THAT THE BLACKLIST HAS ARRIVED, WILL SHOW TRIALS BE NEXT? The Left’s Post-Trump Enemies List:

     

    This is why I am a card carrying Democrat.  Eventually they are coming for you all.  

    • #25
  26. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    Scientists and engineers have always advanced us in ways we did not expect. 

    • #26
  27. J Climacus Member
    J Climacus
    @JClimacus

    Unsk (View Comment):

    A sentiment for our times.

    J Climatus:

    But I also think that one of the differences between conservatives and progressives is that conservatives respect nature, while progressives attempt to defy nature.

    Fixed version: But I also think that one of the differences between conservatives and progressives is that conservatives respect Reality, while progressives attempt to defy Reality.

    J, I hope you don’t mind my revisions.

    Welcome y’all to the Magical World of Fantasyland in government writ large, plus a heaping dose of the Police State if you don’t wholeheartedly agree with the Fantasyland narrative to come.

    I don’t mind, but the specific way that I think progressives do not respect reality is that they do not respect nature. I am using “nature” in the way used by classical philosophers to signify that things have specific principles that govern their way of being, as in the “nature of a dog.” Progressives don’t think they are defying reality; It is their vision of reality that is mistaken. They tend to think reality is not constrained by principles of nature that put a limit on freedom, or rather principles that define what it truly means to be free.

    For example, since according to progressives there is no natural principle of the family, but only social constructs of the family positively created by man, two women or two men can be the basis of a family just as easily as a man and a woman can. Freedom for a progressive means exploring all these nature-defying possibilities, whereas a conservative understands that this isn’t really freedom but a degenerate imitation of it that only leads to unhappiness and, ultimately, social chaos. You can’t trick nature.

    • #27
  28. Jules PA Inactive
    Jules PA
    @JulesPA

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    I disagree with your examples. I remember being a reasonable person in the 1980s, studying economics, and anticipating that technology would solve the food, oil, and other resource issues.

    Affordable space travel? Sorry, that’s SciFi silliness. There’s no where it go, and little to see. I imagine that there may be some rich people willing to waste money on a sightseeing trip to low Earth orbit, but it is a gimmick.

    You wanna colonize the Moon or Mars? Try Antarctica first, for a few decades. It is incomparably more hospitable.

    Antarctica, the real wonder from down under. 

    • #28
  29. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    I disagree with your examples. I remember being a reasonable person in the 1980s, studying economics, and anticipating that technology would solve the food, oil, and other resource issues.

    Affordable space travel? Sorry, that’s SciFi silliness. There’s no where it go, and little to see. I imagine that there may be some rich people willing to waste money on a sightseeing trip to low Earth orbit, but it is a gimmick.

    You wanna colonize the Moon or Mars? Try Antarctica first, for a few decades. It is incomparably more hospitable.

    I see that you are a reasonble man.

    • #29
  30. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    Seawriter (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    I disagree with your examples. I remember being a reasonable person in the 1980s, studying economics, and anticipating that technology would solve the food, oil, and other resource issues.

    Affordable space travel? Sorry, that’s SciFi silliness. There’s no where it go, and little to see. I imagine that there may be some rich people willing to waste money on a sightseeing trip to low Earth orbit, but it is a gimmick.

    You wanna colonize the Moon or Mars? Try Antarctica first, for a few decades. It is incomparably more hospitable.

    I see that you are a reasonble man.

    Well didn’t fracking and increased food production start with little improvements that eventually lead up to huge game-changers? Even J.P. Morgan had to switch from one electric current to another after investing a fortune into one type of technology. It would be Soviet to order moon or Mars colonization before smaller more organic improvements.   

    • #30
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