When Debate is Worthless

from Declination: Do You Want to be Right, or True?

Something changed over time. Call it maturity, or wisdom, or understanding of self. Or call it, as I do, a certain intellectual exhaustion. Whatever it is, I just stopped caring about appearances. I didn’t care to prove myself right, or to prove the other wrong.

I wanted to learn. I wanted to understand. I wanted to know truth — regardless of whether or not anyone believed me. It came to the point that I wanted to be proven wrong, in fact, for that would mean I would have discovered a new truth. My own knowledge would have been expanded. I was still emotionally invested in the outcome, per se, but not in the same manner. If the debate granted me no new knowledge, no new perspectives, it was useless. It was a waste of time. It didn’t matter if I had demolished my opponent’s argument. It was still a nothing.

SJWs are still caught up in the first stage, where everything is about rightness, and not rightness in the sense of truth, but rightness in the sense of appearance, in the sense of acknowledgement from the audience. When a flurry of Twitter tweeters or Facebook posters come in with likes, and messages of solidarity and support, they feel alive, they feel important. Their narcissistic supply is greatly enhanced. But truth doesn’t matter. Knowledge and understanding are irrelevant. To them, a debate is worthless if they do not receive adulation.


Demonization destroys debate.

Of Gophers and Progressivism


Henry Oliner


I recall years ago, reading a marketing newsletter call Towers about focus.  The author whose name I do not recall advised to spend 20 minutes a day reading on a narrowly focused and defined topic so that within 2 years you would possess enough expertise to market what you knew.

The author had researched a problem he had with gophers in his garden, after researching the topic he compiled his findings in a nine page paper on how to keep gophers away.  He placed a classified ad in several magazines such as Popular Mechanics selling his findings, and claimed to make $20,000 a year for several years from his effort.

He also marketed a newsletter describing how to do what he did.  I never bothered to verify any of his claims but the idea of focused reading stuck with me.

I was a late reader.  I never really got the bug until after college. I went to The University of Pennsylvania Wharton School, liked it so much I went to summer schools and finished a semester early.  I did my entire undergrad at Wharton, not just two years like Donald Trump.  If two years made him such a fucking genius, then there is no telling how off the hook smart I must be. My wife, the domestic goddess that she is, wonders if I am supposed to be so smart why I still cannot get my dirty clothes inside the hamper.

When I switched to black underwear, she asked, “Who the hell do you think you are, John Travolta?” Yes she keeps what remains of my ego in check.

But having finished my undergraduate courses, I remained in Philadelphia and ran/co-owned a record store. I had apparently acquired a habit of reading continuously and could not stop. I recall reading most of the works of Kurt Vonnegut while I remained in my large efficiency on Walnut Street next to the Dental School.

Most of my reading remains focused for a time period. It has become difficult to roam the Barnes and Nobles and see so many great titles that I refuse because they are outside of my current reading focus. I do retain titles. God bless the Amazon Wish List.  (One Click shopping is the greatest invention in retailing since the credit card.  My only stock tip is to short Amazon when you read my obituary.)

For the last year my focus has been on the founding and history of the American Progressive movement. Much of the right wing set describes Progressivism and the insertion of Satan into the American experience, the infiltration of socialism and communism into the society of self-reliance and freedom.  I take a more objective approach that this movement had causes and reasons that belied something other than malicious intent.  More than likely the leaders had developed other ideas and the movement had causes in the realities of the era, even if the solutions may have proven less satisfying than their perpetrators expected.

But I feel that I have developed some expertise on the subject of the American Progressive movement although the inquiry takes me into previous periods and into the subject of economic trends as well.  The subject is inexhaustible. Since the ideology of progressivism straddles a continuum with the constitution at the other end, it requires a review of the constitution and its history to see how it became a parrallel development, often in conflict, with Progressivism

Since progressivism has been a dominant political ideology for over 100 years it is now a major force in American Politics.

The reading continues, the focus remains in spite of the seductive books in the history section of B&N, and a summary work is in progress.   It will be much more than 9 pages and I will try other marketing venues than classified ads in Popular Mechanics, but there may still be a bigger demand for research about gophers.


A Different Continuum

This entry marks post # 2,000 on Rebel Yid.

When Erick Erickson of Red State spoke at my Rotary Club  in Macon, Ga. 5 years ago, I had no idea what a blog was.  I had filled several notebooks with thoughts and quotes, and the idea of a blog just seemed like a public notebook.  I read a good bit and I find that writing compelling passages from those books and articles clarifies the subjects greatly.  Occasionally I find an opportunity to synthesize a new idea from two or more seemingly unrelated ideas and I consider that the intellectual jackpot.

Along the way I discovered several interesting blogs such as Mark Perry’s Carpe Diem, The Complete Spengler in The Asian Times, and others listed on the recommended links .  There are also many blogs written by much less well known bloggers.  I continue to find new and interesting writers and compilers regularly.

I have also written about 30 articles and postings for American Thinker.  I have been grateful for the quality and depth of some of the comments from the readers at AT as well as the readers of Rebel Yid, both at my blog and on my Facebook Fanpage.  I have noted that some bloggers have stopped taking reader’s comments because they just became rude and angry.  I have learned to stop arguing with such and just delete them .  Intelligent and civil criticism is welcomed.  Sarcasm and cynicism is deemed intelligence in much of the media, but not here.

Occasionally I get challenged on the position “Beyond left and right”.  I realize that much  of my opinion and focus is deemed to be conservative,  but I stand by my position statement for two reasons.  The ideas must stand on their own merit.  They are not good because they are conservative or liberal.  I have had supposedly intelligent people who claimed to be open minded who would not consider an idea unless they knew the source.

Secondly, I do not think that either party has a monopoly on good economic policy.  There are many ideas supported by the Right that I oppose, though few that I oppose as strongly as so many of the policies of this administration.

At the end of the Issacson biography of Steve Jobs, the Apple icon criticized Rupert Murdoch personally about Fox News.  He noted that the continuum is not from the left to the right, but from the constructive to the destructive.  Jobs also met with Obama and explained how regulation was choking business and how outdated our school system was.

I like some on Fox such as Neil Cavuto, and I dislike others such as Glenn Beck.  And I am sure I would find strong disagreement with many over what is considered destructive.  I think that inflating housing prices while we put people in homes they could not afford was incredibly destructive. It was considered a very constructive policy by its proponents from both parties for decades.   Paying people for 99 weeks not to work, centralizing the health care economy, and many poorly thought out regulations are also destructive, though their proponents would likely disagree.

Thanks to all the readers.  And especially thanks to all the comments. (Well, most of them.)  I appreciate you sharing your interest with your Facebook friends.

Life Imitates Art

My first wife, Renee, died in 1995. In the 1980′s she played a very small part in the Neil Simon movie, The Slugger’s Wife, starring Michael O’Keefe and Rebecca de Mornay. Renee was one of the baseball player’s wives and sat in the box next to de Mornay; she maybe got 15 seconds of screen time.

In the movie Michael O’Keefe plays a baseball star who marries a singer named Debbie-which happens to describe my second wife.

Just a little coincidence.

You can hear wife number 2 sing at the Shamrock during Bragg Jam on July 25 at 10:00 AM with the Back Spasms featuring her eternally juvenile husband on guitar. Joey Stuckey, Jimmy Gaudet and the rest of the band will be there and we have added a great saxophone player.

Three Common Waitress Flaws

I appreciate a good waiter or waitress, but here are my most common peaves:

Gets too familiar. Too friendly to the point of intruding on the relationship with your fellow diner. I appreciate the service, but if there is going to be a relationship here, be sure the customer starts it.

Too many interruptions. I do not need to be checked on every 3 minutes. If I am eating and there is food in my mouth and my glass is full, leave me alone. Ask me if I have everything I need and maybe check back once during the meal and if my glass is more than half empty. If I am engaged in a conversation or even worse just shy of the punch line in a joke, do not interupt me and just ask if everything is all right. Everything was allright, but now you just ruined my punchline and story, dammit!

Where is my check?. It’s lunch and I need to get back to the office. I am long finished eating and my waitress has dissappeared like beer at a barbeque. It seems that the waittress that interrupts the most is the hardest to find when you are ready to pay and leave.

A good waiter or waitress is friendly, helpful, and non intrusive.

tips to Kimberly for the suggestion