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BS: Discussion 2: Dissent = intelligence??

The Pooka 29 Sep 02 - 10:01 PM
Bobert 29 Sep 02 - 10:37 PM
Nerd 29 Sep 02 - 11:03 PM
Amos 29 Sep 02 - 11:10 PM
Thomas the Rhymer 29 Sep 02 - 11:17 PM
The Pooka 29 Sep 02 - 11:20 PM
Bee-dubya-ell 30 Sep 02 - 12:20 AM
Amos 30 Sep 02 - 12:28 AM
Thomas the Rhymer 30 Sep 02 - 01:22 AM
Chip2447 30 Sep 02 - 01:51 AM
Bee-dubya-ell 30 Sep 02 - 03:12 AM
Amos 30 Sep 02 - 04:07 AM
NicoleC 30 Sep 02 - 12:46 PM
Amos 30 Sep 02 - 04:49 PM
GUEST 30 Sep 02 - 04:58 PM
GUEST 30 Sep 02 - 05:13 PM
The Pooka 30 Sep 02 - 05:37 PM
The Pooka 30 Sep 02 - 05:40 PM
GUEST,Ireland 30 Sep 02 - 05:44 PM
Amos 30 Sep 02 - 05:51 PM
GUEST,Ireland 30 Sep 02 - 06:01 PM
NicoleC 30 Sep 02 - 06:13 PM
GUEST,Fred Miller 30 Sep 02 - 06:45 PM
NicoleC 30 Sep 02 - 06:56 PM
The Pooka 30 Sep 02 - 07:20 PM
The Pooka 30 Sep 02 - 07:40 PM
Stephen L. Rich 30 Sep 02 - 11:17 PM
Amos 01 Oct 02 - 12:33 AM
DougR 01 Oct 02 - 12:34 AM
GUEST,Fred Miller 01 Oct 02 - 01:48 PM
John Hardly 01 Oct 02 - 01:50 PM
GUEST,Fred Miller 01 Oct 02 - 05:15 PM
GUEST,Amos 01 Oct 02 - 05:18 PM
GUEST,Amos 01 Oct 02 - 05:21 PM
The Pooka 01 Oct 02 - 10:24 PM
The Pooka 01 Oct 02 - 10:41 PM
John Hardly 01 Oct 02 - 10:52 PM
The Pooka 01 Oct 02 - 11:02 PM
Amos 02 Oct 02 - 12:12 AM
John Hardly 02 Oct 02 - 08:41 AM
GUEST,Freed Miller 02 Oct 02 - 10:00 AM
The Pooka 02 Oct 02 - 11:36 PM

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Subject: Discussion 2: Dissent = intelligence??
From: The Pooka
Date: 29 Sep 02 - 10:01 PM

Since we've had such a dearth of political discussion lately (oy!), I'm posting 2 recent columns---From the Left & From the Right---printed in my local paper. I agree, in large measure, with both of them. Yes, I do. Anyone else?

Dissenters Aren't Any More Thoughtful Than The Majority
Norah Vincent

September 24 2002

Is ridiculing majority opinion the only way to show that you're a free thinker? Or can you agree with the consensus and still have a mind of your own?

Take the war on terrorism. If you think we are "quagmiring" in an unwinnable, endless, metaphorical war that we are waging for the sole purpose of consolidating and wielding our power, does that make you an intellectual? Or, by contrast, if you think we are fighting a winnable, justifiable battle against a certifiable evil, does that make you a numskull?

Certain segments of the intellectual left, represented most famously by Susan Sontag and Barbara Kingsolver, seem to think so. To them, it appears that most Americans (who support American foreign policy and the war on terrorism) aren't doing much thinking at all, either because they've been brainwashed, as Sontag puts it, by "lobotomizing" jingoism or because they're intimidated into silence by the government's "jihad language."

Kingsolver - who, like Sontag, was upbraided last year for an article she published in response to the Sept. 11 attacks - has just published a new collection of essays, titled "Small Wonder," in which she recycles some of the offending material, including her dismissal of prevailing patriotism as the censorious threat of a "vigilante" mob infuriated by "thoughtful hesitation" and "constructive criticism."

But who, after all, is really being thoughtless here? It's the left elite's arguments that were ill-timed and insensitive. They were made just days after the catastrophic event, while the wound was still fresh and families and friends were reeling. Like a slap in the face on cue, they were made again on the eve of the wrenching anniversary.

From the comfortable remove of their armchairs, the sages begrudged us and worse, the victims and survivors, our justified feelings of national solidarity. What's more, they did so in brazenly hypocritical terms. Here were some of our nation's most coddled citizens, taking full advantage of their country's freedoms to deny the existence of those freedoms (especially of speech).

Then, of course, there were the core arguments themselves, denunciations of terms like "good and evil," "us and them," which Sontag deems "voided of content." But are those words simplicity or just clarity? After all, relativistic notions about one man's terrorist being another man's freedom fighter might sound "balanced," but the premise behind them is still woolly. Does Sontag really mean to suggest, as she seemed to do recently in The New York Times, that history will recognize no objective difference between the French Resistance and al Qaeda? If that's the case, we should give up on ethics altogether. Good and evil exist and can be distinguished from each other by simple criteria. It's hardly propaganda to say that people who target innocents are evil. It's simply true - that is, if you're simple-minded enough to believe in truth.

As for debate and dissent, the idea that there is none going on in this country is patently absurd. If the thoughtful minority Sontag claims to represent is really being denied a fair hearing, then how does she explain the showcasing of her views?

Being anti-establishment doesn't make you a particularly deep, cogent or original thinker any more than being traditionalist makes you a slavish dolt. Moreover, when people take you to task for the flawed arguments you've expressed arrogantly at the worst possible time, it doesn't mean they're mindless bigots, and it certainly doesn't mean that your nation refuses to brook dissent.

On the contrary, it means that dissent is an ongoing formula. Assertion invites rebuttal, and in this regard, the patriotic majority has shown at least as much intellectual creativity - and moxie - as the loyal opposition.

Norah Vincent of New York is a senior fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, a conservative think tank. She wrote this for the Los Angeles Times.
Copyright 2002, Hartford Courant


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Subject: RE: BS: Discussion 2: Dissent = intelligence??
From: Bobert
Date: 29 Sep 02 - 10:37 PM

Hey, rednecks with credentials are still, ahhhhh, rednecks! This lady wouldn't know insensitivity if it knocked on her door. She talks about timing issues and *fails* to look at Bushes $200M Media Blitz for war on Sept 11tht and 12th.

It so hurt many of the family members who lost loved ones in the 9-11 attcaks that a goup of them have organized in a grup (Families For Peaceful Tomorrows)and have put together a 15 minuite video blasting Bush's insensitivity.

I'd bet that if one were to follow the money, one would find that almost every one beating a drum for war has something to gain by it. Wait until a lot of 20 year olds come home in body bags......

Oh, that's not gonna happen?

Right, and I'm Elvis....

Bobert


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Subject: RE: BS: Discussion 2: Dissent = intelligence??
From: Nerd
Date: 29 Sep 02 - 11:03 PM

This woman's blowing smoke. If I recall correctly, what Sontag was saying in the article that this writer misrepresents, is that the war on terrorism is a metaphorical war, like the wars on drugs and poverty, not a real war, like WWII. She explains what she means by that (terrorism is a concept, and is represented by a set of practices that cannot be defeated by literal war, so this war, like ones on drugs and poverty, is a neverending struggle against uncontrollable forces. These metaphorical wars incidentally involve tanks and guns, but also involve legal cases, banking, etc. The objective is not to control resources or land, as in a real war, but to stamp out the concept and social practice mentioned in the war's title--so a war on France would not involve the elimination of France, but a war on Poverty would ideally involve the elimination of poverty). I find the point to be a cogent one, and the concept of a "metaphorical war" to be useful.

Sontag's point was that, by gulling us with this metaphorical war, Bush is trying to make us believe that we are in a REAL war, so that he can sell the proposition that he should have expanded powers and that we should have reduced civil liberties, like in wartime. He is also trying to call up the nationalistic fervor that a real war engenders. Now, it's become clear that he WANTS to be in a real war, and is using the idea that we're ALREADY at (metaphorical) war to sell the (real) war on Iraq as part of the (metaphorical) war on terror. Very clever, but essentially verbal sleight-of-hand.

In general, obviously dissent does not automatically make you an intellectual, but Sontag and Kingsolver were already recognized as intellectuals before Sept 11, 2001, so the question is irrelevant. Sontag and Kingsolver are intellectuals who resist the government's position, not intellectuals because they resist the government's position, and I think, as Dubya would say "the American People understand that."

Finally, while agreeing with the government does not mean you're stupid, if you ARE stupid you're pretty likely to be taken for a ride by the arguments of the President, which are given far more time in the media than the arguments of anyone else. So, yes, there may be some correlation between gullibility and wanting to get out there and nail Iraq, but it's only an artifact of the current media environment. If the prevailing opinion shown on CNN were a liberal one, then gullible people would most likely skew left.

Seems to me Norah Vincent of New York suffers from some insecurity regarding her relative prominence in intellectual circles. I notice she does not take on, for example, Noam Chomsky, whose obvious accomplishments as a linguist and social commentator would make it clear that REAL intellectuals do, often, act as voices of dissent.


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Subject: RE: BS: Discussion 2: Dissent = intelligence??
From: Amos
Date: 29 Sep 02 - 11:10 PM

No, it does make you smart to disagree with the majority. Nor does it make you smart to agree with the majority. They are totally independent variables. We have demonstrated plenty of times in the past that an American majority has a problematic degree of right thinking in it -- sometimes a lot, sometimes too little.

The hard issues for anyone to come to terms with, right or left, include the disproportion between Bush's determination and promotion of military attack and the number of facts he has presented in support of the vision.

The air around these issues is thick with flights of rhetoric, emotional and often whingeing or frothing depending on its place in the spectrum. None of that has any bearing on what an intelligent appraisal is or could be.

Patriotism is not jingoistic in and of itself, but mobs in any context tend to be. I have heard jingoists suggesting that Afghanistan should become aparking lot at our hands, and I quail to think they are citizens under the same principles as I am. I have heard bleeding hearts insist that "we deserved it", which is equally absurd, equally extreme, and in a perverted way, equally jingoist.

There has got to be found a middle ground along which we can move away from vioent solutions and haul the rest of the world with us, willy or nilly, toward a planet that is, at the very least, in communication and seeking better processes for itself, in human terms and in terms of other organisms to boot.

Personally, I admire Barbara Kingsolver greatly as a writer, and admire her for having the gumption to stand up against what she sees as mass double think.

But that doesn't mean she is portraying the whole picture clearly.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Discussion 2: Dissent = intelligence??
From: Thomas the Rhymer
Date: 29 Sep 02 - 11:17 PM

It appears as though Norah Vincent is a well spoken individual, who cares about the issues... and I don't think she cares for Susan Sontag very much... Susan's insistance that the attackers have reasons, and not just excuses... comes across as looney tunes when we watch the mainstream media march toward arrogant denial...

Richer doesn't necessarily mean better... but it does mean more powerful. Smart could mean humanitarian and altruistic especially when we are powerful and rich... We could be setting an example.... and by golly.... look, we are.


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Subject: RE: BS: Discussion 2: Dissent = intelligence??
From: The Pooka
Date: 29 Sep 02 - 11:20 PM

Amos - agreed, on all points. Nerd - it's funny - "If the prevailing opinion shown on CNN were a liberal one, then gullible people would most likely skew left." But the conservatives think that CNN, particularly, is the Lefty cable channel. (Especially re Middle East issues.)


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Subject: RE: BS: Discussion 2: Dissent = intelligence??
From: Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 30 Sep 02 - 12:20 AM

The issue is not who's smarter or more thoughtful, it's who's right and who's wrong. And the American majority has a piss-poor track record on that score. The same huge majority that supported the war in Vietnam in '65 had done an about-face by '70. How's the current majority going to feel if C-130's full of body-bags start flying back from the Mideast? The majority of today's adult population (18 to 45) only knows the carnage of Vietnam from History books and movies. The can't walk along The Wall and find the names of their high school classmates engraved there.

The only war the majority of younger American's have experienced was that cake walk back in '91. But, make no mistake about it, Sadam will not roll over again if the U.S. goes through with an invasion. The only reason he did not use chemical or bio weapons in '91 is that it would have resulted in the whole world demanding his ouster. Well, if his ouster is a foregone conclusion, what's going to stop him from using them this time? Nothing. Do this thing, Mr. Bush, and see how 21st Century Moms and Dads react to having their boy (or girl) come home in a box.

Bruce


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Subject: RE: BS: Discussion 2: Dissent = intelligence??
From: Amos
Date: 30 Sep 02 - 12:28 AM

BRuce:

A telling point. But onsider too that Saddam's strategy will probably not be to defensd the wastelands; he will mor elikely cluster his defenses where door-to-door commando tactics will be the only approach that can secure the territory. Under those circumstances, using chemical, biological or nuclear weapons would be self-destructive. They don't discriminate on the basis of political or theological belief.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Discussion 2: Dissent = intelligence??
From: Thomas the Rhymer
Date: 30 Sep 02 - 01:22 AM

Suppose we dissent from the warring way, and make an ally out of Saddam? Could it be possible? Is diplomacy impossible, or just distasteful? Does he have any friends? Didn't we once have some kind of relationship once? What happened?


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Subject: RE: BS: Discussion 2: Dissent = intelligence??
From: Chip2447
Date: 30 Sep 02 - 01:51 AM

Bruce says,

"The issue is not who's smarter or more thoughtful, it's who's right and who's wrong. And the American majority has a piss-poor track record on that score."

We all have different views of what is right. Those who don't agree with our personal views are wrong.

I'll assume that you meant what is right or wrong in your opinion and the opinion of likeminded individuals.

Chip2447


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Subject: RE: BS: Discussion 2: Dissent = intelligence??
From: Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 30 Sep 02 - 03:12 AM

No, Chip, what's right is the path that preserves and enhances life. What's wrong is the path that destroys it. That is cut-and-dry, no room for equivocation. Life=Right. Death=Wrong.

Of course, as human beings we can only see the beginnings of the path, so we can never be sure that the path we are taking will lead to right. There can be legitimate differences of opinion as to which path we should follow to achieve right. But, to intentionally travel down a path that we know leads to wrong is insanity. The path Mr. Bush has proposed will definitely lead to the deaths of a hell of a lot more people than just Mr. Hussein, (and probably in many other places besides Iraq) and that is just plain wrong.

Anyway, if Mr. Bush is so anxious to kick some ass, let's issue him an M-16 and let him duck some sniper fire in beautiful downtown Baghdad.

Bruce (Who used to never post to political threads but is daily learning to despise a certain Texan more and more)


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Subject: RE: BS: Discussion 2: Dissent = intelligence??
From: Amos
Date: 30 Sep 02 - 04:07 AM

I don't believe Saddam ever "rolled over". There are a large --how many? --number of Iraqi orphans growing up to testify to that.

Death 's certainly a piece of life, and is not in itself wrong. Forcing it on poeple who don't wish for it usually is though. But dramatizing wither one is certainly pretty stupid. You'd be hard put to support either of them without the other!

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Discussion 2: Dissent = intelligence??
From: NicoleC
Date: 30 Sep 02 - 12:46 PM

Like most politically-skewed editorials (is there any other kind), the article is full of over-simplifications and attempts to discredit a dissenter without actually addressing the issue she brings up to begin with. Her real premise seems to be that "smart" people don't dissent when it will be unpopular -- in other words, think what you will, but shut up and don't bother the rest of us with "ideas."

On the intelligence vs/ dissent issue, I would draw a difference between "dissent" and "disagreement." Any drooling idiot can get paranoid and disagree with everything in the world including whether or not the world is round. One who disagrees can be an anti-social genius or too mentally defective to feed oneself. Disagreement has nothing to do with intelligence.

The word "dissent," however, implies that one has studied the opposite opinion and come to a rational but differing conclusion. It doesn't require one be a genius, but it does require the ability and willingness to think.

When one is in the majority of opinion, there is much less incentive to stop and think rationally about why one believes what one does. You don't have to defend your opinion when most everyone agrees.

Dissent doesn't equal intelligence, but it does usually equal thought. Those in the majority can certainly be thoughtful, too, but many of them just don't bother, they are content with letting other people do the thinking for them. It's basic pack behavior -- one doesn't need to be a lemming to follow a leader, but there are plenty of lemmings out there, too.

There are of course those in with minority opinions who will blindly follow their own leaders, too. But it's a lot harder to find such a leader, you usually have to think on your own at some point.


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Subject: RE: BS: Discussion 2: Dissent = intelligence??
From: Amos
Date: 30 Sep 02 - 04:49 PM

DougR:

THis is the article you were looking fo4r.

BTW, I operate on the assumption that the purpose of inteligence is to acheive maximum "rightness" in solving complex, dynamic situational equations. How you define "rightness" is too often subjective but it certainly has to do with making the best possible future for oneself, one's groups and species, and other species. How you weight those is a pretty subjective call.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Discussion 2: Dissent = intelligence??
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Sep 02 - 04:58 PM

"The new laws passed by Congress in the name of fighting terrorism pose a greater danger to the civil liberties of American citizens than to the operations of terrorists. Powers once assumed are never relinquished, just as bureaucracies, once created, never die." -- Charley Reese

"According to the media elite's rulebook, when liberals rant it's called free speech; when conservatives rant it's called incitement to terrorism." – Bernard Goldberg


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Subject: RE: BS: Discussion 2: Dissent = intelligence??
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Sep 02 - 05:13 PM

When they call roll in the Senate, the senators do not know whether to answer 'present' or 'not guilty.'" -- Theodore Roosevelt


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Subject: RE: BS: Discussion 2: Dissent = intelligence??
From: The Pooka
Date: 30 Sep 02 - 05:37 PM

NicoleC - "Her real premise seems to be that 'smart' people don't dissent when it will be unpopular -- in other words, think what you will, but shut up and don't bother the rest of us with 'ideas.'"

Gee, where did you find *that* "real premise" in there? I must've missed it. :)

I think her real premise, or point, actually is that conservatives (rightists, call 'em what ye will) can be just as intelligent, thoughtful, even intellectual, as liberals (leftists, progressives, etc.)---notwithstanding that liberals tend reflexively to presume the contrary. Unfortunately, your remarkable real-premise interpretation quoted above tends to reinforce that latter presumption. Obviously, "don't dissent when it's unpopular" and "don't bother...us with ideas" is WAAAY far away from what the writer is saying. You've recast it into something only an idiot would propound. That's the very stereotype the author is attacking. It is a comforting one to believe in, for those us whose hearts are in the right place---y'know, to the left of center---but it isn't so.

I know. I'm a Convert. Used to be one of Them. Was a registered Republican, and that wasn't the worst of it either; trust me, you don't wanna know. Was Blind but now I See. (Of course the Recovery is a lifelong process. Temptation is always there...just one little Vote couldn't hurt...:) But I know those folks on the Right. They're wrong, by & large, on most issues. But they are, on average, no dumber than we are. Sorry.


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Subject: RE: BS: Discussion 2: Dissent = intelligence??
From: The Pooka
Date: 30 Sep 02 - 05:40 PM

But in any event, lemming know how the debate turns out. / Hey Look, what a lovely cliff-edge over there....


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Subject: RE: BS: Discussion 2: Dissent = intelligence??
From: GUEST,Ireland
Date: 30 Sep 02 - 05:44 PM

With all the talk of war on Iraq, it makes me wonder what would happen if the Arab world unite in a Jihad against Bush.

It will only take a fiasco like "Black Hawk Down" to trigger Muslim solidarity, Saddam tried to declare a Holy war during the Gulf war, it did not happen because he was seen by all as being the aggressor.

The door to door tactic will not necessarily rule out the use of chem weapons, if one soldier can take out a unit it's a good trade off. If people are prepared to strap bombs to themselves it indicates anything could happen. So looking at the tactics Saddam may use from our view point my be a big mistake.

Remember the promises made to the Muslim bombers wrt the after life,times that with the Iraqi army and its people and no Army in the world can defeat them on their own grounds. Think of the tactics used in V.Nam, how will people counteract the suicide bomber,they may be man women and child.


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Subject: RE: BS: Discussion 2: Dissent = intelligence??
From: Amos
Date: 30 Sep 02 - 05:51 PM

Good points all, Ireland.

Bush doesn't seem to notice that as far as the mass perception in the proposed scenario, he will be viewed as representing the aggressors.

Under those circumstances there is no telling what the neighboring nations will do.

It is not the case, however that no Army can defeat them on their own ground, fanatic or no. The real question is, do we want such a war in order to "address" the "situation"? I think not.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Discussion 2: Dissent = intelligence??
From: GUEST,Ireland
Date: 30 Sep 02 - 06:01 PM

With respect Amos,the V.Nam war has shown such wars cannot be won.

If Saddam drums into his people the same type of propaganda Bush is doing to his, it will make a very different war indeed, what will the troops do shoot every one on sight? To do so will bring on side the muslim countries. In that sense it a no winner.

This is not a jibe on the abilities of the American army but if you consider what Black Hawk Down taught us,men women and children had no probs taking on the troops, compound that with military instruction as given in Irag and your in trouble,no reflection on the troops abilities at all. Bush should really think what he is asking his troops to do.


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Subject: RE: BS: Discussion 2: Dissent = intelligence??
From: NicoleC
Date: 30 Sep 02 - 06:13 PM

Pooka,

Here's where I get that idea. She starts off reasonably enough, saying that conservatives can be just as intelligent and thoughtful as liberals. Um, yeah. Isn't that obvious? It begs the question, why write an editorial about it?

Ahhhh, she isn't! It's just an introduction to get your attention. Rather quickly, she veers off and uses the rest of the column to rail against the expression of, well, *thinking*, specifically thinking she doesn't agree with. None of the following paragraphs support her premise or even particularly address it.

She states,

"But who, after all, is really being thoughtless here? It's the left elite's arguments that were ill-timed and insensitive. They were made just days after the catastrophic event, while the wound was still fresh and families and friends were reeling. Like a slap in the face on cue, they were made again on the eve of the wrenching anniversary.

From the comfortable remove of their armchairs, the sages begrudged us and worse, the victims and survivors, our justified feelings of national solidarity."

First, she blatantly lies or shows her ignorance by stating that liberals weren't expressing those views prior to 9/11, and then seems to have only heard about the articles in question but hasn't actually read them. Next, she calls expressing those views both "insensitive" and a "slap in the face" and "begrudg[ing] us... national solidarity."

Sounds a lot like "shut up" to me, because the THOUGHTS of people she disagreed with made her uncomfortable. Her "us" refers to those with national solidarity, and those who disagreed aren't included. Those who dissented weren't among her "victims and survivors."

It's the same old nonsense about if you disagree with the actions of the government, you're less patriotic. And whether you reach a majority opinion by thinking or by blindly following, you're one of the real Americans.

Same tired argument, different dressing.


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Subject: RE: BS: Discussion 2: Dissent = intelligence??
From: GUEST,Fred Miller
Date: 30 Sep 02 - 06:45 PM

Good questions, my previous post got an error msg and didn't take, so now I'll try to be brief with my opinions.

   No, dissent isn't more intelligent, and yes, it's sometimes fashionable to act as if it were, but I agree that it's not a contest of intelligence.

   But if it were, Sontag and Kingsolver win. The hidden point? It's the argument that their remarks were "ill-timed" and "insensitive." So what? That sounds just like low-brow liberal "sensitivity" b.s. to me, and if it's not a contest of intelligence it's not a contest of etiquette either. 9/11 is a tragedy, not a damned religion. And even if it were a damned religion....

    I always found Soviet sympathizing to be a fashionable leftist doofusism, because of the intolerance of free speech and expression. I'm an American, and hold some truths to be self-evident. Even if I didn't I'd probably still revere it as the grandest way that "fuck you" has ever been phrased. But I do--I have no sympathy with power regimes that tolerate such b.s., and I wish getting rid of Saddam had been the point of the first war, since we did have one.

   The war on terrorism is old news among liberals. At least a decade ago liberals were pointing out that American defense spending was busting along as though nothing had changed, and that terrorism was the most likely future threat. And at least two decades ago it was liberals pointing out that the official "safety" of nuclear power plants totally ignored the possibility of terrorism. I remember that clearly in the early eighties, and I'm barely political at all. So mr. Bush's brainchild may strike some people as too much too late. Now as always we should do everything reasonably possible to avoid war.

   Dissent doesn't equal intelligence, but both Bush's have seemed to me deeply cynical. I'm not sure that dissent from Mr. Bush's current campaign equals dissent from the majority opinion anyway. The article above doesn't argue intelligence, but "sensitivity" instead. Fuck that, it's crap. I wish someone would direct me to current intelligent right-wing commentaries because I would genuinely appreciate it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Discussion 2: Dissent = intelligence??
From: NicoleC
Date: 30 Sep 02 - 06:56 PM

Fred, I can never find any of those intelligent ring-wing commentaries, probably for the same reason I can never find intelligent TV -- because it makes for bad ratings, not because it isn't possible. Many of our conservative MudCat commentators can do a MUCH better job.

However, it also bears pointing out that military and intelligence analysts have ALSO been saying for the past decade that terrorism was the most likely threat, yet the military industrial complex kept chugging along, because no one was willing to tackle it and turn it in a different (less profitable?) direction.


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Subject: RE: BS: Discussion 2: Dissent = intelligence??
From: The Pooka
Date: 30 Sep 02 - 07:20 PM

NicoleC - well argued & supported. I hereby back off. (To some extent :) // Fred Miller, VERY good points about the "timing" & "sensitivity" stuff.


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Subject: RE: BS: Discussion 2: Dissent = intelligence??
From: The Pooka
Date: 30 Sep 02 - 07:40 PM

And, Fred & Nicole, since you asked, I Googled....Now, it's been a LONG time since I've really read National Review, back in W.F. Buckley's glory days (which, speaking of Dissent, were essentially before his side started winning); and back then we had none of this Internet foolishness, sonny; BUT - here it is - National Review Online



(Hey, this Blueclickymaker works good. Thanks Max.)



Old NR used to be intelligent. Extremist of course; and intelligent. Lemme know if this online version is. I'm not gonna read it. Too risky. Might backslide. The recovering drunk should stay out of the bars.



George F. Will is a highly intelligent, albeit (therefore?) often infuriating, conservative commentator, btw. / He made his bones with Buckley & his magazine y'know. As did many other righties.


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Subject: RE: BS: Discussion 2: Dissent = intelligence??
From: Stephen L. Rich
Date: 30 Sep 02 - 11:17 PM

Agreeing with the majority opinion in and of itself has no bearing on intelligence. Can one explain WHY one agrees with it using reasons outside of the established rhetoric. In other words has one actually given the given issue a bit of thought; has one used whatever intelligence one has? That's what i listen for in any dicussion. It's part of the trick to diagreeing without becoming disagreeable.


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Subject: RE: BS: Discussion 2: Dissent = intelligence??
From: Amos
Date: 01 Oct 02 - 12:33 AM

Fascinating Oook -- that NRO is as hot a hotbed of righteous Rightness as the 'Cat is a hotbed of righteous Leftitude. And the rhetoric is just as sharp and smartly phrased, just as rich with redolent truisms and vibrant virtues, perfumed with courage and integrity as though it were the planet's wellspring of such things.

Reee-markable. And boy, do they consider a ground war a fait accompli They don't think it's a matter of whether, but as matter of when, and they have complete confidence in the inevitable triumph.

Interestingly enough so do the Iranians, who are trying to cut deals on the sly while preparing to rally the opposition amongst the Saudis at the same time. Why, those hypocritical people.... My, oh, my. Looks like fireworls by the end of winter for sure.

Now here's a quote that really DOES come from Shakespeare, unlike that bogus Caesar thing making its weary way around the Internet:

Lord, what fools these mortals be!

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Discussion 2: Dissent = intelligence??
From: DougR
Date: 01 Oct 02 - 12:34 AM

Bee-Dubya-el: Thread creep, but something you wrote caused me to wonder, what is your postion on abortion? Are you a "right to life" advocate, or "Woman's choice?"

DougR


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Subject: RE: BS: Discussion 2: Dissent = intelligence??
From: GUEST,Fred Miller
Date: 01 Oct 02 - 01:48 PM

I wonder too about that life-good categorical imperitive. How does one factor unknowable questions like lives given to, perhaps, save other lives. Isn't that what a soldier hopes, in risking theirs? Isn't it the hard part of the whole question that we can't predict the future?

    The other thing that bothers me is the article's defense of a good/evil equation. There's more wrong with it than I could ever finish saying, but the writer simply pretends that rejecting rhetorical absolutes of Good and Evil is the same as saying everyone is morally the same, and it just doesn't mean that. Right and wrong is still shy of such absolutism. To recognise that a wrong action may have a motivation is still not to say it was a right action. And so on--it's so tiresome to take a silly misleading argument seriously, one feels taken in, no matter what.

Somehow, this makes me think of the rightist notion that casual pot-smokers are morally responsible for "drug-related" murders. But those murders are about money, not drugs. So then, is the casual money-user responsible for money-crimes, hunger, economic terrorism? I guess I think so. Me--my meager excesses kill, I think. Kill real living children, horribly--I think it's the truth. So I hate letting myself be drawn into political discussion, because for me it always leads back to the fact that we, in general--I in particular am not a better person than I am. No number of thoughtful points or well-reasoned arguments changes anything, morally. The ballgame quality of idealological politics is a pastime to distract us from seeing our guilt, compromise, weakness, and complicity. Seeing our faults doesn't change them either.

   I'm not completly a pacifist, but I wouldn't call a war good, or for the Good, it's just sometimes the best we're able to do, being what we are. I don't trust Mr. Bush's judgement. He has not been convincing.


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Subject: RE: BS: Discussion 2: Dissent = intelligence??
From: John Hardly
Date: 01 Oct 02 - 01:50 PM

kinda funny...

...a few weeks ago when Amos started a thread here "Thinking outside the box", the only replies he got for the first day or so was folks telling him what was wrong with the particulars of the story in the example, even though...

...everyone still knew what, in concept, Amos was asking, and
...the story, even in its imperfect way of doing so -- still made the point of thinking outside the box.

I think there is a strong sense here that agreement = ignorance. But heck, some people are just more discerning, think faster, have more prior knowledge -- just because they can decide that the majority is right, doesn't mean they didn't arrive at that conclusion without thought. I think the perception is often caused because there are always a number of those in the majority who, even though they may be right (on any given issue) are right for the wrong reason.


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Subject: RE: BS: Discussion 2: Dissent = intelligence??
From: GUEST,Fred Miller
Date: 01 Oct 02 - 05:15 PM

John I don't know if you mean that I or others are quibbling over the point, which you are saying is clear. But the point isn't clear to me at all--exactly what aspect or imperitive of a winnable war on a certifiable evil is the article about, or in support of? I really don't know, because the writer really doesn't say. And that's the point. The framing of a game of Who's smartest is a rather coy intro (for example, oh..., hmm, take the current war on terrorism thingy, for instance) to an essay that never quite gets around to saying what it means, and on it's way there, it makes a pun on "thoughtless" from a thinking sense to a sensitivity sense, and is in general simply boosterising patriotic majority opinions. I haven't read Sontag's articles on this but know from her Against Interpretation that she is sometimes prone to overdramatise a case.

   My point was that although it is certainly seductive, spirited, likable to see life as a game, who's smartest, who's thoughtless, who's left, who's right, who's wrong, who's right, who's good with a capital G, who's evil, who wins, who loses--but maybe it isn't exactly the truth of things. Maybe we just like it more than the truth. I don't think it's merely an abstract quibble, I think it's the opposite.

   

   


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Subject: RE: BS: Discussion 2: Dissent = intelligence??
From: GUEST,Amos
Date: 01 Oct 02 - 05:18 PM


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Subject: RE: BS: Discussion 2: Dissent = intelligence??
From: GUEST,Amos
Date: 01 Oct 02 - 05:21 PM

What I was going to say before I was so rudely interrupted, is that there is no absolute attainable in this universe, and probably not in any other, on the good and bad spectrum. There isn't even an externally verifiable measurement you can use. But there is a universal striving for better futures, in a lot of different areas such as one's family, societies, species and so on, which is as good a general yardstick as you're going to find. But it is an infinite yardstick in both directions. Relatavism might be a lot less comfortable than black and white, but it is a lot closer to the "truth".

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Discussion 2: Dissent = intelligence??
From: The Pooka
Date: 01 Oct 02 - 10:24 PM

Fred Miller & Amos, re your last 2 posts above: hear, hear! Agreed. / It was a slowly-dawning sense of what you've so well expressed that led me, gradually, away from my onetime Rightist ideology but at the same time away from ANY strict political "ideology" as such, i.e., absolutist intellectual system/construct which purports (so absurdly) to account for Everything. (Amos, I'm not referring to Physics. That's different. There, I'll still String along...unless I stub me TOE...)



Also Amos, thanks for that objective review of NR Online. Apparently These Kids Today have kept up the ol' Buckley standards, and for that I commend them although I now disagree. / I've adhered to my resolution not to read 'em for fear of Falling off the Wagon (though I WAS intrigued by their story about Fishing, with a picture of a nice Bass :).



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Subject: RE: BS: Discussion 2: Dissent = intelligence??
From: The Pooka
Date: 01 Oct 02 - 10:41 PM

But now speaking of the Right, *here's* a good one, sister & brother Bushbashing Lefties. That eminent & revered progressive spokesman, *Patrick J. Buchanan*, is on a vociferous campaign *against Bush's war on Iraq*, and against US interventionism in the Middle East (and Asia) generally --- going so far as to state that "the terrorists are over here because we are over there"---with claims that Dubya's strings are being pulled by a cabal of "neo-conservative interventionists" who all seem, coincidentally, to have Jewish names. / Well. / Pat was on MSNBC's "Hardball" last night, expounding this treif, oy. / With allies like this, what good peacenik needs opponents? (& With Irishmen like that, who needs the oul' Blueshirts? Just thought I'd throw that in.) I may be stuck in the '60's, but yer man is stuck in the late '30's by God. Ah weel. Politics makes strange bedfellows. Or, as somebody said about George and Lurleen Wallace, Bedfellows make strange politics.


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Subject: RE: BS: Discussion 2: Dissent = intelligence??
From: John Hardly
Date: 01 Oct 02 - 10:52 PM

Fred,
I was only addressing the thesis of the article, without using the same example -- I didn't see the article so much as a defense of the "Bush doctrine" as a discussion on whether there is a degree to which those who consider themselves "intellectual" do seem to buy into the notion that dissent=intelligence.

I was merely pointing out an example here on the mudcat where that *seemed* to be the case.

I do see an irony that many who take pride in this notion of superior intellect rarely arrive at their observations in a void.


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Subject: RE: BS: Discussion 2: Dissent = intelligence??
From: The Pooka
Date: 01 Oct 02 - 11:02 PM

John Hardly - there's also irony in that *some* who seem intellectually rather elistist, are also rigourously egalitarian and anti-competitive regarding issues & policies on education, testing, and so forth---and disdain as dumb those who might "dissent"! LOL!


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Subject: RE: BS: Discussion 2: Dissent = intelligence??
From: Amos
Date: 02 Oct 02 - 12:12 AM

Opinions in a void? Regarding political issues? A paradoxical concept of the first order, I would think, John? What we are seeing is a mad shuffle, cut and deal of a wide spectrum of agreements made between viewpoints in mixed bunches and intersecting sets. Agreements mostly are not done in a void, I would guess.

And pontificators (including yours tryly) never ponificate in a void if they can possibly help it. It makes them feel self conscious and nervous as hell! ***BG***

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Discussion 2: Dissent = intelligence??
From: John Hardly
Date: 02 Oct 02 - 08:41 AM

*BG*


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Subject: RE: BS: Discussion 2: Dissent = intelligence??
From: GUEST,Freed Miller
Date: 02 Oct 02 - 10:00 AM

John, yes, I see what you mean, and I remember the thinking outside the box thread. There are times I've felt some leftists were more interested in being right than doing right--there's a back-seat driving mentality it's easy to fall into.

Personally, I sometimes like reading the New Yorker so I can make intelligent-sounding comments on subjects I know absolutely nothing about.


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Subject: RE: BS: Discussion 2: Dissent = intelligence??
From: The Pooka
Date: 02 Oct 02 - 11:36 PM

But Amos, does does not the Pope himself Pontificate because in the Beginning was the the Void? (Thanks for Nothing.) After all, his Void is Law. (Oy. Gut Yontif, said the Pontiff.) I learned these truths at seventeen, before I was defenestrated ex cathedra (discovering that I, for one, was not inFallible) for claiming it was all Bull. "Ave Maria, gee it's good to see ya...." - T. Lehrer


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