11-5-16 Hodgepodge

Saturday, November 05, 2016

What Is Your Intellectual Accent?

Harry Binswanger has made public an HBL post I was hoping he would, on the blindness to the power of ideas evidenced by the vast majority of people who encounter Ayn Rand's writings:

I suspect that what's going on in such cases -- which are the rule, not the exception -- is that they see the ideas of the heroes and the ideas of the villains as merely words they use to justify themselves. They don't see that the heroes and villains live by and act in accordance with the ideas they espouse. And that can only be because they are unaware of the power of their own ideas on their own lives and actions.

There's a relatively innocent explanation: they don't recognize that they have premises. To them, their philosophical premises are not conclusions -- they are just self-evidencies. As I've said before, it's like the common attitude, which even I shared in my youth, that an "accent" was the way other people talk, when it sounded different. "I don't have an accent -- I just talk straight."

Similarly, journalists who are immersed in a sea of like-minded colleagues and friends, don't think they are slanting the news. They are not "ideologues" -- that's what their opponents are. They just report plain fact, "telling it like it is." It's just self-evident that it's a crisis if not everyone has health insurance. It's self-evident that when a hurricane strikes, the government must provide funds for relief.
Many conservatives do the same thing. I can't count the number of times I've heard "intellectuals" or "ideologies" dismissed as such by conservatives.

On a personal note, let me admit, as someone with an unmistakable (but by no means thick) southern accent, my jealousy at never having come up with such an on-point and humorous analogy. Lord knows, I've fielded -- with a straight face every time -- more than my share of (sometimes barely intelligible) versions of, "Is that an accent," when visiting or living in the Northeast. (But, yes, when I was very young, it was just they who, in my mind, had the accents.)

Weekend Reading

"Today's psychiatry is obsessed with elevating people's moods while other factors such as motivation, values and meaning are largely ignored." -- Michael Hurd, in "You're Happy ... But Are You Authentically Happy?" at The Delaware Wave

"Trump took over the Republican Party partly on the basis of fighting dangerous political correctness and dishonest media bias." -- Michael Hurd, in "Freedom and Liberty Define Trump Supporters" at Newsmax

"My experience suggests that loneliness is a state of mind rather than a physical malady." -- Michael Hurd, in "Dealing With Loneliness" at The Delaware Coast Press

"Even though the millions in euros and Swiss francs bound for Iran certainly looked like a ransom payment, the Obama team and its surrogates argued that it was not." -- Elan Journo, in "It's Not 'Ransom' if You Whitewash the Hostage-Taker" at The Times of Israel

"As with so many issues, the Right seemingly opposes the Left. Certainly, there was outrage at the outright, open expressions of communist ideology from Warren and Obama." -- Keith Weiner, in "You Didn't Build That!" at SNB & CHF

"As a former fan of [Doctors Without Borders] and rabid vaccine advocate, I hope Pfizer stands strong and is not swayed by bullying tactics that threaten the long-term prospects of this industry that is so vital to human flourishing worldwide." -- Amesh Adalja, in "Pfizer Should Resist Doctors Without Borders' Bullying, for Its Own Sake -- and for Ours" at Investors Business Daily

My Two Cents

Michael Hurd makes an interesting point regarding some of the basis for Donald Trump's popularity among many of his supporters, but I am far from convinced that Trump is doing anything but taking advantage of such justified resentment. The answer to leftist, anti-Western bigotry isn't traditional American populist bigotry.

The "Anti-Bullying" Movement in a Nutshell

I see that Rolling Stone and its "reporter," Sabrina Erdely, have been found guilty of "defamation, with actual malice" in federal court regarding a discredited story of gang rape at the University of Virginia.
[Former administrator Nicole] Eramo's attorneys presented evidence that Erdely had a predetermined notion of what her story would be, discussing the concept of the story that became "A Rape on Campus" well ahead of her reporting, including a note describing how college administrations can be "indifferent" to rape survivors. They said that Erdely had "a preconceived story line" and acted with "reckless disregard" by ignoring conflicting information in her reporting.

"Once they decided what the story was going to be about, it didn't matter what the facts were," [attorney Tom] Clare said.
Do note that a favorite topic of this confabulator happens to be bullying. Somehow, that comes as little surprise.

-- CAV


: Added Adalja editorial to Weekend Reading (HT: HBL)

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