Sunday, January 6, 2013

Talking with Liberals

I am continually faced with variations on the following scenario when attempting to converse with those who hold opposite convictions:

I look at a patch of lawn and see shades of green that vary according to the play of light and shadow. If I mention this to a liberal, he, she, or it is likely to respond in this fashion:

But how do you KNOW it's green? Perhaps that's only a misperception, an assumption or a conditioned reflex on your part. It's green because you BELIEVE it's green. 

What makes your belief any more valid than anyone else's? Could you PROVE scientifically that the lawn is in fact green? It could very well be tan, even brown, and in some lights I've known it to appear red, so your statement is at least partially, perhaps wholly, inaccurate. 

And what IS "green" anyway, but a biased, artificial linguistic construct concocted to further a particular point of view. Your idea of what is and is not “green" would never stand up in a court of law, and frankly it defies logic. In truth you don't KNOW anything –– you just rely unquestioningly on what you've been TOLD most likely by those even more ignorant than yourself. 

In all probability the sum total of ALL your knowledge is not knowledge at all but a tissue of SUPPOSITIONS and ASSUMPTIONS based on the outmoded perceptions and power-seeking ambitions of heavily flawed individuals. In other words you are where you are as a result of the blind leading the blind. 

You ARE blind you know. 

You don't even SEE a lawn. 

What you THINK you see may not exist as such. 

To me it's a playing field, a pasture, a meadow, a waste of unplowed soil that would better be used for growing crops to provide food, the development of low-income housing for the homeless, or halfway houses for parolees and the addicted. 

How DARE you be so unthinking, so unimaginative, so intellectually vacant and so NAIVE as to call a lawn a lawn ––and far WORSE to DARE to tell ME it's GREEN? 

The kindest thing I could say to you is that your thinking is SIMPLISTIC. The temptation to call you a SIMPLETON, however, is very great indeed.

YOU may not be a moron by clinical definition, but you most certainly ought to be categorized as a DOLT.

Then the conversation would degenerate even further from there, but I learned long ago to STOP LISTENING –– if only in defense of my own increasingly fragile grip on sanity.

~ FreeThinke


  1. You are rarely challenged (by me anyway) about anything which is not contentious (eg. "America has been subjected to a successful Marxist conspiracy for decades" is contentious). Your tendency is to treat all your points as if they were as indisputable as the greenness of grass.

  2. It's something along the lines of East is East and West is West, and never the twain shall meet,
    Till Earth and Sky stand presently at God's great Judgment Seat

    Methinks that Kipling was too much of an optimist. ;^)

  3. It's green because George Bush out too much environmentally-unfriendly fertilizer on it.

    I believe it is futile, which is why my new years resolution is to get out of blogging. Unfortunately, I'm so addicted I can't go cold turkey...

  4. Silver, IMO your achievements at western hero are valuable. If you do give it up, good luck for the future and I hope you will re-evaluate your blogging, and look back on it with deserved pride.

  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  6. It's a lawn because it's owned by a right winger. The lawn came into existence because the bourgeois wanted to show they were rich enough not to have to grow food.
    The French revolution didn't rid us of these clowns.

    It's green because it emits a certain wavelength we have assigned the name "green".

  7. Interesting Ducky, how the lawn has retired from its role as a class signal. Nowadays, growing vegetables is more the preserve of the affluent middle class.

    We can define "green" by wavelength, but those wavelengths aren't arbitrary, they correspond to something interesting about the way we humans process colour: the cones in our retinas probably evolved in a forest environment to help us distinguish between yellow (very narrow band, probably tuned to respond to ripe bananas), green (a broader band, encompassing many different shades of leaf), and blue (sky).

  8. Thank you for the compliment Jez, but Western Hero will go on without me. Finntann and Viburnum are doing a superb job.

  9. how the lawn has retired from its role as a class signal.

    lol! We could do it like the Mayan's did and pluck the still beating hearts out of our slave captives , offer them to the gods, and then fling their lifeless corpses from he top of a pyramid, if you so prefer indigenous American sacred "non-capitalistic" theories of "value".

    You've got to get rid of the "accursed share" somehow if you are to prove yourself a "sovereign" individual.

  10. Up to the last part, where the scorn begins, your fictional conversation with a liberal seems very much like a conversation with Socrates, or even Descartes.

    Wasn't it Socrates that said the only thing we can know for sure is that we don't know everything?

    Ducky, seems like you missed FT's point entirely. Is it that you've grown weary of productive discussion and feel like it's a waste of time to *actually* engage in it, or did you legitimately miss the point?

  11. jez: "Your tendency is to treat all your points as if they were as indisputable as the greenness of grass."

    You very kindly pointed this out to our friend, FT. Had I done so, he would have composed another straw man argument to prove his point.

  12. " Your tendency is to treat all your points as if they were as indisputable as the greenness of grass."

    But of course, dear boy, of course! Unlike "modern people," who've obviously been conditioned to question, oppose and "deconstruct" virtually everything other than the officially-sanctioned intellectual concept, slogan or shibboleth du jour, I allow myself to have firm convictions, and do my best to live by them.

    Once upon a time I might have been tempted to believe quite sincerely -- as most people did -- that the earth was flat. IT did look that way until brave explorers and men with great depth of insight proved otherwise.

    Once I know I have been proven incorrect, I have always been willing to abandon my position -- sometimes reluctantly, I admit -- but willing nevertheless.

    What I am NOT willing to do is to accept someone else's suppositions, speculations, assertions and doctrinaire opinions as necessarily superior to my own simply because they have been manipulated by scheming geniuses into gaining wide acceptance through the immense power of the information and entertainment business and the educational establishment.

    By the way, what made you seize upon this item as though you knew it was directed at you, personally -- or is that possibly a misconception on my part?

    ~ FreeThinke

  13. @Jack --- Ducky, seems like you missed FT's point entirely. Is it that you've grown weary of productive discussion and feel like it's a waste of time to *actually* engage in it, or did you legitimately miss the point?
    No, I haven't missed it at all.

    I listen to the voice of the nation and it's blah,blah,blah you fools don't realize he's a socialist, Marxist, Saul Alinsky blah, blah, blah.

    A chorus of folks with no intent on discussing anything since they hold revealed truth. Either through Rand or the Old Testament. There is no intent to listen to my idea of "what is green".

    But Freethinker is kind and won't call liberals, "simpletons". Okay, lets' call thing by their name. What defines the conservative?

    Stupid? No, I don't think so. I've found people like yourself, Silverfiddle and Freethinker to be well rounded and knowledgeable.

    What is it that causes them to lash out rather than engage the left?

    Ready? FEAR. They are scared witless of losing their status.
    Take Obama. Are they racist? No, as a rule I think not but they are certainly scared witless of the change a black man taking the oath represents.
    The ex military are among the worst since they had to buy into a very, very strict narrative of exceptionalism and what is right and good. And since the construct supports their supremacy (and the dismal narrative of American exceptionalism) their being is invested in it.

    I have sympathy for them but read the latest post at Silverfiddle's for an object lesson. The effete liberals are largely responsible for our difficulties. Well believe what you will. Believe whatever does not threaten the foundation of your supremacy narrative but don't come cryying to the ones who told you so when your Galtian masters do you raw and all your guns don't help.

    And don't ask me to listen to someone writing an article that sounds like he just discovered Plato. FT, I've made my freaking bones in life and I am well aware of the shadows on the cave wall.

  14. Meet the new boss, duckman.

    Same as the old boss.

    Ducky's Galtian's are always "the other guy's" problem. Meanwhile, Wesley Mouch slowly climbs the political ladder.

  15. Once you know you have been proven incorrect... glad to hear it but it's hardly worth mentioning if you actively avoid exposure to such proof (proof is a poor choice of word -- proof is rare outside mathematics). There's being firm and then there's being inflexible!

    I don't want you to be impressed by any supposition's mere popularity (that applies equally to what is popular today and what was popular 50, 100, or 200 years ago). In my experience of talking to you, you're the one who's tended to dismiss or mock opposing views without supplying any reason other than it not being your own. "If you don't understand [ie agree with me] you must be an idiot," to paraphrase your habitual position. Often, my intention might be merely to expose the existence of viable alternatives (eg. explanations for certain changes to society that do not hinge on an active, powerful left wing conspiracy at the highest levels of American society and government), without directly attacking your favoured opinion. I'm not convinced that you are always aware of the difference.

    My response to this item is not affected by its intended target -- whether it's me or someone else, it would prompt me to raise the same observation.

    You probably already know, and if not I hope you will be delighted to learn, that the Earth's shape was known to, and its circumference estimated by, the Greeks without travelling further than Egypt. It is an interesting and unsettled question how widespread the flat earth belief ever really was.

  16. Ducky,

    Thank you for an unusually generous, fair-minded response. The tone is much appreciated.

    Let me try to give you this:

    Your diagnosis -- as far as I may be concerned -- is largely-though-not-totally incorrect.

    What has troubled me from the mountains of tangible evidence I have seen piling up all around me most of my adult life is not so much fear of losing status as much as the dismay I feel that younger, or differently-oriented people may never be able to enjoy what I've had most of my life, and have very fortunately wound up possessing in quadruple measure at the very time when I need it the most.

    Touting one's virtues is as tiresome as it is tasteless, but I believe you are aware that I give away great big chunks of my income every month to help people I know, personally, who are in desperate need. I assure you in case you were wondering that I get no tax benefits whatsoever for this type of personal charity.

    So yes, I plead GUILTY to your charge that the loss of economic status and security causes -- not FEAR so much as great ANGER -- that the inept, ham-fisted, ill-considered, over-priced "services," derived from taxing away MY resources, then meted out stingily by a blundering, bloated, maddeningly inefficient bureaucracy would deprive ME of the ability to help my deserving friends in a truly meaningful way.

    And if you -- or anyone else -- have been reading and digesting my opinions for any appreciable length of time, you would know that I march in lockstep with no one.

    My thoughts may appear at times to echo what you have heard via talk radio, but I assure you they were in my mind long before the advent of Rush Limbaugh and the cadre of would-be imitators that followed him.

    Being deprived more and more of even the vaguest semblance of AUTONOMY ought to scare the living daylights out of EVERYONE. That it seems to do the direct opposite to at least half the population is to me an alarming sign.

    It's not a Liberal-Conservative thing. It's about staving off the advance of tyranny. From much you have said, I think you know that as well as I. It's about The Oligarchs.

    Meanwhile, Jez seems to want to play mind games trying to split hairs over the precise meaning of tyranny rather than joining the fight against it.

    Jez is a decent fellow, but I get the impression he thinks all these exercises in key-punching in which we indulge every day are nothing more than so much palaver -- he defines the process of endless catechizing he wants me to believe is honest dialogue as "fun."

    The object of this game seems to be to keep the ball bouncing as long as possible, and never let your opponent score a point -- or admit he has -- as long as you can get away with it.

    I freely admit such games tire me very quickly, but this in no way betrays weakness in my position or lack of integrity on my part. I just hate wasting time -- especially now that it's beginning to run out.

    If I said what I honestly think the game amounts to, I would, indeed, be guilty of the rudeness I am routinely accused of exhibiting in certain sectors, so we'll skip it - at least for now.

    ~ FT

  17. This is an interesting conversation, FT.
    I'm a little surprised that you, an artist, is so convinced that it's easy to see the truth.

    AOW made a gracious comment on one of my photos recently and I pointed out that, especially in group scenes,I try for ambiguity. It's almost as if I lie every time I click that shutter.

    Even in a simple two shot

    What's the truth?

  18. I insist on establishing an agreed enemy before joining any fight, and I recommend that you do the same.

    Your perception of our conversations is faulty -- eg. I can provide multiple examples of me conceding "points". For a demonstration of the game you describe in the bolded paragraph, review the comments of your friend Thersites!

    (I expect you to claim that paragraph is not about me, and it is arrogant of me to assume so! Well, it doesn't have to be about me: notice nevertheless how the Right practices the nefarious tactics you ascribe to the Left).

  19. Funny, Ducky. Ms. Shaw this evening posted one her poems at Progressive Eruptions. Like most things "modern" it's language is curious, enigmatic, cryptic, but hardly impenetrable. The images are beautiful, delicately drafted, and evoke a sense of immediacy, while creating a distinctly elegiac-but-hardly-dismal mood.

    Your picture of the little girl and the mysterious bulky object she is holding -- or possibly wielding? -- is similar in having the power to draw one in, keep one wondering.

    Its meaning may not be obvious or even comprehensible by any of the rules of Common Sense, but it charms the onlooker, nonetheless, perhaps because the little girl, who seems almost divorced from Time, and her curious package -- whatever could it be? -- appear incongruous.

    I hope you've never thought me particularly devoted to preachy, didactic works whose meaning is painfully clear from the outset?

    Not at all. The BEST stuff always has about it an aura of mystery and implies layers upon layers of meaning of which even the composer, the painter or the poet may have been unaware.

  20. Battling in the Darkness

    Irrationality combined with spite
    Laced with paranoid self-righteous zeal
    Makes a combination hard to fight,
    Since adversaries treat with nothing real.

    Projection of self-doubt with willfulness
    Combine to seal out decent, common sense.
    So, even virtue shown with skillfulness
    Can’t penetrate Obduracy’s defense.

    Alas! The joy of honest thoughts exchanged
    Is lost midst warring egotists stalemated --
    Entrenched by suppositions oft deranged --
    Employed to see all mutually berated.

    Thus trapped in darkness blindly on we fight
    Afraid to see our faults exposed to light.

    ~ FreeThinke (March 2011)

    Make of that what you will, dear readers. I'm off to see the Wizard. ;-)

    ~ FT

  21. I'm surprised, FT, that so few folks who have seen that photo sense threat.
    The adult is purposely truncated to make him as anonymous as possible but most see him as benign.

    Conclusions we draw without really having all the information we need.
    Same with words like freedom, socialist, Marxist, Libertarian. They require considerable context and when something is framed as, "talking with liberals" the context might not be forthcoming.

  22. Here's my take on interpreting what's right in front of your nose, per Ducky's photo:

    I see a contrast of innocence in the sinister presence of evil. The young girl holds a created balloon figure of a heart and if there was a closeness of her to the darker presence of the adult in the photo it's not evident. It's almost like the darker presence looming over the innocent youngster in the photo is a threat to her specifically. Now is the artist in Ducky attempting to imply a larger threat existing in the world to all child like innocence?

    Since the picture lacks a clearly identifying head shot we are left to guess if the sinister larger adult figure in the picture wears sun glasses at night as well as the in the brighter light of day to disguise a more sinister to all young girls.

  23. "For a demonstration of the game you describe in the bolded paragraph, review the comments of your friend Thersites!"

    Here's a freshly minted example:

  24. We want to see less denigration and more affirmation from The Peanut Gallery.

    Personal feuds, petty antagonism, and grudge matches are not welcome here, and will not be tolerated at this blog, unless the management here finds them personally appealing.

  25. Oh, cut the kid some slack, FT. Were it not for holding petty grudges, jez would have no existential purpose.

  26. Does this qualify as denigration any more than Freethinke's original bolded paragraph, or is the only difference between them the personal appeal they hold for him?

  27. He who tastes, knows; he who tastes not...

  28. Ducky -I hope you're still lurking out there -- I have a confession to make:

    Because my vision is so poor, I did not notice the tall [presumably male] figure standing in the foreground on the right, until Waylon talked about it. It certainly does put a more menacing complexion of the composition.

    Even without that decidedly disquieting about the picture.

    Is this by any a chance a CANDID shot, or did you ARRANGE the composition?

    Once I saw the shadowy male presence I was reminded of the famous poem by e.e. cummings that begins "In Just Spring when the world is mud luscious and puddle wonderful ..."

    I wonder how many who've looked at that unique utterance realize how sinister and terrifying it really is?

    Even now, after long long acquaintance, I still get goose bumps every time I think of it.

    Your photo has remarkably similar overtones.

    Were you by any chance inspired by cummings?

  29. FT, you can't expect liberals to see themselves with a sense of humor as you obviously do. They take themselves much too seriously for that, which is the very thing you satirized most brilliantly.

    What you did was to get them to run true to form. If they'd enjoyed your piece without complaint, your effort would have been in vain.

    Helen Highwater

  30. Were you by any chance inspired by cummings?

    I'm a visual type, FT.

    Fritz Lang's, "M".

  31. Well I'm verbal, aural and also visual, Ducky. My eyes may be shot, but I still appreciate visual aesthetics very much.

    Is M that film made in Germany that features Peter Lorre as a psychotic child killer?

    It's powerful all right, but pretty grim. Then so are Flaubert and Stendahl, and I have enjoyed their work, although my tastes in literature are largely Anglophilic.

    Never could read Proust or Tolstoy, and I feel oddly guilty about it.



We welcome Conversation
But without Vituperation.
If your aim is Vilification ––
Other forms of Denigration ––
Unfounded Accusation --
Determined Obfuscation ––
Alienation with Self-Justification ––


Gratuitous Displays of Extraneous Knowledge Offered Not To Shed Light Or Enhance the Discussion, But For The Primary Purpose Of Giving An Impression Of Superiority are obnoxiously SELF-AGGRANDIZING, and therefore, Subject to Removal at the Discretion of the Censor-in-Residence.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.