Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Facts Are Important, But Not All That's Important

FLG gets extremely frustrated when people say stuff like Moynihan's statement, "You are entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts."

Don't get FLG wrong!  Facts are important.   He is not in favor of Post-Truth world.  What drives him nuts is not the statement, but that too frequently the person who utters it assumes that their conclusion of what must be done follows directly from the facts.   This isn't the case.

FLG's favorite example is --  You're wet; here's a towel.   You're wet is an empirically verifiable statement.   (Let's assume it for the sake of argument you are wet.)  A fact.  However, my handing you a towel implies a value judgement -- that being dry is better than being wet.    That may or not be the case.   Maybe you prefer being wet.  Maybe it's hot outside.

X might be fact.  Y might be a fact.   But recommending Z action in response to those facts requires a value judgement, which people who claim to be purely fact-based and results-oriented the loudest and most strongly often seem to be completely unaware that their values are entering into the discussion.    If X and Y are true, then Z must follow.  QED.

(This is separate from the often difficult aspect of determining an objective fact, particularly in the social sciences.  Lies, damned lies, and statistics, as it were.)

Anyway, this all comes up because FLG read this article about Obama's foreign failures:
I, or any critic of Obama’s foreign policy, could sit with an Obama administration official, and, even if we agreed on all the facts and specifics of a particular country or conflict, it wouldn’t matter much. Divergences in how people interpret Obama’s legacy have much more to do with fundamentally different starting assumptions about America’s role in the world and even human nature—in other words, the very reasons why we do what we do. In fact, looking back at my own meetings with officials during the Obama era, rarely do I ever recall hearing something and thinking to myself that I had just heard some gross error of fact. This is why I found such meetings so frustrating and circular: The only things we disagreed on were the most important.

Quote of the day

J T Levy:
If Black Lives Matter is “identity politics,” then identity politics has provided one of the most significant political mobilizations in defense of freedom in the United States in my lifetime.

FLG is surprised it took him a month to find this article.   He doesn't agree with all of it, for example even Vox raised doubt about whether the origin of the War on Drugs was racist in origin, but overall it made FLG rethink some of the issues.  

Empirically Testable?

FLG remembers the breathless reporting on the Occupy Movement with reporters hoping that it would become the Left's Tea Party.  A grassroots movement that animates political action.   And then, well, it fizzled.

FLG's hypothesis:  It fizzled as soon as they published their agenda because, well, their agenda.   The upper-middle class, center left mainstream media types were projecting their concerns onto the protestors, but when demands like this are part of the program, they realized it wasn't what they were bargaining for, but instead a political platform rooted in Marxism that was far more radical than they hoped.

Similarly, Black Lives Matter got a ton of press, then in August of last year, they announced their demands and priorities. FLG believes the mainstream press again realized they were projecting (and FLG has to admit he was as well for a while) what they considered legitimate concerns as the priorities of the movement, but again saw a political platform rooted in Marxism.   In this case, even more so than Occupy, for example:
We are committed to disrupting the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement by supporting each other as extended families and “villages” that collectively care for one another, and especially “our” children to the degree that mothers, parents and children are comfortable.

FLG's perception is that there has been far less press since August 2016.    Is there a way to empirically test this hypothesis, both for Occupy and BLM, that the publishing of a list of demands led to a drop off in media reporting and support?

Another question -- how was the Tea Party more successful in avoiding the fizzle and translating its priorities into political action by, you know, politicians?   That it was never reliant on the media, as the media was going to be critical of their priorities and was never going to be a cheerleader?   Did the Tea Party make a definitive list of demands?   FLG doesn't think he ever saw one.

Who Knew?

FLG learned today that Pico della Mirandola was likely poisoned, which didn't really surprise him, but the reason, that he was close with Savonarola, did.   FLG would've thought that the person who wrote what is often called the "Manifesto of the Renaissance" and the person responsible for the most famous Bonfire of the Vanities would not have gotten along.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Federalist 10

FLG had an overwhelming urge to read Federalist #10 today.   He hadn't read it to the end in probably five years, but was rewarded for his trouble with this little nugget:
A rage for paper money, for an abolition of debts, for an equal division of property, or for any other improper or wicked project, will be less apt to pervade the whole body of the Union than a particular member of it; in the same proportion as such a malady is more likely to taint a particular county or district, than an entire State.

FLG's chuckled at the description "improper or wicked project."  Makes him wonder how Madison would've described Bernie Sanders' platform.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Didn't Glaucon Already Say That?

FLG received an email in relation to his previous post, in which FLG wrote:
isn't Social Justice akin to:
I proclaim that justice is nothing else than the interest of the weaker

The crux of the email was that Glaucon pretty much said that in Book II of the Republic:
They say that to do injustice is, by nature, good; to suffer injustice, evil; but that the evil is greater than the good. And so when men have both done and suffered injustice and have had experience of both, not being able to avoid the one and obtain the other, they think that they had better agree among themselves to have neither; hence there arise laws and mutual covenants; and that which is ordained by law is termed by them lawful and just. This they affirm to be the origin and nature of justice; --it is a mean or compromise, between the best of all, which is to do injustice and not be punished, and the worst of all, which is to suffer injustice without the power of retaliation; and justice, being at a middle point between the two, is tolerated not as a good, but as the lesser evil, and honoured by reason of the inability of men to do injustice. For no man who is worthy to be called a man would ever submit to such an agreement if he were able to resist; he would be mad if he did. Such is the received account, Socrates, of the nature and origin of justice. 

FLG's point about today's social justice activists isn't Glaucon's, but he doesn't have time to explain now.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Political Correctness, Free Speech, and Thrasymachus

FLG thought this was a solid, decently balanced article taking a look at the issue of political correctness and free speech.    In fact, when he read this passage he had an epiphany:
Bettina Aptheker was one of the leaders of the free speech movement back then, some 52 years ago....We were young and inexperienced back then. We thought everyone should be able to say anything, cost what it may." But now Aptheker ponders the second half of that sentence. One example of the price paid back then, she says, was that a bunch of American neo-Nazis turned up on campus at Berkeley in full regalia -- with swastika armbands and signs reading, "Burn Aptheker." As a student, she didn't like it, but she thought it was tolerable, something covered by freedom of speech....Perhaps such limitations on freedom make some sense. Aptheker says she's no longer certain today whether we should accept a situation where the weaker in society are insulted in the name of protecting free speech. She's learned a lot about microaggression through feminist teachings.

In Book I of The Republic, Thrasymachus famously states:

I proclaim that justice is nothing else than the interest of the stronger.

Reading the above concern about the weaker in society being insulted, FLG then wondered isn't Social Justice akin to:

I proclaim that justice is nothing else than the interest of the weaker.

Frankly, Socrates more or less spends the rest of The Republic trying to disprove Thryasmachus's simple statement, and certainly doesn't do so absolutely.   Perhaps the reverse is just as difficult to disprove.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Fuckin' Told Ya.

We found a consistent positive relationship between profanity and honesty; profanity was associated with less lying and deception at the individual level, and with higher integrity at the society level.


Thursday, January 12, 2017


FLG decided to sign up for this Coursera course:
Søren Kierkegaard - Subjectivity, Irony and the Crisis of Modernity

Which is funny because FLG did the exact same thing back in October of 2013, but didn't get very far.   Until that point, he'd cranked through several of them, but it all stopped with Kierkegaard.  

The first week's readings are Euthyphro and The Apology, which makes it easy.

Freezy Freakies

FLG had the rocket ones when he was a kid.

FLG's Resolution

FLG resolves to use the word Procrustean more frequently.

Who Knew?

The point is that the key experts involved in [Implicit Association Test] IAT research no longer claim that the IAT can be used to predict individual behavior. In this sense, the IAT has simply failed to deliver on a promise it has been making since its inception — that it can reveal otherwise hidden propensities to commit acts of racial bias. There’s no evidence it can.

FLG was legitimately surprised by this article. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

FLG Has Also Been ReReading Tocqueville

...particularly in light of social justice warriors on campus.  

When all the privileges of birth and fortune are abolished, when all professions are accessible to all, and a man's own energies may place him at the top of any one of them, an easy and unbounded career seems open to his ambition and he will readily persuade himself that he is born to no common destinies. But this is an erroneous notion, which is corrected by daily experience. The same equality that allows every citizen to conceive these lofty hopes renders all the citizens less able to realize them; it circumscribes their powers on every side, while it gives freer scope to their desires. Not only are they themselves powerless, but they are met at every step by immense obstacles, which they did not at first perceive. They have swept away the privileges of some of their fellow creatures which stood in their way, but they have opened the door to universal competition; the barrier has changed its shape rather than its position. When men are nearly alike and all follow the same track, it is very difficult for any one individual to walk quickly and cleave a way through the dense throng that surrounds and presses on him. This constant strife between the inclination springing from the equality of condition and the means it supplies to satisfy them harasses and wearies the mind.
It is possible to conceive of men arrived at a degree of freedom that should completely content them; they would then enjoy their independence without anxiety and without impatience. But men will never establish any equality with which they can be contented. Whatever efforts a people may make, they will never succeed in reducing all the conditions of society to a perfect level; and even if they unhappily attained that absolute and complete equality of position, the inequality of minds would still remain, which, coming directly from the hand of God, will forever escape the laws of man. However democratic, then, the social state and the political constitution of a people may be, it is certain that every member of the community will always find out several points about him which overlook his own position; and we may foresee that his looks will be doggedly fixed in that direction. When inequality of conditions is the common law of society, the most marked inequalities do not strike the eye; when everything is nearly on the same level, the slightest are marked enough to hurt it. Hence the desire of equality always becomes more insatiable in proportion as equality is more complete.
Among democratic nations, men easily attain a certain equality of condition, but they can never attain as much as they desire. It perpetually retires from before them, yet without hiding itself from their sight, and in retiring draws them on. At every moment they think they are about to grasp it; it escapes at every moment from their hold. They are near enough to see its charms, but too far off to enjoy them; and before they have fully tasted its delights, they die.
To these causes must be attributed that strange melancholy which often haunts the inhabitants of democratic countries in the midst of their abundance, and that disgust at life which sometimes seizes upon them in the midst of calm and easy circumstances.

To be fair, FLG doesn't quote the above to contend that all of the social justice warriors claims, such as they are, are false.  Just that the quest for perfect equality is both futile, as the world can never be made perfectly just by the hands or minds of human beings, but that even as we converge closer to the highest potential of democratic equality possible in the temporal world people conversely become increasingly dissatisfied.

FLG also found this interesting vis-a-vis the seemingly endless encroachment of the federal government into more and more of our lives, as well as the left's newfound but almost certainly temporary defense of federalism.

 The very next notion to that of a single and central power which presents itself to the minds of men in the ages of equality is the notion of uniformity of legislation. As every man sees that he differs but little from those about him, he cannot understand why a rule that is applicable to one man should not be equally applicable to all others. Hence the slightest privileges are repugnant to his reason; the faintest dissimilarities in the political institutions of the same people offend him, and uniformity of legislation appears to him to be the first condition of good government. I find, on the contrary, that this notion of a uniform rule equally binding on all the members of the community was almost unknown to the human mind in aristocratic ages; either it was never broached, or it was rejected.

The Americans hold that in every state the supreme power ought to emanate from the people; but when once that power is constituted, they can conceive, as it were, no limits to it, and they are ready to admit that it has the right to do whatever it pleases. They have not the slightest notion of peculiar privileges granted to cities, families, or persons; their minds appear never to have foreseen that it might be possible not to apply with strict uniformity the same laws to every part of the state and to all its inhabitants.

On Misunderstanding Plato

In the Age of Trump, FLG has been rereading Plato for a variety of reasons.   Plato, perhaps more than any other philosopher, is open to a variety of interpretations; however, and FLG has mentioned this before (and has possibly even already written this exact post years ago), he has little patience for people* who take his description of the ideal city, Kallipolis, literally.

Most readers pay attention to the literal specifics of the City in Speech and the broader societal implications, but too often pay far less attention to the description of the Justice within the individual and the right ordering of the soul.   Here's how the creation of the City in Speech begins:

suppose that a short-sighted person had been asked by some one to read small letters from a distance; and it occurred to some one else that they might be found in another place which was larger and in which the letters were larger --if they were the same and he could read the larger letters first, and then proceed to the lesser --this would have been thought a rare piece of good fortune.
Very true, said Adeimantus; but how does the illustration apply to our enquiry?
I will tell you, I replied; justice, which is the subject of our enquiry, is, as you know, sometimes spoken of as the virtue of an individual, and sometimes as the virtue of a State.
True, he replied.
And is not a State larger than an individual?
It is.
Then in the larger the quantity of justice is likely to be larger and more easily discernible. I propose therefore that we enquire into the nature of justice and injustice, first as they appear in the State, and secondly in the individual, proceeding from the greater to the lesser and comparing them.
That, he said, is an excellent proposal.
And if we imagine the State in process of creation, we shall see the justice and injustice of the State in process of creation also.
I dare say.
When the State is completed there may be a hope that the object of our search will be more easily discovered.
Yes, far more easily. 

Clearly, the creation of the State is a means to an end, not the end in itself.   Granted, one could easily argue that, 'yes, the State is a means to an end, the end being Justice.  Thus, he is describing the State that manifests Justice.'   FLG contends that the State is merely an allegory for Justice because it is, as he says, 'larger letters.'    But, we then need to proceed to the individual.   But we need to proceed from the beginning directly to the end to really solidify the argument:

[The man of understanding] will look at the city which is within him, and take heed that no disorder occur in it, such as might arise either from superfluity or from want; and upon this principle he will regulate his property and gain or spend according to his means.
Very true.
And, for the same reason, he will gladly accept and enjoy such honours as he deems likely to make him a better man; but those, whether private or public, which are likely to disorder his life, he will avoid?
Then, if that is his motive, he will not be a statesman.
By the dog of Egypt, he will! in the city which 's his own he certainly will, though in the land of his birth perhaps not, unless he have a divine call.
I understand; you mean that he will be a ruler in the city of which we are the founders, and which exists in idea only; for I do not believe that there is such an one anywhere on earth?
In heaven, I replied, there is laid up a pattern of it, methinks, which he who desires may behold, and beholding, may set his own house in order. But whether such an one exists, or ever will exist in fact, is no matter; for he will live after the manner of that city, having nothing to do with any other. 

FLG contends that the City in Speech serves two purposes --   1) it helps to articulate the way soul ought be rightly order and 2) (although he hasn't made is case as strongly for this one) that horrible injustice is required, for example, the state has to lie its citizens about its match-making.

* Even though that seems to include Aristotle

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Quote of the day

Christopher Hitchens:
It is a frequent vice of radical polemic to assert, and even to believe, that once you have found the lowest motive for an antagonist, you have identified the correct one.

Trump as The Joker

That's just so fantastic.

FLG Found This Shocking

Royal Navy warships will be left without anti-ship missiles and be forced to rely on naval guns because of cost-cutting, the Ministry of Defence has admitted.

Naval sources said the decision was “like Nelson deciding to get rid of his cannons and go back to muskets”

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Collective Narcissism

FLG has been very interested in the political correctness gone bad/social justice warrior thing on campus.  The illiberalism of non-platforming conservative speakers combined with all sorts of jargon and terminology, which seems like a form of newspeak, concerns FLG.   And the more he dug into the what is happening on campus, he said to himself, this sounds like collective narcissism.  He literally used those words in thinking it through.

Anyway, today, FLG was reading Vox and came across this article:

How “collective narcissism” helps explain the election of Trump
“Collective narcissists do not have a sense of humor when their group is concerned,” a psychologist says

The examples provided were all focused on the right side of the political spectrum, and those do make FLG concerned about groups on the right as well, but the descriptions given could easily apply to the left-wing social justice folks just as easily:
Collective narcissists do not have a sense of humor when their group is concerned. Any [insult] could be convincing.
In a way, they are susceptible to any type of propaganda that upsets the in-group image.
Collective narcissists — [that is, people who score high on the collective narcissism scale] — support hostile and aggressive actions toward those who they see as threatening the exaggerated in-group image regardless of the costs of those actions.
Collective narcissists are exclusive in who they are willing to regard as compatriots. And they turn against those who express concern.

FLG will need to read the study because he's convinced collective narcissism is a phenomenon of increasing importance in the age of social media.

Analysis of US-China Conflict

FLG has been thinking about how Trump will handle the rise of China and found this analysis of the potential conflict scenarios, although it's not Trump specific:
any discussion of war between the U.S. and China overestimates either the Chinese capability or the American capability. The Chinese would not be able to take Taiwan. There are too many failure points. The U.S. could blockade China if it was prepared to accept losses. The U.S. is risk averse, and minimizing threats would mean a far larger war than merely a naval picket line.

Each action by either side faces a counter that opens the door not only to failure but also to losing forces neither side can afford to lose. The only practical way to force a change in the balance of power in the region is a shift in alliances by one of the countries, and the Philippines is the one to watch.

A more specific line of thought that is particularly relevant to Trump is this:
the U.S. is highly unpredictable in how it responds to challenges. The Chinese saw this unpredictability in Korea, Vietnam, Kosovo, Operation Desert Storm, Iraq and so on. At times, the U.S. does not respond. Other times it over-reacts, from the Chinese point of view. 

The author is talking about strategic unpredictability going back decades, but this is only exacerbated by a Trump presidency. 

Friday, December 30, 2016

Thompson & Trump

FLG thought this was worth posting a link to, but Hunter S Thompson is very high on the FLG clickbait list:
 Most people read Hell’s Angels for the lurid stories of sex and drugs. But that misses the point entirely. What’s truly shocking about reading the book today is how well Thompson foresaw the retaliatory, right-wing politics that now goes by the name of Trumpism.

Not in the article, which is entirely focused on how Thompson supposedly predicted the inevitability of reactionary brute force politics of cast-off white males unable to cope with a changing world,  but another interesting connection between Thompson and Trump, and one that FLG has been trying to form into a coherent post, is the use of hyperbole and exaggeration to make a point.   Doesn't this seem entirely Trumpian:
People really believed that Muskie was eating Ibocaine. I never said he was. I said there was a rumor in Milwaukee that he was. Which was true. And I started the rumor in Milwaukee. If you read it carefully I'm a very accurate journalist.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Snowman Sex

A 64 year-old was rushed into Centre hospitalier de l’Université Laval at the weekend with a most unusual medical complaint. He had frostbite of the P*NIS after getting drunk and trying to have s*x with a SNOWMAN.


Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Quote of the day

Matt Levine:

Legally, conceptually, this is all pretty easy stuff. Insiders who corruptly misuse corporate information to benefit themselves and their buddies are guilty of insider trading. Investment analysts who diligently research companies, including by calling up the companies and asking them questions, are not. There are some gray areas, but in most practical cases you can tell which is which. But prosecutors, jurors and even some judges can't quite believe it. They want insider trading law to be about fairness, to vindicate the idea that "the system should not be rigged," and to punish fat-cat hedge fund managers who get more access to companies than the average investor. That's not what the law is, really, but because the law doesn't match up very well with the average person's intuitions, it will always feel a bit unstable. Even if it never really changes that much.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Not Some Democratic Plot To Undermine Trump

The Russians really did hack the DNC and release the emails.   FLG has zero doubt about that.    Why they didn't isn't so objectively obvious.  FLG thinks the intention was multifaceted.

1) They're still pissed about learning how badly they were hacked from Snowden.   2) They view our public stance on cyber as hypocritical, since we hacked the shit out of them (See Point 1), and also likely developed and launched the first ever kinetic cyber weapon in conjunction with the Israelis.  (An aside:  FLG is convinced, in the future, Stuxnet will be viewed with a similar level of geopolitical import as Fat Man and Little Boy.)  If we can do it, then why not them?   3) They wanted to undermine the credibility of our election generally, and the way in which the DNC machine had thrown in for Hillary does speak to insiders putting their fingers on the scale.  4)  They'd prefer a President Trump.

It requires a response, but FLG agrees with Bob Gates that the best response is probably not a cyber one.

Sunday, December 11, 2016


It kills me to think that there are going to be people walking around who believe that Socrates was an essayist because a self-important ignoramus named D’Agata told them so. Honestly, can’t we do better than this?



FLG has seen a few people argue on Facebook, in the same breath, mind you, that the Electoral College was created as a safety valve on the people's choice AND that they should elect the Hillary because she won the popular vote.   These people aren't otherwise idiots.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Has It All Finally Gone Too Far On Campus?

FLG found this fascinating.   The director of the School of Social Work at a university in Toronto walked out of a talk being given by a black female speaker, and he was subsequently accused of committing a "violent act" of pretty much every -ism.   Protests, calls for his dismissal, etc, etc.  He stepped down as director, but is still at the school, which seems to be a problem for the protestors.

But here's the fascinating thing.   If you were to ask FLG what part of the faculty at any university is the most liberal, well, the School of Social Work would be pretty much at the tippy-top of that list. And here's how that faculty, the ones that have been teaching them about all this stuff they are upset about and protesting, looked when getting protested themselves:

Is that the look of shock and horror or even resignation that they've mind fucked their students and are appalled at what they've created?    FLG can only hope.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Back to Tocqueville

After reading this blog post by Ramesh Ponnuru:
One thing that surprised me about our panel, though, was how little they dwelt on political correctness and how much they talked about another threat to the liberal arts: the tendency to view higher education purely in terms of its economic benefits. “Our age is an age of the celebration and valorization of wealth, power, influence, status, prestige," George said. "Those things are not bad in themselves, but they easily and all too often become the competition for leading an examined life.”
FLG thought of a passage from Tocqueville that he often references:
It is evident that in democratic communities the interest of individuals as well as the security of the commonwealth demands that the education of the greater number should be scientific, commercial, and industrial rather than literary. [...] A few excellent universities would do more towards the attainment of this object than a multitude of bad grammar-schools, where superfluous matters, badly learned, stand in the way of sound instruction in necessary studies.

This Talk By Jacob Levy

...keeps popping back into FLG's head recently...

Is FLG The Only One Who

...thinks that Trump's call to Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen might have actually been savvy genius?  

Think about it.   Right now is the least risky time to call.  Or rather there is complete plausible deniability.     He's not actually in office, so it's not an official-official call from the President.   Also, the State Department can look at the Chinese, shrug and say with a straight-face, Sorry, he's new at this.    He literally has zero foreign policy experience.

So, he gets to show some support to Taiwan, but has a get out of jail free card of sorts.  Call now, shrug and apology.    Call a year from now.   Big issue.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

FLG's Annual Who Wants And Can Afford To Wear This Shit? List

FLG starts looking at stuff on Mr. Porter around now because after the holidays come huge markdowns.  He pays particular attention to the Charvet, Drakes, Inis MeainJ M Weston and Loro Piana sections.   In truth, even discounted almost all of those brand's stuff, although exquisite, is too much for FLG.

Anyway, while pursing the site, FLG always comes across items and wonders, often aloud, Who the fuck is the market for this stuff?   Rap artists?   Coked-up Investment Bankers?   WHO?!   FLG WANTS TO KNOW!

A $12,000 cocktail shaker shaped like an airplane.

$17k and change for an ice bucket.

Over $800 for a sweatshirt with two dogs fighting.  It's a sweatshirt.   It's made of cotton, not cashmere.   It's $800.

This one is twice that.

FLG is pretty sure Serpentor is the only possible buyer of this one.

These sneakers are nice, but $600 is crazy.

These are $700 and have a lion picture on them.

These are hideous and over a thousand.

These boots confused FLG.

A grand for a camo backpack.   Camo backpacks can be found for pretty cheap.   Heck, you can get one made of kevlar for less.

If you have $1k and the balls to wear these velvet shoes, well, FLG says -- RESPECT.

It's cashmere, but really?

WHO PAYS $1,100 FOR A NYLON AND CANVAS BACKPACK that looks like it is from the school section at CVS?!

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Tips For Investment Bankers Operating In China Or Really Anybody At Anytime.

Matt Levine:
First of all: Traditionally the way to communicate a sneaky surreptitious intent is winking, not blinking. (Blinking is involuntary and therefore hard to use as a code.) Second: The reason to communicate by winking, or blinking if you must, is to avoid saying out loud the thing that you're not supposed to say. Actually saying "blink blink nod nod" defeats the entire purpose.Third: All of this is extra true over e-mail. It lasts forever. They can search it.


Don't be messin' with MCA's park! That shit ain't cool.

Monday, November 14, 2016

How Did FLG Not Know About This Years Ago?

For some reason, an Oscar Wilde quote popped into FLG's head today.

Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught.

And then FLG searched for more Wilde quotes and was reminded of this one:

Our ambition should be to rule ourselves, the true kingdom for each one of us; and true progress is to know more, and be more, and to do more.

And FLG thought to himself, hey, there is some Plato influence there.   A quick search for Wilde and Plato turned up a Platonic dialogue that Wilde wrote --  The Decay of Lying.

FLG is shocked he hadn't known about this sooner.  This passage in particular resonated given our recent election.

CYRIL. Lying! I should have thought that our politicians kept up that habit.
VIVIAN. I assure you that they do not. They never rise beyond the level of misrepresentation, and actually condescend to prove, to discuss, to argue. How different from the temper of the true liar, with his frank, fearless statements, his superb irresponsibility, his healthy, natural disdain of proof of any kind I After all, what is a fine lie? Simply that which is its own evidence. If a man is sufficiently unimaginative to produce evidence in support of a lie, he might just as well speak the truth at once. 

(Apologies for the lack of links and possible weird formatting, this post was written on an iPhone.)

Friday, November 11, 2016

Quote of the day

Journalists increasingly don’t even believe in the possibility of reasoned disagreement, and as such ascribe cynical motives to those who think about things a different way. We see this in the ongoing veneration of “facts,” the ones peddled by explainer websites and data journalists who believe themselves to be curiously post-ideological.
That the explainers and data journalists so frequently get things hilariously wrong never invites the soul-searching you’d think it would. Instead, it all just somehow leads us to more smugness, more meanness, more certainty from the reporters and pundits. Faced with defeat, we retreat further into our bubble, assumptions left unchecked. No, it’s the voters who are wrong.

To be clear, FLG, reluctantly, very reluctantly, voted for her.    But he certainly doesn't think the end of the world is nigh.   (Just as he didn't think the oceans would recede, the world would heal, and wars would stop when Obama was elected.)     However, that the media and smug lefty pundits will get a wake-up call, if they bother to pick up the phone instead of sleeping through it, is a huge silver lining.

FLG is currently listening to

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.