Saturday, March 14, 2009

Vacation Was Nice - President Still On Wrong Path

Ol' BC just returned to the semi-cold midwest from sunny Florida after a visit with my old man. He's 86 and still physically fit for the most part. We got in a couple rounds of golf, drank some cold beer and ate some delicious oysters. It was low 80's and sunny all week.

It was good to see that Mark Van Dyk was back stirring the pot and engaging in some interesting exchanges. Mark, I hope the kids are doing well. I see that you still lean towards the contradictory. Of course teaching college students must make one that way.

I did see where Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN), a finalist for the VP nomination and one of Ol' BC's senators, voted against Oblahma's spending bill and is organizing a group of 15 or so to try to infuse some sense into the Oblahma administration. Bayh indicated that this present path is simply unsustainable.

I don't know if Bayh has enough backbone to make this interesting. He certainly didn't get it from his dad if he does. Stay tuned.

Just an observation.


At 5:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am not sure how I am being contradictory. Perhaps I am contrary to certain viewpoints, but I am interested to hear how I am contradictory.



At 8:13 PM, Anonymous Vincent said...

I thought it was interesting that he said, "Of course teaching college students must make one that way."

Sounds a bit anti-intellectual. Anyway, I am unsure how teaching at the college level "makes" a person lean toward the contradictory.

At 8:19 PM, Anonymous Vincent said...

I also think it is interesting how Bayh voted against the bill because of the earmarks, yet he had 4 earmarks worth $1.2 million in it himself.

At 10:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Of course! The far right is heavily anti-intellectual. They accuse them of being liberal breeding grounds, which of course they are. The mistake they make is that since they equate liberalism to "badness" they equate education and informedness with "badness".

Without truly knowing why they rail against it, they succeed in putting thoughtfulness and education on trial. This is also why the Republicans are now hopelessly margialized. They are now a collection of inbred, ignorant back-patters crusading for the moral vote while forgetting that morality without thought is no morality at all.

At 11:08 AM, Anonymous Vincent said...

I have never understood why the word "liberal" has been successfully demonized - our founding fathers were liberal in that they were dedicated to freedom and equal opportunity.

I have increasingly noticed that liberals tend to be more open-minded, while conservatives are more close-minded and given to tunnel-vision. You can see this by their unwillingness to give up traditional responses even when faced with new problems.

Liberals usually see contrary opinions as okay, but conservatives seem to see a contrary opinion as WRONG, often claiming a moral reason why the contrary opinion is wrong. The conservative would rather legislate his opinion rather than giving people a choice. A liberal might be against abortion, but she would not want to legislate that - she would just not get abortions, and would teach her family not to get them. The conservative wants a law to FORCE everyone to conform to his opinion.

Likewise, a heterosexual liberal doesn't care if homosexuals marry - that doesn't stop them from marrying heterosexuals. But the conservative wants a law to FORCE anyone who marries to marry as he does - heterosexually.

Liberals tend to value diversity more than conservatives, I think.

Liberals are more apt to trust people, why the conservatives tend not to trust people. Conservatives love to use fear to motivate people.

At 3:55 PM, Anonymous Vincent said...

In thinking about your comment, Mark, about "putting thoughtfulness and education on trial" I am struck by just how correct you are.

It is the conservative that insists science is wrong. It is the extreme conservative that wants Creationism (Christian Creationism, I should say, as other creation stories are decidedly NOT valued) taught instead of (or alongside of) Evolution.

The conservative wants laws to enforce "morality" such as anti-abortion or same-sex marriage laws, often claiming that "God commands me thus, so all must obey," instead of thinking for themselves. The conservative fears freedom, since the conservative does not trust others - and freedom means others may choose differently. It is better to give up freedom and self-control to a god than to trust others to have the good sense to make choices appropriate to them. Why think about something when a god or other moral dogma-setter has done the thinking for us?

At 4:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is evidenced by statements like Palin's that "she doesn't blink..." Meaning that she doesn't think or consider things in a reflective manner.

At 9:09 PM, Anonymous Vincent said...

True. I am also concerned about the amount of influence the Christian fundamentalists have on the Republican party.

"What other function did the priesthood serve than to deny individual will?" ~Frank Herbert, Children of Dune

Religion goes hand in hand with giving up individual freedom and self-control, something the conservatives typically espouse, especially with their tandem movement with conservative Christians.

At 10:51 AM, Anonymous Vincent said...

Just as it is evidenced by Palin's statements, even Bush's statements show he is pretty non-reflective of himself or his actions.

At 9:15 PM, Blogger Ol' BC said...

Marko, you've always been a little that way. If some said "my shirt..." you may reply, "is it really your shirt?" It makes for good conversation. I can't imagine that if I proposed that a communist dictatorship was the ultimate utopia, you not taking the other side. It's merely an observation. Not anything bad. I don't equate education and learnedness with badness, I just recognize that a vast majority of professors teach their personal opinions(usually left leaning) as fact. I sat through it for four years.

At 9:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, having been through college for many years, I definitely had left leaning professors, but this really has little to do with my own politics. My own political stance is actually pragmatism. If it works (and is ethical) do it. The conservative have good ideas and the liberals have good ideas. To throw out ideas just because they don't fit into ones world view is detrimental.

As for being "contradictory" I took issue as the term implies that I contradict myself! I see what you mean, however. I do like arguing.

Professors being liberal is an interesting topic for discussion, however. One must ask the question: Why are they liberal? Does education create liberal attitudes? Why? And, if so, is this a bad thing? It seems to me that if the answer is yes, education creates liberal attitudes, then we must evaluate the nature of education. I did not become "liberal" in my attitudes because some professor shoved it down my throat, just as you did not become liberal though your own professors were liberal.

What, then, is the correlation?


At 9:53 AM, Anonymous Vincent said...

I think college professors lean liberal because education/knowledge tends to create tolerance for other positions and ideas. Liberals tend to be more tolerant of other ideas, lifestyles, etc. than many conservatives.

As an example: a college professor has gay students and has to treat them like any other person - thus they learn gays are just like any other person! Some are smart, some are not, some are friendly, some are not - just like heterosexuals. Thus, they stop imposing moral judgements on them.

I think college professors also have more time to simply be better informed on both sides of a position. Again, being informed tends to lead toward tolerance; it also makes college professors less likely to be one-issue voters - which Republicans seem to have a lot of.

Further, there is the issue of one's job. Most teachers I have spoken with are incredibly critical of Bush's "No Child Left Behind" program and how it has negatively impacted what they do - thus teachers tend to lean Democrat these days in hopes of seeing that program die.

Just some thoughts on that issue.

At 10:59 AM, Anonymous Vincent said...

Here is another thought on that topic, Mark.

Perhaps instructors lean liberal because they are instructors. What do I mean? Many liberals, if they believe something, are more likely to teach others to believe the same, where conservatives are more likely to make a law to force people to behave as the conservative believes.

An example: A liberal who is against abortion chooses not to have them, and teaches his children not to have them. He has no interest in making a law prohibiting it.

In other words, I think liberals are more likely to teach their position, while conservatives are more likely to legislate their position. Thus, the appeal to teachers.

Just a thought.

At 2:22 PM, Blogger Ol' BC said...

Correlation? Just because you and I will think for ourselves and challenge positions being professed doesn't mean everyone does. Some just absorb. Some look at professors with such admiration they will buy anything being put forth. You, in my lowly opinion aren't that liberal. I always fashioned you more of an anarchist, a believer in personal freedoms and limited or no intervention ( which is why I chuckle sometimes when you challenge "less government" points or positions.) BTW, most teachers don't like being required to "teach" and have their results measured. They're shortcomings and lack of effort are exposed. This the the primary reason they don't like No Child Left Behind." We could move into lack of a proper teaching environment, but that's a whole other post.

At 2:55 PM, Anonymous Vincent said...

Most teachers don't like being required to teach? What kind of evidence do you have to support that kind statement?

At 5:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, I am still seeking a correlation between professors being liberal over all. Why are they? You really did not address this. And, as a teacher, I have no qualms about having my achievements measured. However, the problem with evaluating people (students and teachers) and their mental successes is problematic at best. I always liken these attempts to trying to trap ants on the sidewalk by clapping a box on top of them. You are only going to catch so many ants, because the nature of ants is to run willy-nilly all over creation.

Humans are difficult to qualify and quantify, and to have a blanket "test" for them all is quite frankly absurd. NCLB was doomed to fail before it ever began.

As for my own political sensibilities, I am mostly Anarchistic, however, since I live in a society with a government, I must expect my government to do the best job it can do. In these instances, I support programs I feel are good and denounce programs I think are bad. I am politically pragmatic. I do not rail against "smaller government" arguments. I only point out that sometimes a government must perform, just as your teachers must perform if they are to be employed.

I do not believe there is a contradiction between desiring less government in terms of personal and individual freedoms and desiring government intervention as it pertains to commerce, law, and infrastructure.


At 8:39 PM, Blogger Ol' BC said...

Here's one article that has some merit. Some are right wing crap. This one isn't too bad. I can buy it.

Commerce, law and infrastructure. No problem here. Those are specifically specifically granted to the federal government. However, they do tend to really stretch the commerce clause.

At 9:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, I find his opinion to be contrary to my own. These sentences sum up his basic premise: "Democrats, are the party of higher government spending. The more the government takes from taxpayers, the bigger the pie for professors to go after."

How does taking money from taxpayers give the professors something to "go after"? This is really confusing. Tax payers, by and large, do not fund professor salaries. So, I must claim to be in the dark about his logic.

He does not satisfactorily answer my question as to why professors tend to be liberal. And his statement about professors not having the leadership skills required to run a business isn't terribly fitting or apt. Most people do not have these skills, else we would have a lot of cooks and few stews. Not to mention that professors rank highly in terms of leadership. They lead students every day they go to work. So...

I would answer the question thusly:

Educated men and professors tend to be liberal because they see a bigger picture than uneducated men. They have learned and have reason to believe that there are never solely one set of answers for every problem.

When we say that one side of the political spectrum is "tax and spend" and the other side is "reduce government and give tax breaks", we do disservice to what is surely a more complicated process of governing, to say nothing of when either of these ideas actually works.

Both conservatives and liberals in office have done things antithetical to their party's ideology, out of necessity or reasoned wisdom. I would argue that liberals are more open to this tendency than the conservatives, who tend to fall back on rigid ideologies that may not fit the present need.

Thus I would argue that education itself serves to create liberals. Broadening of the mind serves to create liberals. Therefore, if we can agree that education, broadening the mind, and seeing a wider range of options and answers is favorable, then we must conclude that being liberal is not only desirable, but necessary if we are to be adaptable and resilient in the face of a quickly changing world.


At 8:17 PM, Blogger Ol' BC said...

I picked up on the part that indicated liberal professors may lack the backbone(due to investment neccessity) or work ethic to go into business. Many public university profs are taking from the government largess and are allowed to maitain a fairly good to very good standard of living.

At 8:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What an absurd presumption! If you were a teacher or professor, you would see just how rigorous the work can be. To say professors lack backbone to enter business would be like me saying conservatives lack the brains to go into education. It is preposterous and baseless. Not to mention it in no way addresses my fundamental question: Why are professors liberal?

At 10:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This also makes me wonder if doctors and lawyers and pilots and actors and musicians and every other profession on earth, by virtue of not being in the business world implies that those who choose these professions are "without backbone". The idea that professors alone, by virtue of their choices, are the ones who lack backbone, only lays bare the supreme bias and anti-intellectual attitudes of the Right.

Thanks for clarifying the Right's position. Not that I needed clarification. This was all too predictable.

At 8:50 PM, Blogger Ol' BC said...

I don't know how the Right feels on the subject, I was just pointing out one article.

At 9:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, despite your apparent dodge of the issue, it seems to me that the Right has a distinctly anti-intellectual component to its ideology, as mirrored in the article you referenced.

That's all I am trying to say.



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