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Friday, November 9, 2012

Neither Hope too much, nor despair too much

The title of this post is, according to an ex-girlfriend from years ago, comes from a Polish proverb. They are intimately familiar with both hope and despair, so they should understand what it means. What it means is in the title of a British Comedy; 'curb your enthusiasm.' And actually i think that the concept goes back to Epictetus and the Stoics. I seem to remember reading this same concept when I read Marcus Aurelius' book in "Harvard Classics." Both my dad and granddad owned partial full sets. Back in their day if you were trying to have a self taught education; the Harvard Classics could give you a real start. They were kind of a Reader's digest edition of the Western World's (Mainly 'Anglo Saxon') major works. Anyway, as happy as I am with Obama's win, i had a lot to blog about that I didn't have time to blog about before the election, and I have the same concerns after the election; aside from the certain doom that was intended for integral commonwealth were he to have won. So I curb my enthusiasm.

Anyway, what reminded me to write this blog was that Paul Krugman was surprised by the insane response of our righty frenemies. He writes about John Hinderaker of Bush is a genius fame who declared:

"To me, the most telling incident of the campaign season was a poll that found that among young Americans, socialism enjoys a higher favorability rating than free enterprise. How can this possibly be, given the catastrophic failure of socialism, and the corresponding success of free enterprise, throughout history? The answer is that conservatives have entirely lost control over the culture."

Concept versus Dogma

No the problem is that conservatives have so got caught up in their own sloganeering that they confuse their own concept rustling and no longer see the common sense in pragmatism, or not being too attached to slogans. What they think are principles are often nothing more than slogans with badly reasoned arguments offered for them. Obama's victory doesn't mean that Romney's complaint that the rest of us are lazy users, dependent on "Gubbernment" for a life. It just means that we believe we have a right to be part of the commonwealth and that, indeed "hairdressers" [famous comment from Edmund Burke that has defined aristocratic cons over democratic republicans since] have a right to a say in who runs the country. And you see that attitude in the current attitudes. Conservatives at heart are afraid of their own employees, neighbors and customers. And as we see from recent behavior they should be, somehow they forgot the "conserve" and prefer to practice cons. I don't mind them conserving stuff they earned, but they forget that what they are trying to conserve is often the result of raw exercise of power coupled with expertise at conning folks out of stuff that isn't entirely theirs.

But Paul "gets it" he next writes:

"Oddly, he doesn’t even seem to consider the more obvious possibility: after decades in which right-wingers have attacked long-established institutions — Social Security, progressive taxation, unemployment insurance — as “socialism”, a lot of young people now believe them, and think that this “socialism” thing really isn’t so bad. A case in point: Sheldon Adelson’s Israeli newspaper just ran the headline “America chooses socialism”, referring to the reelection of a president who enacted a health care reform originally proposed by the Heritage Foundation."

The idea that "socialism" is simply a pragmatic response to aristocracy, doesn't phase them. The "we" versus "I" built it debate clearly illustrates that some of what they call 'socialism' is just making sure that at least some things are run for the common good and not only the property/rule of local or national tyrants.

But the best part of Krugman's piece is the part referring to Monty Python:

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