Flamesem & Japesem (in another universe though, so it’s OK)

So, conservatives, which universe do we belong in?

I think the universe in which it’s possible to refer to a series of posts and discussions involving someone who does not exist – and yet blogs.  Which is mind-bloggling.  (Another compound “mind-” adjective also occurs to me.)


Great idea Palin fans!  Try to make a big deal out of unknown journalists being caught on hot mikes talking up the “dumbness” of her “nothing” speech!  That’ll show them Palin-haters fersure!


Pelosi is an idealist working in the practical now.

Unlike who?

She genuinely sees her party as a vehicle for good

Unlike who?

and her pragmatism is not the least bit cynical.

Wondering in what universe that belongs.

She is the most powerful woman in the country,

Eclipsing Lady Gaga?

the most fearless person on Capitol Hill and on track to be one of the most productive speakers in history.

I don’t know about you, but that kind of knocks me out.

Speaking as a pragmatist working in the ideal, I think you got one thing right.  You don’t know about me.   Now, I know what you want to say, but we are all confident that even if there were something to know about me, you wouldn’t know that either.


One symptom of “epistemic closure” may be the failure to comprehend what was meant by the term, and to proceed with a self-interestedly reductive definition.  Another symptom might be a tendency to approve of such incomprehension upon encountering its manifestations:  If epistemic closure means anything at all (an open question), it can’t merely refer to the not terribly astounding phenomenon of people thinking alike within groups formed to bring together like-minded people.  What encloses an “episteme” wouldn’t be the mere presence of a sympathetic community, but the shared commitment to modes of thought antithetical to thought, and to reception of the speech that an audience is so accustomed to hearing, it hardly qualifies as speech.  It’s the forest in which all trees have already fallen.  Not that “closure” is a danger only on the political right, but intellectualism is only often as or more dangerous to thought than anti-intellectualism, and, for a society if not for an individual, for intellectuals who work for a living if not for every thoughtful person, “often” will tend to win out over “almost always.”

24 comments on “Flamesem & Japesem (in another universe though, so it’s OK)

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  1. For maybe 15 years, I got my haircut by George at the barbershop at the local YMCA.l

    George had a small TV tuned to Fox News, which inevitably sparked political discussion. George’s clientelle included local politicians, movers and shakers, working stiffs, more brain damaged guys than you would think, Y residents, street people…in short pretty much a cross section of the males using the Y.

    George certainly had opinions, and was not shy about sharing them, but he also was the faithful keeper of the “Brain of the Barbershop” – the accumulated wisdom of all his patrons, refined as each customer opined and then heard what The Brain had so far decided.

    It’s hard for me to see this as a bad thing.

    George retired, and now my wife cuts my hair. So I come here, searching for the Brain of the Barbershop.

  2. @ bob:

    You’ve got the wrong place. This isn’t the brain of the barbershop, it’s the shampoo parlor of the intellect.

  3. Meanwhile, did someone write “epistemic closure”?

    In search of a cynosure,
    Toward eschatonic closure,
    You find epistemes are closed for,
    You can’t immanentize,
    And attain worldly ayes,
    Which shouldn’t surprise,
    For that’s the ruling guys,
    From the big kahuna’s assize.

    Unfortunately I had to sign in to find that, so I find myself back to being Sully. But that doesn’t mean I’m not still a bit frosted off.

  4. So let get this straight, you’re supporting the kind of malpractice that went on there, we can’t even point out the irresponsible behavior of whoever those nitwits are. Don’t they validate exactly the reservations we’ve had about the press, since August 2008, if not earlier.

    Now epistemic closure, is actually too much of a crampted term for what Collins is practicing there, and sadly they are a hundred examples
    just like it.

  5. @ Sully:

    Don’t know how it is out there, it’s a about 90 degrees and 90% humidity here, long past time for the frosting to have dripped off and gone it’s gooey way.

  6. Now what I think Continetti is missing is the narrow expanse between
    Social Democracy and what one might call Scientific Socialism, (or what used to be called Communism) Now TR was not a socialist, he was the closest to a Bismarckian welfare state conservative, which
    adopted the arguments of Wagner and Schmoller, which failed in the crisis of the 30s, which in turn was Hayek’s main argument

  7. narciso wrote:

    we can’t even point out the irresponsible behavior of whoever those nitwits are. Don’t they validate exactly the reservations we’ve had about the press, since August 2008, if not earlier.

    Go ahead and point it out if you like, but don’t think you’re doing Sarah Palin any favors. I’m not sure “exactly” which reservation you’ve had. Journalists don’t take a vow of silence outside of their journalistic opinions. Why this is a bad thing for anyone favoring Palin to highlight is that there’s not reason to believe that the journalists were doing anything but sharing their honest opinions – unless you think that hatred of everyone in the press is an compelling and determinative issue.

    A more effective “defense” might be a compelling analysis of the speech – without direct reference to the off-the-cuff press response – showing that it was anything but “dumb” and “empty.”

  8. Well one saw the AP’s take, which was systematically devoid of practically any issues she discussed, and this is circulated to hundreds of papers and around the world, it’s the ‘epistemic closure’ writ large, they don’t want to talk of the importance of transmitting values to the next generation, or energy independence, or capitalism, or any substantive thing. Why demand to have press coverage, if you’re not going to cover the speech.

    It is symptomatic of reporters that invent incidents that never happened in an event on Capitol Hill, who present debunked pseudo
    science as a rationale for the scam that is cap n trade, that show
    fellow travellers of jihadists as human rights activists.

  9. @CK

    From the review of “Memories..” “interprets his disease as enlightnenment.”

    I mean apt or what????

    I suspect it’s a stage of those around you coming to terms with your brain injury…more than one person said as much to me…although my Sensei just wanted a note from my doctor saying it was OK if I got hit in the head.

    But beyond that, that phrase pretty much sums up a distressingly large chunk of political dscourse.

  10. @False Witness

    From the symptoms sometimes exhibited here, you may be right. I know that reading this blog sometimes makes me dizzy too.

  11. bob wrote:

    But beyond that, that phrase pretty much sums up a distressingly large chunk of political discourse.


    Having read the book a long time ago, I had also forgotten the part about sympathizing with the “rebels” defying cerebral tyranny.

    Things to ponder while walking one’s dogs or trying to get one’s work done.

  12. The authors suggest that the hyperextended neck position during hair shampoo treatment in a beauty parlor may be a risk factor for back lifting or cerebellum vascular insufficiency. Public education should lead to avoidance of this position during hair shampoo treatment at hair dressing salons.

    Words to live by.

  13. JE Dyer has decided to take on the Metaphor problem with our war in Afghanistan today in REAL CONTENTIONS.
    Success Without Victory
    J. E. Dyer – 06.28.2010 – 3:02 PM
    “There’s a good reason why comparisons with Vietnam are gathering steam. It’s not the geography, the campaign plan, or the details of the historical context, alliances, or political purposes: it’s the behavior of the American leadership.”

    But that is the most important factor in AMERICA “WINNING” a war. Looking at Korea,Afghanistan for 8 years,as well as Vietnam, if the WAR PROFESSIONALS don’t properly assess the Administrations emotional committment,how do we expect to develop a “realistic” path to Victory? This all plays into the debate I’ve had with JED and other Hawks for years. IF YOU DON”T HAVE A CONGRESSIONAL DECLARATION OF WAR,AND IF YOU DON”T HAVE OVERWHELMING CITIZEN SUPPORT OF A WAR,YOU LIKELY WON”T HAVE A VICTORY.
    The citizen support for a war is measured by reaction to a DRAFT,there’s no other way. There’s many reasons a DRAFT is necessary,but the main one is that a Draft puts extreme pressure on the leadership to come up with a plan that Wins,Wins Big,and Wins fast,something you did not have in Vietnam. In a Way,The Draft is what stopped us in Vietnam,it was the internal resistance of the Citizen Soldier who wanted to win and get home. Think about those one year committments to Vietnam,as soon as a Soldier got skilled,he was sent home to be replaced by a newcomer,we couldn’t get any traction.
    Arthur Herman,a Conservative Historian,makes my point.
    “Korea also set the precedent for formally undeclared wars, from Vietnam to Iraq to Afghanistan, wars that divided more than united public opinion, and for relying on the UN and international coalitions to lend moral support to US military muscle — with steadily diminishing returns over time.”

    The Persian Gulf War didn’t inflict enough pain on us to test my opinion,neither did the War in Iraq,which the Hawks put in their WIN column,I’m not going to concede a Win there until we’ve withdrawn our troops for several years.

    However,for the most part,Americans win wars when we go with the Constitution and Declare them,have a Draft/significant popular support,when we have overwhelming manpower,and materiel support,and when we have Allies who are into it as much as we are.
    It really helps if there is a “REAL” recognized threat to our nation,also.
    When you put the Vietnam through the Ringer,as Ms Dyer doesn’t,
    we have no Declaration,we have poor popular support,many of our Allies didn’t support it,you had a hard time demonstrating a Soverign Urgency,we had the Draft,and the Manpower,but the Drafted Soldier,unable to agree with the Military Leadership on about anything,in terms of Strategy/Tactics,did their year honorably,and came home saying,”FTA”&AMF.
    And Afghanistan,we’ve been there a long time,we have no agreement on Tactics,Strategy,Endgame after 8 years. We have no Declaration,No Draft,no Overwheming #s,insignificant ally support,and not much of a sense of our national survival at stake. Plus, The Afghans have had a long history,like Vietnam,of Foreigners being thrown out/The Soviets were there ten years and got thrown out. So based on my criteria,we ain’t looking too good. Ms Dyer says BHO is to blame because he really isn’t into this war stuff. It was completly predictible,however,and it was up to the Top Military Leadership to say to him,”here’s how we win in Afghanistan,if you don’t agree to that,please find someone else to do it your way.” That seems to be what McChrystal did,in his weird way.

  14. Well the British experience in the NorthWest Frontier is a closer parallel, The first campaign ending with the Sacking of Kabul, was like something out of George Romero film, the second was kind of a tie, the
    third was almost an oversight. Apples and apples

    Also the Phillipine campaign, when exactly did we pull out of that, and
    the stakes there were less significant than here

  15. Rex Caruthers wrote:

    That seems to be what McChrystal did,in his weird way.

    You could look at it that way, yes – as self-sabotage, a de facto resignation, and kind of a cry for help. Now it’ll be up to Petraeus to get up close and personal, determine what the best attainable end-state looks like, then put together some flashy charts by September explaining how we get there, and leave it to the history books to judge. It may end up as a cross between “pretext for honorable withdrawal” and “victory,” or it may all end up being overwhelmed by external events anyway.

  16. A lot of chaff, has been thrown up in a week, along with the misrepresenting of the nature of Counterinsurgency, this supposed
    ban on Fox News, which seems to run afoul of the facts, why was it was almost like pulling teeth for him to be in contact with the Pres,

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