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Comments by TheUnrepentantGeek

On “Conservatives and Woodrow Wilson

Both thieves did the wrong thing, and it was equally wrong. There is no moral difference between stealing for this reason and stealing for that reason. Stealing is stealing.

BUT — it DOES make sense to show the latter person mercy because of his motives. It is MERCY that changes WHY one may judge (that is, rule on his acts) differently, not because one act of stealing was more or less moral than the other.

Daggett on May 11, 2010 at 11:55 AM

Well yes. But such nuance continues to elude the likes of CK et al. For one quite specific reason.

Just because something wasn’t popular, or was considered a rebellious attitude, doesn’t mean it wasn’t right. Conversely, just because it was popular doesn’t mean it wasn’t wrong. The people who have made history have been the rebels.

MadisonConservative on May 11, 2010 at 1:49 PM

How do you construct right and wrong MadCon? I'm willing to bet that CK's answer differs radically from yours (and likely most actual conservatives).


Others would say, and I think rightly, that presuming to judge also can lead in a very ugly direction.

CK MacLeod on May 10, 2010 at 6:15 PM

Oh please. As if everyone didn't "judge" all day long.

You're either a liar or you've got a mind so open your brain fell out a long time ago.


Ah CK, you're not a monster. You're just ahead of the curve.


So that was how many words for "Really guys, Wilson wasn't that bad?"

On “ADVENTURES IN EPISTEMIC OPENING: Mark Levin vs Jim Manzi on Global Warming

Since not all scientists are left-leaning politically, would you ask a parallel question about the many who regard AGW/CC as “science that is far from settled,” and who explicitly oppose political agendas that assume it?

I consider it a more balanced view of the situation to acknolwedge that racing forward in a fervor of zealotry to shut down debate on AGW/CC is pretty much exactly analogous to dismissing it, in terms of being anti-scientific and anti-intellectual.

The left has no superior claim to the skeptical empiricism inherent with a truly scientific approach. It is caught on a regular basis, rather, assuming that which has yet to be proven, and proclaiming its assumptions to be “scientific” merely because they come from theories that didn’t arise from the book of Genesis.

That’s a sort of narrow, tomographic definition of “scientific” that we are under no obligation to accept. It also happens to be politically convenient for the left. True empirical skepticism, however, operates under all circumstances, including when the political urge to ignore it is insistent. The left has violated that principle often in its century of proclaiming itself to be the keeper and exemplar of it. It is no form of unfairness to point that out. It’s simple empiricism.

J.E. Dyer on April 26, 2010 at 3:50 PM

See, this is what's known as sense.

Is it too much to wonder whether continual and habitual assaults on the honesty, intentions, patriotism, and professionalism of scientists and intellectuals, a reflexive readiness to dispute the validity and usefulness of scientific and intellectual inquiry, in short the open adoption of anti-scientific and anti-intellectual attitudes and practices by some conservatives may also have played a role in such dramatic and long-standing trends?

It's almost as if a particular group of people - perhaps the adherents of a given ideology - wanted things to go that way.

I wonder how we might refer them? I mean, it's not like there's a widely acknowledged label for them: one they claimed quite readily until it became synonymous with stupid, destructive policy. I'll just have to sit and cogitate on it.

On “The Point of Being Annoyed with Glenn Beck

strangelet wrote:

@ TheUnrepentantGeek: I happen to believe in the wisdom of crowds and the genius of the Framers. The American people elect the best candidate for that timeslice of history. Jefferson would have voted for Obama. Andy Jackson was a sumbitch but he kept the Union whole. Jefferson wanted to address slavery in the Constitution, but the survival of the Union trumphed slavery (like healthcare is trumphing AGW, right now, lawl).
GW won in 2000 by 5 EC votes, and lost the popular vote.
He would have been a fine choice to shepherd the American electorate into the demographic twilight of non-hispanic caucs…..sadly, 911 intervened. GW just didnt have the substrate to deal.
Our grandchildren will paying for the Grand Misadventure of the Manifest Destiny of “Judeo-christian” Democracy in MENA for a long, long time, both in dollars and in the world’s esteem.
Big White Christian Bwana is commencing his global decline in influence. Just as America’s future is multi-colored, so is the worlds’.

Your one saving grace is that you've got decent taste in anime. Otherwise I have no use for you. It's like debating with the unholy union of Al Sharpton and a lolcat.


CK MacLeod wrote:

TheUnrepentantGeek wrote:
What, exactly, am I supposed to think you mean here?
How am I supposed to answer that question when you keep on bouncing between caveman conservative and smartass.
If you can “reinterpret” a work in any meaningful way – given the weight of scholarly evidence we’ve got about exactly what the founders thought
And given the weight of scholarly and historical evidence that the Founders and the immediately succeeding generations disagreed to the point of breaking off with each other, threatening to abandon the project, preparing and then finally engaging in civil war, there has been and always will be – it’s the nature of human beings, the human condition, and most fundamentally of all, language – room for disagreement over interepretation, including disagreement about how “meaningful” that disagreement is, and whether a given adjustment for changes in circumstance and unanticipated questions is a novel re-interpretation or an obviously justified translation.

– how in the world can you claim to support authorial intent? This ain’t exactly rocket science.
It’s actually a lot more complex the rocket science. It’s like trying to calculate rocket trajectories with actual rockets instead of numbers, since every word is defined by another word, and every text by another text. We’re left to adopt pragmatic approximations of intent, which in some instances are obviously much less subject to disagreement than others, and trust that, over time, overall, the determination of the people to do what’s right will overwhelm the determination of factions and individuals to serve themselves.
In addition to the mechanisms for interpretation and improvement that strangelet rightly points out are part of the Constitution, there are numerous matters of some great note – action of separation of powers, war powers, etc. – that were left vague, and the text itself also includes artifacts of compromise and other imperfections.
So, yes, the Constitution is alive, alive, and was designed to be that way, but, no, that doesn’t mean that we’re in the United States of Wonderland and it says whatever we want it to say.
I don’t accept you as a spokeperson for HA, or even for Beck supporters, but you and those arguing like you don’t seem to have any consistent idea of what you’re talking about when you talk about progressives – like Beck and like Alice, you seem to believe that the term can mean whatever you want it to mean depending on whatever purpose you choose for it at any given time. I guess you believe in a kind of living progressivism.

Reading the Constitution and understanding what the Founders meant is more complex than rocket science. Well then.

And "progressives" aren't an entirely obvious group of people. Super.

Have fun with that living definition of conservatism you've got going there, CK.

PS. Your central "point" of being annoyed with Beck? It's still boils down to "he's dangerous because I don't like his tone." Which is still silly. But pretty standard fare from the Brooks/Frum/Noonan set, so good on ya.


CK MacLeod wrote:

Well golly, CK. I'll try and provide you with a more convenient stereotype with which to brand me the next time. Smartass, sadly, is a label I may have to own. I get that way when people talk down to me or write silly things in ways designed to leave the reader with an impression of intelligence without bothering to impart much in the way of actual insight. Tis a pet peeve of mine.

I don't claim to be the spokesman for HA or Beck fans (I'm not either one, believe it or not). So ... yeah. But, if you'll glance at the thread, I'm not the only one who thinks you're out of your gourd.

It's not hard to tell a progressive when you see one - really. Don't make it harder than it needs to be. Most conservatives can tell with some readiness. Whinge about the label all you like, but it really doesn't matter.

The Constitution, on the other hand, says what it says. People have been known to bend it to mean what they want it to but let's not pretend they're doing anything but that. Writings by Jefferson and the like are quite readily available. I just don't agree that it's that unbelievably difficult and fraught with paradox.


strangelet wrote:

O Highlander, pretty stand-up job.
/golf clap
I have to agree on the living Constitution.
If the Founders and Framers had intended to carve it on unchangeable stone tablets, they certainly could have.
They gifted us with various toolsets (judicial interpretation, constitutional amendments) to evolve the Constitution….if they had wanted it to be totally non-adaptive, they certainly could have done that.
I think The System is WAI (Working As Intended).
We live in a democratic meritocracy, a Republic.
Every man (and woman now) has a vote. The turmoil that currently roils the electoral waters is simply the changing of the guard…..from a white male protestant majority, to a multi-colored, multi-ethnic, younger and more feminized majority coalition.
The meek, the minorities, the oppressed and discriminated-against are going to inherit the polls. And “conservatives” while increasingly condensed to a “low information” white christian base, will be forced to evolve a big tent.
It is evolution in action.

See, I could argue with CK all day long, but this probably does more to advance my point than anything I'd say.

Birds. Feather. Of. etc., some assembly required.


CK MacLeod wrote:

@ TheUnrepentantGeek:
Thanks for coming here rather than leaving your disagreement buried in an HA thread, though I won’t pretend that I appreciate your insulting tone or your willful misreading of what I wrote. If you’re capable of conducting a civil discussion, I’d be happy to defend what I wrote about the “living” Constitution. My perspective – what I wrote, not what you project – doesn’t contradict original intent, and I don’t have any idea what your point about the definition of progressive is supposed to be.

See, you're going right after my tone instead of insinuating that I'm some sort of dangerous larval eliminationist because you don't like my tone. We're making some progress. As to the supposed insult, you can choose to be insulted if you wish - people often take that pose when confronted with doing something silly.

As for your view of the constitution ... you think I misread you. I don't.

I suppose I accept the sinful heresy that, like any other text – sacred, legal, contractual, political, or literary – it is subject interpretation, re-interpretation, and is in that sense a “living” document.

What, exactly, am I supposed to think you mean here? If you can "reinterpret" a work in any meaningful way - given the weight of scholarly evidence we've got about exactly what the founders thought - how in the world can you claim to support authorial intent? This ain't exactly rocket science.

Re: progressives - it's painfully obvious to most of us lovable morons over on HA and beyond exactly what a progressive is and where their ideology lives. Since you seem to have thoroughly nuanced your way out of acknowledging what's meant in common use of the term, I have to wonder how you could capably oppose such people even assuming you do. The "some of them are nice" defense is all good and well except that nobody cares because it's entirely irrelevant to a judgment of the ideology.

All you've managed to do is claim that Beck is somehow dangerous because you don't care for his tone. Kinda silly to do such a thing when people come back at you with a hearty "WTF?" Compounding it with this "living document" and "what are progressives, really?" tripe doesn't help matters.

Before composing the next multi-syllabic bit of rhetorical origami, you might take some time out from your busy tree admiration schedule to rediscover this "forest" thing the kids are busy talking about. As it is, you've got me wondering when the "10 Ways I Parted Ways With the Right" post is coming.


CK MacLeod wrote:

(I’m gonna get killed when I post this to HA, I suspect – just waiting to see if someone else comes up with a way to protect me from myself.)

A lack of substance combined with a healthy dose of hilariously unnecessary SAT words will do that.

PS. If you can't identify a progressive or what they're all about and you think the Constitution is a living document without a fairly obvious intent left by the founders, how precisely, are you a conservative?

At any rate, enjoy the strange new respect.

On “Never Mind the Nightmares, Reality’s Hard Enough: The Bomb by Stephen M Younger

I wonder how the dangers posed by nukes compare to those posed by biological weapons.

On “Why Miss Kali's Breasts Are So Darn Important

I like to keep abreast of the issues as much as anyone but of all the news busting out about Prejean, this is what we discuss?

I denounce myself.

On “Down in the Dungeon with the Torture Trolls (warning: rated J for Japanese graphic violence)

I'd like to see a version of these debates that focus on a particular standard of morality (defined in advance) without resorting to the silly displays of pathos or nonsense about the definition of torture. I'm not interested in people's feelings or the law, but in what's right.

I also tend to reject the scenario where people have a threshold where torture is immoral, but then say someone in a ticking bomb scenario should do it an accept the consequences. This strikes me as a cop-out. Either it's a moral principle or it isn't.


the wiki is wrong.

strangelet on April 28, 2009 at 4:51 PM

Wouldn't be the first time. But thanks for the explanation. Wiki makes it sound like Buddhism.

Anyway. Arguments about the definition of torture don't interest me, nor do hyperbolic screeching about HOW THIS IS SO TERRIBLE!1!11. They both strike me as kinda disingenuous and stupid.

Consumatopia's arguments on The American Scene do interest me. It occurs to me that I'm open to persuasion either way, having not really made up my mind on the issue (after additional consideration). It's not simple and it's not easy - I kinda resent people who claim it is. Of course I'm not a subscriber to free will (I'm not a determinist either), but that doesn't necessarily matter.


Terribly interested in how you reconcile:

The extent to which Sufism was influenced by Buddhist and Hindu mysticism, and by the example Christian hermits and monks, is disputed, but self-discipline and concentration on God quickly led to the belief that by quelling the self and through loving ardour for God it was possible to maintain a union with the divine in which the human self melted away.

(from the wiki article)


The negation of free will, the negation of what it means to be human.

Granted I know precious little about Sufism but what I read.


I’m a Sufi.

strangelet on April 28, 2009 at 3:55 PM

Like this kind?


Its over for me.
Realizing that torture is based on the exact same premise as slavery finished it.
The negation of free will, the negation of what it means to be human.
I don’t think you have any arguments left that can touch me.
Game over.

strangelet on April 28, 2009 at 2:00 PM

Perhaps we could discuss why you actually buy the rather silly notion that anyone actually possesses free will in the strictest sense?


strangelet on April 24, 2009 at 8:08 PM

You're ok messing with the brain and not the body? Dude. But you're all bent out of shape BECAUSE OF THE INSTITUTIONALIZATION? Bizarre.

I'm sorry, but it's just weird. I really can't detect the underlying principles beyond assigning some sort of totemic power to the term "torture." Treaties aside, it's just weird.

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