Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Beyond Crazy

Insanity, idiocy, and paranoia are the stock in trade of the RWS™. There's no lie too big, no theory too patently laughable for them to shy away. (I suppose everyone has heard Michelle Bachmann's latest.) In the name of smearing Barack Obama, they'll go anywhere. But this might be the ultimate.

People in Mexico are coming down with swine flu; many have died, numbering now in the hundreds, and rising. Undeniable. Some Americans who visited there have returned bearing the disease, as have people from other parts of the world, returning to their homes; some have died. Factual. We've seen deadly flu outbreaks -- in 1918 for example -- kill millions around the world. History. But to the RWS™, these facts mean nothing. Raising alarms, making preparations, has one, and only one, explanation: it's a ruse to further the abortion rights agenda. Or something.

I guess it's unsurprising. Nothing will ever convince some people that they're wrong; facts and reason are simply not part of their thinking, and they never will be. But here's my question, and it's directed to a few of my readers, from whom I've come to expect non-linear responses, ignoring of the point of my posts, and comments that change the subject, often to a third-grade level of discourse. On their good days.

So. Just this once, Frank, Beer Bottle, and various timid anonymi: might you be able to set aside your reflexive partisanship, just this once, and admit this is crazy, even for the RWS™? Can you see your way to reject your side when they're so outrageously wrong? Or is it all or nothing, no matter what?

Really. I'd like to know. On some occasions, each of you has shown yourself capable of thoughtful discourse, even as you try to hide it. Is this too crazy, even for you?

If not, I'll understand: if you acknowledge this patent absurdity, you might have to question the whole lot of it. So forget I even asked.


Anonymous said...

I apologize if I water down your point, Sid, but I've been wondering recently what creationists think about the swine flu. Obviously it evolved from other flu viruses. (Yes, virsus aren't living, strictly speaking, but they do evolve).

I suppose creationists are fine with the idea of humans breeding dogs to a purpose, for example how humans gradually bred the wolf into a dachshund. Presumably they believe nature is incapable of similarly breeding organisms to a purpose, because that's what evolution is. This is certainly what appears to have happend with the swine flu.

I believe some creationist arguments hinge on a species boundries. That is, there is a limited form of "natural breeding" within a species, but one species never evolves into another. Therefore it's normal that new flu strains should develop, but their ancestor will forever be flu virii.

This is balderdash to anyone who has studied biology. Biologists are forever refining their classifications, and there are always exceptions that can't easily be swept under the rug. That being the case, it's ludicrous to expect nature somehow to respect these man-made classifications. Viruses are much harder yet to classify, in fact the current system is from the 70's. It's absurd to believe that viruses happen to "breed" only within their compartments in this framework.

So much for the Age of Enlightenment.

--Sam Spade

Spiny Norman said...

This post would be hilarious if it weren't so funny -- in a Kurt Vonnegut kind of way.

Beer Bottle said...

Kind of a tall order you want, Sid. Let's see if I can recap it:

You want to take a statement, from someone you claim to be a conservative spokesman, and I have to accept it and defend it--or else admit that all conservative thought is flawed and the only possibly way of thinking is yours. Hmmm.

I don't know who Michelle Bachmann--actually, I'm surprised at how much time you seem to spend listening to people you clearly hate--and can't speak about her. You're obviously surprised that, unlike liberals, conservatives don't march in lockstep. That's to your discredit.

But Rush, et al., are entertainers. That doesn't make them wrong, or right--but they don't speak for anyone else, anymore than Dave Letterman speaks for liberals. Or Matthews, or Maddow or Al Franken...whoops! Looks like Stuart Smalley actually will be speaking for you. That should make you proud.

Meanwhile, by your silence, we have to assume that you are completely behind the liberals who run the country. You're in favor of tripling the debt without even reading the bill. You don't mind the fact that the Gifted One hasn't hired a Treasury Dept, though he says the economy is important, nor a Surgeon General and director of HHS, though he talks about how much he'll improve health care.

You don't mind the liberals who run the country who don't pay their taxes, the lobbyists who work in the executive brach (another broken promise), or the amateur way Obama conducts his presidency.

"reflexive partisanship"? Sid--have you ever read your own blog?

Beer Bottle said...

Hey--what do you know? I looked her up and Bachmann actually is in government. No wonder I never heard of her.

Well, she says she doesn't blame Obama. Are you unhappy with that?

Sid Schwab said...

Looked her up, BB? You could have just, you know, followed my link. Fact is, this one is among the least crazy of her utterings. Didn't "blame" him. Just found it "interesting." Yep.

And, while you were reading, you might have noticed that I HAVE criticized liberals, and Obama in this blog; deficits being among the issues. And I'm guessing even you know the b.s. is the statement that Rs don't march in lockstep and Ds do. But I figured in writing this post I'd get the usual...

It's sorta fun, actually. Definitely entertaining, in a car-wreck sort of way.

Anonymous said...

Beer Bottle:

"You're in favor of tripling the debt without even reading the bill."

You were rebuked for saying something very like this once before. Why not spend a few minutes to educate yourself before making the same mistake? I'm serious.

The US national debt is $11 trillion. No one has proposed to borrow $22 trillion.

Michelle Bachman is all over the news, too, even if you are too lazy to follow the links before weighing in.

Further, at least under Bush the GOP really did move in lockstep. It is conventional wisdom that the Republicans have better discipline than the Democrats. It's odd to hear you assert the opposite.

I enjoyed debating with you last time, but now the memory is tainted. I'm reluctantly concluding that you're a common blowhard.

--Sam Spade

Sid Schwab said...

Oh, and BB, I'm still waiting: do you believe the alarm over swine flu is just hoopla to advance an agenda, or not? You kinda slipped into your "I know you are but what am I" line of deflection, and it was so expected that I just let it ride...

MargaretWV said...

"Some scientists claim that hydrogen, because it is so plentiful, is the basic building block of the universe. I dispute that. I say there is more stupidity than hydrogen, and that is the basic building block of the universe."

~ Frank Zappa

Ivyfree said...

"I'm surprised at how much time you seem to spend listening to people you clearly hate--and can't speak about her."

I don't know why I bother- the people who believe this crap obviously aren't interested in truth- but I'd like to point out that I know Sid in real life and have known him for, gods, how long has it been? I met you shortly after you started in Everett. Decades. Anyway, I know you don't need a character reference, Sid, but I'd like to say to the others that I've never known Sid to say or do anything that indicates hate towards anybody. Not ever. Intelligent, knowledgeable, highly skilled, compassionate, principled- yes. Hate? No.


Leigh said...

The RWS and their followers are classic authoritarian personalities, Sid. Self-contradiction and teh crazee aren't a problem for them.

I knew a little bit about this, but I'm reading Bob Altemeyer's excellent book The Authoritarians, available on the web here.

Professor Altemeyer is a psychologist who's one of the leaders, or perhaps the number one guy, in this field of research. I'm having a lot of "aha!" moments while reading the fruits of his thirty years of experience.

You ask, "Can you see your way to reject your side when they're so outrageously wrong? Or is it all or nothing, no matter what?"

Altermeyer says, in chapter 3: "Research reveals that authoritarian followers drive through life under the influence of impaired thinking a lot more than other people do, exhibiting sloppy reasoning, highly compartimentalized beliefs, double standards, hypocrisy, self-blindness, a profound ethnocentrism, and -- to top it all off -- a ferocious dogmatism that makes it unlikely that anyone could ever change their minds with evidence or logic."

So the answer to your question is, no. I read a lot of political blogs, and one thing I've noticed is that liberals are constantly questioning, and disagreeing with, other liberals, particularly those in office. Take Pharyngula, for example. You'll see more substantive criticism of President Obama there than on Faux News . . . criticism on the issues, taking exception to this or that policy, questioning the wisdom of budget line items, anger because Obama says we're not going to prosecute the architects of our foray into torture . . . it's just a free-for-all.

But the right wing doesn't police its wackadoodles at all. Sheer bullshit pours out of their mouths, but you'll never see any mention of it on the right-wing blogs, much less any criticism of it. It's not that they tolerate it so much as it's like they don't even SEE the nuttiness.

To me, the classic example of this
was the 2004 election. I just found it perplexing that so many people said that national security and a strong military were #1 to them . . . and so they voted for a deserter in preference to a decorated military hero. That's some first-class crazy, there.

Bob Altemeyer's book explains that very well, and it's backed up by all his published studies. Evidence. We like it. The right wing ignores it.

Sid Schwab said...

Nancy: thank you. I miss you, and the whole gang.

Leigh: the book sounds like a good read. Thanks. I'll have to check it out. I've thought much, and written some, about the differences in the wiring/processing between liberals and conservatives. It's clear that there are such basic and built-in differences that, at least among those at the extremes, there's no way to common ground. And I completely agree about openness to new facts, and change. Which is why in many ways liberals are at a disadvantage in a pissing match. At some point (speaking in generalities, here) they begin to feel a little silly.

Alex D said...

Take a look at this link for sheer stupidity; - pure, unadultered baptist bullshit at it's finest. Since that post, there's been a couple more essentially claiming mexican women are filthy, bestial sub-humans. Absolutely disgusting and guaranteed to get the blood pressure soaring, although some of the comments are pretty damn funny.


Beer Bottle said...

I did watch the link, Sid, but didn't see her identified except by name. If she was, I just missed it. With your RWS cleverness, I can't tell about whom you speak sometimes.

I don't really get the swine hoopla--it's not coming from the WH--but I do think the media likes to sell papers and gain watchers, so maybe that's the agenda. Although Rahm E. hates to waste a crisis, we know. Maybe he's trolling a bit in this.

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