Diogenes just surfs for porn now

It was contrary to Athenian customs to eat within the marketplace, and still he would eat, for, as he explained when rebuked, it was during the time he was in the marketplace that he felt hungry. He used to stroll about in full daylight with a lamp; when asked what he was doing, he would answer, “I am just looking for an honest man.” Diogenes looked for a human being but reputedly found nothing but rascals and scoundrels.

This is not a new phenomenon, but rather one that has perplexed me for years now. Bias.

Bias isn’t inherently bad, but most people seem to use it like Linus’s security blanket, to avoid having to challenge their preconceived notions about politics, and everything that they view through a political lens [which seems to be nearly everything]. Perhaps I’ve become more sensitive to it because I try to avoid using it as a crutch. Bias is natural and normal. Using one’s bias to filter relevant facts from contentious issues and insert falsehoods, isn’t. The manner in which many people will defend their chosen political party would make one wonder if they were on the payroll as a PR consultant.

This occurs in two distinct but inextricable approaches.

– The first involves substituting emotional reaction for facts….but framing that reaction as if it were factual. People’s Exhibit A: “Obama hates America and wants to destroy it.” . In the past, we would call a disagreement in public policy for what it was…a disagreement. In today’s culture of sensationalism and contrived drama [ironically the “reality show” culture that this society has become], simple political disagreement isn’t enough for the attention deficit, intellectual midgets among us. It simply has to be a paradigm changing, anti-American [and often anti-Christian] foreboding trait that separates “US” [the good political party] and “THEM” [the bad political party]. This is but one example of a stock, yet throwaway, remark towards one’s political opponent…..to impugn their character in such a manner as to explicitly proffer that only your political party is the true defender of patriotism and  the American way.

Truths and factual foundations can stand on their own, can stand scrutiny, and stand for principle. So many recent political arguments are defined by one’s emotional reaction that is immeasurable to any but the beholder of the bias. We are treated to lists of why the current Administration is so dangerous to the tenets of liberty……but these lists contain these emotional reactions that often outnumber the facts presented. There is no shortage of factual arguments to make, to present this Administration as detrimental to liberty. Is this because the promulgator is simply lazy…..or is it because there would have to be an acknowledgment that one’s own party engages in a similar vein of policies oppressive to liberty? Add to this mix, the inherent hypocrisy given that the roles reverse when each party rotates in an out of Congress and the White House. Those who squealed loudest about the paradigm of “Bush Derangement Syndrome” a few years ago….are ignorant [willing or otherwise] that an “Obama Derangement Syndrome” now exists.

If you’re argument is sound in principle, it will stand on it’s own. There is simply no need to invent realities, utilize pejoratives, or discard logic and reason….to make your point.

– The second approach is to label and frame one’s political opponent. This is my favorite, since as a Libertarian, I get accused by both major parties, of belonging to the other major party, dependent on the issue at hand. It’s both entertaining and frustrating at once. This approach is fratricidal as well. If one of your own party fails to toe the line, they become a RINO or DINO. I suppose their could be a LINO as well…..Glenn Beck and the tea party would be my personal applications of such a label.

Again bias comes into play, but unlike snowflakes, they tend to follow two distinct streams of thought. If we ever did, we no longer base an assessment on what somebody actual states their position to be on the merits, we base the assessment on what left/right ideology they belong to….or worse we simply assign an ideology to them. Because I consider civil liberties to be fundamentally Conservative, I don’t view most Republicans or the platforms as Conservative….hence….I become a Democrat to many on the right. Because I consider the right to own firearms and take the responsibility to defend myself to be a fundamental civil liberty, I become a Republican to many on the left.

People, by and large, have assigned a political ideology or party affiliation to nearly every issue facing society, even those that have virtually no tie in with political theory. They then argue these issues, not on the facts or the merits of the issue, but on the affiliation of ideology that they have assigned to it.

It’s lazy….and it’s a distraction.

And for the icing on this flat, sour cake, is the media. The “news” media that has decided to frame nearly every issue as residing in a Left/Right paradigm. The “news” media that profits from this contrived and rhetorical divide….and spawns yet another arena of useless debate….media bias.

In the end, it all comes down to what team you root for. Logic is lost in the crowd….if it ever even makes it to the game. Reason is discarded like a sweaty jock strap, in favor of colorful pom-poms. It doesn’t even matter how well these teams play the game [though there are clearly no winners here…only losers…us], all that matters is the cheerleading.

If poor Diogenes were around today, he would give up his fruitless search, and download porn….since ironically, it contains more honesty in it’s scripted fantasy, than our political landscape does.

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15 thoughts on “Diogenes just surfs for porn now

  1. Interesting post.

    The statement “Obama hates America and wants to destroy it,” could be logically stated as follows:

    Obama's policies are harming X, Y, Z.

    If one says that “Obama hates America…”, how is one going to prove the emotional load in the statement?

    I think that one can martial plenty of evidence to prove the following, however:

    Obama's words and actions indicate that he doesn't respect X, Y, Z principles in the United States Constitution.

    One problem with America today…So few are trained in policy debate, which has very specific parameters and doesn't allow for setting up a straw man and like fallacies in logic.

    A very simple book on logic and appropriate for use from age 13 and up: The Fallacy Detective. Have you ever seen that book?

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  2. One more thing…

    In my view, education for at least the past 40 years has emphasized feelings over critical thinking. Neurologically speaking, the study of Latin builds certain pathways for critical thinking because so much of Latin is based on logic and logical steps.

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  3. A most excellent essay, especially coming from a ground pounder 😉

    Political team sports is killing us, our society and our nation.

    What you describe is a large part of what drove me to give up blogging.

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  4. SF,
    Political team sports is killing us, our society and our nation.

    What you describe is a large part of what drove me to give up blogging.

    I totally understand what you mean! I, a determined German, am still blogging — but only because I'm hanging on by my fingernails.

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  5. “Obama's words and actions indicate that he doesn't respect X, Y, Z principles in the United States Constitution.”

    But here again we would have to rely on our interpretation of Obama's personal values and unstated intentions. I think a more cogent argument can be made that “Obama's towards X, Y and Z infringe on the individual or economic liberties of American citizens'.

    That's part of what is frustrating to me. There really is no shortage of logic based, and provable arguments to make against the actions of this Administration…..but so many people rely on the instant gratification of a verbal tantrum, that I think it actually harms the point they would like to make.

    The unfortunate and unacknowledged fact for most, is that BOTH parties actively hamstring liberty in different ways…..but most arguments present their damnation as if it were unique only to their political opposition.

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  6. I agree. My daughters are learning Latin for other reasons, but this makes perfect sense. I've often thought of trying to pick it up as well [since I'm a fervent student of ancient Rome]. I wonder if the rhetorical devices found in Latin bear resemblance to those used in politics today.

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  7. Heh….personally I use 'Door-kicker'….and 'Knuckle-dragger' is also perfectly acceptable.

    I really just blog to get things off of my chest, like an outlet. I'm very glad for those occasions where my rants get read and they spur continued dialogue.

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  8. CI,
    I think a more cogent argument can be made that “Obama's [policies and statements] towards X, Y and Z infringe on the individual or economic liberties of American citizens'.

    Yes, that is better phrasing.

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  9. CI,
    The study of Latin has numerous benefits.

    Years ago, I wrote a course that can be used from Grades 5 through high school (depending on the rate of covering the material).

    THIS EDITION of Jenney's First Year Latin is the best course, but copies are not easily available now. I happen to have all the material: student text, teacher's key, workbook, and tests. Now, as far as I know, only the student text is available.

    What used to be called Latin One back then is now called Latin One through Latin Three+, so the above text can be used for several years.

    I advocate study of Latin beginning at age 10. Slow pace, but the benefits are miraculous!

    I began my study of Latin at age 9, BTW.

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  10. I've caught extreme flak in the starkest terms, apparently hoping against hope to shut me down, for merely quoting the offended party. Comments proferred to extend debate have been labelled as “offensive” when they were only factual yet unassailable, as in leaving them no realistic riposte. In that, I agree with Stephen Fry's comment to Christopher Hitchens about such labels having no real meaning, as if they claim some sort of rights by declaring that they are offended. Fry, in his own Etonian and proper manner, sums up the claim with words that cannot be reprinted in anything that would be found on a family-friendly blog, but your modern Diogenes would recognize.

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  11. Crikey, that's expensive on Amazon! But then again, I paid around that much for Rosetta Stone. My daughters are 10 and 12, but started Latin I almost a year ago….so we're tracking fairly well.

    My personal goal is to learn as much where I can get through Gibbons better the second time around…and to start on Tacitus and Suetonius, while better understanding the names and inscriptions.

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  12. CI,
    The book can be found for a lot less — or so I've been told by some of my clients. There are other sources besides Amazon. Even at Amazon, however, there are cycles with the book — depending on availability of copies for sale, I suppose.

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