Real Men don’t Eat Quiche or Vote for Liberal Democrats

Posted by PITHOCRATES - May 19th, 2013

Week in Review

In 1982 Bruce Feirstein published a book called Real Men Don’t Eat Quiche.  Since then the expression has made fun of men that are more like women than men.  Sensitive girly-men who’d rather go to the ballet than watch the Super Bowl.  These girly-men became liberals.  Weak and whiny guys that were pushed around by bullies in high school.  Who entered government to become bullies themselves.  To get back at all those macho men that made their lives a living hell.  By taxing and regulating their lives.  And using the power of their office to make them suffer.  While real men got real jobs, played sports, joined the military and wooed the ladies.  Because when it comes down to it the ladies like the bad boys and cowboys.  Manly men.  Not sensitive girly quiche eaters.  For if a woman wants to be sensitive and go out for a quiche brunch she’ll just hang with her gal pals.  And do girly things with those who actually have vaginas.

Now there’s been a study that explains these effete quiche eaters.  Why they are such sensitive girly-men.  And it turns out that they are liberals because they are skinny weaklings (see Men with big biceps more likely to be right wing, study claims by Ben Rossington posted 5/17/2013 on the Mirror).

Physically strong men are most likely to be right wing, a study claims.

But weaker males have less self-interest and tend to support the welfare state.

So there you have it.  Real men are conservatives.  And pantywaist ‘men’ are liberals.  Makes sense.  John Wayne, Charlton Heston, Ronald Reagan, Bruce Willis, Sylvester Stallone—all manly men.  And conservative.  We won’t name any liberals.  Don’t want to embarrass them by pointing out their girliness.  But you know who they are.  Just think of the most outspoken liberal men and note their manliness.  Or lack thereof.  It may not be a rule carved into stone.  But there is no doubt a correlation between liberals and nancy boys.  Metro sexuals.  Poncey dandies.  Straight guys that take a keen interest in the same hair care and beauty aids the ladies use.  These men tend to be liberal.  And weak.  According to this study, that is.

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Unions lose Members as they Spend Millions in Union Dues on Liberal Candidates and Causes

Posted by PITHOCRATES - December 30th, 2012

Week in Review

The past few years haven’t been great for organized labor.  They’ve spent a fortune in union dues to win President Obama’s reelection.  But though they won that battle they may be losing the war (see Spending large sums in state labor battles adds to unions’ problem of losing members by FOX News/AP posted 12/23/2012 on FOX News).

Unions represented roughly 30 percent of the country’s workforce in the early 1980s, when the federal government started tracking those numbers, but they now represent 11.8 percent.

The declining numbers are in part the result of the country’s shrinking manufacturing sector, but the situation has been compounded by recent efforts in Michigan and Wisconsin to limit unions’ power.

Unions had already spent roughly $22 million in Michigan on a failed November ballot issue regarding collective bargaining, before Republican Gov. Rick Snyder signed legislation this month that stops unions from making workers pay dues or representation fees to keep their jobs…

They also spent more than $20 million in Wisconsin to remove Republican Gov. Scott Walker this year in a recall election after he signed 2011 legislation stripping most public employees of much of their collective-bargaining power, but Walker still won that election.

The unions also spent roughly $24 million last year in Ohio to overturn an anti-union measure.

But unions spent more in California this year to defeat a ballot measure that would curb dues collection than they did total on political efforts in Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin.

James Sherk, a labor expert with the conservative Heritage Foundation think tank, estimates Michigan unions, including United Auto Workers, will lose an additional $100 million annually as a result of the changes and members leaving.

Workers have already “left unions in droves in Wisconsin, Idaho and Oklahoma,” he said.

If you do the math that adds up to $66 million for Michigan, Wisconsin and Ohio.  Double that to add in California and that brings it up to $132 million.  Throwing in the estimated $400 million in the 2012 elections that brings the total up to $532 million.

That’s half a billion in union dues they spent for political purposes.  Perhaps explaining why workers are leaving the unions in droves where they can.  Especially when the American people identified themselves at the end of 2011 as 40% conservative, 35% moderate and 21% liberal (see Conservatives Remain the Largest Ideological Group in U.S. by Lydia Saad posted 1/12/2012 on Gallup).  As a lot of those union dues go to support liberal candidates and liberal causes they no doubt bothered the 79% of the population that isn’t liberal.  Especially those paying those dues.

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Al Gore’s Liberal Current TV about to go the way of Liberal Air America Radio

Posted by PITHOCRATES - June 24th, 2012

Week in Review

Things don’t look good for Al Gore’s television network.  They have lost so many viewers that their cable company may drop his channel (see 10 Brands That Will Disappear in 2013 by Douglas A. McIntyre, 24/7 Wall St, posted 4/21/2012 on Yahoo! Finance).

Each year, 24/7 Wall St. identifies 10 important American brands that we predict will disappear within a year. This year’s list reflects the brutally competitive nature of certain industries and the reason why companies cannot afford to fall behind in efficiency, innovation or financing…

Al Gore’s Current TV was on life support even before it fired its only bankable star, Keith Olbermann, in March following a set of battles with the host over his perks. He was replaced by serial talk show host failure Eliot Spitzer. Compared to Olbermann’s March figures, Spitzer’s ratings in April were down nearly 70%, according to TV audience measurement firm Nielsen. At the time, The Hollywood Reporter wrote, “Replacement Eliot Spitzer pulled an anemic 47,000 total viewers in the first outing of Viewpoint, with just 10,000 among adults 25-54. The weeks since saw an early rebound, particularly in the demo, but in its four weeks on air Viewpoint has steadily declined in both respects.” Reuters recently reported that Current TV’s audience had fallen enough that cable giant Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC) may have the right to discontinue carrying the channel. The closest Current TV has to a star is talk show veteran Joy Behar, a former cast member of “The View,” who had her own show canceled by CNN’s HLN in November. Gore does not have the pockets to keep a network with no future going.

Current TV will fail for the same reason Air America Radio failed.  Liberals just aren’t deep thinkers.  They’ll watch The Daily Show and The Colbert Report because they are funny.  They’re entertaining.  They make fun of conservatives.  And they’re each on only for one half hour a day, 4 days a week.  They’ll watch these shows to learn what’s in the news.  Because the network news isn’t as funny or as entertaining.

Now contrast this with conservative talk radio.  Which with Air America gone is pretty much all of talk radio.  Why does conservative talk radio succeed when liberal talk radio does not?  Because conservatives are older.  More grown up.  And are interested more in the issues than being entertained.  That is, conservatives are deep thinkers.  A lot of them are because they’re married and trying to raise a family.  So those things the younger liberals aren’t interested in – economics, monetary policy, fiscal policy, foreign policy – greatly interest conservatives.  Because these things impact their lives daily.  Especially when they have the checkbook out.  While college students are more interested in knowing where the good parties are.

It is rather ironic that the very thing liberals use to attract their liberal base is the reason they can’t get them to listen to or watch their programs.  They have sold the welfare state to their liberal base in lieu of rugged individualism.  Basically telling them, “Don’t worry.  We’re here to take care of you.”  So they have.  They trust in government completely.  And enjoy being young.  Not worrying about the issues of the day.  Because government is there to take care of them.

And then there is the population breakdown.  About 40% of the people call themselves conservative.  While only about 20% call themselves liberal.  So they’re playing to a smaller audience to begin with.  And that other 40%?  Independents and moderates who don’t much like politics to begin with.  Their party affiliation, or lack thereof, suggests they may tune into The Daily Show or The Colbert Report because they’re entertaining.  But they’re probably not going to be policy wonks and tune into any hardcore political program.  Because they’re comfortable in the center.  And that’s just not where Air America was or where Current TV is.  Or conservative talk radio for that matter.

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Court orders Spanish Doctor to pay Child Care after Botched Abortion allows Baby to be Born

Posted by PITHOCRATES - May 26th, 2012

Week in Review

An interesting court case in Spain places the responsibility of a child not on the parents who conceived the child.  But on the doctor who failed to abort the child.  Odd.  For in the birth of that child the doctor is only an accessory after the fact of coitus (see Spanish doctor ordered to pay for upkeep of child after failed abortion by Giles Tremlett posted 5/25/2012 on The Guardian).

A Spanish doctor has been ordered to pay for the upkeep of a child after a failed abortion operation meant the boy’s mother was obliged to see her pregnancy through to the end…

The boy was born in October 2010, six months after his mother had gone for an abortion at the city’s Emece clinic. The operation had been performed when the mother was almost seven weeks pregnant. The doctor told her two weeks later that a scan proved she was no longer pregnant…

She did not return to the clinic for three months, and only after becoming convinced she must have become pregnant by mistake once more.

A fresh scan revealed, however, that this was the same pregnancy. She was already into her sixth month and past the 22-week limit for abortions in Spain. “I sought advice and was told that it would be a crime to abort at that stage,” she said.

The woman, who had hidden her pregnancy from her family out of fear at their reaction, was forced to confront her parents with the news. She and the child now live with them. Despite the fact that a suction technique had been used to try to remove the embryo, the boy was born healthy.

The mother sued the doctor for damages, with the court awarding her €150,000 (£120,000). It also decided the doctor and his insurer should pay maintenance of €978 a month for 25 years, or a further €293,000.

“I am living off my parents now, and it shouldn’t be like that,” the mother said…

“I am OK now, because I have had to accept things. There is no other option. I’m happy with my son,” she said. “When I have to explain all this to him, I’ll try to make sure that he feels OK about it. It was back then that he was not wanted, not now.”

I have one question.  Where’s the father?  Why isn’t he paying child support for his child?  I can understand the penalty for the botched abortion but child support?  The doctor didn’t make that baby.  He only failed to abort it.

Okay to abort within 22 weeks.  But a crime to abort after 22 weeks.  Okay at 5 months.  But not at 6 months.  Makes you scratch your head and think about the argument over when life begins.  At conception?  Or after 22 weeks.  Sounds rather arbitrary, 22 weeks.  Especially when you can hear a heartbeat at 8 weeks.

You hear some people joke about not being a planned baby.  About being an accident.  I imagine if one thinks about that too much it could make one question one’s purpose in life.  And question how much of an unwanted burden one was on one’s parents.  But surviving an abortion?  I don’t think that’s something a person should ever learn.  What possible good could come from that?  If mother and child bond and grow up loving each other why take a chance on ruining that?  It’s bad enough the mother has to live with this memory.  The child doesn’t.  In time perhaps the mother will feel it unnecessary to explain this unpleasant fact about his prenatal life.

But once again, where’s the father?

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The Tea Party vs. Occupy Wall Street

Posted by PITHOCRATES - October 7th, 2011

As far as Protest Movements go these Tea Party People can be Rather Boring

Everyone who follows the mainstream media knows that the Tea Party is nothing more than a bunch of radical racists out to raise hell and get into your face if you dare to disagree with them (see Glenn Beck on the Mall by Lexington posted 8/29/2010 on The Economist).

It is indeed both presumptuous and preposterous of Mr Beck to claim the mantle of Martin Luther King and the civil-rights movement for his own noxious style of politics. However, not seeing is believing: I saw no evidence at all of racism at this particular event. It was a good-natured, somewhat solemn, gathering of mostly white and well-to-do people from all over America who for some reason or other saw fit to respond to Mr Beck’s plea to show up to “restore” America’s honour. The main focus of the formal ceremony consisted of paying tribute to the country’s servicemen and veterans, of whom there were many in the crowd.

This was Glenn Beck‘s rally back in 2010.  Probably the most hated man in the Tea Party movement.  Those on the Left belittle and mock this man to no end.  Because they think he is dangerous.  Incendiary.  A racist of the first degree.  If so, where was the racism?  The radicalism?  The in your face anger?

As far as protest movements go these Tea Party people can be rather boring.

The Mark of a True Liberal is Being Generous with other People’s Private Property

So, yes, the Tea Party appears to be rather boring when they protest.  Can’t say that for the Occupy Wall Street people, though.  They’ve been pretty provocative.  Breaking the law.  Getting arrested.  And being really, really annoying (see For Some, Wall Street Is Main Street by Cara Buckley posted 10/7/2011 on The New York Times).

Panini and Company normally sells sandwiches to tourists in Lower Manhattan and the residents nearby, but in recent days its owner, Stacey Tzortzatos, has also become something of a restroom monitor. Protesters from Occupy Wall Street, who are encamped in a nearby park, have been tromping in by the scores, and not because they are hungry.

Ms. Tzortzatos’s tolerance for the newcomers finally vanished when the sink was broken and fell to the floor. She installed a $200 lock on the bathroom to thwart nonpaying customers, angering the protesters.

“I’m looked at as the enemy of the people,” she said.

I don’t recall the destruction of private party at any Tea Party rallies.

A sandwich shop is not a big corporation.  It’s a small business.  A Mom and Pop type store.  I don’t recall this demand on their list of demands.  Free access to use and destroy Mom and Pop stores everywhere for their exploitation of the working class.  All one or two that work for them.

Mothers have grown weary of navigating strollers through the maze of barricades that have sprouted along the streets. Toddlers have been roused from sleep just after bedtime by chanting and pounding drums.

Heather Amato, 35, a psychologist who lives near the protest area, said she felt disturbed by some of the conduct of the protesters. She said she had to shield her toddler from the sight of women at the park dancing topless.

I can’t understand why these people would have trouble getting a job.  Chanting and pounding drums at all hours of the night.  And girls getting so drunk that they let the Bobbsey Twins out in public.  (If you ever been on spring break you know you usually don’t see the girls come out until after vast amounts of alcohol have been consumed.  ).  If that doesn’t say responsibility and punctuality I don’t know what does.

The site of the protests, Zuccotti Park, is privately owned but open to the public. Melissa Corley, a spokeswoman for Brookfield Office Properties, which owns the park, said in a statement that sanitation conditions had reached “unacceptable levels.”

If you’ve never been to an outdoor concert let me clarify.  There’s trash everywhere.  And lots of pee.  Perhaps even some poop.  Sad to say I knew of a guy in construction that liked to leave ‘surprises’ for his coworkers.  In a trench.  In a dumpster.  In an attic.  He just thought it was funny.  He was eventually fired.  But I don’t think it was poop-related.  I believe he failed a drug test.

Several businesses said they had no choice but to respond to the influx of protesters by closing bathrooms.

Mike Keane, who owns O’Hara’s Restaurant and Pub, said that theft of bathroom soap and toilet paper had skyrocketed and that one protester used the bathroom but failed to properly use the toilet.

Both Ms. Tzortzatos, owner of Panini & Co., and Mr. Keane said that the protesters rarely bought anything, yet hurled curses when they were told that only paying customers could use their bathrooms.

Steve Zamfotis, manager of another nearby store, Steve’s Pizza, said: “They are pests. They go to the bathroom and don’t even buy a cup of coffee.”

Mr. Zamfotis said he closed his bathroom after it repeatedly flooded from protesters’ bathing there.

Stealing toilet paper?  That would explain some of the unacceptable sanitary conditions in the park.

Speaking of poop, this reminds me of another poop anecdote.  The same guy who told me about that construction worker had some port-a-johns on job site.  Apparently he pissed off some workers.  After which they, too, didn’t use the toilet facilities properly.  They didn’t lift the lids.  They just pooped on them.  Some people protest in strange and mysterious ways.  Which is what I’m guessing happened here.  Either on the toilet seat.  Or, perhaps, on the floor.  And that reminds me of yet another poop anecdote.  I knew a lawyer who did that once.  He was angry at his landlord.  So he pooped in the stairwell.  I guess that showed her.  Just like these protestors showed this restaurant owner.

Kira Annika, a spokeswoman for the protesters, wrote in an e-mail that she had not heard of such complaints. “We were under the impression that the local business community appreciated our patronage and the attention that we give them,” she wrote.

Still, in a widely distributed pamphlet, “Welcome To Liberty Plaza: Home of Occupy Wall Street,” participants were given explicit instructions on where to find relief.

“After you’ve dined,” the pamphlet reads, “feel free to refresh yourself in the restrooms of neighboring businesses like Burger King and McDonalds without feeling obligated to buy anything.”

A manager of the Burger King in question said he had no trouble with the protesters, though a maintenance worker at the McDonald’s, Deon Cook, said that in recent days he had been forced to clean the bathroom every five minutes.

How generous they are with other people’s private property.  The mark of a true liberal.  I’m sure they would be just as generous with their own private property.  And welcome strangers into their homes to use their toilets.

Yves Delva, a manager at a nearby Modell’s Sporting Goods, said sales had been brisk for sleeping bags, sweatshirts, hand warmers sweatpants and goggles — that last item presumably bought to protect the eyes from pepper spray, which has been used by police officers in response to the demonstrations. “We’ve been profiting,” Mr. Delva said.

Well this is strange.  This is capitalism.  And these are products of corporations.  I guess they’ll surrender their principles when it gets cold and wet.  Probably even be willing to go back to their parent’s house.  To a warm, dry bed.  And heat.  Once the temperatures fall.  And the rainy season sets in.  One thing for sure.  They ain’t the protestors their parents were.

The Problem with the Occupy Wall Street people is that they are not more Tea Party-Like

And it’s just not me saying this.  Even one of their supporters says this (see Tea Party Lessons for the Left by Michael Tomasky posted 10/4/2011 on Yahoo! News).

But now comes Occupy Wall Street. Is the cosmic score about to be evened? Maybe. But paradoxically, only if this new left protest movement embraces some crucial lessons from the Tea Party movement—and if it outgrows certain impulses from 1968 that continue to loom large in the left’s imagination.

… To succeed, it would have to model itself on 1963, not 1968. And I’m not confident that any left-wing protest movement today can understand that.

What do I mean? In 1963, we had the March on Washington. No one threw anything. There were no drum circles. The protesters of 1963 said to America, “We are like you; in fact, we are you.”…The protesters of 1968 said to America, “We are not like you; in fact, we hate you…”

What changed, between 1963 and 1968? This: In 1963, protest was undertaken for the purpose of winning. By 1968, protest became a carnival of self-expression. Winning was the stated goal, but deep down, emotionally, it wasn’t really the goal: sticking it to the man was. Imagine that the SCLC-led protesters of 1963 had indulged in self-expression, and ask yourself whether they would have succeeded. I think I need say no more on that.

So these protesters are getting it wrong.  They’re protesting for the fun of protesting.  Not for some deep underlying philosophical principle.  It appears you can summarize all of their grievances and demands with one word.  PARTY!  Sort of the way it was in 1968.  I guess.

And this is where today’s protesters need to steal a page from the Tea Party activists. I beg, plead, implore, importune: Get some spokespeople out there for the cause who are just regular Americans…

The genius of the Tea Party movement lies entirely in the fact that its public faces were, by and large, regular Americans. How many stories did we all read about the homemaker from Wilkes-Barre and the IT guy from Dubuque who’d never been involved in politics in their lives and never thought they would be until the Tea Party came along? These people resonate with other Americans: “She’s my neighbor; he’s just like me.” That gave the Tea Party movement incredible force and made the media take it seriously, and making the media take you seriously is, alas, at least half the battle in our age.

The OWS movement is part of the way there. The “We Are the 99 Percent” trope is powerful. It is true. But the movement has to prove that it really is the 99 percent. It has to win middle America, and the way to win middle America is to be middle America. For all the Seattle-ish longhairs down in Zucotti Park—whom the mainstream media and the right wing will undoubtedly highlight—there are, to be sure, homemakers in Wilkes-Barre and IT guys in Dubuque who sympathize. Find them. Put them out there. Get them on cable.

So if I understand this correctly, the problem with the answer to the Tea Party, the Occupy Wall Street people, is that they are not more Tea Party-like.  They’re not as polite.  As law abiding.  As clean.  As respectable (you don’t see many bare-breasted women dancing at Tea Party events).  So they need to be more like this.  And less like themselves.  More like respectable grownups.  And less like overindulgent children.  Who have but one thing on their mind.  PARTY!

The Tea Party Respects the Rule of Law and Private Property Rights

Occupy Wall Street is not the Tea Party.  For the Tea Party is interested in the Rule of Law.  The Constitution.  They are concerned that the nation is drifting too far away from the intent of the Founding Fathers.  Those guiding principles that have made the United States that shining city upon the hill.  The ultimate destination for emigrants everywhere.  Whereas the Occupy Wall Street People want bigger government and more free stuff.  And, of course, they want to do one other thing.  PARTY (see The Left’s Pathetic Tea Party by Rich Lowry posted 10/4/2011 on National Review Online)!

In the Occupy Wall Street movement, the Left thinks it might have found its own tea party…

This is a sign either of desperation to find anyone on the left still energized after three years of Hope and Change, or of a lack of standards, or both. The Left’s tea party is a juvenile rabble, a woolly-headed horde that has been laboring to come up with one concrete demand on the basis of its — in the words of one sympathetic writer — “horizontal, autonomous, leaderless, modified-consensus-based system with roots in anarchist thought.”

The Right’s tea party had its signature event at a rally at the Lincoln Memorial where everyone listened politely to patriotic exhortations and picked up their trash and went home. The Left’s tea party closed down a major thoroughfare in New York City — the Brooklyn Bridge — and saw its members arrested in the hundreds.

The Tea Party respects the Rule of Law.  And private property rights.  That’s why they’re not pigs when visiting other people’s property.  They don’t poop and pee wherever they want.  Disrupt traffic.  Or get arrested.  I mean, if you had to have either the Tea Party people or the Occupy Wall Street people be your next door neighbor, who would you choose?

What was remarkable about the Right’s tea party is that it depended on solid burghers who typically don’t have the time or inclination to protest anything. Occupy Wall Street is a project of people who do little besides protest. It’s all down to a standard operating procedure: the guitars, the drums, the street theater, the age-old chants…

The New York Times quoted one Occupy Wall Street veteran telling a newcomer: “It doesn’t matter what you’re protesting. Just protest.” That captures the coherence of the exercise, which is a giant, ideologically charged, post-adolescent sleepover complete with face paint and pizza deliveries.

Again, I think we can sum up their grievances and demands with one word.  PARTY!

Now it’s Time for Them to Stop Thinking about Themselves and Just go Home

There’s an expression that goes like this.  Don’t sh*t where you eat.  A vulgar expression, yes, but it’s kind of apropos.  It means you don’t have sex with someone at work.  Because if the relationship goes sour, as they almost always do when you fool around at work, it can become very awkward around each other after the break up.  Which can be very unpleasant.  And strain the working relationship.

Now the ‘having a job’ part of this analogy has nothing to do with the Occupy Wall Street people.  It’s more of a literal meaning.  If you’re trying to win the hearts and minds of the people around you, well, you can’t go pooping all over their private property.  Nothing says ‘I hate you more’ than an unwelcomed poop.  And strains the solidarity relationship.

Of course, these indiscriminate poopers don’t care about anyone but themselves.  They protest not for an overriding principle.  But to get free stuff for themselves.  And, of course, to PARTY!  That’s why they have long overstayed their welcome in this neighborhood.  Now it’s time for them to stop thinking about themselves.  And just go home.

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Brandy is Eliminated from Dancing with the Stars and some Blame the Tea Party

Posted by PITHOCRATES - November 19th, 2010

It’s not Just Your Dancing that Advances you on Dancing with the Stars

Yes, I watch Dancing with the Stars (DWTS).  This is my second season.  I watched the previous season because of Evan Lysacek.  He had just won the gold in men’s figure skating in Vancouver at the 2010 Winter Olympics.  There was some controversy because he didn’t include a quad jump like the favored Russian, Evgeni Plushenk, did.  Throughout the whole thing, though, Lysacek was a class act.  Even to the favored Russian.  Who wasn’t.  So I wanted to watch him on DWTS.

He finished 2nd.  That was no great surprise.  Most knew who the final two would be.  Lysacek.  And Nicole Sherizinger.  Who won.  But there were some earlier eliminations that were a bit surprising.  And disappointing.  Shannen Doherty was eliminated first.  Before Buzz Aldrin.  Doherty out-danced Aldrin.  Scored higher.  But more viewers voted for Buzz Aldrin.  So he danced another week.  Poorly.  And it was painful to watch such a great American stink up the dance floor.  It almost felt that they included him on the show for the laughs.

But that’s the way DWTS works.  You don’t have to be the best to advance.  Ability only counts for half of your score.  The half from the judges.  The other half comes from the laypeople in the viewing audience.  Who may vote for any number of reasons.  And some of those reasons may have nothing to with a person’s dancing ability. 

Conspiracy?  Or just a Bunch of Conservatives Voting?

This season’s semifinals were this past Monday.  And Bristol Palin advanced to the finals.  Brandy did not.  The people cried foul.  And floated conspiracy theories. 

I thought for sure Brandy and Jennifer Grey would make it to the finals.  They’ve had the highest scores.  They’re beautiful.   And are just gorgeous to watch on the dance floor.  Palin is pretty good, too.  Though she is consistently near the bottom of the leader board, there often aren’t a lot of points between the top and the bottom.  She has good technique.  But she doesn’t make the emotional connection Brandy and Grey do.

But Bristol Palin is a teen advocate for abstinence (a conservative cause).  Her mother is Sarah Palin.  A Tea Party favorite.  And the Republicans just took back the House of Representatives.  The center-right America just emphasized the ‘right’ in ‘center-right’ this past midterm election.  So is it any surprise that a ‘conservative’ contestant would do well with the viewing (and voting) public?

More Republicans than Democrats Watch Dancing with the Stars

Not when you consider who is watching DWTS.  According to Experian Simmons, leading media-research company, Republicans watch DWTS more so than Democrats (see The Reign of Right-Wing Primetime by James Hibberd, Hollywood Reporter via Reuters, posted 11/10/2010 on Yahoo! TV Blog). 

They have lists showing the top 15 shows watched by Republicans and Democrats.  DWTS comes in at number 9 on the Republican list.  It’s not even one of the top 15 shows Democrats watch. 

Ergo, it’s no surprise that Bristol Palin has made the finals.  She is no doubt the contestant the viewers most likely connect to.  And like Maksim Chmerkovskiy (Brandy’s professional partner) said (see ‘DWTS’ results: Brandy is out, Bristol Palin on to finals by The Associated Press posted 11/17/2010 on azcentral):

“People vote and their voices count,” he said. “I love the fact that the show represents that. It represents the people’s choice.” 

That’s the way the show was set up.  The viewers have a say in who wins.  Despite what the judges say.

Brandy is Classy and Gracious in Defeat

Brandy really wanted to win.  She cried when the viewers eliminated her.  And when everyone has been attacking Bristol Palin and crying foul, I haven’t heard Brandy make a disparaging remark.  She’s showing class (see Brandy Was ‘Very Sad’ About ‘Dancing With The Stars’ Elimination by Jocelyn Vena posted 11/18/2010 on MTV).

“Well, I think Bristol did a great job. She has improved [and] one of the great things about ‘Dancing With the Stars’ is the fans can get behind you and vote,” she said when she stopped by “The View” on Thursday (November 18). “I was sad. I was very sad because we worked so hard and when you come into competition you want to go as far as you can.”

To be that gracious in defeat says a lot about this lady.  And I’m sure she’s being genuine.  That’s one of the things I like about DWTS.  It’s a competition.  But unlike competition on other reality television, there’s no trash talking.  No nasty barbs.  These contestants like each other.

May the Best and/or Most Popular Dancer Win

It’s like Kyle Massey said after making it to the finals.  You’re excited to move on.  But it sucks that someone has to go home.  We’re glad to see Grey, Palin and Massey move on to the finals.  But we miss those who didn’t make it.

Brandy was a thing of beauty to watch on the dance floor.  But seeing her go doesn’t hurt as much as it could.  Because with the way the voting works, anything can happen.  And the best dancer doesn’t necessarily win.  We know this going in.  So when something like this happens, we can at least take solace in knowing that the judging wasn’t rigged.

The finals are this Monday.  They’ll award the mirror ball trophy Tuesday.  And may the best and/or most popular dancer win.  All we ask for is that you tear up the dance floor one last time.

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LESSONS LEARNED #30: “Liberal talk radio is not successful because liberals are not deep thinkers.” -Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - September 9th, 2010

CENSORSHIP BY ANY OTHER NAME IS STILL CENSORSHIP

When an oppressive, totalitarian regime seizes power, they shut down the radio and television stations.  It’s at the top of their ‘to do’ list.  Because it’s the fastest media.  Then they turn to the newspapers.  Once they control the content they open for business again.  We call it censorship.  The people only hear what they want the people to hear.  And they kill/imprison those who persist in trying to distribute anything other than the state’s propaganda. 

When you control the media, you can tell any lie.  You can report the state has increased food protection while millions die from famine.  You can report the great economic success of the Five Year Plan while people wait in lines for hours to get their rations of soap and toilet paper.  You can report the success of your Keynesian economic policies while record numbers of people go unemployed.  If you have control of the media you can tell any lie.  And prevent the telling of any truth.

When government pursues policies that are not popular, the telling of lies and the controlling of truths becomes policy.  Enter the Fairness Doctrine.  JFK used it to muzzle the Right when they debated the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.  LBJ used it to muzzle conservative radio stations (who were attacking his Great Society policies, not the Vietnam War).  Nixon tried to use it to silence his enemies (it doesn’t work, though, when your enemies are liberal media outlets). 

Ronald Reagan, a supporter of First Amendment rights, revoked the doctrine during his administration.  And the Left has been trying to bring it back ever since.  (They even want to extend it to the Internet – another medium the Left does not control.  But that’s another story for another time.)

FAIR IS NOT FAIR

The liberals say it’s not fair that a Rush Limbaugh can go on the air for 3 hours a day 5 days a week without an opposing viewpoint to ‘balance’ his views.  Bill Clinton said it’s not fair because there is no ‘truth detector’ to separate fact from fiction (he said that before he was impeached for perjury).  When they talk about ‘fairness’ it’s code for censorship.  What they want is to silence these alternate viewpoints. 

If you want to talk about being fair, let’s be fair.  Do conservatives have an unfair advantage in media?   The Culture and Media Institute (a Division of the Media Research Center) published a special report for the Media Research Center titled Unmasking the Myths Behind the Fairness Doctrine.  It’s 30 pages but well worth your time in reading it.  On page 5 of this report they cite audience reach and circulation statistics for the top 5 sources of information liberals and conservatives use:

Broadcast TV news, millions/day   Liberal  42.1     Conservative  0.0
Top 25 newspapers, millions/day   Liberal  11.7     Conservative  1.3
Cable TV news, millions/month     Liberal 182.8     Conservative 61.6
Top talk radio, millions/week         Liberal  24.5     Conservative 87.0
Newsweeklies, millions/week        Liberal   8.5      Conservative  0.0

When you look at these numbers, you see a dominance of liberal sources.  In fact, talk radio is the only source in the list where conservatives make up a larger percentage of the audience than liberals.  And yet talk radio is the only source that liberals cite as needing a fairness doctrine.  What does that tell you?  The only bias that exists in the media is against conservatives.

FOLLOW THE MONEY

Air America, the all-liberal national radio network (now there’s fairness), went belly up.  Chapter 7 (liquidation).  They tried Chapter 11 (reorganization) earlier but the reorganized business couldn’t make any money either.  By contrast, Rush Limbaugh has been on the air since the late 1980s.  And, according to him, he has never had a down year or had to lay off a single employee.  Why?

Radio is free.  To us.  The listeners.  Others pay so we can listen free.  Advertisers.  Do they do this out of altruism?  No.  They do it out of greed.  They advertise to increase their sales revenue.  It’s a win-win.  They promote their products and services.  We listen for free.  And broadcasters make enough money to cover their bills and earn a profit.  (Well, I guess that’s more of a win-win-win.  There’re three winners.  But I belabor the point.)  It’s really a simple formula.  There’s only one catch.  Advertisers only want to advertise where people are actually listening.

And that was the problem with Air America.  No one was listening.  Weak ratings equal weak advertising sales.  Liberals can exist in the realm of National Public Radio (publicly funded no matter how few people listen), but if their revenue is tied to their popularity, they’re screwed. 

LIKE READING BOOKS

FOX paired liberal Alan Colmes with conservative Sean Hannity on Hannity and Colmes.  The show had a successful run.  Sean Hannity still has that timeslot.  Alone.  As well as the #2 radio program behind Rush Limbaugh.  Colmes has not gone on to such bigger or better things.

Colmes blamed the failure of Air America on unfair treatment.  The conservatives got the best stations and time slots.  So Air America never had a chance.  Despite having big on-air talent like Al Franken and Janeane Garofalo.  But it wasn’t unfair treatment that favored conservatives.  It was advertising revenue that favored conservatives.  If the liberals could have delivered the ratings conservatives did, they’d be on the best stations in the best time slots.  But they couldn’t.  So they weren’t.

Liberals like to be entertained.  They’ll tune into SNL and The Daily Show.  For they love a good personal attack on a conservative.  They’ll watch the network news that is full of entertainment news.  They’ll buy The New York Times and read the Arts section.  They’ll tune in and listen to the shock jocks on FM and satellite radio. But they don’t like thinking about serious issues.  To them listening to talk radio is like reading a book.  And where’s the fun in that?

FARTS ARE FUNNY

Liberal talk radio will never have the numbers conservative talk radio has.  Not in a center-right country.  The intelligentsia (liberals in the media, college professors, etc.) is a very small minority.  The other liberals are just children who haven’t grown up yet.  And how many children do you know that eat their vegetables?  Wash behind their ears?  Read a book?  Or engage in deep, philosophical thought?  I don’t know any.  The kids I know think fart jokes are funny.  Think about that the next time someone laughs at a fart joke on TV.  I’ll bet you it’s a child that’s laughing.  Or a liberal.

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FUNDAMENTAL TRUTH #30: “Liberal talk radio is not successful because liberals are not deep thinkers.” -Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - September 7th, 2010

LESS THAN MEETS THE EYE

The Left has long searched for an answer to talk radio.  It is one of the few mediums they do not control.   And it’s a powerful medium.  Lots of people listen to talk radio.  Few of them liberal.

When you hear ‘talk radio’, what do you think of?  Rush Limbaugh?  Probably.  Most people do.  When you hear ‘conservative talk radio’, what do you think of?  Rush Limbaugh again?  Probably so.  Now think of Liberal talk radio and what do you think of?  Silence?  Silence that is so silent that you can hear crickets chirping?  Probably.  Successful talk radio and conservative talk radio are synonymous.  Why?  America is a center-right country.  Limbaugh’s success isn’t due to any genius on his part.  He just says what a vast majority of Americans think.  And the Left hates that.  Because they’re not in the majority.

They sound big.  But that’s because they’ve got big mouths.  Sort of a mouse that roared kind of thing.  They’ve got the vast majority of the network news and print media.  The college professors.  The Hollywood elite.  And a bunch of rich people who assuage their guilt over their unearned wealth by proclaiming their liberal tendencies.  This is not a lot of people.  In fact, it’s quite few.  However, if we read or watch the news, watch a movie or a program about entertainers, go to college or hear the obscenely rich talk about helping the ‘little people’ they can’t stand and want nothing to do with, they’re there.  They’re in our face.  Some in positions of credibility.  So people see them as…credible.  However incredible they are.  Which makes it seem like there are a lot more of them than there actually are.  So, then, who are they?  Really?  These liberals?

THE GUILTY RICH

Some people have amassed vast fortunes for doing nothing. Some inherited it.  Some married into it.  Others have made vast fortunes by pretending to be other people (actors).  Some wrote books.  Others made it big in pop ‘music’.  Others rode a wave of celebrity for silly behavior for which they have no shame.  These people don’t live in the real world.  The kind of world where you get up with an alarm clock and go to work 5 days a week (or more) for a paycheck that barely pays your bills.  No.  These people don’t need alarm clocks.  And they never want for anything.  Except to be loved.

Because there are some in politics (i.e., Liberals/Democrats) that like to make everything into a class struggle, these rich people feel guilty.  For in class warfare, the rich are always the bad guys.  And they don’t want to be the bad guys.  Because people don’t love the bad guys.  So they show how much they care for those less fortunate.  They call themselves liberals.  And we forgive them for all that wealth.  The kind of wealth we say CEOs shouldn’t have.  But it’s okay for rich liberals.  Even though they don’t create jobs.  Or make things that make our lives better.

THE YOUNG AND THE STUPID

Kids are stupid.  Don’t believe me?  Ask a parent.  You tell them not to drink, do drugs, have sex, drive recklessly, skip class, lie, cheat, etc., and they still do.  Not all of them.  But many do.  They engage in reckless, stupid, irresponsible behavior all of the time.  And parents find drugs in their rooms.  Deal with a teen pregnancy.  Or an abortion.  Comfort a child with an STD.  Or help her deal with the trauma she suffers when her ‘private’ nude photos aren’t so private anymore (and seeing her arrested for distributing child pornography).  Or hearing from a child’s teachers (or your priest) that they were forwarded a sexting from your child.  Seeing a daughter in a Girls Gone Wild commercial (and seeing her lose a job because of it).  Go to the emergency room because of a car accident or drug overdose.  Enroll a child into rehab.  Or go to the morgue to identify a dead child.  Or something less traumatic, like babysitting a grandchild while your daughter dances at a topless bar.  Or is out turning tricks. 

Kids live in the now.  And they want to have a good time.  All of the time.  Sex, drugs, abortion and STDs.  That’s what they’re thinking about.  And the ‘skankification’ of women.  Of girls.  Boys want only one thing.  Sex.  And girls want to be loved.  So they’re liberals.  They’re all for the liberation and empowerment of women.  Of girls.  Anything that makes girls ‘easier’.  And helps a girl’s self-esteem by making them more ‘popular’.  So legalize drugs.  And lower the drinking age.  Makes it easier to get girls into bed.  And keep abortion legal.  So a girl doesn’t have to worry about getting pregnant.  Makes her less hesitant in putting out.  And cure those incurable diseases, damn it.  Sometimes you’d like to hook up with a girl without having to get her drunk first.  And she’d be a whole lot more cooperative if she didn’t have to worry about an STD or two.

LOOK AT ME

I drive a Prius.  Because I care.  And I’m better than you.  That’s the message.  But when a rich celebrity drives a Prius and then flies away in their private plane for some fun in the sun, they give a different message.  They’re saying, “I’m a hypocrite.”  And, of course, that they’re better than us.

There comes a time in a rich celebrity’s life when they realize they haven’t done anything worthwhile.  I mean, sure, they’ve become rich and famous.  But they did that by pretending to be someone they’re not.  Or by writing some songs that Big Music marketed well.  Or simply for being good looking.  At some point in that ’empty’ life they need validation.  That their life has meaning.  So they champion a cause.  Warn us about the oceans.  Global warming.  The hungry.  They become politically active.  And provide expertise in things they know little about.  They’ll testify before Congress not because they have scientific credentials.  But because they played someone in a movie who did.  And to show their cerebral prowess they’ll call themselves liberals.  And warn us not to vote for George W. Bush.  For if we do, he’ll legalize rape or send all the gay people to one state.  (And, no, I won’t say who said these things.  I’m sure they’re embarrassed enough.)

And we love our celebrities.  Want to be like them.  So we, too, drive a Prius.  Because we, too, care.  And, of course, because we’re better than you.

THE SELFISHLY NARROW MINDED

The single-issue people care only for single issues.  Gays and lesbians who vote based on only gay and lesbian issues are single-issue people.  People who vote based only on a person’s abortion stand are single-issue people.  People who vote based only on environmental issues are single-issue people.  Etc.  Social Security.  Welfare.  Anti-war.  Anti-nuclear power.  Race.  Redistribution of wealth.  Animal rights.  People can be passionate about any one issue.  And if they are only passionate about any one issue, they’ll vote to advance that one, narrow issue.  And damn the unintended consequences that result from advancing that one narrow issue.  And they’ll call themselves liberals.  Because they’re about the enlightened ideal.  Not profits.  National security.  The rest of us.  Or common sense.

IT’S JUST A JUMP TO THE LEFT, AND THEN A STEP TO THE RIGHT

Liberals are indeed a minority of the population.  And yet our government governs very liberally.  How does this happen?  Simple.  Politicians lie.

During the primary election, they have to appeal to their base.  And their base includes all the small little groups of people noted above.  And more.  To get that liberal vote, they have to show how liberal they are.  Once they get the nomination, they have to move to the center and lie to the independents and moderates in the general election.  Convince them that they are centrists.  If elected, they move back to the left to pay off the far Left that financed their election.  When their poll numbers fall, they then move back to the right.  It’s a dance.  Like the Time Warp.  From the Rocky Horror Picture Show

It’s just a jump to the left
And then a step to the right
Put your hands on your hips
You bring your knees in tight
But it’s the pelvic thrust
That really drives you insane,

Let’s do the Time Warp again!

And there is some pelvic thrusting going on.  But it’s not the good kind.  If you know what I mean.

IS THERE ANYBODY OUT THERE?

So why isn’t there a ‘Rush Limbaugh’ in liberal talk radio?  Because liberals are a small demographic.  And it’s a demographic created from small, narrow, special interests.  And a lot of them have things on their minds other than monetary and fiscal policy.  Foreign policy.  Affordable housing.  They’re thinking about sex and drugs.  Where to jet off to next.  Or checking into rehab.  They’ll rock the vote at election time.  But after that, they have better things to do.  You add it up and there is simply no market for liberal talk radio.  At least, not like there is for conservative talk radio.

When Liberal talk radio succeeds, it’s often by shocking the audience.  Belittling conservatives.  Name calling.  Like on SNL.  Or John Stewart’s The Daily Show.  It’s heavy on the comedy.  Light on the issues.  Because their audience is there for the entertainment.  Not for deep, intellectual thought.

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LESSONS LEARNED #29: “The problem with doing what is best for the common good is that few can agree on what the common good is.” -Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - September 2nd, 2010

COYOTE UGLY

We’ve all heard the joke.  What’s coyote ugly?  That’s when you wake up with an extremely ugly person in bed lying on your arm.  After a night of heavy drinking.  You’re fairly certain you had sex.  You’re not 100% sure because you can’t remember anything.  But here the two of you are.  Naked.  The circumstantial evidence is pretty damning.  You want to get out.  Fast.  Instead of waking your lover, you chew your arm off so you can slip away quietly.  Like a coyote will do if caught in a steel-jaw trap.

The lesson here is, of course, to drink in moderation.  For when we drink to excess, we sometimes do things we wouldn’t normally do sober.  But we do.  Drink to excess.  And get drunk.  And, boy, when we do, some of us really do.  Make a real mess of their lives, too.  You see, drunken husbands do not make happy wives.  Or good fathers.  Especially when drunken husbands beat up their wives, spend their paychecks at the corner saloon, have sex with prostitutes and catch syphilis (which they then pass on to their wives and soon to be born children). 

For these reasons, wives have been behind various temperance movements throughout history.  And they have had modest success.  If you ever found yourself in a dry county thirsting for an adult beverage, you can thank these ladies.  But Prohibition?  That’s a different story.  That took Big Government.  The Progressives.  Who thought they knew best what was for the common good.

DO AS I SAY, NOT AS I DO

Wives have suffered unfairly from the affects of alcohol.  But during the 19th century, their power was limited.  They had to rely on grass-roots movements.  And their churches.  Which had moral authority as we were much more religious back then.  Most drunken husbands knew they were behaving poorly.  When sober.  But things changed in the 20th century.  The powers of the government grew.  This power and new sciences (like eugenics) made some believe they could make a better society by passing enlightened laws.  (And make better people in the case of eugenics).

We call it social engineering.  Using the power of the state to change human behavior.  Well, change it for those who are not apparatchiks of the state.  The elite Progressives, including the ladies of high society, still drank.  For it wasn’t illegal to drink adult beverages.  Only to manufacture, sell, or transport them.  So it was the poorer elements of society who felt the impact of Prohibition.  And the immigrants.  Who the social elites blamed for all the drinking woes.  For people in their strata of society didn’t have drinking problems.  So there was no reason to punish them.  The elites.  They weren’t the problem.  It was the poor.  And the immigrants.  They’re the ones government needed to keep from drinking themselves to ruin.

So while the elites still enjoyed their intoxicating beverages in the safety of their mansions and clubs, Al Capone and other bootleggers fought for turf.  For control of the illegal liquor trade.  Shooting each other with Thompson Machine Guns in our public streets.  That’s a .45 caliber round.  It makes big holes.  And shatters bone.  A lot of these rounds were flying through our public streets.  And they hit more than just gangsters.

Prohibition modified some behavior.  But at great cost.  Congress repealed it in 1933.  In part to stem the liquor violence.  And part because the Great Depression was too depressing sober.

JUST SAY NO

I once worked at a small office in a bad part of town.  One day a woman knocked on the door.  She asked if that ‘short guy’ that opens the gates in the morning was around.  I said no.  Then she asked me if I wanted to have a little fun.  I said, “Thank you, but no.”  My secretary had come to the door while I was talking to her.  After I closed the door, she told me that woman just lost a lot of weight.  And that she probably had AIDS.

Women like her were common in the neighborhood.  They sold sex for drug money.  When they weren’t with a John they were getting high.  Men, too.  One time, this 6-foot-plus behemoth in a skirt was walking in the street shouting something incoherent.  Our driver discovered he was a guy.  When he lunged through his open window while turning at the corner.  I don’t know what scared him more.  The assault.  Or the fact that she was a he. 

By the way, that short guy that opens the gates?  He was married.  And had a couple of daughters.  God only knows what he gave his wife.

Drug addiction is not good.  No one’s life ever got better by being addicted to drugs.  None of these people ever planned on drug addiction.  It just happened.  Somehow.  One day you’re just partying with some friends.  Then the next thing you know you’re turning tricks or stealing to support your habit.  If you have money it’s a different story.  Then you can party until you kill yourself.  John Belushi overdosed from a heroin/cocaine cocktail called a speedball.  Chris Farley, too.  It’s unlikely that the speedball was their first high.  They probably started out with something less potent.  Like marijuana.  The entry drug of choice.  Only when that drug loses its charm do people step up to something a little more potent. 

Of course, if you don’t start, chances are you won’t move up to something more potent.  This was the idea behind Nancy Reagan’s anti-drug program.  Stop the kids from starting.  To resist peer pressure.  To just say no.  Her program did modify some behavior.  Kids did use fewer drugs.  But she was Ronald Reagan’s wife.  The Left didn’t like him.  Or her.  So they ridiculed her program as being simplistic.  Discontinued it.  And drug use by kids increased.

GANGSTA’S PARADISE

Like Capone and his fellow bootleggers, the illegal drug trade is controlled by gangs.  And they, too, fight over turf.  But those involved at the street level of the drug trade today are a lot younger.  During the days of Prohibition, kids played with toy guns.  Today, they’re playing with real guns.  Not so much playing but killing each other.  And innocent bystanders.  In drive-by shootings.  Why?  Because drugs get you money.  And money gets you power.  Put all that together and it’s very seductive to kids from broken homes in the hood.  Who have nothing.  And have nothing to lose.  It’s almost romantic.  Fighting.  And dying.  A regular gangster.  Living in a gangster paradise.

Once in, though, it’s hard to get out.  The song Gangsta’s Paradise (by Coolio featuring L.V. from the 1995 Movie Dangerous Minds) laments about that paradise.  “Tell me why are we so blind to see.  That the ones we hurt are you and me.”

You get higher up in the echelon and the violence gets worse.  You can see that on America’s southern border.  And further south.  Kidnappings.  Beheadings.  And other unspeakable things.  Because of the big money in illegal drugs.  Like there was in bootlegging.  Make something illegal that people still want and will buy, and that something becomes a very profitable commodity indeed.

DAMNED IF YOU DO, DAMNED IF YOU DON’T

So what’s the answer?  What is the best course of action for the common good?  We can keep drugs illegal.  And continue to fight the war on drugs.  And watch the violence escalate as people fight to control this illicit trade.  Or we can decriminalize drugs.  Make them easily accessible.  And cheap.  The drug gangs would go the way of the bootlegger gangs.  And the crack/meth whore in the street won’t have to perform as many sexual acts to support her habit.

Alcohol is legal today.  And there are a lot of social costs because of that.  But the majority of people who do drink are not driving under the influence or beating their wives.  Or getting syphilis from a prostitute hanging out at the corner saloon.  Wouldn’t it be the same for drugs?

Kids drink.  Even though they can’t legally buy alcohol.  But the worse thing they can do is kill someone while driving a car.  Or get killed in a car driven by another drunken kid.  Or kill themselves from binge drinking.  Or get pregnant because they got drunk at a party.  Or get infected with a venereal disease because they got drunk at a party and had sex.  These are very bad things.  But they’re not an addiction.  Sure, you can become an alcoholic, but a lot of kids don’t like the taste of the adult beverages they’re consuming.  They’re just doing it for the party buzz.  And vomiting after.  It takes awhile, for some, to get over that hump where those awful tasting beverages don’t taste so awful anymore.  But drugs?  They’re tasteless.  There isn’t a delivery system ‘hump’ to get over.  Which makes the addiction process that much easier.  And where there is only one kind of drunk, there are all sorts of highs.  New and different drugs to explore.  When you get bored with the drug du jour.  So, no.  It probably wouldn’t be the same with alcohol.  It would probably be worse.

THE LESSER OF EVILS

Often the choice comes down to a lesser of evils.  So, to do what is best for the common good, we just need to determine which is the lesser evil.  So which is worse?  The violence from trying to keep something illegal?  Or the social costs of decriminalizing something that is already causing a lot of harm while being illegal?  It comes down to what you, as an individual, think.  And that is, must be, a subjective decision.  And therein lays the problem of choosing what is best for the common good.  It’s an opinion.  Choices aren’t right or wrong.  There’re just different opinions.

And that’s why so few can agree on what is best for the common good.  Different people think different things are better.  And different things are worse.  And, at best, they can agree to disagree.

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FUNDAMENTAL TRUTH #29: “The problem with doing what is best for the common good is that few can agree on what the common good is.” -Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - August 31st, 2010

CHOOSING IS EASY WHEN ONLY ONE IS CHOOSING

Lunch groups can be a pain in the you-know-what.  Ass.  I mean, if you’re hungry, you can go and eat whatever you want.  If you want pasta you can eat pasta.  But if you’re dragging 3 others with you, there’s a chance at least one of them doesn’t want pasta.  He or she may want Thai.  And be the only one who wants Thai.  Another may be trying to lose weight and wants a healthy vegetable sub.  Which may be the last thing someone wants if they have their heart set on a good, juicy piece of dead cow.

So you know what happens.  You don’t have pasta, Thai, the sub shop or the steakhouse.  You end up going to that greasy diner that smells like an old, unwashed ashtray.  The food’s not that bad and they have a huge menu.  Which never ceases to amaze you.  And worries you.  Just a little.  (You know they’re not selling broiled haddock every day and you wonder just how long it’s been in the freezer.)  There’s something for everyone.  It may not be the best.  No one is particularly happy with the choice.   But it was the best compromise everyone could agree to. 

Picking a movie can be just as fun.  “What do you want to see?”  “I don’t care.  What do you want to see?”  And this can go on and on.  And on.  An action thriller?  Too violent.  A romantic comedy?  Too sappy.  That r-rated comedy?  Too many boobs.  That 3-hour movie that’s like Steel Magnolias only sadder?  I can sleep at home for a hell of a lot less. 

And round and round you go.  Finally, you settle on a compromise.  Great Moments in Opera History – a film of a live performance of Verdi’s Rigoletto that includes some nudity.  There’s singing, a sad story, some comedy, a tragic ending and, of course, boobs.  No one was bursting with anticipation to see this movie.   No one is particularly happy with the choice.   But it was the best compromise everyone could agree to. 

When you’re deciding for one, you only have to please yourself.  The more people involved with the decision-making process, the less you please yourself and the more you try to please others.  Key word being ‘try’.  Because the more people in the decision-making process, the less likely anyone is going to be pleased.

E PLURIBUS UNUM (OUT OF MANY, ONE)

They call America the melting pot.  Canada is a mosaic, but we’re a melting pot.  America became a mixture of the different immigrants that came to this country.  These people assimilated into being Americans.  People with different nationalities and religions melted together and made a singular national identity.  Out of many, one.  (In Canada, there’s no melting.  Hence the mosaic.  And no singular national identity.)

Many say our diversity is our strength.  We’re not conformists.  Just look at the explosion in television channels.  We’re so diverse that we can’t agree on what to watch on TV.  So there are hundreds of channels to choose from.  To satisfy our very different tastes and interests.

We like different things.  Television shows, restaurants, movies, books, newspapers and blogs.  To name just a few.  There is, in fact, little that we really agree about.  Other than agreeing we should be able to enjoy the things we wish to enjoy.  And not be forced to endure the things we don’t.  Mosaic or melting pot, however you want to look at it, individuals make up the whole.  Persons with individual tastes and interests.  With individual hopes and dreams.

WHO’S TO SAY WHAT’S BEST?

Now put the two together and what do you get?  A lot of people who don’t agree with each other trying to agree with each other.  It’s sort of like drawing a square circle.  You can’t do it.  Now take that group and ask them to make a decision for the common good.

Sounds easy, right?  Most are willing to sacrifice a little.  If it’s for the common good.  We just need to list the things that everyone would agree are important for the common good.  Like better fuel economy in our cars to reduce pollution and our dependence on foreign oil.  Or making cars safer so people get hurt less in accidents.  Both of these appear to be for the common good.  But they also conflict with each other.  More of one means less of the other.  Little boxes with sewing-machine engines will give great fuel economy.  But they can get blown off bridges (like that Yugo that blew off the Mackinac Bridge in 1989) and don’t fare well when struck by an 18-wheel truck. 

Which is the greater good?  It depends on your definition of the greater good.  Which is, must be, subjective.  Big, heavy cars are safe.  Light, little cars have good fuel economy.  Some people so hate the internal combustion engine that a rise in highway fatalities is acceptable to them.  Others would rather give up a few MPGs for a safer car for their family.  These people aren’t likely to agree.  They’re probably not all that willing to compromise either.  For, unlike the lunch group, there’s no real motivation to get along with each other.

Now multiply this by thousands of other issues.  More arts funding.  A stronger military.  Stem cell research.  Lower taxes.  The Decriminalization of drugs.  Better border security.  Abortion.  AIDS research.  High-speed rail.  Etc.  Each of these has strong proponents.  And hefty price tags.  Or provoke bitter social/moral/ethical debate.  Can we agree which of these is the greater good?  Ask 10 of your family, friends and coworkers and find out.

SHARED SACRIFICE

Getting people to agree that we should do what’s best for the common good is easy.  Getting those same people to agree on exactly what that common good is, well, is impossible.  We’re too many people with too many diverse interests.  I know what’s best for me.  But how does my neighbor know what’s best for me?  And how do I know what’s best for him?  We can’t.  And the more we try the more we must settle for something less. 

When we start deciding for others, some will have to sacrifice for the greater good.  But that’s okay.  Because everyone is for ‘shared’ sacrifice.  If it’s for the common good.  As long someone else’s share of sacrifice is bigger than yours, that is.

www.PITHOCRATES.com

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