James Leroy Wilson's blog

Monday, January 16, 2006

Monday, January 16, 2006

Happy Martin Luther King Day, federal workers and school children!

Does MLK deserve a holiday in his honor? Of course. Heck, we all do. This is one less day Congress is in session, and one less day that public school kids have to go to their day-prisons. The more holidays, the better! True, we wouldn't get mail, but that service should be privatised anyway.

One thing I never could understand about King, and it's true to this day with leftist, big government Christians, is the twin commitments to a)non-violence, and b) more laws, which are enforced through the threat and use of violence. Mike Tuggle nails it:
To reengineer society along the lines of Martin Luther King's grandiose vision, government must take control of every aspect of society, and make every individual subservient to that vision. Every person, every organization, and every thought must be regimented ... How much of a leap is it from the creeping proliferation of "speech codes" and "anti-hate speech", which supposedly trump our right to freedom of thought and speech, to the PATRIOT Act's “sneak and peek” warrants, its authorization to release library records to the government, and its gag orders that would prevent a library from notifying its patrons of the government's interest in their reading habits?

The answer is: not much.

Tim Gillin at Stress directs us to a 1944 study on how the New Deal was catastrophic for blacks. The dilemma was working in exploitive conditions, or, thanks to federal regulations, not working at all. At the risk of sounding like a vulgar libertarian, I agree with Gillin: "The reality is that the truly heartless position is held by those who kick out the bottom rungs on the ladder whilst loudly proclaiming their social conscience."

Vache Folle has done a valuable service for Bush critics everywhere, by writing of the Clinton Invocation Fallacy:
If I criticize the government, it does not mean that I endorse some other administration. The “Clinton was worse” or “Clinton did the same thing” arguments are stupid. My rule (St George’s Law, if you will): If you bring up Clinton when the discussion is not remotely about him, you are deemed to be a moron and to have lost the argument.

Folle's insight is timely, as my piece at The Partial Observer this Thursday will be "Why I Hate Bush." The problem is, I've only come up with 62 reasons so far, and I know I'm forgetting some big and important things. I guess I'll just have to take my lumps when it appears.

B.W. Richardson has stumbled on an amazing time capsule. It almost makes me want to go down to the public library and read old magazines.

I regret missing the John Stossel special on America's schools. I just forgot about it. I doubt I would have learned anything I don't know already, but that's not the point. It just feels good to watch and listen to people I agree with.

While I don't know Blair Warren's political opinions (though I have my suspicions), I like what he has to say:
Wisdom, intelligence, “book smarts” is not enough. To be effective in the world one must be street smart as well. But street smarts aren’t taught through organizations. Why? Because they do not support organizations. They support the individual.

Much of the pre-packaged wisdom you encounter is designed to make you dependent upon something outside yourself. God, the church, an expert, a consultant, a partner, a parent, you name it. Street smarts support the survival of the individual and there is nothing more worthless to most social institutions than a strong, competent individual. Sheep. Lemmings. Followers. These are the assets of society.

Later on in the post, Warren writes:
Not long ago, my wife and I were babysitting our eighteen-month-old nephew. We were having a grand time, sprawled out on the floor, laughing, playing and eating baby crackers. When our nephew finished his crackers he went to the box to get more. We told him, “No more crackers.” But it was too late. He pulled a handful from the box and then realized he was in trouble. Slowly he reached back into the box to put them back, but just as we were about to turn our heads away he pulled the crackers back out of the box and hid them behind his back.

He was trying to trick us! We couldn’t believe it. This sweet little baby was sneaky enough to realize that if he could trick us, that he could get what he wanted. And what’s worse, he tried to pull it off!

Now when an adult does this, we say he lacks moral character or is untrustworthy. Of course, when a baby does it, he’s cute.

In reality, however, it is simply our nature. My nephew’s behavior was not a “weakness of moral character” or an “intentional act of defiance” on his part. Hell, he won’t even know what these terms mean until some “well meaning” adult drills them into his head. No, his behavior was instinctual, much like animals in the wild who live and die by deception. This being the case, do you really think we can “teach” instincts like this out of human behavior or do you think we just might encourage each other to develop more effective methods of covering them up?

It makes me think: no wonder societies - all societies - are "shallow" and "hypocritical." That's inevitable when we suppress our instincts. Which isn't to say that such suppression is always or even mostly wrong. Only to say that we can't fight or change human nature; the best we can do is understand it better.


  1. I reckon that King's vision could only be enacted without force. I have a dream of the kingdom of God on Earth, but it can't be achieved by force any more than King's can.

  2. John Newman12:00 PM PST

    The problem I saw with Vache's Fallacy was that he followed it up with "The Rightful President Speaks Out" which was Gore's speech on Bush and government spying. Anyone who has read Bovard's "Feeling Your Pain" on the Clinton/Gore years could only come to one conclusion about Gore and his contradictory, innaccurate speech, it was the donkey calling the burro an ass.

  3. ...if you bring up Clinton when the discussion is not remotely about him, you are deemed to be a moron and to have lost the argument.

    Picking on the elected ass of the moment is to miss what Clinton said of the economy...to paraphrase: "It's the system, stupid."

    The current ass is just a distraction from the Bigger Picture.

    There's another waiting in the wings and he doesn't see the fat lady standing next to him either.