Monday, March 5, 2012

Observations From the Back Row

By Rich Kozlovich

I think everyone will find this first article to be a fascinating. One of the great things about being an autodidact is that you learn how to think, not what to think. The downturn to being an autodidact is that you can only be exposed to new frontiers as you stumble upon them. As an example; I never heard of a logical fallacy until I read a book by Thomas Sowell on economics wherein he states that he was only going to focus on three logical fallacies. Only three logical fallacies? I thought, what is a logical fallacy and just how many logical fallacies are there and what are they? There are a lot of them and I have spent an inordinate amout of time reading and studying them. Some are, in my opinion, beyond comprehension, even to the originators. However, this was one of the most worthwhile endeavors I have undertaken.

You know that commercial showing old people saying what they want to do when they grow up; well when I grow up I think I may take a logic course.

At any rate, this extremely well known, brilliant writer, was completely unknown to me; much to my chagrin. Clearly he had much to say that was worth listening to and I missed it.

I have said, and believed for a large part of my life, that everything isn't really as complicated as it all appears.

Rule number 6- Problem solving is about “the basics”. “See things in their simplest possible terms. Focus on the root of the problem. All problems are simple and have simple solutions. It’s the ancillary problems that keep getting attached to the primary problem that make it seem complicated. Destroy the basic root problem and the tree dies. The ancillary problems fall to the ground and take root as separate problems, which can then be easily overcome. Don’t let your ego get in the way of the mission. Leave your personal problems out of it.”

All human activities have foundational justifications and if we can understand ‘the basics’ everything else will fall into place. However....even if we are willing to come to "understanding'; it still takes effort and courage to stand up and be counted.

Rule Number 163. - "Life is all about tides. There are those who catch the tide and those who row against the tide. Those rowing against the tide will always go in that direction no matter which way the tide is moving. The rest have no direction and will simply follow the tide. Those who row against the tide are in better shape than those who go with the tide. Not only physically, but intellectually, emotionally and psychologically. When the tide changes direction, and it will, guess who will be in the lead?"

This man's work proves it.  The parts I have reproduced here are hardly adequate to explain what he is saying. I merely hope to tickle your interest. Please read the entire article.

James Q. Wilson, 1931-2012, R.I.P.
One of the more puzzling paradoxes of the current economic downturn is that crime rates have continued to fall, reaching a 40-year low in 2010, even as the economy has been mired in an extended recession……So what explains the continued drop in crime?...... Thus, a building with a broken window that is not repaired will soon have all of its windows broken……. “Broken windows,” as it came to be known, was not simply an academic theory…..The key lesson was that by tolerating minor crimes – graffiti, littering, turnstile jumping in subways, aggressive panhandling –cities invited more violent crimes. Wilson understood that to understand politics one first had to understand the culture from which it emerged and the character and values of the people who made up that culture……Wilson’s [expressed] exasperation that Americans lacked the language, though not the interest, to discuss….issues openly and intelligently. Even as the country has become more secular, it has remained fixated with questions of morality and values… rather than defining and defending moral values, Americans retreated from the discussion, falling back on a default relativism that refused to distinguish between good and bad, right and wrong, virtue and evil.

Wilson….. upbraided people for refusing to pass moral judgment and for claiming that there was no moral standard by which to measure their society or others….[he] scolded [that] people “would oppose infanticide only if it involved their own child. This is sometimes called tolerance. I think a better name would be brutality.”

Oxford’s Nazi Scientists
In my teenage years, I was a devout fan of science fiction… I don’t know how many science-fiction novels and stories I devoured during that time….. But there was…. no story that had a more powerful impact on me than...“The Pre-Persons,” which I read.. in October 1974, the month I turned eighteen. The story takes place in a time in the near future when abortion is not only legal, but has been redefined in such a way that parents may “abort” their children up until age twelve. The opening image has stayed with me ever since: a boy who is out playing in the park sees the “abortion truck” heading for some home in his neighborhood and, fearing it is coming for him, sequesters himself in some bushes until he realizes, to his relief, that the “abortion” victim in question is someone other than himself… was making a slippery-slope argument about abortion: if it’s acceptable to kill a fetus, why not a newborn? If not a newborn, why not a child of two, or four, or eight, or ten? Where to draw the line?.....[this]..enraged..fellow science-fiction writer Joanna Russ. ….“The Pre-Persons” caused him to incur “the absolute hate of Joanna Russ who wrote me the nastiest letter I’ve ever received; at one point she said she usually offered to beat up people (she didn’t use the word ‘people’) who expressed opinions such as this.”....

Editor's Note: I was recently asked by Mary Grabar to join her LinkedIn network. Usually I always look at their information because on most occasions I don't have a clue who they are. They all seem to be very interesting people with very interesting careers. I always accept their invitations, though I often wonder...why do they want to know me?

So I naturally assume it is because they have heard of my work on Paradigms and Demographics and are impressed! Right? Makes sense to me! Can anyone think of any other reason? Of course not! However, just in case they accidently failed to tune in one day I send all of them a monthly alert to remind them all to read this month’s offerings. Even though I rarely hear back from them; I have no doubt they are very appreciative.

Mary, it turns out, was a special case. I went to see who she was and found out that she writes worthwhile articles. I will be linking Mary's work from time to time. Here are her two latest pieces. RK

Georgia State "Teach-In" for Lobbying
By Mary Grabar.

On February 4, 2012, I attended a “Teach-In on Tucson,” at Georgia State University College of Education, which was advertised as being free and open to the public. Dean Randy Kamphaus welcomed 170 participants. According to the College of Education’s website, the purpose of the Teach-In was to “facilitate discussion of curriculum and censorship.” But the discussion focused specifically on lobbying against legislation in the Georgia General Assembly. The event was attended by professors, teachers, students, and professional activists.

Two-Minute Hate
By Mary Grabar

"'I don't want to be friends with someone who is a member of the tea party or is a Newt Gingrich Republican. We are not the same. I equate their political views with thoughtlessness, intolerance and narcissism.'" So begins today's Townhall column by history professor Brian Birdnow, who quotes from novelist Diana Waldman in the Los Angeles Times. Read it here. It's difficult to tell entirely what happened at this little social function (we after all do not get an op-ed by a Tea Party member in the Los Angeles Times!), but apparently an interracial couple involved in the Tea Party is not evidence enough to California liberals that the Tea Party is not racist.

Putin For Life?
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin coasted to a third presidential term in elections held on Sunday amid widespread accusations of voter fraud. He previously served two terms as president from 2000 to 2008 but was barred by law from seeking a third consecutive term. Incumbent President Dmitry Medvedev is already slated to serve as prime minister — a deal made with Putin during last year’s United Russia party congress.

My TakeThis is a cultural problem that can only be solved with great effort followed by terrible tragedy. There will be a lot of blood lost before this is over. The Russians want the same kind of freedoms that exist in the U.S. That is perfectly understandable....however at this point; can’t happen! The United States is totally unique in the history of the world. It was built from the bottom up. It was created by the states to serve the needs of the states in union. Individualism is the very foundation of Americanism based on the absolute right of private ownership of the land and anything else people chose to purchase…but primarily on the right of private property, although this has been under serious attack in the U.S. since 1972 with the beginning of all the environmental regulations and then the infamous Kelo decision by SCOTUS. That must be overturned.

The rule of law is based in the idea of the right of ownership. Otherwise …who needs laws? It is clear the Russians don’t have a rule of law society. Why? Because, as I understand it; there is no right to own private property. My understanding is that the government still owns all the land in the country. If that is true then that must be the first thing to change. Everything else will then begin to fall into place. Until then…does it really matter which thug is running everything?

Split Court Decision for Michael Mann in Global Warming Legal Battle
Virginia Supreme Court renders a verdict that permits continued suppression of evidence in the Michael Mann ‘hockey stick’ graph controversy – but only just. One dissenting judge scuppers the climatologist’s hopes of yet another global warming whitewash and skeptics remain upbeat…..

Focus Shifts Inexorably to Canada Court Case - So while we may rue a battle victory to Mann the war goes on. If Cuccinelli fails to resurrect his case in Virginia this will mean supporters of transparency and accountability in climate science will turn their attention to events in the Supreme Court of British Columbia (Vancouver). It is there that Dr. Mann is fairing less well in his libel suit against Canada's ever-popular skeptic climatologist, Tim Ball. Dr. Ball’s legal team is correctly demanding the full disclosure of this very same hidden evidence. As Mann is the complainant - and B.C. jurisdiction provides Ball the right to motion for full disclosure - it is far trickier for Mann to hide his numbers here.

With great confidence that Ball’s jibe that Mann “belongs in the state pen, not Penn State” will be shown to be accurate, some of us have literally bet the farm that Mann will lose. Thus mishaps in Virginia won’t necessarily delay Mann’s ultimate downfall. So please donate to Tim Ball’s legal fund today.

Giant Jurassic Fleas Packed a Mean Mouth
Scientists have discovered the world’s oldest fleas to date — bloodsuckers that lived among (and possibly on) dinosaurs.

Anti-Bullying Entrepreneurs on the Job After School Shooting
Their "solutions" may be adding to the problem. No sooner had the school shooting in Chardon, Ohio, occurred than producers started dialing up P.R. people working for a number of anti-bullying entrepreneurs. Joining together, they presented, as early as that evening’s news, the narrative that began with the 1999 Columbine shooting, which was then applied to the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting and other similar incidents: the shooter was a victim of bullying.

The Real Point of the Left’s Uproar over Limbaugh
Rush Limbaugh has got the progressives pitching a fit over some remarks on his radio show about a Georgetown University law student named Sandra Fluke. Fluke had made the preposterous claim, while addressing House Democrats over President Obama’s rule forcing Catholic institutions to pay for contraception, that the cost of birth control was prohibitive for Georgetown law students. Limbaugh responded by calling Fluke a “slut” and a “prostitute” who is “having so much sex, she can’t afford the contraception; she wants you and me – the taxpayers – to pay her.”….. Sexual freedom now trumps political freedom, and sexual pleasure is the honey that sweetens the bitter poison of diminished freedom. Hence the progressive’s elevation of contraception and abortion into “rights,” which puts the necessary discussion of the obvious destructive consequences of sexual promiscuity out of bounds. But these “rights” have nothing to do with “women’s health” and everything to do with the progressive government’s aim of consolidating and increasing its power at the expense of other authorities, like churches, that might have something to say about the personally and socially destructive price of those “rights.” That’s the real significance of the uproar Rush Limbaugh caused: not his crudity or insensitivity, but calling attention to the centrality of sexual libertinism to the progressive agenda of increasing government power at the expense of individual freedom.


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