Sunday, February 10, 2008

b.a.d enlightenment

Upside down cake is misnamed - at least in the northern hemisphere. All those globes and solar system models which show the northern hemisphere on top are wrong. You may think I mean that both sides are equally top or bottom, but no. The proof is that Australians good naturedly refer to themselves as living 'down under', and they would be more sensitive about this assumption if they didn't know the truth.

What we call an 'upside down cake' is in fact right side up, with a plate on top of it, a table on top of that, and the planet Earth balanced atop the stack.

This may seem a rather odd way of looking at things, but the aftermath of blogroll amnesty day has started me thinking strange thoughts. None of the very biggest liberal blogs linked to it - but Instapundit did. This started me googling - did Glenn Reynolds ever purge conservatives from his blogroll? I rediscovered something I might have noticed last year. Glenn links to Skippy. He does have liberals on his blogroll - and I can't find any references to his dropping old friends either.

I'm adding Instapundit back to my blogroll. I remember being annoyed the way he referred to Drudge as a legitimate news source - and constantly complained about the New York Times. Well, OK, I guess none of my favorite liberal blogs are perfect either - and I do read him.

I was pleased to discover I bookmarked this post from A Layman's Point of View - it lodged in my mind, but I never posted about it. I'm not convinced, but it provides a starting point to get inside the heads of those we wish to persuade:

Me: (reaching the truck with the next box, I put it in the truck and looked at him, breathing hard) You're a Democrat, right? "Progressive," liberal, support Bill Clinton, hated Reagan, right?

Student: Yes, that's right, how did you know?

Me: A Republican would have offered to carry a box!

The student left without asking any questions.

Lesson 2: Liberals don't practice what they preach, like REALLY helping others. They'll watch you carry the box, even tell you HOW to do it, but won't really lift a finger to help.

I've often wished that conservatives would stop a second to think. If they can't trust W. to nominate conservative justices, is it even possible he made so managerial mistakes presiding over the administration of the rebuilding of Iraq? Does anyone miss Rummy's brilliance - and if not, did they all get carried away defending him? If they think Bush is soft on illegal aliens because he wants to keep salaries low for big businesses - is it even possible this compassion for big businesses has influenced his tax policies?

So I will be the change I would like to see in the world. Let me stop and think a second.

Can it be that we are really less compassionate than conservatives? I've seen conflicting studies - do you count donations to a church if most of the money is spent on services attended by the donators, and the facilities and programs used by them? How about if some churches do a lot to help the poor?

At times like this I'm reminded that if we're not less caring, we are not necessarily much more so. When we look back at ancient Rome or the British empire, we don't see good guys and bad guys. From our present perspective all the politicians and parties had much more in common than they knew.

Does it matter? I think perhaps it does. Words transmit more than logical arguments. Emotions and who you are come in as well. The pacifism of Ghandi and MLK came through with their character - men who went to jail and risked much worse standing up for what they believed in. A rich kid who could count on someone else doing his fighting is something else. It is too easy being anti-war merely because we personally don't like fighting - when we enjoy comfortable lives because we are protected by policemen.

Does this make the war in Iraq a prudent idea, well executed? Of course not. But think of all the rage we hear on the left at times, spit at people who might possibly do horrible things when placed in imposible positions, but who do many heroic things as well.

At the very least, we must do what we would have our countrymen do. Let us understand why they hate us - yes, why so many on the right hate us so fervently, even many of those who are decent people otherwise. There is a parallel here, if we have eyes to see it. There were many who believed a few years ago that once we showed the sleeping giant had been woken, that we had the will as well as the ability to use our enormous military power, the world would treat us with much more respect. And there are many who believe if we are angry enough and loud enough, the things we consider obviously true will abruptly be clear to our opponents as well. Let's remove the beam from our own eye before we try to remove the lumberyard (yes lumberyard, I'm a liberal, I still think they're crazier than we are) from anyone elses.


Avedon said...

I think Republicans may actually give more to specific charities - at least, the kind they approve of - but they don't want to pay taxes, even though giving through taxes buys more.

Like, I couldn't afford private American-style healthcare on my income, but I pay for the NHS, and everybody has healthcare - and it's cheaper than private insurance would be.

I'd have to know who you are and what the boxes are before I could offer an opinion on the boxes, but everyone I hang out with would pitch in to help a friend, or even some strangers. Then again, I suppose most of them regard themselves as "socialists" rather than "progressives".

Tor Hershman said...

As moi oft times has cause to remark - "American conservatives use the 1000 degree napalm whilst the American liberals use the 999.9 degree napalm."

[NOTE: The term "American" is interchangeable with "Empire (and Empire wannabe) Resident"]

BTW: The Earth's magnetic north pole is REALLY a south pole and versa visa.

Stay on groovin' safari,

David said...

If I actually helped a stranger move might depend, but I certainly wouldn't pester a busy stranger with questions.

Good point, I'll make a small edit, I meant we should listen to our opponents and stop to think, but not actually to agree a Repub would be more likely to help a stranger move. Even if the latter were true, who would be more likely to get into a fight with a stranger if slightly provoked?

Anonymous said...

I got all excited when I saw you write "I was pleased to discover I bookmarked this post from A Layman's Point of View "

I was wondering if his point of view was different from mine!

A Layman's Point of View said...


While we obviously have differing points of view on some things, I'm grateful you found my posting "How To Spot A Liberal" a useful starting point for discussion at your blog. What higher praise can a writer receive than to know his words have people thinking and talking!

I thought your posting was well written and I enjoyed reading the comments. I'll be stopping back and hope you'll revisit my page from time to time, as well.

Be well!

Frank - from A Layman's POV