Changing Times

Friday, August 9, AD 2013



People who live in times of the collapse of an old order and the rise of a new, sometimes can see it clearly and sometimes they can’t.  I am convinced that we are on the cusp of a period of rapid change in our country, largely driven by the fiscal debacle.  If most of the media were not bitter partisans of the old order, I think more people would see it.  Ed Driscoll nails it in a conclusion to a brilliant column:

Between Detroit’s bankruptcy, the multiple bankruptcies in California, the acquisitions of Newsweek, the Boston Globe and most famously the Washington Post at fire sale prices, the media inventing racism-driven stories out of whole cloth, leftwing sexual predators and misogynists either running for office or already in office in major cities on both coasts, and a gaffeprone president trying desperately to implement his agenda piecemeal through executive orders, we may very well be witnessing the wholesale collapse of the large portions of the century-old “Progressive” model. But because old media has so much invested in that model, they’re far too close to see anything approaching the big picture, and would be far too scared to admit what they’re seeing to their readers, even if they could. Too bad, as Matt Welch wrote last year at Reason, that history is written by the losers.

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6 Responses to Changing Times

  • I know in this post you are relating change mostly to economics; whether you see economics the bottom line of culture or culture the base for economics I don’t know.

    The title of the post says, along with Bob Dylan, the times are changing:

    Come writers and critics
    Who prophesize with your pen. Keep your eyes wide
    The chance won’t come again

    Come senators, Congressmen
    Please heed the call Don’t block at the doorway
    Don’t block up the hall

    For he that gets hurt
    Will be he who has stalled. There’s a battle outside
    And it’s ragin’

  • Why are we taught by conservatives of the merit of private enterprise and that unlike government picking winners and losers, a business will do what is efficent and productive and what delivers a quality product for the consumer, but for some odd reason the private corporations that run “the media” are the sole exception to this economic truth?

  • Because you fundamentally misunderstand the conservative position Kurt. Conservatives do not deny that individual businesses frequently make bad decisions. That is why we have bankruptcies and going out of business sales. However, we also understand that government running businesses is almost always a disaster in addition to having the government wielding economic might for purely political ends which is always a threat to freedom. In regard to mainstream media, their lack of success in the current market is self-evident.

  • Don,

    But the mainstream media has been accused of liberal bias long before its recent troubles (which many business journals blame on the rise of the internet). Barry Goldwater talked about the liberal media in 1964. Why didn’t its financial woes start long ago if it was making decisions based on politics rather than good business practices?

  • Because they were the only game in town Kurt. When Uncle Walt, to the deep disgust of my union member father, said “That’s the way it is.” at the end of his broadcasts, our tv could get in a total of two stations. Technology has broken the monopoly that the mainstream media used to enjoy. The hilarious thing is they still act as if they enjoy that monopoly, which has hastened their march into the dustbin of history.

  • Kurt;
    Conservatives that I know do not think private enterprise can pick the winners and loser or that a business will always do what is efficient and productive. They think the individual business may or may not be productive and efficient and it is the Free Market that will determine the winners and losers. The Free Market will determine the most efficient and productive businesses. The Free Market is just us, individually, buying products that meet our needs at the least cost to us (individually) – this is the Theory of the Invisible Hand proposed by Adam Smith. In macro-economic terms the market will efficiently move capital, labor, and land into the most productive endeavors. But on the micro-economic level there will be inefficiency in the market – too many laborers within one sector of the market which will drive down wages in that sector whereas in another there is not enough laborers so wages will increase and it will cause laborers to move from one sector to the other in search of higher wages. I will limit myself to three issues with government directing who will be winners and losers. Government has not been proven better at picking winners and losers than the collective “us” acting individually in our best interests as demonstrated by history (socialism or communism). If government picks the winners and losers then we as individual lose choices and as such we lose freedom. Government tends to be inefficient and not as productive as individuals and businesses acting in there own interests because of special interest groups influence.

    Kurt, it appears that either you are mixing up terms and definitions or do not understand the terms. I hope the above helps. You need not agree with it, I am just explaining the theory (the best I can).

    God be with you!

Mark Shea's 'Change' He Can Believe In

Wednesday, January 28, AD 2009


Apparently Mark Shea, one of the Catholic Blogosphere’s sage’s, has gotten caught up in all the hoopla surrounding President Obama’s ascension inauguration.  He has succumbed to change.  After six years and eight months of staying faithful to what I believe to be the Sand Dollar template that Blogger offers, Mr. Mark Shea decided to change, in the spirit of bipartisanship, the template he uses for his blog (Catholic and Enjoying It!) from Sand Dollar to Minima Lefty.

Mark Shea, a proficient blogger, writer, and apologist.  An insightful and sometimes provocative Catholic with his interminable style of debating has shocked, shocked I tell you, the Catholic blogosphere with this switch to Minima Lefty!  In one bold stroke Mark Shea has decided to thumb his nose in the face of traditionalists.

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11 Responses to Mark Shea's 'Change' He Can Believe In

  • Sad but true.
    So is the the Mark of Scripture, or the Shea of history?

    This could be debated in the bolgosphere fo eternity. 😉

  • Good to see you my favorite New Zealander!

  • Yeah. How ya doing.

  • Walter I left a question for you over at unreasonable faith, I am curious as to what you may say. Thank you

  • I capitulated to all the people who have been demanding I enter the New Millennium with a blog that actually cooperated with RSS feeds and such. Every ten years I try to catch up.

  • Mark,

    That makes a lot of sense. I remember asking a silly question on how to create a link to a post of yours. I’m sure you’ll have less of those questions with this particular template allowing for such things (among other questions).

    I remember finally purchasing a cell phone. Yeah I caught up. Now I’m reconsidering and thinking of getting a land-line again and chucking my cell phone.

    The simple life is very relaxing.

  • Hi Don.

    Happy to be here 🙂

  • At least Bugs stays. And welcome to our NZ Peep Don To The K. Some Pacific warmth in these cold Americano days.

  • Phillip 😆

    Well, that’s the mentality of crims, isn’t it?

    I’ve gotta say, we do get some doozies here.
    But the latest wasn’t too funny – young hard working man was accidently shot by police who were actually aiming for a “P” (pure methamphetamine) crazed idiot who had stolen 4 cars, crashed them, and was taking pot shots at pursuing police with a .22 sawn off, and at the time was about to shoot a driver of a small truck after he had pranged his last car – that’s when the cops shot at him -the young man was behind, and in the line of fire – very sad.

    But we are an environmentally friendly, safe, and people freindly country – right? Just ask the Dutch Govt. after a Dutch tourist was raped in a remote tourist caravan park. Keep to the towns.

    So much for my little rant.

    But great to be here 🙂

  • Don, in my criminal defense work I often have to strain to keep a straight face in court. Criminals are rarely masterminds. Often their explanation to me is that they were drunk or on drugs. My stock response: “Good! I would hate to think you would do such a stupid thing stone cold sober!”

Measured Rhetoric Is More Effective

Friday, October 24, AD 2008

A good part of what I was trying to say in my Socialist post the other day concerned the relationship between precision in political rhetoric and its ability to persuade; in short, I think that “toned-down” rhetoric is more likely to convince an interlocutor (let alone an observer)  of at least the plausibilty of one’s position than is the “speaking truth to power” approach.

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22 Responses to Measured Rhetoric Is More Effective

  • Just so.

    I suppose it’s just an intellectual twitch of mine, but whenever I hear that someone is a person who “speaks truth to power”, I have the strong urge to walk rapidly in the opposite direction. I’m not sure I’ve ever heard anything worth hearing given that moniker.

    Much though I don’t want to see an Obama presidency, and eager as I will be to keep it to four years if it happens, I hope that the general conservative movement can hold itself back from an “Obama derangement syndrome” which is equivalent to the Clinton and Bush varieties suffered by the two respective parties. Aside from being unattractive, such obsessions make it harder to understand one’s opponent, and thus defeat him.

  • I hope that the general conservative movement can hold itself back from an “Obama derangement syndrome” which is equivalent to the Clinton and Bush varieties suffered by the two respective parties.

    Ditto. We can certainly push back against the administration, but I really don’t want to walk into Borders and see entire tables dedicated to books detailing the evils of the Obama administration written by unhinged conservatives or disenchanted leftists.

  • I really don’t want to walk into Borders and see entire tables dedicated to books detailing the evils of the Obama administration written by unhinged conservatives …”

    You’d never see that even if such books existed by the truckload. They’d be neatly hidden away outside of public view. That is, if Borders bothered to stock them at all.


  • Jay:

    Good point. But hopefully we won’t be seeing too much of that kind of stuff either way.

  • On this issue of measured rhetoric, why is it that there has been little (or no) measured critique of the Bush Administration by Senator McCain? It seems that he could have critiqued President Bush’s bloating of the federal government and budget in a decidedly un-conservative way.

    Or did he make those critiques and I missed them (likely story).

  • “Or did he make those critiques and I missed them (likely story).”

    There was little that the Bush administration did domestically that McCain did not attack at one time or another.

    Here is a link to a newspaper story from May 22, 2004 in which McCain attacked the budget of the Bush administration.

    “Yesterday the budget hold-up drew fierce criticism of the Senate rebels by Republican leaders in the House of Representatives. But John McCain, the Arizona senator and one of the four, angrily shot back, accusing “some of those in our party” of abandoning the commitment of “real Republicans” to fiscal responsibility.”

  • Thank you Donald. I guess I mean to ask why this didn’t/doesn’t seem to be a prominent part of McCain’s campaign.

  • I don’t think McCain has done a very good job of that — partly, I imagine, because he doesn’t want to offend the 25% of voters (pretty much all Republicans I assume) who still say they approve of Bush’s performance. In that sense, someone with more conservative credentials would have probably been able to campaign better than McCain, criticizing Bush from the Right.

  • “I guess I mean to ask why this didn’t/doesn’t seem to be a prominent part of McCain’s campaign.”

    Good question Father. McCain is a true maverick and campaigns in the way he wishes to campaign whether it makes sense to others or not. Not stressing this difference with Bush doesn’t make much sense to me, since the Republican base is always in favor of the government spending less.

    One decision McCain made was to save most of his advertising money until the last two weeks. This gave Obama a four to one, in some states an eight to one advantage. Now they are making huge ad buys and Obama’s ad avantage is now down to 5-4 nationally. A very risky tactic, and we shall see how it works for McCain. I can understand why he did this however. If you can’t match your opponent dollar for dollar, do it when you know the voters will be paying attention.

  • So I’m supposed to pretend I think Obama means well when really I know better?

    I’ll just stick with the truth, thanks.

  • Steve, how is this any different than people say that Bush lied us into Iraq, because, well, they just *know* that he intentionally deceived us? There is *no way* I’d ever vote for Obama, but I don’t need to employ overblown rhetoric to make my case… as DC noted at the top, the whole “speaking truth to power approach” invariably turns people off. So if our goal is to actually *convince* people of the truth and rightness of our position, we ought to employ an approach which makes that more likely, not less.

  • Agreed, Chris. Measured rhetoric is more persuasive. Given that persuasion is a prerequisite for the maintaining of laws and policies in a democratic society, I’d say persuasive rhetoric should be the rule. Moreover, cases against Obama’s policies will better persuade if they are not undermined by hyperbolic or demeaning rhetoric.

  • Measured rhetoric seems to me the most optimum pathway towards bringing others into your own camp. It’s like a girl getting hit on at a bar, her defenses are up because she knows the environment she’s in. But at a grocery store she would be as aware of men’s advances.

    Yes I know the analogy is pretty simple, but it does state the case very well.

    What do they say? You’ll attract more with honey than with vinegar.

  • I don’t mean to be a jerk–seriously I don’t. But Obama wants to re-legalize a procedure of delivering babies up to their head, stabbing them in the back of the skull and sucking out their brains. That’s not overblown rhetoric; it’s the truth. It’s not hyperbolic; it’s an apt description.

    So what is the “measured rhetoric” for this? I guess it would be “choice”?? The culture of death already has the upper hand in a lot of ways, and now we’re willing to play on their home field by using their lexicon to define terms of debate?

    I think we run the risk of sanitizing some dramatically anti-human, anti-Christian ideologies–and in doing so, blind ourselves and our neighbors to the dangers of electing radicals like Obama.

  • It’s not hyperbolic; it’s an apt description. So what is the “measured rhetoric” for this?

    Steve, I agree with you: that is an apt description. No, “choice” is *not*, because it isn’t a description at all. But I’m not talking about how to describe the process of PBA or infanticide… I’m talking about this: how can we persuade people that PBA needs to be outlawed? What is the most effective way to convince them? Just as a matter of psychology, I don’t think calling them “baby killer” is likely to work. I can assure you, I’ve had the experience of employing language that is stark and explicit, and it inevitably fails as a matter of persuasion.

  • And I know you aren’t trying to be a jerk, Steve. 🙂

  • Definately not a jerk. The question needed to be asked. 🙂

  • -It’s like a girl getting hit on at a bar, her defenses are up because she knows the environment she’s in. But at a grocery store she would be as aware of men’s advances.-

    Man. Does this work? I’ve been married eleven years and now it’s too late to try it. Rats!

  • Well, thanks for the assumption of good faith, but when I re-read my first post in this thread, even I thought I was a jerk.

    Now, I do believe that persuasion can be greatly effective in certain circumstances. If you are debating the best way to create jobs or save social security, or any number of things, I think it is an effective tool.
    That said, I appreciate, and generally agree with your point. What troubles me, however, is that Obama’s words, associations, and voting record suggest to me that he does in fact have a radical leftist ideology.

    Now, how do you use measured rhetoric to combat this?

    Using the PBA example, if someone knows about PBA, how can we convince someone that it’s wrong? Isn’t it self-evident?

  • Steve:

    You raise a good question. I think we can be forceful without becoming unhinged. Just look at Egan’s wonderful article today. It was blunt, and even shocking to a degree, but he maintained an even tone that simply laid all the facts on the table. I think he gave us an example to be followed.

  • And I assumed most people know what article I am referencing, but if not, here it is.

  • Rob,

    Oh, it totally works. But all is not lost: You can always try hitting on your own wife while you’re at the grocery store together.