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Wednesday, March 01, 2006
In my blog travels I have discussed many issues with many people. One thing I do not understand within these discussions is the use of profane expletives in written form. I understand that when one is verbally speaking that the use of profanity is often habit or a part of one's cultural upbringing, but I cannot for the life of me understand one's use of it in a written format. Everything I write, every word choice is a conscious decision, and if this is the case for all, then I find it difficult to understand the kind of mind who would conscientiously choose course or offensive words to express what they mean. Here are some examples of communications I have received or witnessed on 'blogs: ****WARNING. THE FOLLOWING CONTAINS OFFENSIVE LANGUAGE. PLEASE DO NOT READ IF OFFENDED BY SUCH*** "Jack, you are so full of shit on this one I can't fucking believe it." "Jack, you fucking liar" "you and your emoticon smiley faces can fuck off." "Gee, thanks for all your "less government" bullshit, you fucking conservative hypocrites." "You know its hard for me to even get that pissed at Bush anymore, his fucked-up deal was there for all to see and 50 some million of my countrymen still voted this idiot back in. How could they be so stupid." "Condi's job at the time was National Security Advisor. It was her job to tutor the dumb fuck." Of course the examples that can be provided are endless. I personally think that the use of such during verbal communication has a lot to do with the culture in which one is raised, but the use of such in a written sense has more to do with the level of one's maturity. That is only my guess. What do you think? (EP, I'm especially looking for your input here. Thanks!) P.S. Some of the comments made above were by one individual. On the individual's blog he wanted to make sure that the whole conversation was made available (for context). Here is the entire post with the resultant comment string: Freedom is on the march, right off the cliff's edge Iraqi Government warns of 'endless civil war' "Iraq's Defence Minister warned yesterday of a "civil war" that "will never end" and said he was ready to put tanks on the streets..." That is what Bush & Cheney & their PNAC neocon vampires mean when they say "spreading democracy". They spread their "democracy" like rats spread the plague. The gravest crisis since the US invasion in 2003 threatens Washington's hopes of withdrawing its 136,000 troops from Iraq. That's the progress that Bush says we are making. "If there is a civil war in this country it will never end," Defence Minister Saadoun al-Dulaimi, a minority Sunni Muslim in the Shiite-led interim government, told a news conference. "We are ready to fill the streets with armoured vehicles." That's the gift of peace he as bestowed up on Iraq. Don't you think they'll love us for it? Don't you think they'll say, "This is wonderful, what America has done for us"? They certainly won't hold any grudges, or harbor any feelings that we have done them wrong, or become so bitter that they want to lash out at the country that has turned their nation into a theatre of carnage. Who cares as long as the oil ministry is secure, right? In an interview, Bush said, "History will judge me." In truth, history will curse him. posted by SheaNC at 1:16 AM 29 Comments: Smorgasbord said... I heard Bill Maher say the other night that Iraq was better off under Saddam. I was immediately shocked by that statement because not too many people are bold enough to say it, but it certainly got me thinking. One of his panelists noted that Saddam managed to bring stability to a previously unmanageable country. The three distinctly different ethnic groups in Iraq were never able to get along before him, and there was never a reason to believe they would get along after him. The only reason there wasn't more strife between these groups under Saddam is that he effectively said, "if anyone's going to do any killing in Iraq, it's going to be me." On top of everything else that Bush and his cheerleaders should have known, they really should have seen the enormity of this challenge. Yet another reason, of dozens, that we shouldn't have given the finger to the UN. This is a stupid, stupid, stupid war. 10:35 AM Sean said... Wow. Better off under Hussein? That certainly is a bold statement. That's like saying Italy was better off under Mussolini, Germany under Hitler, Russian under Stalin. Just because a brutal dictator enforces something that resembles peace does not mean the country is better off. Cripes. There was a lack of sectarian fighting in Iraq under Hussein, not peace. That lack of fighting only came about because Sunnis controlled the military and Hussein did not hesitate to wipe out anyone that dared challenge him. Bill Maher is an ass. As for the civil war, the current sectarian violence erupted after one of the holiest sites in Shiite Islam was destroyed. "The blueprints of that unfortunate event, the blueprints of al Qaeda in Iraq is there," al-Rubaie told CNN's "Late Edition With Wolf Blitzer." But he said, "The Iraqi people ... have shown al Qaeda in Iraq and the outside world that they will never be driven to the civil war." 2:27 PM Jack Mercer said... I agree with Shea in some aspects. I think the middle-eastern barbarians incapable of civilization, much less democracy. -Jack 2:49 PM Jack Mercer said... Smorg, There would have been those who said that Americans were better off under King George--of course many of them did, and left for Canada. Poor old Bill isn't particularly bold so much as a bit soft in the head. He needs to stick to his own quote: "A journalist is basically a chronicler, not an interpreter of events. Where else in society do you have the license to eavesdrop on so many different conversations as you have in journalism? Where else can you delve into the life of our times? I consider myself a fortunate man to have a forum for my curiosity." :) -Jack 2:58 PM SheaNC said... This post has been removed by the author. 1:05 AM SheaNC said... Jack ("I agree with Shea in some aspects. I think the middle-eastern barbarians incapable of civilization, much less democracy.") I'm not sure in which aspects you agree with me, but please do not associate my statements with an opinion like that. I'm aware of your contempt for middle-eastern people. I thoroughly disagree with your position, and more's the pity that you would perpetuate such things. 1:07 AM wolnosc said... Better off than Americans under George Bush? Jack, WHO are the barbarians? 7:42 AM Jack Mercer said... Oh, Shea, I thought that was what you were inferring! Isn't that what the left thinks about democracy in the middle east? (They have been predicting civil war, quagmires, anarchy, theocracies, etc.,etc.) "That's the gift of peace he as bestowed up on Iraq. Don't you think they'll love us for it? Don't you think they'll say, "This is wonderful, what America has done for us"? They certainly won't hold any grudges, or harbor any feelings that we have done them wrong, or become so bitter that they want to lash out at the country that has turned their nation into a theatre of carnage." Yep, those poor, ignorant, barbaric middle easterners... -Jack 9:18 AM SheaNC said... "Isn't that what the left thinks about democracy in the middle east?" - Jack, your assesments of "what the left thinks" are usually quite inaccurate, and this is no exception. Don't try to project your foul predjudices onto me. You are the one who maintains that attitude, and you can claim ownership of it. If you feel guilty about it, fine, but don't try to console yourself by pretending that I share your opinion. 9:57 AM Jack Mercer said... Ha! Shea, you crack me up. "Foul pre[d]judices" :) You sound so...godlike! I really don't understand, Shea, I just simply agreed with you and you jumped on me all self-righteous like. Here is where I got my impression of what the left believes: "We don't need another Iran- or Afghanistan-style theocracy here." Shea - Constantly Amazed 'Blog "At best, Iraq will be a fundamentalist Shiite theocracy that will quickly ally itself with neighboring Shiite Iran, and almost certainly become an enemy of the United States." Shea - Constantly Amazed 'Blog "You can't bring democracy to a country that is more comfortable with tribal culture and would rather have a Islamic theocracy" Shea - Constantly Amazed 'Blog "No matter how many times the Administration denies it, there is no question they misled the nation and led us into a quagmire in Iraq." Ted Kennedy ""[W]ithout question, we need to disarm Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal, murderous dictator, leading an oppressive regime ... He presents a particularly grievous threat because he is so consistently prone to miscalculation ... And now he is miscalculating America's response to his continued deceit and his consistent grasp for weapons of mass destruction ... So the threat of Saddam Hussein with weapons of mass destruction is real ..." Sen. John F. Kerry "It's not going to get better. They've been overly optimistic. This is a civil war where two participants are fighting with each other trying to win supremacy, and our troops are caught in between." John Murtha "Iraq is becoming a kind of Vietnam" Mike Wallace ""That is Countdown for this, the 1,012th day since the declaration of 'Mission Accomplished' in Iraq. I'm Keith Olbermann. Good night and good luck." ""The longer we stay in Iraq, the more similarities will start to develop [Vietnam], meaning essentially that we are getting more and more bogged down, taking more and more casualties, more and more heated dissension and debate in the United States." Senator Chuch Hagel Of course, I could keep on going quite long with quotes, but I think you get the picture. Shea, I was just repeating what you said. Nothing more, nothing less. Somehow it sounds different though when the sugar coating is removed, doesn't it? -Jack 11:43 AM Sean said... Personally, I think the quotes in the original post are out of context. Yes, a civil war would be a long "never-ending" battle (unless one side succeeded at genocide - can it be genocide if you wipe out people of your own race but different religious sub-group?). The quote about putting tanks in the street seems to me to be a statement that civil war will not be tolerated and anything resembling it will be swiftly and forcefully squelched (love that word). Iraq's National Security Advisor is saying there will be no civil war, the Iraqi people will resist the terrorist attempt to plunge the country into that situation. Of course, the car-bomb that just went off killing 10 and injuring 50 near a Shiite mosque isn't helping. Right now Iraq needs some strong, courageous leaders from both the Sunni and Shiite communities to start denouncing, loudly and long, the terrorists perpetrating these attacks. I hope, for the sake of the average citizen, that this unrest ends soon. It appears to be an all-out last-ditch effort to unravel a fledgling democracy. 12:54 PM Sean said... One more thing, Jack is supposed to be the voice of reason. I'm supposed to be the one getting into scraps with Shea. What gives here? :) 12:55 PM Jack Mercer said... Sean, Shea indicated that I was pretending that HE shared MY opinion. The truth of the matter was that given his own words, and much I hear from the left I was pretending that I shared HIS opinion. (confused?) Of course my friend Shea has a short memory so I am thankful he has a blog to reference his own comments. :) Sounds like a voice of reason to me. (Psst. I don't think Shea particularly likes my sense of humor. :) -Jack 1:49 PM Jack Mercer said... Shea? 9:52 PM SheaNC said... Jack, you are so full of shit on this one I can't fucking believe it. Here is what YOU said: "I think the middle-eastern barbarians incapable of civilization, much less democracy." That's what YOU said, Jack, not me. I never, ever, said anything like that, Jack. NEVER. I challenge you to find a quote of me saying that. You can't. How dare you lie about me like that. That is really low. Obviously, the original Jack Mercer is back. And don't try to assert that those quotes of mine that you found say what you accuse me of saying, because they don't. I notice you didn't use links, so that no one would know the real context. How very right-wing-misleading of you. How typically averse to the truth. How sadly dishonest of you. Take this one for example: "We don't need another Iran- or Afghanistan-style theocracy here." That was from a post in my blog where I was talking about the "intelligent design" controversy. Here's the statement in its full context: "Religion and science are two different things. To blur the distinction between them is bad for both. We don't need another Iran- or Afghanistan-style theocracy here. Teach science in school and religion in church, or in a theology class. What's wrong with that?" Jack goes on to say, "Shea, I was just repeating what you said. Nothing more, nothing less. Somehow it sounds different though when the sugar coating is removed, doesn't it?" You mean, when taken out of context to be twisted to fit your needs. You didn't repeat anything I said when you made your statement, Jack, you fucking liar. None of the quotes that you attribute to me (some may be mine and some may be from news articles I posted) in any way resemble your bigoted, hateful, demeaning, and insulting assertion that middle eastern people are "barbarians who are incapable of civilization." For you to try to justify your bigotry by trying to hammer my statements into some perverted endorsement of yours is a pretty sad attempt at self-validation. So I have a short memory, do I, Jack? Maybe so, but at least I don't post lies about you as you did in your comment about me. Take ownership of your own sorry opinions, Jack, and stop projecting. And another thing; no, I don't like your sense of humor. Not if it involves accusing me of being a bigot like you, and lying about me to do it. You think that's funny? Well, here's a little chuckle for you: next time you think about telling ugly lies about me, then you and your emoticon smiley faces can fuck off. 10:39 PM chickenhawk said... ok closed door meeting with the team. i think we all need a break. it has gotten too ugly. take a day or two, go to the nudy bar, or whatever it is that we do. my 25th birthday is in 23 days and i will not have global conflict that develops into internal strife ruin it. jack and shea, hug it out or something. sean, bite me (ok i just said that to draw attention away from jack v. shea 2k6) seriously though guys. seriously. 11:24 PM SheaNC said... Okay, chickenhawk. I defer to the voice of reason. Sorry about the mess. 12:35 AM chickenhawk said... This just isnt us thats all. No apologies necessary, we've all had our moments. 8:07 AM Jack Mercer said... Shea, I used to tell my debate team that when one is losing an argument the instinct was to attack the individual to divert attention from the argument. Sorry, you have accused me too often of everything from hypocrisy to lying so I am going to keep this one strictly oriented around the argument. "You can't bring democracy to a country that is more comfortable with tribal culture and would rather have a Islamic theocracy." Shea or Tribal (barbarians) are more comfortable with tribal culture (incapable of civilization) and would rather have Islamic theocracy(don't want democracy). Link: "At best, Iraq will be a fundamentalist Shiite theocracy that will quickly ally itself with neighboring Shiite Iran, and almost certainly become an enemy of the United States." or They are incapable of democracy, only theocracy. Link: "We don't need another Iran- or Afghanistan-style theocracy here." or I look down on those people and their choice of government. We don't want it here. Link: Shea, I know you get angry and think that if you swear and deny that validates your argument. But while we are not rocket scientist we are intelligent, thinking human beings and we can read for ourselves. Do you think that little of the people who read this blog that we can't figure these things out ourselves? Shea, the OLD Jack never left. (Yeah, I admit I was a bit salty when I first started blog hopping, but I have been here for many years on this earth, and I haven't changed a whole lot. This "Old Jack/ New Jack" stuff is getting kind of old.) I fully expect a post about "Jack, Neocon infiltrator of Liberal Blogs" (or something like that) Beware, Children, he is out to steal your minds!" Want to stick to the facts, Shea? Then please explain what exactly you meant with your statements and within your posts. You told me that my impression of the left (and you) is inaccurate. I simply put your statements down (granted, I may be MUCH less "nuanced" than you--so maybe there is some deeper or more nebulous or cosmic meaning) -Old/New, poisonous, hypocritical, full of shit, dishonest, corrupt, fucking liar, Jack :) CH, I bear no animosity toward Shea. I DO want him to be honest and discuss the issue he brought up. And, I would like clarification of what he said if he means something entirely different from what he said. It's a simple discussion and nothing worth getting upset about. One of the things that I have difficulty understanding with many on the left is that they say something which is pretty black and white (we ALL have prejudices, I just think that some are unwilling to admit them) and then deny they said it or that it means something else. Shea, I don't consider this a "mess". This is just discussion. You have said in the past that you are guided by passion and I accept that. No problem. Would just like clarification. 8:48 AM Smorgasbord said... If I may offer my two cents for quick second... Jack, there is something that you have done within this conversation string that should be avoided in true logical debates: generalization. I have heard you say several times, in fact, that "many on the left" say this or "the left" does that. While I realize you're probably not addressing specific NeoLibs most of the time, I'm sure you can understand where one might take offense. Any time someone says all X are Y, it's a signal to proceed with caution because it's bound to get the ire up of someone who considers themselves an X... 9:35 AM SheaNC said... Jack, here is your clarification: You claim that the word "tribal" is synonymous with "barbarian". It is not. That is bigotry. Tribal societies are not barbaric, nor are they uncivilized. Tribalism is a valid societal structure, no more, no less. Again I say, you are projecting your own predjudices onto my statement. Also, I never, never said that middle eastern people are "incapable" of democracy. You did. My words do not say that, nor do they even imply it. All they do is offer you the opportunity to twist my statements to suit your lie. You are claiming that I said a horrible, bigoted thing that I did not say. You are a liar. Still, trying to justify you lie, You ask, "Want to stick to the facts, Shea?" Fine. You want the facts, then scroll up the page and read what you wrote and claim that I said. You wrote it, Jack, do you deny it? It's right there (unless you delete it). It's a fact. You said it, and then you claimed that I said it, so your claim a lie. The fact that the statement is bigoted and hateful makes you not only a liar, but a malicious liar as well. Then you try to save yourself by claiming your misguided inferences are what I said in those quotes. I challenged you to find any quote where I said what you claim. You could not, as I said. You only found quotes that you could use to twist into a totally different statement. If you define a fact as taking something I said and then regurgitating it as something completely different, then you have no clue what a fact is. Your interpretations are not facts, Jack, they're just your interpretations. Your rebuttal only reinforces my statements; you claim that I said things that I did not say. You take quotes of mine, paste your own bigoted remarks in them in parenthesis, then claim that what you wrote is what I said. Then you have the nerve to say about me, "I DO want him to be honest." I have been nothing but honest throughout this entire thread, Jack. I would challenge you to prove that I have not, but then you would just offer more of your ridiculous lies. Again I say to you, Jack, that you should take responsibility for your own statements and infererences, and stop trying to claim that I said things that I did not. Your statements are yours, not mine. You are the one who referred to middle-eastern people as "barbarians who are incapable of democracy," not me. You are the one who is dishonest. And then, there is this Jack Mercer gem: "Shea, I know you get angry and think that if you swear and deny that validates your argument." That statement is ridiculous. My argument is validated by facts, which I laid out plainly for all to see. I "deny" because you lied about me, and I called you on it; I denied that I said what you claim and I am proven correct. As for the swearing, for you to claim that I swear to validate an argument is just plain stupid. I swear because that is how I talk, especially in response to someone who maliciously lies about me as well. "I bear no animosity toward Shea." Yeah, right. First you lie about me, and in your lie you imply that I am as bigoted as you, then you try to twist my quoted statements into more bigoted lies, then you make the claim that "many on the left... say something... and then deny they said it or that it means something else.", which is simply parroting my accurate assesment of your behavior in this thread. Then you claim that I am not being honest. You're a real piece of work, Jack. I stand by my statements (the ones I actually said, not the ones you made up). And I still say your behavior in this thread demonstrates that you are a liar. 9:59 AM Jack Mercer said... Smorg, I understand what you are saying, but the validity of statistical sampling is permissable in logical arguments. When I make comments, I am not necessarily referring to you, and if the shoe does not fit, then the person need not get offended--A simple, "I do not agree with that personally" is sufficient to set the record straight. Generalizations are not invalidated by exceptions either, Smorg. Something that is also a scientific concept. We must use generalizations in life or we become confused. For example, we can say "most black people have dark skin", "most of the fish population is in the sea", etc. When the bulk of people who align themselves with the left in this country identify their leadership as the Kennedy's, Moores, Deans, McDermotts, etc., then those people become spokespersons for that group. Just like Pat Robertson opening his mouth and speaking for the "right" the "left" has its spokespersons who communicate its thought and agenda. Smorg, here are some generalizations that are largely true about the left: They support gay rights, they support abortion, they support increased environmental controls, etc. Is that saying that all on the left support these? No, but the generalization remains true. When one accepts a label (liberal/left/conservative/right) then one often bears the burden of association. When I refer to myself as conservative, does that mean that I am what many refer to as conservatives in a contemporary sense? Do I identify with the "Neo Con" philosophy? No, and not necessarily--that is the reason that I articulate my position when the issue is brought up. That is also the reason I don't fit the "conservative" mold that some of you had pre-conceived. Several posts ago Shea lumped all conservatives into a particular mold and then referred to them as "f***ing conservative hypocrites". I realized this was generalization and went about in the post to clarify or submit what I thought. I was not offended by his generalization, even though the language seemed to indicate offense. Smorg, I have a great deal of respect for you and know that we can discuss both generalizations and specifics (I commented on your last post to this effect I believe). The key is not to become offended, but to respond to the allegation in a logical and ordered manner, especially if untrue. I offered backup for my generalization, which if ever requested to do so, I will do my best to provide. Regards, -Jack 10:11 AM Jack Mercer said... Shea, No offense, but my conversations with you are reminiscent of some of those I have with my young daughter. -Jack 10:24 AM Smorgasbord said... Wait! How can that not be offensive??? 10:54 AM Jack Mercer said... Smorg, no matter what I say Shea says that I'm a liar, I don't know what I'm talking about, thats not what he said, etc., etc. Like conversations with my daughter, when the discussion leaves the rationale I usually give up. Such as in this case. -Jack P.S. I love my daughter--she has a bright mind, and valid opinions, but sometimes no matter what I say the facts are immaterial. I tell her often she needs to look at going to law school. 10:58 AM Jack Mercer said... Oh, and if the truth of what I said is offensive, it was not intended. It is simply how I feel. -Jack 11:00 AM wolnosc said... OK, now that everyone had their hissy fit, can we get back to what we do best? Cripes, talk about metros. I thought some of you were on a major rag. What's the matter? Everyone's feelings hurt? Hey, how about it? I'm running out of reading material, and work all day just doesn't do it for me. 8:10 AM Jack Mercer said... Nah, WSC, this is entertainment! Would you have read this discussion string if it was the same 'ol boring stuff? ha! -Jack 8:58 AM wolnosc said... gotcha on this one, yes, I glossed over the rants between you and Shea. Let's get back on track. Entertainment? I have two puppies for that, and they're not you and Shea. 9:41 AM Post a Comment

The conversation was continued on Shea's site:

Thank you, Chickenhawk. I am sorry if any of my comments upset the others who contribute to the blog, but I am not sorry if they upset Jack Mercer, nor am I sorry for anything I said to him or the way I said it. I stand by those statements.The fact is, I refuse to tolerate insults from him, and his statement was a deliberate personal insult. He claims not to take things personally, but I suspect he was still bent out of shape from my words against him in a previous post, and he obviously took it personally and decided to do what he did. I won't rehash everything here (much), but the fact is he insulted me and lied about me, and then got upset when I pointed out what he did. It's not the first time he has insulted me - in the past he has been extremely insulting, offensive, and condescending, and if anyone has the time and inclination they can do the research into the Liberal Thought blog's archives and see for themselves.I refuse to tolerate that behavior. I grow weary of his pattern of insulting me, then trying to win me over with obsequious, patronizing compliments, then turning around and stabbing me in the back. That shit gets old, and his empty pandering compliments are just more of his bullshit. At least he has backed off on the blogwhoring.I'm sure he is busily writing something about how offended he was about my use of profanity. It will give no mention whatsoever of how he lied about me, or of his deplorable, bigoted characterization of Iraqi people.I ask you: which is more offensive, his horrible statement and subsequent lie, or me truthfully calling him a fucking liar? I'll take my profanity over his complete lack of integrity any day. As far as I am concerned, the guy is beneath contempt. He is a hypocritical asshole, and a liar.

posted by Jack Mercer @ 3/01/2006 09:46:00 AM  
  • At 3/01/2006 11:51:00 AM, Blogger chickenhawk said…

    sorry about all of this. i dont think im the author of any of those statements, but still.

  • At 3/01/2006 12:00:00 PM, Blogger Jack Mercer said…

    CH!!! NO apology from you! You are both a gentleman and a scholar.

    I am looking at it strictly from an academic viewpoint. I am working on an article based on a theory of mine (based on one of Winston Churchill's statements), and it has to do with this topic. I will make sure I give you a preview prior to publishing.

    I meant it truthfully when I said that I am not particularly offended, just that I was curious about the mind behind such. I remember the locker room talk from when I was young, and realize too that adults engage in such when speaking with one another--but I got to thinking that it was another thing to actually write it.

    What are your thoughts?


  • At 3/01/2006 11:28:00 PM, Blogger English Professor said…

    Jack, I do want to weigh in on this, but it will be next week before I can do so. Carry on in my absence. :-)

  • At 3/03/2006 12:06:00 PM, Blogger chickenhawk said…

    Hey I havent disappeared, just a little busy recently. I will do my best to have a reaction sometime this weekend. A non-profane one. Even if I disagree with you. That isnt a knock at anyone, its just gotten way tense lately. BUSH IS TEARING US ALL APART!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • At 3/04/2006 10:45:00 PM, Blogger Jack Mercer said…

    Hey CH!


    But in all seriousness, I am working on an article about a lot of what I pick up on in liberal circles. This is strictly academic on my part, CH. Also, I don't mean to sound arrogant with my assertions and observations.

    You are right. There seems to be a bubbling rage out there on the blogosphere and even on the streets. I'm not sure if it comes from many people's feelings of impotence/helplessness or what it might be. Also, I don't know how old you are, CH, but this has existed before Bush. It seems to have amplified though since 9/11. I personally don't think Bush has much to do with it--I am neither a supporter or detractor. He is one man with limited powers, and since he is human, I tend to look in my own life and wonder if I would have done any better.

    I DO have theories...

    One is, that any time there is a shift in ideological powers, society reacts. For example, when liberals are in charge, the population may react to what they do and try to stop them. (One hears much about heritage, the good 'ol days, tradition, values, etc.)

    When conservatives are in charge, society reacts by trying to put it into motion. (One hears a much about progress, movement, etc.).

    Given the current political and social climate I submit the following for your thought.

    CH, it is near impossible to move me to anger, and I know that many of my conservative friends are slow to wrath also. Many of my conservative friends are as old as I am:) I also know that I am more conservative now than when I was young. When I was young, I was brash, hotheaded, impulsive, reckless, progressive, and dare I say, liberal. As I matured, my perspective changed. Things became less black and white, I started reacting less, planning more, considering and analyzing, became more careful (stogy/conservative), deferential, risk averse, resistant to change and a lot of other things associated with "old age". I look at many who I would consider conservative and see the same characteristics. I know a few young people, even, who are amazingly mature and level headed and are almost as conservative as me. I recall you saying that you are often more conservative than many "conservatives" you know--CH, I think that has to do with your level of maturity. (Although maybe I'm not amazingly mature and level headed.:)

    My liberal friends are different (though I love them no less). Most of my liberal friends are younger, and remind me of myself when I was younger. They think similarly, react similarly, and seem to live similarly. My older liberal friends are interesting too. What I find interesting about them is that they seem to live for today, the future be damned, and there is not much in the way of planning or organization in their lives. They tend to spend what they make, live paycheck to paycheck, some go without insurances, have no savings or wealth building system, etc. Many of them are not very well to-do because of their chosen life styles or savings/investment perspective.

    Putting this into historical perspective:

    Although there was much rhetoric and posturing during the Clinton years, there was little rage and irrationality from conservatives being bandied around when liberals were in much control of the government. When Clinton was impeached for perjury, most of the Republicans who were in those proceedings were even-tempered people who usually gave consideration to what they were doing. That's not to say that they were not surrounded by a shrill, emotional and vocal opposition, and shrill and mean spirited support. Liberals during the Clinton years were largely quiet unless it came to defending Clinton of whom they iconically identified with. We never had an anti-war protest under Clinton even though he was guilty of more military actions than Bush. We heard nothing when he pushed for most favored nation status for China, creating larger trade deficits. (There are many examples) It seemed that the left was largely quiet, because they saw themselves in charge and were secure in that thought.

    Even before George W. Bush took office, the left and liberals became increasingly vocal. I have witnessed blind rage and even hatred from liberals since "conservatives" have been in power. I have witness vitriolic statements, hate speech, and even talk of murder from people who fancied themselves peaceful and tolerant. What had previously been just a mild din, increase to a cacophony of chaotic chatter. Liberals became the "kooks" they always criticized, giving in to wild conspiracy theories and fits of paranoia. Liberals began to see what they thought was their power slipping from them, and they reacted with little thought but with great EMOTION. The ones they sought out as leaders of their movements were the most vocal and emotional, and anger all of the sudden became the vogue. This is when I began to take into consideration that maybe Liberal vs. Conservative was more about aging/maturity or the thought processes associated with it, than with ideology, etc. CH, I am speaking strictly in a clinical sense--just trying to put 2 and 2 together. Of course, I can't say things like this to some, because they would react emotionally and with great offense.

    I remembered the quote attributed to Winston Churchill "If a man by 20 is not liberal he has not heart, if a man by 50 is not conservative he has no brains" (or something similar to that) and began to wonder if contemporary American liberals were just adults who have not completely matured. One expects young people to be crusaders, idealistic and out to save the world, but we old people are just tired and worn and just want to be left in peace. I observe, in a macro and generalized sense, the behavior of many who consider themselves liberal and find similarities to behavior we attribute to children. Things I noticed are: Resentment of authority, narcissism, reactionary behavior, empirical self-righteousness, empathetic cognition, displaced culpability, concrete thought, and short-term outlook. I am working to document each of these, and think I may be on to something.

    Now, CH, this is not a slight, these are observations. I have gathered a lot of data that suggests this may be so, and am seriously looking for feedback concerning my findings. If this turns out to be correct, then could it be that the heightened emotion we are experiencing in the United States is the result of liberals reacting to feelings of powerlessness? Hightened emotional content within society?

    I thought about what I said to Shea about my conversations with him reminding me of the ones I have with my young daughter. I probably shouldn't have said that, because in retrospect I could see how someone would find that offensive, but I was just fascinated by the similarities.

    CH, I have a very inquiring mind, and I look at these academically. Its not to cast dispersion, just to look at cause and effect relationships and see what makes sense.

    Ok, I am an incredibly long winded old cuss, so I'll get on to the last issue we encountered. I really didn't mean to enrage Shea, just provoke him. I think that he takes much of what I say personally. Smorg made a good point when he mentioned that people do take things personally when generalizations are made. I need to be a little more sensitive, but I tend to have gotten a bit more direct the older I get. A "lack of tact" my wife calls it. Although my statement was made for impact, it was an honest observation on my part. I have listened to the mainstream media, read many left sites and blogs, and all of them seem to echo that democracy was beyond the reach of the middle easterners. This is a common thread I see in much of what the left says. One reason I am in tune with it, is because of what we have spoken of before, that the left seems to look down on others (pity, superiority, or something) and think that they are the solution to the world's problems. They are often on crusades saving the world (I know, I was young once and had similar aspirations). I see a lot of self-righteous crusading, Kennedy, Kerry acting like they are for the common man and want to help them, but doing little or nothing personally from their swollen coffers. Does that mean that all liberals are such? No, there are many liberals out there with good hearts DOING what is in their hearts. But there are also many who are not--To me that is hypocritical.

    Ok, let's get to the part where you disagree with me. What exactly is that?

    I always appreciate your thoughtful and ordered perspective.


  • At 3/05/2006 11:18:00 AM, Blogger chickenhawk said…

    I am 24 years old, turning 25 the 23rd of this month :) The use of profanity- thats something I can touch on- one could write a book about profanity, its uses and its purposes. I sometimes get profane, maybe more than sometimes, and its more of a mechanism to emphasize my thoughts and feelings. There is just something about seeing the F word in print that catches ones attention. Of course, it is something that can always be used to attack as well. Profanity runs in my extended family, I find it to be genetic and I get it from my Mom's side- her Republican brothers- in other words I do not see it coming from one ideology more or less. Then again, there are certain types of conservatives and I know my conservative uncles arent the same type of conservative that you are. For some reason, that America should act as a policeman in the world is often a conservative philosophy.

    There was a short period of time when I was hotheaded, angry and all that. Maybe I still am, but not as reactionary- I am more analytical, pensive, then reactionary nowadays. I didnt really get into politics until I was about 21 years old- and when I read Al Franken's Lies, this changed me for good. It set me on a path to try and figure out what really is going in our world today. I started to read Ann Coulter's articles, watching Bill OReilly and Sean Hannity- sitting there and taking it all in. I paid my 8 dollars to see Michael Moore's movie, which I still cannot see the point he was trying to prove.
    I think a major problem for the conservative ideology is that, in the media, I have yet to see a solid conservative voice. Ann Coulter is not it, Rush and Sean are not it either. All the big names out there for conservative America are not it. I think the ones that may be more with it are the ones who rarely get attention in the mainstream- typically the ones you reference here. There is that John Leo, Ralph Bristol. Andrew Sullivan is another one who I can listen to, and agree with. That, in turn, leads to a lack of, and a false understanding of conservatism- I know it isnt what I hear from Fox news- that is more of a Republican apologist station. The only one I find to stray from that agenda, to an extent, is OReilly. I mean, I think he is slick and you know where he comes from, but he, for some part, attempts to engage the other side in discourse and seems to be more with it than most give him credit for. I tend to disagree with him on issues of the day but if I were to bloviate with Bill, we would come away with more agreement.

    One area where I have seen myself become more conservative is financially/economically. What you are saying is dead on- their lifestyles, their spending habits, lack of restraint- something I never had. I got out of college, began my work for a mutual fund transfer agent, learned the system, learned mutual funds, have taken courses about the industry and I have a great knowledge of it now and what it can do for people if you believe in the system, discipline yourself and get organized.
    My proudest moment (not to undermine my years of education and all my parents provided) was opening my Roth IRA in 2004. My poor old grandmother gave me AND my sister 2000$ for our college and high school graduations, respectively. It was a gift, but I took also as a test- what was I going to do with this? Now, I had family my huge family throwing money at me for finishing school, but coming from my grandmother, given all she has endured in life, it was different. I knew I couldnt put this in the bank- it would be gone before the end of summer. I invested it, and I thanked my grandmother, not so much for the money, but what it set in motion for me. Ive tried to organize myself financially- I dont save a lot, or make a lot, but Im not even two years removed from college. I used to panic and get nervous about these things, but I dont think so much short term anymore as I do long term.
    And Clinton- he is more of an icon than anything it seems. I definitely was not paying much attention during those years, but the genereal attitude seemed to be that all was well, everything was great, nothing was wrong. Clinton's blunders seemed few and far between compared to this administrations, but there had to have been blunders. I watched the Al Qaeda biography last night before I went to bed- his handling of them, for example, is a blunder. There were certain reasons for this slow reaction, but the threat they posed was not perceived. The man was no saint.
    And when the Republicans began to take control, oh was there ever outrage in the way matters were handled, and there was anger like I never thought I would see. Both sides had their roles, I wont get into that, but its amazing how childish both became in these matters. I really think the main dividing factor between the two parties is our foreign policy and how we relate to the world, and how we think we should relate to the world. The issues of the day hardly ever seem to be internal as much as having to do with foreign governments. We do not spend nearly enough time attempting to fix our problems at home as much as trying to run the world. Look at New Orleans, you were there, what have they done since the hurricane? I mean, we are dropping billions of dollars for this endeavor in Iraq, meanwhile, our own people are just sitting there living in filth.
    Now, it can be so difficult for me to disagree with people with discussions like these- this is more like a seminar right now. When it is not one specific issue (Terry Schiavo, port security, the war), but a discussion of how our society relates to one another across political ideologies, who is wrong and who is right? I dont know. Im not trying to cop out at all Jack, as much as take it all in and forumalte my opinion- something that is going on every day, constantly evolving, and will constantly evolve until I get up there in age myself. But power- that is something I can touch on- neither side likes being out of it and when they are, they may react and not reorganize. Liberals want it back bc they believe they know what is best, republicans want to keep it and will do anything they can to. When it comes to power, this is my problem with us having only a two party system- it really is suffocating us because all we ever get caught up in is red v blue, left v right. What is left and what is right though? I have a republican friend who I was talking to who indicated, "you seem to be confused politically." I said, you bet I am. I told him I am more libertarian than anything and that I have overlapping views. I am socially liberal, but not when it puts others at a disadvantage. I call myself a social liberal but do not agree with affirmative action. In a discussion we recently had, I said I sympathized with the intentions, and I do, but its not the answer. I will not ever hate someone or think they are evil for having ideas how to elevate our society, even if I disagree with them-people tend to forget what this country is about. A big problem is the people always thinking/knowing they have to pick one side over the other- imagine what a multi-party system would accomplish for the people? We may for once have accepted diversity of thought, it would require more discussion and it would have perspective.
    I see what you are saying with the left looking down on others- especially in regards to the Iraq conflict. One specific are where I disagree with you here is HOW you assume the left feels that Iraqis are inferior and incapable of democracy. I think (well, I hope) that the left says this and believes this as a result of cultural differences. Democracy, on the surface is the greatest form, because the people decide what they want. However, in our world of imperfect human beings, nothing is ever as it appears on the surface. I find that, with the Iraqis, and the different groups and the chaos within the region for so long, it is impossible to go in there and force the people to adopt a certain system. It seems so easy to us, bc its all we have ever known, but they do not know democracy or understand it. I find religion plays so prominent a role in their lives that it makes their decisions for them and has already decided. I find that different groups are unwilling to compromise their beliefs in order to form a more perfect union for everyone else over there- especially when its America forcing them to do it. I would love to see them come together, be peaceful and coexist- and NOT as the result of fear of a dictator who would murder them if they didnt.
    I just find it to be an unwinnable situation given that region's violent history and overall cultural differences. Its funny, though, how liberals or even conservatives talk about religious intolerance in our country today- I dont think we have any idea what religious intolerance is. I will say this, while its so difficult to fathom why people would not want to come together and live in peace and equality, I am in a place where I can and will- if they dont want it, I dont care. I dont agree with the way they want their government to be- but as long as they can exist without threatening their neighbors who may not think like them, Im cool. And this is why I think we need to wipe Al Qaeda off the face of the earth- because they will not peacefully coexist. Perhaps they came to be as a result of our foreign policies- but you know what, Saudi Arabia snubbed bin Laden by inviting our army to come in and resolve the crisis in the early 90s. I dont agree that we should have stayed there and occupied, but it is absolutely cowardly to hide in the shadows and murder innocent civilians who generally have no idea about how their government or their military operates. At the same time though, the left is a little too lenient on these people who have been apprehended- if there are innocents among them that is horrible, but I am willing to bet there are some evil, guilty people among them too, who deserve to be imprisoned. Bottom line, America is not always right, and I feel that constantly being involved in other countries affairs leads to more problems than solutions, especially when we really do have our own issues at home that we should worry more about- I think we have witnessed this first hand the past 20 years especially- but there is never justification for murdering innocent civilians who just wake up, go to work, are trying to provide for their families and live their lives. Ive never disagreed with going after those responsible, sometimes I disagree with HOW we did it. Even further though, I am thankful that I am not the one responsible for such decision making. Imagine the stress?

  • At 3/05/2006 02:26:00 PM, Blogger Jack Mercer said…


    I have always been impressed with your reasoning. Even moreso.

    Want to co-author? :) Maybe if we did we could figure it out together. I will say one thing, I wish I had the same degree of wisdom you exhibit when I was your age.

    CH, if you want to see what a true conservative believes, study William F. Buckley. I happen to believe that true conservatives are rarities in the United States anymore. What are called conservatives are not--they are just reactionaries. One of the things that I tend to look at is that over time we have become more liberal in society--are we better off than we were? Well, definitely we can say we are in some respects, in others not.

    I think that problem with the "left" and the "right" is that neither of them are listening to one another. Both sides have strengths and something to offer, but neither is willing to listen.

    Thanks for your comments on the profanity. I have read profanity in fiction before, and seeing it in discussions on the net was a new thing for me. I have been curious about it for some time.

    EP said that she was going to weigh in on the issue...I look forward to her comments.



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