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November 28, 2022


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I have been reading The Viking Portable Plato, with its excellent introduction by Scott Buchanan. In his introduction Buchanan stresses the purpose of the Dialogues as a way to rekindle a sense of wonder in philosophy. The gist is that there is no one side in an argument that is right, but that each side of the argument has a kernel of truth amongst the opinion. The duty of Socrates was to uncover the truth hidden in the opinion and that the Dialogues illustrate his attempt to do this.

Reading the Dialogues with this in mind helps you to view an argument from both sides. It helped me to stop seeing an argument from the exhausting perspective that you are wrong and I am right, and instead encouraged me to view an argument with a more open mind. Seeing the argument from outside these constraints is envigorating, and opens up new possibilities of communicating with someone you may disagree with.

I still read newspapers, local, Washington Post, NY Times, and others. For a fee, Apple makes all manner of magazines and a slew of local newspapers available. Granted, I really on
Y like to read the ones that I tend to agree with. I was born in Phoenix on Christmas Eve in 1949, and early on was warned by my people not to trust Republicans and I’ve kept up with that my whole life.
I haven’t lived in Arizona for many years, and I enjoy all of your rambles through the early days of Phoenix. I worked at the Arizona Republic in the Gene Pullium days. And the Lazy R&G Ranch, where there was always a birthday party for Gene.

"I was skeptical about human-caused climate change until I read Elizabeth Kolbert's seminal reporting on the subject in 2001."

You were ahead of me. It was an article by Kolbert in about 2005 that made me say "holy ****."

I know a number of people whose convictions are essentially fact-proof. If the facts suggest their view is wrong, they respond by doubting the facts. They know the answer before they consider the evidence.

I have added Kolbert to my reading list.

I spent a lot of energy throughout my "teaching" career deconstructing certitude and encouraging wonder. The need for humility in all things (science, politics, theology, interpersonal relationships, etc) is great, and finding it is our only hope of surviving the messes we've made for ourselves.

Hmm guess its cause I'm old.
My first thoughts about adverse effects on the planet was reading Thomas Malthus in the 1950's.
I serm to recall the 1960 Greenhouse studies.
By the 70's i was convinced man was bad for the planet.
Kolbert and Thornberg are heroic.
But will not save us from the
Sixth Extinction.
And Edward Abbey is dead

“At present, the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has risen by 2 percent over normal. By 1970, it will be perhaps 4 percent, by 1980, 8 percent, by 1990, 16 percent [about 360 parts per million, by Teller’s accounting], if we keep on with our exponential rise in the use of purely conventional fuels. By that time, there will be a serious additional impediment to the radiation leaving the earth. Our planet will get a little warmer. It is hard to say whether it will be 2 degrees Fahrenheit or only one or 5.

“But when the temperature does rise by a few degrees over the whole globe, there is a possibility that the icecaps will start melting and the level of the oceans will begin to rise. Well, I don’t know whether they will cover the Empire State Building or not, but anyone can calculate it by looking at the map and noting that the icecaps over Greenland and over Antarctica are perhaps five thousand feet thick.”

Edward Teller in 1959

Brown good point.
Australia tells UNESCO to tske a hike reference Barrier reefs.

Party Affiliation.
When i became old enough to vote at 21 in 1961 i registered out of respect for General Dwight Eisenhower as a Republican.
Since then ive found it very difficult to vote for anyone else for president.
From Nixon on it's been liars and crooks.
61 years later I'm still a republican.
However when i enter the voting machine it dosent ask what i am. Only that i mark the ballot with my choices.
I see no reason to change my party affiliation. If i did it would be to be Nothing and not vote.

I'm wondering how that "both sides of the argument" approach works for things like the Holocaust, or slavery, or misogyny, or climate change, for that matter.

Those pesky things called facts always seem to get in the way.

It occurs to me that our key failing as a society for the last 50 years or so, is that we let people who haven't a clue believe that their point of view is worth listening to. Indeed, that their point of view is equally valid as the people who base their conclusions on science, or law, or just plain common sense.

Sure, it was semi-entertaining for awhile--like a carnival freak show. But we simply don't have time to continue down this path.

Some things are true. Some things are not--no matter what the "booboisee" thinks.

B Frank
Never let facts get in the road of your "truth."
I suspect that is about 80 percent of humans.
God bless the US and fuck the rest?

Trump may have dealt himself a deathcard with his latest lunch.
I dont think he impressed the JDL.
Their more powerful than Jack Smith.

One of my current guilty pleasures is watching "Yellowstone," for all sorts of reasons. One of my favorite lines from a recent episode was, "there is no defendant in a bar fight." Something to keep in mind with the current level of discourse.

And the thing is, you don't know you are in a cult when you are in a cult. So I have learned that I will get just as far arguing with a cow pissing on a flat rock than with the election-denying, vaccine skeptics, qanon kooks and their ilk...not sure where that leaves us...

Mutual combat

Cal's outlaw e-mail chain is garnering more comments than this blog. The word blasphemy comes to mind.

Why is the goal to change minds?

I probably have more left-leaning anarchist sympathies than the average reader of this blog, yet I still read your posts, I listen to conservative radio, I read the intercept, NYT… occasionally fox, just to be aware of what a huge portion of this country is aligning themselves with. I don’t really form any of my opinions from journalism, I just peruse it to know what’s going on. A lot of conservative media is great for exposing blindspots that liberal media won’t touch, and vice versa.

In the past decade I feel as if there has been a huge shift away from informational news in favor of the editorial— no disrespect to your blog for being the latter, it has its time and place. It has gone so far that now people read and share opinion columns as if they are objective fact on any given current event. This is my theory as to why people stick to their preferred political sect of journalism— the continual blurring of fact and opinion makes news appear fake when it doesn’t fit within one’s belief system. And rightfully so, a lot of news out there IS actually fabricated to a certain degree thanks to the careful blurring of this line. Mainstream journos are essentially manufacturing two different realities through editorialization, and once you’ve absorbed enough of one of those realities all dissenting opinions are now part of a fantasy world that doesn’t exist to anyone except the enemy.

Part of this paradigm shift was seen most prominently during the 2016 election, which ushered in the idea of politics being a part of one’s identity. You’re not a fiscal conservative— you’re a KKK loving fascist bigot. You’re not a socially progressive liberal— you’re a crybaby snowflake child groomer who wants to destroy the second amendment. You get the gist. We’ve reached the point where editorials now aren’t even really there to affirm opinions, but rather, they serve to affirm one’s own identity. This isn’t helped by a huge portion of news being consumed through mainstream social media sites that function as outrage-fueled clickfarms. Discussions that appear to be organic are actually just algorithmic sensationalism designed to increase emotional responses amongst users so websites can increase engagement and profit off of advertising revenues. I’m afraid that the more ways there are to monetize peoples screen time, the worse the problem will get.

I’m rambling. Moral of the story, don’t worry about changing peoples minds or creating an echo chamber or whatever. You shouldn’t feel as if you have some sort of duty to sway the narrative for the greater good. I disagree with plenty of things you have to say, and maybe you aren’t going to change my mind, but you are providing perspective from a point of view that is shared by many people. It isn’t important to me that I assimilate to others opinions, but it is very important to me that I understand where others are coming from. After all, you are never going to convince someone that climate change is real unless you first understand why they think it is fake.

I like the term "(anti) social media." Hits the nail on the head. Thank you for that, for that's my new term for it (sans parentheses).

@JeffJohnson, when it comes to social media "making" us evil, it might be a feature and not a bug of society.

This pithy comic illustrates John Gabriel's GIFT (warning: language):


GIFT is the Greater Internet F-wad Theory.

A few years later, writer Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw had a more Calvinistic interpretation of GIFT: "The default state of human beings is f-wad." It's total depravity and predestination in practice.

Jeff Johnson
Well said!
Thank you.

Jeff, currently at 82 i try and read across the Spectrum.
From Al Jazeera to the Washington Post.
My subscriptions including substack run about $500 a year.
Ive been a subscriber to the New Yorker since 1962.
Mostly because of the cartoons.
Loved Gahan Wilson.

Of course being an old white dude named Calvin i tend to have psychological favorites.
Not because of John Calvin but IKE.

First up in the AM i check Rogue Columnist and
then Consortium News.
A site not liked by a lot of "journalists."
I prefer REPORTERS on the ground.
I think guys like Robert Parry, Gary Webb and Charles C Bowden got it right.

Taltons sites used to start fires.
Today the condo fireplace has less wood and likely ran by electricity
I understand why.

Recently I got a signed copy of all of Robert Parrys scribblings.

I appreciate your comments.
Gotta keep seeking info.
So said that old dude Sun Tzu.

No whiskey fueled campfires this year in the Great Sonoran Desert (whats left of it.)

The Canadians and Snowbirds and Soil Bankers are hard at it on Bingo and potlucks.

Today a young couple I got to know over the past year will be moving back to CA from Payson.

Last summer they returned home from the Payson Fourth of July parade and they said, "Ruben, there were way more confederate flags than American flags at the parade. We don't think we want to raise our son here."

Insignificant event, their moving, but still interesting.

Ruben, 40 percent of the US thinks slavery is ok.
Particularly of non white folks.
90 percent of the restaurants in Phoenix would close if you were only allowed to employ, "white" people.
I got news for u rope ian folks.
Geronimo aint dead and is making a comeback.
"God is Red"
"Custer Died for Your Sins "

Merry xmas. But i got a sense that 2023 is not gonna be good year.

May i live to see the 2024 US election results while resting on the sand in Uruguay.

I remember reading "The Ultimate Resource" by Julian Simon, and then learning that he had a wager with Paul Ehrlich. It turned out that Simon won the wager and his way of thinking changed how I view societal issues. I have always enjoyed changing my mind, it seems to be something that most people are incapable of doing.

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