Well, I’m not learning about liberals very quickly, am I. I’ve been struggling to figure them out since long before I started this blog, eight years ago. In some ways it could be said I’m still recovering from when I was hoodwinked, in 1976, into supporting Jimmy Carter. Supporting, not electing, since I was only ten. I can’t think of too many other things about which I’ve been continuously accumulating knowledge for 36 or 37 years, certainly nothing that puzzles me so much, in spite of whatever I’ve managed to learn over that time.
I’m not sure how much I’ve learned. I’m aware that a gap remains, and I’m much more interested in the remaining deficiency than the accumulated progress. What did Omar Khayyam say? The guy who knows, and knows not that he knows, is asleep; the guy who knows not, and knows that he knows not, is a child. I’m a child, sleeping. I am to be awakened, and taught.
Now and then, a happy confluence of seemingly random events will do much to awaken and teach. Hillary fought back on the Benghazi thing, and showed liberals everywhere how to testify in front of a Senate committee without allowing said Senate committee to complete any of its work. Liberals love her performance. Conservatives love her performance too. It has been suggested that she comes across as “glib,” and that’s being charitable.
Each side thinks Hillary’s display of churlishness and sneakiness will ultimately play out as a net gain for them. Each side is “right,” in the sense that they are accounting for the roughly fifty percent of the country that sees things the way they do, and ignoring the other. Only one side will win, so someone is due for a rude awakening. But it is clear to me that this is valuable lesson material for my self-education project about how liberals think about things and why they say & do the strange things I see them saying & doing. Hillary did her “takedown,” or her “outburst” depending on how you see it, while the liberals have been in a high dudgeon on the blogs and the social networking — almost certainly dispatched to do so, from some central point of authority — to argue about climate change. This, lately, they’ve been doing very much the same way Hillary avoided Sen. Johnson’s line of questioning.
It gets back to the barn in the painting thing. Whereas conservatives see every illustration or elevation or message or question as another bit of information, from which relevant details may be gleaned and then combined with others to form a growing understanding about some object of interest merely reflected in them — liberals see such messages as atomic units, which may not be so harvested for desirable information. Those messages, in the liberal point-of-view, are stories to be appreciated for what they are, by themselves; they cannot be divided into smaller bits, nor may they be joined with others.
Actually, when you get down to it, all you ever really see an entrenched liberal do with any kind of information is assess it for its beneficial properties and award it a grade that is pass-or-fail. That and nothing else. All the rest of it is merely monologuing about the pass, or about the fail, as the case may be. Liberalism is anti-learning. Oh, they sharpen their skills at discourse as the years tick on by…much as a baby mountain lion learns to pounce. But they don’t actually learn anything from the information. There is no incentive for them to do so, other than to win arguments.
What seals their fate is a doctrine that says, once the participant in an argument has established himself as the Alpha Dog, he therefore “wins” the argument and it really doesn’t matter what is being said. This often leads them to say things of complete nonsense, and even when they’re called on it they still think they “won.” That’s what happened with Hillary’s performance. She established herself as the Alpha Dog, but to anyone who doesn’t see the conversation in those terms — the human grown-ups — the exchange doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, and she doesn’t end up looking good.
Don’t take my word for it. Do what Hillary’s fans don’t want you to do, and read the remark, in context, including everything leading up to the much-quoted outburst. Then let us ponder it logically; extend to our Secretary of State, for argument’s sake, the benefit of every single doubt about everything and let’s see where this takes us…
Sen. Ron Johnson, a tea party backed Wisconsin Republican serving his first term, persistently questioned Clinton about what he called Rice’s “purposely misleading” the American people.
“We were misled that there were supposedly protests and something sprang out of that, an assault sprang out of that and that was easily ascertained that that was not the fact,” Johnson said, adding that “the American people could have known that within days.”
Shouting and gesturing with her arms in frustration, Clinton shot back: “With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night decided they’d go kill some Americans?”
Her fists shaking, she continued: “What difference, at this point, does it make? It is our job to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again, senator.”
Okay. So “our job” is to “figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again.” Since Senator Johnson’s question was not “derr, uh, could you refresh my memory what is our job again?” — I’m going to take this as a mid-course correction, the intent of her remarks was to get the senator back on track. Senator Johnson’s complaint, from what I read here, is “We were misled that there were supposedly protests and something sprang out of that…that was easily ascertained that that was not the fact.” So he’s accusing her, and her department, and the White House, of lying. She’s letting the accusation go, fighting back on the issue of relevance. The casual observer will conclude, here, precisely the same thing concluded by someone reading the remarks more studiously: Hillary was questioned about misstatements, and she fought back on relevance. She has a “defense” consisting of “What does it matter that we lied, it doesn’t.” So I’ve not yet arrived at whether her comments make sense or not, but we’ve handily dispatched that whole “quoted out of context” thing, for there cannot be a context issue if the meaning to be inferred by a cursory observer is identical to the meaning inferred by a more diligent and enlightened observer. That takes care of that.
Moving on to the logical take-away here: The job is to figure out what happened and because that is the job, it is irrelevant — “what difference does it make” — to figure out why the attack occurred. Let’s repeat that. We have to figure out what happened…specifically, so it never happens again…and because that is what we are trying to do, it is a bunny-trail, a tangent and a distraction, to ponder the why. But knowing what we know now about the why, we see there are other answers to be brought out of such research, such as a not-at-all inconsequential who. There is other value in considering a “why.” By its very nature, it seeks motive, and from motive can be established a level of determination and resourcefulness of any persons or parties who wish to damage, or acquire, whatever is being protected.
Perceptive readers may have noticed I’m no longer talking about protecting persons or embassies. I’m describing anything & everything involving security…in any form. I’ll stop short of saying “you can’t provide security without knowing the ‘why'”; the truth is not that. But it comes pretty darn close. It is difficult to protect something of value against vandalism, mayhem, theft, improper disclosure of a secret or any other sort of shenanigans — without forming an understanding of the shenanigans. It is the first step to planning just about any security countermeasure you would want to include; the first step, in fact, to figuring what those countermeasures would have to be. Example: We’re going to prevent this from ever happening again by putting a stronger lock on the door, and a better door? Great plan, if the guy trying to break in is a 500 pound Sumo wrestler. Lousy plan if the guy trying to break in has a rocket launcher. You’re going to post twenty armed guards outside, with continuous surveillance and air cover? Okay that might take care of the rocket launcher. But if there’s a coordinated assault involving an army of greater size, then more might be needed. And so we have an escalating arms race, which is a concept central to all effective security planning when the assets protected are imbued with significant value.
These are basic ideas, vital to the protection of anything. To plan protection from threats, you start with a description of the threat.
So giving Hillary Clinton the benefit of any possible doubt, her comment makes no sense at all. None. And yet the libs are squealing with delight…or at least, Chris Matthews is trying to get a rolling-meme going, that this was a huge victory and what a great week it is for progressives. I mentioned I’m some 36 years into trying to figure out liberals and I’m not entirely satisfied with the progress I’ve made. Stuff like this, has a lot to do with why that is. I don’t get how you can watch this clip and think anything happened to progressives other than an enormous embarrassment. Even just following the rhythm of the exchange, at that level it was Johnson 1, Clinton 0: The distinguished “servant” who’s been in the public eye for twenty years now, and a recognized brand name for more than half that, was interrogated by a first-term senator and she just completely lost it. Shaking fists and everything. So she lost on the logic and she lost on the cadence.
The answer to her question is clear. An administration that sought, for political purposes, to give the American people the idea that al-Qaeda had been “decimated” and was effectively out of commission had a clear motive during a presidential campaign to mislead the public about Benghazi. The fact that questions are still unanswered about this crime and that Clinton and President Obama seem more interested in burying this story along with the four Americans that died is an outrage that won’t be forgotten.
While Clinton gave, as she has before, lip service to the idea that she took responsibility for the tragedy, throughout her testimony she demonstrated that she regarded the whole idea of accountability as a detail to be shrugged off or pigeonholed along with internal government reports about the matter. Her attitude, when not listening to paeans to her service and frequent trips abroad, seemed to betray her belief that not only were questions about Benghazi unimportant but that she knew the mainstream press would continue to give her a pass for her failures.
The problem here is not just what she considers an irrelevant question from Johnson or a mere “difference of opinion”–as she characterized Senator John McCain’s scathing attack on her record on the issue–but a belief that four dead Americans in Benghazi was really not such an earth-shaking event. Her consistent talking point seemed to be that the committee shouldn’t bother itself trying to find out what happened and why and who was responsible for the mistakes that led to the deaths, but merely to “move on”—to steal a phrase made popular during her husband’s presidency. That’s why she still won’t say who changed the public talking points about Benghazi that led to Rice’s lies and why they were altered.
That’s been the key to understanding the administration’s desire to treat its lies about Benghazi as somehow unworthy of further investigation. In Hillary’s world, lies don’t matter as long as it’s her side telling them. That’s not a standard that she and other Democrats would apply to any Republican. As McCain pointed out, the American people deserve an honest account of events that gets the facts straight.
But Chris Matthews thinks this was some kind of huge win. I’m going to presume he is not the only one.
I’m entirely unclear on the thinking process here, although, as I said up top, it’s valuable that this happens while the arguing about global warming is going on, because I can see there’s some importance in the progressive mind in establishing dominance in any discussion. Time after time I pick up the impression that this is so important, that the content of the ideas being exchanged becomes a secondary consideration. From all I’ve seen, progressives seek to appeal to third-party observers, whom they envision — to their advantage or to their detriment, nevertheless this is a constant — as other progressives. And I’m picking up that they see the developing discussion as a “painting” with a barn in it, and the role they play in this painting is to compel this third-party observer to carry away the correct emotional response. Since that observer is a fellow proggy, he will see the painting as a product unto itself, not capable of being divided into smaller parts, nor combined with others to form a cumulatively improved understanding of any other thing.
To put it in more succinct terms: The proggy engaging in the argument is showing off for other proggies. His task is to acquire, and/or to retain, the role of “top dog” and once that is done, his ideas are completely persuasive and his opponent’s ideas lack any persuasive power at all. This situation persists even if his ideas make no sense whatsoever and his opponent’s points are so self-evident, they are reduced to exercises in belaboring the obvious. Doesn’t matter. The Alpha Dog speaks truth…not because of any truth that is demonstrable, nor because of any falsehood that is similarly demonstrable…but because the pack is thought to have a community interest invested in preservation of the status quo. It is presented as an exchange of ideas, but in reality, it’s nothing more than an alpha dog fighting to keep his mantle.
So I guess what I’m noticing here is, that lefty liberal moonbats do their “discussion” like Arctic wolves. Even when they go through the motions of “discussing” something they call “science.” My experiences back this up, and I’ll suppose the experiences of many others back it up as well. The proggy-dogs may read some science textbooks out of their “studies” classes and memorize some words & phrases, which appears to be very impressive. But it only shows true understanding if — well, if some evidence arrives to show they understand what they’re repeating. And it’s hard to take these discussions into the direction of any test for that particular question, because time after time, the lefty demonstrates that his or her incentive is drawn not toward any enlightenment for the benefit of one party or the other in the exchange, but on securing this Alpha Dog slot.
After a time, one is tempted to conclude “If they were capable of demonstrating true understanding, I’d have seen it by now.” But of course, that isn’t a true test. The whole discussion becomes rather unenlightening, for everyone, about anything. Nothing more than a show of wonderfulness, by the lib, for other libs, a sort of talent presentation for the “best in show” trophy. A grab for the top-dog slot.
Time after time, I see lefties “proving” that they deserve to be the one Alpha Dog of the pack — and not taking the trouble to prove much of anything else. They start babbling pure nonsense. Like “It’s our job to find out what happened here so it never happens again, and what difference does it make who did this thing we’re trying to prevent from ever happening again, or why they did it.” Arguing about security procedures and climate science…the way Arctic wolves would, if they could talk.
I’ve noticed before that the whole liberal movement seems to be concerned with motivating human beings to display traits of other animals who are not humans. They’ve got an idea about how we should exist in proximity to each other, elect our leaders, take our orders from those leaders; this seems to resemble very strongly the social order that exists in a beehive, or an anthill. They’ve got their ideas about fatherhood, of course; they seem bovine, to me, in that the “bulls” are supposed to have their way with the “cows” and then move on, with cows raising calves by themselves. And now I see, with the whole arguing & communicating thing, the behavior that they model for emulation by others — is canine. This should not come as any major epiphany to me, since in that “barn” post linked above, I specifically compared a liberal understanding a truly different point of view to “a dog trying to measure how far it ran to fetch the stick.” There is to be a hard limit against what ideas can ever be realized, in a world in which ideas are communicated this way. We don’t see dogs building jet engines or overhauling drive trains on jeeps…just as, we don’t see liberals actually accomplishing, well, anything good at all for the most part. What’s Hillary accomplished through all this “hard work” that is so continually reported to me? Dogs, at least, chase crooks. They serve search warrants. Assist the handicapped.
Perhaps liberals emulate the behavior of dogs, in order to improve themselves. Would that we could choose for them, the canine behaviors they should emulate. Alpha Dog secures his status, through his triumph against the previous Alpha Dog, and then he remains that. Until such time as he is challenged by another dog. And that is the only reason there can ever be, for calling any of his statements into doubt. So if you doubt the Alpha Dog you must be challenging him for the slot. That’s when the fangs come out.
Apologies to any bees, ants, bulls, cows or dogs taking offense. It is not intended.
Cross-posted at House of Eratosthenes.