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  • Worthwhile Reading & Viewing

    Posted by David Foster on March 28th, 2017 (All posts by )

    Some people find it very upsetting that President Trump likes to put ketchup on steak.  (Not something I’d do, but then I never put ketchup on french fries, either…)  Matthew Continetti says:  It is hard to read stories like these without coming to the conclusion that so much of our elite’s abhorrence of Trump is a matter of aesthetics.

    There’s considerable truth in that point, I think.  Lead and Gold quotes GK Chesterton:  The modern world will not distinguish between matters of opinion and matters of principle and it ends up treating them all as matters of taste.  Follow the link to read what L&G has to say about the worship of ‘taste’, using the Bloomsbury group as an example.

    How Communism became the disease it tried to cure:

    Contrary to the socialist promises of making a new man out of the rubble of the old order, as one new stone after another was put into place and the socialist economy was constructed, into the cracks between the blocks sprouted once again the universals of human nature: the motives and psychology of self-interested behavior, the search for profitable avenues and opportunities to improve one’s own life and that of one’s family and friends, through the attempt to gain control over and forms of personal use of the “socialized” scarce resources and commodities within the networks and interconnections of the Soviet bureaucracy.

    Stuart Schneiderman writes about nationalism vs internationalism, and Don Sensing has some thoughts on tribalism.  Both are well worth reading.

    Why college graduates still can’t think:

    Traditionally, the “critical” part of the term “critical thinking” has referred not to the act of criticizing, or finding fault, but rather to the ability to be objective. “Critical,” in this context, means “open-minded,” seeking out, evaluating and weighing all the available evidence. It means being “analytical,” breaking an issue down into its component parts and examining each in relation to the whole. Above all, it means “dispassionate,” recognizing when and how emotions influence judgment and having the mental discipline to distinguish between subjective feelings and objective reason—then prioritizing the latter over the former…I assumed that virtually all the readers (of a post on a higher-education website) would agree with this definition of critical thinking—the definition I was taught as a student in the 1980s and which I continue to use with my own students.

    To my surprise, that turned out not to be the case. Several readers took me to task for being “cold” and “emotionless,” suggesting that my understanding of critical thinking, which I had always taken to be almost universal, was mistaken.

    Some great pictures of villages around the world.  (via Craig Newmark)


    11 Responses to “Worthwhile Reading & Viewing”

    1. pst314 Says:

      “so much of our elite’s abhorrence of Trump is a matter of aesthetics”
      I recall that Ronald Reagan was mocked and despised for liking such “pedestrian” foods as macaroni and cheese.

    2. Gringo Says:

      Some people find it very upsetting that President Trump likes to put ketchup on steak.

      President Nixon got some flack for his low-cal lunch: ketchup on cottage cheese.
      That is rather unconventional compared to ketchup on steak.

    3. ErisGuy Says:

      Continuing its victories by redefining words (should I list them) over the last 50+ years, the Left long ago (at least 25 years) redefined “critical” as meaning “applying Leftist ideology,” as in “critical [fill-in-the-blank] studies.” No one objected. Little late now.

    4. ErisGuy Says:

      Ketchup on cottage cheese was a somewhat popular allegedly low-cal, allegedly healthy lunch among a certain self-educated social set in the 1950s (IIRC), much the way buying herbal remedies at Whole Foods is now. My mom preferred bottled Heinz? “chili sauce,” which I won’t touch (its worse than catsup), but which I believe is still sold.

    5. pst314 Says:

      “ketchup on steak”
      If the West had only discovered tomatoes a few years ago, all the Right People would be putting ketchup on steak.

    6. raven Says:

      On one of the motorcycle forums I read, some former resident of a socialist paradise (eastern Europe IIRC) was describing how he obtained his first bike. He had the money, it was supply that was the problem. just like buying something illicit in the west, you had to “know somebody”. In lieu of knowing someone, you could purchase a friendship with some other commodity, like booze. So he had to make multiple transactions to finally buy his bike. I think he started by asking the forklift operator who he had to bribe.
      Pretty funny, really- in the Capitalist West, we have to convince someone to buy. In a Socialist Paradise, you have to convince them to sell.

    7. Deep Lurker Says:

      When I heard about the “Trump puts ketchup on steak!” pearl-clutching, my thought was “Hm. Maybe what President Trump really wants is some good barbecue.”

    8. Dave Schuler Says:

      A couple of thoughts. First, WRT Heinz Chili Sauce, until a few years ago it was Heinz’s only product that was made from real, unprocessed ingredients. Its contents were “tomatoes, onions, peppers, etc.”. Now they’re “condensed tomatoes, dehydrated onions, etc.”. It’s not the same product it was 50 years ago.

      WRT the change on college campuses and the lack of ability to engage in critical thinking, I think there’s something more profound happening and it’s not just the accelerating leftward tilt of college campuses.

      I believe we’re seeing a transition from literacy to something I call “visualcy”. Look up any of my many posts on visualcy over at my place. Literate communicators process data in a linear fashion, can be objective and dispassionate, think abstractly, cite sources, etc. Visual communicators are non-linear, agonistic, concrete in thinking, etc.

      Liberal democracy is an artifact of literacy. Where visualcy will lead we can only speculate.

    9. David Foster Says:

      Dave Schuler…see my post Metaphors, Interfaces, and Thought Processes, which addresses some of these issues.

    10. David Foster Says:

      From a media standpoint, Twitter is an interesting case. It is basically a text medium, but has many of the characteristics associates with what Dave Schuler is calling Visualcy.

    11. David Foster Says:

      Also relevant to the Visualcy vs Literacy discussion: this post at Lead & Gold

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