Truth, Fiction, Whatever

I was at a Passover seder tonight. One of the other guests was someone who is pleasant enough but who I sometimes find a bit annoying. He was wearing a sweatshirt with a dopey anti-corporate slogan on it, and he used the phrase “the Republicans” a couple of times. I don’t remember how the conversation got there but someone said something about Mayor Bloomberg’s soda ban. My fellow guest may have defended Bloomberg: the soda ban had been struck down so why be upset about it; Fox News had exaggerated the importance of the issue; Bloomberg had the right idea. Something like that. Maybe he didn’t actually defend Bloomberg, I don’t remember. I didn’t feel like arguing with him. So I said something like, Did you know that Bloomberg has banned Pop Rocks? I said this forcefully and with a straight face. This got a rise out of people. Someone asked if I was serious. I said yes. Then I told them that Bloomberg had also banned haircuts for dogs. Someone mentioned P____’s dog — she pampers it and recently had its hair cut (do you realize how much dog haircuts cost, etc.). Someone asked me how I knew these things about Bloomberg. I said I have sources in NY. I think I had a few people there believing me for a while. Because how do you know it isn’t true?

19 thoughts on “Truth, Fiction, Whatever”

  1. I admit that I am of two minds about this tactic. Standing against it is the sad fact that when dealing with the Leftist mindset, you never know what absurdity will be taken seriously and become a crusade that Bloomberg would pick up on. *sigh*

    Countering that is the concept of pushing through using Alinsky’s Rules #’s 5 and 10:

    RULE 5: “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.” There is no defense. It’s irrational. It’s infuriating. It also works as a key pressure point to force the enemy into concessions.

    RULE 10: “If you push a negative hard enough, it will push through and become a positive.” Violence from the other side can win the public to your side because the public sympathizes with the underdog. (Unions used this tactic. Peaceful [albeit loud] demonstrations during the heyday of unions in the early to mid-20th Century incurred management’s wrath, often in the form of violence that eventually brought public sympathy to their side.)

    As long as the claims remain plausible, and the irrationality and arrogance of Bloomberg makes a great deal plausible, Bloomberg can be made into an object of ridicule. Use the Left’s own tactics against them, and watch them go Chiroptera feces. And they’ll then do something stupid that compounds it.

    I cannot avoid thinking about something I saw elsewhere recently. New Yorkers are supposedly rough, hard-edged, and no nonsense people who can eat up and spit out those of us who come from flyover country. And yet they consistently and repeatedly elect people to govern them who make all the hard decisions in their lives like what they can eat, what they can drink, and who they beg to take all the choices out of their lives. It is as if they are afraid to make those choices themselves. Maybe they ain’t (sic) as tough as they claim.

    Subotai Bahadur

  2. How adult of you.

    At this point, I would have most likely pinched my nostrils and squawked “I don’t know, maybe it was someone opposed to healthcare!”

    But then again, folks that might wear such attire, no longer speak to me.

  3. @Pst314 – hilarious! But on a semi-serious note, didn’t Moses try to talk some into leaving Egypt? After all, although they were slaves they were fed and semi-comfortable.

  4. I gave in to the temptation to pull his chain, not that I didn’t enjoy it. But he’s an intelligent person and for a moment he couldn’t tell I was joking. You can say crazy things about Bloomberg and people who haven’t been keeping up with the latest on Drudge won’t be able to know if they’re true or not. This reflects very badly on Bloomberg, but by the same token it seems unlikely that Bloomberg will be able to get very far in national politics.

  5. My old and profoundly stupid aunt piped up with, “why do people need guns?”

    Yes, I yelled at her.

    Most Jews have lost sight of the purpose of the Seder; to celebrate Freedom!

  6. DHL: I have a good friend, devout Jew – who told me most Jewish Celebrations center around the following: “They tried to kill us – we survived – let’s eat!

  7. Bill Brandt – That may be correct. And as I recall Moses had trouble with Jews who wanted to return to the comforting security of Pharaoh.

  8. Freedom is frightening to many people. The strawman idea of those who wish to maximize individual rights is that they are libertines who wish to live without rules and responsibilities, but the truth is that liberty is a tremendous responsibility, not the avoidance of it.

    The common lament of many in the former soviet union or satellites was that everything in western society was so complicated, involved so many decisions and expenses that they hadn’t had before.

    Life as a member of the herd is simple and comfortable if the lack of freedom isn’t a primary issue, and there are plenty of very ordinary people who prefer it.

    This is one of the great conceptual inversions of collectivist ideology—that the free man is avoiding his social responsibilities, while the compliant member of the collective is fulfilling his.

    In fact, just the opposite is true, and the free citizen assumes great responsibilities, not only for herself, but also for the requirements of cooperative living in a non-coercive society, while the passive member of the collective not only abdicates any personal responsibility as to the shape and trajectory of his own life, but also allows the ruling cadres to direct the course of his entire society with little or no input from him.

    I have always been bemused by those who defend a collectivist regime by claiming that the populace were provided with so many free services, as opposed to the less structures society here, where people were asked to fend more for themselves.

    I come from a farming family, only one generation removed from the land.

    Even I know a good farmer always takes care of his cattle, until it’s time for them to go to market…

  9. @Jeffrey Carter – or 5,000 years as well

    This discussions reminds me that things don’t change very much – between those who want freedom and those who crave security

  10. He was wearing a sweatshirt with a dopey anti-corporate slogan on it…

    Called me old-fashioned, but generally when I am invited to a formal dinner – especially one involving a religious celebration – I put a minimum of effort into dressing up. A collared shirt, some khakis.

    I certainly wouldn’t wear a sweatshirt, and certainly wouldn’t wear my political beliefs on my damn chest.

    Though such an outfit serves as an effective signaling device – “tiresome scold, ahoy!”

  11. @Percy – I saw a guy dressed similarly at a social event – I can’t figure them out with their “In your face” attitude

    Had to look up the definition of scold and have to agree.

  12. People will wear anything, anywhere, these days. Last year, at a funeral, I saw the eldest son the deceased in a collared shirt and khakis.

  13. }}} My old and profoundly stupid aunt piped up with, “why do people need guns?”

    It’s not a question of NEED. It’s a RIGHT. Rosa Parks didn’t NEED to sit in the front of the bus. She had a RIGHT to. “Why?” doesn’t enter into it. And if someone still demands to know “Why?” The response is just as simple: “Because.”

    P.S., I’d like to point up the flaw in the Feinstein-Durbin defense, which seems to be getting little airplay from what I’ve seen:

    No, we don’t have restrictions on “Free Speech”. With Rights come Responsibilities to use those Rights — that POWER — rationally and sensibly. So for those who fail to do so, we exact punishments for them demonstrating they don’t Grasp the Responsibility — We charge someone yelling “FIRE!” in a crowded theater with reckless endangerment. We charge someone who prints lies about others with Libel. And we throw in jail those who have created — and possess — child pornography.

    Note, however, what we DON’T do… We DON’T restrict megaphone ownership because someone might shout “FIRE!”. We don’t require an ID to buy a laser printer just because one MIGHT commit libel with it. And we don’t register and limit cameras (Why do you need a high-end SLR with an autofocus lens attachment…Why does anyone?) simply because SOME sick individuals out there MIGHT produce child porn using it.

    We punish people for IRRESPONSIBLE ACTS involving those RIGHTS. We don’t interfere with the law abiding public’s access to the TOOLS that MIGHT be misused in the commission of a crime.

    And that is the flaw in the Feinstein-Durbin argument: It’s comparing apples to oranges. THEY want to control access to the objects abused by those who would commit crimes. And THAT is not something which is allowed by the Constitution.

  14. This line of thinking is great – but it is true, everything I once accepted if not believed is really just the opposite. The conservatives accept complexity and the fact that all can not be predicted nor all variables controlled. That’s okay – coping with the variables leads to progress.

    The left sees climate change as a sign of man’s error, not as the natural movement of nature, always on the move. I suspect that conservatives are more optimistic about the hidden hand and more likely to see a Providential Creator. The left may scoff at that, but it seems to me that people like Bloomberg are motivated by that great old sin of pride. A belief system that sees that as what it is surely has not only history but common sense on its side.

    What are now called conservatives are people who embrace change but want to retain the best of the past; what are now called libertarians want the rule of law. What are now called liberals want little challenge, fear the unexpected, and diminish the importnce of the law by making it messy, tangled, complicated, and, in the end, enforceable in an arbitrary and unjust fashion.

    And it is my generation (the boomers) that somehow thought it was more authentic to play rock music at funerals and dress accordingly. That was one of our many mistakes.

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