Once you lose ‘useful’, all that’s left is ‘idiot’.
The correct heads keep exploding. I could get used to this level of political amusement.
Wish it weren’t so, but I keep running into the means versus ends problem: a large, often sincere, group of people who seem to be experiencing real pain over this, can’t grasp the possibility that one might not be a racist or hate poor people or otherwise wish any harm on anyone and still see enough problems with, say, the ACA and the EPA to want them at the very least serious revised. Instead, mind-reading is performed with an assumed degree of infallibility that would make a Pope blush, and it conclusively presumed to be KNOWN that all opposition to anything proposed by the government that has a name that could be construed to favor a particular end is because EVIL.
This brings to mind a related problem, perhaps a sort of magical reverse Nominalism is at work here? Rather than thinking that abstract concepts don’t exist, many of the enlightened and their victims seem to think that simply naming something magically brings the concept in the name into being. Sort of like thinking calling a cat a dog makes it a dog.
Thus, if a bill is proposed which simply confiscates and redirects money and resources but is nonetheless named The Fair and Equitable Justice for Poor People Act, one must support it, even or particularly if the actual provisions of the bill lack any logical connection with providing justice to poor people. What? You oppose justice for poor people on the transparently dishonest grounds that the bill doesn’t, in fact. provide justice for poor people? You hater, you!
In the minds of many, the Affordable Care Act IS affordable care. It is not just a law, slapped together by political operatives, named by committee, and rammed through Congress with panicky alacrity,(1) which can be analyzed and rejected *on the merits of what is actually being enacted* – nope, it IS what its name claims it will achieve. Like the People’s Republic of North Korea is a republic for the people.
Similarly, just because the Environmental Protection Agency’s name suggests that it protects the environment doesn’t mean that’s what it really does any more than the Committee for Public Safety actually promoted the safety of French people. Rather than look to its name, might reasonable people look to it actually does in practice?
Right after the ACA passed, our company had its annual meeting with the benefits company we work with. The woman who did the presentation on health care was still trying to figure out how the law was going to work, but did let slip that while many new benefits had been proposed, so far no mechanism to control underlying costs had come to light. In the years after, she just never mentioned that again and instead stuck to promoting the best options available to a small company like ours – probably, I would suppose, pointing out the truth, a truth painfully obvious now as premiums keep going up, did not get a sympathetic or even rational reception from the enlightened souls here in the Bay Area. She might have scars from daring to mention it.
Patent medicines all had charming names that made it sound like they were good for you! Even the ones that killed people.
Writing: have been attending meeting where, for long stretches, my participation and even attention are not required. Have taken to jotting down characters and relationships and incidents for The Novel That Shall Not Be Named. Things have picked up.
Been trying to make sure I get in at least an hour of writing on TNTSNBN a day. So far in 2017, I probably averaging that, but it’s been far more lumpy. How does one learn self discipline in one’s 6th decade of life? Any tips?
Upshot: while the 1st draft word count has only risen to 3600, the outline of plot points and family tress and notes on space travel science and such have grown a lot. I can see the shape of the whole now. Most important, I have come more to grips with reality: it’s just a story, make it as engaging as possible, follow the template, and get it done. I am sure I’m not alone among amateurs in occasionally getting paralyzed by the idea that I’m writing something GREAT and therefore it must be GREAT at every moment. I think this stems partly from the fear that I’ll never write anything else so I must pour my whole heart into this one thing. Instead, if I think of it as any one of the dozens of home improvement project I’ve done, where you do the best you can with what’s at hand but get it done – well, then I can get it done.
Anyway, the writing is fun at the moment. Don’t know when I’ll next have something to throw up on this blog, and really don’t know when I’ll start recruiting 1st readers and then (gulp!) an editor. But let’s shoot for draft 1 complete this year!
- That the movie Lincoln came out shortly after the bill was passed I would normally dismiss as a mere coincidence, but given the insane relationship between Hollywood and DC, it at least bears contemplation how timely that movie was. Lincoln shows a political icon and martyr stooping to the most egregious manipulation and intimidating to get his law passed, all the while maintaining plausible deniability, and using mealy-mouthed, emotionally charged stories to defend his actions. This is the way its done, so we should applaud how the ACA was passed, not look too closely at the details, nor judge those involved in getting it passed.