There's a lot of political talk going around San Francisco these days, thanks to the recent election. There's also a fair deal of rioting due to the Giants' win, but that's a different post entirely.
I'll preface this post by saying that I'm nearly completely uninterested in politics. It's not something I think about, it's not something I participate in, and it's not something I talk about. And the main reason I don't like to talk about it is because people are not logical when talking about politics.
My favorite example is when people think a politician is an idiot. No politician is an idiot. It's their job, and their job is under a lot more scrutiny than yours is. Given the amount of politicians out there, the odds of an idiot being elected are just about nil.
Let's take George Bush, because no one likes him. I don't like him. More than any other politician, his policies have adversely affected me. I care about privacy and I care about traveling, and both became significantly worse under his watch.
But guess what? He had a LOT more information than I had, so I give him at least enough credit to assume that he did what he did for good reason. From my perspective, terrorism is a joke, airport security is nothing but theatrics, and spying on people is a gross offense. But I don't know anything about any of these things. George Bush did. So it's probably a lot more likely that he knew stuff I didn't know, and made some hard decisions as a result.
Back when I was gambling, we had two forums. One was called "General" and one was called "Private". Anyone who was a member could read General, but only a select few dozen could read Private. When I was finally admitted into Private, I was shocked at how much they knew that General didn't. In fact, things that Private did would look foolish to someone in General, because they didn't fully understand what was going on.
Here's an example: in Private we all played under multiple names. We'd pay people to use their identity and gamble on behalf, generally giving them a small portion of the profits. In the General forum we would actively discourage people from doing this, because casinos would catch on if hundreds of people were doing it. But we all did it.
As a result of all these accounts, we might have had 10 times more casino accounts than a General member. The hardest part of gambling was dealing with cashouts. Casinos would drag their feet, come up with reasons not to pay you, and ask you to fax stuff in. One solution we had was to simply bet you entire casino balance on roulette before cashing out. Half of the accounts would bust, the other half would double, and then you had only half as many cashouts to deal with. Sometimes we'd even try to quadruple or octuple up before cashing out.
If a General member saw this, he would think that we'd become crazy gamblers. But the truth is that it was a very smart strategy.
Maybe the same is true of George Bush.
Now we come to Obama. His platform was hope and change, and we've gotten no change, and there's not much hope for it either. Is Obama a liar who tricked us all to get into office? Probably not. He said he'd get us out of war because, with his privileged yet limited information as a senator, that seemed like the best course of action. Then he became president and got more information, and reversed his course. I don't think he's dishonest or malevolent, I just think we have no idea what's going on.
I'm reminded of this idea whenever I watch people watch sports. They all think that they're smarter than the coach and the refs, yelling at the screen, telling the people on the glowing box how dumb they are.
Maybe, just maybe, the people who rise to the top of these hyper-competitive fields aren't complete idiots. Maybe they're actually very skilled at maneuvering through minefields that we don't even know exist. At the very least, it's a serious possibility that should perhaps temper our criticism.
I wrote this a few weeks ago... since then I read George Bush's autobiography, which made me respect him a lot more. And realize that he's near crazy-level religious.
Really sorry about only posting once last week... too many flights and trying to do too much before leaving Japan.
Heading to LA tonight, Austin the next day, then Boston. RV road trip from SF to Austin. Yes!
Hi I'm Hitler,
I'm not an idiot. I rose to the top of a hyper-competitive political process so I must know something you don't know (no, not just about climbing the political ladder).
So if you ever find yourself in contradiction with my views, rest assured that I probably just know more than you about the subject in question.
perhaps you are correct. but people i general get pigheaded and don't look into things because that is just how people are. we're judgmental down to the core. half the time we are not looking at the bigger picture. so what we see on the surface if what we assume to be true
I think Bush is an idiot because he can't pronounce NUCLEAR. And its not like there is no one, no aide or staff anywhere, to tell him he is mispronouncing it, and easily teach him how to say it correctly. Some teacher along the way taught me. Say these two words. NEW, CLEAR. Now say them together. That’s all it takes. In 8 years he couldn't master that? Wasn't interested? No one brought it up? Disgusting! Because of Bush I think there should be a new presidential “law”. If you can't pronounce it, you don’t get to be in charge of it.
If you want to depict an idiot, you depict him pronouncing the word as nuke-you-ler.
- Homer Simpson "Nuke-you-ler. It's pronounced nuke-you-ler.”
- Peter Griffin [laughs at Lois] You said "nuclear"! It's "nuke-you-ler" dummy, the S is silent.
Bush ACTUALLY pronounced it that way, and apparently, didn’t care. - Idiot.
I think this is a good post and holds true for a lot of things especially the sports examples.
I don't think it's really that true for politicians though, of course they are not idiots to rise that high, but to say that they know better is a bad argument. Look at recent SOPA legislation for example, politicians don't know better than people that founded the internet but still many supported SOPA, even though the people that founded the internet told them not to.
The problem of course is by the time many politicians reach office they are in the pocket of people with a lot of money through campaign contributions etc. e.g. industry groups that benefit directly from government spending (taxpayer dollars), housing, education, hollywood.
I'd also like to enter this into evidence, discussion of US financial reform within congress.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FLmD9TeUC54
There is only one person in that room that is basing their argument on anything close to logic (even if you don't agree with him), the rest are just reciting weak arguments they have used politically for years e.g. kids are our more precious resource we need to dump more money into education.
I don't know I think we have just seen him say a lot of very stupid things (George Bush). He has no presentation skills training and so comes off like an amateur compared to other presidents.
True you couldn't be an idiot and make it into office. But a lot of people once they get their owe so many political favours they rarely end up standing up for anything important. Ending in people calling them idiots.
I don't think George Bush made any of those decisions, didn't his team campaign on his personality not on his intelligence.
Tynan, I used to never think or speak about politics. Then I came across an old man named Ron Paul from Texas.
I still don't think or speak about politics.
Ron Paul opened up a lot of new doors -- the doors to the foundation of what matters in what most call "politics".
The rights of man.
Ron Paul can be your Gary Taubes for "politics", if you let him.
There is a saying in my home country "everyone knows how to govern except for the president". I am still conflicted with some of the desicions politicians make, but bringing up this point "they have more information......" makes sense, I actually never thought of it that way, interesting.
I had never gambled before and knew nothing about it, but I'd gotten too many e-mails like it. I was at my parents house for winter break during my first year at UT, and I was bored.
"Free $50 just for downloading our casino!"
Hmm. That doesn't seem very risky. I might as well download to see what it's all about.
Politics has become the sport that i follow these days.... so you'll have to bear with me as I wade into those murky waters...
Had to comment on Obama. Tell you the truth, I kinda like him. I don't believe he has it out for America as some rightwing commentators would have it. I don't agree with all his policy decisions. When people call him a socialist...well... do you remember when george bush sent out thousand dollar checks ( depending on family members ) to spur the economy....medicare part d.... laissez faire capitalism has been gone for some time now... Obama didn't get rid of it.
But the point i want to make isn't about his policies, what he did do or what he should have done. In my short lifetime, I've never seen the excitement or enthusiasm that was stirred by Obama. He was young, intelligent, a great orator who carried with him in the heyday of his first campaign a palpable sense that here was a man who promised something different, something better. He spoke in Germany and half a million strong came out to listen to him, the enthusiasm flowing...
The juxtaposition between that initial excitement and fervor, and the zeitgeist of the nation currently is shocking... kind of like an eagles team that in the preseason you're talking Super Bowl but a couple surprises and injuries later it's looking like a 7-9 season. In some ways it feels like the end of era... modernday liberalism may have climaxed with the Obama presidency, though populist political sentiment seems to be just getting started...the repubs seemed to have sensed this and started to pivot away from cultural issues and onto economic ones...don't think the dems have figured out their new pivot... but we shall see
interesting times to witness my friends