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How *are* ya gonna keep 'em down on the farm (after they've seen paree)? - The Annals of Young Geoffrey: Hope brings a turtle [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Young Geoffrey

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How *are* ya gonna keep 'em down on the farm (after they've seen paree)? [Aug. 16th, 2009|10:33 am]
Young Geoffrey
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Apropos of far too much to mention anything in particular ...


I've said it before (though not, I think, here) that it's worth keeping in mind that the fundamentalist religious folks actually have a point. From their point of view, the "secular humanists", "feminazis" and the "homosexualists", to name just a few of the usual suspects representing what I like to call the unfinished project of world civilization, really are a threat to them.

Feminists really are a threat to traditional patriarchal families; gay-rights (and every queer variant thereof) really are a threat not only to traditional standards of "decency" but — because it demands to be seen and heard — also to the traditional hierarchical structure of just about every traditional culture. The fundamentalist's rage is, in a weird way, a completely rational defensive response to a very real threat posed by even the meekest among those of us for whom tolerance of just about anything but intolerance is the highest ethical good.

How can they possibly expect their daughters to be good and obedient once those daughters have tasted a little freedom? How can they expect their wives to be obedient, their children to follow the arbitrary diktat's of their particular "revealed truth"?

The mullahs and their suicide bombers, the anti-abortionists who really believe abortion is murder, the racists who really believe that miscegenation will "pollute the race" — there's no possibility of rational discourse with them because who believe individual volition, the questioning of received wisdom, the acceptance (not just the tolerance) of the other, we really are destroying their world, or trying to whether passively or aggressively.

Just as Galileo's discovery that the Earth is not the centre of the cosmos really did bring into question the authority of the Church, so an Alberta farm boy who moves to Vancouver and learns that gays aren't monsters but "just folks" is quite likely going wonder whether all sorts of other "truths" he learned at Parson Manning's knee are also false.

Nothing is inevitable, but the long-term trend is one that should see the old guard slowly wither and die, and they know it. And so the scream their fear-based hatred and answer argument with ad homina, tolerance with hatred and ballot-box defeats with violence.

But our way really is better and so we must not lose heart, but keep in mind the long-term successes of our often accidental project of human liberty.

On a lighter note, this just might be the best book review it has ever been my pleasure to have read. It's certainly the funniest. But be warned; the content might break your brain.

All right. Good day, eh.
linkReply

Comments:
From: spells_disaster
2009-08-16 04:23 pm (UTC)
Great point...

Funny, how FB allows you to put a noncommital *like* option, while here in LJ-land you actually have to put some effort into typing something that involves, sentences.

*smirks*
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[User Picture]From: ed_rex
2009-08-16 05:26 pm (UTC)

Merci

Funny, how FB allows you to put a noncommital *like* option, while here in LJ-land you actually have to put some effort into typing something that involves, sentences.

For a long time I bitched about that, vis-a-vis FB until one day I realized it was like complaining that the chicken not a cow, and I became reconciled to it. Now I use it for what it's good for (emailing my niece &ct) and otherwise ignore it.
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From: spells_disaster
2009-08-17 12:23 am (UTC)

Re: Merci

Thats a very funny way of putting it.

Of course, the thread here doesnt upload into FB does it?
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[User Picture]From: ed_rex
2009-08-17 01:02 am (UTC)

Re: Merci

Uh oh. Er, actually all of my public entries show up over there. If it makes you feel any better, I think it's rare indeed that anyone pops over the check the original entry, let alone read the comments.
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[User Picture]From: antaura
2009-08-16 06:00 pm (UTC)
Well said. (I know we only added each other a few days ago, but I have to say that I love your writing.)

And that book review is fantastic. I especially loved one of the comments left by another user:

Dear World,

Please stop rewarding this author's behavior.

Thank you.


Priceless.
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[User Picture]From: ed_rex
2009-08-16 06:14 pm (UTC)

I'll take all the praise you care to dish out!

Rather amusingly (in a good way), John Ringo himself showed up about mid-way through the comments and proved to have a very good sense of humour about the whole thing.

But yeah, that book review really is great; I need to find myself some kind of love/hate book so I can rip off the style and tone (and hopefully, the wordplay).
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[User Picture]From: paul_carlson
2009-08-17 12:38 am (UTC)

Farm Boy Blues

is quite likely going wonder whether all sorts of other "truths" he learned

A rather harsh view of people with different beliefs! This reflects the common (and often rather judgmental) western-world assumption that no belief system is especially better, or actually preferable, to any other belief/worldview.

David Brin explains this stubborn non-assertion in his Dogma of Otherness essay.

http://tinyurl.com/ywq9we

Perhaps our archetypal farmboy ends up with an angry college professor who doses him with unalloyed Deconstructionism, and the naive kid will be all set for a lifetime of cynical misery.

Check out Francisco Ayala.

http://zotzine.uci.edu/2009_05/ayala.php

He speaks of his new students who are fundamentalist, whose inflexible beliefs are often utterly crushed in college, when the actual realm of modern faith is so much larger and more awesome.
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[User Picture]From: ed_rex
2009-08-17 02:38 am (UTC)

Re: Farm Boy Blues

A rather harsh view of people with different beliefs! This reflects the common (and often rather judgmental) western-world assumption that no belief system is especially better, or actually preferable, to any other belief/worldview.

It is a harsh view of people with different beliefs, no question, and I make no apologies for it. However, I think you're misunderstanding my postion, Paul; I'm no cultural relativist, far from it.

For example, and at the risk of offending you, I think a belief in God/god/goddess is simply wrong; there is no evidence for a deity. I believe in a woman's absolute right to control her own body. I believe in freedom of speech and of action (with limits such as shouting "Fire!" in a crowded theatre and my right not to be punched in the face).

I believe that my way of looking at the world is simply better than a Taliban Mullah's or a Catholic priest's. I'm right and they are wrong, period. I believe a society that protects the weak is better than one which exploits them, that one in which women have equal rights and responsibilities to men is better than one that doesn't. I could go on and on, but I think I've made my point.

That said, religion doesn't have to be secular, as your example of the analloyed Deconstructionist amusingly points out.

I do believe (as per Brin — nice piece, by the way; thanks for that) that "[t]here's always another way of looking at things," and I do believe in listening to the other — occasionally I'll even change my mind for having done so (really! It's happened!), but nine times out of ten I'll decide that the "other" is simply (or complexly) wrong.

Now most of the time I don't mind that someone else believes something I consider silly, or misguided — believing in Liberty, that's their right — until they try to impose those beliefs on others</i>. Which is why, though I believe I understand the fundamentalists (whether Christian, Moslem, Hindu, Jew or Marxist-Leninist), I consider them the enemy, my enemy. So long as, say, the Amish don't forbid their children exposure to the outside world I have no problem with them; they're free to believe what they like. But when they treat to twist society in order to force me to agree with them (or pretend to), I have a very big problem with them indeed.

(On a possibly amusing side-note, I'm right now listening to a Bob Dylan concert from his Slow Train Coming period. Amazing stuff!)
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[User Picture]From: paul_carlson
2009-08-17 04:55 am (UTC)

Re: Farm Boy Blues

Well spoken, Geoff.

Here's something highly ironic. Many opponents of the current American Health so-called Reform Bill have adopted an old slogan, "Keep your laws off my body!"
In fact, the American proposal would impose on our bodies, and our chosen lifestyles, far more than any abortion law ever did. (With more than 40 new agencies, and mandates affecting childbirth and abortions, all the way up to "end of life" issues, and every person and phase in between.)
IMHO, in supporting the Canadian health care system, you've already ceded more control than you seem to realize. Women up there have been severely curtailed in their bodily rights, and apparently, most are docile about this.

As for "no evidence" for God, the very cosmos itself, with its comprehensible laws and patterns, is more than enough evidence. Our mortal ability to examine the cosmos, plus our own lives and minds, and then draw clear (including abstract) conclusions, is still more evidence.
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[User Picture]From: paul_carlson
2009-08-17 04:59 am (UTC)

Re: Farm Boy Blues

I know, you'll strongly object to my characterization of Canadians. Fine. :-)

IMHO, having the government as one's nursemaid is a travesty.

Any agency with enough power to give you everything, can and eventually will stop doing so, and so risk your very lives. The same goes for your minds, with those arbitrary "hate speech" laws, as defined (in practice) by whoever's got the loudest whining activists.
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[User Picture]From: ed_rex
2009-08-17 05:31 am (UTC)

Re: Farm Boy Blues

On God, I think we can simply disagree; I have no reason to think you're trying to (or even that you want to) impose a theocracy on me or anyone else. I'll simply note that, to my mind, the more we learn about the cosmos and how it works, the ness "need" there is for a deity to explain it.

On Obama's health care bill, I don't know enough of the details to argue specifics. I suspect you're misinformed, by most of my sources are biased in favour of it (though, mostly, with sometimes significant reservations), but I don't know.

But I do know enough to know that the proposal bears very little resemblance to the Canadian system(s) (to a moderate extent they vary from province to province).

And (unless I'm seriously misunderstanding you, I know you're misinformed about Canada. I'll do my best to be brief. :)

IMHO, in supporting the Canadian health care system, you've already ceded more control than you seem to realize. Women up there have been severely curtailed in their bodily rights, and apparently, most are docile about this.

This simply baffles me. What bodily rights have women lost up here? Women here (like men) can choose their own physicians (unlike, as I understand it, as is the case with many or most HMOs). What bodily right have been ceded? Specifics, sir, please!

IMHO, having the government as one's nursemaid is a travesty.

I see your point but (surprise again!) I disagree. Do you also oppose having the government build your highways and inspect your bridges?

In a democracy, government isn't some kind of boss but rather a means of taking collective action to do those things that individuals and corporations can't or won't do. Roads, police, fire deparments — and in Canada things such as health care as well.

Incidentally, there's nothing stopping a physician here from setting up shop independently and some do. (Almost) no one begrudges it, except when they double-dip, piggy-backing on the public system. Every professional sports team has a doctor on staff and no doubt the very rich make great use of private clinics &ct.

Long story short, the government is not our "nursemaid" but rather our collective decision to ensure that all of us are taken care of when it comes to such things as, er, our health. By and large, the stats say it works better than your system, which is controlled by insurance companies whose fiduciary obligation is to deny as much care to as many people as they possibly can. We live longer, few of our infants die, we don't go bankrupt when we get sick, and it costs us (collectively) about 50% less than it costs you.

On the other hand, the hate speech laws are something I've been meaning to rant about for quite some time. Stay tuned and we might finally agree about something besides science fiction being good to read.
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[User Picture]From: paul_carlson
2009-08-18 01:34 am (UTC)

Re: Farm Boy Blues

: :: waves to Geoff : ::

You are correct that I may, in part, be seriously misinformed about the details of various goings-on in Canada. For example, I now understand it's technically a Provincial system -- and one guy I know, in one of the Maritime provinces, is really upset because his region is economically depressed -- and thus stuck with horrible care.


I am very well informed about the House's (not actually Obama's) health reform proposal, thank you. On the particulars you mention, sounds like the US proposal is far worse than anything Canada has, and for several reasons.

My HMO allows a choice of physician.
(What about, where each physician is allowed, and/or instructed, to set up a practice?)

Government does not built highways, at least down here. They pay private contractors to do it for them, and then do one of their few legitimate functions -- inspect the work for safety. (Same with NASA and spacecraft, the Air Force and jets, etc.)

Usually the various county and state agencies in the USA do a good job of food and bridge (etc.) inspection, but a whole lot of dead people might disagree. (Salmonella poisoning, sudden bridge collapses, etc.) The more 'local' an agency, in general, the more accountable and conscientious they are.
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[User Picture]From: ed_rex
2009-08-18 02:26 am (UTC)

Re: Farm Boy Blues

(What about, where each physician is allowed, and/or instructed, to set up a practice?)

Nope. There's been some talk of requiring young doctors who've had their education paid for to be required to spend a year or two in remote communities, but even that, so far as I know has gone nowhere.

In truth, most of our system is "private", in the sense that they're not working for the government, but rather are in private practice or working for non-profit hospitals and clinics, as well as in some for-profit clinics (the latter is controversial and also varies from province to province). So it's closer to what you meant about highways than not.

I'm still curious about your claim that women have given up control of their bodies.
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[User Picture]From: paul_carlson
2009-08-18 04:51 am (UTC)

Re: Farm Boy Blues

Seems that Canadian women are liberated and mean it. :-)

Only in the USA are they supine beneath the Federal beast.
That new bill contains mandates for everything from pregnancy to death, that is, "shall" appears in the bill's instructions to the 40+ new agencies, and to US citizens, several hundred times.
(The same liberal groups that pushed so hard for easy legal abortions, tend to support this "reform" effort, with its vastly greater restrictions.)

There's also talk about requiring medical students to accept various specialties, or more exactly, to become General Practitioners, because the President says they charge less money.

In reality, the number of US medical students would plummet, and thousands of doctors would retire (or set up 'medical tourism' clinics), instead of taking the drastic cuts and intrusive supervision the bill calls for.
How to 'cover' tens of millions more people, including 12+ million illegals for free, while not encouraging a gazillion new doctors to enter practice, is something the bill's proponents all gloss over.
(How people can compare this proposal to Canada's system, when the whole place has what, 33 million in total, is beyond me. California is crashing-and-burning right now, and we've got 36 million.)

Excuse me for bitching. Since Canada is such a paradise on Earth, and I don't mind cold weather, you might see a moving truck soon! ;-D
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[User Picture]From: ed_rex
2009-08-18 12:47 pm (UTC)

Re: Farm Boy Blues

Seems that Canadian women are liberated and mean it. :-)

Only in the USA are they supine beneath the Federal beast.


Is this sarcasm to evade my question or are you conceding the point?

Paul, you've more than once provided me "facts" that I've challeged. I don't recall that I've been wrong (when I've challenged your facts) even once.

Which is why I'm going to harp again on your statement that the Canadian health care system denies women control over their own bodies. Where did you hear that? If you still think it's true, please provide your source(s).

And if you're conceding that it's not true, are the other arguments you're making based upon the same source(s)? If so, maybe you should search further afield. I think you're being misled.

Anyway, Canada ain't no paradise, but we do seem to stumble along in our own boring, long-winded and argumentative way and yet somehow have created a pretty decent place to live for ourselves. And our immigration policies are pretty open. You're welcome to join us. :)
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[User Picture]From: paul_carlson
2009-08-18 11:14 pm (UTC)

Re: Farm Boy Blues

Geoff, chill out. :-)

Around here, I can gain hugely diverse input from the programmed buttons on my car and truck radio -- ultraconservative to radical leftist radio. (KSFO and KPFA, in case you're wondering, with KGO usually right in the middle.)
I also subscribe to Mother Jones and to National Review magazines, plus about 20 others. (Some are hobby-oriented, and publications like National Geographic are centrist.)

As for being sarcastic and/or conceding the point, a little of each. :-)

I don't know about Canada, but in the US, one of the largest differences in ideology and voting patterns is between married and unmarried women. (*Less* so between mothers and childless women.)
Both right and left know this, and tailor campaigns to those mindsets.
In short, for some, Government is the (more dependable) man in their lives.
You will likely jump in with a no-moralizing response, but I'm talking about raw neutral statistics.
Kids from single-woman households have, in general, a markedly different outcome in life, and not a better one.
Maybe not in Canada, but down here, whole cities have been ruined by a culture of dependency.

Overall:
From 15 years of writing opinion columns, I've learned to state my case in the strongest terms, even (in some cases) to overstate, in order to make my meaning and mindset totally clear. Even to readers (about 8000 of them, for one column I write) who are uninformed, or not paying close attention.
Yet it's always possible to pick apart the details, and the intentions, and the sources, and so much more.


If there anything that could be improved, in the Canadian medical system, it's *probably* the wait times.
Here, I can (and have been) seen for minor elective surgery in about 2 weeks, and for simple requested exams in about 3 days. It has to be cleared with my regular doctor, and he normally sends his approval by email, so I will go directly to the specialist.

Hope this clarifies things. :-)
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[User Picture]From: ed_rex
2009-08-20 06:17 pm (UTC)

Re: Farm Boy Blues

Paul, that is an impressively diverse reading list; colour me impressed. Also colour me confused; with all that information at your disposal, how can it be that you so often have Wrong Opinions? :)

Sarcasm is fine by me (at least when it doesn't fly over my head), but I have a problem with "overstating" if by that you mean you play loose with the facts. "What is true?" is perhaps the most important question in my vocabulary, so I get frustrated when I suspect someone is using rhetoric with enough regard for Truth. Which is why I kept hammering you on the women's rights question.

In short, for some, Government is the (more dependable) man in their lives [...] Kids from single-woman households have, in general, a markedly different outcome in life, and not a better one.

Maybe not in Canada, but down here, whole cities have been ruined by a culture of dependency.


I think there's more to those ruined cities than just a "culture of dependency", but I take your point and it is a problem. I'm not aware of similar Canadian stats but my intuition tells me there is likely a similar correlation here, but a smaller one.

So far, we don't have any ruined cities and I think we have a much lower rate of multi-generation welfare culture. So far, at least.
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[User Picture]From: paul_carlson
2009-08-21 03:24 am (UTC)

Re: Farm Boy Blues

Notice how these Replies get thinner every time? Why is that? How thin can they become?

Play loose with facts? Moi?
Sometimes my memory plays tricks, but I don't make stuff up. Reality is bizarre enough as it is!
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