Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Math, Carpentry, and Culture: a Facebook Rant

It's a mathematical axiom that through a point an infinite number of lines can be drawn. It's also an axiom that two points determine a line. But statistically speaking, the closer together those two points are, the less reliable are any predictions made from them.

In the real world, it's easy to lay a 10-foot 2x4 across two sawhorses six feet apart. Now try balancing the 2x4 across one sawhorse. Then try balancing it on a 1/2" rebar stuck into the ground. The smaller the base, the harder the balancing act.

The real-life analogy to this is that (all other things equal) we old folks have a longer, and therefore better, view of life and especially American culture than you young folks do. Culture is like the air you breathe: you don't notice it unless it changes or you have something to compare it to.

I grew up in the late 40s and through the 50s, and I can say that American culture has largely degenerated since then. I can smell the stink of it, but you young folks can't, because you grew up in it and don't know any better. You think it's fine and normal, I know it's rotten and abnormal.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Laugh -- and slap my head

What makes me want to laugh and slap my forehead at the same time, is that big fat lie "We are the 99%."This is the same lie told in Petrograd in 1917 by the people who called themselves the Bolsheviki, roughly "the majority."

In fact, the Bolsheviks were never a landslide majority in any mass of socialist or anti-Tsarist political groups.

But on December 2, 1917, the Duma (governing body) of Petrograd was dissolved by threat of armed force. And on December 12, a new Duma was elected, almost entirely Bolshevik.

(Source: John Reed, "Ten Days that Shook the World," Mentor Books, 1967, p. 250)