Sunday, December 20, 2009

Common good governance. The Duty to Paratge. Ma'aht: Natural Order, Doing the Right, Balance. Malama.

 Recycle Language Concepts. Cultural Brilliance.
Re-Use the best of the Past:

  Paratge, Ma'at or Ma'aht.

The Duty to "Paratge" -  Old Roots 

Pronounce "paratge" in two syllables like "garage" = or  three, like "par-azghe-E":
In Catalan, perhaps the word "paraje" - 'tolerence', see ://
In Hawaiian, perhaps the word "malama" = 'care', see ://
Is that so, Mr. President Obama?

Update:see discussion of a current surface news-travel treatment of the Cathars, missing entirely this Cathar concept of paratge; and omitting the essence of the belief system.  Once expunged, wrongful or not, the myth of the irrelevance of the conquered continues. Crusades against the Christian Cathars and their Occitan language and concepts killed perhaps our Western last hope for tolerance as a cultural value.  See Cathars. Shoddy Research Rewrites History.

I.  Paratge 

Paratge stems from the old Occitan language of midi-France, the area known as Languedoc, and words from that language spilled over into England through people who spoke it in medieval times. But the Occitan concept of  "paratge" got lost as English forms took over.

Some still speak Occitan, in southern France, Pyrrhenees, Italy - there are some six dialects, see Occitan Language at :// See there its alphabet and pronunciations, and listen to a bit of it.  There are numerous related languages, spanning large geographic areas. It is not dead, just marginalized out of sight.

The Christian religious branch known as Cathars ("dualists" - another topic, and they were designated as heretics, see :// spoke Occitan, but the term also appeared in other French areas, and areas where that religious group did not dominate.  See FN 1.

The concept: 

Paratge is a word that combines
a) medieval chivalrous ideas of honor, gentility, courtesy, with an additional obligation,
b) a duty to do what is right.

A duty to a natural order and balance moral code - "Paratge".  That is more than a religious precept - do this because a deity says so, says someone.  It is a universal.  Paratge stood for what ought to be done to foster the natural order, balance.  A noble subject, such as a Duke, could even remind a Pope of the duty to paratge. The duty to paratge makes sense as a duty to an ethos.

Blasphemy, say we capitalists. Our system does not thrive on that stuff. Is that so?

Have we gone too far without it? 

There are stirrings of concern about the bents of our linguistic group, the Western Financial and Military Mogul.  For example, there are criticisms in news and financial analyses of Goldman Sachs and its direction, its goal of profits period, regardless, with an old societal service component down the tubes, see The New Republic, Has Goldman Sachs Lost Its Soul, at ://  "You lie!" shout the emboldened boors, modeling after those who are clueless.


This is not a religious piece. This asks, instead, that if other cultures have concepts for living together in a degree of harmony that ours does not, could we benefit from finding them and recycling, reusing them.  And if our culture does not have a concept, is that because there is none such, or because we beat it out of somebody.

Linguistics.  Cultural concepts. 

When languages disappear, or are superseded, concepts also get shoved aside in favor of the ones who win, who either defeat or sell the people on the new.

For example, the Cathar Christians, when their lands were being invaded by the French and other Christians who followed Rome's version, were horrified that the French "Christians" did not have the concept of paratge to govern their actions.

The French Christians from the north had no concept for it, no respect for it. Instead, they brought "deceit, brutality, vandalism, lying, hypocrisy, even mass-murder."  See ://  Rub the lamp. Oops.  Lamp went out. And this is progress? This is religious improvement?

Paratge in our history: 

Here is a fair use quote from this very large site on the Cathars and the Crusades (the Albigensian Crusades) against them, that virtually wiped them out, finally and with slaughter: This is from the Canso (Song of the Cathar Wars) and first lines shown in Occitan.  There are other, long quotes in Occitan and translation at that site.  Here, at this piece, the defenders at Muret had lost:
"Toto lo mons ne valg mens, de ver o sapiatz,
Car Paratges NE fo destruitz e decassatz
E totz Crestianesmes aonitz abassatz."

"It diminished the whole world, be sure of that,
For it destroyed and drove out paratge,
It disgraced and shamed all Christendom."

A Canso is a song in the form that troubadours used, see :// - a good starting point. Read about the Song of the Cathar Wars at ://' and part in narrative form at ://  Note that the Song begins in the voice of a supporter of the crusaders at the Siege of Termes, and refers to Brabanters. That is part of Belgium-Netherlands, showing from how far afield the crusaders came.

But halfway through the entire song, another anonymous voice takes over, supporting the Cathars - it looks like the quote above is from that section. Another Cathar supporter site:  the Historia Albigensis, by Peter of Les Vaux de Cerney, see ://

Paratge in action:  Common good governance; history of mutual respect

Go back to the Crusades. Saladin, in the Holy Land, says the site Languedoc site, says of Richard the Lionheart (of England) that his horse was killed. And Saladin sent him another.  Amazing, to militarists today.  Is this so?  West values gain.  Not then. Not in itself.
We looked it up:  it is so  This site says Saladin gave two equine replacements, see :// And Richard then offered his sister to marry Saladin's brother. Scroll down the crusades-encyclopedia site for more history, French, English.

Then the idea of paratge dissolves as the "West" develops according to Rome. Read more about Saladin, in the stories from his lands, at ://  It appears that he indeed knew "paratge".  A multi-cultural concept.  An honorable one.

So, Christianity took the other road. And here we are. What if the Popes had lost. What if their military and administration skills failed, and nobody bought their version of dogma, interpretation of matters subject to multiple interpretations. Would a western culture of tolerance and respect, a different culture from competion and accumulation, have won.


Extremists of any belief system have no paratge?  Explore the issue. Our extremists, other culture's extremists.  Is openness to paratge an important difference.

Read about the Saracen invasion and linguistic and other traces still in southern France, at ://, at ://

Remember little dark Buckwheat in Our Gang?  Early film?  Find Buckwheat in southern France.Traces of the Saracen.

II.  Ma'aht  -  or Ma'at

The ancient Egyptians had a concept like paratge - see the same Languedoc history site.  Ma'aht apparently is ancient Egyptian. We'll vet the site and its information further, but stay with the idea for now.  Ma'aht connotes cosmic balance - like the natural order of paratge. But ma'aht adds to it its result - contentment, joy, light.  It is a goddess who represents ma'aht, and the idea of ma'aht even underlies the later Christian concepts of heaven and hell. See

The goddess Maat - these spellings can be so different that it makes researching online difficult - stood for " "truth,  balance, order".  Honor.  Justice.  But the term is more a concept than an actual deity.  Without Ma'at, the world would revert to chaos.  See Egypt:  Ma'at, Goddess://  She represented an abstraction, the "rational and orderly working of the universe" - see ://  She was more the linchpin than the gods of power. 

The Orient incorporates these - in Buddhist ideas like karma, and the "right" - this is a really interesting site.

The Greeks also had the idea - in logos, or order, or pattern.  In the beginning was the logos - how and when was that concept of basic order then changed to a mere "word"?  The Christians turned the logos or pattern or order idea into their "God".  See ://

Linguistics and how meaning changes with who plays with it.  The earliest transliteration we find has "logos" from the famous Bible verse in John 1:1 or so transliterated into "in original was the saying and the saying was toward the God and God was the saying this was original toward the God" etc., see

That indeed looks like someone else was doing the saying, and aiming it at God, that it did not originate with God, and that would fit the Egyptian model of Ma'at on top (Wisdom up there?).  Even Michelangelo has the lady looking over the deity's shoulder to see how he's doing.  See Sistine chapel.

Nothing is ever clear if you look. Things are only clear if you don't look.

III.  Malama - Hawaii

Malama is care, fairness, trust, inventiveness, respect, freedom, kindness, equality, cooperation. Not malama is obedience, shame, coercion, punishment, criticism, violence, fear, contempt, competition, deceit, defensiveness.  See the full lists at ://  How is it applied, or not - see Socialist Mop, and Malama.

IV.   A Little Play:
How to Rebalance the West's Flaws

Speak, O Past. (Actor rubs the lamp). 

(Chorus Intones) We are sick of Gain meaning All.  We are sick of government faction fights and global warming fisticuffs in high places, and healthcare issues becoming toxic.

And yes there's more.  There is seeking self-interest at the expense of what is right, with religions as profit-minded as Wall Street, and the winner of toys is cheered on culturally as the loser dissolves into a puddle and the winner does little victory tippytoes and fist bumps supporters.

(The lamp stirs).  Suddenly, out wafts -- what? Paratge.  Out comes -- what?  Ma'aht.  What?  What are those?  What are they telling us? Why are they here?

We haven't a clue at first, because we don't have the concepts to define paratge and ma'aht in ready form in our language.  We acknowledge no duty to paratge, to ma'aht. Is that so?  If we have no concept for something, do we even see it. Here is a clue:  If we do paratge, we are wimps in the eyes of those who strut and count.

Paratge and ma'aht.  Find them at The History of the Languedoc, at ://

Conclusion:   O, scholars, rub the lamp again ....  how to get paratge back, ma'aht, malama.  Too late for Copenhagen or Washington?  Or civil discourse over tea with bags.  Define "heretic." Whose power interest is served. What did the Crusades kill:  an ethos of egalitarianism, honor, fair play.  What survived.  Gain, force, militance, intolerance, abuse of the helpless, molestation of children all institutionally sanctioned or shoved under the clerical rug. The Crusades killed essential values.

FN 1  This site gives information about the Cathars, and their language that included that word, "paratge".  They were a large and prosperous Christian religious group, who did not follow Rome or the Pope, but had their own rituals - with elements later included in the Roman (read the site) and  located in southern France and a swath east toward Italy and west into the Pyrenhees, we understand. Visit ://

In the middle ages, this group were deemed heretic (look up the crusades against them - were they largely so the Roman church could get its vast land holdings and property, increase political power? go vet).

The language of the Cathars was Occitan.  The old Occitan language was the language of many prominent early English (Eleanor of Aquitaine, and King John I, for example).  Teach languages and history on a par with the theorems.  How else to open windows on perception.  How else to train to hear others.

Is this so:  some political leaders or devotees are simply bad sports when they have lost something they had wanted very much.

Bad sports. Does that idea relate to paratge. Poor sportsmanship. No sense of paratge. Dirty tricks, all that to sabotage the others before, during and after the event, denigrate the win, take away the victory. In elementary school, people would be expelled for it. Is it time to assess paratge in leadership and compel some to repeat Third Grade Sportsmanship 101.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Courage Was In The House. Haiku Cao. The House is Roused. Brow Chow. Ahn Joseph Cao and the Poet Laureate.

Brow Chow:
Ahn Joseph Cao and the Poet Laureate Acts

Courage was in the House.

Haiku On The Occasion of the Passage,
House Vote, Healthcare Insurance Reform. 
Then Cao got cowed.

Laud Cao. Brow Chow, One Who Would Not Be Rammed 

In Honor of Ahn Cao

Cao.  Wow.  Bow now, thou!
Howl!   Growl!   Foul trowel!   How Mao!
Tao plow. Grouse chow. Ciao.

Addendum 3/5
Cao has been cowed.
They chewed him alive.


1. Editor's note:

This great poetic work commemorates the sole Red Vote in the House of Representatives for passage of Affordable Health Care for America Act, H.R. 3692, a/k/a healthcare insurance reform bill. It was created  by Fearfog, Ad Hoc Midnight Poet Laureate Pro Tem: on the Occasion of The Passage and In Appreciation for Ahn (Joseph) Cao. It will be catalogued under the Do-We System and indexed at "House Rousers v. Grousers".

2. What is this Poet Laureate?

The full title is Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress.  The Poet Laureate position is filled by appointment annually by the Librarian of Congress.  The current Librarian is James Billington, age 80, and he has held that position for 22 years, originally appointed by Ronald Reagan. We may be in for a change, see ://

The Poet Laureate serves as "the nation's official lightning rod for the poetic impulse of Americans."  See :// Fearfog may just apply.

3. Comments on the Occasion of the Passage:  

The Librarian of Congress Billington,
He of weighty brow,
Is even now,
Figuring out how
This came about.

"Suddenly," he was heard to exclaim, as the voting concluded and to excited bystanders, "There was this hero, Ahn, on deck. Like right on the prow, of the Ship of State, and he broke through the Ice!" Ahn was on. Cao just doing it.

Said Cao, in effectL  My constituents need this healthcare, and not ideology. See ://

4. Upshots
  • Cao. The Proud. Finally, a really good Joe. Serving We the People.
Is that so, Other Joe? Isn't that the job?  You, over there.

Jowl jowl scowl.

  • When the bough breaks. See Jepsen at ://,0,7159870.story/. The Other Joe: Ciao. Now. How?
  • Passage. An encouragement to governmental warming.  The Passage Through the Ice Jam.
  • History quasi-Connection:  Cao Mao.  But in China.

    The vote by Cao is in the spirit of the studious and intelligent one of surprising name of another country's history, one Cao Mao (Yanshi or Yen-shih), but from China, 3d Century, in the time of the Three Kingdoms.  He sought to take back power from powerful officials, see ://  They got him for it.

    Now: How do grouser-enforcers inflict their punishment on this Cao for failure to toe the power line, certainly not in the same way as happened to old Cao Mao, but in the spirit of removal.

    Change. Challenge. Red flags.  Cao got cowed soon after.

    Brow chow. Food for thought. Words dance like red shoes.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Tale of Two Prizes. Pulitzer Time. Deserved Incentive Prize for Excellence. Nobel Prize. Encourage a Path.

A Tale of Two Prizes. Pulitzer and Nobel.

The Nobel to Obama; 
Follows the Will of Alfred Nobel

Needed:  A Pulitzer to the Journalist Who Tracks that Issue.
The Criteria are in the Will

Well done, Obama.

1.  The Nobel Peace Prize to President Obama:  Do his advances and innovations in seeking Peace qualify as "achievement".  Yes. There is clear precedent for this kind of humanitarian approach to problems. See Nobel's site at :// Such awards are given even where the overall goal has not yet been reached.

The Peace Prize is an award to the sowers among us.

* Here, example of sower, Quebec, roadside.
2.  The Pulitzer Price for Journalism.  Which journalist will get the Pulitzer Prize for excellence in serving the people in coverage of the Nobel.  Few qualify so far, because few reference the mandate of the Pulitzer Committee in assessing their decision. Pulitzer saw journalism as a "noble profession, and one with unequaled importance for its influence upon the minds and morals of the people." See ://

The Pulitzer Journalism Prize is an award to those who play fair, serving truths, respecting rules, greater than self-interest.
Modern journalism: As back in Pulitzer's day, do we now see a recurrence of yellow journalists (of which Pulitzer himself had been one): the biased opinion expressed in the guise of fact, see Yellow Journalism at ://  The yellow journalism of yesterday is persuasion journalism of today. Not Pulitzer material.


The two sets of Prizes here have familiar names, but a closer look at their backgrounds helps assess the brouhaha about President Obama's award for the Nobel Peace Prize.  Pulitzer-Nobel. Nobel-Pulitzer. Which is which, and did the Nobel Committee stay within its mandate to reward achievement. How is "achievement" defined in the Prize context. Edit online until we get it reasonably right.
  • Here we look at the prizes set up by Alfred Nobel and Joseph Pulitzer in the early 20th Century.  There is some overlap in subject matter.  Nobel rewards achievement in a) fields of knowledge in the sciences, b) the creative mind in literature,  and c) peace - human relationships on the international scale. Pulitzer rewards excellence in  a) public service in journalism, and  b) the arts and letters. 
  • Is it appropriate for the Nobel to award the Peace Prize for Advances and Innovation, for dedication to a process, even if the goal is not yet reached, or may never be reached.  
 And, where there are obstructions set up by others or circumstances or human nature to achieving success, do the ideas of the one whose path is obstructed still get rewarded for the advances they represent. See ://  Changing ways of thinking is a slow process, no magic final stroke solves human problems, see the Presentation Speech for the award in 1999 at  ://  That award was for humanitarian work in medicine, for helping.

Our conclusion so far is yes both ways. The award is appropriate, and not tarnished because Peace has not been achieved. Advances and innovation in approach can constitute "achievement" justifying a Nobel prize even if the goal itself is not yet reached. And if the goal of public service and international cooperation is being barred intentionally, by those whose own goal is to obstruct out of their own financial and political interest, and not to serve the people, and without entering into dialogue with other proposals of merit, the fact that the advances and innovations have not achieved the goal does not reflect adversely on the merits of the approach.

The Nobel Peace Prize award to President Obama was appropriate, even brilliant, because "peace" is ongoing process, never "accomplished" despite the signing of papers. Rumbles continue and reworkings always needed. There is no full stop in the field of human and state relationships. The Committee applied the mandated standards. Go back to the Presentation Speech
  • So: Which journalist would get a Pulitzer Prize for Journalism in covering the issue?  Apply the Pulitzer standard. The Pulitzer journalism standard is public service, and the award is an incentive to excellence.  Excellence is a stand-alone concept; and discretionary with the Committee. A work can be excellent even if it is obstructed by others for their reasons (ban, censor, misrepresent, pan). 
Does anyone on earth have a consistent record in anything? Of course not. Pulitzer himself engaged in yellow journalism, see ://  He and Randolph Hearst and sensationalism degraded journalism.  That had an impact on international relations, see Effect of the Press on Spanish-American Relations in 1898, by John Baker, at ://

The Pulitzer organization treats that as a lapse, outweighed by his achievements in public service, see :// That is another whole topic:  Pulitzer's change of heart here?  For our purposes, we will use the Pulitzer of the Prizes, not try to sort out his inconsistencies, and the inconsistencies we see on the web about him.

With that premise, that Pulitzer engaged in Yellow Journalism but moved beyond it, our conclusion so far is that few, if any, journalists have served the public by enabling the public to draw its own conclusions.  Pulitzer fought yellow journalists. That became a mission for him.

Where is there a journalist here who is presenting first, a neutral and thorough fact background, then reasoned through to an opinion stemming from those facts deemed most relevant, that then is clearly separated by text from the fact section.  We are still looking. No Pulitzer Prize for journalism here.  All we seem to get is opinion, without reference to the standards, and a piling-on thereafter. No award for churning.

Persuasion journalism, or its extreme, yellow journalism, is not Pulitzer material.

Next steps: 

1.  Blend the two sets of Prizes to unconfuse the public. Apply the Remarkable Achievement idea of the Nobel Peace (including the advancement and innovation) and the Excellence in public service of the Pulitzer Journalism.

There can indeed be excellence in the advancement, the work and the goals, despite a path obstructed by others, or no "success" yet, if ever. That means one set of blockers cannot intentionally bar the prize by their blocking.

2.  Anyone presenting stories about the Prizes, educate the public about the standards. Or

3.  Reframe "Peace" in terms of medicine. We understand the language of process, ongoing issues, application of theories, disease, treatment, and the ultimate but rare cure. Or reframe it as "pacific international relations".

Peace is waffley.  It is not a field of knowledge.  It is a manifestation, of whether we can control ourselves or not. A status that may not last despite all.  If medicine gets away with awards short of cure, why should not people get awards short of peace. Even "pacific international relations" suggests an ongoing process, change.

If we use the disease imagery, the disease is warring:  human aggression, abuse, exploitation, selfishness, obstructionism for economic or political gain at the expense of others.  Even if the disease of warring is not cured by a new application for treatment (negotiation, climate for cooperation etc), and the drive to war is not cured,  the Prize Committees propery reward the excellence of the ideas of the one on the path.



I.   The Prizes.  

A.  Joseph Pulitzer and His Prizes, Including for Public Service in Journalism

Joseph Pulitzer was a newspaper publisher, a visionary, Hungarian by background, "a passionate crusader against dishonest government." He set up, through his will, in about 1904, a system of prizes to be awarded, with a particular mission in journalism, history, biography, letters:  as "an incentive to excellence (emphasis supplies)".  See The Pulitzer Prizes at ://

Prizes were first given in 1917.  And the categories were:
  • journalism
  • letters and drama
    • an American novel
    • an original American play shown in NY
    • a book on American history
    • an American biography
    • a history of public history, press
  • education
  • traveling scholarships
Pulitzer's Mission in Journalism:  to Serve the People. He himself engaged in yellow journalism as a method, see :// but this was (or was not?) outweighed by his public service.

Serve and battle for the people. Read his mission statement in taking over The New York World in 1883: Joseph Pulitzer vowed he would make it a paper
"truly democratic... that will expose all fraud and sham; fight all public evils and abuses... that will serve and battle for the people with earnest sincerity." 
See Joseph Pulitzer at://

The Board was given broad discretion in how to award, and what.  The categories are not absolute. Music categories have been added, and online journalism. The Board is free to fashion its own awards, within the mission. Throughout, however, the prizes have been for excellence, as a stand-alone matter.  Whether or not others agree, or obstruct the effort, the work is assessed on its own.  The award provides an incentive to continue on the path; even if the work is not finished, "accomplished."  See excellence on the verge?  Excellent.

B.  Alfred Nobel and His Prizes, Including for Peace

Alfred Nobel (1833-1936) was an inventor, chemist and industrialist, researcher and innovator, Swedish by background. Among his inventions: a gelatine used in explosives. He also set up a system of prizes through his will, with a mission to award persons in a different field from journalism and letters.  He wanted to award those who make "remarkable achievements" in specific fields of knowledge (physics, physiology, chemistry, medicine), but also literature, and human relationships - peace.See ://  His own lifetime achievements?  He declared none.

That Nobel Prize site,, is a rocky translation into English, but the more moving for its literalism in describing Alfred Nobel. He "left us lofty ideology of hardworking, looking down up material honors." He lived simply. He received many honors from other nations, but not for the dynamite. Instead, he got awards for incidentals like his cooking, or his accidental friendship with an official. Nobelkepu site.

The Nobel envisions an award for Achievement.  Achievement for purposes of the Nobel has always included advancements, insights, and innovations.  Look at the Nobel fields of knowledge, the sciences; and the creative field,  literature; and the elusive human relationship field, peace. Cancer is not yet cured; but advancements in understanding and treatment of it are rewarded, for example.  

C.  The Award of The Nobel Peace Prize Committee for 2009 to President Barack Obama.

C.1  The Nobel Committee's Stated Grounds.

Read the Nobel Committee's own standards and commentary about the nature of the achievement of Barack Obama in the cause of peace at ://

The Committee awarded the prize to President Obama
  • "for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples;" and 
  • for his "vision of and work for a world without nuclear weapons." 
  • for setting a "new climate" and 
  • for his "use of dialogue and negotiations" as instruments for resolving conflicts.
2.3.  Issue.

The issue many journalists raise is whether, since "peace" itself in no geographic area in which President Obama has worked has not been achieved, why give the award for a work in process, for uses of tools that may not ever succeed. They equate advancement and innovation, that has not yet brought about peace, as lack of "accomplishment."  Where is the achievement, they ask.

Advances and Innovation constitute Achievement in medicine and other fields of science.  Advances and innovation constitute achievement also in human and international relations.  Cure is not the test for an award in medicine.  Neither is actual peace in our time.  O Lord!

How long, etc.

Blend in excellence.  Excellence stands alone. Intrinsic. On its own merits. Excellence can be achieved despite the obstructionism of other elements. Or no goal reached, yet, or ever. Prematurity as a criticism requires that the original intent of those awarding the prize is an award for accomplished goals, not inspiration, not incentive, not advancements or innovations. Not so.

Obama the Candidate, XL Center, Hartford 2008. The Nobel Prize for Peace, for advancements and innovations in approach to conflict resolution, well awarded.
The Nobel Peace Prize Committee for 2009 was correct in its award to Obama because they followed the mandate of Alfred Nobel.  They applied the standard of "remarkable achievement" to Obama's use of new tools in seeking peace (it can never be totally "achieved").   

How could the Nobel be only for "accomplishment"? Any boor can thwart progress. Just taint the test tube. Destroy the keys. Spin beyond ken. Don't show up. Elocute for an hour and a half when you are supposed to talk for 15 minutes. Say you will and then you don't.

It only takes one boor to block a road. Why elevate the boor for the blockage?  But the ideas carry on. For many recipients, implementation was delayed or never occurred.  And the Prize was appropriately awarded then and now.

II.  Which Journalists get the Pulitzer for coverage of the Nobel Peace Price Award to President Obama.

Will anyone win.  Which journalist follows the mandate of Joseph Pulitzer and his personal philosophy about merit in journalism. Which journalist dedicates himself or herself to expose fraud and sham, fight public evils and abuses, "serve and battle for the people with earnest sincerity." See ://

What is excellence in journalism?
  • News. Present first, a neutral and thorough fact background.  Cite sources. If opinion is called for
  • Opinion. Reason through to an opinion stemming from those stated facts, that are made available to the reader; and lay out how and why they are weighted. Use the opinion pagel or, if the piece is investigative, label it so and then put the opinion in (also clearly labeled as such). 
  • no persuasion journalism (propaganda) by slipping in opinion by tilt of word in the facts, misstating or understating facts, or stage technique
  • no blurring news and opinion so viewers and readers are encouraged to mistake opinion for fact
  • opinion is not fact
Schools of Journalism have broad curricula, but so far persuasion journalism seems to be winning, see

Since its establishment in 1904, the Pulitzer Prize has been awarded as an incentive to excellence.  Incentive.  Incentive.  Encourage.  Cheer on.  See the site of the Prize people. And the areas.  Areas for recognition: See its site at The Pulitzer Prizes, History, at ://

This makes sense. How could there be "accomplishment" in eradicating corruption, fraud and exploitation. There can only be the battle for the accomplishment.  It is never done. There can be excellence in the presentation, but whether it "worked" is not the point.  And there is broad discretion in awarding the prize. Who to second-guess?

The Obama coverage?

There are no Pulitzers here.  We see opinions, disembodied from facts about the mandates of the Prizes, and churned and turned into media virus.  Persuasion journalism.  The new yellow journalism. See

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Ayn Rand: Is there a Humanist Antidote to her Kool-Aid of "Objectivism". Market Worship. Inheritance Limits.

Update. Ayn Rand as new icon of the Tea party, subject of column by Maureen Dowd, NYT opinion, Maureen Dowd on Ayn Rand and the Tea Party, Atlas Without Angelina.  The A's have it. Ms. Dowd points out that the Adulation grows despite Ayn Rand's Approval of Abortion, Atheism, and Amoral sexual relationships.

 Explore Novelist-Theorist Ayn Rand's Ideas 
of Self-Interest and Justified Accumulation. 

Accumulationism as Market Worship.
Andrew Carnegie's Idea of Inheritance Limits.

Politics, theologies, mindsets.   
Bring Ayn Rand Out Into the Open

The Chairman of BB&T, a banking company, is John A. Allison IV - that IV means he is the third to follow an original ancestor, John A. Allison the n-number, who had a Junior who became II when Sr. died, then had a son III, and now we have great grandson of the original son of a gun, IV.  All this signifies, if not Blue Blood in a red family, at least the trappings of it.

John A. Allison is like many in charge of our financial and political worlds, we are finding.  He is a devoted devotee of Ayn Rand - anti-government where government is doing anything to help the undeserving weak.  Says he: Don't hurry to fix anything.  It will fix itself - just ignore all those people under the bus.  See article at  New York Times August 2, 2009, Give Him Liberty, but Not a Bailout, by Andrew Martin, //  Market worship.  All for the market. And the holder's share of it.

Ayn Rand.  In the hearts and minds of me-firsters everywhere.

We see Ayn Rand and her books continuing to attract followers, finding solace in putting self first, regardless of anybody else's need, desires, background in why that person is so far behind (rule of tough) (their fault for being run over).

The Ultimate Entitlement:  I want, I can, I will, and I do.

How does a pluralistic society handle that kind of exclusionism, and for how long. And, how to measure what people think in the first place.

One answer may lie with the long-dead Andrew Carnegie, who proposed that taxes be abolished, but that noone can bequeath more than a reasonable maintenance amount to dependents for their lifetimes.  The rest, get this:  Either the person arranges for its disposition before the person's death, divesting himself-herself of control of it; or anything left in his or her name, not needed for the dependents' maintenance, goes to the government.  Who would want that?  Nobody.  So, everybody is incentivized (dreadful word) to divest before death as he or she desires and directs. Read the Gospel of Wealth, the Hymn to Wealth. Sometimes called The Gospel According to Andrew Carnegie.  See ://

Would this work?  Shall we poll?  What good are polls on this or any topic.  Polls merely measure the extent to which the lines being fed out from the belief-shaper trawlers are being swallowed.  If the poll is unsatisfactory to one position, the poll shows where to buttress the hook. Polls do not measure thought, only the parroting. Is that so?

Regardless of ability to measure, we look at the beginnings of exclusionism, then its manifestations, in order to see what can be done. And arrive, we think, at Andrew Carnegie.

The agenda:

1.  Ayn Rand, who says:  Economic Egoism Wins; I do, I keep. See its manifestation in cultural anomalies that attach to religious groups,  like

2. Washington's C Street, invisible army for Christ exclusive fraternity.  C Street says this:  That God ordains my Egoism; therefore I do, I keep.  can do as I like; I do, I keep.*  Ayn Rand would not put the God in there. Then move to another angle:  

3. The Gospel of Wealth: Andrew Carnegie 1889.  He says, if you do, you keep; but only until the instant of your death.  Therefore, enjoy egoism, but divest yourself of your goods before the bell tolls; or lose it.
I do, I keep, but then I must also manage its divestment out of my hands, during my life, for good.

Andrew Carnegis's idea of inheritance limits may be the answer.  Taxation won't do it; exhortations to do the right thing will flop; but provide that your legacy depends on what you divest before you die, and we may have an incentive for a common good..
No posts here are an easy read. This is no sound bite.  But the issues are serious.  So follow along.


Suppose that the apparently vast network of prophets and disciples of Aynism, The Religion, or "Objectivism," prevail in our society. Ayn Rand, and C Street, and others hidden and disclosed, prevail in their persuasion.

Political battle lines include her philosophy, We do elections in this country, and those ideas may win out.  Malware often succeeds.

Ayn Rand was a novelist and political and economic theorist whose ideas include fostering untrammeled accumulation of wealth, the individual's self-interest as the greatest good, and do whatever is needed to keep government and its fostering of losers at the expense of winners, out.  Is that roughly it? She has an extensive following, see current overviews and comment at Ayn Rand, Aynism, Objectivism. See FN 1
If these Accumulationists, or Objectivists, or other title (labels count) prevail even more than they have already, and pass more laws to free themselves from traditional morality and any altruism, demonize the public good.  What is an appropriate counterbalance? Do review the company website, one of them at ://  This comes across as downright benign, and maybe that is so. We are still figuring it out, and had not come to that conclusion for the common good. It may be benign for the successful, but not for the needy. A difference in "objective".


They force us to bring in theological terms. Consider the transgressions of the elected. Do we continue to accept their philosophy that they are the chosen here.  And we are the fodder. Here, an update, October 2009, about John Ensign.  See ://


We suggest, idea from Andrew Carnegie, that they have their accumulations, build the bigger barns for their goods all they like, but then comes the balance. We set up a tax structure, beef up escheat, or other mechanism, so that the person is highly motivated to implement himself or herself what is desired as to disposition of property, and before death.  Carnegie lived before income tax, so he did not envision a tax structure.  We have that tool.
Why worship "rights" of heirs, worship "inheritance" of estates.  Time for a change. Arrange it so the person simply arranges for the reasonable support of or gifts to whomever he likes, but has to part with the property and its income to do it before he or she dies.

Upshot:  Accumulationists * should not get free accumulation and long-term lifestyle at our expense; and then get broad rights to bequeath, inheritance for their heirs, as well. Take your pick. If they get the first, the Big Barn for their goods; make it in their interest to divest themselves of it, voluntarily, with themselves at the helm if they like, and before they die.

* Call Ayn Rand's followers "Randists" if you like, and that might fit because she named herself after Rand of typewriter industry fame.  But it sounds too specific to Ingersoll Rand, see We prefer Aynists because it has no prior associations.And she also made up the name "Ayn". See Aynism site.

This rambles.  So be it. We edit over time.
We can absorb the Accumulationists, 
but it takes a U-Turn, and Looking Back to Andrew Carnegie. 

Counterbalance with restricted estate-disposition rights

Absorbing the malware ideas of Ayn Rand takes a shift in the track, or at least a 180 degree reversal.
Ask: Where does the right to bequeath property come from? Ideas of property and its disposition are cultural. Laws are set in place that effectuate cultural mindsets about property.  Those can be changed, and, with more difficulty, the mindsets as well.  Are we entitled to inherit?  Why not instead let the dear departed make that decision, about who gets what, and simply require that it be done before he or she dies.
Andrew Carnegie had that idea.  Read his Gospel of Wealth at ://  He actually did it himself - voluntary divestment before death. Hello, Carnegie Library, Carnegie Hall, the old Carnegie Tech now Carnegie-Mellon University.  Is Dale related? No idea.


Absorbing the accumulationism of Ayn Rand takes the counterbalance of Andrew Carnegie.  It takes taking Andrew Carnegie, once the richest man in the world, seriously.  See his Gospel of Wealth, Hymn to Wealth, and comments at Gospel of Andrew Carnegie, Victorian Everyman. Take that philosophy and see how it fits with today.  We can even amend it to include Subsequent Generation Generosity or Subsequent Generation Altruism, if we like  SeeAltruism: Eunice Kennedy Shriver.

His gospel of wealth, hymn to wealth, leads Carnegie to do the expected, to advocate and praise free accumulation during life; but he goes further.  Do the accumulating freely, but nobody can pass it on at death - except for enough that can be carved out for reasonable needs of dependents. Otherwise, heirs are on their own.  The heir just went out of their tires.

Do it with tax. Keep the gift tax laws in place during life, reduce the income tax. And tax the dickens out of property at death. The will comes too late.  The property has to be disposed of during the person's life.

Carnegie lived before income tax. So he had a lot. His ideas about it count.

Will somebody now do a review, objectively, for Objectivists, on the effect of increasing inheritance taxes while reducing present income taxes.  There are sad tales in Britain of heirs who are reduced to putting in tea rooms in the parlor to serve the few tourists who may find the house in the woods, or who have to turn over the place to the government.  But if the originator had set the perpetuation of the mansion up himself or herself, as the best managers around, problem solved.

That is one of a million impersonators, but the question still applies. What good is it to be an enabler of ease, the great dis-ease.  A reasonable looking-after is sufficient, then provide for the better lifetime disposition of funds. And that will be better done by the person who had the guts and chutzpa to accumulate it.  That move frees up the otherwise hangers-on to get out there and do their own accumulating. How many third generation heirs are worth much in terms of societal contribution. Or is managing an inherited portfolio sufficient for continuing privilege. That is purely cultural, taught.
Or is Ayn right, and societal contribution is an evil because it encroaches on accumulations. Fine, let the accumulator accumulate. Then be done with it.


We can afford, as a nation, and philosophically, to allow anyone to accumulate as much wealth as he or she can.  We already know how to do it.

There was once a game show about that. Imagine the shopping carts dashing frenetically up and down the aisles - grab all the cart will hold, you lucky person, you.

And, in many ways, the non-accumulators do benefit, depending on how the accumulators invest, spend. So, this is a time, place and manner analysis - divest and plan for it now, do it; and do it now.

But if you hoard, your heirs won't get it. Set it up so they use their money now, or lose it.  Use it or lose it. What happens to their estates after the Accumulators die is appalling anyway.  Noblesse oblige, even a sound wit, rarely makes it to the third generation. Otherwise the Randian-Aynist acquisitionism is sheer malware.
So, summing, we say,with Andrew Carnegie, you can make it, you can store it, you can use it, but you can't pass it on.  Nope. That means that anything that remains in your name, where you have any degree of control over the property's disposition, at the nanosecond of your death, goes to the government. If you don't want the government managing your stuff, and don't trust it, if government is alien to your own philosophy, that means you have to divest yourself voluntarily before you die.

We can accommodate a modicum to support spousal and minor dependents of the deceased, carve out of the estate enough for that. But if you want a legacy, your "heirs" have no right to what you earned (or inherited if you did) at all.  Your legacy is in how you managed and planned for the longterm life of your estate.  Or its dissipation.

Your heirs have every right to earn, accumulate on their own.  Go!  And the rule applies to them when they die.  They can have all their barns while they are alive, but are well-advised to invest it and arrange its management to do your wishes after they go.


 FN 1  If this topic of the new rugged individualism is new to you, Ayn Rand,1902-1982,.was a novelist and economic and other theorist who espoused a kind of purist's capitalism where wealth accumulation is life's highest calling, and the successful must be protected in their privileges allowing them ot operate outside a moral sphere, and are justified in following their self-interest without regard for others' need. Her movement was called "Objectivism,"  Her economic ideas and social theories entrench powerful wealth-accumulators as an elite, justify their pursuit of self interest regardless of a common good, and demonize regulation and government interfering with "free" machinations in the market that perpetuate the long-term moral-free (that is, traditional morals) lifestyle of the privileged.  Her background and an overview of her thinking and its current application is at Ayn Rand, Aynism, Objectivism.  See also FN 1.

Can we set aside for the moment, an analysis of whether her ideas of entrenching and justifying an economic elite regardless of how they got there (the Being of Successful makes it right) or the impact on others, are good or bad for
a) democracy,where votes are votes until they are stolen or prevented or diverted
b) "we, the people" as we pursue our own lives, liberties and pursuits of happiness, or
c) the individual's greater good.

Maybe not. How can responsible people do that, set aside the ideas.  They may prevail in derailing any effort to provide economic, health, education floors - basics for everyone before an elite can go through the stratosphere.  

Ayn Rand's background is one of a minority, and maligned, who perhaps decided at an early point that no longer would she be #2, a member of an unbeloved minority, Jews in Russia,  to the majority the mainstream whites and red Russians of the time.

She was born and was raised in revolutionary Russia, as Alyssa Rosenbaum, in a Jewish family, father a pharmacist. She is not a Marxist. She was a graduate of the University in Leningrad, along with many distinguished others, and was an immigrant here in 1924.

Her ideas of untrammeled self-interest as serving the greater good, that one group's need does not justify intrusion into another's wealth,  have motivated oeople in high places for decades, and to the present. CEO's, high government officials in past decades, and to  all who see the accumulation of wealth as the main event in life. Ayn Rand, Aynism, Objectivism,

These ideas have risen to the level of a kind of religion, Aynism.  Aynism is more appropriate than "Objectivism" as an identifier of a religion.  A religion is a hehavior-advocacy system, or at least behavior-modeling.  Most western religions proseletyze and crusade, whether among a secret elite or the masses.  Aynism has a personal-interest compass for morality. It has its own dogma, prophets, disciples, and crusade-stimulating capability to weed out nonbelievers. By now, it has a large, and largely secretive, following.

Transparent mindsets can be coped with; but as always, it is the secretive that undermines the rest of us best.

See site:  ://

* Washington's 'invisible army' for Christ, see ://  The C Street Gang. Adultery is fine because it is in the Bible and King David did it, so go and do thou likewise? Example only.  Malware?  Or benign? Malware if you think. Read the whole article. You have time.

What about JC is in any of that C Street agenda??  Asks the curious citizen whose education, after all, is paltry, and she herself is not among the chosen, and must be mistaken.

Ayn Rand was a novelist and political and economic theorist whose ideas include fostering untrammeled accumulation of wealth, the individual's self-interest as the greatest good, and do whatever is needed to keep government and its fostering of losers at the expense of winners, out.  Is that roughly it? She has an extensive following, see current overviews and comment at Ayn Rand, Aynism, Objectivism. See FN 1
If these Accumulationists, or Objectivists, or other title (labels count) prevail even more than they have already, and pass more laws to free themselves from traditional morality and any altruism, demonize the public good.  What is an appropriate counterbalance? Do review the company website, one of them at ://  This comes across as downright benign, and maybe that is so. We are still figuring it out, and had not come to that conclusion for the common good. It may be benign for the successful, but not for the needy. A difference in "objective".

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Tag. YOU'RE It. Needed: A Tag for History, Culture, on Internet Search Engines.

History and Culture.
Try to find those on Technorati, other web organizers.

Find entertainment, gossip, sports, politics, but no history, no culture.

What is the value of history.  Historian Margaret MacMillan, in Dangerous Games, The Uses and Abuses of History, looks at the misdeeds of historians in reconstructing what their ideologies want. Despite that, she concludes that the point of studying history is not to be able to predict, because that may well not work. Situations differ. Can it explain.  Not necessarily. But history, she continues, teaches us perspective and to foster an appreciation of our own limits in trying to look back. We can never see the past fully or clearly, given the limits or our own time here.

"If the study of history does nothing more than humility, skepticism, and an awareness of ourselves, then it has done something useful."  

See New York Times Review of Books, by David M. Kennedy,

With that in mind, look at the choices for categorizing a site online, at the internet clearinghouses.

We see entertainment, business, lifestyle, politics, sports, technology. No History category except, so far, at StumbleUpon. Even there, it is not even on the home page, just at a teaser, see ://  No topic there covers something like it, a Culture site:  just Cyberculture, one word.  How about learning about Islamic culture, the mindset of colonials, anything. Nope. Nuthin'. Do it yourself.

None of those canned topics so popular on the search vehicles lead to insight the way historical-cultural perspective does. Are we done with insight? No need for more? Perspective? Got it all already?  Hardly.

Should we, instead, for our own good, add history to our research tools to
  • plan for the future, insofar as the past can help;
  • assess the garble of the agenda-filled talking heads more wisely;
  • even help the beleaguered school systems, and offer an education-type place for do-it-yourself, when the media's profit interest gets in the way.
  • train people to watch out for weasel words - those that sneak in an opinion or press a viewpoint just by the form of the question, or nature of comment and its wording;  and challenge the practitioners. 

History complements education. Yet we separate the two.

Some of us really enjoyed law school - and largely because of the history of human conflict resolution, principles, that was a part of its curriculum. Conflict resolution history lives still in any country's roots. Sonia, cheers.

History research: How else to understand. Dan Widing and an unidentified cleric in trouble, Croatia.

Offer a slot for history and its oddities, methodology (facts change, and so do conclusions) guidance; and add culture - how have other people organized their ideas and systems. What worked.

History needs a place on the hatrack of the internet. It adds to issues of celebrity, slant, persuasion, profits, hoarding, how-to's, voyeurism, and mere opinion-churning. Build it and they will come. Field of Dreams, film, inspiration at :// Act first, and results follow. That is a familiar concept for ballparks. Apply that concept of building first, and seeing what happens later, to one of the greatest needs of our culture: to reinstate history (as a process, not as someone's slanted summary); and culture (the opportunity to learn); as worthy, very cool, even vital, aspects, of a responsible, full life.

1. History is a weighing machine. And a mirror.
Knowing history's events can balance the pull of current trends, help weigh policy and unmask self-serving "leaders". Many cultures had great ideas and great leaders - what happened when those ideas became implemented by later systems, and lesser beings.

2. History got lost in the dumb-down or tainted textbooks.

No wonder people turn away. History. The great global guide, has been deflected, abused, and relegated to terminally selective, slanted summaries by people with agendas.
We know history is devalued in schools - some say it is too vast a topic to cover any of it well. We justify discontinuing the study because of the inaccuracies in the courses that are taught, see ://

3. Excluding history is propaganda by omission.

What other people learned in peace and stress, how they coped, is irrelevant to us. Is that so?

Is history simply too broad to be addressed at all - consider that the mere choice, of what to include and what not, will shape the little learners. Exclude a history of mankind's successes in mind-body or herbal healing (we survived, didn't we?) and that topic loses legitimacy. Observers note a lack of history taught in schools, and suggest an objective subject-matter focus, rather than trying to do surveys.

A history of religion, for example, can be valuable so long as it is not a proseletyzer. Religion motivates war. Should we not study it. See ://

How about studying great figures in history who started great religions, and what happened afterwards. Idea vs. system again. Global. See Rabbi Shmuel ben David of "Isaac's Torah"

No history offered for this group or that? Must mean they are less important, less valuable. And that gets taught by omission. And some say it should not be taught at all, but any history should be left to the community's elders and the community, not by schools that taint kids' minds with selectivity and bad teaching, see

4. Redefine history as process, to be vetted as it goes.

History needs sleuthing. Ever made bread? It is more than the stuff that is put together in it. Show a Martian a bag of flour, an envelope of yeast, some salt, honey, and say here is bread.

No. What it becomes depends on how it is put together, used, whether time is provided for it to puff itself up, or is it set aside and gets cold, crusty, falls. What it becomes depends on the breadmaker's skill, knowledge. As with history: the story told depends on the historian, the skill, the content, ingredients chosen, all this makes the history story his story out of the collected fact stuff.

History as barbecue. What traces of the original meal can be found? What other evidence has disappeared.

Ever burned a lot of stuff in a fireplace? What went in anyway, and what is left.

Is "history" really what is left? What if some ash just wafted away, other parts left lumps or melts - and a later tainted historian just takes a sieve to it, and throws out the greasy bits, what he does not want others to see; or hold over to next time. Just pitch it, make what is left all nice and smooth. Now that's history. His story, but not history.

Is that so?

So watch and vet the historian. Every minute.

This is why summary texts on history are usually so bad. Somebody chose how to interpret the stuff - include, exclude, pound the bread, let it rise or not. And the kids are supposed to swallow it, like dinner. No. Make the story match the evidence.

Instead, give kids all the facts and the content that can be mustered (speaking of barbecue), and let them draw their own conclusions. Do we dare?

What facts or content would be useful for a true, complete story. Do we dump the historians whose systems put out tainted summaries. How to do that, and retain the idea of history as valuable to us. History needs, first and foremost, thorough, unbiased collectors behind the historian who is going to tell the story - archeologists, ephemera, anthropologists, linguists, musicologists.

5. History as a Science. The Science of History.

History is nothing but theory based on observable facts. The more facts that come out, the more a theory may have to be modified. So, if Technorati will not add history as a separate category, shall we just put our history stuff in the science and technology section. They all operate on theory bases, that change with new information. Or should.

The difference with history is that people get invested in one interpretation of it or another. The history of a people, or a series of events, is warm and fuzzy or horrifying story that stems from once observable facts, then filtered and passed on in some fallible way, to meet an agenda. The idea of the history, that explains, enriches and predicts; is easily tainted, and the evidence discarded, like in the barbecue up there.

It is like science, but with more liable to be lost in the transmission. It is a dynamic, ongoing methodology, not a fixed result or a conclusion. Still, all history's conclusions are tentative, pending the next discovery. And fluid, because each teller adds an overlay of personal agenda. Add to the facts, and the story changes. Or should.

6. History as Enemy of Belief. Is That So?
Not necessarily. History, as a process of constantly searching for information and content that may change the theory, the story, only is an enemy of calcified belief.

Dan Widing and Karl Marx, Chemnitz, Germany

Here is an example of calcified belief.  Karl Marx was a socialist. A socialist is bad. Everything about socialism is bad. Karl Marx is bad.

That may be a neocon view. But what if they actually delved into the full thought complex, nuance and all. In some parts of the world, the man is larger than life, worthy of great respect. Look at little tourist at the corner. And Big Karl. Who would not feel dwarfed? To us, Dan is King.  To others, the size, space given to the subject, makes the difference. Karl must be King-er. As with tabs on search engines.

A culture can calcify its own history by stopping the process - either way: at the belief that Marx is great; or at the belief that Marx is anathema.

Either way, then "history" - as defined as a process of ongoing investigation and changing theories, does stop; dates and times get put into textbooks that put everybody to sleep, full of tainted conclusions put there to serve an ideology (anti or pro Marx), and beliefs and ideology take over. Another angle: uses of weasel words to make a viewpoint sound reliable, see ://

What to believe and what not to believe. Ancient issue.

What do the eyes see, is it really so, what if the head rejects what the eyes see, but the heart still yearns. We see "improvement." Or not.

What if there really is another explanation. When to say "miracle" and stop the presses; and when to say, I'd like to know more here. How does the process of history approach it, gathering facts, drawing conclusions; and how does the process of ideology approach it.

On the internet, we get ideologies everywhere, but few historians. We need the tag.

Whatever the religious orientation, or even where there is not an affiliation at all, is there not this idea - the person declaring belief in what he has just seen happen, that it did happen, but in the next breath, asking for help with the unbelief remaining. Western tradition may point to Mark 9:24 at ://

Ideology would stop the presses. Stop here. Don't look further. It is a miracle. A MIRACLE. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.

History would say, this seems to be so based on this or that; but we may learn more in the future. So, this is the theory for now. Hold on to it, and keep an open mind.

Cultures can foster open or shut minds. A culture can look at its understanding of its history, and forms beliefs from it. Then decide if matters will calcify. Calcifying is easy because emotion enters in, goals, ideology. Matters get fixed, just like domestic canines and felines "get fixed" in order to fit with the domesticity of the house better. And really fixed. No way back, except by archeology, anthropology, correcting the errors. A system of interpretation emerges, a cultural mindset, that implement a mindset. But how to get at a true history?

7. Pragmatism and History.

History is the great WD-40 of the public interest. History eases the way to consideration of the common good.

Get kids involved in getting history, even on their own. Skip the texts. Without a sense of evolving and evolved history, we are stuck with an inability -- to assess our own leaders in politics, religion, economics, anywhere. If studying history would improve our ability to collect information and draw conclusions to guide us into the future, why on earth would we not.

Teach kids about other kids where they are - Cetinje, Montenegro, for example. look up its history. Here don't teach history well because the money isn't there for historians. You will have to do it yourself. Try :// What happened there may well be happening here, but we won't be alerted because we didn't study the past.

No wonder the interest is so low - Look at the perks in politics, power, and propaganda, silly. Those are far sexier than the dusty mistakes or once-brilliant moves by our forebears.

But our ignorance is more dangerous than the cost of remedying that ignorance. Ignorance led us right into Iraq's morass, for example. Our ignorance of the failings of our elected leaders, in putting short term ego and profit before the rest of us; and ignorance of the history and culture of the country to be invaded. Fools rushing in. Act in haste, repent at leisure. Did your grandmother say that? That applies also to ignorance. Act in ignorance, repent with knowledge.

Ignorance. Ignorance is an intentional idea. A fault concept. A pejorative. Ignorant people, it suggests, deserve their straits. They keep themselves ignorant.

That is different from mere lack of knowledge, lack of access, being barred by others, doing one's best to find out but just not able to, is different. Look at Iraq, painful as it is. Our government deciders did not even ask about or learn the basics of that culture and its historical rifts. Look where our application shock and awe got us, in our ignorance. FN 1

So how to foster an interest in history, especially since it cannot be effectively taught in most schools. Everybody gets bored with the tilted, selective texts with their dusty summaries and dates.

So: Add tags to the popular culture for it. Add history to technorati, flickr, blogs. With a tag for it, people will come. First, curiosity, then perhaps an interest in finding out more. Do more look-ups. Enrich the global conversation. We all have histories. History as a methodology requires content, facts, visibles. We might even get in the habit of requiring disclosure of content and facts relied upon, before we lend our ears to any talking head opinionator.

8. Unmask those Vile Opinionators

Weasel words. Count them. Do not include them as "facts" as a basis for a historical analysis. Propaganda by Weasel. See Avoid Weasel Words at ://

History is separate from people's opinions about it, unless the opinion carefully states exactly which facts it considers, and which facts it disregards. Only then can we assess the opinion - form our own opinion of the opinion. And that is all news seems to be - opinion stacking.

If someone comes up with a textbook that is a series of conclusions and time-lines of dates, that is bound to be slanted, selective, canned perspectives. History is better approached as a hunter-gatherer activity. What is there from the time. What can be concluded from those bits. Constantly changing, as new information emerges. That is history. Beliefs about it are subjective, "revelation" even. There can be a history of beliefs, but the belief itself is not history.

9. History is vital to integrity, to survival without exploitation, if that is ever possible.

Sound the trumpets. Beat the drums. History and the mindset each nation's view of its own history affects foreign relations. It affects how we see each other, comparative cultural mindsets. Ditto. How to learn history? Go after it. Yourself.

Hunt and gather. We are natural hunter-gatherers. Record what is found. Nothing to be lost. Name names.

A name, like a tag, fosters identity, significance. Daniel Widing here. Important. Fun. Resourceful. He is here. He does this, he does that. His history. He and his contributions should not be lost to history. Now, others would impose an ideology on history that excludes him and many lives and how they affected their place and contacts, and says only this quality or that gender or that color matter. The agenda takes over "history" is not history at all, but dogma.

It takes a hunter-gatherer to appreciate history's process, and humans are hunter-gatherers.

Ask as you dig into what you find: Why are these things happening. What clues are there. A people's history, from their archeology, tales, religious beliefs, customs, linguistics. If our leaders disregard, devalue history, we all get swept away. Is that so?

How can Tags help.

Frame the little linguistic search words, signposts for cultural importance, to foster interest in an area. Index words. The shortcut to the grail. Add to the entertainment, celebrity, lifestyle, current events, science and tech, photo organizing, fun, socializing, soundbites and opinions.

Tags give a legitimacy to an interest. Get over the History shmistory. Culture shmulture. History is uncool? Not if it has tags and interesting things are posted.

Have a spat.

How to get fashionable? Get a following? Take spats: who wears spats? Nobody has even seen any. But put them on the counters and in the magazines, on cool people, get Fred Astaire out there with Michael Jackson, and Fred's spats become the next fashion statement. First the action, then the result. First the risk, then the benefit.

Let schools mess themselves up. Teach the kids how to do it themselves. Get a computer in every home. Texts are financed by pushing private interests, and aren't worth keeping. Is that so? Nobody can agree on which texts to use, what the texts should cover, or how to present information, whose agenda should be pushed, so skip it.

10. Trip it for History

Who wants to memorize somebody else's list of dusty events. So skip that idea.

Take a trip to the library. Dump the texts. Go back to original sources, letters from the time, implements, archeology, and let kids find history emerge from the content, the facts, the observables, the shopkeeper's accounts, the plague columns. You could get most of European and Asian history by merely studying the plague- origins, effects on economies and populations and societies, symptoms, religious aspects and responses, all that. Start with a focus and you can get it all, eventually.

Plague columns:  erected all over, to give thanks for a deliverance from the last siege of it, often.

Try a cheap trip, even to Europe. Squash in the middle of the airbus in the middle of the night, with some rental car at the other end, and two backpacks. It costs less than camp. Rooms in pensiones instead of the starred hotels. No reservations. There is always a clean, safe place to stay. And if not, plan to introduce yourself to the local police, and curl up in their parking lot. Do it. One parent, one child. Do the next child next year. Pick a place. Any place. See what you learn there.

Learn the Civil War by going to a battlefield, and letting our little hunter-gatherer heads move all around it. No canned interpretations, no lessons, let the kids figure out what those things meant to the people at the time, and us.

And, add tags.

See if people don't gravitate to a category provided, to see what is there. Perhaps add to it. And enrich the global conversation and understanding.

Add tags for content in history and culture If the tag is there, watch the entries emerge. We bet. History is exploration anyway - and it is unsuitable for summary "texts" because of the abuse of editorializing, slanting. full of secondary summaries bore us to tears, and may well be wrong. Spark an interest in history directly instead. And for comparative cultural mindsets. If someone can't go to a place personally where the events or people were, at least lay it out in accessible bits online, a recreational start. It might lead to some look-ups, self-help, content hobby-reading and investigation, not just celebrity. Worth it. Educate thyself. The tools are here.

FN 1 Sad, sick lesson learned about leaders and ignorance. Wish Bush had valued history, culture. Example. Bush & Co. were unaware until 2003 that there was a difference between Sunni and Shi'a in Irag, very different interpretations of Islam.

Did their appalling ignorance matter. Did this failure to vet a basic rift in the culture affect decision-making at vital levels. Of course. See ://

What difference would tags for history and culture make? If it is not to be emphasized in the schools, or ignored by leaders who go to our best schools and come out dunces, get the media on board. How does the media value it, or not. Does history repeat, can we learn from it, and if so, would the mere inclusion of it as a category attract thinkers in that area. Would an appreciation of history, and finding the fun of the odd, sad, inspiring or kicky stuff in it, add to our conversations with others. Enrich the global conversation.. If others value history and promote it, what are we missing by not doing that as well. Is there opportunity for cross-pollinating and understanding that we simply leave in the dust. If our conversations are about celebrity, entertainment, opinion-churning rather than content, recipes and touristy checklists for countries, are we dumbing ourselves down.

The short-hand. The little bookmark. The file cabinet. The index. What a culture values, thinks is worth looking at. If it isn't in the index, is it it. Is is anything of value. Does it exist. The power of naming. No name, no concept, no concept, nothing there. It slides right by.

How to understand a country, a culture, a group, except for its indices. Make up your own curriculum vitae - a curriculum for life, for analysis, for checking up on the bloviators, forming your own views.

United States
Flickr - Its list of most popular tags excludes concepts for culture, history. There is travel there, and countries.

Add history, and culture.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Define Health care as Human Infrastructure: Loosing The Gordion Knot. Bold Stroke Solution

When Reasoning Fails to Get a Consensus,
Just Do It With a Bold Stroke.
A little audacity, please.

Study Myth and Legend - The Gordion Knot - find the effectiveness of fast, but planned, Action. Have your tools handy, and move.

Tide's rising. What are our choices.
a) Keep on the sandbar, some of us having boats for the immediate future; or
b) Move fast and decisively, now, to a group-option higher ground, considering the long term. Not only because it is the right thing to do, but because the old boats leak.
First here, the legend of the Gordian Knot (a/k/a Gordion Knot) and then application of the lesson of the tale to Healthcare.
Yesterday's Knot - Gordius Who Became King

Fast and decisive saves the day. Once, as legend goes, there was a poor peasant named Gordius, in ancient Phrygia, an area now part of Turkey.

Phrygians were known for their headwear, see Phrygian Caps; and for a particular scale in music, often used in old church music, and now in modern times including heavy metal, see ://
Now, Peasant Gordius happened to tie his oxcart in a public square. Seeing that, the people were overjoyed.

Why? Because an oracle had told them that their future king would come in such a cart. The people made Gordius their king, and named the town Gordium.
Overjoyed at his own good fortune, King Gordius a) b)dedicated the cart to Zeus, king of the gods, and retied it so the knot could not not not be undone by just anyone. Another oracle prophesied that the one who succeeded in undoing the Gordian Knot would conquer all of Asia.

Phrygian Cap

A century passes. The knot holds. It is 333 BC.

Along comes Alexander the Great, age 23, who needs a decisive victory in his bid to conquer the known world, or at least an omen to persuade the people to stick with him, and he fusses with the strands a while.

Finally, Alex says, nuts, more precisely, "What does it matter how I loose it!" and he draws his vorpal sword and whack, the knot split.

That night, there was a huge thunderstorm, convincing the people that Alexander is truly the Son of Zeus. See The Gordian Knot at :// Sometimes spelled Gordion.

So: An intractable problem, and a bold stroke solved the problem. It got the job done. There are several variations on the theme, and on the kind of solution used (did Alex really just pull out the pole pin?, see :// Nonetheless, the story took hold, and even Shakespeare used it in reference to the skills of Henry V in problem-solving. See the Wikipedia site.

Today's Knot - Healthcare
Healthcare. One side (those who benefit now) wants the old system, with incremental tokens tossed here and there to those in need. Another wants a new approach, evening out benefits and burdens. Stalemate. Threats. Terminology wars: Raising humanitarian or public service arguments fizzle. One party coos, while the other bridles.

Need to Reframe. Follow through, instead, on this idea. Healthcare as human "infrastructure" - and stress the economics, the need for conditions in place before production can occur and increase. That has some heft.

And if that reasoning fails, then just do it. Then take a fast, decisive move to just do it. There are plenty of models to work from. If it works, great. If not, so what? Somebody later lowers the water level again. Better that than not aiming for high ground now.

Who likes that? Surprise, but conservatives should favor it. Healthcare does away with the excuse (perceived) that people can't be productive because of ill health, or a family member is in that position, and there is no money for treatment.

So: Skip the common good.

Skip life, liberty, pursuit of happiness. Skip the public interest. Label healthcare as it is: the basic framework, the underlying bones of our national organization. Health is human infrastructure. What other facility or system serves the national interest more than people who can be productive. For the punitive among us, take away the excuse not to do or be. Free up people. On the idea of infrastructure, all sides can agree because it is not roundy-touchy-feely. Nothing about moral obligations to love your neighbor. I me mine. That works.
1. Label Healthcare as Infrastructure: The idea is already wafting.
  • Florida Independence Party: "Spend taxpayer money only on infrastructure needs." And within infrastructure is listed health, along with roads, fire, sewer, law enforcement, water. Those are part of the Florida Independence Party platform at Fiscal Responsibility Para.10. See
Health as infrastructure. Define health care as human infrastructure.  As necessary to a society's productivity as roads are to transportation.

The flaw. Florida's Independence Party has it right, except for the part that says let the States and locals do it. States won't and can't see the national picture. We know that because they have not. Power spends on itself and for more power. Is that so? Local and state power channels to itself too well. Proven. No more time for private sector or local government.

National funds can even out the benefits of residency among states. So put Federal back in there for infrastructure, including as to health, because if your neighbor is sick, that ripples across state bounds to the national economy. The sicker, the bigger the ripple. Death and disease, equal opportunity sappers.
  • The Blogs. We keep hearing the arguments, but nothing gets done. See, e.g, :// See the calm, frontal lobe reasoned pip-pip-old-chap article, Health Care is Infrastructure by Deane Waldman from months ago at ://
We have much reasoning going on the one side, with demagoguery on the other. Is it possible to counter demagoguery without becoming a demagogue?

2. Why reasoning fails.

a. Reasoning fails when an issue has already been hit and grabbed the amygdala first, before facts are out and allowed to be discussed calmly.

Let a viewpoint out before facts are in, push it enough, and that fight-flight-fear emotional part of the brain takes over and may well not let go. Emotion dominates. Emoticon dominance theory.

That Deane Waldman blog should have triggered a meme far more widespread by now. See ://

That blog bogged because it is too academic in presentation. This is an age of Demagogues.

Where are the demagogues for healthcare single payer government option? Get us some slogans, the anecdotes, the media advance troops, the testimonials, the horror stories, the cherrypicking of speeches that show the idea is Marxist. We need color bursts! Volumizers! Or should we hold on to the principle that being a demagogue is morally wrong, and we will go down holding those principles dear. Maybe that is the way to go, but it is sad. Why do the demagogues have all the skills at demagoguery? Is there a midground?

We already know that reasoning does not change minds in species already moved by the limbic system - the amygdala and its emotion, fear processing parts of the brain area.

We need to move emotions, and pocketbook moves emotions. And tribe. And finding ways that the tribes can join together to defeat the swamp monster.

b. Reasoning fails because it only gets out these days after the opposing view has already persuaded the people otherwise.

Reasoning only works if it anticipates the issue, gets the people thinking about how they might choose to react.

But reasoning has to make its entry before we are made to react by persuasion-meisters who get there first, spewing out the FUD, now FUDS.
  • fear,
  • uncertainty,
  • doubt and
  • spin.
The evil threesome plus one. Gene Amdahl knows that FUD triad, now expanded to the four horsemen of the apothecary. FN 1

c. Reasoning fails because of resistance to change.

Look at FN 1, where we find that the famous pale horse of the apocalypse is really green, not pale. Take the exercise further: read more of what we fill in on our own about that fearsome event and what to expect, for those who do, at ://

What gets filled in as filler by people later is more persuasive than anything originally written about that dreaming. Get that amygdala, turn it your way, and truth and fact matter not. Is that so? See FN 2.

2. Add bridles to whatever healthcare plan is adopted.

Unbridled authority in healthcare, just like unbridled capitalism, leads - where, class? Yes. To corruption, profiteering and exploitation - and we have arrived.

Add sunset provisions to whatever is done for national healthcare as an option, rechecks, accountability, and paygo once we are on our feet again,

3. Stop the fox.

Why put the fox in charge of deciding what the henhouse gets.

Stop the kabosh power enjoyed by those whose interests financially are being challenged from having the total stage. See :// Where are owners of media from the other side? Who owns the media owns the folks. Is that so?

We know what happens when you ask the privileged ones, the doctors, politicians, or lobbyists, or executives, if they want a system to bolster secondary others in ways that just might bridle the privileged ones' incomes. Ask anyone that same question.

The fox's kabosh -a predictable response. Hear it coming, accompanied by a snap shut of the purse and a sniff. And, for some, another rapid deposit offshore again, during that nice company retreat each year to the islands so the wife can't get at it if there is a divorce without spending ghastly sums on her lawyer just to see what's there. And that's just one island.
  • New rule: If anyone gets income from an infrastructure project, whether military contracting or health services or bailouts, it is absolutely under the control of the government until everyone is on board with basic infrastructure needs met.
  • Income for foxes from botox, lifts, redecorating and viagra? Hit the moon if you like. That is not the kind of infrastructure referenced here. Charge away.
4. Let profits rise once infrastructure is in place and sustains itself
Suspend free profiteering until everyone is on board somewhere. Until then, the fox, the privileged ones, should have minimal say in what happens as to method in getting the country back to a productivity position. How to rein in the lobbyists? Try. Disclosure as a start.

No rights of kabosh as to the following until an even-handed distribution of these infrastructure services is in place and sustains:
  • education and daycare - even out urban-suburban-rural
  • healthcare - government option as well as private. No profiteering on infrastructure.
  • bailouts - you take the money, you take the oversight
  • sustenance - a reasonable floor on shelter, food, clothing
  • transportation
5. Relabel/ Labels have to fit the individual's ideology, so work on it.

Any good propagandist knows you have to work the words to get people to do what you want. Call right left, night day, repeat it often and loud enough, in black while bouncing, and you make fortunes. Isolate and repeat and you get a Swiftboat.

For some in the country, then, for the privilege maintainers, go directly to hard-nosed reality.

The Bear: A Logical Conclusion to Shenanigans. This one in our yard.

This is a bear market. Attention must be paid. As with roads or truck mudguards, or food safety, healthcare needs a national standard for productivity. Bear it or not. Just do it. Is that sense? Or an amygdala talking?
FN 1

Further example: does reason change minds? Of course not.

Fourth Horse of the Apocalypse Was Green.
Here's one. The Fourth Horse of the Apocalypse, the one ridden by Death, was green, not pale. Oh, the pale horse! So poetic! It was green, people; green. See transliteration of Revelation 6:8, ://

Will that change the pale horse idea? Doubtful. The pale got to us first. We are beyond the pale.

FN 2

Oh, dear. Healthcare: Does this road have a quasi-religious aspect for some who take things literally? Are there some who think disease is there for a purpose and should not be countered by healthcare? Is it allegedly ordained as punishment for some as part of the order of things, or end times, so we should just submit and be done with it?

But disease is not listed in the transliteration site in FN 1, so we must be ok there. Is it only later other people who put plague in as part of end times, on a frolic of their own? Someone else go back to that scripture4all site. How much time do we spend just thinking things up to frighten each other, so no change will happen.