The April, 2010 Feature on Cloud Dancing--Social Medium For Scoundrels, Neurotics & Dolts, developed a theme from a Rudyard Kipling metaphor, referring to the "cloud" or "wind-borne" premises of those advocating egalitarian social reform. We added the "dancing" figure to identify the penchant of the modern reformer to embrace fantasy rather than experience as a guide to solving social problems; the "Cloud Dancers" being "those who seek to force personal wish lists on other people--those who work themselves up into absolute frenzy, like participants in some pagan dance, in . . . a frantic quest to 'change' long established human institutions." Then in May, 2010, we pursued the theme further, contrasting the Cloud Dancers with the pragmatic roots of an America, Grounded On Experience & Reason. Our purpose, here, is to revisit the cloud dancing theme, by considering how contagion from the egalitarian pursuits of scoundrels, neurotics & dolts, is spreading into circles where otherwise rational, functional & well-intentioned people are now afflicted.
The contagious malady is often referred to as "being politically correct," when it deals with the fantasy that people are interchangeable. Yet that does not really describe a condition that leads those addressing phenomena, which appear to demand action, while completely ignoring fundamental factors of cause & effect that will determine whether or not, what is proposed, will ultimately prove beneficial.
Most of you have probably seen the television commercials whereby America's largest oil company, Exxon/Mobil, calls attention to a comparative study of math competence among nations in the "developed world,' which has shown contemporary America in 25th place. The Exxon commercial then calls upon the viewers to help fix the "problem"; the implication being that it can be fixed by spending more money on better trained teachers. What is left out, of course, is any indication that Exxon has considered any other explanation for the "problem," other than that we are not spending enough time & money on math education.
Now as a shareholder in Exxon/Mobil, this writer will gladly acknowledge that Exxon/Mobil is not being run by scoundrels, neurotics or dolts. Yet they run an "ad" that completely ignores the most important ingredient in any form of intellectual comparison based upon academic result: the natural aptitudes of those being compared. Exxon would never drill for oil in a particular location, without first analyzing geological evidence of the likelihood of there being oil in that location. Then would follow more specific studies of the locale, preparatory to drilling; then test bores, etc.. Yet caught up in the absurd premise that people are somehow interchangeable, Exxon calls for a greatly increased expenditure of funds to restore America's competence in math, without analyzing how the students, recently tested, actually compare, here & in the 24 developed nations that tested better, in the basic aptitudes to do better.
The hard-nosed oil men, who manage with incredible skill to keep finding more oil, do not dance in the clouds in that pursuit. Yet they apparently accept as a given, the perfectly ridiculous, never demonstrated, belief of those we have described as Myth Makers In American "Higher" Education (Ch. XVI, Conservative Debate Handbook), who promote the notion that people are basically interchangeable with respect to mental aptitudes. Now assuming that however poor, we could improve American student performance in math--and we agree that considerable improvement is possible;--what would be a more pragmatic approach to the question of comparative math scores?
We would suggest a more pragmatic approach would be to try, at least figuratively, to compare apples to apples. Granted, those who came to America in generations past will not perfectly compare to their ancestral cousins, in the lands of origin, because of the many selective factors that governed who came & who staid--as well as all selective mating since;--it would still be useful to compare Americans from lands of origin, now doing better in math, to see whether or not such selected samples did better than those in the broader comparison, to help determine whether that fall to 25th did not reflect something more than a mere decline in teaching competence. (We do not suggest, given the Leftist meddling & excuse making in local education, that there has not been a decline in teaching competence. We do believe that it is premature--grossly premature--to lay all blame--or even most of the blame--on causes other than demographic changes in who is actually being tested.)
But Exxon's public relations department are not the only folk, with an ordinarily more pragmatic focus, who have caught a form of contemporary contagion from the egalitarian Cloud Dancers.
No one will deny that economic reality reflects factors determining the interaction of supply & demand. As intense as the debate between adherents of the notorious Fabian Socialist, John Maynard Keynes, and Conservatives of the Austrian school of economic analysis, most mainstream investment advisors, whose stock-in-trade is the location of the best investment values at current prices, largely neglect critical analysis of the real value of the monetary measure--the circulating currency, in which their investment recommendations will be purchased or sold.
Increasing the supply of a circulating currency must proportionately reduce the real value of each unit of that currency. The effect may be masked for a time by other factors, which either inhibit or promote the slower or more rapid utilization of the new supply. But over any extended period of time, the results can be very dramatic. (See Medium Of Exchange, and particularly the linked article on the effect of monetary inflation, coupled with taxation of supposed "Capital Gains", in confiscating a people's wealth.) And yet, while many investment advisors have supported--even called for--increased "quantitative easing" (i.e., increasing the supply of fiat money), very few have discussed the long-term effects in any detail; while almost none have stood up against the practice of applying a "Capital Gains Tax" to investments where the "gain," measured in the currency unit, is not adjusted for a clear loss of value, in that currency unit.
Here, the contagion from the Cloud Dancers pretense of human interchangeability, takes the form of a fantasy that a dollar, or pound or what have you, is actually the same measure of value in one decade as in those preceding. Yet it manifestly is not.
We have saved perhaps the most absurd evidence of contagion from the egalitarian/collectivist cloud dance, for last. Consider the underlying premises behind the contemporary call for legalization of "marriage" between members of the same sex. Consider the usual arguments offered in opposition. What is largely left out, is any discussion of the actual function of marriage as a human institution, as it has served a social purpose in any particular society.
The demands for a legal recognition of "same sex marriage," embody claims that two people of the same sex living together & engaging in muscular exercises that simulate some of the sensations that flow from familiar heterosexual activities, are simply engaged in an alternative "lifestyle." That some of those seeking to "marry," have been in long-term relationships. That "equality," ever the goal of the Cloud Dancers, requires that such relationships be accorded all of the protection & respect that has been afforded married couples throughout civilized history.
These arguments are answered with the obvious point that an actual lifestyle provides for continuity, for the procession of generations, to a multi-generational purpose. The same sex couple obviously does not reproduce (absent the intervention, in the case of two women, of an outside source). The other arguments against such "marriages," are largely based upon the moral issues that go back at least to the time of Moses & the Biblical imperatives, as well as the disgust that most people feel towards some of those muscular exercises, particularly those between two men. As to the argument that seeks to equate long-term relationships; the obvious retort is that even the closest lifetime friendships, or business partnerships, have never before been equated to marriage, legally, absent that procreational purpose. Indeed, actual marriages, where there is no procreational act--no consummation--have always been subject to annulment, in most Western societies.
And yet, while many Conservatives will argue from such moral premises, the vast majority of those speaking out against the demands for "same sex marriage," are no better than the advocates at addressing the actual function of marriage among civilized peoples throughout the historic era. The reason, we honor, celebrate & sanctify the marital relationship; why we surround it with so much tradition & reverence, is because it sanctifies the procreational relationship, while building a fundamental structure to raise & develop the potential of the resulting progeny & their posterity. It has to do with the same principles as the Fifth Commandment. It is the foundation of the family; the basic building block of any community or nation; the means by which civilized people pass on their achievements, material, spiritual & cultural, from one generation to the next. As you cheapen marriage, you undermine the family & your people careen towards social chaos.
In this sense, the acceptance of even a debate over "same sex marriage," an obvious oxymoron denying the whole functional reason for marriage, on top of three generations of ever easier divorce; of subsidies for out-of-wedlock births, and other egalitarian efforts to equate different behavioral choices, that simply do not equate, without even focusing on that functional purpose; is itself an acceptance of an abandonment of the moral premises that formerly guided all civilized peoples. Even where homosexuality was rampant, or the fantasy that Government could make all folk equal, most prevalent; no one actually proposed anything so ludicrous as "same sex marriage." Thus the spreading contagion of cloud dancing in both America & Western Europe.
People are not interchangeable; nor are their measures & behavior!
For generations, mainstream Americans have been bombarded with a three pronged challenge to the continuity of their values, culture & identity. These have included the absurd, yet oft repeated, lie of an equality of human potential; a direct attack on the ethnic pride & identity of mainstream Americans as unique peoples--coupled with the pretense that they are somehow guilty of causing most of the earth's problems;--and the promotion of a cynical Utilitarian view of Government, which imagines that despite a written Constitution--precisely intended to prevent such misuse of power--the Government has whatever power a majority desire, to address any & all problems of unhappy individuals.
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