Ideology is a Mind Killer

Ideology is a Mind Killer

Sunday, May 31, 2015

More Ayn Rand Rants - Who are the Real "Second Handers?"

 By Mel Carriere

Sometimes when I am bathing I achieve some real epiphanies of inspiration.  I actually wrote an article on Hub Pages explaining the theoretical mechanics of brainstorming in the shower, which is an appropriate term for it, don't you think, because there really is water falling down all around you, as in a real storm.  I get my best ideas in the shower, and with soap dripping from my shaggy mane and puddles accumulating on the carpet I have to rush out so I can tell somebody quickly.  That last part is not exactly true; I always finish my shower first, but significant thinkers throughout history sometimes did not.  The Greek Philosopher and Mathematician Archimedes, for example, came up with his best idea in the bath and emerged from the water naked, running and shouting "Eureka!" through the streets of Syracuse (Sicily, not New York). This probably did not prevent his wife from whacking him with a broom and herding him back into the bathroom to dry off, like mine would.

Archimedes was constantly getting badgered by a tyrannical king named King Hiero, who bullied Archimedes into putting his considerable mathematical and engineering talents to some whimsical use that was way beneath him, like the construction of a bigger and better pleasure barge, or inventing a giant grappling hook for destroying the ships of Hiero's enemies.  Of course, nobody remembers King Hiero.  This talentless thug died in obscurity as he should have, while Archimedes is remembered affectionately by everyone.

This example of Archimedes in ancient Greece has some appropriate analogies in the modern world, but instead of fat, talentless tyrants wearing crowns we now have fat, talentless tyrants wearing silk suits sitting in corporate boardrooms.  But just like the clueless tyrants Archimedes contended with, the modern corporate tyrants are also fond of stealing the ideas of geniuses and expropriating these innovations in order to enrich themselves.  Meanwhile, the brilliant inventor, engineer, or mathematician might make a decent living, but doesn't accumulate the double digit millions in his bank account that the incompetent corporate boardroom thief did by stealing his idea.

What the hell does this have to do with Ayn Rand, you are already asking yourself.  I apologize profusely, but somehow Archimedes sidetracked me from Ayn Rand, and I will now get back on task.

As a youth I remained brainwashed by the ideas of Ayn Rand's Objectivist philosophy for many years, and even now I have a hard time shaking them off.  On March 21st I wrote another article in this venue on the subject, and I will post a link to it here so you can go take a gander.  This Objectivist crap is still embedded deeply in my mental framework, and I realize now (now meaning these days, not literally now - I don't take my laptop into the bath), as I meditate on such ideas in shower, that on some fundamental level some of what Ayn Rand said made sense.  She just had the villains wrong.

In Ayn Rand's most famous work, a cumbersome, interminable novel entitled Atlas Shrugged, the rather humdrum, cookie cutter protagonists were a group of towering intellects she referred to as "The Men of the Mind."  These heroes basically got tired of being pushed around by tyrants, like Archimedes did, so they basically say screw the world, withdraw their considerable talents from the service of the human race, and go off to live in a hidden mountain valley deep in the Rockies, from where they smugly watch civilization degenerate into chaos without them around to fix stuff.

In Atlas Shrugged, the villains who become parasites on the accomplishments of these Men of the Mind are described as the left wing agents of the proletariat; hired goons of the working class who set out to steal the ideas of the brilliant individualists for the benefit of people who are incapable of producing them for themselves. These working stiffs expecting a fair cut of the wealth their labor helped to produce are portrayed as selfish and greedy "looters," for whom justice would be served by having them go back to 17 hour working days and living in squalid, crowded tenement houses.  Ayn Rand never actually says the last part, but she suggests openly that the enlightened entrepreneurs who are the Men of the Mind will pay the working classes a fair wage out of the goodness of their hearts, an assumption which almost every student of history and human nature realizes is either pure science fiction or straight out fantasy.

 Despite Rand's false assertion that laissez-faire capitalism will correct all of society's ills, she is correct in her fundamental notion that there is a class of parasites preying upon the ideas of the brilliant intellects throughout history.  Like King Hiero buggering Archimedes in the solitude of his bath to get the philosopher to hurry up and figure out if his golden crown is a forgery, there are parasites robbing the life's blood of the modern, so-called Men of the Mind.  Since we no longer have kings, these blood suckers have been replaced by the inept boardroom thugs of Corporate America.

An example of this in modern life occurred to me while thinking about the founding of the mighty Apple Inc. corporation.  Apple was started by the legendary two Steves, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak.  Steve Wozniak was a brilliant engineer who designed the Apple I and Apple II computers that revolutionized the information industry and our lives in the process.  The very fact that I am writing this blog on my personal computer has a whole lot to do with Steve Wozniak.  On the other hand Apple's second Steve, Steve Jobs, was pretty much just a slick snake oil salesman.  He did not have the skill or ingenuity to produce a revolutionary computer, his abilities lay in bullying people into accepting his ideas, and in shamelessly stealing from others; as he did in the case of robbing the idea of desktop icons from Xerox.

There is no doubt that snake oil selling jerks like Steve Jobs are needed to succeed in corporate America, but do they deserve to be ridiculously overpaid and overly revered, while true geniuses like Steve Wozniak get pushed into relative obscurity on the sidelines during their own lifetimes? From these neglected shadows the Wozniaks of the world often serve as the voice of the voiceless, fighting for things like free Internet for the masses, while stockholder-serving fat cats like Jobs fight to keep the price of their products beyond the reach of the average working man.

So Ayn Rand had her villains mixed up.  She pegged the working people as being the parasites that feast upon the talents of the Men of the Mind, while it is truly the scheming, thieving, cigar smoking, double chinned, silk suited corporate chair polishers that do this.  It is downright criminal that uninspired suits too often get credit for things that they did not, and could not make.  This happens because the real geniuses of the world do not lust after the limelight, but choose to toil away behind the scenes, working on the ideas that they love; most of the time shunning public attention.  Sometimes the true genius's lack of narcissistic tendencies is a good thing, especially in the case of Steve Wozniak.  He is a pretty hefty dude now, and certainly nobody wants to see him running naked through the streets, shouting "Eureka!"

Read about Ayn Rand's influence on American society:

The combustible mixture used in The Truth Bomb includes a generous portion of java from Starbucks and other evil corporate coffee conglomerates, and none of this is cheap.  Therefore, unless the ads to the right and below completely annoy and offend you, please investigate what my sponsors have to say.

Thoughts on shower-time inspiration on Mel's Hub Pages account

Find out how I let Ayn Rand f*** up my life

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Friday, May 15, 2015

The "Smart" Bush Speaks - Malaprops, Freudian Slips, or Comedy Hi Jinx?

By Mel Carriere

For years now we have been told that Jeb Bush is actually the smart Bush.  The two Georges were basically elected by accident. Party animal W wasn't even supposed to be allowed on the White House lawn, much less inside the oval office, but through some crazy electoral glitch involving the unforeseen intervention of hanging chads, in what was probably the biggest frat boy practical joke ever perpetrated George Jr arose woke up from a hangover to find himself president of the United States of America.

Even George Sr. had to laugh and throw his hands up in amazement when he saw the poll returns. Like some twisted, zany episode of The Brady Bunch where Jan gets elected homecoming queen over the ever more popular and beautiful Marsha after their dog Tiger eats the contents of the ballot box, we all sat at home in our living rooms and laughed until the day after the election,  when with somber,  sunken faces we read the newspaper and realuzed that it was not just some bad sitcom rerun we had been watching,  but the truth!

So now here comes Jeb finally riding down the presidential trail to claim his due, his birthright, his legitimate inheritance as the superior member of the Bush dynasty.  And what happens?  Almost right out of the gate the comedy hi jinx start all over again.

I guess Jeb forgot that he was supposed to be the smart one.  Either that or his Daddy neglected to remind him that presidential candidates are supposed to lie through their teeth about their real intentions. Remember read my lips, no new taxes?  But I suppose since Jeb is assumed to be the best Bush, Daddy never coached him up.  No hitting grounders to him in the back yard, no changing the spark plugs in the old Chevy, and no lessons about doublespeak. W was the dumb one, so W got all the attention, and Daddy made damn sure there was already somebody there to whisper in W's ear whenever he forgot his lines.

 Big mistake, letting Jeb speak for himself just because he's supposed to be the smart one. The first lesson, well actually the second lesson of fathering is make sure your boy knows exactly what to say when you send him to the teacher to lie about the sick uncle in Albuquerque so you can sneak off to Vegas on Friday morning and beat the traffic.  The first lesson, of course, is to belittle your child's every achievement great and small to keep them humble, but that's a bit of a digression.  These are the lessons I have learned in a quarter century of fathering, at least.  George Sr. slipped.  He forgot the rules.

So Daddy sends Jeb to the teacher with strict orders to say that he would not have gone into Iraq knowing what we know now, but Jeb makes a fatal gaffe and leaves out the word not.  Could have been just an innocent slip of the tongue, or could have been a nice gesture on his part to let the rest of the GOP pack catch up, just to make the coronation party appear legitimate.  He is a Bush, after all, and there are powerful puppet masters pulling the strings.  W committed a blooper reel of verbal faux pas during his two terms as President and kept getting reelected.  There's no amount of screwing up you can do and still get elected, if you are lucky enough to be born with the last name of Bush.
Still, Daddy should have been more careful...

One thing George Sr. did do correctly was to teach young Jeb how to ride a bike.  Taught the kid how to ride it forwards and backwards too, because now this so called "smart" Bush is backpeddling like crazy.

More by Mel about W and other villainous politicians on Hub Pages

The combustible mixture used in The Truth Bomb includes a generous portion of java from Starbucks and other evil corporate coffee conglomerates, and none of this is cheap.  Therefore, unless the ads to the right and below completely annoy and offend you, please investigate what my sponsors have to say.
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Thursday, May 7, 2015

Moonbeam Jerry Brown Raves About Drought for One Million Hours - "Single Fonts" Laugh and Applaud

By Mel Carriere

Did California Governor Jerry Brown get his nickname "Moonbeam" when he still had hair?  I decided to investigate this important public policy issue, because when Jerry scowls down at me from the top of his lofty ivory tower I get the full lunar shine from the top of his bald dome.  Therefore, I definitely can understand how the nickname applies today. Question is, did the folks who gave him the moniker back in 1978 do so because of his follicle impairment, or for other reasons?

Questions like this need answering, if we're ever going to get out of this damn drought.

Moonbeam is not amused.  He is never amused.  He is damned pissed off.  The drought is pissing him off, and the fact that people who are obviously not as intelligent as he is and haven't spent "a million hours" studying the drought like he has (Jerry's own words), dare criticize him on his drought policy pisses him off too.  I understand.

Wait a minute.  I brought a calculator.  One million hours is 41,667 days.  41,667 days is 114 years.  Jerry Brown has been thinking about the drought since 1901.  This makes sense, because when Moonbeam was born in 1901 his shiny baby bald head had reason to start thinking about the drought immediately upon exiting the birth canal.  That year, it turns out, San Francisco, California, the city where Jerry was born, had a total rainfall about 2 inches lower than average.  No wonder Jerry is governor and I'm not.  He hasn't stopped thinking about the drought, ever, and sometimes I stop to think about other stuff.  I'm easily distracted, he's not.

For this reason I can perfectly understand why Jerry got a little bit peevish with the critics of his plan to build giant tunnels around the Sacramento-San Joaquin delta and to flip the giant bird at the bird advocates who are upset he reneged on his promise to set aside 100,000 acres for wetlands in exchange for the tunnels, instead handing over a mere 30,000 acres.  With a very prissy, frustrated frown that you can see on the Internet, Jerry Brown told these impertinent, insufferable rabble rousers who expect politicians to keep their promises "...until critics have studied the problem for a million hours they should shut up, because you don't know what the hell you're talking about."

One thing the governor neglected to explain is whether each critic has to think about, or study the drought one million hours individually, or whether several critics can study it collectively and add up their hours together to equal one million.  For instance, is it possible, and I'm just asking, please don't yell at me to shut the hell up Governor because I have a tender psyche - could maybe 1,000 critics think about the drought 1,000 hours apiece?  This is an important point to clarify, because I know a lot of critics are already racing along with their drought thoughts right now on their way to 1,000,000 hours, and there's no way they are going to get there before those darn tunnels get built.

Instead of yelling back at the governor when he told the people to "shut the hell up," I was kind of surprised that he actually got a round of applause and a lot of lols from the audience.  Obviously there were no critics in that crowd.  None of those silly delta bird huggers in attendance.  I was actually a little mad myself that there the Governor was, speaking down to us like we were subjects, not citizens, and when I started off with this blog I intended to write a raging, indignant manifesto criticizing Governor Jerry Brown and all of those fawning sycophants in attendance upon him.  Then two things happened:

First of all, like I told you before, I did the math.  Doing the math I figured out that if Jerry Brown was born in 1901, like he claims to have been, it is theoretically possible that he really has been studying the drought for one million hours.

Secondly, when I reached for my phone to make a note and spoke the words "Too many arrogant politicians and too many fawning sycophants is the problem with politics"  into the voice transcriber I got strange results.  The term "fawning sycophants" was changed by my phone to "bonding single fonts."

"Bonding single fonts" could indeed be the problem with politics, and here we have been missing this simple truth all along.  The reason is because Moonbeam has spent every single hour of his life since his 1901 birth thinking about the drought, and hasn't had any time left over at all to consider the issue of "bonding single fonts."  It's pretty easy to see that's why we're all in trouble, and we're all still damn thirsty.

Read more about Moonbeam in Mel's fantastic 2015 Voter Apathy Guide

The combustible mixture used in The Truth Bomb includes a generous portion of java from Starbucks and other evil corporate coffee conglomerates, and none of this is cheap.  Therefore, unless the ads to the right and below completely annoy and offend you, please investigate what my sponsors have to say.

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