DISTURBING EXAMPLES: The views of Humean compatibilists!


Part 3—When pundit professors opine:
When Men in Black was released in 1991, it was widely viewed as a mere entertainment.

That said, experts wondered if the film might not have been intended as a disguised documentary—as a warning about extraterrestrial infestation of our home planet, the earth.

Signs of this possibility were widely observed. For starters, the film featured two actors improbably (said to be) named Smith and Jones.

One couldn't seem to decide where he was from—Philadelphia or Bel Air. According to published reports, the other had been chided as being perhaps a bit post-human as early as his (alleged) freshman year in college!

Was this film intended as a warning? There's no way to settle that question. But starting the very next year, coverage of the Clinton campaign began to suggest that this nation's political "press corps" perhaps seemed a tiny bit extraterrestrial. Rumors about this possible problem have only grown since then.

Occasionally, indications suggest a remaining human presence within the upper-end press. Just this morning, for example, the Washington Post editorial board presents the rare observation, noting that Candidate Clinton doesn't propose "abolishing the Second Amendment," despite what you know who says.

In recent days, waves of pundits spent many hours discussing Candidate Trump's insistent claim to the contrary. But even as the putative humans battered Trump's perceived call to arms in response to Clinton's desire, they kept failing to state the attendant point:

Candidate Clinton doesn't favor abolishing the Second Amendment! Waves of pundits, speaking for hours, kept skipping this basic fact.

Would humans really behave that way? Endlessly, all over cable, pundits avoided this second key point. As a result of their strangely strange conduct, voters received a double message:

It's wrong to murder a candidate or a president. Also, Candidate Clinton wants to grab your guns!

Would actual humans behave that way? The point was skipped by Corasaniti and Haberman in their front-page news report in the New York Times. They cited several figures making the claim about gun-grabbing Clinton. It didn't seem to enter their heads that they were actively spreading a false claim all around.

Would actual humans reason that way? Experts say it's unlikely.

(This morning, our analysts watched Haberman attempting to discuss the latest alleged Clinton scandal on CNN. "They got the modulation of her voice wrong," one of the youngsters wearily charged. Watching Morning Joe, they also fingered Donnie Deutsch. "He's much too genial to be a real pundit," they said. "And they gave him way too much hair.")

Bob Dylan may have had it right. "Time passed, and now it seems everybody's having that dream!"

So the thoughtful poet wrote—and by now, sure enough! More and more, people have started to see that our upper-end press corps seems to be just a bit "off" in its presentations.

For today, we'll restrict ourselves to two recent examples. For starters, consider Andrew O'Hehir's recent "hate letter" at the new Salon.

O'Hehir has been designed to represent the "progressive" voice. But could any progressive really display such loathing for average people?

Let's be fair. If O'Hehir was designed by extraterrestrials, they may have a sense of humor. He recently spent a week "on a personal visit to Florida," he wrote in his recent piece. In his reflections on this punishment, he seem like a parody of classic condescending elitist, a well-known figure of decades of RNC wet dreams.

Ignore O'Hehir's statistical bungles in which, among other things, he discovers a "suicide epidemic." It's his undisguised loathing for average people which so strongly suggests extra-human origins.

His loathing seems to center on Wendy's, a well-known fast food chain. In this passage, he makes the first of three separate references to the chain's Baconator Fries:
O'HEHIR (8/6/16): America is experiencing a health crisis on an enormous scale—a crisis that is simultaneously physical, psychological and spiritual and is hardly ever understood in holistic terms. If Trump is the most prominent symptom of this systemic disorder at the moment, he is not its cause or even its leading indicator. For starters, this crisis encompasses epidemic rates of obesity and epidemic rates of suicide, dramatic evidence of a wealthy country that is literally killing itself. It’s about a nation of worsening social isolation and individualized info-bubbles and pathological delusion, a nation that spends more per capita on healthcare than any other major Western power to achieve worse outcomes, and where Baconator Fries are $1.99 at Wendy’s.
Those Baconator Fries rob O'Hehir of sleep.

O'Hehir's loathing for average people is undisguised and highly dysfunctional—a possible programming error. In this unpleasant passage, the Fries are back and the loathing achieves full flower:
O'HEHIR: I’m saying that the state of borderline psychosis produced by electronic consumer society leads to OxyContin addiction and Baconator Fries and a suicide epidemic and Donald Trump. Those things are not all the same, but they are interconnected. I’m saying that the landscape I just saw in west central Florida, whose inhabitants crawl mollusk-like from fast-food outlets to convenience stores to healthcare providers to office parks, in their SUVs and pickup trucks with tinted windows, is a landscape of cognitive dissonance and collective delusion.
To this possible extraterrestrial, inhabitants of Florida "crawl mollusk-like" around "the landscape" of their state. As we learn all through the piece, they're unbelievably fat.

Everywhere Dylan looked, he saw his dream being realized. We have a similar reaction when we observe our upper-end "press corps" in action.

We'll quit today by linking to a piece in the Washington Post which made the analysts cry. In fairness, the teaser on the front page of the Post's web site provided the greatest offense.

It almost forced a person to click. Here's what the teaser said:

"Hillary Clinton is a bigger liar than Donald Trump. Here's why."

A human would almost be forced to click! If she did, she'd find a peculiar piece by one professor, Professor Drezner, channeling the work of another.

Who is Professor Frankfurt? she would be forced to say. The world's leading authority explains:
Frankfurt is probably the leading living Humean compatibilist, developing Hume's view that to be free is to do what one wants to do. (Others who develop this view are David Velleman, Gary Watson and John Martin Fischer.) Frankfurt's version of compatibilism is the subject of a substantial literature by other philosophy professors. More recently, he has written on love and caring.
Among four living Humean compatibilists, Professor Frankfurt is likely the leading one!

Meanwhile, Clinton's a bigger liar than Trump? So says the leading living Humean compatibilist? Can anyone think that work of this type boasts actual human origin?

It seems clear that infestation exists. Just how deeply has it proceeded?

Tomorrow, apricot cocktails and Donald Duck, along with the wonders of Sartre.

Tomorrow: The province of high-brow reviews


  1. It would seem that Wendy's Baconator Fries are Mr. O'Hehir's Rachel Maddow.

  2. ^^^butthurt Maddowsketeer^^^

  3. O'Hehir should give Robert Putnam's work on diversity a look, and then ponder that for a bit.

  4. Ah, nuts. "Men in Black" came out in 1997, not 1991. Clinton was into his second term by then. Another clever connection rendered null and nevermind. The analysts -- likely hot blonde Fox rejects -- better start taking better notes if they don't want to lose their hot tub privileges.

    1. Hey, accuracy is only required of those Bob is obsessed with, and then, no error is too small to escape his scrupulous gaze.

      But for Bob? He only missed it by six years. Close enough for him and his analysts.

    2. Cut Bob some slack. The film came out in 1997, but the comic dates from 1991.

    3. How obsequious of you, imp.

  5. Clinton supports banning people on the No-Fly List from getting guns. That's a violation of the 2nd Amendment. Note that one need not be convicted of any crime to be on the No- Fly list. Wiki says, "the list has been criticized on civil liberties and due process grounds, due in part to the potential for ethnic, religious, economic, political, or racial profiling and discrimination. It has also raised concerns about privacy and government secrecy. It has also been criticized as costly, prone to false positives, and easily defeated."

    If you don't think prohibiting people on the list from getting guns violates the 2nd Amendment, try this thought experiment. Suppose people on the list were prohibited from having the right to Free Speech. Wouldn't you consider that a violation of the 1st Amendment?

    1. Well, fortunately, David, we are no longer in the Bush Administration where everybody named David Nelson, including Ozzie and Harriet's son, found themselves on the No-Fly List, and often discovered it at the airline gates.

      Nope, these days, it's pretty hard to make the No Fly List. Even Omar Mateen couldn't do it, after saying some pretty crazy stuff.

    2. It's worse than that. The Constitution doesn't give the federal government the right to create a No-Fly List, so the Tenth Amendment reserves it to the States or to the people.

      Armed citizens can form well-regulated militias to patrol airports, and if Gun-Grabbin' Hillary steals this election, they will.

    3. I believe she allows for those to then challenge their No-Fly designation, which, fairly administered, only serves as a potential red flag. As for thought experiments, I don't mind the mentally ill and convicted violent felons having free speech rights from the top of their lungs, I don't think they should have the right however to possess firearms, exactly as it stands today.

    4. D & C, right on the money as usual. Far better way to protect the constitution and us from danger is to ban all Muslims from entering the country. And why should convicted felons be denied their Constitutional right either? Maybe it's ok to say they can't vote, especially because so many of them are Black, and likely Democrats, but the Second Amendment is clear and pretty much overrides any other consideration.

  6. It's just ridiculous to say Clinton wants to repeal the second amendment. What she wants to do is nominate judges that will gradually undermine it until it's effectively worthless. That's totally different!

    1. Yep. And your ironclad evidence of that is "because someone told me so."

      You get that in your NRA fundraising form letter?

  7. Hillary Clinton believes a 2008 Supreme Court ruling that is the linchpin of an individual's right to own a gun was "wrongly decided," her policy adviser told Bloomberg Politics on Friday.

    Without Heller, an individual has no Constitutional right to possess a gun.

    1. You do realize that even in Heller, the majority wrote that like all other rights, the right to keep and bear arms is not unlimited.

  8. Same article:
    "Along with the vast majority of Americans, Hillary Clinton believes there are common sense steps we can take at the federal level to keep guns out of the hands of criminals while respecting the 2nd Amendment. As both PolitiFact and Factcheck.org recently reported, Donald Trump is peddling falsehoods," Harris said. "Donald Trump's conspiracy theories are simply his latest attempt to divide the American people and distract from his radical and dangerous ideas ...."

    Divide and distract, right David?

    1. Hillary's statement is confusing. I think Hillary is saying that she knows how the federal government can take steps to take guns out of criminals' hands while not interfering with non-criminals' gun ownership. I doubt that. I haven't seen such legislation proposed. And, I believe most criminals get their guns illegally.

      However, Hillary seems to be talking about honest people having guns by law, not via the 2nd Amendment. I think she's saying that a law allowing people to have guns would fulfill the purpose of the 2nd Amendment.

      Let's be clear. If Heller is reversed, the 2nd Amendment is dead as regards individuals. And, I cannot imagine President Hillary championing a law that would force juridictions to allow widespread gun ownership, if said juridiction would rather restrict gun ownership.

    2. Lets be clear, you and your fellow travelers are using this issue to try to save a sinking ship in a presidential election. You have nothing but conjecture to support your fear-addled conclusions. Your knowledge and understanding of the Heller case and your understanding of the 2nd amendment goes only as far as your partisanship demands.

      Lets be clear - your are spouting the twitter feeds of the usual suspects (eg. Breitbart, Newsbusters, Free Republic, as nauseum). This is something you continuously do for what reason - assuming you're not being paid - I cannot imagine.

      If you want to save America from whatever dark ooze you believe it will turn into, canvas, phonebank, and register voters for your boy Trump. Trying to flip liberals into Trump supporters as your retirement hobby is just sad.

  9. The awfulness of Andrew O"Heir is probably only equalled by
    the utter indifference with witch his rambling, unreasoned, witless slop is met by readers. "Andrew O"Heir wrote something
    interesting today" is not something one is apt to hear often
    if ever.
    He must work cheap, and it's not easy for a online publication
    like O"Heir to make a buck. In terms of bad writing, he seems
    to follow John Powers who used to drone on in a similar "hipper-than-thou" fashion in the LA Weekly and does the same for
    some fashion magazine now. They are also linked by starting
    out as crap film critics.

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