Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns


Hate The Game

So the ad of the week seems to be The Chinese Professor by Citizens Against Government Waste.  The ad is effective in exploiting fears national decline and humiliation, and personal downward mobility but...

Rewrite the text of the ad to talk about how the US fell because it failed to invest in green jobs, didn't work to stop climate change, and did not adopt a universal health care system to improve the public's health and control costs (and ice cream.)  It would be about as well argued and as effective as the ad we actually have.  And that is the problem.  Fear of defeat, decline and humiliation are used to substitute for a defensible explanation of why policies are good or bad.

I don't mean to pick on Citizens Against Government Waste.  The despicable Thomas Friedman has used these fears to push his agenda in a self-interested and misleading way.  I'm old enough to remember the big "Japan Inc. is gonna get your momma" scare of the 1980s where statist politicians and policy analysts, as well as rent seeking business executives used fear of Japan to push a corporatist agenda.  The right is just catching up.

Well forget that.  Imposing an exceptionally complex lobbyist-friendly carbon tax and then using the proceeds to fund favored companies (basically what cap-and-trade is) will slow growth and make us less competitive and poorer. God knows there are many reasons to be against Obamacare, but fear of hobbling America in the global economy is way down on the list - if it is on the list at all.  Canada has single-payer (the direction Obamacare will push us towards) and is competitive enough.  

I don't hate the players (well, maybe Friedman a little), I hate the game. 

Categories > Politics

Discussions - 5 Comments

With all due respect, you do not get the jest of the commercial. It is about principles, i.e. the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill Rights. Funding green jobs (the joke of the century - just look at the Chevy Volt), and universal health care coverage are not principles - they are ways for the liberals to control the economy and who lives and dies. Watch the commerical again and then read the history of this country - specifically the draft and re-drafting of the Constitution - The Federalist Papers are a good place to start. Sorry, but you just don't get it.

So large changes to health care policy are a deep violation of American principle? There is a deep and important American principle that health care policy should not change from the baseline of 2004? Somebody should tell Paul Ryan. There are reasonable arguments why the particular health care reforms of 2010 violate American principles, but the commerical doesn't make any of them. It just hopes that you are too scared of working for the (Chinese) MAN to notice all that has been assumed rather than explained.

I kind of agree with you there Pete.

The problem in even talking about this is that there is also a massive linguistic game around "principle".

You want to start talking about all the games we hate...or hating the game and not the player...well then you are talking about hating the principle and not the principal

I am not convinced this isn't just a principle of a principal, in fact I think it is. All principles are products of principals. Principals create principles in order to argue that they rule according to law(principle) rather than arbitrary whim and caprice. Principles bind even principals. Most principals are not lawgivers. You can't even be a principal unless you know and understand the principle. Thus if you are an accountant you are a principal that understands the principles of accounting.

Don't hate the player, hate the game... don't hate your accountant hate the IRS. Your accountant is bound by the principles of his craft. If you are doing something on principle, then you are following mechanical steps. You bake cakes on principle, you follow the recipe. The recipe is the principle of a good cake.

A nation that loses its principles loses its recipe. I can go on, but it seems to me Pete that you are asking for the cake recipe. The recipe and principles beyond this loose and meaningless drivel exist for every class of principal. There is a procedure and reasons for such a procedure behind open heart surgery for example, these are only known to principals known as doctors, and only mastered by doctors who are heart surgeons. That is you are a principal by virtue of mastering the principle.

On the legal principle of medical malpractice you can hate the principal instead of the principle, that is when the principal butchers the surgery, you can question his adherance to the principles that make doctors principals in medicine.

You sort of always need an expert witness to explain the principle, its not just cut them open, take out the bad heart, put in the good heart, stitch them back up.

Now I am well appraised of the fact that medical malpractice is not a conservative principle, and along these lines I can see what some liberals must see.

You have a bunch of people who like to eat fast food, smoke, drink, and not excercise who receive praise indirectly from a sort of liberty/autonomy principle that can be called conservative. Some of these same folks criticize medicine, and the scientific validity of some absurdities such as the BMI tests. The BMI test might be junk as applied to the middle of the bell curve, but it is fairly accurate on the extremities. Then again all this shows you is what you already know...these people are obese or overly thin and this isn't healthy.

To get back to what Liberals might see:1) opposition to medical malpractice 2) distrust of science and "healthy living".

What is this in terms of principle, principal?

"Hate the game, not the player"
vs. "Hate the player, not the game."

Now maybe just maybe this comes from our principles, or the principles that rule other principles, namely the legal system(game in a larger sense).

That is it all depends on if you are legal council for the appelant or the appelee.

So this principle is just the result of two principals articulating two principles.

I am obviously not going to resolve with any satisfaction the question of principle tonight, but in its more narrow "Hate the player, not the game" formulation I do think there is a constitutional principle at work.

It is the principle that lies in the 10th ammendment prohibition on commandering. That is I think the founding fathers, or if not them other principals in courts since that time have articulated the principle that we should "hate the player, not the game" or at the very least be able to distinguish the player from the game, or the principal from the principle.

That is we don't want the federal government via No Child Left behind to impose mandates that restrain and commandeer school board members and local government. We would like in some sense to be able to blame the individuals, to be able to blame the principals, and not have to resort to blameing the principle.

Sometimes its good to be able to hate the player and not the game. The anti-commandering principle of the 10th ammendment has a lot of wisdom, but is not always without pitfalls.

The ability to distinguish principle from principal, or the ability of the people to know who should be praised and blamed for what, and thus a sort of wall of seperation between state, local and federal government is essential and constitutional.

The same principle is really the conclusion of the interesting documentary on Education, waiting for Superman. That is too often the NEA and teachers union want to hide behind principle or contract law, and thus shield themselves as principals.

I know conservatives are for various reasons unhappy about medical malpractice, but one option might be educational malpractice. The film notes that in Illinois 1 in 2500 teachers lose their lisense, while 1 in 100 doctors loses his medical lisense.

The main thrust is that unions hide behind the principle that education is good and that therefore educators are good, the principle in service to the principal.

The teachers union wants us to hate the game not the player, at least sometimes you have to hate the player and not the game.

Politically one problem I see is that the principals are shielded and the focus is more upon a critique of the "principle."

Personally I am much less impressed with the tea party(as articulated, not in actuality.) (in part due to the uses it is bent towards as articulated by pundits, for national purposes) because if it is all about Obama, progressivism, Woodrow Wilson and George Soros, then your gaze is fixed on a sort of implacable barrier that is something of a whipping boy(leaving aside the difficulty of thinking of Obama, Wilson and Soros as a principle).

A lot of principals are going to take you to the woodshed, if you allow such dead hand(no principal) attached principle to take all the blame and agency.

And the principle that we don't allow dead hand control is why we have the rule against perpetuities. It is also why copyright only extends for a limited duration, but congress has extended copyright repeatedly.(no doubt for lobbyist friendly reasons).

I digress, but contra Carl Scott in the post where the home number of NPR's president was allegedly posted, and then edited out.... There is nothing wrong with holding individuals to blame.

That is it strikes me as attenuated to vote out democrat politicians, or stoke partisan anger simply because the president of NPR fired a contributor to fox news for an opinion.

So long as the mechanics exists to shield blame from principals, and the federal government is so entertwined with the state, so that all can be directed back to washington (where congress and the presidency will forever have whipping boy low numbers) So long as this is the case we have a serious problem of hateing the game and not the players.

That is the problem, certainly if you change the principles you are cutting deeper than if you just change the principals. But a Coup d'etat on the principles is a very effective shield for the principals.

If instead of cracking down on a particular radical environmentalist, you create an imaginary hybrid ideology called radical environmentalism, then simply environmentalism, then simply liberal, then progressive, then democrat, and you do the same with one solitary but prominant racist, then tea party, then republican, then you end up abstracting the principals in a larger principle.

The mechanism of moving from demonized principals to principle, is guilt by association but more complex than that since it is also often times the only link to the consequence of an idea. That is you want to say there is an animating principle in the september 11th hijakers, but as soon as you identify this as islam, you jump from a handfull of actors to a sea of 1.2 billion.

There is just no way to narrowly tailor the animating principle in such a way that it doesn't go far beyond the original principal. In many ways the philosophers/principals who first conceived of such animating principles also conceived mathmatical principles with much broader application such that the application of the principle to a broader set of occurences was seen as a good thing. The principles of trigonometry are true and apply with the same force regardless of belief or persuation.

But note that if I start talking about Plato and John Stuart Mill that I will have already slipped out of anything particular and concrete, but if I don't talk about them then I am not giving proper scope to the massiveness of the "principle" game. That is I will never fully establish that in so far as every general predicate, signifies not an individual, but some quality, quantity, relation, or principle, that in moving from an individual to a general predicate itself necessary for the formation of a principle, neverthless entails the perfect cover for principals in principle.

I hope that is clear.

John - Well, it sure was long.

I've decided John is that last Ent or something. I sure would hate to be in his class (without a pillow, that is).

Really, Mechelle, you can't really be reading John's posts anymore, can you. Most of us see the name and just skip it. The man definitely needs some Strunk and White!

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