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November 05, 2007


Trooper Thompson

'No, George Bush is a symptom not the cause.'

What's the 'no' for? You've just confirmed what I said.

'the lie in the above statement is the words "only as ad hoc expedient". It should read "as one value among many"'

There's no significant difference between the original and your substitution.

"Ever read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. Remember the monkey trap. Value rigidity."

No, and "name dropping is not an argument". What do you think your beloved Bentham would make of Zen?

Why don't you try contradicting me, rather than yourself?


"There's no significant difference between the original and your substitution."

So the absence of monomania is the same thing as moral relativism? No wonder Liberals have such a hard time getting rational debate going in America!


Or to say it another way.
Being principled is the same thing as being obsessive.
Uh-ha! Thats why George Bush got elected saying "I don't do nuance".
I interpret that as "I'm as thick as two planks" and you interpret "I'm a man of honour".


I wasn't name dropping with Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, and Zen wasn't the point. The point is that that book includes this story:

The South Indian Monkey Trap: A Parable
One of the characteristics of perfectionists is their "value rigidity." They refuse to let go of particular ideas, even in the face of obvious evidence to the contrary. Here is a fable illustrating the pitfalls of value rigidity, adapted from Robert Pirsig's well-known work, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.

The "South Indian Monkey Trap" was developed by villagers to catch the ever-present and numerous small monkeys in that part of the world. It involves a hollowed-out coconut chained to a stake. The coconut has some rice inside which can be seen through a small hole. The hole is just big enough so that the monkey can put his hand in, but too small for his fist to come out after he has grabbed the rice.

Tempted by the rice, the monkey reaches in and is suddenly trapped. He is not able to see that it is his own fist that traps him, his own desire for the rice. He rigidly holds on to the rice, because he values it. He cannot let go and by doing so retain his freedom. So the trap works and the villagers capture him.

Perfectionists need to rethink their own values and decide whether they are going to continue to be trapped by these values or free themselves.


Or conservatism is to fascism Alex. The difference between left-liberals and right-liberals is which they see as the greater threat, communism or fascism, and whom they choose to collaborate with to defeat it, red or brown, in their milder iterations.

Trooper Thompson


you're drifting into irrelevance. We were discussing the US constitution, which is based on a principle of limited government and inalienable individual rights.

That you compare a belief in individual freedom to a handful of rice, moreover one that catches a monkey, says a lot.


No, I compare a fanatical belief in individual freedom, even at cost to other important values to hanging on to a handful of rice, even when it means the loss of everything. That you are too thick to understand says a lot.


Trooper Thompson,
I don't like to be rude, but if you insist, I can return the complement. But please understand, it is not the difference between absolutes (i.e. I am not against personal freedom) but a difference in relatives, I think other things are as important as well.

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