29 January 2008

How about some presidential quotes in anticipation of next month's President's Day?
The only thing we have to fear is fear itself. -Franklin Roosevelt
I wonder, did FDR realize what a nightmarish concept he had just introduced? Recursive fear! Fear operating on infinite recursion! To fear fear is to fall into a loop from which there is no exit, a logical black hole where fear is the object of itself and it only increases, ever heightening towards infinite, unflagging terror.

For those of you who may not understand recursion, how about a brief example? Say you have a task titled "Clean the room" that has the following steps:

1. Pick up objects
2. Dust
3. If there is an adjoining uncleaned room, execute task "Clean the room".
4. Finish

Note my expertise in that subject matter is purely theoretical. Anyway, so step 3 is the big recursive bit...the task calls itself. So in that fashion, multiple processes would be running concurrently, and all the "child" sub-tasks (the other rooms) would have to complete before step 4 in the original task could be complete. Not the best illustration, but there you go.

Back to Presidential babblings!
My fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country. - John Kennedy
A classic, this one. Interesting how devolved we've become, when today politicians say just the opposite; ask what your government can do for you! Answer, everything! Health care, medicare, welfare, Robespierre (well, maybe not that last bit, but it rhymed). The Republicans are certainly not exempt from such pandering but the irony is richest with the Democrats, the party of the Kennedys. Kennedy excoriated the concept of government as a benevolent provider; the modern Leftists celebrate it. Oh, how I miss the days when the Democrats (at the very least) sounded anti-communist.

Last but not least:

There's an old saying in Tennessee (I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee) that says, fool me once, shame on...shame on you. Fool me....you can't get fooled again. - George W. Bush

Let me couch this with the following. I like Dubya. I respect him for a lot of things and my only major criticism of him is his defection from the cause of small government conservatism, subsequently splintering the GOP. Regarding quotes like the above, I think it is endearing if anything. Fifty years ago, presidents didn't have to stand in front of television cameras for hours every week; they could give carefully worded statements to the press, and do occasional radio addresses that were probably well scripted. I don't believe Bush is dumb; I think most Americans share his measure of clumsiness in public speaking, if not exceed it. So for all the hipster 20-somethings swilling their MintMochaChoco-tinis and gassing away about how, like, dumb, you know, our president is, I think that's a case, if you'll pardon my usage of this classic colloquialism, of the Pot Calling the Kettle a Bleeping Worthless Piece of Rat Bleep, or however that goes.

So my advice is to enjoy the above quote at face value; not with a haughty and misguided pride in considering yourself smarter than the President (you probably are not), but with the simple joy of laughing like a deranged chimpanzee at such a mangling of an expression, knowing that there is a chance, were it you on stage, you might have mangled it even more (if you can imagine!).


Percussivity said...

Ok while I understand your analysis of Kennedy's quote and how it seems reversed by today's politicians... but let me suggest that the original quote was inherently flawed to begin with, not withstanding the patriotic aspect of serving the country. Not to put additional words into JFK's mouth but I interpret his words to mean "Ask not what your government can do for you but what you can do for your government."

Here is my problem with that sentiment. A Democratic Republic should serve its people and not the other way around. Now you may claim that free healthcare, medicaid, welfare, etc etc ARE sevices to the people, but I disagree VERY much with that claim. Government handouts create dependencies and THAT is not in service to the people but enslavement of the people. Once the master becomes dependent on the servant, he is no longer truly the master.

Government should provide protection and should create a structure that enables a citizen to succeed through hard work. When a government goes much further than that it begins the process of becoming a "nanny state"... which is what we have today. Yes we should in one sense serve the country in the same sense a master provides for a servant, but the government was designed to be for OUR benefit and not that WE should be for the government's benefit.

Percussivity said...

**Also when I say "You may claim..." I am not speaking to you directly but to the general public. (Do they read your blog much??)

The Irascible Neufonzola said...

Oh blast, Blogger ate my last reply!

Here's the Cliff Notes version:

1. Two coins of the same side, or one side of two coins, or whatever...I think we agree.

2. Modern pols focus wrongly on what government can do for people because it buys the Fool voting bloc. Free health care, free money, etc.

3. Kennedy seemed to be asking people to not focus on that...don't ask what govt can provide, ask how you can help your country.

4. I'm a 10th amendment nutter, so I'm all for a limited fedgov in the style of the original design.

5. C is for Constitution, and that's good enough for me.

The Unabashed Blogger said...

Is it our responsibility as Americans to delve into politics? Should everyone be caught up on info from all fronts? All agendas? Pro-life? Pro-healthcare? Pro-Social Security? As voting Americans, should we be educated on who we even are supposed to vote for? The party's history? Voting records? Shoe size average?

Half the people don't care, the other half care too much. Meaning that "the caring" overly assert themselves and their opinions above the "less learned". This makes "the caring" feel more "responsible" as Americans, giving themselves the fuel needed to make the "less learned" feel like a pile of doodoo because they are too busy trying to work 2 or 3 jobs to bring home the bread for the kids while their deadbeat significant other is wasting their time wasting space.

I, on the other hand, just don't have the gumption to dive into a worldwide arguement in which there are no winners.

(This comment is in no way trying to say anything abusive or condemning to anyone that may know the Unstable Blogger... besides..he's unstable.)