Thoughts On The Blame Game »« Individual Responsibility And Sarah Palin

Battle Hymn Of The Republican

I’m the voice of opposition in a fast-decaying land
I can mobilize an army who will follow my command
I’m a master of the media; they’re puppets in my hand
I’m conservative, intelligent, and strong!
I’m the future of the party; I’m the darling of the right
I can focus on the issues like a crimson laser sight
With opponents in my crosshairs, I will exercise my might
Cos they’re evil, and they’re wicked, and they’re wrong!

I can motivate the populace, with no more than a word
I can make them true believers, though the message is absurd
I can obfuscate the issues till reality is blurred
There is little—nearly nothing—I can’t do!
I’m an awesome force of nature, moving mountains with a wink
I can rally up a million men, and tell them what to think
I have finely tuned my rhetoric to bring them to the brink
And I’ll exercise my power over you!

[the inevitable occurs]

They could never hold me liable for an incident like this
They could try to say I’m culpable, but patriots insist
It’s your own responsibility when something goes amiss
Sometimes people are just ready to explode!
I’m not running, I’m not shirking, and it’s not like I don’t care
I’m just looking at the evidence, and finding nothing there:
How could words have repercussions? They’re just pressure waves in air!
Now it’s time for my supporters to reload!

I was just continuing to muse a bit over the fascinating change in rhetoric over the past week. The above verse is meant as an amalgam, not merely the obvious target. I remember Rush bloviating “talent on loan from God”; Beck gloating over the attendance at his rally, Billo’s obsession with the numbers competition between himself and his MSNBC counterparts… WHen it suited their interest, they claimed tremendous influence. That influence, however, has the fascinating property of disappearing altogether when reality catches up to rhetoric.

It reminds me a bit of ESP. (wait, I think I can do this.) As per Bem’s paper, scientific studies of ESP, when they show effects, demonstrate an anomalous effect roughly identical in strength to known experimenter biases and methodological errors. It’s as if these effects don’t exist at all, though supporters call me (and others) close-minded for pointing this out. But compare this to the sorts of things ESP is able to do when it is *not* being tested! Telling you whether he or she is the right one, helping you on business ventures, finding your lost wallet, your lost pet, or even your lost child! Well worth the disgusting amount of money forked over, don’t you think?

The difference between untested claims and actual evidential support is a pretty substantial gulf. The difference between credit for good outcomes and blame for bad ones, for Conservative mouthpieces, is likewise huge. What a difference a bit of context can make.

Comments

  1. says

    Your reference to ESP puts me in mind of the wacky zany audiophiles I used to debate on rec.audio. The effects of using the latest high-priced nostrum were always simultaneously so obvious to even the most tin-eared that nobody could possibly miss them and so very subtle that any kind of A/B comparison would completely mask them.

  2. says

    "It reminds me a bit of ESP. (wait, I think I can do this.) As per Bem's paper, scientific studies of ESP, when they show effects, demonstrate an anomalous effect roughly identical in strength to known experimenter biases and methodological errors. It's as if these effects don't exist at all, though supporters call me (and others) close-minded for pointing this out."This is exactly the kind of thing I noticed even when I still believed in ESP and psychics and such. For some reason, when the experimenter did not have an "I'm going to show them all, ha ha!" bias and simply conducted a reliable experiment, all the evidence melted away. And then the psychic would blame the disbelief of all those involved, citing their lack of a priori faith as the reason they couldn't levitate the frying pan or whatever. Even as a believer, that smacked of a con to me. If you need your audience to believe in your powers prior to you being able to prove your powers, then you are either lying to them or lying to yourself. I certainly wanted to believe and clung to the belief as long as I could, but in the end I couldn't ignore the fact that all the evidence for my beliefs seemed to come only from the experimenters who were willing to fudge the results and who were unwilling to even consider the idea that they could be wrong.And now I am called "close-minded" for this as well. Because for some reason, coming up with excuses for your favored beliefs while ignoring anything that might detract from them is being open-minded, whereas changing your views on something you once truly believed in because the evidence simply does not support it is the essence of being close-minded.sigh.

  3. says

    Lovely and spot on! I do like how you tie it all together. And then there's the absolute effing irony of the "it's not my doing after all" whiners telling everyone ELSE to take responsibility.

  4. ShaunOTD says

    *goes to find cap**dons cap**doffs cap in general presumed direction of Cuttlefish*Very well played.

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