Tuesday, March 28, 2006

An Objective View
Opinion © 2006, by Guy L. Evans

March 28, 2006

This afternoon, Hugh Hewitt aired an interview he had with Michael Ware, bureau chief for Time Magazine in Baghdad. The transcript of the interview is posted on Radioblogger. Enjoy.

In the entire interview, this exchange stood out:

HH: Michael Ware, what is the difference between what you’ve been doing, especially with the jihadists, though to a certain extent with the insurgents as well, and say a World War II-era reporter making numerous trips to the German side to talk with the Nazis, and then coming back and being ambivalent about reporting on the Nazis, or being candid about the Nazis?

MW: It [World War II] wasn’t a guerilla war. It wasn’t an insurgency that’s fought amongst the mix of a civilian population. … There was no great unknown to the extent that there is here, that people just don’t know what this war is really about. And getting to the bottom of that is extremely difficult, and requires you sifting through any number of filters that all of these players want to throw at you.

HH: But as you said at the beginning, the jihadis consider this to be one battlefield of a vast war. And the jihadis...

MW: Yeah, as does the West. Exactly.

HH: Given that you’re arguing geography is the reason you do this, I want to go back to the nature of actually doing it, and whether or not if, in fact, in World War II, someone had been offered in Portugal an assistance from the Abwehr to go back and forth to Germany to visit various Nazi encampments or policies, would that have been acceptable in World War II, Michael Ware?

MW: Well, I think the values would be different back then. But let’s think about it. What would be the value of doing that? I mean, imagine, okay, we know what we know about the German regime, or the Nazi party. We are inundated with their propaganda. We’re listening to their chatter. We’re getting their side of the story. Could you imagine having an objective view, go in and come out, and say this is what is really looks like? this is what it really feels like? This is what people in their quiet moments behind closed doors will actually tell you. Now imagine the value of that.
Ware makes three assertions in this brief exchange that perfectly define the inability of opponents of the war in Iraq and opponents of the Bush administration in general to pursue this war to its necessary conclusion:

1. People don’t know what this war is about.
This assertion denies that there is any clear mission or achievable objective. I disagree. The war itself was over a long time ago. We are now in mopping up operations until the government of Iraq takes over those operations.

2. The values would be different regarding war with Nazi Germany.
In other words, the war against Nazi Germany makes sense, but the war in Iraq doesn’t. This is willful confusion. War is war. You either win or you lose. In fact, the enemies in both wars are extremely similar. Both are totalitarian and homicidal.

3. Having an objective view in making decisions.
Having an objective view to understand the point of view of both sides, which in fact means being able to understand, and therefore give legitimacy to, the people who are killing Americans and trying to overthrow the elected government of Iraq. In the minds of the anti-Bush types, having an objective view does not mean finding the truth. It means disregarding facts that are inconvenient to your objectives. The supposition is that the motives of the Bush administration are wrong and must be opposed, that the jihadists oppose the Bush administration, and that there may be some propaganda value in reporting their point of view.

Michael Ware is no more a journalist than Michael Moore. They are both advocates for the anti-American position, deceivers masquerading as truth tellers. Ware’s reporting has a definite anti-American bent to it, though he is less overtly hostile to America than Moore. Both are in the same camp.

Ware believes that he is very clever, that he can mask his support of America’s enemies by taking “an objective view”. However, a truly objective view makes it clear that America is trying to save Iraq as a nation and to save the lives of Iraq’s first from the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein and now from the threat of dictatorship by so called insurgents.

Michael Ware and his fellow travelers on the left wish to excuse themselves from responsibility for their own behavior by assuming that “an objective view” grants them absolution for having to recognize and admit that the so called insurgents in Iraq today are the same enemies of humanity as the Nazis in World War II. The fact that Ware, et. al., do not report the positions of the government of Iraq or the Bush administration reveals the truth that they have no interest in being truly objective, and that, as Hugh Hewitt makes clear in this interview, they are just a little too sympathetic toward America’s enemies.

Guy L. Evans
Aurora, Colorado

Monday, March 20, 2006

The Badger Syndrome
Opinion © 2006, by Guy L. Evans

March 20, 2006

Disclaimer: I am not a mental health professional. Nothing in this article is intended to diagnose or treat any condition. If you feel that you need assistance, please seek professional help.

“Badgers?! We don’t got no badgers! We don’t need to show you no stinkin’ badgers!”
-- Uno Nasty Bandito from “The Treasure of the Sierra Mod Tray”.

The Badger Syndrome is evidenced when a person faces stress and then retreats into familiar thoughts and behavior patterns regardless of whether those behaviors are effective or not. An example of the Badger Syndrome is reflexive, rigid blaming and guilt giving, in effect demanding the someone or something else change, but not the person facing the stress. The Badger Syndrome is acting out the message that the person facing the stress will stand his ground, will burrow deep and bark loud, but will never change. It is demanding that the entire world change to suit the wants and needs of the Badger.

The badger’s bark is a lot worse than his bite, but his bark is bad enough. Badger types are often obnoxious, rude, overbearing, bullying, bitter, angry, inconsolable, paranoid, passive-aggressive, narcissistic, in other words, immature. They are stuck in a behavior system in which they do not comprehend that they can actually stand up for themselves. They never learned how to effectively stand up for themselves. Instead, they try to thwart the attempts of others to assert any influence over them. They growl and bark and snarl. This keeps people away.

I believe that the Badger Syndrome works this way:

  1. The person faces stress.
  2. The stress triggers intense anxiety.
  3. The person dissociates to protect himself from overwhelming anxiety.
  4. The person dissociates himself from the fact that dissociating to protect himself from intense anxiety is generating greater stress and is causing more problems.
  5. Smaller stimuli trigger more intense anxiety and stronger dissociation.
  6. The cycle of trigger, anxiety, and dissociation continues until the person is effectively unable to communicate with other people, often complaining, “no one understands me”.
In his article EMDR as a Special Form of Ego State Psychotherapy: Part One, Mark Lawrence, MD, states in part (emphasis added):

Psychopathology from an Ego State Perspective
One could view all psychopathology as the failure to maintain optimal dissociative barriers among the ego states, that is, to maintain optimal permeability and fluidity--in short, a failure of the psychological system to do an adequate job of time-sharing. Since all of the ego states have a certain energy or need for self expression, if that energy or need is suppressed by the system, then that ego state that is suppressed will ultimately break through the suppression in the form of some sort of symptomatology. The symptomatic or problematic ego state is called the “hidden” ego state--hidden in the sense that it is unacknowledged or “disowned” by the predominant ego states. However, its presence is made known through the symptomatology. The ego state may be disowned because of an unbearable affect, such as anxiety or terror, or because of some “undesirable” behavior. However, the symptomatology generally does not give an indication of the full nature of the ego state driving it, ultimately requiring that the rest of the ego state associated with the symptoms become fully amplified and developed for therapeutic relief to occur. So, for example, in PTSD, intrusive feelings or thoughts present themselves, often without the patient’s awareness of where they come from.

For example, an overweight patient may identify with an ego state or a group of ego states that want to lose weight, but there may be one or more ego states with an investment in either eating or being overweight, and these other ego states persist in maintaining the weight problem, in spite of repeated brief periods of successful dieting.

First, there is either the dissociation by the predominant ego states of the hidden ego state, or the dissociation by each camp of ego states of the other camp of ego states. Second, there is the dissociation of the fact that this previous dissociative strategy isn’t working in either maintaining stability or in achieving the specific goals of the various ego states. Hence, dissociation may be conceptualized as the primary mechanism for maintaining psychopathology, not just of “dissociative disorders,” but virtually all psychiatric disorders. For example, defense mechanisms--repression, isolation of affect, splitting--are technically variations of dissociative phenomenology. It is extremely important to attend to the nature of the dissociative barriers in understanding and addressing all psychopathology.
Again, emphasis added. The Badger Syndrome results from the person under stress closing down communication and erecting “dissociative barriers” with a part of himself that he feels is too difficult or painful to deal with. Like physical pain, the emotional pain will try to find a way to make itself known so that it can be attended to. The emotional pain has been prohibited from speaking; therefore, it will try to make itself known by acting out, by manifesting in some non-verbal form.

The Badger reacts to these manifestations by further dissociating from them. He digs himself deeper into his burrow and growls louder and longer. But, the pain doesn’t go away.

This condition tends to get worse as the Badger gets older. Rigid dissociation worked at some point early in his life, and later in life becomes his primary coping strategy. When the going gets tough, the Badger shuts down.

I believe that any person can acquire the Badger Syndrome by trying to reconcile irreconcilable ideas. For example, as a matter of survival, abused children who depend on their abusers will try to adopt the idea that they deserve to be abused, which is entirely contrary to the reality that being abused really, really hurts. They cannot reconcile the need to escape with the need to be cared for. The tension between the two contradictory ideas triggers dissociation, which, if unresolved, can cascade into the Badger Syndrome.

I’ve had to face some of this in my own life. I growl and snarl and hide in my burrow. I have found that the most effective way to deal with my own badgering tendencies is to stop growling at people and learn to say, “I’m under a lot of stress right now. I’m sorry to be so crabby. I don’t mean to be such a pain. Sorry if I yelled at you.” This has saved my life several times.

Here is my list of good sites to look into, each addressing different aspects of the same problem:



Denial Management

Developmental Needs Meeting Strategy

And, to all the Badgers out there: The first rule of holes is, if you want to get out of one, you have to stop digging.

Best wishes.

Guy L. Evans
Aurora, Colorado

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Sagan ad Absurdum
Opinion © 2006, by Guy L. Evans

March 15, 2006

In Appendix 1 to the book Cosmos, Carl Sagan asserts that the assumption that the square root of 2 is a rational number is a reductio ad absurdum.

He constructs his argument using a square whose sides each equal 1. The diagonal is x.

Sagan states:

In such right triangles, the Pythagorean theorem holds: 12 + 12 = x2. But 12 + 12 = 1 + 1 = 2, so x2 = 2 and we write x = the square root of 2.
Pythagorean theorem on right triangles is:

A2 + B2 = C2
where A and B each denote the length of one side of the triangle and are connected at a right angle, and C denotes longest side of the triangle. We solve for C by finding the square root of the sum of A squared and B squared. The easiest way to remember the Pythagorean theorem is 3, 4, 5:

32 (9) + 42 (16) = 52 (25)
Sagan asserts that x2 equals 2 and that x equals the square root of 2. Here’s how he arrives at this conclusion:

12 + 12 = 1 + 1 = 2, so x2 = 2 and we write x = the square root of 2
When you test it for yourself, you will see that his original formula is correct, x = the square root of 2.

The following statement, however, caused my jaw to drop:

We assume the square root of 2 is a rational number...
“We” who? How would anyone assume that the square root of 2 is a rational number?

Wikipedia defines “rational number” this way:

In mathematics, a rational number (or informally fraction) is a ratio or quotient of two integers, usually written as the vulgar fraction a/b, where b is not zero.

Each rational number can be written in infinitely many forms, for example 3 / 6 = 2 / 4 = 1 / 2. The simplest form is when a and b have no common divisors, and every non-zero rational number has exactly one simplest form of this type with positive denominator.
and further offers the square root of 2 as its first example of an irrational number.

The absurdity of Sagan’s argument is revealed in the following statement:

The square root of 2 = p/q, where p and q are integers, whole numbers.
How is it possible for p and q in this case, without any further manipulation, to be whole numbers? The assertion is absurd.

Sagan wants the audience to play along without questioning the absurdity of assuming that p and q are whole numbers in the equation (the square root of 2 = p/q). He goes to great lengths to convince his readers that both p and q must be even numbers, and that therefore “they have not been reduced to their lowest common factor”. Yet, his manipulations of the figures make no sense. The full text may be found at http://www.angelfire.com/blog2/endovelico/CarlSagan-Cosmos.pdf, Appendix 1. See for yourself.

Sagan finishes with:

So the initial assumption must be wrong; p and q cannot be whole numbers; and the square root of 2 is irrational. In fact, the square root of 2 = 1.4142135 …

What a stunning and unexpected conclusion! How elegant the proof! But the Pythagoreans felt compelled to suppress this great discovery.
The conclusion that the square root of 2 is an irrational number and that p and q are not even numbers is “stunning and unexpected”? Well, Carl, who besides you made the initial assumption? Certainly not me or any other sensible person. The assertion that “we assume” that the square root of 2 is a rational number is absurd, and the assumption itself is nonsense.

The Pythagoreans didn’t “suppress” anything. In the equation (the square root of 2 = p/q), it isn’t possible that p and q can be whole numbers, nor is it reasonable to assume the same. In his statement, “We assume the square root of 2 is a rational number...”, Sagan reveals that he is being unreasonable at a minimum, and clownish at worst.

Sagan posits a silly comment at the outset, and then pretends to reveal his genius by refuting an obviously ridiculous assumption. Many in academia and the political left gratuitously assert nonsense as fact, supposing that their audience can’t distinguish between what is absurd and what is real. They use silly gimmicks like Sagan’s assumption that the square root of 2 is a rational number to demonstrate how smart they are. Sagan offers his audience sophistry masquerading as science.

However, Sagan’s presentation of a reductio ad absurdum is itself absurd, and ends up being nothing more than a Sagan ad absurdum, a grand waste of time.

Guy L. Evans
Aurora, Colorado

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

The Humiliation of Learning
Opinion © 2006, by Guy L. Evans

March 14, 2006

I have struggled for years to understand why so many bright people are so averse to learning. Weak Little Men and their Opinionated Ignorance thwart my every effort to offer free knowledge. It’s free. Go on. Take it. Dummy.

But, like timid birds, they recoil.

Why would any sensible, mature person respond with such aversion to something that could be so useful?


Fear of what?

Fear of humiliation. Fear of being made to look stupid. Fear of the incessant, senseless, merciless criticism that their parents, teachers, coaches, and bosses have heaped on them over the years. Fear of the humiliation, dejection, and self-loathing that results from being made to look stupid.

The result is a reflexive, resolute aversion to learning. They develop the posture that you can’t make me learn, I won’t learn, nothing you do will cause me to learn, you’re just trying to control my life, stay out of my life. It is a paranoid and passive-aggressive stance intended to protect the person from triggering new bouts of anxiety and depression. Better to be pissed off than pissed on. Better to be angry and feel alive than to be depressed and feel dead.

In the 1970’s, Archie Bunker was a cultural joke. His I-already-know-everything-so-don’t-confuse-me-with-the-facts approach to life was funny. While Archie was a joke to the Northeastern academic snobs, the kernel of truth in the joke is that there are a lot more Archie Bunker’s than Albert Einstein’s. And, if you can’t be friends with the Archie Bunker types, you aren’t going to have many friends.

As long as you feel humiliated by learning, you will never learn.

People who encounter new information don’t want to feel humiliated. Unfortunately, some people feel humiliated no matter what you say to them.

Humiliation results from fear. It is a way of stopping yourself from risking any more harm. Admit your fear, accept it, acknowledge that it hurts, reassure yourself, encourage yourself, and then more ahead. Humiliation, after all, can’t hurt you.

And, to be honest, I have felt humiliated by learning new information, also. But, I understand that humiliation has limited effect. It is relatively easy to endure. It is much easier to endure when you understand that humiliation can help you learn.

The natural response to humiliation is to tell yourself, “#@*&! I’m never going to try that again.” Instead of avoiding the situation, try to learn how to master the situation. If you don’t try, you can’t learn.

Guy L. Evans
Aurora, Colorado

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Why We Are Losing the War on Terror
Opinion © 2006, by Guy L. Evans

March 12, 2006

In short, we are fighting the wrong war. Our enemy is motivated by a distinct ideology and uses terror tactics to pursue that ideology. Declaring war on a tactic will not achieve victory.

The very notion of calling the current war a “Global War on Terror” demonstrates that the objective is obscure. The “Global War on Terror” disregards America’s homegrown terrorists, the Ku Klux Klan and various incarnations of Nazism. The GWT also ignores the institutional terrorism that countries like North Korea, Communist China, and Cuba use against their own people.

The GWT is aimed exclusively at actively violent movements with strong ties to Islam. The obvious fact that Islam in general does not engage in violent attacks against non-Moslem targets, and that there is no general uprising amount Moslem people’s against non-Moslem targets, should make it clear that the violent elements of Islam are motivated differently than Moslems in general. So, what’s their motivation?

Their motivation appears to be ideological Puritanism. Historically, Islam has made its greatest advances by military force. Currently, there are no nations with strong enough military forces to further the spread of Islam. A small number of followers have taken it upon themselves to spread Islam through military action similar to the actions of the Viet Cong in the 1960’s.

The religious element of the war obscures the ideological motives. A tiny number of Moslems have adapted European totalitarianism to their religion to fashion a bastardized Arab fascism with Moslem trappings. Put a beard on Mussolini and you get the idea. Similar to Italian fascism of the last century, Arab fascism recalls the days of Arab supremacy, and seeks to revive that ancient glory.

We in the West cannot defeat an ideology that we do not understand or even acknowledge. The Global War on Terror, like the War on Drugs, will grind on with no clear goal and an unending cycle of violence and death, some profiting and others dying, and no end in sight.

Until one side or the other understands and accepts that they are truly defeated, neither side will stop fighting, and the war will not end. I suggest that the Global War on Terror, which explicitly ignores the terrorism of our purported allies like Saudi Arabia and Communist China against their own people, be named something more appropriate. We didn’t call the Nazis German National Socialists, we just called them “Nazis”, nor did we call the Japanese fascists Japanese Nationalist Militarists, we just called them “Japs”.

Any suggests on what we should call the Arab racist nationalist fascist Moslem Puritans?

Guy L. Evans
Aurora, Colorado

We Will Never Be Defeated
Opinion © 2006, by Guy L. Evans

March 12, 2006

The History Channel is a gold mine.

In a show on the tunnels of Cu Chi, one of the Viet Cong commanders made a statement to the effect that they did not view their losses as defeats. The same sentiment was echoed by the North Vietnamese commander at the battle of the Ia Drang valley. He said in effect that the Americans think they have won, but that losing 5,000 NVA was not considered a loss by the Communist government of North Viet Nam. With a population of millions, the loss of 5,000 soldiers was acceptable to the Communists.

Until you understand what your enemy considers defeat, you cannot defeat your enemy.

Until the Israelis understand what the Palestinian radicals consider defeat, Israel cannot defeat them.

Until the U. S. understood what the Empire of Japan considered defeat, the Japanese would not surrender.

Until the West understands what Osama bin Laden considers defeat, al Qaeda will continue to fight.

What do you suppose al Qaeda considers their final defeat will look like? Like the most faithful Nazis of the Third Reich, al Qaeda faithful do not believe that they can be defeated under any circumstances, including death. If soldiers do not believe that dying means defeat, then they have no motive to stop fighting.

It is troubling to me to know that the Arab fascist radicals believe that their defeat is impossible while Western liberals (read “cowards”) believe that the defeat of Western capitalist civilization is both inevitable and desirable. This position, as during America’s War in Viet Nam, only encourages America’s enemies to keep fighting against impossible odds.

Guy L. Evans
Aurora, Colorado

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