Saturday, December 2, 2017
..................Scott Adams's book, Win Bigly: Persuasion In A World Where Facts Don't Matter. Just arrived at the chapter titled "Trump's Rosie O'Donnell Moment," which details an event that happened in the first Republican debate in August of 2015. Since I neglected to watch any of the debates, a quick visit was paid to YouTube, where the following was found:
Here are two snippets from Adams, watch the video and see if you agree:
"Kelly finished her question and Trump responded with something about the problem of political correctness. But by then it didn't matter. The Rosie O'Donell reference sucked all the energy out of the room. It was a masterstroke of persuasion, timed perfectly, and executed in front of the world. When I saw it happen, I stood and walked toward the television (literally). I got goose bumps on my arm. This wasn't normal. This was persuasion like I have never seen performed in public. And in that moment, I saw the future unfold. Or thought I did. It would take another year to be sure."
"Like many of you, I have been entertained by the unstoppable clown car that is Donald Trump. On the surface, and several layers deep as well, Trump appears to be a narcissistic blowhard with inadequate credentials to lead a country.
"The only problem with my analysis is there is an eerie consistency to his success so far. Is there a method to it? Is there some sort of system at work under the hood?"\
We are blessed to live in interesting times.
Ratification by convention also had the effect of inviting a grand public debate on the issue, and in a way this was the most significant aspect of the whole process. If Jefferson, Madison, and Adams were right in believing that education, virtue, and good government went together, then there was a positive merit in getting not just the state legislatures but the people themselves to debate the Constitution. The wider the discussions, the more participants, the better - for public political debate was a form of education in itself, and a vital one. If, in the 1760s and early 1770s, the Americans, or their representatives, had been allowed to debate with the British, or their representatives, on the proper relationship between the two peoples, the Revolution might have been avoided. Words are and alternative to weapons, and a better one. But a debate was refused, and the issue was put to the arbitrament of force. The Americans had learned this lesson (as indeed had the British by now) and were determined to give words their full play. In the next decade the French were to ignore the lesson, at the cost of countless lives and ideological bitterness which reverberates to this day.
So that ratification process was a war of words. And what words! It was the grandest public debate in history up to that point. It took place in the public square, at town meetings, in the streets of little towns and big cities, in the remote countryside of the Appalachian hills and the backwoods and back waters. Above all it took place in print. ...
-Paul Johnson, A History of the American People
I trust if your life is right, the right things will happen at the right time. If the chords are in harmony inside, I think other things will happen in the same way. That sounded highfalutin' to me once, but I believe it now.
Friday, December 1, 2017
Finally, the absence of hatred left plenty of room for joy in Churchill's life. His face could light up in the most extraordinarily attractive way as it became suffused with pleasure at an unexpected and welcome event. Witness that delightful moment at Number Ten when Baldwin gave him the exchequer. Joy was a frequent visitor to Churchill's psyche, banishing boredom, despair, discomfort, and pain. He liked to share his joy, and give joy. It must never be forgotten that Churchill was happy with people. ...
-Paul Johnson, Churchill
back story here
He was not at all happy about the number of Germans coming to America, especially to Pennsylvania, where they tended to vote en bloc, the first instance of ethnicity in politics. "Why should the Palantine boor be suffered to swarm into our settlements and, by herding together, establish their language and manners to the exclusion of ours? Why should Pennsylvania, founded by the English, become a colony of aliens, who will shortly be so numerous as to Germanise us, instead of us Anglicising them?" He wanted language qualifications "for any Post of trust, profit, or honor." He also wanted monetary rewards to encourage Englishmen to marry German women, but dismissed the idea for "German women are generally so disagreeable to an English eye that it wou'd require great portions to induce Englishman to marry them." These views were by no means unusual among the founders. Neither Washington nor Jefferson wanted unlimited or even large-scale immigration.
-Paul Johnson, A History of the American People, quoting Benjamin Franklin circa the late 1780s
Thursday, November 30, 2017
We were some hours getting into position, but finally formed in an open filed, under the declivity of a gradually rising hill in our front, upon the top of which the artillery was posted; all things ready, the batteries in our front opened, and were soon hotly engaged with the enemy's guns on the opposite heights. The enemy's shells screamed and bursted around us, inflicting considerable damage. It is very trying upon men to remain still and in ranks under a severe cannonading. One has time to reflect upon the danger, and there being no wild excitement as in a charge, he is more reminded of the utter helplessness of his present condition. The men are all flat on the ground, keeping their places in ranks, and as a shell is heard, generally try to sink themselves into the earth. Nearly every face is overspread with a serious, thoughtful air; and what thoughts, vivid and burning, come trooping up from the inner chambers of memory, the soldier can only realize. ...
During the artillery fight above mentioned, I saw Gen. Longstreet in a small wood immediately behind our batteries, sitting on his horse like an iron man with his spyglass to his eye, coolly watching the effect of our shots. Limbs of trees fell and crashed around him, yet he sat as unmoved as a statue. I really believe he loves the music of cannon-shot; if so, it is an affection that is not indulged in by his faithful soldiers.
-Decimus et Ultimus Barziza, The Adventures Of A Prisoner Of War, 1863-64
Because of the different ways that our brains are wired, we all experience reality in different ways and any single way is essentially distorted. This is something we need to acknowledge and deal with. So if you want to know what is true and what to do about it, you must understand your own brain.
-Ray Dalio, Principles
As Amos Singeltary of Massachusetts put it, "These lawyers, and men of learning, and monied men, that talk so finely, and gloss over matters so smoothly, to make us poor illiterate people swallow down the pills, expect to get into Congress themselves; they expect to be the managers of this Constitution, and get all the power and money into their own hands, and then they will swallow up all us little folks, like the great Leviathan.
-As excerpted from the chapter in Paul Johnson's A History of the American People dealing with the late 1780's process of ratifying of the Constitution.
Wandering between two worlds, one dead,
The other powerless to be born.
Matthew Arnold's famous lines from "Stanzas from the Grand Chartreuse" have long served as an epigram for nineteenth-century Europeans whose past seemed far more certain than their future. Arnold, the English poet adored by American liberals, looking out from a French monastery in 1850, evoked the tensions and confusion of emerging industrial modernity. What he said of Europe applied to the post-Civil War United States as well, if only as a borrowed garment,
In 1865 an older American nation had died, a casualty of the Civil War. Abraham Lincoln's lesson taken from the Gospel of Mark, that "a house divided against itself cannot stand," had been rewritten in blood. The old Union had perished in a fratricidal war, but Northerners did not doubt that, again in Lincoln's words, "this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom." They would resurrect the best of the old society with the cancer of slavery cut out.
Americans did give birth to a new nation, but it was not the one they imagined. How the United States at the end of the nineteenth century turned out to be so different from the country Lincoln conjured and Republicans confidently set out to create is the subject of this book.
Richard White, from the introduction to The Republic For Which It Stands: The United States During Reconstruction And The Gilded Age, 1865-1896
Sunday, November 26, 2017
In the following pages I design to give my adventures for the past twelve months. What I set down, shall be chiefly those incidents which came under my personal observation. My style may, perhaps, be objectionable, and the continued indulgence of the pronoun "I" may savor of egotism; but as this is my book I am writing, and my adventures I am relating, I shall ask no one's pardon, and offer no apology. Many incidents herein will be well remembered by thousands of Confederate soldiers, and their recall at this time and by this means, will, I know, be agreeable and entertaining.
-Decimus et Ultimus Barziza, The Adventures Of A Prisoner Of War And Life and Scenes in Federal Prisons: Johnson's Island, Fort Delaware, and Point Lookout; By An Escaped Prisoner Of Hood's Texas Brigade
Ed. Note: Latin students will recognize Decimus et Ultimus as "tenth and last." Apparently his parents had run out of names by the time their tenth child was born. Wiki here.
Fourth, Churchill wasted an extraordinarily small amount of his time and emotional energy on the meanness of life: recrimination, shifting the blame onto others, malice, revenge seeking, dirty tricks, spreading rumors, harboring grudges, waging vendettas. Having fought hard, he washed his hands and went on to the next contest. It is one reason for his success. There is nothing more draining and exhausting than hatred. And malice is bad for the judgment. Churchill loved to forgive and make up. His treatment of Baldwin and Chamberlain after he became prime minister is an object lesson in sublime magnanimity. Nothing gave him more pleasure than to replace enmity with friendship, not least with the Germans.
-Paul Johnson, Churchill