A brief rhetorical reflection and argumentgreenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread
I'm new, bear with me. ;-)
Right now the thing that stays with me the most is the rhetoric used by certain members of this board (call this my MA English Lit training), above and beyond the basic doomer/polly deal. I mean, "sheeple" -- *shakes head*. Seems to me that if you want to try and convince somebody that preparation is wise, etc., belittling 'the masses' and implicitly setting yourself up as a new elite can contain its own fatal flaw. Why should someone thus being insulted care to listen further?
On a larger note, I'm trying to maintain as unbiased a position as I can in this whole thing, and to dismiss concerns out of hand is always a losing game. Still, the naturally skeptical side of my personality, which regards nearly everything askance, sees the overarching metaconspiracy theories regarding 'suppressed news,' bizarre and offhand references to China and Saddam, etc. as not so much grasping at straws as desperately clinging to a cozy mythology. One need not mindlessly accept Mass Media Pronouncements on anything to find its 'truth is out there' flipside equally hard to swallow and to prove.
This in part explains my utter distrust of Gary North -- why so many have celebrated the efforts of a man who for all intents and purposes is an exclusionary, horrifyingly patronizing religious bigot pushing a frightful agenda above and beyond any concerns he might have for humanity as a whole (something I have increasingly doubted) is something that disturbs me greatly. I would rather have (and have been happy to stick to) approaches that regard the problem in and of itself -- acknowledging the societal ramifications, but disentangled from the millenarianism that drives more than one point of view in more than one religious belief, something I do not see North doing. Y2K has never and will never be solely an American Christian problem -- but considering some (not all) of what I've read here over the past few days, other seem to think it means nothing but. Scary, that.
-- Ned Raggett (email@example.com), January 01, 2000
Welcome to the board. I've been here forever.
Two things to keep in mind:
1. Gary North is not important.
2. All kinds of people post here -- the informed & intelligent, the total morons, & everything in between. Sift, sift, sift, & keep sifting until you're sifting in your sleep (I do).
The good stuff is there. Honest.
-- no one (firstname.lastname@example.org), January 01, 2000.
Extremes move the middle. Without Gary North pushing the middle, we'd probably have a lot more Y2K bug problems today. Sure, Y2K is a substitute for millenia madness but so what, maybe it's G-d's way of preparing his "favorites" of ALL stripes.
You're a "Lit man"...ever read Machievelli? Believe me, conspiracy theory is not a "cozy mythology". I'd rather be in a world where our kings, queens & elected officials told the truth, directly. But it "ain't" that way, bud.
-- INever Cared if i graduated college (email@example.com), January 01, 2000.
To INever Cared: two points:
"Without Gary North pushing the middle, we'd probably have a lot more Y2K bug problems today."
Give me a definition of 'middle' and what problems have been solved. My impression from the more sober-minded reports on the matter has been that North is regarded as little more than a gadfly, and by his own admission he is no programmer or technical expert. Therefore, what actual problems have been solved by him or can be credited to his influence? Not preparation, *problems*. There is a clear distinction between working on a solution and simply battening down. From my end, North is little more than a fearmongerer who lucked on a larger situation to attach his flag to, and it's a flag I'd feel ashamed to follow, however unintentionally.
"...ever read Machievelli? Believe me, conspiracy theory is not a "cozy mythology". I'd rather be in a world where our kings, queens & elected officials told the truth, directly. But it "ain't" that way, bud."
I don't automatically believe in the simple mass-produced consensus equated with truth, and I stated as much in my original post, sir. I also stated that I don't buy conspiracy theory as truth either. I regard both as incredibly simplistic methods to explain away a vast web of complexity in the end that's beyond basic control. Sure, I've read Machiavelli, but what's your point? That people lie in the pursuit of interests, or that conventional morality need not apply? Hardly a revelation. Frankly, you could apply both those descriptions to North.
Isn't it more accurate to say that while there are those who you seem to have a certain contempt for, clinging to things you regard as sops and mistruths, you yourself might be clinging to a similar sop, something that makes you 'see' reality for what it is when all it is is merely another way to interpret things, and not truth in and of itself? I won't claim to have discovered the truth of the situation, thus my sitting on the sidelines for this whole debate in general. But if you have an instinctual reaction to blame things on conspiracy theory, then where is the difference between you and someone else taking a mass media report and saying, 'well, there it is'? In both cases you dig no further, you don't question yourself, your sources, what it might mean.
My end point is simple -- has it ever occured to you that you might be wrong? I ask myself this often, on lots of things, or so I hope. People on all sides of this debate should ask that about themselves, including you.
-- Ned Raggett (firstname.lastname@example.org), January 02, 2000.
After New Years, now you have something to offer. This board was about getting ready for the unforseen. I'd already decided that I wouldn't help people like you.
Connecting the dots & reading between the lines is not the same as saying "that's all there is".
If Gary North had not pushed the grassroots, the y2k bug problem may not have been taken as seriously. That's how power & politics work.
You are the reason why i never cared if i did or did not finish college because you are an arrogant (fill in blank).
Whatever you write i wont be checking it. Someday you'll be unprepapred. I will laugh.
-- INever (email@example.com), January 02, 2000.
INever makes a great point. Gary North's opinion or religious views have nothing to do with the factual computer problem at hand. It could have been a Sudanese water carrier that asked the questions that no press reporter asked, or just gave the links to the various new releases, that caused otheres to wonder the same thing, and to explore for themselves the potential risk we, as Mankind faced (face).
I only answer to this degree because I accept your statement of being new to the Forum. Start talking like a thinking person or you will be shafted.
-- Gregg (firstname.lastname@example.org), January 02, 2000.
"After New Years, now you have something to offer."
Didn't really feel the need to be here before. If you want to know, it's because part of me has always been very freaked that something big would/will happen. Feeding my potential paranoia beyond what I felt was a reasonable level wouldn't have been cool, frankly, and from what I can tell, plenty of past messages would have done exactly that. I made a conscious decision to be here starting with New Year's, to see where things go from here. If you find that a problem, that's not my business.
"I'd already decided that I wouldn't help people like you."
*shrug* I doubt I would have asked someone like you in turn, so I guess we're equal. Relax.
"Connecting the dots & reading between the lines is not the same as saying "that's all there is"."
And this says...what? This is the type of thing I used to teach in writing classes, 'reading between the lines.' It can be done in all sorts of ways, guises. It also has the eternal potential to be misinterpreted, pushing evidence into predetermined theories rather than revamping the theories in light of the evidence. When doesn't this happen and where? *again, shrug*
"If Gary North had not pushed the grassroots, the y2k bug problem may not have been taken as seriously. That's how power & politics work."
How not taken seriously, when there were many others out there sounding similar warnings, at various levels? North is not the be-all end-all you seem to want him to be, and his nervy rhetoric was not working towards solving problems, but preparing for a not-too-secretly hoped-for apocalypse. North is his own conspiracy theory and theorist, in a way, and the bleedover was always my greatest concern with him.
For someone who seems to wear your conspiracy theory mantle proudly, on the other hand you seem to have faith in the ability of public pressure to effect change. I too have that faith, but I have it without the need to assume a team of guys are sitting around a table somewhere deciding who will win the World Series next year or however you choose to envision it. Institutional conformity tends to make much more sense as the villain in that regard.
"You are the reason why i never cared if i did or did not finish college because you are an arrogant (fill in blank)."
I'm not here to be your scapegoat, m'friend. You could never have gone to school or have eight doctorates for all I care. Work through that pain elsewhere, please.
"Whatever you write i wont be checking it. Someday you'll be unprepapred. I will laugh."
*shrug* So maybe nobody will read this, who knows. I've not claimed to be the best-prepared person for the collapse of civilization, and I'm not. I just know this -- as compared to someone else who wants to help others, it seems like you're out to gloat over others. Frankly, not very Christlike.
-- Ned Raggett (email@example.com), January 02, 2000.
Good post Ned Raggett -
"Isn't it more accurate to say that while there are those who you seem to have a certain contempt for, clinging to things you regard as sops and mistruths, you yourself might be clinging to a similar sop, something that makes you 'see' reality for what it is when all it is is merely another way to interpret things, and not truth in and of itself? I won't claim to have discovered the truth of the situation, thus my sitting on the sidelines for this whole debate in general. But if you have an instinctual reaction to blame things on conspiracy theory, then where is the difference between you and someone else taking a mass media report and saying, 'well, there it is'? In both cases you dig no further, you don't question yourself, your sources, what it might mean.
My end point is simple -- has it ever occured to you that you might be wrong? I ask myself this often, on lots of things, or so I hope. People on all sides of this debate should ask that about themselves, including you. " - ned raggett.
-- number six (!@!.com), January 02, 2000.
At this point, after reading your responses to others (my post was probably to new to respond to), you seem like a Flint wannabe. You say you were expecting trouble - blah blah blah - your "new" - yet, you have mastered the art of making your response look good.
You have the spacing down. You know how to import the text you want to rebute, and have it look right.
You are not new. You are the Troll we all hope to avoid. Bye.
-- Gregg (firstname.lastname@example.org), January 02, 2000.
First let me quietly welcome you to this forum. I have no credentials here, but I have a lot of clock hours, and some posts.
I came here a y2k agnostic, and after reading a spectrum of non- conclusive information, I found myself agnostic about my agnosticism (to quote James Agee). Nonetheless, I prepared. The support of this forum play no insignificant part in helping me prep: information, links, and moral support.
Your points on this thread are incisive, and I respect your acumen and finesse in the making of them.
In all the frenzy of news and other agendas going on in the past couple of days, I suspect that most people will miss this thread. (There are simply too threads being posted.) That is unfortunate, because I know there are people here who would appreciate your voice.
"INever" has a point. Extremes sometimes do move the middle. I don't read Gary North because I had so much trouble with his stridency and worldview. I do, however, believe he is due credit for giving many non-technical individuals a heads-up. Nonetheless, you make a good point about assigning proper weight to his analyses.
This y2k issue has been so oddly unique, so pandemnic in nature, with such a paucity of conclusive information, that it has been difficult to wrestle with it as a society. Government, business, individuals and forums have been winging it, I think. Successfully, so far, it would seem, if the big midnight was any indication.
It's an interesting juncture and opportunity to calibrate and readjust the conversation, and tone of it, a bit. Thank you in your efforts to do that.
We may have miles to go still. But of course, that is all yet to be told.
-- (email@example.com), January 02, 2000.
My religious and political views are 180 degrees away from Gary North's views, and undoubtedly anathema to him. I'm not a Christian, and I think my spiritual views would be highly offensive to him. Yet his was the first Y2k site I would check every day. Anything that makes Gary North and me strange bedfellows is something worth paying attention to.
I felt that for the most part, North clearly kept his religious agenda in check. When he did bring religion into the dialogue, he did it with a lot more restraint than many of the posters in this forum, and I respected that. I generally found his commentary witty and insightful, and he asked a lot of probing questions about the coverage he was seeing that were not being asked elsewhere.
Would it be a disaster if the religious agenda he stands for gained power in this country? Absolutely. But having read him regularly has raised my consciousness about emergency preparation, and my family is now better prepared for any emergency situations that should arise, natural or man-made. In addition, it has given me the impetus and confidance to stand up and take more leadership roles in my own community, and that has involved some major personal growth.
While I am not one to toss around terms like "sheeple," I found the vast majority of people I discussed Y2k possibilities with to be totally unwilling to think of any of the consequences of their actions (or non-actions) should Y2k have more disruptions than it so far has shown. I rarely found any reasonable objections to what I had to say. The response was most often that they _didn't_ want to think about it, or _couldn't_ dare contemplate it. Taught me a lot about where people are at.
-- Firemouse (firstname.lastname@example.org), January 02, 2000.
I, too, have benefitted from North's dedicated push to pierce the truth of the potential impact of the y2k situation. And, like many others, don't concur with his worldview. No matter, he did "connect the dots" on a gand scale.
As to the "sheeple" (I used the term "sleeple" about a year ago on a thread where we discussed this phenomenon):
the term points to one of the most important and least understood aspects of the y2k challenges - that of a public inclined to accept whever the television and public relations departments spew in their direction. It points to a nation that has become complacent and mentally lazy. Asleep and spoiled. Used to being spoon-fed everything. SHEEPle because they can be herded and have been. SLEEPle because they are too passive to care.
Is the "hurling" of these monikers at the public intended to insult them? Or will it have that effect? No, because the *public* isn't reading this.
This forum has been, for the last few years, a resource for the very few people who had sensed potential problems resulting from y2k. It has been a place to come for updates from inside sources, to knock around ideas and solicit input from the many experts and insightful analysts who frequent this forum.
"Conspiracy" is a strong word, and I understand that to many it is a red flag that creates an instant reaction of "Oh, yeah, chemtrails and alien invasion!"
However, there has been, without question, a conspiracy of the media industry and the government to control the public's perception of everything to do with y2k. And for not picking up on this, the public deserves to be called the "sleeple" and the "sheeple."
-- Sara Nealy (email@example.com), January 02, 2000.