18 thoughts on “Idealism Revisited

  1. “If there are not enough activist idealists to be influential, the tendency is for the most aggressive person to become the leader and assert his/her priorities over the rest of the group.”
    When idealism meets and merges with realism and pragmatism, then this is the opposite of the tendency… But that rarely happens.
    “Hussein and Bush are good examples of that kind of behavior over their citizens.”
    And this illustrates the problem when idealism is devoid of realism. Hussein is a good example, but Bush is a horrifically-poor example.
    “This world has more realists and pragmatists than it needs. It needs more idealists.”
    I’m afraid, Elaine, that this comes back to the familiar argument that “the world just needs more people like me, and then everything would be a better place”. I’ve read enough of Your blogs to know that You are not STRICTLY saying exactly this.
    The world is better off with You being in it, Elaine, but I’m have a sense that You’d be the first to agree that the world would be awfully boring if everyOne was more like You. Either Way, my own personal feeling, and my experience, is such I wouldn’t want the world to be filled with people of ANY one viewpoint, in particular my own…!!
    (I’m male, btw Elaine, in case You haven’t read between the lines over at Shelley’s place…;-)

  2. Oh. If you’re that D..D.. from D..D..D.. who comments at Shelley’s I didn’t make the connection, since you identify yourself there. I’ve learned never to make assumptions about the identity of commentors who don’t identify themselves. So now we know.

  3. No Elaine. jt is not the DD who used to post at Shelley’s. I am.
    FYI… male 45, voted various presidential candidates from Barry Commoner (solar energy advocate) in 1980 to George W Bush in 2000. I guess you could consider me an evolving conservative. I post no email address only because I’ve heard bad things about weblogs that require them. Not the weblogs themselves, but of bots that scape them due to spam. Oh, and US citizen of Pennsylvania.
    I ‘generally’ try to speak both constructively, with an open mind for people who hold different beliefs and with respect. (I say ‘generally’ because like all people I am guilty on occassion of speaking too passionately without thinking…. Elaine I did that to you once.)
    Finally, I was personally offended by a post of Shelley’s – oddly enough one about females in the military and in passing something she said about Jessica Lynch. Without going into detail I posted that I will not comment there anymore and from her reply I figure that is something she prefers.
    There is most definitely a place in the world for idealism. In fact, I am one too. I’m also an optimist. It’s only in certain situations that I feel you have to accept reality. Humanity can be quite ugly. Quite violent. 99.9% of the time such violence is so localized that a non-violent approach to things can AND is the correct way to go. But there is AND will always be that 0.01%. And IMHO the Stalinist tendancies of Saddam was one such case. You HAVE to be willing to get dirty.
    Please note some other things I have said both here and elsewhere. IMHO Bush is the perfect person to lead the coalition to get this cancer called Saddam out of power. And IMHO Bush is absolutely the wrong person to get Iraq back on it’s feet in the aftermath.
    The aftermath…. now THAT is the moment that we need every idealist possible.

  4. Hey, two more things – besides the fact I hit submit too quickly sometimes! 🙂
    Elaine, I _did_ try to apologize for being flippant that one time. I wanted to one more time. That was uncalled for.
    Also, my name is Dave, but since there seemed to be too many Daves (including one who can speak very… well, let’s just say I think he can be both arrogant and closed-minded at times) so I changed from Dave or Dave D or Dave but not Winer to simply my initials…. DD.

  5. I didn’t read Shelley’s post about Jessica Lynch, but she’s (Lynch) been getting so much publicity lately that I’ve been thinking about her situation. In reality, she’s not the hero; the soldiers who rescued her are, but none of them have been celebrated the way she is. It’s interesting how she’s being used for propaganda purposes. After all, she’s female, young, and photogenic. Not that I take anything away from her spunk and will to survive. I keep wondering what it all did to her mind, her spirit. We know what it all did to her body. Poor kid.

  6. Thanks for clearing that up, DD…
    I wonder if Jessica Lynch has been asked if She views Herself as being used for “propaganda”…? Considering She was willing to give Her very LIFE for the American People, Ms. Lynch would probably view it as something other than propaganda.

  7. Wait a minute. Lynch, like every other soldier over there, was NOT laying her life on the line for the American people. She was laying her life on the line for lots of other things, including what I’m sure she believed was the lives of the Iraqi people. The fact that she was injured in that process does not make her any more — or less — a hero than any of the other soldiers in the same situation. Her “heroic act” was no more nor less than that of thousands of other American soldiers. I just find it interesting that she, rather than the soldiers who actively risked their lives to rescue her, is being touted as the hero. Her heroic act was a passive one. Her rescuers’ was an active one. But she makes a great image to rally around. Next thing we know, they’ll be building a “reality” show around her. Certainly a few tv specials and eventually a movie. It’s the American way.

  8. ‘Course We’re both guessing at the reasons why any of these people would be WILLING to give their life to this cause, Elaine…
    And perhaps I mis-spoke. Lynch and the other soldiers are fighting for the 70% of Americans that DO believe they ARE fighting for them. And they fight for the right of the other 30% to claim otherwise… In general, and each would have their own specific unique reasons why they are risking their lives, of course.
    But I do understand Your point about the PR (and hope You were being sarcastic about the TV show).
    But You are factually incorrect to say that surviving an Iraq POW camp is a passive act. I actually read almost nothing of the story, but the fact that She’s gonna be hospitalized says it was a struggle to survive, and which some weren’t so “lucky” to be able to. Imv, the REAL heros are the ones that DID give their lives, rather than Jessica Lynch.. or rather in addition to Ms. Lynch.
    But as You implied, Elaine, there is more positive PR value in the story of the survivor, (especially being one-a the first Female Americans in this kind-a situation), at this stage. But each war selects certain individuals to stand out as heros, when they ALL are.. like Ya said, Elaine.

  9. Gee, Elaine, I was just gonna say: nice song.
    I walked into a talk radio show, here. Is it just me, or does DD and jt sound the same? Well, nice dialogue, anyway, very…energetic and informed.
    BTW, for everybody? : the real hero of that story is the unidentified Iraqi called “Mohammed,” who risked his life and his wife and child’s for 2 days’ duration, to sneak in and gather the intelligence the Marines required (how many guards, where are they stationed, what time do they go eat, where, 3 hand-drawn maps of the layout, etc.) before they would step one foot into that hospital to “rescue” PFC Lynch.
    Pah. Heroes indeed.
    And? I love the moondance crone site. By definition I am eligible for “crone status” this fall when I turn 50. Am I ready, do you think?

  10. Okay, guess I better clear up one last thing. Jessica Lynch….
    IMHO the only thing anyone other than her can state for any fact is that she was there for one thing: to perform her military responsibilities. She enlisted, understood her responsibilities (I hope) and obeyed her chain of command.
    While I understood Shelley’s points – and thoroughly agree with them too – I didn’t feel she needed to add in Jessica Lynch. Her points were about women’s rights and abuses, particularly in the American military. I also said as much in my last post… that I agreed with her (at first).
    Consider what we can also say about Jessica…. she was abbushed in a foreign country by ‘the enemy’, shot, tortured and witnessed possibly up to 8 of her fellow soldiers die. She was in very critical condition from actions the Iraqi soldiers did. She was rescued thanks to the braveness of one Iraqi male, and this rescue was carried out with TOP PRIORITY from American male soldiers.
    Now consider the context that Shelley had brought her up in…. mentions her mostly as an aside to make a point about American values and how miltary women have more to fear from American soldiers when they return then they do away from home.
    Again, Shelley’s point was very true. Her methods of making it were not.
    Hey Kate, trust me I am _not_ jt. We both commented on Bb weblog and ocassionally disagreed but usually did not. (I’d be flippant and say that maybe great mind think alike…. LOL. Sorry, coudn’t resist.) I don’t really know who jt is. Also, you hit it right on about who the real hero is.
    I’ll have to check out this moondance crone site. Right now my goal is to improve my golf game several levels so I can turn pro in the Senior PGA tour. They get to spend their ‘crone’ years in warm weather and get paid for it! 😉

  11. I’ve also heard it said that “great minds run in the same gutter”…;-) Dave D and I were, apparently, identical twins separated at birth and by three or 4 years… I’m the elder of the twins, btw, sortuva Danny-DeVito-type-a twin…;-D I assume DD is more like-a Swartznegger-type-a-twin, since He plays golf.
    Yesterday I thought about posting following, then thought about e-ing Elaine, but did neither:
    Uhhh.. I dunno who D.D. is, (other than what He’s posted at Shelley’s)…….. and handn’t (sic) heard-a D..D..D.. ’till now.
    (I barely know who I am, frum day-ta day, and hadn’a even heard-a m’self.. ’till about a year-and-a half ago…!…;-D)
    I USED to post comments at Shelley’s, as myself and a couple very early as “Anony Moose” or sumpin. (I’ve e’d/posted to several different communities, under a few names.. mostly my own. But You aren’t likely to have seen many of those types-a communities, I don’t imagine.)
    Also.. I try-ta tend to not make TOO many assumptions about people even if they DO identify themselves, but only in writing. My soon-to-be-ex-Wife/landlady was saying something similar about: She STILL has a hard time knowing where I’m coming from, and She’s LIVED with me for more’n a decade now.
    Kate S: I wondered if there was an Iraqi hero, but didn’t know… And “radio talk show”…? Hm…… I’m generally shy, so that thaz ALMOST a compliment…;-) And I dunno You, but have known some Women in their 20’s with a bit-a the old hag in them (in complimentary form-a the term).
    I gotta fair bit-a the crone in me, and I’m male, so You problee more ready ‘n I am…;-D

  12. OK. So, it’s not me having a disturbing senior moment; there are enough similarities between jt and DD, in both style and substance, to merit wondering if the two are one. Thanks for clearing that up, guys.
    I think the male equivalent of “crone” is “sage.” Not that it really matters. I use the crone image as a leitmotif to counteract the emphasis in our culture on the over-arching value of youth. Especially female youth.
    And I understand the point Shelley was making about women too often being at the mercy of men. There is still the acceptance of the notion that physical might makes right. Using Lynch as some kind of catalyst for a discussion of violence toward women on the home front was a bit of a stretch. I see her more as a victim of our military system, which promises a better life for those who serve. Except first, they have to survive the service itself, and that’s the part that’s not empahsized enough.
    The older I get, the more I realize that everything in life is a trade-off. You have to be careful to make sure that you understand what you’re trading off for what you think you’re going to get.

  13. Um, Elaine… we’re similar in style? Wow. IMHO jt uses thsi ‘sort-a’ drawl ‘or-a-somthin’. I never publically asked him why because I guess I was afraid of the answer. 😉 Since I’m not particularly a fan of his style, I have to ask now…. should I be offended? (Just kidding jt.)
    But yes, we are of similar substance most times. Trouble is, there really are alot more of us than you may think. Even at it’s worst, the American public polls had support for war and a second UN resolution dead even. Kind of like the 2000 election. Say what you will about that election…. Al Gore never won a majority of the voters either.
    But I think myself, like jt, enjoy swapping discussions with people who feel differently and usually are successful at not being offensive for sticking up for our beliefs. It is much more of a growing experience to talk of politics etc. in forums such as this instead of newgroups or local places where everyone seems to only socialize with others of similar beliefs.
    I still ocassionally read the comments at the Bb site. On of the more interesting ones – oddly enough nobody at all directly replied to it – was from a female Iraqi exile. You don’t hear things like what she commented about in many places. But you do on the ‘net.
    If you believe she was who she claimed to be (and the tone suggests she is) then her words carry much more weight than yours or mine – or Shelley’s. I guess that was what offended me.
    I have no right to speak from experiences I have none of. I never served in the military, turned 18 – 2 years after the draft was disbanded – otherwise I likely would have moved to Canada. I also have no right speak of what it is like to be something I am not… a black or a woman.
    In Shelley’s post she had every right to speak about women’s right abuses, but AFIAK she never served in the military nor has known any woman firsthand who was abused by fellow soldiers or officers firsthand.
    While I endorse the subject of that post, it was using Jessica Lynch _in name_ that IMHO crossed a line. Only Jessica can speak about what she has endured – either in Iraq or in the military.
    Shelley spoke of no other women soldiers by name. The real message was about males abusing females in the military. The tone was that females have more to fear from American soldiers than Iraqi soldiers. I’m sorry but at that point, after listening to an interview American male soldiers who worked HARD to rescue her from that ‘hospital’ and then an interview with her family speaking of things they were told she endured in that ‘hospital’, I just decided enough was enough. That it wasn’t a ‘stretch’, but rather a line crossed.
    Again though, don’t mistake anything I just said about not having a right to speak harshly as saying none of us have a right to speak our opinion.
    I’m not speaking right now in an attempt to sling mud at Shelley. I hold her in very high respect. This war has really divided people, and emotions run high. You should know that Elaine, I had my moment recently and crossed a line myself.
    No, comments HERE started speaking about Jessica Lynch in the context of Shelley’s post and I thought I’d speak my feelings on it. I wish her (and all) peace and happiness, and only the best. I believe her reply when I said her post offended me was to ask me to leave her be to post as she pleased, so I am.

  14. Interesting. I wondered why my ears were burning. Elaine, we’re old friends so I know you’ll excuse me if I do a little clarification here.
    DD, you didn’t read the full context of that posting, nor the comments. First, re-read it ( at http://weblog.burningbird.net/fires/001070.htm ), and you’ll see not only do I mention the other women, I show their photos and a brief description of them personally.
    And I mentioned the GI Jane stuff with Pfc Lynch to demonstrate how the media is making her into a superwoman, when what she was is a soldier doing her job — and more power to her.
    Elaine, both DD and JT share one other thing — I banned their IP’s from my comments, as neither has shown themselves to be particularly tolerant of viewpoints other than their own, and it became wearying. And they’re both dominating, making it difficult for others to feel comfortable commenting.
    They both want a forum to be heard in, and tend to use others comments for this purpose. Fine by me, but I don’t necessarily want to give them the box on which to stand.
    Elaine, thanks for letting me go off topic on this.

  15. Interesting Shelley. I try to say that I intend nothing personal then you go and make it so. You see, at no time did I know until now that you “banned my IP”. Last time I checked – 20 seconds ago – I could pop up the comment box, so I must not be completely banned. Why do you need to do that? Can’t take some healthy criticism?
    As for your posting, you are correct and I apologize. Now, by my count I have apologized to two people on this site. My memory is hazy – you know middle age and all 🙂 – but I seem to recall doing the same thing on your site Bb. Unfortunately I also feel that was one-sided. You never show any remorse for the tough words you use. Not a problem, that is your right. But when you chose to speak of understanding of the hardships that Jessica Lynch has endured, well, that crossed a line with me. Rather than argue endlessly over it, I chose to not comment on your site anymore.
    Last, about your feelings that I have shown myself to not be ‘particularly tolerant’ of viewpoints other than my own…. well, two things:
    (1) I’ll let anyone who reads this site make up their own mind. Let my comments speak for themself.
    (2) I’ll stop this off-topic commenting now. And if need be, never comment here again. Problem is, it is MY loss. I enjoy the back-and-forth and try to grow from it. I’m sorry you feel I was dominating and wish I knew how you came to this conclusion that it made it difficult for others to feel comfortable commenting. (You may be right, but again, I’ll let my comments on your site speak for themself.)
    Hey, one last thing (guess I have to post it here if truely my IP is banned)…. good luck Shelley, whatever course you take in your career. I not only respected you as a human being, but also for your database knowledge. (Sorry I can’t speak about your RSS/RFC knowledge – I’m really not very into that side of techie stuf.) Peace, Shelley!

  16. First of all, I don’t know how to ban IP addresses, but I do have a very thick skin and an every sharper tongue. I figure that those will help me to keep you guys in line on this site. 🙂
    Now, as far as the discussions at Shelley’s are concerned, I have always found Shelley’s posts to steer clear of crap and cut right to the really tough issues — often ones that others don’t have the guts to tackle. Gender equity is a volatile one, and as far as I’m concerned, everything that Shelley said about the women in the military is right on.
    Where I come down on all of that is — we make our choices and we take our chances when it comes to women joining the military. (I wonder, though, how many women in the military really thought through the choice they were making.) There’s a lot of cultural conditioning that gets in the way of letting us do our jobs no matter what our jobs are. We’re often damned if we do and damned if we don’t. And the men who work with us (on and off the battlefield) often make it harder on themselves as well as us because they don’t know how to get past that cultural conditioning. (And, as I’ve said before — much to the annoyance of both males and females I know — they don’t know how to control their testosterone surges.)
    So, my choice is just about always to go where I’m not expected to play by the rules that have been set up by men primarily. I just don’t expect them to really understand how I think, make decisions, get things done. If, by chance, they do, terrific. That means we’ll work well together because I’ll go out of my way to try to meet them half-way. Now, none of that would hold true in the military. It’s a man’s game all the way.
    I operate from the perspective that males and females are equal but different. We are of equal value as humans and have the same potential to succeed as far as brain-power is concerned. We might work out problems using different thought and interpersonal processes, but our solutions to those problems will be just as exquisitely forumulated as those of men. Different, maybe, but just as valid, just as deliberate, just as well-constructed.
    In general, we don’t have the level of brute physical strength that men have, and if we choose to give birth, we have the constraints of our biology. But those are — or at least they should be — minor obstacles to success in just about any area of intelligent human activity. Except, I think, the military. It’s really beyond me why any female would honestly want to be a part of all that phoney baloney machismo. It’s not that I don’t think we need a military, but it has to evolve into a horse of different color before I would consider it worth riding on into the sunset.

  17. Damn good anwer Elaine.
    BTW, my apologies for coming here in these comments and sounding off. I was surprised, and not particularly happy about the comments I was seeing, especially since there was no way of me stumbling across them except by accident (and Elaine being on my blogroll).
    I can also help you figure out IP banning Elaine, but I think your way is better. I’ve not been particularly happy having any IP banned at my site. It feels like a mean thing to do. And to be honest, not sure I’ll have site much longer, anyway.

  18. Hey, Bb,given the fact that I’ve been known to post some strong statements in your comments, I was glad to see you over here. Maybe I should have let you know that you were mentioned over here, but I figured that you don’t need any more aggravation from overly-critical commentors.

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