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  #41  
Old 12-08-2009, 06:41 PM
AemJeff AemJeff is offline
 
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Default Re: postmodern tl;dr

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Originally Posted by PreppyMcPrepperson View Post
This is the essence of postmodern logic--"can it be viewed as" is not the same thing as "is it." I see that hunger is one example of a larger category that some might call oppression.* But I do not see that larger category, oppression (a general and abstract term) as the CAUSE of hunger (a general and abstract term).

Instead I see, for example, cartelization and price-fixing in the South Asian sugar and wheat market as the CAUSE of food shortages, and thus hunger, in rural South Asia. [will be writing on this soon] Is cartelization a bundensome and cruel injustice? Maybe. But I don't look at the hunger that way. That is the difference between the postmodernists and me--I'm inclined to see the immediate link as the causal link and to focus on addressing that. And I think if more liberals thought that way, more liberal goals would be met.



I assume you've heard that line "All squares are rectangles, but all rectangles aren't squares." Corrupt people benefit by pretending to solve problems without solving them. Duh. But the argument I was responding to above suggested that people who A. actually solve the problem AND B. benefit have done something wrong.

If you haven't faked part A., it's not clear to me that there's anything to be concerned about. Unless, as I suspect of some liberals from whom I often hear such concerns, you consider altruistic motive to be as, or more, important than beneficial outcome.

*[Sidenote: oppression to me is deliberate and only certain hunger in certain places has been imposed intentionally--other times it reflects incompetence more than ill will.]
Clay has a point, I think. You're defining issues out of existence in seemingly arbitrary ways. I think "cartelization and price-fixing in the South Asian sugar and wheat market" may not be deliberately oppressive, but it is directly oppressive. If it represents a specific form of oppression, then I don't see how you can argue that it doesn't conform to the general definition, too. I understand your sidenote, but I don't fully agree; and even to the extent I do agree, I don't think it makes a difference.

It's fine, by the way, to assert that some arbitrary action is an "actual" solution to something; but much of the time, above a certain level of complexity, that's really pretty tendentious. Likewise the assertion of accrued benefit can be pretty controversial. In the absence of standards of absolute measurement, I think you have to weigh the details and the side issues to frame supportable value judgments.
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Last edited by AemJeff; 12-09-2009 at 02:23 PM.. Reason: typo
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  #42  
Old 12-08-2009, 08:53 PM
JonIrenicus JonIrenicus is offline
 
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Default Re: Do the philosophical roots of the New Left hamper the enactment of environmental policy?

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Originally Posted by Don Zeko View Post
Agreed, although I tend to think that beating up on these hippie, New Left arguments is a bit of a weak man argument, or at least I would if I heard the same criticisms coming from someone who opposes both cap-and-trade and other measures like a carbon tax. Still, this was a very good discussion, and intracoalitional philosophical fights are both interesting and important. Thanks to nikkibong and hamandcheese.
I think there should be a debate between proponents of cap and trade vs a carbon tax.



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5l43JHQ5cqY
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  #43  
Old 12-08-2009, 09:07 PM
Don Zeko Don Zeko is offline
 
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Default Re: Do the philosophical roots of the New Left hamper the enactment of environmental policy?

I agree! Well, I guess I super-duper-agree, because there really ought to be two arguments: whether a carbon tax or cap-and-trade are preferable in an ideal or semi-ideal political system, and whether a carbon tax or cap-and-trade would be preferable in the real world. Bloggingheads, get on this.
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  #44  
Old 12-08-2009, 09:25 PM
AemJeff AemJeff is offline
 
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Default Re: Do the philosophical roots of the New Left hamper the enactment of environmental policy?

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Originally Posted by Don Zeko View Post
I agree! Well, I guess I super-duper-agree, because there really ought to be two arguments: whether a carbon tax or cap-and-trade are preferable in an ideal or semi-ideal political system, and whether a carbon tax or cap-and-trade would be preferable in the real world. Bloggingheads, get on this.
Agreed, as well; though the premise that there's been a lack of debate on this seems pretty overwrought.
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  #45  
Old 12-08-2009, 09:35 PM
Don Zeko Don Zeko is offline
 
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Default Re: Do the philosophical roots of the New Left hamper the enactment of environmental policy?

I took Jon to mean that there ought to be such a debate on bloggingheads, not that there ought to be a "debate" in the "national conversation about race" sense.
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  #46  
Old 12-08-2009, 10:22 PM
hamandcheese hamandcheese is offline
 
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Default Re: Link plz

http://www.thenation.com/doc/20090921
This is the issue with the rediculous "Food Democracy" slogans.

ex,
*Five leading figures of this country's food movement reflect on how food democracy can be achieved, here and now.
*School lunch reform is the best way to teach democratic values.
*People are beginning to understand the connection between our stomachs and our common destiny.

The one I mentioned directly was at
http://www.thenation.com/doc/20090921/patel_et_al

Revelvant quote:
"At best, however, the first Green Revolution was an ambiguous success. As John Perkins writes in his magisterial Geopolitics and the Green Revolution, it was instigated by the US government not out of a direct concern for the well-being of the world's hungry but from a worry that a hungry urban poor might take to the streets and demand left-wing changes in the Global South."

I read The Nation now and then and usually enjoy the different perspectives. And the above quote could easily be completely accurate. Nevertheless, it striked me as being both desperate and irrelevant to any point the article was trying to make.
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  #47  
Old 12-08-2009, 11:01 PM
hamandcheese hamandcheese is offline
 
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Default Re: postmodern tl;dr

Quote:
Originally Posted by kezboard View Post
"By giving the world's poor somewhat easier access to cheaper food, the Green Revolution helped perpetuate the system that created the conditions of exploitation that made these people poor and hungry in the first place". I'm somewhat sympathetic to this view...
Yet that so called "condition of exploitation" was Indian Fabianism, not the laissez faire or das kapital. This is what I just don't get about this critique. The description of 'giving the poor just enough to keeped them lulled in their perpetual poverty' sounds, to me, less like a liberal economy and more like Venezeula.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Pe...50-1995%29.png
Which counties seem the more repressed to you?

Quote:
It reminds me of this bit I read in Zizek
That reminds me of my own pertinent Zizek anecdote, which further reminds me of why I like him so much. In a speech he gave to a hall full of marxists and socialists, besides lambasting them for their often nostaliga based political beliefs (aimed especially at the Chavistas in the room), he criticized the false dichotomy of incrementalism vs. dramatic social upheaval with the analogy of cow castration:

It doesn't matter much whether you cut the scrotum little by little or at one fell swoop, so long as one day the cow looks down and says "holy shit! where have my balls gone?" That is basically my stance as well.

Last edited by hamandcheese; 12-08-2009 at 11:07 PM..
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  #48  
Old 12-08-2009, 11:57 PM
kezboard kezboard is offline
 
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Default Re: postmodern tl;dr

Quote:
Yet that so called "condition of exploitation" was Indian Fabianism, not the laissez faire or das kapital. This is what I just don't get about this critique. The description of 'giving the poor just enough to keeped them lulled in their perpetual poverty' sounds, to me, less like a liberal economy and more like Venezeula.
I wasn't really suggesting "the capitalist system" when I said the word "system", I was just suggesting whatever system it was that the US wanted to keep in place and make sure wasn't overthrown by Communists. The idea that the elites are keeping the population's desires/needs satisfied by throwing them little carrots so that they can tolerate the big stick can be applied to basically any situation and (in my opinion) is really just a cynical way of looking at social contracts, just or not. You could certainly say it about Venezuela. I was thinking about the eastern bloc during the 70s and 80s, where the social contract was essentially "We'll provide you with employment, housing, a certain amount of consumer goods, and relative social stability as long as you can deal with bureaucratic hassle, corruption, shortages, and you don't openly criticize the ridiculous old men who are running your country." You could characterize the US social contract as "We'll provide you with the opportunity to make a lot of money as long as you don't mind working all the damn time and having nothing to fall back on if it doesn't work out so well and you're not rich to begin with." Both of these characterizations are a gross oversimplification and don't have a lot to do with the way people actually navigate/navigated society, which is also what I think about the impression I got from the Nation article.

ETA: Oh right, Zizek. He certainly is good for an anecdote, although after the fifth little tale with the philosophical/absurd punchline, you want to throw the book across the room. I was afraid someone would bring up the New Republic criticism of Zizek that came out last year, which I thought was fairly annoying, although I also think Zizek is annoying, basically because of things like the George Soros bit I mentioned.

Last edited by kezboard; 12-09-2009 at 12:03 AM..
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  #49  
Old 12-09-2009, 12:13 AM
kezboard kezboard is offline
 
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Default Not at all tl;dr because I'm tired

Quote:
2. I think most problems are discrete, not systematic, and yet systematic approaches get a disproportionate level of attention in leftist thought.
I sort of disagree with that, but I don't think it's not a reasonable position to take. Let's be fair, though: systematic approaches get a disproportionate level of attention in leftist academia. Mainstream leftist politics, though, not so much. And it sort of makes sense that the academics would be the ones interested in the systematic approaches, because they're more abstract and theoretical, and that's what academics do. Problems of hunger, poverty, etc. are both abstract and systematic, and it seems to me that it's more a matter of temperament which way you're more likely to see them.

Quote:
3. I don't think it matters much if you benefit from solving a problem or not, so long as you solve it.
Oh, I agree. As long as it actually gets solved, and it's not just that you've moved the goalposts.
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  #50  
Old 12-09-2009, 12:29 PM
popcorn_karate popcorn_karate is offline
 
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Default Re: Do the philosophical roots of the New Left hamper the enactment of environmental policy?

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Originally Posted by JonIrenicus View Post
the strange fetish of many on the left and their greater concern about the state of nature over the state of man.
you fall into the same mental trap as they do, distinguishing "man" from "nature". we are nature. nature is us.

whether its naive hippies or christians, people need to get over the idea that we are not natural - we are not unnaturally malevolent nor unnaturally great, good and beyond "nature".

peace, love, and prosperity

PK
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  #51  
Old 12-09-2009, 01:27 PM
osmium osmium is offline
 
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Default Re: Do the philosophical roots of the New Left hamper the enactment of environmental policy?

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Originally Posted by Baltimoron View Post
Actually, my introduction to postmodern literature came through Robbe-Grillet's Jealousy in a postmodern Lit seminar. I'm not sure of how the Venn diagrams work - new novel, Freudian et al - but my first and enduring association with "postmodern" because of Robbe-Grillet is a painstaking empirical approach. How many banana trees? That spot on the wall? Honestly, I thought "postmodern" was another word for "pain in the ass"! The rest of this ideological baggage never convinced me that postmodern was as big a problem as its critics said it was.
Cool, I have never heard of it, I think. Perhaps I will read it. Pain in the ass sounds like an endorsement.
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  #52  
Old 12-09-2009, 04:55 PM
Ray Ray is offline
 
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Default Re: postmodern tl;dr

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Originally Posted by hamandcheese View Post
he criticized the false dichotomy of incrementalism vs. dramatic social upheaval with the analogy of cow castration:

It doesn't matter much whether you cut the scrotum little by little or at one fell swoop, so long as one day the cow looks down and says "holy shit! where have my balls gone?" That is basically my stance as well.
Hmmm. You actually can't castrate a bull that way, so if Zizek was trying to say, 'be realistic!', with this metaphor, he missed his mark.
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  #53  
Old 12-09-2009, 05:10 PM
SkepticDoc SkepticDoc is offline
 
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Default Re: postmodern tl;dr

It is hard to beat Mike Rowe's story...

This link may work better:

http://fora.tv/2008/12/12/Mike_Rowe_...amb_Castration

Last edited by SkepticDoc; 12-09-2009 at 05:17 PM..
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  #54  
Old 12-09-2009, 06:07 PM
PreppyMcPrepperson PreppyMcPrepperson is offline
 
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Default Re: postmodern tl;dr

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Originally Posted by AemJeff View Post
Clay has a point, I think. You're defining issues out of existence in seemingly arbitrary ways. I think "cartelization and price-fixing in the South Asian sugar and wheat market" may not be deliberately oppressive, but it is directly oppressive. If it represents a specific form of oppression, then I don't see how you can argue that it doesn't conform to the general definition, too. I understand your sidenote, but I don't fully agree; and even to the extent I do agree, I don't think it makes a difference.
My point is, I tend to focus on the specific and immediate cause/link rather than the broader categories within which it exists. This is my approach to life. It is philosophically the opposite of postmodernism. If you're philosophically prone to think at the level of categories, you're probably more like the postmodernists than like me. It's a values/psychology thing. BUT (and this is the point I wanted to make in the DV) I do think my way has one objective merit--it's better at addressing the specific cause/link. And since most public policy is about the specific and immediate, I wish there weren't so many categorical thinkers influenced by postmodern thought in liberal policy circles.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AemJeff View Post
It's fine, by the way, to assert that some arbitrary action is an "actual" solution to something; but much of the time, above a certain level of complexity, that's really pretty tendentious.
That seems to me to suggest that no 'somethings' can ever be solved because all solutions that aren't at a categorical level are just arbitrary actions whose impacts can't be proven. You may not mean this, but most postmodern-esque policy talk seems to mean it and that's what I find so frustrating.
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  #55  
Old 12-09-2009, 07:27 PM
AemJeff AemJeff is offline
 
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Default Re: postmodern tl;dr

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Originally Posted by PreppyMcPrepperson View Post
My point is, I tend to focus on the specific and immediate cause/link rather than the broader categories within which it exists. This is my approach to life. It is philosophically the opposite of postmodernism. If you're philosophically prone to think at the level of categories, you're probably more like the postmodernists than like me. It's a values/psychology thing. BUT (and this is the point I wanted to make in the DV) I do think my way has one objective merit--it's better at addressing the specific cause/link. And since most public policy is about the specific and immediate, I wish there weren't so many categorical thinkers influenced by postmodern thought in liberal policy circles.



That seems to me to suggest that no 'somethings' can ever be solved because all solutions that aren't at a categorical level are just arbitrary actions whose impacts can't be proven. You may not mean this, but most postmodern-esque policy talk seems to mean it and that's what I find so frustrating.
Just two points. Categorical thinking is synonymous with abstract thinking; and I'm not sure how you avoid that with anything above a certain scale.

To your second point: what I conclude is just that solving problems has an unavoidable political component. Things aren't so much arbitrary as they are matters of consensus. (Which isn't to say we should blithely accept the value of consensus solutions; just that that's the process by which such judgments are inevitably going to assigned.)
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  #56  
Old 12-09-2009, 09:22 PM
JonIrenicus JonIrenicus is offline
 
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Default Re: Do the philosophical roots of the New Left hamper the enactment of environmental policy?

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Originally Posted by popcorn_karate View Post
you fall into the same mental trap as they do, distinguishing "man" from "nature". we are nature. nature is us.

whether its naive hippies or christians, people need to get over the idea that we are not natural - we are not unnaturally malevolent nor unnaturally great, good and beyond "nature".

peace, love, and prosperity

PK
In a way, I actually agree with that already. I don't think man made should be automatically placed into a separate category from the natural. A damn from a beaver is a result of nature just as a damn of man is. I do not think mankind is supernatural.

The problem arises when people place special negative meanings on human actions as opposed to everything else. (i.e. intolerable that cockroach X goes extinct due to mans expansion into some region as opposed to some other predator migrating to the region and out competing and sending it to oblivion.) There the same result is only BAD when a result of the actions of man. They are the ones who think man is separate and apart from nature, special (in the case of many environmentalists - specially EVIL and blight ridden). Though the counter is that man has free will, the capacity to over rule his nature to be more benign than his origins demand. Even if I agreed with that though on some level, we should still give weight to our own interests.

When I make the case for caring about the state of man more than the state of nature, I am not saying we are separate from nature, just that our concerns that relate to us directly should not take a back seat to preserve some non human natural order. That that is wholly natural, and ought to be given the same if not greater weight than competing concerns.
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  #57  
Old 12-10-2009, 12:31 AM
PreppyMcPrepperson PreppyMcPrepperson is offline
 
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Default Re: postmodern tl;dr

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Originally Posted by AemJeff View Post
Just two points. Categorical thinking is synonymous with abstract thinking; and I'm not sure how you avoid that with anything above a certain scale.
Yes, but I think that scale starts pretty far up. Like say with such policy issues as abortion rights, I accept that abstract and categorical thinking will play a role in the process. But the kind of leftist thought I am railing against brings it to bear at every tier of the scale ladder. I'm rejecting that approach.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AemJeff View Post
To your second point: what I conclude is just that solving problems has an unavoidable political component. Things aren't so much arbitrary as they are matters of consensus. (Which isn't to say we should blithely accept the value of consensus solutions; just that that's the process by which such judgments are inevitably going to assigned.)
I understand what you're saying but my concern is that in policymaking circles, time is limited. In a half hour discussion on some particular policy point, the post-modern thinkers in the room spend most of their talking minutes pointing out 'the nature of things' in the way you have just done without giving expression to any non-abstract, discrete, specific policy. So if you suggest a policy to them, they say, 'the nature of this policy, its underlying abstractions, are X, Y and Z." And you say, "hmm, thats interesting and maybe correct, but it doesn't tell me if you vote yay or nay on the policy."

Kez said earlier that this was characteristic just of liberal academe, not liberal policymakers. Sam responded best in the DV when he said the problem is that liberal academe which thinks in this not-conducive-to-policy-making-way has actually managed to impart its vocabulary and frame of reference to policymakers.
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  #58  
Old 12-10-2009, 04:55 AM
kezboard kezboard is offline
 
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Default Re: postmodern tl;dr

Do you think Zizek's ever seen a bull being castrated? Do they have a lot of bulls in Slovenia? One would assume so, being all Alpine and mountainous and everything.
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  #59  
Old 12-12-2009, 03:04 AM
rfrobison rfrobison is offline
 
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Awesome, guys.
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  #60  
Old 12-13-2009, 06:14 PM
Unit Unit is offline
 
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Default Re: Do the philosophical roots of the New Left hamper the enactment of environmental policy?

Hamandcheese is impressive for being just in high-school.
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  #61  
Old 12-14-2009, 01:01 AM
Don Zeko Don Zeko is offline
 
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Default Re: Do the philosophical roots of the New Left hamper the enactment of environmental policy?

No; let's not be patronizing. Hamandcheese is impressive, and we are all doubly impressed because he is in High School.
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  #62  
Old 12-14-2009, 10:53 AM
AemJeff AemJeff is offline
 
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Default Re: Do the philosophical roots of the New Left hamper the enactment of environmental policy?

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Originally Posted by Don Zeko View Post
No; let's not be patronizing. Hamandcheese is impressive, and we are all doubly impressed because he is in High School.
Well said. He deserves to be judged on his merits. He's been at least as competent in this arena as any of us who have tried it.
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  #63  
Old 12-14-2009, 11:56 PM
Unit Unit is offline
 
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Default Re: Do the philosophical roots of the New Left hamper the enactment of environmental policy?

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No; let's not be patronizing. Hamandcheese is impressive, and we are all doubly impressed because he is in High School.
I'm missing something. Was I patronizing?
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  #64  
Old 12-15-2009, 10:29 AM
Don Zeko Don Zeko is offline
 
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Default Re: Do the philosophical roots of the New Left hamper the enactment of environmental policy?

Maybe I was misreading you, but I read your comment as saying that Hamandcheese was impressive in the diavlog because you wouldn't expect his level of fluency from a high school student, with the implication that he wouldn't be particularly impressive if he were older, and is simply benefitting from the fact that you were evaluating him on a curve.
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  #65  
Old 12-15-2009, 07:10 PM
Unit Unit is offline
 
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Default Re: Do the philosophical roots of the New Left hamper the enactment of environmental policy?

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Originally Posted by Don Zeko View Post
Maybe I was misreading you, but I read your comment as saying that Hamandcheese was impressive in the diavlog because you wouldn't expect his level of fluency from a high school student, with the implication that he wouldn't be particularly impressive if he were older, and is simply benefitting from the fact that you were evaluating him on a curve.
Nope, I'm just genuinely impressed. I was not that well-spoken in high-school.
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  #66  
Old 12-20-2009, 09:16 PM
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Default Re: Do the philosophical roots of the New Left hamper the enactment of environmental policy?

HAMANDCHEESE; interesting guy.

I hope you do well.
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  #67  
Old 12-20-2009, 10:18 PM
JonIrenicus JonIrenicus is offline
 
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Default Re: Do the philosophical roots of the New Left hamper the enactment of environmental policy?

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Nope, I'm just genuinely impressed. I was not that well-spoken in high-school.
He's just smart + mildly extroverted with his ideas. (pretty god damn rare)


Heavy on the first, light on the latter, you get a brooding introvert. Lighter on the first, heavier on the latter, you get a Sean Hannity.
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  #68  
Old 12-21-2009, 09:49 AM
PreppyMcPrepperson PreppyMcPrepperson is offline
 
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Default Re: Do the philosophical roots of the New Left hamper the enactment of environmental policy?

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HAMANDCHEESE; interesting guy.

I hope you do well.
Seriously. I was bowled over talking to him. I interview teens for admission to my alma mater and I don't think I've had a kid who spoke like that in three rounds of interviews I've done.
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