Previous IndexNL Next

Jun 10, 2011           

me+ME: Phoenix Rising Forum down + more on US politics

  "The first of nature's gifts is this force of reason which raises you above your own passions and your weaknesses and puts you in control of your capacities, your talents, and your virtues."
   -- Chamfort

  "Men are so perverse that the mere hope, and indeed even the desire to correct them and see them become reasonable and honest, is an absurdity, a romantic notion which is excusable only in the simplicity of extreme youth."
   -- Chamfort

This is another brief Nederlog, like that of yesterday - which has interesting links! - and it is about the subjects in the title:

1. Phoenix Rising is down

As a service to my readers, who may wonder about it:

As I write this, and since a few hours, the Phoenix Rising site, with its forum about ME, is down: So ... no, it's not your computer.

Before going down it had for a while a notification that it might have been harbouring a (specific) Trojan (that is: a virus), that was said to be there by the security software of some of its regular visitors - and I agree that in such a case it makes sense to shut the site down completely, and try to find what is the matter, and clean it if necessary.

2. More on US politics

I wrote two days ago in
about US Congressman Anthony Weiner's plight, which is wholly his own doing, for he believed it fitting and appropriate for a man in his position, one must assume, to send around pictures of his own erect member, in a boxer short, or indeed also, it seems, at other occasions, without being covered by underpants.

There is, one should not be amazed, more on Wikipedia, both linked here today:
If you want to know more about it, I refer you to the above two items, in which indeed - by golly! they have them in the US too! - the word "erection" now also appears, that seems to have been avoided earlier.

What I want to clarify a little is my own reaction to Weiner's decomfiture, because I may have been misunderstood by some:

First, it seems to me Weiner is one of the few American politicians I heard and saw (who admittedly has no TV since 1970, so if I see political folks at all, I see them on Youtube) who can speak, argue a point rationally and well, and who does seem to have some sensible ideas and ideals.

Indeed, this is why I wrote about him earlier this year, when he stood up admirably for the New York firemen and policemen who were the first to help people at and after 9/11, and since then have been left to cope with their own often very serious healthproblems, mostly due to the dust and smoke they inhaled, without receiving any help, which indeed also shows a few things about US morality, and especially in political types, for which see below.

Second, as I wrote above, Congressman Weiner's problems are wholly of his own making: For a man in his position - a US Congressman, recently married also, to a beautiful young wife, presently pregnant with a first child - it is a complete failure of judgment to even consider sending around pictures of one's own penis (whatever its reportedly amazing size, that some males indeed do take great pride in, though I thought, naively perhaps, mostly those with about half of Congressman Weiner's estimated IQ), namely to young women, and notably to young women he has not ever met.

Third, I am not indulging here in a display of moral rectitude: What I am saying is that if one is a US Congressman in this day and age, it is a rather amazing lack of judgment - see also my entry for Wisdom in my Philosophical Dictionary - to even consider the possibility of sending around pictures of one's own erections or male member.

Fourth, it is especially with this epic failure of judgment that I am concerned, since I see the same lack of judgement, that I can explain in the same way, in very many of his colleagues - right, middle and left, religious or not, male or female - in politics, which has the following explanation:

It seems mostly a personality type, that indeed also is prominent among leading criminals, and for precisely the same reason: These folks really believe that the moral and legal rules that hold for others, and that they publicly insist on in front of cameras to their electorate, often ad nauseam, do not in fact apply at all to their own very special persons - that is: they seem to believe in fact, from their acts rather than their public postures, that the law and moral rules are for suckers, and exist mostly to take people in: They are rules to play by only to deceive the majority of possibly well intending suckers, who are also the democratic majority.

I have seen a lot of this in Dutch politics as well (the Dutch Labour Party is filled to the brim with such types, since decades, as indeed are nearly all other Dutch political parties), and I have seen a lot of it in the drugs mafia (where I have known quite a few, who cultivated me because of my conversational excellencies), who at least tended to be a lot more honest about the fact that they held themselves to be a somehow superior breed that should be allowed and admired for exploiting the masses of suckers for their own personal ends, and who normally felt contempt only for those stupid or moral enough not to want to get rich this way, like me. (And yes, I probably could have been rich if I had decided to deceive people for money, in law, in politics, in religion, or in psychology, for I can speak very well, but I got an education by my family, and probably also the genes, that help against becoming rich this way - which is one answer to the question "if you are so smart, then why ain't you rich?!")

Also, it should be obvious, if indeed this is a personality type (and not just a form of human weakness most men are prone to), that precisely the jobs in politics and religion, apart from careers in the mafia or in law, will attract this type of person, that not only believes it is personally better and in another class than common folks, but also takes great personal pride in fleecing or deceiving them. (I think it is a personality type, for the most part, because that seems to me to be a condition to keep on wanting to do it: Politics, for example, for a truly intelligent man, is mostly a massive bore to engage in, and those who tell you otherwise are either lying or else are far too stupid to be allowed to lead others. So those who are politicians for a long time must be in it for some special personal reason, and usually not because of their intellectual or moral talents, if they have any. Indeed, it seems to me that anybody with real intellectual and moral talents keeps them unsoiled by politics. And see below.)

Fifth, I certainly do not think Weiner is a worse man than the vast majority of US Congressmen and US Senators: Morally, he probably is par for the course, so to speak; and intellectually, he seems brighter than most of his colleagues.

His problem is that he was found out, and indeed also that he seems to have the type of personality - like most of his colleagues - who only find out that things are morally wrong when the morally wrong things they do or did are - more or less - plainly made part of the daily news, and who until such a moment of truth arrives, believe that they personally can do what they f-ing well please and can get away with it as well, which in fact is statistically speaking a quite safe bet, especially in these days where most of the folks in the media seems to consist of the very willing servants and executioners of the men and women with political  power, and where people with power generally have access to a lot of money and to the best lawyers, and also often have political friends in courts, or at least have friends who are friends with these.

Sixth and last, a psychological question or a few related ones: Is Weiner, and are Weiner's political colleagues, lying all the time? Do they ever really mean what they say? Is their own moral anger, in front of cameras, ever real rather than a work of clever actorship?

I think they often mean what they say, for the most part; I think they may get morally angry, even in front of cameras; I do not think they are lying all the time, and quite probably are not consciously lying most of the time, even if what they are telling is palpably false and phony.

But I do think they are posturing all the time, and I do think that they do believe that they are, for the most part, the characters they publicly play they are, which they generally are not, at all, and I also think they nearly all believe that they are personally in a kind of their own, with special prerogatives not fit for lesser mortals.

That is, I think they are deceiving themselves so as to deceive others, and have succeeded mostly in deceiving themselves about themselves, also because they generally have a particular type of personality, namely one that thrives on posturing, role playing, deceiving, twisting the truth around, and pretending - which again is why proportionally so many politicians have degrees in law, to which the same applies.

But to themselves they probably mostly seem to be who they play they are:

"Man is a make-believe animal - he is never so truly himself as when he is acting a part."

With the following consequence for politics and politicians - of all kinds and denominations and purported ideals - and I quote a few who should and could know:

"It is impossible to calculate the moral mischief, if I may so express it, that mental lying has produced in society. When a man has so corrupted and prostituted the chastity of his mind as to subscribe his professional belief to things he does not believe, he has prejudiced himself for the commission of every other crime."
-- Thomas Paine

"Politics is a deleterious profession, like some poisonous handicrafts. Men in power have no opinions, but may be had cheap for any opinion, for any purpose."
 -- Ralph Waldo Emerson, Conduct of Life

"In politics there is no honour."
  -- Benjamin Disraeli, Vivian Grey

"You cannot adopt politics as a profession and remain honest."
-- Louis McHenry Howe, Address

"Politics is such a torment that I would advise every one I love not to mix with it."
-- Thomas Jefferson, To Martha Jefferson Randolph

In literature, the theme has been dealt with well by - among others - Chamfort, Dostoyevsky, Balzac, and Orwell. And the US historian Barbara Tuchman wrote an interesting book about it: "The March of Folly".

Corrections, if any are necessary, have to be made later.
-- Jun 11, 2011: Corrected some - notably "understood" to "misunderstood": I don't want to be, but then clearly should say that, and added two links.

                              As to ME/CFS (that I prefer to call ME):

1.  Anthony Komarof Ten discoveries about the biology of CFS (pdf)
3.  Hillary Johnson The Why
4.  Consensus of M.D.s Canadian Consensus Government Report on ME (pdf)
5.   Eleanor Stein Clinical Guidelines for Psychiatrists (pdf)
6.  William Clifford The Ethics of Belief
7.  Paul Lutus

Is Psychology a Science?

8.  Malcolm Hooper Magical Medicine (pdf)
 Maarten Maartensz
ME in Amsterdam - surviving in Amsterdam with ME (Dutch)
 Maarten Maartensz Myalgic Encephalomyelitis

Short descriptions of the above:                

1. Ten reasons why ME/CFS is a real disease by a professor of medicine of Harvard.
2. Long essay by a professor emeritus of medical chemistry about maltreatment of ME.
3. Explanation of what's happening around ME by an investigative journalist.
4. Report to Canadian Government on ME, by many medical experts.
5. Advice to psychiatrist by a psychiatrist who understands ME is an organic disease
6. English mathematical genius on one's responsibilities in the matter of one's beliefs:
7. A space- and computer-scientist takes a look at psychology.
8. Malcolm Hooper puts things together status 2010.
9. I tell my story of surviving (so far) in Amsterdam with ME.
10. The directory on my site about ME.

See also: ME -Documentation and ME - Resources
The last has many files, all on my site to keep them accessible.

Maarten Maartensz (M.A. psy, B.A. phi)
        home - index - top - mail