At James B Franks’ Request, a MON TIKI Update!

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David Ryan

David Ryan is a boat builder and USCG licensed master captain. He is the owner of Sailing Montauk and skipper of Montauk''s charter sailing catamaran MON TIKI You can follow him on Twitter @CaptDavidRyan

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  1. Avatar Chris
    Ignored
    says:

    Also: if I said I was taking my life savings and building a miniature golf course instead of a sailboat would there be any of this of the “Rich Buddha” bullshit?

    I don’t think so.

    So how about you take your hyper-class conscious insecurity, low expectations and anti-commerce loserism and go fish yourself. Or buy a Thermomix. Or  a Pabst Blue Ribbon. Or whatever.

    Or better yet, come to the East End and help me finish this boat. I’ll even pay you. And when we’re done, we’ll take her for a sail! It’ll be fun!

    OK, yeah, it got to him more in the Joey joe joe way than in the way I was thinking. My bad, Boughy.

    Seriously, David, if you don’t think some of us would think you’re a privileged, preachy asshole just because you were sharing posts about the construction of your putt putt course, then you can add deluded to and oblivious to privileged and preachy.

    I mean, it’s probably true that if we took away your porn career, and your writing style, and your self-absorption, and the boat, no one would have callled you the “Rich Buddha.” But just taking away the last bit wouldn’t have made it any less appropriate, or at this point, any less stuck in your craw.

    Also:

    [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R7yfISlGLNU&w=560&h=315%5DReport

    • Avatar David Ryan in reply to Chris
      Ignored
      says:

      Chris,

      It seems pretty clear that you derive no small measure of pleasure from calling me a pornographer and classing my films as pornography. I’ll grant you some satisfaction by confessing this hurts my feelings.

      I will refrain from passing along your assessment (based on watching the body of work, I’m sure) along to the people who helped me make them. — my wife, my cinematographer, editor, and of course the couples who so bravely and generously opened their relationships to the prying eyes of my camera, and through that, to your unkind assessment.

      I will refrain because I have no doubt that like me, they would be wounded by your words, that having you class their sincere efforts as trash not worthy of serious consideration would hurt their feelings, and I’m pretty sure that’s not your intention. I’m pretty sure your only intention is to hurt me. Congratulations. You’ve succeed.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to David Ryan
        Ignored
        says:

        You know, David,I have some good friends who are in the adult industry, so to me, porn is not necessarily “trash.” I suspect they work on it as hard as you do on your films or your boat. I meant the label as descriptive (if it looks like a duck and it swims like a duck, ya know?), and you can add whatever value judgments you like. You can be fairly certain that if those value judgments sting in this case, however, they aren’t my value judgments.

        But you know what else, David? You’re an ass, so I’m glad it stung a litlte. It’s a well-deserved sting. Not knowing your wife, and suspecting that you’re this much of a fishhead with her as well (again, the duck test), I will apologize to her for slighting her, if she feels I did (though I doubt she does, because you know, strangers on the internet). Same goes for anyone else who worked on the films, read this post, and was offended. I apologize to them as well. You, though, can follow your own advice from the post. You set the tone, baby. You get to live with it.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chris
      Ignored
      says:

      To be honest, I think that he has a point here. There are a *LOT* of weird little taboos that we, as a society, have. I mean, as awesome as we are and as far as we’ve come, we still really don’t make distinctions between films like “Donkey Punch: Human Toilets” (that make me want to turn away for reasons having to deal with disgust) and the amazingly sex-positive films that Tony Comstock made (that make me want to turn away for reasons having to deal with me not having the right to know this particular, intimate, beautiful, wonderful secret that these two people are sharing). Both films get categorized as “porn” because we can see orifices.

      Now, he quit making these films that, quite frankly, are as sex positive as individuals are capable of being to do something else for reasons that I’m sure none of us want to get into (IP)… and started doing something else. The something else he did was not quite as interesting as what he was doing before but it also has a whiff of “dream job” about it.

      He quit doing one thing that people daydream about and started doing another thing that people daydream about *AND* on top of that, said “what I’m doing is not something that only I am capable of doing… what I am doing is actually mundane enough for anybody with gumption to do! Bust your ass and make your dreams come true! It’s awesome! YOU CAN DO THIS!”

      What’s interesting is the response that this gets… it seems to me to be a “how dare you tell me that my circumstances are under my control?” response.

      If someone had said “the reason you live the life you live is due to forces outside of your control, the dice get thrown, some people are me and some people are… well… they’re you”, that wouldn’t get half of the visceral response that “you can be happy, if you’re willing to be scared first” gets.

      And that’s a very, very interesting dynamic indeed.Report

      • Avatar Rtod in reply to Jaybird
        Ignored
        says:

        +1. Big time.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird
        Ignored
        says:

        I’m with Chris on this at two levels. First, the “rich buddha” indeed stung deeply. Second, a self-congratulatory and other-demeaning tone doesn’t help people, which is presumably the purpose of all these pseudo-spiritual posts. And if the purpose isn’t to help other people, then they strike me as just self-congratulatory, self-absorbed and other-demeaning. Granted, there are spiritual lessons to be learned here. But not the ones the author thinks he’s making.

         Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater
          Ignored
          says:

          It’s a strange sort of self-congratulation that goes out of its way to point out that anybody could do something similar to this and have people push back against it.Report

        • Avatar Rufus F. in reply to Stillwater
          Ignored
          says:

          I don’t get where the “other-demeaning” comes in. David posts a lot about making a boat. Also, on occasion, about being an artist. You can say it’s self-absorbed or self-congratulatory, in which case I’d say welcome to blogging, but really most of his posts just come off as personal storytelling to me. He’s maybe mad at Freddie for his “rich buddha” comment and it probably did hurt. But, let’s be honest, shitting on other people who write on the Internet is sort of Freddie’s shtick and nobody’s accusing him of other-demeaning or being too self-congratulatory for it.Report

          • Avatar Chris in reply to Rufus F.
            Ignored
            says:

            Rufus, if means anything, I probably agree with Freddie more than I do with any of the authors on this blog, and I don’t read Freddie’s blog at all (well, maybe two or three times a year) because he’s “other-demeaning” to an extent that I find distasteful, among other reasons.

            That said, where David has been other-demeaning, besides in this post obviously, has largely been in comments, where he’s basically said “You think I might be ignoring the fact that for some people, this sort of thing is an impossible fantasy? Well fuck you, you commie loser.” If he had reacted to it differently, and I’ll be honest, I gave him too much credit and assumed that once the initial sting wore down he would react to it differently, I’d just go back to thinking he’s a bit of an ass who builds boats ’cause he’s privileged enough to be able to choose to build boats (don’t get me wrong, I wish I knew as much about boats as he does, but alas, it isn’t to be; I also wish I knew as much about paleolithic France as a guy I know who studies that shit for a living does, but alas…), and I’d picture him rapping, “I’m on a boat, mother fishers!”Report

            • Avatar North in reply to Chris
              Ignored
              says:

              I dunno, I watched the video and I don’t think it fits. The Mon Tiki will be mainly sail powered so it will have a boom for instance; you’d only just get into your rapping and then they’d tack and T-pain would get knocked into the water. With all that bling it’d be straight to the bottom with him. The humanity.Report

            • Avatar Rufus F. in reply to Chris
              Ignored
              says:

              Okay, well, speaking as an aspiring academic, I find the idea of another aspiring academic upbraiding anyone for being too self-absorbed to fully recognize their own class privilege to be more than a little rich.Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to Rufus F.
                Ignored
                says:

                Dude, as someone who’s spent his entire adult life in academia, I can say this with certainty: academics are self-absorbed and completely oblivious.

                I wrote out a longer comment to Jaybird’s initial comment in this thread, which discussed my own privilege, but it seemed a bit much for this thread. The gist of it, though: I’m not telling people, “Stop working at that job you hate and go to grad school to study cognitive science, or whatever moves you!” No one else here is either. Someone is telling them to build a boat (figuratively).Report

              • Avatar Rufus F. in reply to Chris
                Ignored
                says:

                Dude, as someone who’s spent his entire adult life in academia, I can say this with certainty: academics are self-absorbed and completely oblivious.

                Yes, and (commenting on Freddie’s original critique here) never so much so as when they’re attacking others for not being sufficiently critical of the class system of which they themselves serve as the gatekeepers for a living.

                I’m not telling people, “Stop working at that job you hate and go to grad school to study cognitive science, or whatever moves you!” No one else here is either. Someone is telling them to build a boat (figuratively).

                Would it be less morally offensive if he was telling them the opposite, which would likely amount to, “Keep your head down and get back in line”? I mean, if there’s anything that undergirds the class system it’s the starvation mentality that says, “forget it- this isn’t for people like you.” It seems to me that one way to read David’s posts is as saying, “No, the people that tell you it’s not for you- they’re lying. This so-called ‘exclusive’ club is easier to get into than you think. You can do it. I’ll show you how.” That might be naive (and yeah it probably is) but I don’t find it particularly offensive.

                And that’s where I guess I’m at a loss. We post all sorts of contentious stuff here and people are offended about the guy who posts frequently about boat building?Report

              • Avatar Will H. in reply to Rufus F.
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                says:

                I think boat-building via origami would be less offensive to academics, generally.

                Nevertheless…Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Will H.
                Ignored
                says:

                The Academy of Lagado sums up this whole nasty debate.Report

              • Avatar Will H. in reply to Will H.
                Ignored
                says:

                It’s been awhile since I read that, and I had forgotten about that portion entirely.

                such constant irreconcilable enemies to science are the common people.

                Pure gold.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Rufus F.
                Ignored
                says:

                We post all sorts of contentious stuff here and people are offended about the guy who posts frequently about boat building?

                Nah, most everyone loves boats. I think it’s a holdover from JJJ’s comments about the rich buddha stinging, which lots of people glommed onto in different ways. Then this post which appears to confirm that the rich buddha stung!

                But really, my comment upthread was pointed in a different direction than what’s transpired since. Chris actually said the substance of my criticism (which was only a response to JB’s comment!): that David expresses the view (to quote Chris) “that people were cowards for not doing what he’s done”. That’s the filter I read most of David’s posts thru. It’s other-demeaning, and it’s self-congratulating (I mean, how could it get more self-congratulatory?!). And I’ll admit that I view it this way because of that exchange he had with Freddie. It’s also why a try to not comment on David’s posts 🙂

                 

                 Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                The critique that I see is not “that people were cowards for not doing what he’s done” but “that people were cowards for thinking that they could not do what he’s done”.

                This is a *VERY* different critique.Report

              • Avatar Will H. in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                And what exactly is it that wrong with being a bit self-congratulatory about realizing an achievement that he’s worked hard for?

                The boat is only a part of it.
                He got his shop together, did the plans, listed the materials, purchased them, acquired the tools, etc.
                And all you see is a boat?
                Get real.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                Agreed. I don’t really want to dispute our two takes on things because, well, I agree with your take on it as far as it goes. And there isn’t any substantive reason to go further.

                So yeah. I’ll concede.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                Will H apparently won’t let me concede. The point under dispute has already been made. If you don’t agree with that point, then that’s fair enough. But further discussion about what that point is won’t help resolve it, nor is it fair to David, nor is it really important wrt a more positive view of David’s writing. A view exists on its own terms.Report

              • Avatar Will H. in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                You are free to concede on your own doing.
                That’s your business.
                My comment wasn’t directed specifically at you, but to the four winds, posterity, and a back-handed self-defense.
                I too have done a number of things which I feel particularly self-congratulatory about.
                And if there happens to be anyone reading who doesn’t feel the same way, well then, I am truly sorry that you are so worthless, and I truly hope that you might one day be capable of achieving something worthwhile.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                Interesting. You appear to be admitting that the ‘other-demeaning’ criticism is valid.

                Then what are we arguing about?

                 Report

              • Avatar Will H. in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                Actually, I completely ignored the “other-demeaning” aspect of it.
                People are free to feel demeaned should they so choose.

                And I wasn’t aware that we were arguing.

                But we can now, if you’d like.

                Name a topic, and let’s have a go-round.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                Lagers v. porters.Report

              • Avatar Will H. in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                I call pro-porter!

                Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                Welcome to the good side of the force.  Stillwater better be pro-lager, or this argument’s never going to get off the ground.Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                Jay, it is a somewhat different critique, but it’s just as wrong, and just as naive, and when said the way David says it, just as offensive.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                What’s the alternative? “A man should know his limitations”?Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                I wouldn’t mind, “It would be great if everyone could do what I’m doing, but I know some people can’t,” to which point David has essentially said, “Bullshit!”Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Rufus F.
                Ignored
                says:

                Would it be less morally offensive if he was telling them the opposite

                Thank you, Rufus. Plus >1.Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to Rufus F.
                Ignored
                says:

                Rufus, it wouldn’t be any less offensive if he were still calling them cowards for doing it, which is what he did to get called the rich buddha, and what he’s essentially continued to do since (because it stings, I imagine).Report

              • Avatar Rufus F. in reply to Chris
                Ignored
                says:

                Actually, I think he got called a “rich buddha” for saying that Cato would be cowards if they chose the prominence and influence that comes with Koch money over the freedom and ideological purity that would come with giving it up. We can extrapolate that to him saying anyone’s a coward who takes money that goes against their principles and then say that it’s not that easy in the real world, but I don’t think anywhere he said that people who don’t build a boat or start their own business are cowards.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chris
                Ignored
                says:

                Some government think tanks can go without Koch money. Great. Good for them. It’s just arrogance to say that all of them can, though.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Chris
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                says:

                “Some government think tanks can go without Koch money.”

                Unintended irony alert!Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to Chris
                Ignored
                says:

                Rufus, Freddie said that it was harder to live with the consequences for the non-affluent. David responded “you mean cowards.” There really is no way to spin it. It’s true that the conversation came up in the context of Koch, but that’s sort of the point: if you’re non-affluent, and you get that opportunity, and you turn it down out of some misguided idealism, you’re probably crazy. Not doing so doesn’t make you a coward, it makes you sane. It takes someone who is affluent, and therefore doesn’t have to worry about his or her sanity, not to see that.Report

              • Avatar Rufus F. in reply to Chris
                Ignored
                says:

                It’s probably about time to give up the ghost on this one, but here’s how I read that legendary exchange: David said that people should stand up for their beliefs and live with the consequences, Freddie said it’s not that easy for people who aren’t affluent like David presumably, and David said that that’s a cop out and it comes down to courage instead of finances. Then Freddie said he was a pathetic figure and a rich Buddha and all the rest. Do I agree with David’s point there? Nah, I think it’s an oversimplification in many cases. But, from that exchange, I don’t get that David sees himself as a guru, that he thinks the poor are cowards, or that people who don’t build boats, start their own businesses, or follow their dreams are cowards either.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Jaybird
        Ignored
        says:

        What’s interesting is the response that this gets… it seems to me to be a “how dare you tell me that my circumstances are under my control?” response.

        The dynamic I find interesting is the seeming need to believe that I’m thinking about my life when I react to David’s posts. The truth is, I’ve chosen pretty much every aspect of my life. My reaction to David’s posts has little, if anything, to do with my life. Instead, my reaction has to do with what I initially took to be an amusing naivete or blind spot (which is why my response was always to think of the SNL music video I keep linking). Now that he’s decided that naivete is a point of pride, I find him less amusing and more nauseating. Particularly since his reaction to having it pointed out is to tell people they’re losers and to fish off.

        Look, read my comments on the last post. I naively believed that David’s reaction to Freddie would be one of reflection. I now see just how wrong I was. But it ain’t about me, and belief that it must be is much more interesting than if it actually were.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chris
          Ignored
          says:

          So very much of this seems to be related to “What He Used To Do” (seriously, Freddie’s original response had me thinking “of all of the people who I thought were going to throw the whole porno thing in David’s face, Freddie was the second to last guy on the list” (which got me thinking about the Victorian/Progressive overlap but that’s another essay entirely)) as well as related to “What He’s Doing Now”… and, of course, the fact that he seems to be enjoying the ever-living shit out of it.

          There’s a lot of… if I may invoke *MY* schtick… mistaking matters of taste for matters of morality going on here.Report

          • Avatar North in reply to Jaybird
            Ignored
            says:

            What’s this Freddie thing everyone’s going on about? Did he drop by the League and bestow a pearl of wisdom when I wasn’t looking?Report

          • Avatar Chris in reply to Jaybird
            Ignored
            says:

            Recall when Freddie went after David, and when I now went after David. Freddie went after him when David was suggesting, in essence, that people were cowards for not doing what he’s done (in the abstract, not in the particulars). And he said it with less tact than the use of the word “coward” implies, too. It’s in comments where David shows his ass. David’s posts are just mindless rich people doing rich people shit and thinking it’s really, really cool, to me. I don’t find it offensive so much as amusing and kind of sad. David’s comments, on the other hand, combined with his most recent post, make me think he’s an ass. And I don’t just mean his comments to Freddie. See his comments to Erik, to take another example, or again, this post.

            By the way, I wasn’t kidding when I said I have very good friends in the adult industry. I may be a lot of things, a judgmental jerk among them, but I am definitely not a prude. I brought up the porn not because it’s about sex, but becasue the way he looks at it is part and parcel with the other shit I brought up, which was all combined to say that it’s not the boat in particular that people are focusing on.Report

            • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto in reply to Chris
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              says:

              What the hell are you doing commenting on a blog on a day like this? Barton Springs awaits!Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chris
              Ignored
              says:

              When David is dismissive of other people’s tastes, I find myself especially irritated but I find that the other folks arguing with him made that point far more forcefully than I would have.

              Allow me to show ass: I don’t see David Ryan as doing rich people shit as much as doing entrepreneurial shit.

               Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                Well I like his posts but I have a huge bias when it comes to the noble craft of sail powered vessles. Also he’s on the right body of water *Atlantic Fistbumps with David*.Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Allow me to show ass: I don’t see David Ryan as doing rich people shit as much as doing entrepreneurial shit.

                Dude, when you use synonyms as contrasts, I get confused. 😉

                Seriously, in this case, they’re the same thing to me. Like I said, if he were building a putt putt course and selling his message with it, I’d be thinking the same thing: Oh, look, the rich dude telling us we can all build our putt putt courses.

                If I didn’t already, I knew what I thought of David when he was talking about the prices of certain boat parts, and how “cheap” some of them were. Entrepreneurial or not, it’s rich people shit.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Chris
                Ignored
                says:

                 in this case, they’re the same thing to me

                Spoken like someone who’s never tried to be entrepreneurial.  Most entrepreneurs fail–it’s far from rich people shit.  When I went to my 20th high school reunion, people were fascinated that I got a Ph.D. I was fascinated that so many of them were running their own businesses, mostly in construction-related fields.  From the guy who had built a family-owned excavation business, in hock up to his eyeballs for earth moving equipment, to the pretty girl who’d bought a used dump truck two years out of high school and parlayed it into a whole fleet that she’d just sold, and turned around to reinvest in an environmental cleanup business.  Believe me, she wasn’t given shit, except maybe some help with the downpayment on a used truck.

                Your class analysis blinders are destroying your capacity to do any real analysis here. If you operated this cheaply and shoddily in psych you wouldn’t be published.Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to James Hanley
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                says:

                James, I never have, that’s true. It doesn’t interest me.

                That said, I’ve watched several people close to me do it, some (most) failing. I know what it entails.

                But that’s not all David is suggesting. A friend of mine started his own landscaping business because he’d worked as a landscaper, then a crew manager, over 20 years (with a jail stint in thrown in there somewhere, it should be said). He’s a guy who doesn’t even have a high school diploma, has 4 kids, a house (modestly-sized), two cars (both relatively late models). That dude has worked his ass off for everything he has. But landscaping isn’t his passion. He just doesn’t have much of a choice. He didn’t have many choices 20 odd years ago, and ended up in landscaping because he could do it with no skill and no education. Now landscaping is what he knows and it’s what he can do without putting his family on the streets. Would he love to build a putt putt course or whatever (I don’t know what his passion would be)? Probably. Is that even with the realm of possibility? Nope. And for him, as for most people, it never will be, no matter how hard they work. What woudl he think reading David’s posts? Probably something like, “Some rich dude writing about his boats,” which, until David got all preachy in comments, is what I thought of them.

                I’m not going to say that David’s an ass for having the opportunities that he has. If that were all we were faced with, he’d just be rich, not a rich buddha. I may not like wealth, but I’m not going to call someone an ass for being wealthy. David’s an ass for being David with wealth.Report

        • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Chris
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          says:

          I don’t get any of this discussion, really, but to the extent it revolves around anybody taking Freddie seriously at any time, for any reason, I think we’ve uncovered the root of the problem.Report

          • Avatar Chris in reply to James Hanley
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            says:

            That’s probably true, though I took him seriously in the “rich buddha” case because I thought it was pretty damn accurate.

            Look, I’m not Freddie, so I won’t speak for him, but I’m a leftist, and for people with my perspective, class issues are going to color the way we see things, including David’s posts. From my perspective, then, the “rich buddha” epithet was funny. David didn’t find it so, but instead of reflecting for a moment about why someone might find it appropriate, he went into attack mode, and came off looking less like a “buddha” than like an overly sensitive rich asshole.

             Report

            • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Chris
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              says:

              I took him seriously in the “rich buddha” case because I thought it was pretty damn accurate.

              Specifically, Freddie called him a “Rich Buddha” who’s “been handed everything”…

              How much do we know about Dave?

              We know he worked very hard at building a film career, and that eventually it went south on him, requiring him to close his office and give up his home in New York. That hardly sounds like “everything” was handed to him.

              It appears he had  not-too-luxurious place upstate he could retreat to–did he buy that with the money he earned busting his ass in the film business, or was it handed to him?  I don’t know; do you? Does anyone else here?

              Now he’s investing “his life savings” in a new entrepreneurial venture. Is that savings from the film career in which he busted his ass, or was it a big inheritance, or a combination of both? I don’t know; do you? Does anyone else here?

              And even if it is an inheritance, he’s now risking it in an entrepreneurial venture which–I think anybody with a lick of sense can agree–is not simply being handed to him, but which he will have to work hard at to be successful.

              Maybe you’ve read a lot more of Dave’s posts than I have, or maybe you’ve read them closely.  But I’m just not sure what your basis is for agreeing that he’s “been handed everything.”  That’s the kind of claim you need to defend, not just reiterate.

              And you’re an academic, like me, with a pretty steady paycheck. Have you risked as much as Dave has in making your way in the world?Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to James Hanley
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                says:

                I, too, am curious about the “handed everything” part, which is somewhat central to the claim. I don’t know if Freddie simply knows more about David’s background than I do or he is making assumptions. This is not an unimportant distinction, as far as I’m concerned.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Will Truman
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                says:

                When it comes to Freddie it’s always safe to assume he felt some genuine umbrage and then ran way too far with it.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Will Truman
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                says:

                I’m uncharitable enough toward Freddie to suspect that he thinks anyone who’s had any success or has managed to build their own business must have had it handed to them.

                After all, in today’s America, upward mobility is impossible, right?  The American dream is dead, and nobody can make their own way in the world because we and the whole economy are totally dominated by corporations. Your only chance is a handout…either from the government giving you money taken from the corrupt elite or your own corrupt elite parents giving it to you.  And in the latter case, then it’s easy street and your business booms without hard work because you’re already rich.

                Or something.

                Really, it’s all pretty insulting to my high school classmates who had the courage to start their own businesses while I dodged several opportunities to start a business because the idea scared me, and just kept going to school until someone gave me an oversized diploma.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to James Hanley
                Ignored
                says:

                Privilege asserting itself.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to James Hanley
                Ignored
                says:

                It’s never too late, James.   Those who can, do.   Those who can’t, well…. get upset when other people act on their beliefs and scoff, however uncharitably, at those who don’t.

                There’s a fair number of terms of art within consulting.   One is Tree Hugger, which has nothing to do with trees.   Tree Huggers are corporate drones who spend their lives making about a third of what they’re worth, making others rich.   Too fearful to strike out on their own, too filled with angst and paralysed by endless meetings, they stay where they are and make mean-spirited comments about consultants.   They hug the corporate tree, trampling on other people who try to climb it, preserving their own little fiefdoms.

                Academics aren’t a bit better.  Usually worse in my opinion.   These poor kids emerge from CS and IS degrees and I end up having to un-teach about 90 percent of everything they’ve ever been taught.  They’re clever enough, these kids, perfectly capable of un-learning all this crap.   But they arrive knowing nothing about how to work in a team context, nothing about how businesses actually make money, nothing about how to behave professionally, nothing about the construction and testing of this stuff.   Most importantly, they lack respect for the people who must use the things they create, the doers, the salt of the earth types who may not have advanced degrees but have forgotten more about the workaday world than these CS types have ever learned.

                The Tree Huggers (who live in Carpetland) also despise these Doers.   I advise new consultants to avoid the Tree Huggers:  nothing good can come of associating with anyone but Doers.

                Of course, when management decides to make any serious advances, they don’t turn to the Tree Huggers.   They know better.  They go to the consultants, which only further infuriates the Tree Huggers.

                Be a Doer.   The American Dream, in the immortal words of Holy Grail, is Not Dead Yet.   If it’s dying, the Tree Huggers are killing it.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to BlaiseP
                Ignored
                says:

                Blaise,

                I found out something important about myself when I drove a cab. I freak out if the money’s not coming in.  I never needed much–when I was a bike messenger I’d take days off just for the hell of it–but if I was out driving around, working, and not getting any customers, it was emotionally very stressful.  And you know what emotional stress does to us BP types.

                Also, I’m a bit too lazy to be a committed entrepreneur.   But that’s all just me, and I’m fine with it.  I like my world.  But being able to recognize why I could never take the plunge makes it easy for me to recognize the qualities of those who do, and to admire them for it.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to BlaiseP
                Ignored
                says:

                All that time outside the wire taught me a few things about hunting people which paid off in spades when I drove a cab.   Think like the people you’re trying to find.

                Most cabbies didn’t like working the South Side of Chicago.   I’d cruise the bus stops and pick up fares for the Loop.   Passengers would remark, “Jeez, I haven’t seen a cab along King Drive in a long time.”  I’d mentally work out where I’d made money on good days and go hunting there:  scarcity makes the market.  The South Side wasn’t particularly dangerous.  I only got robbed once, on Rush Street in broad daylight.   Thank God he only got about fifty bucks, the rest was in my trunk.

                Cabs make money when the door opens.   Even a long trip isn’t as profitable as two or three short ones.   I’d silently curse when I’d get a fare to O’Hell Airport, meant I’d have to deadhead back.

                I loved driving a cab.   In the cab line, I would gab with the Africans (Yorubas seem to gravitate to cabbing) and generally make my own hours.   I could stop for classes.   Sitting next to some guy in a restaurant, early in the morning, some guy complaining that he had a computer and nobody to program it for him.   Thus did I find my first software consulting client. I took the cab back to the yard and never looked back.   Still miss cabbing, in a way.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to BlaiseP
                Ignored
                says:

                Think like the people you’re trying to find.

                Actually, that was the one part of it I did well, especially knowing where the good tippers gathered (gay bars, as it turned out). I quickly learned to tune out the dispatcher unless I heard something that was actually within a couple blocks.  And like you, I avoided the airport (SFO, in my case). The only long trips I liked were the ones that went outside the city, because then the fare doubled, so it actually did pay.  Other than that, though, yes, the flag drop was better than the rolling time.

                But it should also be said that I don’t particularly like driving, especially in cities.  So driving a cab wasn’t my dream job, and driving a limo was worse.  I loved being a bike messenger, though.  Riding a bike through traffic is like a cosmic ballet–when you’re in tune, it’s like everything is choreographed and you can see everything ahead and know just where the openings (that don’t yet exist) are going to be when you get there.

                But I swore if I ever drove a cab again I’d be a pirate, with business cards and a cell phone.  Call me when you want me and I’ll be there as quick as possible in a pristinely clean car. Become a regular customer and I’ll know your radio station and your favorite snack will be waiting for you.  No way in hell I’d go back to giving $100 a night to the medallion owner to drive a broken down piece of shit.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to James Hanley
                Ignored
                says:

                “…just kept going to school until someone gave me an oversized diploma…”

                I thought they only gave out the novelty ones at clown college…Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Kazzy
                Ignored
                says:

                Nah, for some reason the Ph.D. rag is normally lots bigger than the B.A. rag.  It smacks of institutional insecurity to me. I’ve always been too embarrassed to put mine up on the wall.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Kazzy
                Ignored
                says:

                James, my high school diploma is more (tastefully) colorful and nice-looking than my college degree. I’m not sure what to make of that.

                 Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to James Hanley
                Ignored
                says:

                I’m uncharitable enough toward Freddie to suspect that he thinks anyone who’s had any success or has managed to build their own business must have had it handed to them.

                That’s sort of my thought, to be honest, but I am trying to resist making judgment. It’s not an uncommon sentiment. A while back I wrote a post on the subjectivity of fairness and I used, as an example, the son of a rich kid and the son of a poor kid and whether it would be more fair that (a) the rich kid has his college paid for or (b) to deny the rich kid of the advantage that his father worked so hard to achieve.

                At least one reply I got was “Well, considering that the rich man stole his money and the poor man is only poor because of the greed of the rich man…”Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to James Hanley
                Ignored
                says:

                Dave’s own story suggests that “handed everything” is inaccurate to some extent (to what extent, we don’t know). It would be inaccurate about me, too, and I was raised in a middle-to-upper-middle class household.

                That said, I don’t think the “handed everything” dig is central to the “rich buddha” dig. The latter can stand on its own, whether it stands the way Freddie used it or not. Like I said, I think it’s appropriate.

                Also, I guess I will write the comment about my own privilege.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Chris
                Ignored
                says:

                The “handed everything” isn’t the bite, but it’s the sharp fangs on the bite.

                “Congratulations on your success. But a lot of people who take your advice are going to end up a lot worse off for it and your universalization of your own experience is a harmful meme because it suggests that they are responsible for not being as happy and successful as you are.”

                versus:

                “You have no room to talk about success and failure because you didn’t do shit that wasn’t handed to you.”

                I say this as someone who pretty much (well, mostly?) agrees with the first statement and disagrees with David on destiny-generation.Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to Will Truman
                Ignored
                says:

                Will, I am coming at it from the first part, with one addition: some people don’t even have the ability to make the choice to succeed or fail the way David has. The second part I’m not interested in, at least here.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Chris
                Ignored
                says:

                the “rich buddha” dig…. can stand on its own, whether it stands the way Freddie used it or not. Like I said, I think it’s appropriate.

                Sorry, that’s the part of the whole discussion I just don’t get.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to James Hanley
                Ignored
                says:

                Sorry, that’s the part of the whole discussion I just don’t get.

                One part of the discussion is that even if you don’t understand what the term means, apparently David did since he’s been reacting to it ever since Freddie said it. And that’s part of what’s going on here – comments about how David reacted to it in the way (ways) he has rather than it’s content.

                The other part of it is giving a semantics to what Freddie meant by it. We can’t do that for him, but it struck me as implying that David was presenting himself as a spiritual teacher of some sort, where the spiritual lessons are cashed out in terms of only a narrow range of personal values closely identified with markets, income, career choices (love it!), etc, and how being successful in those things is possible for everyone. Just like it has been for him!

                Freddie’s initial point in that thread was that people make decisions about what they do and what they think they can realistically achieve based on a bunch of pragmatic constraints. David denied this and said that people don’t achieve more because they’re cowards. Freddie then hit him with the ‘making porn on a boat’ line (which I thought had some zing to it) and the “rich buddha” line to capture the hypocrisy exhibited by David in thinking a) that other people are cowards for making choices according to a subjectively determined calculus and b) that not everyone wants to achieve the same things David wants to achieve so using hisownself as a normative ideal presupposes a self-determined and self-attributed state of enlightement.

                Or something like that.Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                This.

                Thanks, you said it without my vitriol, which I obviously can’t disguise.

                I would add one thing: If David had left it there, or even with the post title yesterday, none of this would have come about. Then he wrote this post. At that point, my vitriol boiled over.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                @Stillwater,

                Wait, now we’re suggesting that Freddie actually had a considered line of thought behind what he wrote?  I’m unpersuaded.

                @Chris, Then he wrote this post. At that point, my vitriol boiled over.

                Well, I think David’s ” hyper-class conscious insecurity,” line was every bit as on-target as Freddie’s “rich buddha” line.  Sure, maybe David is a little glib about some folks’ prospects, but for christ’s sakes the idea that he’s only got this concept because he’s “rich” strikes me as stupidly shallow.  Maybe he’s got this idea because he’s actually done it, taken seriously lumps, and is still doing it.  Maybe his lack of perspective has fuck-all to do with being rich, and everything to do with being the type of go-getter who works his ass off to make it happen.  And maybe, just maybe, not all those who don’t do it aren’t incapable of doing so, they’re just lying to themselves about how much they want to, and–like me–they’re just too scared to take the plunge.

                Jesus, there’s enough folks to go around out there that you’re both talking about some set of them.  I don’t see what makes your position any less narrow and unrealistic than his. Did you ever try asking in a sincere way if he thought his statement was literally true for everyone, or did you just make a big ol’ sweeping assumption of exactly the kind you’re criticizing him for?

                I’m thinking back now to Jaybird’s “maybe you shouldn’t have killed so many people” line, and getting the feeling you might have been one of those pulling the trigger. Or at least not objecting.Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                James, I’m a pacifist, and I abhor guns. But I do have a little bit of sans coulotte in me. I contain multitudes, I suppose.

                Anyway, I do think there is some clear class blindness in David’s preaching, and particularly his attacks. Do I think he’d be like this if he were poor? Probably. Some people have trouble seeing what’s not immediately in front of them, regardless of their position in the world.

                Again, I’m not criticizing David for being rich. He can be rich all he wants for all I care. I’m not even criticizing him for saying, “You can do this!” Because you know what, that’s fine to. I know some people can’t, and that sucks for them, but David’s just being our own little Tony Robbins for a moment and nobody gets hurt. I’m criticizing him for what he does when someone suggests that maybe building a boat isn’t a practical (or in some cases, even a metaphysical) possibility for some people. That’s when he goes from being rich dude who I kinda chuckle at (which is definitely where my biases come into play) to rich dude who irks me.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                James, I’m a pacifist, and I abhor guns. But I do have a little bit of sans coulotte in me

                So you’d just shake your head sadly at the unfortunate necessity? 😉

                I’m criticizing him for what he does when someone suggests that maybe building a boat isn’t a practical (or in some cases, even a metaphysical) possibility for some people. That’s when he goes from being rich dude who I kinda chuckle at (which is definitely where my biases come into play) to rich dude who irks me.

                My impression is that your biases come into play in your interpretation that he’s denying that for some people it’s not possible.  I haven’t seen him make anything like that strong a statement.  Perhaps that’s what he actually thinks, but if so you’re either particularly capable of reading the nuance in his writing or you made a lucky guess.

                And perhaps, just perhaps, you’ve read into him a far more all-encompassing claim than he made or intended to make.Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                Maybe that’s true. But when he says, ‘If by “non-affluent” you mean ‘cowards’, sure,” I have trouble seeing it.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to James Hanley
            Ignored
            says:

            He’s exceptionally well spoken and has made the mistake that most (all?) young men have made that is the confusion of feeling things strongly with personal moral achievement. I find him interesting insofar as I’m pretty sure (98%) that where he is today is *NOT* where he’ll be within a year of marriage and he’s pretty good at explaining his own evolution… and I’m also interested in seeing how he’ll explain his (en route) new perspectives when compared to his old ones (which he has the misfortune of having them archived for god and everybody to look at).Report

    • Avatar mac in reply to Chris
      Ignored
      says:

      Most any kind of genuine self employment requires a modicum of arrogance. So what?Most people are not self employed, nor do they want to be. I just like reading about someone messing about with boats.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to mac
        Ignored
        says:

        Arrogance is a word used exclusively by ass-kissers of those who don’t.   Would that there were more arrogance in the world and less of the vicious catamitic gossiping around the corporate water cooler.Report

  2. Avatar Will H.
    Ignored
    says:

    I don’t want to sound like the OSHA man here, but I don’t ever want to see you working with power tools off an aluminum ladder.
    You get a fiberglass ladder, or a wooden one.

    (I did see that you were wearing your safety glasses in the one video, so you get a thumbs up there.)Report

  3. Avatar James B Franks
    Ignored
    says:

    Looking Great!  I wish I was in a position to help out, it would be an interesting vacation.Report

  4. Avatar BlaiseP
    Ignored
    says:

    Don’t let this Rich Buddha crap get under your skin any more.   Here’s something the Buddha did say and I once lettered it on a manuscript as a gift for Kohata-san, my old Japanese boss, a bit of a tyrant but a great guy who inspired me enormously.

    Watashitachi no shikou ga sekai o sakusei shimasu.
    With our thoughts we make the world.

    From your thoughts arises a ship.Report

  5. Avatar Kazzy
    Ignored
    says:

    We’re really going to call David out because a commenter asked him for a boat update and he offered one?Report

  6. Avatar joey jo jo
    Ignored
    says:

    i think i liked it better when you were trying to own being a rich buddha instead of saying it is bullshit.

    believe it or not, i empathize with your plight.  i was a crap young libertarian because i would get caught up on feeling “judged” by liberals (for lack of a better term).  some people can brush the “you’re a sociopath” critiques off.  i couldn’t.  my heart and my head battled.  i suspect that even the ones who can ostensibly brush off those sorts of critiques still acknowledge them on some level.  your reactions seem to demonstrate this.  i could be wrong.  but you’re putting it out here on a blog with comments so wear it or explain.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to joey jo jo
      Ignored
      says:

      “but you’re putting it out here on a blog with comments so wear it or explain.”

      Are you sure you didn’t stop being a crap young libertarian because you enjoyed telling other people how to live?Report

    • Avatar North in reply to joey jo jo
      Ignored
      says:

      Funny, I wasn’t aware that David was a libertarian.Report

      • Avatar joey jo jo in reply to North
        Ignored
        says:

        i only spoke to my experience.  i see how you got to where you did.  regardless of his self identification, i was trying to empathize with being confronted with counterarguments to one’s own views and the extent to which they “sting.Report

        • Avatar North in reply to joey jo jo
          Ignored
          says:

          Ah okay, thanks for clarifying.Report

          • Avatar joey jo jo in reply to North
            Ignored
            says:

            i posted this in yesterday’s thread but i’m way less interested in self-identification than i am with the actual words people choose to post.  i know that it is entirely possible for a libertarian to espouse non-libertarian ideas.  or an X to espouse non-X ideas.  it sure gets brought up a lot here.  obviously this is a smallish community and the core posters know each other well.  i don’t and i may never.  i’m fine with whatever identification you all want to ascribe to me.  conservative spoof troll, balloon-juice moron, whatever.  not important.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to joey jo jo
              Ignored
              says:

              Try talking about what you think rather than why what other people think sucks.

              It’s liberating and it makes you less easily crammed into this, or that, or the other category.Report

            • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to joey jo jo
              Ignored
              says:

              Larry Wall, the author of the Perl language said “There ain’t nothin’ in this world that’s worth being a snot over.”    You can stop putting words in folks’ mouths any time you like.   Want to be identified?   Identify yourself.   Nobody can do that for you.

              Joey, the word Libertarian is an adjective, not a noun.   Sociopath is a noun.   Don’t allow anyone to noun-ify you.    The world is awfully deficient in honest Libertarians, people who understand the implicit threat in allowing government, however well-meaning, to usurp our liberties.

              I couldn’t be a Libertarian (noun), not after watching the legacy of Alan Greenspan and Ron Paul come to fruition.   Who gets to tell you what’s a Libertarian view, anyway?    Isn’t that as stupid as ceding your liberties to some well-meaning Gummint Official who’s trying to convince you he’s only acting in your own best interests?

              Push back.   Man up.   Nothing is so egregiously hurtful and insulting as to be told the truth about ourselves.   We can shrug off everything else.   Don’t want to be identified as a troll?   It gets pretty existential out here, no matter how large or small the community.   It’s your job to convince us you are something or not something, not ours to cut you any slack.

               Report

              • Avatar joey jo jo in reply to BlaiseP
                Ignored
                says:

                i control what i can control, Blaise.  even with the staunchest, most forthright self identification, there is much hay to be made by others in pointing out that i’m acting not in accordance with how they perceive the label that i use to self identify.  it’s a mug’s game.

                trust me, i neither expect nor desire any slack on the internets that are a series of tubes.  i would note that i share your interest in classical liberalism and appreciate your insights and posts on your journey.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to joey jo jo
                Ignored
                says:

                Heh.  Learning to recognise someone else’s Trick Bag is the first step to staying out of it.   When I decided I was no longer a Republican, I took no end of guff for that decision.   Learned a few things about the form and substance of the Trick Bag.  Same goes for my decision to get out of the Modern Liberal frame of mind:  clearly it’s past its Sell By Date.   The world faces another problem these days, the hyper-efficiency of government, a government controlled by people who do not have my best interests in mind.   Yours either.   Time to re-investigate the propositions of Mr John Stuart Mill, revised and updated for Anno Domini 2012.

                To quote LBJ:   “They want my pecker… in their pocket.”    No thanks, think I’ll make any decisions involving Mr. Happy on my own.Report

              • Avatar joey jo jo in reply to BlaiseP
                Ignored
                says:

                i don’t dispute your observation about the hyper-efficiency of government.  i do find it interesting that there is a belief/projection in the exact inverse of your observation that is widely held.  that reminds me of last night’s local news.  my wife likes the weather persons on the local fox channel so it is the background noise before we go to sleep.  first story:  tea party tax day protests.  “GOVERNMENT IS THE PROBLEM, I DON’T WANT TO GIVE MY MONEY TO IT.  WASTE!  FRAUD!”.  Next story is about a person with muscular distrophy that is protesting via sit in the reductions to his health care benefits.    “A young man determined to do everything he can to protect every  person in distress.”   i found the sequencing of stories to be hilarious.Report

    • Avatar Rufus F. in reply to joey jo jo
      Ignored
      says:

      i suspect that even the ones who can ostensibly brush off those sorts of critiques still acknowledge them on some level. 

      Maybe. I find every time someone insults me it stings a bit, even when it is totally out of left field- once, a British magazine writer called me an “irritating little mod boy.” It usually hurts a little when someone insults me, probably because I don’t usually insult other people and I don’t really expect it. I generally do brush it off, but usually the pain inflicted is more proportionate to the vehemence of someone’s scorn than the accurateness of that scorn. I do take it with a giant grain of salt when it’s coming from someone on the Internet, but it’s possible that the insult stung just because it stings to be called “pathetic” by a relative stranger and not because Freddie had his number.Report

      • Avatar joey jo jo in reply to Rufus F.
        Ignored
        says:

        interesting re: vehemence v. accurateness.  i feel the opposite.  but i do note that vehement yet accurate scorn is a gut punch.  if it is just vehement and barely accurate, i chalk that up to me not explaining myself correctly or a willful misunderstanding by the other party.Report

  7. Avatar Tod Kelly
    Ignored
    says:

    May I just say how awesome it is that the one guy that never wades into politics, that primarily just writes personal essays about his admittedly unusual life – failures as well as successes – is the guy everyone’s crapping on for not being more like them?

    Really.  I couldn’t be prouder.Report

  8. Avatar Stillwater
    Ignored
    says:

    Not everyone. Just three of us. We’re outgunned at this point and engaging in a reckless retreat.

    But I also think that the OP was inviting some negative feedback, what with the whole “insecurity, low expectations and loserism” thing, not mention the dialectically decisive “go fish yourself”. Or, do you disagree?

     Report

  9. Avatar David Ryan
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    says:

    Apparently the critique of my “message” (snarf) hinges on two misapprehensions.

    The first is that I’m rich. This is simply not true. Our household income is about 55% of the median income for our county of residence and just a few thousand dollars over the median household income for the US. We have no complaints about money, and have managed through luck and thrift to turn our relatively modest income into considerable financial security. But characterizing me/my family as “rich” in the context of US household incomes and household wealth is just wrong.

    The second misapprehension seems to be that I have hope to be conveying some sort of “spiritual” component as a part of my (so called) messages. Again, this is simply wrong. Go to church or do yoga or drop acid. I don’t care. I have no spiritual guidance to offer.

    The first misapprehension is understandable. My wife and I own a co-op apartment in Manhattan and a house in Montauk NY. Until recently I owned a 40′ ocean-going yacht, and enough leisure time that I spent the entire Winter of 2009-2010 in the Caribbean, all well keeping our health insurance up-to-date. If you wanted to paint a picture of yourself as a 1 percenter, these facts would be a good start. None the less, I am not rich. (Oh look, there’s that signaling thing again.)

    The second misapprehension — that I am hoping to offer a “spiritual” messages — is more hurtful/upsetting. Since this is so far away from my intention, I can only conclude that there is some deep defect in my writing that causes it to be interpreted in this way.

    I’ve long maintained that an artist’s greatest asset is his audience’s imagination and it’s a gambit I’ve employed with some success as a filmmaker. But in this case, if even one person thinks I see myself as some sort of sanguine dispenser of transcendental wisdom, a “Buddha”, well then the the gambit has backfired terribly.Report

    • Avatar Stillwater in reply to David Ryan
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      says:

      (Just saw this and thought it deserved a response).

      David, AllthethingsI’vesaidupthreadnotwithstanding, I actually read your posts as intended (or close to it) most of the time. I see them more as reflections on processes and outcomes, on choices and desires and practicality, based on your own experiences of the relevant issues. That is to say, most of the time I don’t read you as trying to dispense transcendental truths. Or, at least, it’s not the first thing I think of. But there is something a little awkward to me about reading a post where the normative ideals being presented are the very ideals the writer of the post acts on. Now, that isn’t a big problem all on it’s own, but when the defense of that view includes denigrating others who think that view is wrong, then it’s hard to not conclude that the argument is somewhat circular, and maybe even a little bit narcissistic. Something I’m sure you’ll agree with is that as a matter of fact, there are other value schemes which are inconsistent with some of the normative content contained (usually implicitly) in the posts. So, either those other, differing value schemes are justifiable for certain people when relativised to certain contexts, or they’re not. And often it seems to me that what you’re arguing (implicitly!) is that those other value schemes can’t be justified, or are of lesser worth, or are inconsistent with some ‘higher truth’ which most people, to their detriment, willfully close their eyes to.

      You probably won’t agree with that last part (at least as it’s written), but I want to say that despite your (potential) disagreement with that assessment, there may be something to that view (ie., that there really is a better value scheme out there which people reject because they aren’t brave enough or reflective enough to recognize and embrace it) which is worthy of further argument and discussion. I mean, Roger has made lots of market-based arguments along a very similar line – that adopting a value scheme which prioritizes positive sum exchanges is objectively better than zero sum schemes. And his arguments are (increasingly) persuasive. At least to me. So there’s that. Which is something.

      And I think I’ll leave it at that.Report

      • Avatar David Ryan in reply to Stillwater
        Ignored
        says:

        “[W]hen the defense of that view includes denigrating others who think that view is wrong, then it’s hard to not conclude that the argument is somewhat circular, and maybe even a little bit narcissistic.”

        In response I guess I’ll first re-quote Reihan (for about the fourth time):

        [W]e are in a sense living through a cultural war in which some who’ve chosen, say, more leisure and prestige are waging a symbolic struggle against those who’ve chosen more income — the object is to devalue the accumulation of material possessions, to characterize it as “greedy,” etc.

        And then at this bit from his same post:

        All of the above happens to be my framework for thinking about these issues — a reflection of my tastes and preferences, which in turn flow from my idiosyncratic experience. Statism doesn’t just strike me as wrong on principle. It strikes me as analytically naive, which is why I may well have an implicit distaste for it. It is so pervasive, particularly among elite-educated people from relatively “disembedded” backgrounds, that I’ve come to find it drearily familiar, narrow, and even depressing, though I wouldn’t say I find it disgusting as such. But I suppose I would say that.

        And then add this from the great and wise philosopher Tony Comstock:

        Judgments, mine and those of others, are informed by factual knowledge, experience, and values. When assessing risk I tend to be less concerned with frequency, and more concerned with severity. This is why, for example, I buckle up when I drive, even though it has been seven years since in was in an accident, and more than 20 years since the one before.

        This is also why I would never play Russian Roulette, regardless of how high the pay off. Unlike financial risks, physical risks do not amortize. You can never be half-pregnant, half HIV+, or half-dead.

        Similarly, when considering the balance of risk and reward, I look towards who is being asked to bear the risks, and who is in a position to reap the rewards. In my mind there is a world of difference between the risks that I am willing to take for my own amusement and the risks I will ask others to take for my financial benefit.

        But I readily acknowledge that my judgments are my own, and that people generally have the right to perform in films or make films under whatever conditions they wish, in accordance with their accessment of risk and reward, and using their own faculties as informed by their knowledge, experience, and values. Freedom must include the freedom to do things of which others may not approve, up to and including being reckless with one’s own life. The desire to regulate, to make a world in which we are safe from all harm must be balanced against the benefits of liberty, an abstraction sometimes difficult to set against the reality of broken bodies.

        But acknowledging this freedom is not the same thing as condoning reckless behavior, or countenancing those who profit from ignoring or encouraging reckless behavior in others.

        It is also naive to ignore that fact that there are disparities in power, that the freedom to be reckless is not of particular benefit to the person exercising it, and that sometimes the freedom to walk away is precious little freedom at all.

        I wish no one any harm. In a world that can be so brutally indifferent to our frailty, I hope that each person has the chance to carve out some small measure of security, some measure of meaning, some measure of joy. The sun also rises, but it sets as well. Find happiness where you can.

        Appreciate your taking the time to respond to my last. And I think I’ll leave it at that.  🙂Report

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