Jalen Hurts, Clemson, Politics, Teamwork

Things I am thinking about having thought about:

  • I feel bad for Jalen Hurts. Swapped out for Tua Tagovailoa, despite having been the guy for Alabama last year… and this year, gets put in on Alabama’s last drive for mop-up duty, when the game’s already lost and there’s no flexibility left to exploit. “Go in and lose us this game, Jalen!” — despite Hurts being a consummate team player. Never mind that I was thrilled that Alabama got crushed – I still feel bad for Hurts, who’s been the kind of teammate everyone wishes they had.
  • Speaking of, congrats to Clemson! I don’t like your team, because I’m a Seminole fan through and through, but you dominated. Good job. Now I hope you lose to FSU next year. And every year.
  • Glances looks neat.
  • Few things are as comfortable as seeing a co-author respond to a topic with “eek!” … oh wait, I meant uncomfortable.
  • I was highly displeased with the resolution of the Dr. Pepper National Championship trophy mystery. “Are you wearing a wire?” is burned into my ears now – hilariously phrased – but the resolution was dumb and manipulative. I get enough of that from politicians.
  • Speaking of manipulative politicians: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is playing games like a master. “Republicans are attacking me on social media!” with respect to her dancing… meanwhile, it’s one tweet from one anonymous account. Yes, it’s a stupid thing to complain about (the tweeter’s problem!), but her reaction is… overblown, too. It sure plays into her base, though!

Nobody asked, but… why I wouldn’t run for public office

It’s not like anyone’s ever asked me to run for office, but if they did, I wouldn’t. There’s no way it’d be a productive use of my time. I wouldn’t win. I couldn’t win, actually.

I wouldn’t be able to convince myself to go along with the scummy campaigning mechanisms, putting my opponents in stupid positions (one state candidate portrayed her opponents as riding a pig, being “high on the hog,” for example). I just… I couldn’t see myself manufacturing claims against my opponents for political gain.

I mean, seriously: what if I had to work with that person in the future? If I could bring myself to ridicule them personally, how in the world would I ever be able to look them in the eye and work with them, ever?

And, of course, if I couldn’t lie about my opponents in order to win, well, I’m pretty sure they’d not share my objections; they’d surely malign me. And my answer would be, at best, “no, that’s false” – not some kind of overresponse that today’s politics seem to expect and demand.

It’s possible, of course, that I’d be posed against someone actually awful: a Keith Ellison (who allegedly beat the crap out of his girlfriend, only to have the case dismissed before indictment because her physical evidence was found wanting), or a Donald Trump, or a Roy Moore.

I’d still lose… because if such a person was elected in the first place, my commitment to a marketplace of ideas and progress wouldn’t be compelling. The people who woud vote for a Donald Trump would have no reason to vote for me: I’m not funny enough, I’m not caustic in the right ways, I don’t shrug at my own foibles and attack others for their flaws, I don’t attack people who oppose me. The people who could elect a Roy Moore or a Keith Ellison would find nothing of value in me.

Fun thought experiment, though.

Flint

The Flint water problem makes me think a big government would be so awesome – government loves us and takes care of us, right? It’s them, they’re the parents… or the enemy, if something goes wrong. Government forever! More government, please! Yes, let’s make the government stronger and bigger! Let’s TRUST the government!

Or not. We’re Americans. What happened in Flint sounds like an absolute travesty, and it’s not US and THEM – it’s us and us, and as long as we see the government as something other than fellow citizens, it’ll never get better.

How about we say “no government” and instead we say “people who we’ve asked to administer public services,” instead?

Look, I’m a libertarian, and the thing in Flint is exactly why. It’s precisely why I don’t trust people who advocate taking our responsibilities for ourselves and handing them off to someone else – people are human, and we struggle to do well for ourselves, much less others.

“What is a libertarian?” seems to be one of the questions most likely to be answered wrong in today’s politics. A libertarian is one who believes in liberty. That’s not the same as anarchy; someone who says “no law” is not a libertarian. Someone who says “the market will decide whether something is ethical” is trying to steal something from you. The market can decide the value of something.. but there’s a rational limit. If someone says “a restaurant that serves poison is going to shut down because the market will shut it down” is an anarchist, not a libertarian; a libertarian would incarcerate someone who tried to poison you. Liberty requires peace and vigilance.

I can’t imagine looking at John Q. Politician and saying, “Well, he has to work hard to take care of his kids, surely he’ll find taking care of mine easy.”

Nope. He’s going to have a much harder time actually taking care of mine, because realistically, he doesn’t care. He’s going to put his own interests first, even as a public servant; what can be done, what can be done easily, what can be done to make people happy?

That’s not what I – or we – need.

What we need is for John Q. Politician to enable us to take care of ourselves, in our own ways, because we’re competent and human. We should trust Mr. Politician to do his job, just like we do our jobs… which means we need to be watching, and trust him about as much as we can realistically be trusted. (Which is to say: not very far, even if we’re trustworthy.)

I feel awful for the people in Flint… and I hope America is watching.