Tuesday, July 11, 2006

The Densest Material Known to Man

Forget about nukes--if you want to destroy Manhattan, just drop a copy of this Casey Stegall essay from the 86th floor observation deck of the Empire State Building. The crater would stretch clear from the Chelsea Piers to the House Ruth Built. Here's a teaser:
There's an irony inherent in a system like our own that identifies the individual as the fundamental unit of political, social and economic order. Because it shears the individual of the republican virtues cultivated within communities of tradition in the name of empowering him, it actually makes the individual subject to tyranny. Limitless emancipation in the name of progress is, it turns out, the final and most binding mechanism of control.
The fun thing about Stegall is that he is like the Id to Rod Dreher's ego. While Rod tells us about his recipe roasted chicken and some cute little house he saw the other day, Stegall is passing out torches and waving around a pitchfork.

I used to work as an editorial associate at a big-city daily paper and one of my jobs was to open all the nut mail the reporters received. Now I am not saying Casey Stegall is a bizarre crank who would send 17 pages of single-spaced discussion of the metaphysics of computer hacking and 4th-dimensional psychic powers to a newspaper that would never be accused of taking itself too seriously.

But I am saying that Stegall's ravings on our persecution and control by a distant and scheming "elite" are removed from Art Bell/Illuminati/Trilateral Commission territory by style more than they are by substance. Pace Jonah, there just isn't much there, here. It just seems like there is because you'd think anything that hurts this much to read must be making some really deep and significant point. But it's really all more like this:

But in the end, what this kind of vibrant regionalism requires is something much more difficult to obtain than a slogan. It is a renewed appreciation for society over and against both the individual and the state. Society defined by what the agrarian essayist Wendell Berry calls "membership" – a network of social interconnectedness and shared obligation. To be a member of this kind of social order is the best hedge against manipulation by the central planning committee for "growth" and "prosperity." It is, to put it plainly, to be free.

I have really only ever had one argument against Crunchy Conservatism and that is that it refuses to commit itself in policy terms. Stegall writes,

What would this kind of regional populism look like in an actual political platform? Broadly speaking, it would seek at every turn to end the dependence of its constituents on elites. It would oppose, for example, the nationalization of any sector of our economy, from health care to agriculture. Instead, it would seek creative ways to open regional markets for regional goods.
Does any of that mean anything? Just wondering. But the real prize is this:
It would seek to permit regional cultural and religious particularities to emerge from the fog of federalized regulation and be made manifest in our schools, courthouses, businesses and civic organizations. And it would provide incentives to keep cultural capital local. It would encourage people to work, study and raise families close to where they grew up. It would seek ways to promote local culture and would cultivate loyalty to our neighbors and a fierce love for our own places.
So, instead of "the fog of federal regulation," the Sage of Perry, Kansas suggests "incentives to keep cultural capital local" and "encourage people to work, study, and raise families close to where they grew up." Let's assume for a minute that it's anyone's business where people choose to get hitched and hatch rugrats. The practical question is, why should we trust the government to do this? There is no secret government-in-exile that will ride triumphantly back into Washington if only we elect Ross Perot, Ralph Nader, or Lyndon Larouche for that matter. Hell, I barely trust them to figure out how to pick up the trash and fill in the potholes.

But the truly ironic and laughable part is that Stegall harps endlessly on "elites" and "control" and "aristocratic" forces is quite comfortable extending the force of government much deeper into our lives than any bean-counter deep in the recesses of the Under-Secretary to the Commission on Reduction in Redundancy Reduction would dream of. Instead of a government controlled by elites, Stegall proposes government--controlled by a different set of elites. Government of the people, by the Stegall, if you will.


Blogger kathleen said...

oh yeah, i speak underpaid college grad NYC peon. I opened the nutjob mail at an esteemed publishing house. You accurately describe the "17 pages of single-spaced discussion of the metaphysics of computer hacking and 4th-dimensional psychic powers" but you omit the intricate, densely packed, painstakingly labeled illustrations that were usually included. They often depicted scenes of armageddon as i recall. I wonder if Caleb draws well.

8:00 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

LOL--hey, I once did unpaid grunt work for a literary review. My favorite part was reading the unsolicited short-story and poetry manuscripts (which wasn't one of my duties, but I'd sneak into that drawer when no one was looking). I remember laughing myself silly one afternoon. I felt soooo guilty, but man, it was fun. :)

10:20 AM  
Blogger Pauli said...

There's a huge, mostly friendly, comment thread on the article here. The post-er, Maclin Horton, echoes ConCrunchy's "refusal to commit to policy" in a comment: "What I keep fishing for is the sorts of particular policies to which a populist third party would be committed. I'm all for your goals as outlined in your DMN piece, but (as I always felt about the CetT project) there seems to remain a sizable gap between where we want to go and directions for getting there."

So I think it's fair to say that this is a valid criticism of Caleb's "vision" if people on both sides are saying "too vague".

My simple-minded take on this is that the "policies" to get us from "here" to "there" (i.e., populist rule?) would scare the cr*p out of most Americans because it would amount to a non-peaceful revolution. It would be much simpler to effect change by taking over the structures which exist and improving them than by trying to collapse them and creating brand new societal structures under newly-imposed constraints.

Am I just a simpleton here, am I missing something? Please avoid allusions to Batman or Homer Simpson in your reply. Thank you.

('Tis a gift to be simple.)

10:54 AM  
Blogger Pauli said...

Anthony Sacramone on the "hugga-mugga over Crunchy Cons". Funny.

12:08 PM  
Blogger The Contra Crunchy said...


For me the problem begins in that I am not willing to grant the premise that we are all under the thumb of some remote elite. In practical terms, this is a case you could have made far better 10 or 20 years ago when we had three TV networks and capitalizing any business larger than a hot dog stand required millions or tens thereof. The world we live in today is unquestionably more chaotic but if anything this represents a diminution of elite control.

Stegall talks about the 1870s and grants that this was a time of material progress but social discord. This is an interesting situation and to my eye the comparison is not at all flattering to his cause. Let's say you and your neighbor have a life you are happy with. Five years hence, he has a bigger house, fancier car, and younger wife. If this situation makes you unhappy, whose fault is that? In this sense I cannot help but think that "populism" today is the reification of the greed, vanity, and envy of the Haves directed against the Have-Mores. An honestly Christian response to this, as far as my own understanding of the Book goes, would be "shut up and be happy with your one plasma TV." That is many things but not populist.

To his credit, Stegall seems to realize there is a problem in here: "So our neopopulist moment ought to be approached with sober awareness that an angry mob is probably worse than a corrupt bureaucrat." Anytime you tell a Marxist that history proves that their philosophy inevitably leads to Mao/Stalin/Pol Pot they reply, "but they weren't real communists," the definition of such a person being, in effect, an angel rather than a man. Stegall wants populism but he doesn't want populists running it. So I consider his suggestion academic, in much the same way I dismiss people who suggest we would be better off with a parliamentary government. The discussion is intellectually curious but not much more serious than debating whether Batman could kick Spiderman's ass.

As for a third party, the problem I have is that everyone defines their version as the Party They Agree On Everything With. This is childish nonsense of a part with the example given above. Right now I see a few possible nucleation points for a practical third party:

1. Daily Kos-style crackpottery
2. Anti-immigration with a side of mush on everything else
3. Biden/Hagel/Snowe "centrism"

I think it is revealing that a group of people who spend all their time talking about conserving the old things in society want to throw away the political parties we have had more or less since the Founding. Talk about radical!

Again, and again, I say, cut the slogans and give me concrete examples! Stegall wants "regional markets for regional goods" which sounds very charming but really means you will only be able to buy fresh vegetables during three or four months of the year, unless you live in California. And that's just the most superficial part of it.

I have a rule that the more ambiguous a politician's plans are, the more invasive the policies will eventually be. I compare this to the early 90s, when Howard Stern was threatening to run for Governor of NY, and stated his platform thus: bring back the death penalty, stagger tolls to reduce traffic, and do all road work at night.

All I want the Crunchy/Neo-Populists to do is get out of the peanut gallery and put some similar cards on the table. That they continue to fail to do so speaks to the deeply problematic nature of their movement. I recognize that I am probably losing this argument in a sense because we re living in a time when the guy who yells loudest and most wildly attracts the biggest audience. But that doesn't make him right.

12:44 PM  
Blogger The Contra Crunchy said...

"In short, it’s hard to stay a city person for long and not be made aware that there’s someone else out there—probably right down the hall in a nicer apartment—who thinks you’re an idiot."

Yes. Beautiful. Sacramone officially sets them up the bomb.

12:48 PM  
Blogger kathleen said...

sacre bleu Sacramone! right on. the quote you give, contra, is especially damning -- and especially pertinent -- because the only cohesive thread I can see running through the various crunchy commentary is "I MUST prove to the world that not only are I and my friends smarter than everyone else, but we are also wiser, and more spiritual, and have better taste." Instead of brooking the notion that the guy down the hall is smarter than you, better to decide he is the spawn of Satan, view his existence with contempt and disgust, and simultaneously beat a retreat to the ozarks before anyone else notices his superior IQ.

while I sound like I'm just being nasty, this is my honest conclusion about the crunchies.

1:06 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

Sacramone rocks. Thanks for the link---I laughed out loud at a few places.

Hey, my kids seem to be living that Great Indoors thing. Here we live in the woods---I would have killed for something like that when I was a kid--but I can't pry my kids away from the computer screen with a crowbar. Go figure.

2:50 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

Funny, BTW, that Sacramone should mention the Ozarks in particular. Kathleen, remember Caedmon? That's precisely where he plans to beat his retreat to. LOL! Can't say I blame him entirely. The Ozarks are gorgeous. We used to vacation there when we lived in Louisiana. (yes, indeed, we've lived virtually everywhere.)

2:53 PM  
Blogger Jeff Culbreath said...

Contra, I certainly agree that there is a lack of political specifics involved in CCism. There's a reason for this: the heart of CCism really isn't politics, but culture and the choices people make. CC folks aren't political activists, for the most part, and they aren't going to take over the Republican Party or any other party. Mr. Dreher might justly be faulted for framing the movement too much in political terms, beginning with the very title of his book.

There is indeed a political dimension that does need more exploration - even if getting too far into politics at this point is premature.

There are lots of ideas out there. Hilaire Belloc recommended taxes and legal remedies which would discourage huge economies of scale, prevent mega-corporations from undercutting smaller family enterprises, and incentivize the transfer of property from large landowners to smaller ones.

For myself, I have long advocated that voting rights be restricted to those who have lived at least five years in one zip code. There might also be tax incentives or other privileges instituted for people to stay put.

Modern zoning laws are a HUGE part of the problem. These laws are the reason why the average American spends 70 minutes per day behind the wheel of an automobile. They need to be reformed.

Agriculture policy is very complicated and delicate, but there are some things that should be considered. Small farms should be exempt from some of the most burdensome regulations that are imposed on larger commercial operations, for example. There are very few small dairy operations in California any longer because compliance with regulations is simply cost prohibitive. It is now illegal in many places for small farmers to sell raw milk or processed meat directly to consumers. Etc.

So there are a few policy ideas for you. However, the real battle is not political at the present time. Christians need first to acquire a Christian worldview which orders things properly. What the Crunchies are discovering, perhaps in a bumbling way, is that everything that exists - every created thing, every manufactured thing, every idea, every lifestyle, and every choice - has its own place in a hierarchy of value. That's how a Christian sees the world. Life is not just an array of indifferent consumer choices that have equal merit and no consequences one way or the other. Yes, it matters what you buy, where you buy it, how much you buy, and why you buy - just as your every thought and word matter.

I made a fast-food stop yesterday. Because I see through the glass only darkly, I'm not sure how that choice will stack up on the last day. But I do know that I will have to give an account ...

5:22 PM  
Blogger Cubeland Mystic said...

Team Contra
There is no crunchy political movement. I don't believe that these people with their uncompromising views are capable of forming a movement. They are very independent minded and getting them to come together will be like herding cats.

The other side of this if they could come together it is unlikely that they could tolerate anything but strict adherence to the party line. At best it would be a very small movement.

As Pauli says, they are better off trying to occupy leadership roles within the existing structures. I can support advocating for a simpler crunchy lifestyle but I can't make the leap to politics.

6:07 PM  
Blogger The Contra Crunchy said...


Thanks for your comment, and I agree a lot of the Crunchy talk, and perhaps the best parts of it, are personal rather than political. But in all his talk of neo-populism and nationalization and regionalism, Stegall's essay seems to be aiming pretty clearly at the political side of the ledger.


9:11 PM  
Blogger kathleen said...

7/14: I think dreher caught on to the fact that the only time he gets long threads is when he links to the contras -- well, he would never link directly, he employs a firewall in the form of some FOC (friend o' caleb) with a blog and 3 commenters who, in turn, quotes contras.

(i just realized that's a pretty nice acronym. kinda serendipitous.)

Dreher's attempts to rouse us are becoming transparent. something about kansas. zzzzz

10:38 AM  
Blogger Bubba said...

Aside from defending my right as an American to dare to criticize Catholic poetry, I haven't had much to say, but it is so very precious that Rod misses us so.

His suspicion that Caleb's brand of populism isn't, well, popular reveals that maybe they're not interested in representing common folk, but in reshaping them in their image: "Most people, it seems to me, aren't terribly unhappy with the way things are."

"Dammit," you can almost hear him mutter under his breath.

But it is amusing: after all of us have decided his blog is no longer worth our comments there and many comments here, he shows himself to be responsive, not by actually addressing our criticisms, mind you, but by linking to other people who attack us for criticising him and his crunchy brethren.

Oh, yeah. Rod Dreher's ready for the big time.

2:04 PM  
Blogger Cubeland Mystic said...


Sorry I made a mistake on Dougherty’s blog. I thought you said something you didn't. I apologized there.

I also went over to Rod's too. Rod was out of line quoting him. I wonder why he didn't quote Dougherty’s criticism of Sacramone?

8:36 PM  
Blogger Pauli said...

> For myself, I have long
> advocated that voting
> rights be restricted to those
> who have lived at least five
> years in one zip code.

OK - there's a concrete policy to debate. Here's some semi-sanguine thoughts, post-vacation, it was nice thanks. First off I'd guess you'd give military persons a pass on this, right? But I'm not sure it's democracy. I know a French guy who is an old-school European monarchist (and really fun guy to drink with) who said "You see what democracy does -- that guy shouldn't be allowed to vote" -- we had been discussing some neo-Nazi loser one of our friends ran into.

So I might agree that he has a point too. My parents haven't lived in the same place for 5 years straight in the last 15 years; my dad moved for his employment, long story, they're finally retired. But they have been strong community leaders (church, meals-on-wheels, etc.) wherever they go. It's not like most people just move on a whim -- "Oh, Jeeves, we're moving, be a good lad and pack up the Uhaul...." To listen to Caleb and his talk of "hypermobility" he thinks that this is the case and people just don't care at all about any community ties. The aforementioned out-of-work, lazy neo-Nazi meanwhile has been stinking up the same zip-code because he can't move to one with more Jews to get all mad at....

So back to the zip code thing. Why not one year? 6 months? Why not just your last 3 digits? Can't parents move across town from their apartment when they have their 3rd child? Could you just sign a paper promising you'll stay? Like I said, I see the point, but it's not democracy.

Another interesting note is this: I know a couple of poeple who are truly "hypermobile" and really have no roots, constantly job-hopping, single, kind of immature, drink a lot. Fact these people don't vote at all. ("Oh, yeah, I knew there was an election... who won?") That my anecdote for the day, book-full coming soon.

8:42 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

I made a fast-food stop yesterday. Because I see through the glass only darkly, I'm not sure how that choice will stack up on the last day. But I do know that I will have to give an account ...

Jeff, do you really, honestly believe that Our Lord will call you to account for buying fast food?

Is this not precisely the sort of burdensome legalism He inveighed against? "It is not what goes into a man that defiles a man..." How could He have made it any plainer?

Paul said it was OK to eat food that had been offered to idols as long as you didn't scandalize your "weaker brethren" thereby. If it's OK to eat food that's been offered to idols, then why should we (or God) balk at McNuggets?

I do not dismiss all such conscientiousness: I would not deliberately make a purchase that I knew for certain would support Planned Parenthood, say. But, contra your assertion, I believe that the vast majority of consumer choices are morally neutral. I don't see where Scripture or Tradition tells us to sweat about such choices, frankly. There are far "weightier matters of the law" that should concern us. IMHO, Our Lord would far rather that we feed the hungry and clothe the naked than that we obsess about where our chicken dinner came from. The Bible has some strong things to say about feeding the hungry and clothing the naked. But it says nothing whatsoever about the moral value of McNuggets versus free range chicken.

Bottom line: I think the Crunchies have their priorities skewed. They seem to talk a lot about small, local, and handmade, but I seldom see them say anything much about helping the poor---arguably a much bigger priority in Scripture!

10:53 PM  
Blogger kathleen said...

I liked Jeff's post because it did talk about specifics. Not that i particularly liked the specifics -- a five year residency rule for voting sounds quite draconian. not to mention unenforceable.

and surely Jeff knows that all around the country, for decades now, people -- even developers -- are experimenting with and arguing for new zoning regs, without calling themselves crunchy conservatives. that is a movement on the rise, clearly.

in other words, i'm still not clear why Jeff's ideas fall under the rubric "crunchy conservatism", other than the fact that he says they do...actually he doesn't go even that far ... he says they might.

6:27 AM  
Blogger Pauli said...

At least Jeff's proposal provides something to discuss. But I think it would be interesting to see whether or not a sort of "self-selection" doesn't already go on in terms of who votes and who doesn't. Everyone acknowledges that too small a percentage of folks vote already. People most concerned about and invested in a community's well-being are probably already more apt to cast a ballot -- I could be wrong. I've heard many counter-intuitive facts about voting out there. But wouldn't it be good to have cold hard numbers for once in this debate?

[I've always gotten a kick from all these raving protestors who scream "We need to send a message to ________!" So they take their clothes off and light things on fire. Why not instead start by getting the majority you claim agree with you to go out and actually vote, Mr. Protestor?]

So here's another idea for the cold hard numbers -- how many people are actually moving into places and only staying 5 years or less? Not that I see anything wrong with this alleged behavior, I'm just curious. Vague claims of "growing disparity" brought on by "social and geographic mobility" would ring less hollow to me if substantiated by some o' dem ol' facks 'n' figgers.

And, sure, throw in a drawing for Kathleen's amusement if you're too lazy to find the figgers.

8:19 AM  
Blogger Pauli said...

> Pauli, For me the problem
> begins in that I am not willing
> to grant the premise that we
> are all under the thumb of some remote
> elite.

Well, I'm not willing to grant that either BUT for the sake of argument. And, yes, if anything there is a huge decrease in the power of the networks mostly at the hands of the conservative movement, what Hillary called the Vast Right-wing Conspiracy (talk-radio, FOX news, blogosphere). It's curious to me that Rod and Caleb ignore that in their analyses -- it's all too mainstream or whatever -- they just don't like it. I can't claim to really know why, but....

> "populism" today is the reification of the
> greed, vanity, and envy of the Haves
> directed against the Have-Mores.

....this is as good a reason as is needed. Almost everyone who calls in with conspiracy theories to talk radio shows is either unemployed or overly frustrated and dissatisfied with their condition in life. I don't think we needed another party based on the "it's-not-my-fault-I'm-not-as-rich-as-I-want-to-be" attitude....

> ....debating whether Batman could kick
> Spiderman's ass.

Hey, don't go there.... I feel a long tedious post from Bubba coming as a result of this -- or was this your intention?

(But just don't mess with my man Wesley Willis on this theme. I suppose if he could kick Spidey's ass and Batman could kick his, then there's your answer. Unless it's kind of like a rock-paper-scissors thing. Keeping it light here, keeping it light.......)

[PS - parental warning on Willis's music is in order, if you weren't sure.]

8:45 AM  
Blogger Cubeland Mystic said...

Here are some specifics:

How about big tax breaks for developers and home buyers who develop and then purchase "infill" properties. That is properties in the inner city.

Tax breaks for individuals or corporations purchasing and using alternative fuel or fuel efficient vehicles.

More tax breaks to big godless corporations to incent them to develop home office programs for employees to reduce commuting. At the same time limiting corporate liability from sue happy employees who slip in their own bathrooms during work hours.

How about tax-free zones for alternative fuel pure development startups with patent protection so energy giants can't buy the patent and bury it. (don't quite know how to articulate this one)

How about cutting taxes completely so I would have more money to buy efficiently made, low cost electronics so I can work on some these problems with my kids.

My FICA alone could fund a small four node Linux MPP cluster here at the cubeland monastery. I could even buy dual core 64bit opterons.

9:05 AM  
Blogger kathleen said...

Cube, 4 out of 5 of those already exist in many jurisdictions (and I don't include your "energy patents" idea in the 4 b/c I'm not clear on what it is). there is already a movement that lobbies for that stuff regularly. even "mainstream conservatives" have been known to make that stuff -- alternative fuels, telecommuting, tax credits -- a part of their platform (and as for "cutting taxes completely", isn't that the conservatives' raison d'etre?)

are you saying only liberals implement this stuff? I'm not at all sure that's the case.

9:50 AM  
Blogger Cubeland Mystic said...

Nothing terrifies a liberal more than self-sufficiency. Materialist liberals are parasites. I figured most of those ideas are conservative ideas. I am not a liberal.

What I am getting at regarding intellectual property is that if a small corporation is released from the obligation to pay taxes for the purpose of developing products that end our dependence on petroleum based energy, if they sell their patent to Exxon or are acquired by Exxon, then Exxon is obligated to invest in bringing this energy to the market rather than burying the patent. Those tax breaks could be transferred to Exxon too. Otherwise the small company could slog it out in the market and try to become the next Exxon. Does this make sense? I sense you are a lawyer or in the law biz, can you help me articulate that better?

Note, as a small particular al dente conservative, I don’t cut Exxon out of my ideas. After all corporations are people too.

Spidey will always be able to bring the pain. Batman does not stand a chance. He is too dependent on technology.

10:52 AM  
Blogger kathleen said...

"if they sell their patent to Exxon or are acquired by Exxon, then Exxon is obligated to invest in bringing this energy to the market rather than burying the patent."

hard to enforce a rule like this. if i invent something and i sell it to someone who wants to "bury" it, well, theoretically i'm disincentivized from doing so b/c i would make more money marketing the invention on my own (again, assuming society would find the invention useful). That things sometimes (often?) don't work this way is definitely a negative -- but is it worse than the government regulating to whom I can sell my invention? I don't know. sometimes the cure is worse than the disease.

i don't practice law now but i did for a while.

11:12 AM  
Blogger Bubba said...

On the important issue of the day, I would argue that Batman could defeat Spider-Man quite easily.

Yes, Mr. Willis can whup Spider-Man, and Batman can whup Mr. Willis. At the same time, hardly anyone would argue against the proposition that Superman can beat Spider-Man, and (applying the Luthor Hypothesis) we can easily see that Batman can beat Superman. If these relationships of "who can defeat whom" is transitive, we can conclude that Batman can beat Spider-Man.

But can Superman defeat Wesley Willis? That remains an unanswerable question.

The mystic disagrees:

Spidey will always be able to bring the pain. Batman does not stand a chance. He is too dependent on technology.

At least in the comic books, Spidey is at least as dependent on technology -- the web-slingers he developed. And one could argue that Spider-Man is himself little more than a by-product of technology, his powers stemming from the bite of a radioactive spider.

One should never underestimate Bruce Wayne's determination: he has honed his body, mind, and even his spirit to the limits of human potential. He does not depend on technology, rather, he wields it, as he does his mind and body and even his surroundings to maintain an advantage over his opponents. Like Lex Luthor, Wayne has the intelligence, the financial resources, and most importantly the will to be a formidable threat to anyone.

On the question of taxation, I like that we're seeing concrete policy suggestions, but many of these suggestions (which reduce to tax breaks for behavior we like) is from a faith in intrusive government that rivals many leftists. The culture has changed -- dramatically and undeniably -- mostly due to technology, not government policy. If (and this is a big "if", in my opinion) Rod Dreher is genuinely distrustful of big government, a tax code that is at least as complex as the current code ought to raise many concerns for him and his fellow crunchies, even if this tax code is administered at the state or local level.

And there's always the concern for unintended consequences.

I could see myself support specific zoning policies at the local level, if the situation is this: our city needs zoning, the current zoning fails for these 3 reasons, our proposal improves things for these 3 reasons. It doesn't expand government power, and there's a better case for zoning regs then there has ever been for a tax code that is obscene in its complexity and specificity.

12:18 PM  
Blogger Cubeland Mystic said...

I am often torn between operational reality and idealistic dreaming. If we could get the G off our backs with the taxes and then all those foolish regs that would be a good start. The reality is that it probably won’t ever happen, hence my modest proposal above appeals to reality. Rod says in his book that he will link up with libs when necessary to defeat this or that anti-crunchy behavior. Sorry, I will not form alliances with thugs to promote my proclivities toward organic food. I probably could think of some wild drug induced scenario where I could be convinced in a moment of profound weakness to vote for a liberal, but my imagination does not extend that far. I think I am in agreement with you all on a lot of issues, but not with Spider-Man VS. Batman scenarios.

Spider-man is the result of a one time integration with technology. In other words Spider-man is operating with technology at the firmware level. I could imagine here that you could perform a firmware upgrade every once in awhile, but that defeats the purpose. Batman has a strong dependency on technology where Spider-Man only has a one time integration. One could also argue that Spidey’s one time firmware enhancement enables his skills to be memory resident, hence they are buffered and operate in real time. Since Batman has the hard dependency he always has to perform a hard I/O every time. Batman will always have a latency issue, bus contention, perhaps even network issues if he has to push a button to make something fly at Spidey as he is getting his ass kicked. Not to mention he couldn’t get the freakin shark off his leg when he was on the rope ladder.

Spidey also has precognition, this trumps Batman’s feeble “determination”. My own tight integration with technology has allowed me to develop precognition. It enables me to easily handle recalcitrant techies, timid raised floor engineers, useless consultants, managerial orcs, marketing fiends, and vendor sales representatives.

3:22 PM  
Blogger The Contra Crunchy said...

The Britain that Margaret Thatcher took obver in the late 1970s was a lot farther gone than we are today and she managed to roll quite a bit of the madness back. New York City was almost universally thought to be ungovernable by the time Rudy Giuliani was elected and proved law and order could win the day if applied with sufficient determination.

So I do think we could make the tides recede if only for a little while. But it requires a moment of crisis to do it, backed by good execution.

10:03 PM  
Blogger Cubeland Mystic said...

Yes the tides will recede. That's why they certainly will recede--because we have hope. Good night. Have a sweet Sunday everyone.

12:06 AM  
Blogger Bubba said...

Not to mention he couldn’t get the freakin shark off his leg when he was on the rope ladder.

That's first of all inaccurate, as Batman did have on hand shark repellant. It is, second of all, demonstrative of the depths to which one must sink to demonstrate Batman's incompetence: ignoring Batman as depicted by Timm/Dini, Jeph Loeb, Frank Miller, Chris Nolan and even Tim Burton to dredge up Adam West.

That Spider-Man's dependence on technology was the result of a one-time interaction doesn't mean much, as the results of that interaction can be undone with a cure. If Batman was gunning for Spidey, he could quite conceivably avoid a direct confrontation (except perhaps to acquire a blood sample) and focus his mind and financial resources on developing a cure to the radioactive spider bite. One hit from that cure, and what would Peter Parker have at his disposal? His brilliant skills as a photographer?

Certainly, his precognitive powers help him, but they don't make him omniscient. If Doc Ock and Venom can land serious blows despite that "Spidey Sense," so too can Batman hit Spidey with a cure for his own powers.

Game, set, and match.

6:10 AM  
Blogger Cubeland Mystic said...

As a software engineer you know better than to inject recursive assertions into the debate. Cure, counter cure, more cure, more counter cure . . . on and on ad infinitum. Spider-Man is not without resources either. At the university he could devise a counter cure to make these changes permanent. Batman, however remains I/O bound.

I don’t think the game is over. . .it is just beginning.

Being a humble guest in your kitchen, I will refrain from further pummeling your hound and give you the last word.

10:47 AM  
Blogger The Contra Crunchy said...

The Chicken Cow would mop the floor with all of these guys.

3:14 PM  
Blogger Bubba said...

My final word in the Bat-Spider debate is this: Spider-Man is, undoubtedly, one of the all-time heavy hitters, but if Batman was able to devise contingency plans to take out the entire Justice League, it defies reason to suggest that Spider-Man presents a foe that Batman can't take down.

Anyway, I noticed that Dougherty closed the comments to what Dreher called a masterful bitch-slapping of us, the opposition.

Masterful, indeed, accusing the Contra Crunchy of making arguments that can't be logically supported, and accusing him of hating Kansas, only to close the thread standing by everything he wrote.

In his defense, the baby doll dress is coming back, so he does have vital matters of world affairs that are surely taking up his time.

6:19 AM  
Blogger Pauli said...

So who wins in a a 3-way with Maggie Thatcher, Chicken Cow and Rudy G.?

8:57 AM  
Blogger kathleen said...

i hope more FOCs "bitch slap" us so we can return the favor 4 times over and make them shut down their comments again.

(Also, so I can continue use of the acronym "FOCs".)

11:53 AM  
Blogger The Contra Crunchy said...

Well now that I'm going to start posting some serious stuff we'll see how much attention they pay to that versus things where I am easily mischaracterized as violating Godwin's Law. At least one of the guys over there offered a long list of concrete ideas--more than the movement's would-be leaders have done in some time, though I suppose it's not management's job to do the dirty work, but just to "sell the message."

6:15 PM  

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