All Hail Conventional Wisdom

Rick Grimes once said, “The definition of insanity is doing something over and over and expecting a different result”. It might have been Simon Cowell who said it. I’m not very good with my fact checking. Anyway, I’ve been amused at the latest schoolyard spat over who’s the least qualified on foreign policy. It’s interesting watching the talking heads andpajamas foreign policy experts reporting in their pajamas from  their living rooms via skype, all expressing intellectual dismay at the “frightening, and frankly dangerous” lack of worldly knowledge certain candidates display.

Because I like to question everything, let me ask you something. What was the last foreign policy success we’ve had since, say the end of the cold war? Have we had an honest to goodness success that didn’t cost us untold billions, thousands of lost lives, or destroyed economies, infrastructures and inspired hatred for generations? Seriously? Bosnia, Yugoslavia, Kosovo? Afghanistan? Iraq? Iran? Syria, Libya, Egypt? Basically anywhere in the Middle East. How many billions have been spent stationing troops in South Korea for the last 50+ years? How’d Somalia work out for us? Nicaragua? I guess our bright shinning star is that we once liberated some medical students on the “Island of Spice“. You can pry my nutmeg from my cold, dead, fingers…

Given our track record, why would we listen to anything the experts tell us? What they appear to be expert at is maintaining the status quo. Which apparently consists of selling arms and issuing foreign aid at a rate which boggles the mind. Meanwhile we’re told we need to pay more taxes because we can’t afford to buy more number 2 pencils for little Johnny. At least we have enough checks left in the checkbook to afford the $1.4 million it cost to develop an app for the TSA that randomly points left and right.

I’ve enjoyed watching the momentum Trump and Sanders have created with the people being pissed off at the establishment. It’s about time. But when the establishment parties ignore the people (you didn’t really think you had any say in this did you, silly rabbit) and put in place the candidates of their choosing, what are the people going to do? Will that initial momentum have enough inertia to continue to drift towards revolution… or will it just be the latest occupy movement that fizzles out as soon as we come to grips with the fact that American Idol is never coming back?

 

On Cursing. And Revolutions.

“I never liked you. You know why? You don’t curse. I don’t trust a man who doesn’t curse. Not a “fuck” or a “shit” in all these years. Real men curse.” – Capt. Yardley

I admit, I have a bit of a problem with cursing. I manage to reign myself in most of the time, but there are certainly days when the expletives fly. I do my best on the rare occasions when I’m around kids… but hell, they’re going to have to grow up sometime. I used to worry about it until I read that researchers discovered that swearing is not only good for you, but a sign of higher intelligence. I figure with my R rated vocabulary I should be in Einstein or Sagan IQ range.

Maybe it’s getting older. Maybe it’s a diminishing tolerance for political correctness. Perhaps I’m just tired of morality lectures from scary nut-job politicians. Bottom line, the world is not going to end if an F-bomb drops from time to time. This country was built by hearty, rough and tumble folks. They were some bad ass risk takers crossing oceans, forging communities out of nothing, exploring the frontier to the west. If you don’t think these people used profanity, you don’t know history.

Needless to say, I’m pretty amused when Trump drops a well placed curse word. Watching the media reaction you’d think the sky was going to part and lightening was going to strike him down. Politicians just don’t do that. Little old evangelical ladies in Iowa must have been fainting in droves. Sigh… no I’m not a Trump supporter. He just provides endless entertainment. Besides, it’s fun to watch the talking heads be continually wrong about everything.

Trumps language reminds me of an incident back in another life when I worked for the evil empire (rhymes with  shmikrosoft). We were in a conference room arguing about some product feature and the F-bombs were flying. A new, and very young, female engineer actually started crying and ran out. There was stunned silence for a moment and then a fairly senior engineer said, “Welcome to shmikrosoft and the fucking big kids table.” I was a little surprised at his lack of political correctness and don’t necessarily support the behavior – but it was pretty damn funny at the time.

My point? I’m not sure. My mind wanders these days. I do know you cannot rewrite history. We are not a nation of holier than thou, bible thumping, Ted Cruz puritans. Our founders were some rough folks. They were drinkers. The sons of liberty formed over taxation on sugar and the economic impact on our rum production. John Hancock was a smuggler on a level that put the Kennedy family to shame. Oh, you thought it was all about tea? The colonists boycotted tea only because they weren’t stupid enough to impact their alcohol production. The ‘shot heard round the world’ probably happened because the minutemen gathered in taverns to wait for the British. Nothing like a little Dutch courage to develop some beer muscles and feel invincible!

So the next time you feel the urge to swear, go ahead and let ‘er rip. You’ll feel smarter. And if it’ll make you feel better, take Homer Simpson’s example and get yourself a swear jar. You can donate the proceeds to Ben Carson’s campaign.