Friday, July 08, 2005

The Rebellion Became Revolting a Long Time Ago

Over on Neuro-Conservative his commenters who work or study in academia are explaining the necessity for living their secret conservative lives while surrounded by what I call the Mandarins. Actually, Theodore Dalrymple uses "mandarins" too, but since I commandeered the word some years ago, it will serve nicely here.

The Mandarins mostly inhabit academia and charitable foundations. They are intelligent but not particularly educated beyond their specialty, a situation Max Weber warned us about. They know a great deal about a very little and it tends to make them believe they know a great deal. Period. As someone remarked recently, these are the kinds of people who remember their SAT scores.

The thing is, they don't know much beyond what they're paid to know and disseminate. What they don't know about world history, say, or mathematics, or the philosophy of science, or -- and especially or -- economics, is appalling. They have encapsulated theories about how things work without actually knowing how the gears mesh. They can spout bromides, one-sentence summations, and they have an opinion on every subject. But no one lives a more sheltered life than a Mandarin. I was about to add, "except a nun" but the one I know bops around the state raising money and teaching people to sing. Sheltered she's not.

I live near a university blue town which floats in a sea of red counties. Not another blue boat afloat till you get to Washington D.C. You know how New York is the Big Apple? Well, this town is Lil' Kumquat: sweet on the outside, sour and seedy in the middle. Every election cycle Lil’ Kumquat sends forth some "progressive" candidate to joust with the current conservative incumbent. And each time the progressive gets knocked off his horse, his lance broken, and the denizens of Lil’ Kumquat are puzzled and angry that another shining hero could lose to the "pol" from the sticks. They do not discuss the congressman's own journey from Democrat to Independent to Republican. In fact, they are strangely uncurious about his political progression.

To give you an idea of the political climate in Lil’ Kumquat: during the last presidential election one of Senator Kerry's daughters came to town to rally the troops. In this case, she was seeking particularly to rally the unmarried, single mothers -- of whom Lil’ Kumquat has its share. Based on my work with this particular demographic, I could have told her to stay home. You won't meet a more apolitical group anywhere than unmarried, single mothers. Not unless the Senator's daughter was handing out husbands...hmmm, there's a thought.

One of the commenters on Neuro-Con says that the ratio of liberal to conservative librarians is 223:1. Amazing. As she noted, that's why you can't get the local library to filter the computers your children use. And if you've ever seen what unaccompanied kids access on the library computer, you know what she's talking about. The main library in LK has a wealth of computers, including a number of them in the children's section.

Looks like it's time to saddle up Rocinante and ride on in to Lil’ Kumquat.

Stay tuned. I'll let you know what the Mandarins say about why they can't put filters on library computers they let the children use. What do you want to bet I get a lecture on the First Amendment?


At 9:23 PM, Blogger a4g said...

Once upon a time I sat in a little room and stared at hex code all day long -- the goal to finesse assembly code modules maybe one line shorter (this was in the days when bloated code was still a bad thing).

One day I got up and left, and never looked back. Of all things, I picked up a hammer and started to build things. Not just move meaningless blocks of code in a world that evaporated into nothing when the power went out.

The joy that no mandarin will ever know is starting with nothing and ending up with something, and along the way learning that there really is more to the journey than just dreaming up the concept.

Oh-- and about the "nun"-- reminds me what people say about my homeschooled kids. If they never get any "socialization", how come they're never here when I get home from work?

At 11:50 AM, Blogger Dymphna said...

We home-schooled the Baron's Boy and got the same foofla about 'socialization.' Yeah, like public school kids are so well-socialized. Might as well teach them Lord of the Flies ethics.

Socialized my foot.

BTW, the owner of a bookstore told me once that she could tell the home-schooled kids from the rest. The former were so well-behaved and polite.

And about the nun: she was my eighth grade teacher and just turned eighty. She has more energy than anyone I know.

At 12:04 PM, Blogger Headmistress, zookeeper said...

Our library blocks chat-rooms for everybody, not just kids. But that's about it.
I've had somebody tell me that the fact that homeschooled kids are generally polite and can talk comfortably to adults is proof that they are badly socialized. Seriously. This person said that psychologically that was developmentally wrong. If they were properly socialized they'd be as rude and loutish as their public schooled peers in their teens, and figure out how to talk to adults in their twenties.
We had to tie weights on my eyebrows to get them out of my hairline.

At 9:29 PM, Blogger USMC_Vet said...

Well, well...Dymphna has a new home of her own that I only just found...

Kudos, dear Dymphna.

Dying to know about your blue spot...I live in a BIG blue spot...

At 9:42 PM, Blogger Dymphna said...

Shhh. It's Charlottesville. Lil' Kumquat.


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