When Did Wisdom And Virtue Become Bad Things?


Robert A. Heinlein:

Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now and then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty. This is known as “bad luck.”


Everywhere that capitalism has been tried it has resulted in the the creation of wealth and a rise in the standard of living. Everywhere socialism has been tried it has resulted in widespread poverty. To be fair, the benefits of capitalism have not been shared equally. On the other hand, the negative effects of socialism are more democratic. Either way, the “1%” always enjoy a higher standard of living than the other 99%.

Over several millennia humankind has developed ideas of virtue and morality. Those ideas have changed over time but some have persisted through the ages. If we think in evolutionary terms these virtues increased our chances of survival – not necessarily individually but as a species.

In recent years some members of our society have decided that they are smarter than our ancestors. I too, once used to think that way.

As I get older I appreciate more and more the accumulated wisdom of our elders.


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About The Klown

I've been an ideological free agent since 2008.
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70 Responses to When Did Wisdom And Virtue Become Bad Things?

  1. myiq2xu says:

    BTW – We will be live-blogging the Oscars this evening. Get your final choices made before the deadline.

  2. wmcb says:

    I agree that ignoring hundreds of years of human advancement is damned stupid. I’m a capitalist, not because it is without flaws and unfairness, but because it has done the most for the standard of living of the largest number of people.

    I’m in favor of enough social programs to somewhat ameliorate the worst of its inequalities. I don’t want people starving and dying because they lack basic necessities. But there will always be poor people. Always. It’s the human condition.

    Our federal govt (much less state and local) now spends over $12,000 annually per every man, woman, and child in this country. Sorry, but the problem is NOT a revenue problem. There is no reason on God’s green earth we cannot have basic govt functions and assistance taken care of at that level of spending. NONE.

    Don’t tell me you don’t have enough money, politicians. Stop poormouthing. YOU LIE.

    • myiq2xu says:

      I agree that ignoring hundreds of years of human advancement is damned stupid.

      We should say “Capitalism works, but how can we improve it?” rather than “Capitalism isn’t perfect, let’s replace it!”

  3. myiq2xu says:

    It really takes some pretzelization of logic to turn virtues like industry, thrift and fidelity into tools of oppression.

    • wmcb says:

      I get into horrible arguments sometimes with “feminists” over social norms, because I will discuss the idea that maybe, perhaps, some of our social norms developed for a reason. Not that those norms had no downside, or were not abused to oppress, but that the basic concept of fidelity, sexual restraint, stable families, two-parent homes, etc came about because they did offer benefits to us all.

      I am very very glad for so many of the achievements of the feminist movement. I also think that in some areas we have done ourselves and our society no favors. Women gained some things in the sexual revolution, but they lost some things as well. There was indeed some bathwater in with that baby. Perhaps the “freedom” to sleep indiscriminately with anyone you want has repurcussions – some of which have not been particularly good for women, or men either.

      No, I don’t want to go back to repressed sexuality and shaming of single mothers and men being afraid to ever cry. I just want some acknowledgement that you might want to examine the reasons why a social norm existed, before you declare it utterly worthless and throw it away entirely.

      • HELENK says:

        the feminist movement started out to give women more choices. that was a good thing. but somewhere along the line choices became limited in their eyes. If you chose to marry and have kids and stay married you were not a true feminist. you were supposed to have indiscriminate sex and abortions. If you chose to stay home and raise your kids, you were not a true feminist, you were supposed to work and let baby sitters raise your kids. they forgot the meaning of the word CHOICE.

    • DandyTiger says:

      If you’re thrifty, you put me in chains. Or something. /s

  4. DandyTiger says:

    Apple and Google and Samsung and Amazon and Microsoft are all evil. We’d be so much better off if they or anyone like them had never developed the things they did, says the OWS kid typing on his iPhone. /s

    • myiq2xu says:

      They look at the wealth of guys like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates and decide it’s just not fair for them to have so much. Therefore they must have done something wrong to get that rich.

  5. myiq2xu says:

    Jesus and many other philosophers treated virtue and morality as principles rather than a list of rules. It’s the spirit of the law and not the letter of the law that matters.

  6. HELENK says:

    http://www.canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/53335

    this article about Dr Carson and common sense is really good

    • HELENK says:

      The Democrat Party has hoisted Barack Obama up as some kind of liberal, god-like, superhero. Barry has been very happy to fill the britches of such a false god, but as some kind of anti-hero that, armed with his arrogance, can destroy federal budgets with a single bound. To the horror of Republicans, even no-nos like gun control and stomping all over freedom of religion has proven to be areas this president is willing go after. Like every cloud-skipping false-prophet, however, Barry Sotero has his own kind of Kryptonite.

      In the case of Barack Obama, the thing that can bring him down, make him falter in mid-air, and drop him miserably to his political knees, is anyone that is willing to articulate American values, and do it in his face.

      While the Republicans run around in circles trying to figure out a way to co-exist with the democrats, and their presidential messiah, Dr. Ben Carson took a stab into the side of Barack Obama, and his ultra-liberal policies, with a single speech at this year’s National Prayer Breakfast. Obama’s balloon began to whistle as the air came rushing out of his ego. How dare this man embarrass our king, err, uhh, messiah, err, uhh, president like this. How dare he!

  7. DeniseVB says:

    OT: Daytona 500, James Franco screwed up like he did the Oscars….

    http://www.breitbart.com/Breitbart-Sports/2013/02/24/Sexist-James-Franco

  8. I agree myiq. I guess that makes us a couple of reactionary old fogies…..

  9. HELENK says:

    today is Iowa Hawk’s birthday. he is requesting insults

  10. HELENK says:

    http://weaselzippers.us/2013/02/24/british-pm-asks-obama-to-leave-mooch-at-home-during-g8-summit/

    oh hell we are going to have to pay for another separate vacation for meeeschele. you know she will not stay at the white house during this time. most likely she and throngs of thousands will have to go somewhere exotic

  11. wmcb says:

    So myiq, you have sparked a discussion between my husband and myself re: societal norms.

    We have a problem. Because if you believe that societal norms developed for a reason, then throwing them out is bad, right? So say the social conservatives, after all. Well, yes and no. The problem we had in earlier years was that societal norms existed, but we had gotten the idea that they were so important that they must be brutally and ruthlessly enforced.

    Our problem comes when we have to figure out how to deal with aberrations. There are two inescapable truths: A) There are societal norms, and they exist for a reason, as the healthiest way for a society to function. B) Aberrations from the norm will always occur, for a variety of reasons. Our problem is how do we treat the aberrations?.

    Take the example of single motherhood. The norm was two-parent homes. It’s a good norm. But some single mothers existed. So we shamed and shunned and treated them very badly. As a reaction to that unfairness, the feminist movement, and then society at large, decided that the solution was to throw away the norm itself as silly, unworthy, and pointless. Rather than just address that we were treating the aberrations badly, and fixing that, we decided to destroy the norm entirely. And we persist in this, in insisting that single motherhood is just as valid and good a choice as two parents. Well, it isn’t. It might be for an individual, but the evidence is overwhelming that for society as a whole it most certainly is not.

    Here’s the deal, IMO. Societal norms are great. They evolved for a reason. Aberrations always occur, and most of the time those aberrations are no threat at all to the overall society. So there is really no need to brutally force them into “the norm” and police the norm with fanatical vigilance. This is where I part company with the socons. There is no reason to treat aberrations from the norm like shit, like lepers, make laws enforcing the norm, etc, so long as that aberration is not harming society as a whole.

    OTOH, to by force of govt and by activism to actively seek to tear downsocietal norms is the height of asinine hubris. Which is pretty much what the left has sought to do. They elevate single motherhood as a fantastic choice, not for an individual, (which it may well be) but as of no consequence to society as a whole. They are dead wrong. Just as wrong in their way as the stupid harping socons.

    Traditional societal norms are good. Aberrations are good also, but they are still aberrations. That is not a bad thing, when one is speaking of individuals. Single mothers can be fantastic. I know this. I was raised by one. Single motherhood, in the larger general sense, is not the best way to raise children. That’s not a condemnation of anyone. It’s just a fact.

    • myiq2xu says:

      I could get really philosophical here but it’s lunchtime and I’m almost halfway thru all 25 Homeland episodes.

      Ask yourself what the societal benefit of marriage is. (Conservation of capital/property and to provide for the optimal raising of children.) All the “societal norms” derived from those goals.

      Punishing single mothers does not further those goals.

      • wmcb says:

        Yep. That’s where the social conservatives got all looney and off course. You do not *need* to brutally enforce a societal norm. The fact that it is self-evidently benefecial is enough to keep it going. The monkeywrench in the works is that the left responded to the stupidity of the socons in an overblown reactionary manner of trashing the social norms, instead of just telling them, “NO, you are being stupid.”

        A pox on them all.

    • DandyTiger says:

      Agree with this discussion. Social norms are kind of like most of evolution. You get where you got for good reasons. The aberrations are like genetic aberrations. They happen all the time. Sort of the system always trying something new to see if it stumbles upon something better. Most of the time, they don’t work. Sometimes they’re good changes. Sometimes the environment changes so that some changes win out. It’s all good. Aberrations are natural. Don’t be scared.

      • wmcb says:

        Exactly. Don’t try to force aberrations to not exist. Don’t try to force the idea that aberrations should be the “new norm”. Leave people alone. Society will evolve *itself* in the direction it needs to go.

        Everybody chill. Take a step back. Take a sip of tea.

        • Constance says:

          My daughter got me addicted to this show when she came home at Christmas. Real people are irresistible no matter how goofy.

        • wmcb says:

          Oh, they are deliberate caricatures of themselves, and making a lot of money at it. But it’s still funny as hell.

    • yttik says:

      I actually don’t believe people have changed all that much. We like to pretend that societal “norms” are completely different now, but I’m not sure that’s really true. Single moms for instance, have always been with us. Teen pregnancy has always been with us, in fact it’s actually declined dramatically. People talk about the 40’s-50′ where everyone was married and women didn’t work outside the home. Well, my grandmother, great grandmother, always held a job.

      We have a perception of how things looked in the 50’s and what society approved of, but that doesn’t mean society complied. Crime was just as bad, if not worse than it is today, according to statistics. People got divorces. Women had children out of wedlock. Teens got pregnant.

      • votermom says:

        Yup. It’s fascinating how our present colors our views of our past.

      • myiq2xu says:

        Comic books originated in the 1930’s. Both Batman and Superman dealt with themes of rampant crime and the police powerless to stop it. Comics did not create that perception, they were a response to it.

        Arab terrorists are a common Hollywood stereotype. But they really do exist.

  12. foxyladi14 says:

    Obama raised income taxes on the rich and payroll taxes on the middle class. When you tax people they have less money to spend. :(

  13. wmcb says:

    I just ate 2.5 freaking pounds of crab legs. It was delicious. But I think I’m going to die.

  14. wmcb says:

    So over at Ace’s, a dyed-in-the-wool foodie raves about the food of my old home town. And he’s right.

    Charleston SC *kicks ass* in the foodie dept. We had friends from Chicago, the UK, NY, etc – no strangers to good food – come visit us, and they generally reacted with “Oh. My. Fucking. God. How. Did. I. Not. Know. This. Place. Existed?”

    Bonus: they take service seriously. Waiters with attitudes get fired. You will be pleasant and accommodating or you don’t work in most Charleston restaurants, period.

    I miss the food in Charleston more than almost anything else about the place.

    http://minx.cc/?post=337814

    • wmcb says:

      Aside re: the restaurant Slightly North Of Broad. To old Charlestonians, the only place that matters is south of Broad street. That’s where the primo addresses and old money are. If you weren’t south of Broad, you weren’t the upper crust.

      The chef who opened S. N. O. B. made a deliberate play on words, to tweak the noses of the snobby old moneyed set. Charlestonians, having a sense of humor, adored not only his stellar food but his cheeky irreverence as well, and the restaurant was a smashing success.

      • votermom says:

        wmcb, you are making me very hungry …

      • elliesmom says:

        Elliesdad and I will be in Charleston this summer, I’m starting a list.

        • wmcb says:

          I posted this on Ace when someone asked:

          Will be in Charleston this coming Memorial Weekend. Gimme some restaurant recommendations.

          Cypress, Basil Thai, Fig, 39 Rue De Jean, 82 Queen, Poogan’s Porch, Hominy Grill, McCrady’s Wine Bar (the wine bar is better IMO than the restaurant if you are just feeling snacky. Amazing tapas/appetizers.) Sermet’s Corner (I could eat their crusty bread dipped in spicy olive oil all damn day) was fabulous when I lived there, but heard recently Sermet himself has left, and it has gone downhill somewhat.

          If you want to get off the peninsula out onto the islands, where the seafood is divine, then The Boathouse at Breach Inlet, Shem Creek Grill, The Wreck of the Richard and Charlene (not advertised, no sign, difficult to find), and Bowen’s Island Restaurant (OMG The fresh steamed oysters. THE OYSTERS!) If you want to just sit outdoors and watch the shrimp boats and the sportfishers come in and unload, and have a cold beer and some decent wings, hit Red’s Ice House on Shem Creek. It’s bar food, but the setting is fun.

          Plus all the ones mentioned in the post. And that doesn’t scratch the surface.

  15. foxyladi14 says:

    Have you heard about the fake marines?? :shock:

    • HELENK says:

      well everthing else about backtrack is fake, why not fake marines.
      Real marines would make him look like the fake he is

  16. swanspirit says:

    When did reprehensible become acceptable?

    MSNBC Panel Sits Around and Tells Race Jokes On the Air
    Melissa Harris Perry of course

    http://m.newsbusters.org/blogs/matt-hadro/2013/02/18/happened-msnbc-panel-sits-around-and-tells-race-jokes-air

    Comedian Dean Obeidallah got the ball rolling by jesting about white people being a minority by 2040 and getting to celebrate “Whitey Week” with “celebrations of white people, like badminton and Utah and racial profiling.”

    “And white women will finally be exotic. It’ll be great. Now everyone wants to date, you know, Latino, Asian women – there’ll be now like – ‘wow, white girl, where’d you meet her?’ ‘White Castle. That’s where they make them.’ ‘I should have known that’,” Obeidallah finished. “That’s great. The white minority jokes. That’s good. I like it,” laughed Harris-Perry.

    Political satirist Lizz Winstead cracked a Klan joke: “[I]t would have been kind of fun to see Herman Cain as the presidential nominee. Because there would have been mass suicides in the Klan.”

    Elon James White of ThisWeekInBlackness.com referenced a Dave Chappelle skit knocking the “social, economic issues” of an inner city ghetto community:

    “He tells this joke about when he was being picked up by a limousine driver. And they brought him to the ghetto. And he wasn’t prepared to go together. You have to be warned. He sits in the limo. And the guy gets a call. ‘What happened? Who said what? I’m on my way.’ And he just hangs up the phone. And he looks out the window, he says ‘liquor store, liquor store, gun store, liquor store. Where the hell am I?!’ And I’m like, it’s so hilarious because he’s starting to paint this whole picture of the community. And the social, economic issues. And he looked out the window at 3 a.m. and he saw a baby. And he’s like, ‘baby, what you doing outside?’ He goes, ‘I’m selling weed!’ And it’s one of the most hilarious things. He goes, ‘you know you shouldn’t sell weed.’ He goes, ‘I got kids to feed!’ It’s a baby. That’s hilarious.”

    Professor Anthea Butler at the University of Pennsylvania quipped, “we always had this joke when I was broke in grad school that if a black person said they were broke, it meant that they had negative in their bank account. And if a white person said they were broke, we never believed them because they had $500.

    Harris-Perry’s “race joke for the day” was a Jewish joke:

    “It’s a young Jewish man, he brings three girls home to meet his mother. And he says mom, I’m going to marry one of these three girls. And I want you to chat with them for a bit and then you predict which one I’m going to marry. And so the mom sits and she chats with the three girls, and then she says – he says, mom, which one do you think I’m going to marry? And she says this one over here on the right. And he says mom, that’s right, how did you know? And she says, I don’t like her.”

  17. votermom says:

    Hubby is watching End Of Watch on dvd. So many f-bombs and shaky cams but the story is riveting.

  18. yttik says:

    Ha, wisdom and virtue became bad things when progressives discovered they didn’t possess either.

    I guess every generation goes through a period of having all this idealism and absolutely no wisdom, but usually they grow out of it. It seems like many progressives are still stuck in this adolescent phase. I blame having an overly sheltered childhood that prevents you from experiencing the real world. Like going to private schools in Hawaii, having a comfortable middle class home, living abroad in Indonesia, hanging out with pedophile communist authors, attending over priced universities, traveling to Pakistan for a college trip…..

  19. Propertius says:

    Everywhere socialism has been tried it has resulted in widespread poverty

    Especially in places like Norway, right?

    • myiq2xu says:

      That’s not socialism.

    • yttik says:

      Kind of ironic, people who think Norway is such a generous welfare state, seem to forget that it’s actually a Monarchy with huge petroleum reserves. Drill baby, drill. Norway is the third largest gas exporter in the world.

  20. John Denney says:

    Hey! Here’s some wisdom!

    The sequestration “cuts” are less than 2%. So tell the fed to keep the inflation target rate at 0%, instead of the current 2.5%. Then the sequestration “cuts” will actually be “increases”!

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