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ESTJ, but only barely

by Greg Krehbiel on 28 August 2015

I had some time to waste so I took one of those online Myers-Briggs style tests. I got ESTJ. (If you want to take the test, here it is.)

As I’ve mentioned before, these things both interest and annoy me — mostly because of the way I perceive the questions. Very few of them resonate with me, and with most of them I could equally well answer the other way.

For example, “Being adaptable is more important to you than being organized.” Well, it depends on what we’re talking about. Being adaptable is very important for some things, and being organized is very important for other things.

Or how about this one: “Winning a debate is more important to you than making sure no one gets upset.”

Well … when you put it like that ….

IOW, I might naturally tend towards caring about the debate more than the participants, but once you put the question that way, I realize that the people are more important than the issue. So how do I answer a question like that?

I’ve heard too much moralistic advice in my life about the pros and cons of various approaches — and I’ve spent far too much time thinking about those sorts of things — for any of these answers to be as simple as the test wants to make them. I couldn’t even estimate how many times I’ve heard someone say “you can win the argument but lose the person” (or words to that effect).

I’m self-reflective enough to notice which way I naturally bend, but I’ve heard “the other side” so many times, and I’ve spent so much of my adult life trying to correct bad habits, that it’s easy to change, if that’s what’s necessary.

The real reason I took the test is to get ideas for characters. Reading the questions and studying the descriptions of the various poles (judging or perceiving, thinking or feeling, etc.) paints an interesting mental picture of different sorts of folk.

-- 8 comments  ::  What do you think?  ::  2015-08-28  ::  Greg Krehbiel

Moral limits on government power?

by Greg Krehbiel on 27 August 2015

To a liberal — and especially to a secular liberal — what this woman said is an outrage.

Liberty Law School Dean: Government Doesn’t Have Authority To Impose Unbiblical Laws

“What?” the liberal thinks. “Condition government power on the Bible? Is she crazy?”

Everybody wants to condition government power on some moral standard. As I think about that, I recall this old document I read once that put it like this.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Where does Mr. Jefferson get off thinking that his moral ideas — e.g., “all men are created equal,” governments derive their “just powers from the consent of the governed,” etc. — take precedence over the rule of His Majesty King George?

IOW, of course government power is subject to moral rules. The only question is what moral rules?

Thomas Jefferson got his moral principles from the Enlightenment. As a Christian school, Liberty University derives its moral rules from the Bible. Is there any difference in principle?

Our modern judiciary regularly overturns laws on the basis of “evolving standards.” Think about same-sex marriage. The Defense of Marriage Act survived constitutional challenges just a couple decades ago, but now it’s unconstitutional.

Did the constitution change? No. What changed is the moral standards that judges read into the constitution.

At least with Liberty University we have some idea of where these moral standards are coming from. With the modern judiciary, they seem to be blowing in the wind.

-- 2 comments  ::  What do you think?  ::  2015-08-27  ::  Greg Krehbiel

Kick them out and let the good ones back

by Greg Krehbiel on 26 August 2015

That’s what Trump says he will do with illegal immigrants. And (as Scott Adams points out in his blog post on the subject) that is precisely what Trump did with the Univision reporter.

--  ::  What do you think?  ::  2015-08-26  ::  Greg Krehbiel

“His ugly nativism …”

by Greg Krehbiel on 26 August 2015

The on-going freak out over Donald Trump is getting more and more amusing.

Last night Dave and I watched a press conference Trump held in Iowa. A reporter from Univision kept trying to monopolize the questioning, and of course Trump would have none of it. Several other reporters — both during the press conference and in the mandatory analysis afterward — thought that the main story was how Trump dealt with the reporter.

The press is full of narcissists. Everything is about them. They think they are the story, which is why there are so many talking head shows.

The mainstream in both politics and media simply doesn’t know how to handle Trump. He’s like nothing they’ve ever seen before. (Perhaps because he has some testosterone.)

When they find that he’s committed some sin against political correctness, Trump brushes it off. He doesn’t grovel. He doesn’t apologize. He could care less about the rules of their effeminate clique.

Thomas Friedman displays the confusion quite well.

This is not funny anymore. This is not entertaining. Donald Trump is not cute. His ugly nativism shamefully plays on people’s fears and ignorance. It ignores bipartisan solutions already on the table, undermines the civic ideals that make our melting pot work in ways no European or Asian country can match (try to become a Japanese) and tampers with the very secret of our sauce — pluralism, that out of many we make one.

What Friedman and the rest of the establishment don’t understand is that the country is sick of this lame talk, and that the establishment created the environment in which “ugly nativism” has become popular.

The establishment thinks that they can mischaracterize what normal people believe, label them as naughty boys, wag their disapproving fingers and people will get back in line. And that has worked for a long time. People are afraid to speak their minds because somebody will call them a racist, or … an “ugly nativist.”

All these “bipartisan solutions” Friedman praises are just bunk, and the establishment hasn’t done a thing to fix the problems.

They don’t understand how incredibly frustrated people are. For decades the country has been telling politicians to get control of the border, and they simply won’t do it. They eat their quiche and tell their lies and think that it’s only bad people with evil motives who don’t like the way things are going.

The country is sick of being lectured by incompetent people who think they are our moral superiors — but probably can’t name all 10 commandments.

Our roads and bridges are falling apart. We were promised they would be fixed (remember “shovel-ready projects”?), but all that money went to pay back political favors and to fund pet Democrat projects.

There is no excellence any more. There is only greed and mutual back-rubbing.

Government officials tell bald-faced lies in front of Congress … with no consequences. People are so timid — so cowed by the politically correct establishment — that they are rarely even willing to call people out.

You may be thinking that Republicans have been quite willing to criticize Obama and others in harsh terms. That’s true. But it’s all for show. Nothing comes of it. They do nothing.

We are not respected in the rest of the world, and we feel as if we’re being taken by the Russians, the Chinese, ISIS … actually, by just about everybody.

Can Trump fix these things? Probably not. But ISTM there is growing certainty that we need to try something else. The normal ways aren’t working. The polite, get along, be nice, follow the rules approach is going nowhere.

Actually, if it was going nowhere that would be a good thing. The establishment is digging our grave.

The same applies to some extent to Sanders. He’s popular because he has radical solutions.

Trump is popular because he sounds like the kind of guy who won’t (pardon my French) dick around.

The country is mad as Hell and it isn’t going to take it any more, and the establishment has no one to blame but themselves.

-- 13 comments  ::  What do you think?  ::  2015-08-26  ::  Greg Krehbiel

Drop off mom too!

by Greg Krehbiel on 25 August 2015

Perhaps you’ve heard the latest fraternity boys are trying to rape everybody social media craze. In this latest freak out, some guys who live at an off-campus house displayed three signs that said …

  • Rowdy and fun. Hope your baby girl is ready for a good time …
  • Freshman daughter drop off, and
  • Go ahead and drop off mom too …

All the wannabe Methodist Church Ladies in the world read those signs against the background of the “campus rape culture” nonsense, and social media went for blood. (Along those lines, see my LinkedIn post, Ashley Madison, Cecil the Lion and Internet Rage-Justice.)

Anyone who has read this blog for long knows that I do not support the hook-up culture and that I believe in chastity. So I am very far from supporting sex parties at frat houses. But can we stop and think about what those signs really mean?

For the “sex = rape” and “every man is a rapist” crowd, the signs mean “drop off your freshman girls so we can abuse them. Oh, we’ll abuse mom too. We’re that horny.”

But isn’t it possible that the signs are (1) far more innocent than that, and (2) simply meant to poke fun at the sexual dictatorship on campuses, which wants to make all men presumptively guilty? Especially men in fraternities.

Instead of reading those signs with the “campus rape culture” glasses the feminists want everyone to wear, imagine three other signs, right above those three.

  • Free square dancing every Friday, 7-9 pm,
  • No alcohol or drugs,
  • Faculty chaperones

Isn’t it possible that “go ahead and drop off mom too” means “we’re talking about good, clean fun, and mom can come to make sure”?

I know there are vile people in the world. But do we have to rush to judgment over every little thing? Does everything always have to be so ridiculously serious?

--  ::  What do you think?  ::  2015-08-25  ::  Greg Krehbiel

Uneducated and humorless

by Greg Krehbiel on 24 August 2015

I’m not a big fan of modern comedy, but this is actually rather chilling.

Comedians Dump Campus Gigs: When Did Colleges Lose Their Sense of Humor?

“[Young people] just want to use these words: ‘That’s racist;’ ‘That’s sexist;’ ‘That’s prejudice.’ … They don’t know what the hell they’re talking about.”

Is it only me, or does that sound like a small step towards “the party doesn’t approve”?

--  ::  What do you think?  ::  2015-08-24  ::  Greg Krehbiel

The impartial scientific panel

by Greg Krehbiel on 24 August 2015

While at the beach a couple weeks ago I read Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time. If you don’t know, finding a way to determine longitude out in the middle of the sea was a very difficult thing to do, and enormously important for ocean-going ships.

Dava Sobel wrote a decent book about it, but it didn’t go into enough of the technical details for my tastes. I wanted to know more about the relationship between time and longitude and why they developed the way they did. I wanted to understand why astronomical measurements didn’t solve the problem well enough, and I wanted to know more about clockmaking, and why Harrison’s clocks were so much better.

The book touched on those things, but didn’t satisfy.

One thing that was very interesting, however, was the portrayal of the way the scientific establishment evaluated various attempts to solve the problem. They most certainly were not objective, impartial judges.

It often seems to me that if you want to know the truth about X, don’t read about X, because the person writing that book has an agenda. Rather, read about Y, which touches on X. You’ll get a more honest perspective on X.

--  ::  What do you think?  ::  2015-08-24  ::  Greg Krehbiel

Does science say humans are monogamous?

by Greg Krehbiel on 24 August 2015

Here’s an interesting article my friend Joe recommended.

Is cheating more ‘natural’ for humans than staying monogamous? It’s complicated.

Let’s start off by saying that there is far from enough evidence for either camp — pro- or anti- monogamy — to insist that science is definitely on their side.

What kind of science are we talking about, anyway? How would someone answer this question “scientifically”?

Anthropology can tell us what humans in different cultures do. Sociology can give us some insights on why those different cultures behave the way they do. Sociobiology can come up with “just so” stories about why those things developed, or why one strategy might work better in one environment than another.

But human monogamy isn’t really (or only) about any of those things. I don’t think many people believe that humans are “naturally monogamous.” Rather, we believe that monogamy is a rule we’ve decided to adopt for cultural reasons.

The relevant questions, ISTM, are social and political. Chiefly, (1) why (or why not) is monogamy a good idea, and (2) is it enough of a good idea that we should force it on people who don’t want it?

Science can inform those discussions, but I don’t see how science can answer the important questions.

Let’s take it as a given that humans are not naturally monogamous, but that we adopted monogamy for social reasons. Just for the sake of argument, let’s say we adopted monogamy because it was an efficient way to channel the male sex drive towards the traditional family, where the man expends his energy protecting and nurturing his wife and children.

Someone might ask whether we even want a world like that any more. Maybe that model only worked when it was to the tribe’s benefit to have lots of kids. If we’re overpopulated (or close to it), perhaps we don’t need to worry about social structures that encourage families, and maybe another model would serve us better.

But before we go changing things, it might be reasonable to ask how deeply ingrained our current sexual instincts are? Can we just turn them on and off based on changed circumstances?

I don’t know. Some branches of science might be able to help us figure that out. But science can’t tell us whether it’s good or bad to pursue one path or another.

There’s another thing that intrigues me about this question, which is the possibility of a religious justification for abandoning monogamy.

Most religious people know that some moral injunctions were only meant to apply in a specific circumstance. For example, most Christians don’t take the New Testament command to “wash one another’s feet” literally, because it is clearly conditioned on a very different situation — where people are walking around barefoot, or in sandals, on dirty roads. Chrisians take “wash one another’s feet” as an admonition to humbly serve another, however that happens to work out in the culture they’re living in.

It seems to me that we’re overdue for some religious sect to claim that moral rules about sexual fidelity are just as culturally conditioned as rules about washing feet. E.g., “sure, marriage and sexual fidelity were necessary in the cultural situation in Bible times, but that no longer applies in an age of peace, prosperity, over-population, government welfare and birth control.”

I’m curious how long it’s going to take before we have that conversation.

-- 5 comments  ::  What do you think?  ::  2015-08-24  ::  Greg Krehbiel

Obama’s foreign policy: a combination of the academic left and a bias for Islam

by Greg Krehbiel on 23 August 2015

I found this article very interesting: The Iran Deal and Obama’s Fatally Misguided View of the World.

The academic left believes we would have peace in the world if we allowed the “authentic” people in any given country to take control. We’ve been causing resentment, they say, by imposing our own puppets, and that’s what feeds the radicalization of terrorists and anti-U.S. feelings.

It sounds somewhat plausible, of course. The question is whether it’s true, and whether allowing the authentic voice of each country to rule is a good idea for them or for the world.

It’s funny how the left doesn’t want (what they perceive as) the authentic voice of Mississippi to rule — we have to keep an eye on them through the Voting Rights Act, and so on — but they do want the authentic voice of Iran to rule. If you don’t see a problem there, you need to think a little harder.

What Obama and his lefty fellow travelers won’t accept is that the authentic voice in many countries is unacceptable. Because they’re crazy.

--  ::  What do you think?  ::  2015-08-23  ::  Greg Krehbiel

How a quarterback is like a spouse

by Greg Krehbiel on 21 August 2015

I like Robert Griffin III. At least I think I do, based on what I know about him. He seems like a good guy. But I don’t think he’s an effective quarterback for the Redskins, and I would rather see Cousins or McCoy take the reins. It’s not a matter of personality. It’s a matter of performance.

It seems to me that people are losing their ability to make that sort of distinction. That is, to separate personality from role or function. As an example, many people think that if you’re against Obama’s policies, it has to be because you hate him. After all, that’s what all the Facebook memes say.

A similar confusion seems to apply to romantic relationships. A lot of people believe that if you love somebody, then obviously that person will make a good spouse and everything will work out. “All you need is love” and so forth.

But a spouse is like a quarterback in some ways. They have to fit in with the game plan. They should have certain skills. They should be ready and willing to fulfill their role in and for the team.

To the love-struck young person, it seems absolutely horrible that anyone would evaluate marriage in that way. “But I love him,” she says, as grandma tries to talk sense into the youngster with stars in her eyes.

The truth is, there’s a whole lot more to marriage than loving somebody, and often it would be the right choice not to marry the person you think you love the most, but to marry the person who would be the better spouse.

Practical, unromantic decisions made up front might make for far more romance down the road.

-- 3 comments  ::  What do you think?  ::  2015-08-21  ::  Greg Krehbiel

2015-08-21 :: Greg Krehbiel // General
+ 1 comment
2015-08-19 :: Greg Krehbiel // General
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