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Idiot America 
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Heinlein Nexus
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Post Idiot America
I have just started reading this 2009 book, and Jim, it is something that every good friend of yours should have given you for Christmas. It is dedicated to my own thesis that everyone has the God-given constitutional right to be as nutty as a macadamia farm; they do not have the right to be numerous and spiteful enough to form voting blocks to wreak havoc upon the rest of us. The curmudgeonly incense-inspired picturesque language is a joy to read.


Fri Jun 29, 2012 6:37 am
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Heinlein Nexus
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Post Re: Idiot America
This book should be required reading for anyone exercised about the state of public discourse in America. The author hits the target time and time again over issues ranging from teaching of Intelligent Design to the Iraq war, and codifies the principles of what constitutes "Idiot America", and importantly, what does not (like obsessions with reality shows and looney fringe antics; it only counts when it affects people at large). That distinction helps to expose the subtle deflections of the real Idiot Americans when they try to lump their actions in the same harmless category.

The topics won't be new, but he develops his thinking so well that you may be inspired to new levels of understanding. It becomes so clear why having any knowledge or expertise in any topic automatically disqualifies someone from getting a say in the matter. To his credit, he does not follow the typical pattern of this type of book: Present a formula for fixing the problem and end with three examples of hope for the future. It's clear from how he laid out his thesis and examples that any such exercise would be futile Pollyannaism.

There is optimism in those pages, though. In the descriptions of people doing the right thing regardless of the insanity surrounding them, from the hospice workers around Terry Schiavo to the terrorism experts invited to the Pentagon after 9/11 and thereafter ignored, you can see that you are in good company of people who make a difference on a local scale, even if we are powerless on the national stage.


Sat Jun 30, 2012 5:44 am
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Post Re: Idiot America
Sounds as if it supports RAH's "This I Believe" thesis - that the majority of people do the best they can keeping the gears greased and the wheels turning.

The general thesis has been promoted many times, but is always lost in the din of those who can't conceive of a world that runs in any way but that of their peculiar, particular and razor-narrow view.

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Sat Jun 30, 2012 6:10 am
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Post Re: Idiot America
It's more about the systematic hijacking of the public stage by a cynically honed agenda and the threat it poses to the peace of the nation. And before you retort, "'Twas ever thus," I think not. Not on this scale. Not with these consequences. Check it out; he says it better than I can recapitulate.


Sat Jun 30, 2012 6:59 am
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Post Re: Idiot America
PeterScott wrote:
It's more about the systematic hijacking of the public stage by a cynically honed agenda and the threat it poses to the peace of the nation. And before you retort, "'Twas ever thus," I think not. Not on this scale. Not with these consequences. Check it out; he says it better than I can recapitulate.


The idiots never had a whole news network before.


Sun Jul 01, 2012 4:52 pm
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Post Re: Idiot America
holmesiv wrote:

The idiots never had a whole news network before.


A very important point.


Sun Jul 01, 2012 5:12 pm
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Post Re: Idiot America
I think that simplifies a more complex point - it's not just that we have a resurgence of large-scale yellow journalism, it's that we now are back in a time where competing news agencies have their ten-pound bags to fill better than the other guys.

At one time it was three and four and ten newspapers fighting tooth and nail and overblown story for circulation in every big city. Now it's three or four 24/7/365 news channels, plus all the local and regional ones and the small fry, fighting to fill 24 long hours a day with something that will attract viewers. So everything is covered, down to stories that would have once been page-six filler in the town newspaper, and the smallest splinter groups and minority issues get trumpeted to a vaguely interested nation and world.

So we obsess over an amazon of trivia and meaningless fluff, have to listen to every tinhorn crackpot spout his or her looney-bin blather... and have a decreasing ability to separate out the real, important, national, life-shaking issues from those created by southern ministers with an IQ of 93, a mouth like Sam Kinison's and a congregation of 31 inbred family members.

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Mon Jul 02, 2012 6:36 am
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Post Re: Idiot America
Actually many important things are not covered, at least in the mainstream media, like the pivotal criminal trial I ranted about. Not a whisper on CNN, never saw it on the Los Angeles Times. Might be there, but certainly buried if so. A case with implications for everyone in the country holding a bank account, and everyone else as well, ignored because it makes Joe Sixpack's brain hurt. I think it would have been front and center in the Cronkite era.


Mon Jul 02, 2012 6:51 am
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Post Re: Idiot America
Gee, if I come across this thread sooner it might have soothed some of my manic rants. :roll: This is the level of intelligense I had hoped to find on a Heinlein blog. I may have gone too far in some of my general condemnation of the species. At least I find that people who I can respect their views have discomfort about the world we have to live in. I consider any criticism I have received as worthy and react positivey to it. My only problem is responses are not always as quick as I would like. I am still an impatient person.


Sun Sep 09, 2012 11:36 am
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Post Re: Idiot America
Since I can't even get halfway through a Charlie Pierce sports column without thinking that he's a slavering collectivist hack, I guess I'll need to read this book on the principle of occasionally reading material I disagree with to keep the mind fresh.

I'll get it from the library, though. I wouldn't put a penny in his pocket to buy the last crust on earth.

So readin the book will really do me some good.

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Fri Sep 14, 2012 12:21 pm
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