Arrogance And Condescension Are But Masks To Hide Insecurity


As a country boy with six years of formal schooling, I am hardly the one to question the role of intellectuals in politics; however, after reading an article by Gary Gutting in the New York Times, I am reminded of a university professor who asked me to help him with a mule problem.

I love mules, but you must be careful with a mule, they can kick with lethal force if they feel they have been offended. Since most of my career with horses has been directed more toward sorting out human problems, rather than equine problems, I was a little apprehensive at the prospect of trying to help this professor and his mule. To be honest, professors tend to be among the least capable in matters dealing with animals and simple everyday problems. Problems that men of humble origins and trades can often solve with little or no deliberation, often baffle learned men, who tend to struggle with theory and morality rather than simple and obvious solutions.

In my youth, I helped several professors who wanted to be closer to the past and nature by owning and riding a horse. Fair enough, everyone needs an excuse for owning these expensive beasts, and seeking some elemental force of nature, makes as much sense as the rest of the excuses. However, mules often have a proclivity for exacting revenge on the human race for perceived injustices of a past life; therefore, I believe, mules are best handled by bona fide mule men, not university professors living in nineteenth century log houses, who want to get in touch with their roots (human not tree), but I heard a calling to help my fellow man and I saw an opportunity to make a few bucks.

I rode my Triumph motorcycle out through the country and enjoyed the colors of fall. I marveled at the beauty of the hardwood leaves after the frosts had killed them, and arrived at the professor’s farm with more than a little trepidation for what might lay ahead, hoping I wouldn’t end up like the colorful leaves.

The professor was glad to see me and dropped the standard pretensions of a tenured professor with condescension for all those who speak with country accents and wear cowboy boots. He seemed to be almost childlike in his excitement at my presence. He was proud of his farm, a former homestead, it was over 150 years old. Some poor homesteader had put his whole life into this 160 acres, a quarter section that at best, could barely yield forty bushels of topsoil an acre, it had never grown a decent crop and today it was a struggle to grow a garden, but it had once again, grown another crop of hard wood trees. But the professor owned it now, and it was a beautiful farm, despite not having crops or pasture.

He showed me, his log barn, his fine harness carriage, his buckboard, and his mule Emily. It was a match made in heaven; he loved the mule and the mule loved him. Emily was a mule that had never been abused by cruel hands and she was a model citizen. I had worried over problems that didn’t exist.

While the professor gushed over his mule and his farm, I began to wonder why I had been summoned to this farm. Everything seemed perfect, far better than most equine situations I am called to visit. The professor finally had to take a break in his speech to catch his wind and I asked why he needed me.

He apologized and said,”I need you to raise the front door of the barn.”

I was once known as a guy who could or at least try to do anything around a farm or ranch, but this seemed like ann odd request. It was an old square log barn and had large blocks of limestone located in strategic spots for a foundation. It was a good system, but not really designed to last a 150 years; the blocks had settled a little deeper every spring during the rains, and now the barn was a little lower than normal, but still high enough to function well. I tried to tell the professor the height of the lintel was well within the realm of reason, but he was agitated that I couldn’t grasp the seriousness of the problem.

He said I would need to see the problem myself, and put a halter with a lead shank on Emily and led her through the front door of the barn. I’ve only worked with thirty or forty mules, so I don’t really know if this is typical mule behavior, but when she walked through the door, she carried her ears straight up and rubbed them against the oak lintel of the door. As a horseman, I have been asked to deal with some bizarre problems, but this didn’t really seem to be a serious problem.

When I told the professor my feelings, he was incredulous, “Don’t you realize, she will wear the hair off her ears.” He showed me a vague strip of wear on the front of her ears. I wasn’t totally convinced that the perceived wear of the mule’s ears and the lintel were related, but some arguments aren’t really worth getting started.

I explained that the lintel over the door of the well made dove tailed barn was a special log, chosen for its strength, grain, and straightness. If I sawed into the log, we might be inviting trouble by compromising strength at a critical spot, that spot being the span over the door.

He was lost in deep thought over this information being added and causing complications to this unique predicament. I broke the silence by saying, “There is a much easier solution.”

With a look of incredulous exasperation, he twisted his lips to the side of his face, to hear my solution, “I can dig a trench about eight inches deep in the dirt beneath the door.”

He looked at me like I was an idiot and said, “It’s not her damn feet I’m worried about, it’s her ears.”

This professor considered himself an intellectual, and to him, I was but a mere tradesman of mortal lineage. True to the myopia of philosophy, his only concern was the ears of the mare, and he was determined to reach a conclusion by employing critical thinking: I was limited, by nature of an inferior intellect to solutions not based in theory and critical thinking, but to those related to real and practical solutions.

Mr Gutting is a professor of philosophy at Notre Dame; and is convinced of the superiority of critical thinking, but fails to mention the utter failure of the Obama Administration, an administration made up exclusively of critical thinkers from academia. Yet, after this stark demonstration of dismal failure by critical thinkers, we are supposed to be reassured by Mr Gutting’s self-serving arrogance, that seeks to legitimize a personal image of importance, after all, he writes for The Stone, “A forum for contemporary philosophers on issues both timely and timeless.”

With unabashed arrogance, Gary assures us of his intelligence, by informing us that he is among the most august of critical thinkers, “I’m an intellectual myself”; it’s just possible, that within this particular oxymoronic phrase, may be a clue to this deviant personality that is currently running amuck in government and in a permanent state of denial as to the charges of incompetence and corruption. Denial has become more than a river in Egypt, it is an endemic example of hubris among the not so bright intellectuals, currently in serving in the Obama Administration, who are teetering above the abyss of failure and humiliation.

From the nimble but dull fingers of Gutting and the pages of the NYT:

What is an intellectual? In general, someone seriously devoted to what used to be called the “life of the mind”: thinking pursued not instrumentally, for the sake of practical goals, but simply for the sake of knowing and understanding. Nowadays, universities are the most congenial spots for intellectuals, although even there corporatism and careerism are increasing threats.

It is such a joy, to read of someone describing himself as an intellectual, who writes with such finesse and precision. I am reminded of a cowardly man doing battle with a bed of rattle snakes while armed with a grub hoe. After reading this pregnant phrase of many vectors, “someone seriously devoted to what used to be called the” it’s obvious that intellectuals aren’t required or expected to write well. For reference, we know Hemingway was the master of the simple and concise sentence, and Melville was a genius with the complex double and triple entente; may we assume Gary Gutting is the champion of lost and bewildered adverbial phrases.

It would be easy enough to eviscerate Gary Gutting on the merits of his writing ability and embarrass him in front of his peers and anyone else who can read, but it is his message we seek. For if there is a protasis within this fart, stumble, fall style of writing, it evades the reader. For while his prose delights the ear of those who crave the mundane and boring, his adverbs assault our dignity in a relentless pursuit of relevance, but like the dog chasing its tail, his periphrasis becomes his catharsis. Relating to Aristotle, in Chapter VI of Poetics, “Tragedy through pity and fear effects a purgation of such emotions.”

Gary Gutting is primarily concerned with Newt or more precisely, fear of Newt. Newt is a bit of a problem for Leftists; oh fear not, they have excess baggage charges and they are ready to confront and dun him for back payments, but that is not the strategic issue. The prospect of an empty suit engaging Newt in debate is the terrifying issue. Oh dear, it brings to mind the great defeats of history, Stalingrad, Waterloo, The Little Big Horn. There is always the excitement of the contest beforehand, and the first few minutes when hope still springs eternal, before that same hope becomes a forlorn hope, but it is only a matter of time, before they are faced with the inevitable prospect of annihilation and utter defeat.

How best to neutralize the prospect of a witless pseudo-intellectual champion being embarrassed in the arena of ideas and indirectly casting aspersions toward all those who say with arrogance and condescension, “I’m an intellectual myself”; there is a simple solution, impress upon everyone, that intellectualism is a collective team effort of critical thought and that is how ignorance must be defeated. One man can’t be expected to lead a country; he needs a gaggle clueless intellectuals.

Unfortunately, Newt doesn’t need a team for a debate or a teleprompter, and pitting him against a fool who seems to be bewildered without his faithful teleprompter, will be like slaughtering lambs in an abattoir. A scene that doubtless will cause even the most cold blooded Socialist to admit the futility of resisting the epiplexis of a Newt/Hussein comedic tragedy.

Poor Gary, in an attempt to establish credibility as an intellectual and advance his vague aphorisms, he tries to use the obligatory and token reference to poor Plato, a man who understood the inherent weakness of adverbs and relied as little as possible on the ancients for guidance. We can assume that Gary not only understands the Cliff Notes version of Plato, but he is not afraid or reluctant to employ a deluge of adverbs.

In his “Republic,” Plato put forward the ideal of a state ruled by intellectuals who combined comprehensive theoretical knowledge with the practical capacity for applying it to concrete problems. In reality, no one has theoretical expertise in more than a few specialized subjects, and there is no strong correlation between having such knowledge and being able to use it to resolve complex social and political problems. Even more important, our theoretical knowledge is often highly limited, so that even the best available expert advice may be of little practical value. An experienced and informed non-expert may well have a better sense of these limits than experts strongly invested in their disciplines. This analysis supports the traditional American distrust of intellectuals: they are not in general highly suited for political office.

We now know that in a politically correct world, we need intellectuals to prescribe correct thinking and appreciation; otherwise, we might lose ourselves in original thought processes.

Intellectuals tell us things we need to know: how nature and society work, what happened in our past, how to analyze concepts, how to appreciate art and literature. They also keep us in conversation with the great minds of our past. This conversation may not, as some hope, tap into a source of enduring wisdom, but it at least provides a critical standpoint for assessing the limits of our current cultural assumptions.

Read his entire article if you must, but be prepared to ask yourself why tuition must continue to rise for your children and grandchildren, and will this dubious degree they seek at such expense, teach them to write with the clarity of Gary Gutting or will they be able to maintain the skills they acquired in high school.

But it does not support the anti-intellectualism that tolerates or even applauds candidates who disdain or are incapable of serious engagement with intellectuals. Good politicians need not be intellectuals, but they should have intellectual lives. Concretely, they should have an ability and interest in reading the sorts of articles that appear in, for example, Scientific American, The New York Review of Books, and the science, culture and op-ed sections of major national newspapers — as well as the books discussed in such articles.

It’s often said that what our leaders need is common sense, not fancy theories. But common-sense ideas that work in individuals’ everyday lives are often useless for dealing with complex problems of society as a whole. For example, it’s common sense that government payments to the unemployed will lead to more jobs because those receiving the payments will spend the money, thereby increasing demand, which will lead businesses to hire more workers. But it’s also common sense that if people are paid for not working, they will have less incentive to work, which will increase unemployment. The trick is to find the amount of unemployment benefits that will strike the most effective balance between stimulating demand and discouraging employment. This is where our leaders need to talk to economists.

Knowing how to talk to economists and other experts is an essential skill of good political leaders. This in turn requires a basic understanding of how experts in various fields think and what they might have to offer for resolving a given problem. Leaders need to be intelligent “consumers” of expert opinions.

According to Gary Gutting the intellectual philosopher, our leaders should now, not only be intelligent consumers of intellectual thought but must read the Leftist dogma of Scientific American, the New York Review of Books, and effete pseudo-intellectual rags like the New York Times, but they must also have the ability to listen to monotonous circumlocution and derive a pretense of meaning from gibberish. Intellectuals are now to be elevated to a higher standing, not only in the community, but more importantly in government and leadership. For now, they will advise and direct our leadership so they can make intelligent decisions and we are left with the story of Emily’s ears.

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Bees I’m in great shape 5’11 180, working out every day. How bout you?

Semper Fi

Richard Wheeler
good for you,
I just finish my 25 push up

Bees Good for you.Don’t forget the 50 sit-ups. Don’t wanna look like Sheriff Joe.

BTW CAS calls you a TERRORIST and you ask him “what’s for dinner?” You getting soft?

Rich Wheeler
I was just following my guts feeling
and neutralize his explosifs

@Richard Wheeler: #102
Just out of curiosity, what will you say if it turns out Obama is an illegal. The democrats haven’t denied he is using a Social Security card issued to someone else, and has used up to 39 of them. The democrats have also admitted that they didn’t vett Obama to the 50 states to prove he is legally qualified to run for president. Why didn’t they, and how did the 50 states let this happen. Just take a look at the fake birth certificate yourself. There is one easy way to tell it is a fake.

Take a look along the left side of the document how the windows for information to be filled in curve downward, but the typed info is straight. If it is a copy, the typed info would curve with the windows. Did you know about the document having more than one font? Typewriters only have one. What about the smiley face? How about one of the OFFICIAL stamps having a misspelled word in it, but birth certificates before and after Obama’s date don’t? There are many other problems with Obama’s bird cage paper.

As I have mentioned before, I don’t belong to any political party, so I don’t have to condemn or defend any of them. Why don’t we just wait and see what Sheriff Joe’s volunteer posse finds out? Joe said he will release the info in February.

@ilovebeeswarzone: #25
I started on my 25 pushups today. I should be done some time next month.

Smorg If the Supreme Court (not some 80 year old gunslinger and his merry men) declares BHO a usurper I’ll be the first to say get him out.In the meantime it’s B.S. AND ALL SANE FOLKS KNOW IT.

@Richard Wheeler: @110
I will wait and see what Sheriff Joe has to say. A sane person waits for all of the facts to come in before making any important decisions.

just read about your push ups, very funny, I like that
the spirit within. when I ran up on it, I did not see your name yet, so I thought, what the… I didn’t write that last line,
then I saw your name,

Smorgasbord: 25 push ups to be finished next month, that is classic humor from Twain or even the Bard. I love a good laugh, thanks.

@ilovebeeswarzone: #112
I’m like the sign in a restaurant that says, “We give fast service, no matter how long it takes.”

@Skookum: #113
I’m either too old, too young, or just too ignorant to know what the “Bard” is.

What do you mean by, “I love a good laugh….”? Don’t you think I can complete them?

Smorgasbord: 25 push ups to be finished next month, that is classic humor from Twain or even the Bard. I love a good laugh, thanks.
I mean it is a good joke that provided a good laugh.
The Bard is a commonly used expression of affection and respect for Shakespeare, who is thegreatest humorist in history, fOllowed by Twain. These guys wrote their own humor, they didn’t buy their jokes from humor writers, check out the Writer’s Market.

I appreciate good humor and the comment was but a compliment.

Oh my goodness, I just now caught the significance of don’t you think I can complete them and the humor continues. Think how boring life is for those who can’t or refuse to see humor. For me and I suspect you Smorgasbord, humor is the seasoning of life; the ingredient that makes life more palatable.

Skooks For great original humor keep an eye on Sheriff Joe and his band of merry men.They’re a real hoot.
Semper Fi Marine Be healthy

@Skookum: #116
A truck driver has to have a good sense of humor or they will go nuts, with the public thinking that they drive a truck because that is the only thing they can do. I was surprised how many college educated drivers there are out there. They can make more money driving a truck than the profession they went to college for. I do believe that if a person can’t take the joke, they shouldn’t tell the joke.

I was driving along one day and heard someone say, “I’m about ready to put a gun to my head and pull the trigger.” I usually had the squelch turned up on my CB because of all of the garbage that is out there, so I didn’t hear the first pert of the conversation. I couldn’t help myself, but I grabbed the mic and told the guy, “Sir, if you’re a truck driver, that ain’t going to do you any good. If you’re going to kill yourself, you have to hit yourself in a vital organ.”

@Richard Wheeler: #117
You will get a good laugh at two of my Tea Party signs.

Joe will plug the hole copy

Smorg Thanks Joe loves his barbeque.

Smorgasbord: That was classic Groucho.
I have a lot of respect for the old school trucker. I average over 50,000 miles a year, so you learn to appreciate the pros. I observed early in life the codes with lights and courtesy, years ago, the motorcycles had poor lights. I used to get behind a steady driver and clock his sPeed, then I would pull in front of him and reach back with my hand to cover my tail light. Invariably he would turn on his hibeams and we would cruise all night. Those were the days or should I say nights.
Sadly, there are too many truckers with amateur skills these days.
I just finished a 4,500 mile road trip with many stops to work. There were too many bad wrecks and several deaths. I saw many close calls, some of them were 18 wheelers. Being tired on ice is a deadly combination.
I am a guy who has respect for the pro-trucker.

@Skookum: #121
I called myself an “unprofessional” driver because I drove too slow, slept too long, and ate in good restaurants. I don’t regret it. The only medical problem I have is that I am on cholesterol medication, but I am getting it reduced little by little.

Most truck drivers are paid by the mile, and the longer they can stay awake, the more money they make. I have heard drivers say they have been up for three days. I tell people to assume the driver of the truck they are around doesn’t see them and drive accordingly. If you pass one, give them plenty of room before you come in front so they will have plenty of time to stop if you have to.

I had one drive start to pass me and started to come over, except he wasn’t past me. I had to take the shoulder to keep from being hit. I called 911 and the cops had him in the next rest area. I went in and the driver looked like he hadn’t slept for six months. This is the main reason I am for mandatory computer logs.

Dear Skookum, I love any story about mules and write a monthly column for a mule magazine about mules in world history….one little issue with the story (and I had heard an older version of this featuring a horse – for the neophye, the mule’s rather flighty Mama – the intelligence of the mule comes from his Jackass father) and using the mule as opposed to a horse; the mule will drop its head when its ears touch something above it, where most horses will jerk their heads upwards. This is just one of the many reasons mules were used in mines. This will be your 1/2 Ass fact for the day. And remember, if it ain’t half-Ass, it’s just a horse! All the best, Deb and the longears