Roger von Oech

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Cam Beck

It would be an interesting study to compare Napoleon with General George McClellan from the Civil War. One might mistakenly believe that they are polar opposites, since Napoleon attacked when he shouldn't have, and McClellan would not attack when he should have.

Tactically, such a contrast might have merit.

However, in a sense, McClellan was just as much an egomaniac as Napoleon was. No one could tell him what he didn't want to believe. He was (in his own mind) the superior of everyone below or above him. He knew better than they did.

Interesting post for reflection, Roger. Thank you.

Roger von Oech

Cam: You make some good points about McClellan, especially in distinction to Napoleon.

Actually the person I had in mind today is Eliot Spitzer.

To quote from Bill Hammond in the New York Daily News:

"Only someone with a huge screw loose could do business with a prostitution ring, as Spitzer reportedly did, while relentlessly posturing as a holier-than-thou politician.

"He started his honeymoon with the Legislature by calling himself a "f---ing steamroller" in a private phone call with Assembly Republican leader Jim Tedisco. Then he made things worse by publicly scolding Senate GOP leader Joe Bruno. "This is my room, we'll play by my rules," he said in a televised meeting with legislative leaders, apparently mistaking them for a kindergarten class.

A few disappointing months into his term, he bragged that he had accomplished more than any governor in New York history.

And all the while, the man who claimed to believe so completely in his crusade to save state government was insanely - it's really the only word - risking everything, Bill Clinton-style.

"And perhaps that was his problem: He thought he was a Golden Boy, brilliant and righteous, ever above the rules or their consequences."


Arrogance and ignorance go hand in hand. As Will Rogers said

"We're all ignorant, only on different subjects".

The depth in ignorance of any given politician is inversely proportional to their ability to communicate to the common man.

They have to right to express their "policies" and the right to be wrong, alas both rights are expressed far too often - serving only to highlight their arrogance and ignorance further still.

It would be ironic for a politician to fall on their own sword of piety were it not for the old paraphrased adage:

"Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely".

It is sicklic [sic] to see politicians in the press like this. No surprises to see it happen in 2008 - and perhaps even 3008 if the status quo remains.

Einstein had it right when referring to insanity:
"Doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results"

Without condoning any one politicians impropriety/stupidity/arrogance - when will we understand:
1. Prostitution illegality is lunacy - how after all can you just "stop" one of the oldest professions in the world.
2. The "War on Drugs/Terror" are oxymoronic at heart - again, man has sought escapism with chemicals from day dot and will continue to do so, as for terror - you can't fight emotions...
3. Politicians are animals who can sit on the fence whilst keeping both ears on the ground - they are easily swayed and far too easily swing...

It's time for a change, a change driven from and by the electorate, a change of perspective on what matters for all our futures.

We (the societal "we") need to look at our own views and understand our own "arrogance and duplicity" in the world we find ourselves living in.

Here's a quote from David Hume to get us all thinking:

"When men are most sure and arrogant they are commonly most mistaken, giving views to passion without that proper deliberation which alone can secure them from the grossest absurdities"

Mary Richmond

Wouldn't it be nice if we could all honestly say, arrogant? Me? Never! It is when I think I know the answer and just blow on ahead not listening or paying attention to all sorts of interior warning voices as well as good advice that I most often end up in trouble. And it's always arrogance that is to blame. I think I know....and I didn't know enough. As I've gotten older I have far fewer of these experiences but I'm sure there are other moments waiting for me out there to keep me humble....;-) Good points!


Your comparison of the, ahem, "subject of the day", with Napoleon was very insightful.
Napoleon broadcast that dismissal of Wellington even with the knowledge that in Spain Wellington had beaten Napoleon's armies (whether led by his brother or by allegedly experienced generals) handily at every turn, and continued pre-Waterloo in the Lowlands. The "subject of the day" had the same blind hubris - "its all about me - I'm smarter, better, more deserving, tougher" as Napoleon. Good call!!

Roger von Oech

Tom: As usual, a perceptive and well-reasoned discussion. Thanks for stopping by.

Mary: I wish (also) that we could take some of the arrogance (my POV is morally superior to yours) out of contemporary political discourse.

Randy: Thanks for the added information! Appreciated.

Shakespeare's Fool

Politicians are treated both with praise beyond what any human could possibly deserve, and with too much carping, griping, scorn, and criticism (and get too much hate mail).

It must take a thick skin to run for office. Perhaps it should not surprise us that sometimes a thick skin is wrapped around arrogance. Or that many people who could put forward useful policies do not enter the contest.

If there is a solution to this — creative or otherwise — it's beyond me.



Roger-- I love that quote, " a world that is continually changing, every right idea is eventually the wrong one." Mind if I use it in one of my classes?

Tom-- regarding your list of "when-will-we-learn"s-- actually, I think this speaks more to the universal truth of our conflicted nature as humans. We spend most of our lives trying to resolve conflicts-- not merely by trumping one side over the other, but by holding the 2 sides in a pragmatic balance, or a compromise.

I don't think legalizing prostitution or drugs will make things better. I visited Amsterdam twice, seven years apart. Its 'tolerance' policy turned a beautiful city into a seedy magnet for criminals.

Removing the source of conflict-- a law we don't seem hardwired to follow, in your analysis-- doesn't make everyone law-abiding.

(I know this is a late response so it may not be seen, but I had to comment.)

Jim Baxter

Each individual human being possesses a unique, highly developed, and sensitive perception of variety. Thus aware, man is endowed with a natural capability for enact-
ing internal mental and external physical selectivity. Quantitative and qualitative choice-making thus lends itself as the superior basis of an active intelligence.

Human is earth's Choicemaker. His title describes his definitive and typifying characteristic. Recall that his other features are but vehicles of experience intent on the development of perceptive
awareness and the following acts of mental decision and experiential choice. Note that the products of man cannot define him for they are the fruit of the discerning choice-
making process and include the cognition of self, the utility of experience, the development of value-measuring systems and language, and the acculturation of civilization.

The arts and the sciences of man, as with his habits, customs, and traditions, are the creative harvest of his perceptive and selective powers. Creativity, the creative process, is a choice-making process. His
articles, constructs, and commodities, however marvelous to behold, deserve neither awe nor idolatry, for man, not his contrivance, is earth's own highest expression of the creative process.

Human is earth's Choicemaker. The sublime and significant act of choosing is, itself, the Archimedeanfulcrum upon which man levers and redirects the forces of cause and effect to an elected level of quality & diversity. Further, it orients him toward a natural environmental opportunity, freedom, and
bestows earth's title, The Choicemaker, on his singular and plural brow.

That human institution which is structured on the principle, "...all men are endowed by their Creator with ...Liberty...," is a system with its roots in the natural Order of the universe. The opponents of such a system are necessarily engaged in a losing contest with nature and nature's God.

Biblical principles are still today the foundation under Western Civilization and the American way of life. To the advent of a new Season we commend the present generation and the "multitudes in the valley of decision."

Let us proclaim it. Behold!
The Season of Generation-Choicemaker Joel 3:14 KJV

- from The Season of Generation-Chocemaker Joel 3:14 kjv

The message is this:Trust Freedom. Remember, tyrants never learn. The restriction of Freedom is the limitation of human choice, and choice is the fulcrum-point of the creative process in human affairs. Asearth's choicemaker, it is our human identity on nature's beautiful blue planet and the natural premise of man's free institutions, environments, and respectful relations with one another. Made in the image of our Creator, free men choose, create, and progress - or die.

Free men should not fear the moon-god-crowd oppressor nor choose any of his ways. Recall with a confident Job and a victorious David, "Know ye not you are in league with the stones of the field?"

Semper Fidelis
Jim Baxter
WW II and Korean War

Job 5:23 Proverbs 3:31 I Samuel 17:40

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