Memo For File LXXXIII

by Morgan Freeberg | March 14, 2009 11:26 am

A rather abundant number of years ago, I became aware of a whole subculture of humanity that I suspect exists within all societies that get things done. I shall call it, until such time as a better phrasing comes along, the “All Those Not Volunteering Take One Step Back” culture. A task arises, executive in nature, one that cannot be achieved by a committee or even by a trio or duo; it demands a singular pair of hands and an investment of effort and energy that may or may not be significant. And out come the excuses: I don’t know how, that’s not my field, I’m not authorized, I’m dyslexic, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. The disability varies — the outcome remains the same. No action forthcoming from this quadrant; look elsewhere. One cannot help but wonder how they would respond to a real crisis. The house must burn all the way to the ground, because no hose is available and your wrists are too feeble to carry a bucket even half-full?

There is some military humor to the effect that this is a long-standing tradition in certain branches of our armed forces. I reckon there must be some truth in it, but it certainly cannot be completely so. How in the world could my nation ever have become a superpower, with the troops responsible for the killing-of-people and breaking-of-things all waiting around for the next fella to deal out the mayhem? That would be like having no military at all, and countries with no military at all, do not become countries like the United States. And from even just a cursory reading of our history, to say nothing of our present headlines, I know better than that.
I’m not so sure of our future, though. Hours ago I mused on what I suppose I can call — again, until a better phrasing presents itself — the Matthews Mindset, after Chris Matthews. Mr. Matthews seems to think it’s vitriolic[1] to recognize so much as the possibility of a difference between what President Obama wants, and what’s good for the country. Just a fistful of hours before becoming aware of Matthews’ childish tantrum, coincidentally, I had opined about a nominally different, but strongly related, issue. And that would be the one that involes the fans of Barack Obama who gauge our society’s health by the yardstick of nationwide, unanimous fidelity to His vision, without bothering themselves to learn anything about what His vision might be:

Just realized something about these folks. You’d think, as much attention as I’m forced to pay to them, and as much attention as I continue to pay to them when I’m no longer forced to, there would eventually be a point of complete saturation. But it would seem if I am indeed bright enough to reach that point, it’s taking me awhile to get there. (Rest of excerpt redacted at Right Wing News — it’s already been used here[2].)

This is the danger involved in the “All Those Not Volunteering Take One Step Back” culture. In engaging some of the Obamatons in what they laughingly call a “spirited debate,” I have come to be surprised, and almost shocked, at how little they know about what exactly is being done by The Chosen One for whom they’ll go to such great lengths to provide a passionate defense. There seems to be a link between this dogged determination to hide whatever individual ability might be tapped by a community, and in being so tapped, might demand some inconveniently-timed effort; and, this parallel dogged determination to force all others in proximity, to agree to the wisdom and beneficiality involved in policies of which the advocate isn’t even aware, even at a generalized, abstract level. To put it another way: The folks who can’t be relied-upon to do anything to help out, and seem so adamant at perpetually insisting they cannot be so relied-upon, have it in mind that all others around them should say things and do things exactly the same way.

To put it more concisely still: Those who insist on giving up all the time, suddenly are determined to win, when the contest becomes one of convincing others to give up.

It kind of overlaps with Everything I Know About People, Minus What I Was Told When I Was A Child[3], Items 4, 11, 14, 15, 21, 24 and 25.

People who don’t work hard, don’t want anyone else to work hard either.
People who don’t exercise their right to free speech, don’t want anyone else speaking freely either.
People who don’t make a material success of themselves and their efforts, don’t want anyone else to prosper either.
People who have been duped by something and have come to realize it, want everyone else to be duped in the same way.
People who won’t take the initiative to see what needs doing and do it, don’t want anyone else to take the initiative either.
People who imagine themselves as part of a group, with no individual identity, don’t want anyone else to have an individual identity either.
People who can’t solve problems because they don’t think rationally, work pretty hard to avoid acknowledging that someone else solved a problem.

These traits defy theories of both Intelligent Design, and Evolution, alike. If we acquired them during Creation, surely they must have come from the snake and the apple. But if we acquired them through evolution, it must have been a ripple. It certainly isn’t a case of survival-of-the-fittest!

And yet, we do have these ugly traits. Or some folks do. We’ve all seen ’em. This job comes up, that job comes up, that other job over there comes up…and…oh, I’m too stupid. I don’t know how. I have a phobia. I’m too weak. Don’t count on me. I need special instruction.

Every single time the teacher needs the erasers cleaned, they avoid eye contact. Perhaps that is where it germinates; perhaps it is this notion that any & all work an individual must do, that all others don’t have to do, is some sort of punishment.

At any rate, it just flabbergasts me that we can have so many people walking around cheering President Obama along like some demigod, while He tosses around a few words here and there about “personal responsibility” — aren’t they listening? And then they treat any disagreement with His policies almost as some sort of crime. While showing, at times, a spellbinding level of ignorance about what exactly those policies are.

Perhaps, for them, it is a chance to feel involved with something, like you’re making an individual contribution to something and, through this individual action or these individual actions, are altering the outcome. Perhaps, for them, this is a precious feeling. Precious because, as the years roll on by, it comes up so infrequently.

Cross-posted at House of Eratosthenes[4].

  1. vitriolic:
  2. here:
  3. Everything I Know About People, Minus What I Was Told When I Was A Child:
  4. House of Eratosthenes:

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