Fox, Fireworks and Fortitude

Lindsay Perigo's picture
Submitted by Lindsay Perigo on Wed, 2008-02-27 22:44

Yesterday I watched Geraldo Rivera and Bill O'Reilly having at each other over illegal immigration. The peg was Geraldo's new book, His Panic, which, Rivera claims, "seeks to place the issue of undocumented immigration in a historic context, dispelling the myth that we are facing an unprecedented crisis." The book, in turn, was an upshot of a previous humdinger between the two on the same subject. While they got pretty heated yesterday, in the first encounter they were veritably incandescent. I have never seen such anger on television. In my own time on screen I once had a politician walk out on me, but I was calm, and his anger was equanimity personified next to the volcanic fury of O'Reilly and Rivera.

I'm not concerned here about the rights and wrongs of unfettered immigration. My concern is to point up the fact that this explosive encounter is not regarded as shameful by the two men or by Fox—indeed, they trotted it out again in the set-up to yesterday's rematch—but as something appropriate and proper in the circumstances, something to be expected between two men whose minds and hearts are passionately committed to opposing positions on a vexatious matter (and of course, it's good box office).

And they are right. Their demeanour, given the context, is not only understandable but admirable.

Unfortunately, on the borders of Objectivism there are aliens who eschew emotion on principle, and anger in particular. While they reserve the right to cold-bloodedly smear, they disdain passion. They have their echoes even among some posters here who obviously haven't absorbed the SOLO Credo's extolling of "rational passion and passionate reason." There is a reason for "passionate reason." It's that to disavow passion is to disarm reason—precisely the intent of the aliens. Emotional intensity is virtue with the courage of its convictions. Rational convictions held without intensity ... well, the very idea is incoherent and obscene.

The stoush between O'Reilly and Rivera is between two good guys disagreeing in good faith. On a previous occasion, in 2006, O'Reilly brought the Saddamite Donahue onto his show, to discuss Iraq. Watch, as Donahue smugly predicts defeat and treasonously advocates surrender. If you feel revulsion, be proud of it, and give vent to it. You are staring at the face of evil—massaged, incidentally and incomprehensibly, by some Objectivists (Hsiekovians).

And be thankful that in the nihilist, statist cesspool that the media have become, there are still people like Bill O'Reilly in their ranks who will command their colleagues to rise, and take a stand for rudimentary decency. Angrily if necessary.


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It's not about art.

Olivia's picture

We weren't actually discussing art on this thread Michael. Linz started it with a piece about rational anger being expressed between two men.

After making the non-sequitur.. rage is not an end in itself, you launched into these statements about anger:

Anger is a very dangerous state to act, speak, or think from--it too easily overtakes your judgment.

when I see two or more emotionally charged people arguing I immediately think of them as total wimps.

Seeing two angry people, in public is an unbearable joke for me to witness--if one of them is in the right, then he is idiot for wasting his time, energy on the other idiot.

Excuse me for saying so but your response to my previous post is one of the lamest I've ever encountered. Saying that I speak of emotions as though I got them from the last Walmart sale means what exactly? That to me they're cheap and not genuine? You began to make a point, then bypassed it and turned the corner into art.

Ah, Greece...

mvardoulis's picture

I am ashamed to say I've never been to the land of my ancestry yet, though I am pleased that unlike certain Southern California towns you may consume alcohol (in your case, Michael I'm assuming a pint or two or eight of Hillas, the surprisingly good Greek beer which is commonly served) freely in public. What part of Greece did you get to see over the nine years you were there, if I may ask enviously. Smiling

And yes, I've got soul but I'm not a soldier, and being as that athletics require *athletic talent* I'm not much of an athlete either apart from having a wicked (Zen-like, speaking of Zen) free-throw. I don't even want to think of what I would do on a tennis court... I would agree a sign of victory in a competitive sense is when you reduce your opponent to visible anger. I got the pleasure of doing that to none other than "B-1" Bob Dornan, a right-wing totalitarian congressman over here in So Cal, during a rare multi-party debate. But then, Dornan is one to get set off by just about anything, he has all the self-control of an active volcano.

I don't think they have Wal-Marts in New Zealand, I doubt the RMA would allow it, but Olivia was expressing a valid point as well: anger is not in and of itself an implication of a lack of self-control. Controlled and focused anger is an incredibly powerful tool which can get you through any number of difficulties. Since I am a classical music novice I have to borrow a quote from The Clash: "Anger can be power, and you that you can use it."

Olivia, You speak of

Newberry's picture

Olivia,

You speak of emotions like they are something you picked up on sale at Walmart.

I am talking about things like blood-curdling anger; it is something to be careful with.

btw, you are proablably right about the Zen thing, but I don't know anything about eastern religions, or mystical stuff. Rand's power lies in the range of contrast between heroic and the pathetic--Her aesthetic doctrine was to present the success over dramatic struggles--as a writer. Painters do this differently, with light and dark--quite differently than writers, a painter shows you only one state of being per image--not a series of struggles to overcome. Comic book artists, like Bosch, are somewhere in-between the two. I am predominately showing what I am for. If I were I writer, undoubtedly, I would be more interested in watching arguing idiots make fools of themselves. In my world there are much more challenging states of being to express. I can draw fools with 1/100th of the skill that it takes to create human god. 

Michael 

 

www.michaelnewberry.com

   "...and let your

Newberry's picture

 

 "...and let your imagination move over the seas and earth, day and night (Ella))..." Smiling

 Yep, my sister played against and/or with the greats Court, King, Goolagong, Evert, Navratilova, and sometimes won.

Me, I am on a much more modest scale, I layed off tennis for many year then represented the US a few years ago in ITF International 45's Team competion in Barcellona--we lost in the Semis, on the way there I beat the current  #3 World ranked ITF 45's player.

Talking tennis--I have been a hitting partner of Serena and Venus Williams for several days in Zurich, about 10 years ago. And I am undefeated in about 20 bouts with little Pete Sampras (age 12-13). 

 

www.michaelnewberry.com

Michael

James S. Valliant's picture

There's losing one's head -- and then there's harnessing the power of one's emotional state. What do I recommend?

"You need to get naked, lie in the middle of quiet room, close your eyes, blast Ormandy's (don't we mean Abbado?) conducting Tchaikovsky's symphony #6, and let your imagination move over the seas and earth, day and night, (night and day, but that was Porter, wasn't it?), feeling empathy for genuine human beings (but not the fake ones) --and create from there." Smiling

Sorry, couldn't resist. Smiling

You (and was it your sister?) were actually seeded tennis players at one time, right?

I couldn't agree less...

Olivia's picture

Seeing two angry people, in public is an unbearable joke for me to witness--if one of them is in the right, then he is idiot for wasting his time, energy on the other idiot.

Michael, you're beginning to sound like a Zen Buddhist with a vested interest in detachment. Emotions are just emotions. The thoughts that give rise to the anger are what's telling about a person. I don't trust people who don't have a certain comfort level with expressing their temper. I don't trust them because venting anger is necessary for a whole raft of things that are good - not the least among them being competition, standing up to be counted, self-defense, repelling evil and dispelling complacency. Anger is not the same thing as panic, nor is it the same thing as losing control of oneself.

Fully expressed anger in a just cause can be one of the most beautiful and certainly one of the more powerful exchanges that can happen between human beings. To condemn expressed anger is as mad as condemning expressed sadness or expressed love for that matter. What is it about anger that repels you so?

You mentioned that anger is dangerous because it can too easily overtake our judgment. But like all emotions, anger flows from our judgments. In truth, any emotional state can cloud our judgment, and one of the worst for doing this is happy optimism. Too often we can miss crucial points in our judgment because we're in the grip of happiness and the world can look positively rosey coloured - but we don't go and condemn happiness because of it, nor write people off as "total wimps" for giving it expression.

I personally think that people today have become so mistrustful of expressing their own genuine emotions (and observing other people do so) because on the whole they are afraid of making judgments. The two go hand in hand.

Seeing Two Angry People

Newberry's picture

Michael,

All that activism stuff is great.

I spent 9 years in Greece, no problem having an ice cold beer by the seashore--only no glasses--they didn't want broken glass.

Thanks for taking the time to be more clear.

I guess that you are neither a warrior or professional athlete. Anger is a very dangerous state to act, speak, or think from--it too easily overtakes your judgment. A fun experience for me on the tennis court, is seeing my oponent lose it in anger--they are screwed. Smiling Seeing two angry people, in public is an unbearable joke for me to witness--if one of them is in the right, then he is idiot for wasting his time, energy on the other idiot.

And really the more important, the more life or death the situation is, for instance one the Los Angeles earthquakes in a crowded apartment building, the more important it is to keep your head cool.

Michael

 

www.michaelnewberry.com

Michael, to clarify...

mvardoulis's picture

I definitely don't want to give the impression of defeatism, nor do I endorse missing any opportunities to reach mature, experienced and intelligent audiences with the 'message of liberty' or any related philosophical essentials. In fact, I'm counting on getting the message out to as many people as possible!

In a winner-take-all, two (but in reality only one) party political system like we have here in the United Police States, it is easy for a libertarian to find themselves outside the reach of a 'mature' audience. When libertarians cannot get attention through conventional means, libertarians will need activists who may very well be long on 'heart' and short on 'head' to create events which will get the cause of liberty at least *some* kind of attention.

On one particular project (and you said I wasn't boring you with these old war stories so let's hope others reading share the same level of interest... Smiling ) I got to play BOTH roles: the idealistic 'street' activist and the 'mature, intelligent' activist. In 1997, the city of Huntington Beach, California (surf city as they like to call it, though I preferred calling it 'serf' city) passed an ordinance which among many ridiculous things made it illegal to consume alcohol in public view *even on your own property* or to have out-of-area guests (to where there were road blocks set up to check drivers licenses) on of all things INDEPENDENCE DAY WEEKEND. While the justification for these measures had been the occasional property damage due to drunken idiots, the response was not just more police to patrol the area; it was dramatically more police POWER.

Prior to the weekend in question, I took the role of 'mature' activist and appeared before the city council among many other outraged residents and gave a three-minute rational plea to repeal the ordinance and simply beef up police presence. A good thirty seconds of my presentation where I began with identifying myself as a Libertarian was actually televised as part of a Southern California-wide news broadcast on channel nine. I got to reach my 'mature audience' and brought regional-wide attention to the draconian measures of my city council.

On the weekend itself, I took the role of 'naive activist' and led a protest march through the downtown area of the city that reached (as reported by local newspapers) a total of 350 people at the end of the march. We captured headlines in all the local papers, with the common tagline being "Libertarians demonstrate for freedom in Huntington Beach". The people comprising the march I doubt were all libertarians, and most certainly could be considered 'naive activists' but I'll be dammed if we didn't get a spot on the front page of all the local papers and contributed to the largest growth activity in the local Libertarian Party before or sadly, since.

I know it takes *both* kinds of activism working together to actually make a 'movement' MOVE. I also know that Ayn Rand didn't particularly care for street activism, but most of her complaints were in the context of the left-wing radicals of the 1960's. I freely admit that my grass-roots organizing skills are taken directly from the pages of left-wing training manuals on the subject such as Sal Alinsky's "Rules for Radicals" and similar sources. Why not apply what the left has done with relative success to causes which move forward, rather than detract from, individual liberty?

As far as two people involved an angry debate being 'wimps' you kind of lost me there. I don't necessarily see people who let their anger show in a debate as overcompensating for a lack of confidence in their position. The topic may just be, as Linz suggested, of such intense importance to the debaters to where anger is unavoidable. I've seen examples of both 'kinds' of angry expression. Maybe you just don't like it when people get good and pissed off, regardless of the reason, and in true libertariansm-by-way-of-california-therapist style I'd say 'there's nothing wrong with that, man...' (though I'd urge you not to dismiss *all* angry displays as wimpiness).

Californian Dude Talking

Newberry's picture

"An apology to those of you reading with whom I’ve bored into an untimely slumber... self-absorption is a trait I may have picked up being a life-long Californian..."

Michael, You didn't swish your valley-blond hair enough to bore me and give me the feeling of a Californian dude talking. 

I am glad with your response but now I am curious by your defeatist statement:  

"I'd rather go down fighting with a 'naive bunch of activists' who are too 'angry' to appeal to a 'mature audience' than to watch quietly or worse, co-operate with, the extinguishing of liberty's torch."

Don't you see the false alternative in the reasoning? You leave out the concept of succeeding with a mature, experienced, and intelligent audience. Perhaps it is just me, but when I see two or more emotionally charged people arguing I immediately think of them as total wimps. And, I, for sure, don't see that has anything to do with passion.

Michael

www.michaelnewberry.com

 

An excellent question, Mr.Newberry!

mvardoulis's picture

Most of my Libertarian activism was during the 1990's when there was still at least *some* of a reason to support it's platform.

I like talking about myself too much as it is, but it boils down to a great deal of local (orange county, California) organizing with such things as freedom marches against draconian local measures such as the 1997 ban on public-view consumption of alcohol *even on private property* and non-residents in Huntington Beach, California during of all things *Independence Day Weekend* and campaigning actively for LP candidates, myself included, for various local offices, organizing local events related to the successful passing of "Proposition 215" allowing for medical use of cannabis and managing the 1998 LP campaign for California governor (the candidate for which, Steve Kubby, was a co-author and sponsor of Prop 215). And then there was that little visit to New Zealand where I spoke at LibertariaNZ event in Auckland in an effort to encourage libertarian activism, additionally visiting in person (after having placed a few international phone calls0 the best libertarian radio program EVER the "Politically Incorrect Show", in exchange for a certain Mr. Perigo coming to visit little orange county, California to encourage activists here in my home (kind of like a libertarian exchange program).

And if I haven't bored you enough with these condensed war stories from the 1990's, Smiling I had the pleasure of writing a letter which was actually published in the NZ Herald last year amid my other (as far as I know) unpublished letters and press releases I've written as "SOLO-US" co-coordinator. Sadly, due to economic crisis I've had to take a step back from my SOLO efforts as of September of last year but I hope to jump back in as I regain my financial strength. I still manage to squeeze off a column every issue since the middle of last year for the best libertarian magazine in the world, The Free Radical (I wrote a few guest pieces for the magazine in the 1990's as well). Most of my activism today is confined to writing and occasionally guest speaking to high school classes because I've become a lot more cynical about the political system here in the US, even on the local level, so my emphasis has become more philosophical (objectivist). Not to mention I've a lot more responsibilities now than I had when I was in my 20's...

An apology to those of you reading with whom I’ve bored into an untimely slumber... self-absorption is a trait I may have picked up being a life-long Californian...

"I'd rather go down

Newberry's picture

"I'd rather go down fighting with a 'naive bunch of activists' who are too 'angry' to appeal to a 'mature audience' than to watch quietly or worse, co-operate with, the extinguishing of liberty's torch."

I am curious, sincerely, what actions have you taken to fight for freedom?

Michael

www.michaelnewberry.com

Pots and Ketttles

James S. Valliant's picture

Buckley emotionally took issue with Vidal calling him a "crypto-Nazi."

Well, National Review had already done much the same thing to Ayn Rand. "To the gas chambers go!" Vidal's argument was no better than Chambers' or Buckley's.

But it summoned from Buckley what he regarded as a responsive "ad hominem," viz: "queer." (Had Buckley had that drink thrown in his face when he called Vidal "a goddamned queer," yet?)

Yeah, just like "Nazi."

Robert and Lance

mvardoulis's picture

You've illuminated perfectly the personality of a completely NON constructive critic.

I'd rather go down fighting with a 'naive bunch of activists' who are too 'angry' to appeal to a 'mature audience' than to watch quietly or worse, co-operate with, the extinguishing of liberty's torch. I suppose that takes a 'thick skin' ...

My bet is that

Robert's picture

laying into Libertarianz is probably considered, by Paul, to be doing God's work - to coin a phrase.

The pathetic thing is that laying into Libertarianz is about as politically active as the Paul's of this world ever get.

He will give voice to his laments about Linz and then go and support John Key/Helen Clark. Thereby aiding the degradation of Liberty in NZ.

His is a classic example of the concrete bound mentality that Libz deals with every day. To him, the intellectual vision that Jefferson, Adams and Payne expoused is an interesting hypothesis that could never work in practice nor be put in place in NZ.

It is clear from his whining about Libz that he only wants to follow along the rows that someone else has plowed already. He has no wish to take a lead in breaking new ground.

He can't have. Otherwise he'd have realized that his objections were trifling compared with the danger to freedom in NZ.

Ho hum C'est la Kiwis.

As good or worthless as my

Lance's picture

As good or worthless as my posts are, I have removed them from this site as I no longer wish to contribute to the bully's powers.

Except, I note, the posts where you lay into Libertarianz - with such delightfully "pretentious insults" as:

"ineffective naive bunch of activists"

"totally disorganised, ineffective bunch of angry student activists that will never manage to appeal to a more mature audience."

Puzzled

Fox, Fireworks, Fortitude ...

Richard Goode's picture

... and Flouncing.

only very thick skinned people can survive the abuse that goes around on this site.

Yes, there's some truth in that. So flouncing is not your only course of action...

??

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Rage is not an end in itself.

Who here said that it was?

Paul

gregster's picture

I think you've made an error here. I was going to PM you but that's counter-productive.

You respect Perigo's opinions and therefore do take to heart his criticisms. You should be thicker-skinned.

So you have obviously taken a bite, could be you're asking the right questions.

I believe Perigo only comments after getting to know posters.

Your repeated comments on the theme of, to name one, "where are the moneyed objectivists" are noted in the building of your body of work. Your out of proportion response to the Libz for their administrative error another.

Sorry to hear you're throwing in the towel. Wish I could say it would be a great loss.

Rage is not an end in

Newberry's picture

Rage is not an end in itself.

 

www.michaelnewberry.com

Different league

dinther's picture

So far I have been a polite guest in your house Lindsay but I have been around here long enough to afford myself some liberties. So in response to your post 

Wishful thinking Lindsay, these men are discussing the matter at hand with passion but without once resorting to name calling or insults during their real-time verbal exchange.

I have no problem with passion, I have a problem with your pretentious insults which are not even there to serve the discussion but are a mere bullying tactic to get the upper hand.

You go back and watch that video again and compare it with some of your posts. A different league al together.

Even though I very much enjoy the posts by the Solo guests, they take place in the house of Lindsay Perigo which has now repeatedly proven to be bully of the worst kind.

Not being true to yourself has been a reason for Lindsay to disconnect Solo members from their peers yet it is Lindsay himself who firmly believes that reason free personal abuse equates passion. I believe that is called emotional ranting and bullying.

I believe his behaviour is unacceptable and in fact I think it is Lindsay who should be told he is no longer welcome on this site. Yet it is his site so there is only one cause of action. I will have to leave and deny myself the great articles and insights of the rational Solo members.

The best way to defuse a bully is by stopping to give him any attention. As good or worthless as my posts are, I have removed them from this site as I no longer wish to contribute to the bully's powers.

It is not the message but the way the message is delivered that is the problem, only very thick skinned people can survive the abuse that goes around on this site. Abuse which I think is counter productive to the aim and credo of Solo Passion.

 

Global warming is a hoax carbonhoax.org.nz and spread the word.

If it ever came to blows...

Jameson's picture

... my money's on "Pair-o'-Guns" Perigo... Smiling

Lindsay in fine form at the Atlas birthday party in Wellington last year.

Here's another classic

HWH's picture

I'm right with you Linz...say it out clear and let the chips fall where they may.
This is one of those moments for Buckley against Gore Vidal...

"Sock you in the face, and you'll stay plastered..."

I love it.

 

I admit that reason is a small and feeble flame, a flickering torch by stumblers carried in the starless night, -- blown and flared by passion's storm, -- and yet, it is the only light. Extinguish that, and nought remains.- - Robert Green Ingersoll

John Stossel had his moments also

mvardoulis's picture

And I'm sure you've seen his satire-mixed-with-anger "Give Me A Break" segments from some years ago. Loved it when Stossel put the smack-down on an eco-nazi anti-human genocidal "Earth First" monster.

Even with my disagreements with O'Reilly, he's great to watch and a lot more interesting than the whiny-lefty (and sadly the Objectivists you mention, Linz) lets-not-get-anyone-upset crowd. The only time people don't get upset about something is if they don't give a shit. And if you don't give a shit, why don't you just join the ranks of the nihilists and stop pretending to give a shit?

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