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Repost: George Washington: Now There Was A Man Who Knew How To Collect Taxes!

June 10, 2010

I don’t usually re-post other people’s pieces, but given my personal lack of productivity and how hard this hits my I’m-sick-and-tired-of-idiots-getting-away-with-cherry-picking-American-history-to-promote-grossly-distorted-historical-memes button, it seems The Right Thing To Do.


George Washington: Now There Was A Man Who Knew How To Collect Taxes!

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Andrew permalink
    June 11, 2010 9:48 am


    The problem, as usual, is that most people reach conclusions based on emotion (by invoking dynamic images of the idealized, all-caring founding fathers, for example) and then try to justify them with logic (by cherry-picking actual data, as you point out) rather than the correct but much harder and less intuitive process of reaching conclusions based on logic and then struggling to get your associated emotions in order.

    This fundamental problem, I believe, lies in hardened brain pathways, which unfortunately can almost never be overcome with logic. The only solution I’m aware of is proper education of young people while thinking processes can still be significantly improved.

    Somewhat related, in past arguments with Creationists I’ve always been surprised when they hold up Einstein as a secular prophet or demigod and use a quote or two from him (usually out of context) to say, “See, even Einstein says this,” as if that ends the debate. Even when I try to explain, “No, Einstein was just a man. Many of his ideas have been proven right, some have been proven wrong, others are unclear. Like anyone else, what’s valuable from him are the ideas that were right,” they still don’t get it. It’s just so much simpler to say “this person is always right and that person is always wrong” than to think through actual points of argument. So frustrating.

    Anyway, thanks for sharing this external post. I only wish he’d written more!

    • June 11, 2010 4:57 pm

      Andrew – re your Einstein analogy – it’s as if a religious figure opined on a matter of physics and incompetent physicists then said ‘but even [insertnameofreligiousfigurehere] agrees with me!!!!’

      • Andrew permalink
        June 12, 2010 12:39 pm

        Right. Einstein was recognized as an expert (by himself and others) in Physics, not in Religion or Metaphysics (or soccer or basket-weaving), so whatever he had to say in those other areas doesn’t merit any special consideration.

        But that’s exactly the conflagration that many people like to make, because it’s so much simpler than actually thinking.

  2. June 11, 2010 4:57 pm

    Also – Adam, thanks for the link. Good post there.

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