Thursday, November 16, 2006

Folly, Chance, and the View From Nowhere

I always have fun trying to inhabit the view from nowhere, that happy place where one objectively looks at the world without presuppositions and prejudices. The closest I have ever come to the view from nowhere is when I view the world as a big casino populated with eager gamblers. This view does not lead to grand metaphysical revelations or anything else profound. I always leave the exercise burdened by practical and pragmatic concerns rather than possessing Truth or Wisdom or Goodness. Folly and Chance are the dull residues of the exercise. For instance, let us take the strange case of Senator McCain, war hawk and Presidential candidate.

Mr. McCain wants to increase the size of the military in Iraq. He also wants to relieve the strain on Armed Forces Reserves and Nation Guard. To do this Mr. McCain must significantly increase the size of an all-volunteer military. To Mr. McCain the recent election results showed the American public yearns for more troops in Iraq, and, of course, the unveiling of the new super-secret grand strategy for success, whichever way we define success arising from mayhem and chaos. Now, let’s look at the betting propositions.

Can you imagine the riots at the recruiting stations as people rush to be the first to volunteer? Can you hear the thunderous roar of the American public loudly cheering further and increased intervention in Iraq? Can you see the Iraqi roads lined with cheering crowds throwing roses in the path of the additional 100,000 troops entering the country? Do you feel the eerie silence settling over Iraq after the riotous celebrations? Do you thrill at the sight of a world applauding a new and reinvigorated Cradle of Civilization?

Let’s give some more money to the gambling addicted to put into the slot machine, for their luck will surely turn around one day.

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