The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Obama Has Consequences

Posted on | December 10, 2012 | 30 Comments

“God creates dinosaurs. God destroys dinosaurs. God creates man. Man destroys God. Man creates dinosaurs . . .”
Dr. Ian Malcolm, Jurassic Park

Lots of bloggers are science-fiction buffs, but I prefer reality, regarding fiction generally as a puerile waste of time. If you wish to improve your mind, it is much more productive to read history than any work of fiction. (I’ve recently been re-reading Alan Moorehead’s Gallipoli, which I borrowed from Joe Fein in 2010 and feel guilty for not having returned.)

However, it must be admitted that great science fiction makes us think, and Jurassic Park is a fine lesson in unintended consequences, a sort of Hayekian insight into the failure of planning and “expertise.” Genetically engineering the re-creation of extinct monsters might seem like a great idea for a theme park, but to quote another witty line by Jeff Goldblum’s intellectual character from the movie, “if The Pirates of the Caribbean breaks down, the pirates don’t eat the tourists.”

Yes, and I’m sure it must have seemed like a great idea during the “Arab Spring” to arm Islamic extremists in Libya:

In spite of the threat of American weapons ending up in the hands of terrorist groups, President Barack Obama secretly approved an arms transfer to Libyan rebels through Qatar at the height of the rebellion against Moamar Khadhafi, a knowledgeable source noted on Friday.
However, American counterterrorists are discovering that some of those U.S. weapons ended up in the hands of radical Islamists including associates of al-Qaeda, according to a law enforcement source who trained police in the Middle East.
Some Americans who are retired from the military, as well as intelligence and law enforcement agencies, believe there should be an investigation into possible connections between the weapons provided by the Qataris back then and the attack that killed an American ambassador and three other Americans in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11, 2012.

More at Gateway Pundit: “Benghazi Terrorists Were Armed By Obama”

One of the lessons of Gallipoli is how seemingly minor mistakes can have enormous consequences. The Allied effort to force a passage through the Dardenelles, capture Constantinople and thus knock Turkey out of the war was meant to relieve pressure on Russia and open a second front against the Central Powers.

Before the campaign began, it was suggested that the Greeks be brought in to aid the effort against the Turks, but the Czar objected to the idea that the Greeks might gain a colonial foothold in Turkey. It is speculation to wonder what might have happened in the historical alternative, but as it was, the campaign against Constantinople failed, the war lasted until 1918, and the Czar was executed by the Bolsheviks.

Exit question: Is comparing Obama’s policies to dinosaurs racist?

 

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Comments

  • http://thecampofthesaints.org Bob Belvedere

    Answer: A resounding, “YESSSSS!’

    Comparing Obama to anything or anyone not god-like is raaaaacist! [you spelled it wrong above, Stacy].

  • http://twitter.com/loopyloo305 patricia pledger

    Of course it is, Mr. Obama is incomparable don’t cha know? God bless you and pray we survive the next four years!!!

  • Wombat_socho

    I cheat and do both by reading science fiction based on historical events. David Drake is especially good at this.

  • http://www.facebook.com/eric.ashley.58 Eric Ashley

    Jurassic Park, is not, by any stretch of the imagination, great SF, as a book. Movie? It’s not bad.

    Now go forth and read the following:

    1. The Circle series by Ted Dekker. You can start at one of two different books and read it in different order.
    2. Shivering World by Tyers (not that Meyers).
    3. Deed of Paksennarrion.
    4. Starship Troopers by RAH, who had issues for sure.
    5. Time Patrol, since you like history.
    6. Expendable by James Alan Gardner
    7. Empire of Lies by Andrew Klavan
    8. Death of a Blogger, by ahem, moi.

  • http://opinion.ak4mc.us/ McGehee

    If you wish to improve your mind, it is much more productive to read history than any work of fiction. … However, it must be admitted that great science fiction makes us think…

    Indeed, and if the purpose of reading is to discover truths, sometimes merely reading about events — or reading about events as written by a dishonest writer — leaves one missing truths that are subtle but important — or politically inconvenient.

    A good fiction writer can distill life through character and plot so that such truths are emphasized in a way that prepares the reader to find them more readily in nonfiction.

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  • Garym

    “Jurassic Park, is not, by any stretch of the imagination, great SF, as a book. Movie? It’s not bad.”

    I agree and disagree with this statement. Much of what Michael Crichton wrote was a techno-fiction, but damn good fiction. Jurassic Park was a good read which makes you think “what if…..”. Which any good science fiction does. The movie however was pure bubble gum and fun.

  • http://thecampofthesaints.org Bob Belvedere

    Exactly. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn is particularly good at accomplishing this.

  • http://thecampofthesaints.org Bob Belvedere

    ‘Obama Has Consequences’ and Obama Happens.

  • http://twitter.com/JSF1970 Joseph Fein

    RS,

    Don’t worry about the book! If you enjoy it, keep it (but its my B’day month so please hit the Tip jar or Amazon Wishlist over at the Valley!)

    I like sci-fi and marvel Comics; having grown up in a dystopia (1970′s Queens), I think reading about dystopias or post-apocalyptic societies helps me direct my actions on what I am trying to achieve. (I say we create William Gibson’s Chiba City in Santa Monica)

    The sad thing about this Administration is they think they are smarter then those who have lived through history — it repeats, sometimes not in a good way (Egypt bringing back slavery?! Where have we read that before?).

    And the best thing to say: We’ve been Obama’d (I’ve been slimed! — Ghostbusters).

  • http://twitter.com/richard_mcenroe richard mcenroe

    What do you mean, “In spite of the threat…” Can’t you tell the difference between a bug and a feature.

    Oh, and to get Joe his book back: The Turks win.

  • http://twitter.com/richard_mcenroe richard mcenroe

    Or Harry Turtledove, if you’ve got the time. A LOT of time. Man loves his research and he makes sure it shows…

  • Garym

    Well played sir!

  • Finrod Felagund

    Fiction vs. non-fiction? It depends on which ones you’re talking about. Look at how our school curriculum is threatened with being completely bowdlerized, replacing (I wish I was kidding here) Catcher In The Rye and To Kill A Mockingbird with Recommended Levels of Insulation by the the US Environmental Protection Agency, and the Invasive Plant Inventory, by California’s Invasive Plant Council:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/booknews/9729383/Catcher-in-the-Rye-dropped-from-US-school-curriculum.html

  • http://thecampofthesaints.org Bob Belvedere

    Thank you. I think of him and can only think of crap.

  • orbicularioculi

    Obama is not a dinosaur, he is a Marxosaur. Never has an American President done so much harm to our economy and national defense. This incompetent Socialist-Marxist is not the real problem in America; the real problem is the ignorance and laziness of the American People who voted for him a second time. Liberalism (Socialism/Marxism) has so permeated our schools and the media has become a propaganda arm of the DemocRAT Party.

  • http://twitter.com/richard_mcenroe richard mcenroe

    How do you say “Contras” in Arabic?

  • mechanic540

    Gee, from “Fast & Furious” to “Lying in Libya” this administration sure has a way with guns going exactly where they should NEVER go. Morons.

  • http://profiles.google.com/3249atl c b

    it’s naive to think that “non-fiction” is anything other than historical fiction that’s tainted by the bias of the author…(winners write the histories) Worse, I’ll give you “the untold history of the united states” that’s not going to be shelved in the popular fictions section of the library. I’m not a big romance thriller fan, but I bet even in the most bodice ripping example of that genre you will find insights into the human condition that merit a philosopher’s consideration.

  • Wombat_socho

    I used to like Turtledove, but then he developed a bad case of Tom Clancy Syndrome, as a result of which I damn near threw my back out trying to finish the Fourth American Civil War novels. Also, he started phoning it in about halfway through that series.

  • sparkhuahua

    Our President, and our Sec. of State, are both complicate in the deaths of our Ambassador, and his aides. Benghazi,
    lest we forget.

  • Rob Hafernik

    I think you’re wrong that science fiction (or even fiction in general) is a “puerile waste of time”. Here’s an example:

    This exchange occurred in Robert Heinlein’s juvenile novel “Space Cadet” in 1948:

    ——-
    Matt dug a candy bar out of his pouch, split it and gave half to Jarman, who accepted it gratefully. ‘You’re a pal, Matt, I’ve been living off of my own fat ever since breakfast –and that’s risky. Say, your telephone is sounding.’
    ‘Oh!’ Matt fumbled in his pouch and got out his phone. ‘Hello?’
    ‘That you son?’ came his father’s voice.
    ‘Yes, dad.’
    ‘Did you get there all right?’
    ‘Sure, I’m about to report in.’
    ‘How’s your leg?’
    ‘Leg’s all right, Dad.’ His answer was not frank; his right leg, fresh from a corrective operation for a short achilles tendon, was aching as he spoke.
    ‘That’s good. Now see here Matt –if it should work out that you aren’t selected, don’t let it get you down. You call me at once and –’
    ‘Sure, sure, Dad,’ Matt broke in. ‘I’ll have to sign off –I’m in a crowd. Good-bye. Thanks for calling.’
    ‘Good-bye son. Good luck.’
    Tex Jarman looked at him understandingly. ‘Your folks always worry, don’t they? I fooled mine –packed my phone in my bag.’
    —–

    Now, lots of kids read that book (I did and so did some of my friends). No doubt a considerable number of the kids who read the books grew up to become engineers (I did). When we did, we already had ideas in our heads, such as the cell phone described with incredible accuracy in that exchange. This can’t possibly be a “puerile waste of time”.

  • rbeccah

    Well, obviously “dinosaur” is a code word for “black”.

  • http://theothermccain.com smitty

    Gene Wolfe’s “Book of the New Sun”?

    anything by Jack Vance?

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  • jdkchem

    Is comparing Obama’s policies to dinosaurs racist?

    Dinosaurs are most definitely offended.

  • http://thecampofthesaints.org Bob Belvedere

    My brother ‘Books’ Belvedere, who is a librarian, tells me that TCS [which he calls Steven King Syndrome] happens because the authors become so popular Editors fear to edit them any longer.

  • http://thecampofthesaints.org Bob Belvedere

    I certainly am.

  • http://thecampofthesaints.org Bob Belvedere

    Perhaps, Stacy, you might check out Yevgeny Zamyatin’s We which is Science Fiction and Dystopian. And is, in a sense, a meditation on individuality.

    You can read about it here:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/We_%28novel%29

  • http://thecampofthesaints.org Bob Belvedere

    The novel to read by him is Cancer Ward.