Saturday, October 22, 2005

Talking to conservatives; not always on the same page

Today is a pretty day in Peoria, IL. I started off by walking 9 miles; 3 miles around the neighborhood and then 6 miles, including some on a local walking track. The track is asphalt and is .41 miles to the lap. I got a funny comment from another walker; as I passed him he asked "How many pair of shoes do you go through each year?" I laughed and said "5 or 6" and he said "I am not surprised." Actually come to think of it, I go through 7 or 8.

Anyway, I registered for a 5K race on campus, did another mile on the treadmill, then walked a 5K running race in 30:25 (10:05 mile 1, 19:42 at mile 2). I kept going after the slower runners throughout. Then I did one more mile, picked up my "first place faculty award" (I was the only one who showed up) then walked 7 more miles to get in 21.

Currently I am watching BYU-ND in football; ND looks a bit flat and is getting outplayed (and is down 10-7). Then again, with exception of the 1993 game, all of the BYU-ND football games have been close in the first half; two finished close (both BYU wins).

Now back to the topic.

First a correction to what follows: Dr. Andy's graduate and medical degrees are from the University of Chicago. Also, his 50 mile PR is 8:26 (at a USATF certified road course in Chicago in 2004; check http://www.chicagoultra.org ). Back to what I originally wrote:

I have conservative friends. I'll tell you about a couple of them. One of them, who I'll call "Mawk", works in the aerospace/rocket industry. You've heard the expression "he isn't a rocket scientist"? Well, Mawk really is. He is also a runner and triathlete (and pretty strong in the weight room too). The weekend prior to the 2004 general election, he did an Ironman (Florida). Before leaving, he sent me a pro-Bush message; I threatened to go to the triathlon and let the air out of his tires. He ended up doing a 12 hour Ironman (and excellent time for an amateur).

We had some interesting discussions concerning the build up to the Iraq war. He backed President Bush's actions; I was in favor of our doing more aggressive inspections (e. g., if the inspectors want to inspect site X and the Iraqi's refuse, then we obliterate site X). Mawk and I both agreed with the attack on the Taliban in Afghanistan.

The point is, we can talk to each other as both of us can be persuaded by logical arguments.

I'll call the other one "Dr. Andy." Dr. Andy is out of this world smart; he has both an M. D. and a a Ph. D. (biology); I think that both are from Harvard. He is a good ultrarunner too (21 hour 100 mile trail run, and an 8:4X 50 mile PR).

After the Chicago ultra last October (where he set his 50 mile PR and I walked the 50K) we had dinner together, and even talked politics. We actually agree on many social issues (as do Mawk and I) . Our outlooks on economic issues differ a great deal however; he tends toward economic libertarianism where I see some government regulation as a good thing.

To Dr. Andy, little economic regulation allows for competition, lower prices, and economic prosperity. I see lax regulation as leading to sweatshops, company stores, and Eron type scandals.

But, the point is that we could actually talk without wanting to kill one another (at least most of the time). And, both of us try to use logic when trying to make our points; we tend to process things in similar ways.

So, I was getting to the point to where I thought, deep down, liberals and conservatives really aren't that different; we merely start with (slightly different) assumptions, or are willing to take different risks.

But something happened that changed my mind a bit.

Some time ago, I visited the fake Harriet Miers blog nd had a good old time there. But something interesting happened. A couple of the visitors to the blog spoke out against her getting confirmed. They asked questions like "how is she qualified to be on the SCOTUS".

Many of us responded with comments like "she is qualified because President Bush says so, and he is brilliant", or "she is a nice, Christian lady", and things like that. But the visitors didn't detect the dripping sarcasm; they said "yes, we can see that you support her and that you support President Bush, but how is she qualified?"

I was getting puzzled, and then someone pointed out that the anti-Miers posters were NOT liberals but rather social conservatives. Evidently, these types didn't see arguments such as "Bush says so and he is brilliant" as being inherently absurd!!! Hence they didn't detect what we thought was obvious sarcasm. The point is, I would be clueless as to how to talk to these types.

Wow, I've been at this a while; ND is now up 21-10 with two minutes to go in the first half. The big shock of the day(so far) has been the Northwestern- Michigan State game which was a 49-14 win for the Wildcats! They have beaten Wisconsin and played Penn State close; evidently they aren't the "Mildcats" this year!

2 Comments:

Blogger Dr. Andy said...

Hey Ollie

I think you are overestimating my intelligence.

And I know you mathematicians are great at details but, my graduate degrees are both from University of Chicago (not much drop off I know) and my PRs are 21:26 for 100 miles and 9:26 for 50m.

I don't consider myself a conservative but a libertarian. I am about completely fed up with the Bush and the Republicans inability to cut spending.

I always find it a bit condescending when liberals act like it is a big shock when they find non-liberals who they can actually talk too.

As far as people you can't reason with you might check out www.democraticunderground.com. There they make fun of you if you suggest Bush may have won last year because he got more votes. Reality based community indeed.

I did enjoy our dinner. I recall it was the Saturday before the election. I was sure Bush was going to lose and you were cautiously optimistic. I also remember we agreed Kedwards had gone after Mary Cheney for being a lesbian, but you thought that was fine, I thought it was uncalled for.


I remember our dinner last fall and that it was the Saturday before the election. I was pretty sure

10/22/2005 05:48:00 PM  
Blogger ollie said...

Uh, Andy, I remember your 50 mile PR better than you do:

11
8:26:12 139 Andrew MacGinnitie 39 M PA

from the chicago ultra website. :-)

Unless, you don't count road PR's as PR's. :-)

10/22/2005 08:21:00 PM  

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