It’s amazing to me how much trouble I can get myself into just by commenting on a blog on my hometown newspaper, the Tallahassee Democrat. Wait…hang on. I seem to have misplaced my membership card in the American Communist Party. Okay, whew. There it was in my wallet, between my driver’s license and my voter registration card. For those of you who don’t really know me, let me take all the fun out of this and say: I’m kidding. I am not now, nor have I ever been, a member of the Communist Party, Mr. McCarthy.
As a known liberal…oh wait. I have to go look for my ID card. Okay, can’t find it…you will just have to take my word for it.
On the Democrat there is a lively and outraged discussion going on about the fact that Bill Ayers is about to come speak at Florida State University. Protest! , they urge! Don’t give FSU any money! I must admit that I enjoy seeing people on the “other side” reduced to such tactics. It is so totally comforting to see these people be in the minority.
So today, one of the wacko conspiracy theorist people (which is about all that’s left on the TD) said that I apparently must harbor secret sympathies with Bill Ayers. Maybe that’s because I said it was okay with me if he spoke at FSU. I guess he missed the part where I said I agree that Ayers was a terrorist, that he is unrepentant and in denial, and that I think he is a despicable person.
Well, you know how it is. Once a liberal, always a liberal. Meanwhile, if you find my Liberal ID card, would you please mail it back to me? Otherwise, I’ll have to sign up all over again.
We don’t need no outside agitators stirring up trouble you commie liberal pinko…. LOL
I thought he did say that he regretted the violence but that it was something that was a product of the times.
Can you say that there is such a thing as a product of the times? There are only products of people in those times. I drew a line then, and he did not. I can relate to being caught up in the fervor, but he started and escalated the fervor, he was caught up in nothing. You would think that now, with hindsight, he would at least have the compassion to be apologetic. My take on it it is that he is maintaining excuses for himself. He planted bombs. And apparently he still believes that was called for and isn’t a bit sorry. If he had said, it was the product of the times and I’m sorry I got caught up in it because I was wrong and what I did was wrong…I’d be okay with it.
Well, as an existentialist, I believe there can be no looking back. All decisions are made based on information, feelings, etc. that exist at the moment the decision is made.
Either it was correct at that moment in time or it was not. You may have known it was not correct but proceeded anyway. If you proceeded because you thought it was correct, then new information after the decision was made cannot change the “correctness” at the moment the decision was made. But if you knew it was incorrect at the time, that is a different situation.
I have never regretted or apologized for a decision I made which I believed correct at the moment I made it based on what I knew then. How could I have made any other decision? (Irrational people can make a decision they know is incorrect but not me.)
A lot of folks look back and say,” if I knew what I knew now I’d have made a different decision.”
That’s 20-20 hindsight. As useless as saying, “If I had wings, I’d fly.”
Results cannot change the correctness of a decision at the time it is made and since we cannot see the future, to retroactively judge a decision based on results in not proper.
I can give you a poker example. Pocket aces are the absolute best hand. So if you bet everything with that hand before any other cards come up, at that moment you cannot lose.
But if you are called, the probability of winning is about 85%. Which means you lose 15% of the time over the long haul. Does that mean when you do lose, that it was “wrong” to go all-in? No, because you had the best hand, cannot know when the 15% will show up, and the other guy will win only through luck but it will happen.
So at that moment it was the correct decision based on what you knew then. What actually happens cannot change the logic of the decision to go in all.
It is the “what if” hesitation from knowing that there are no guarantees that causes “paralysis of analysis.” I believe that inaction from hesitation causes more “I should have…” hindsight than the “I should not have” type. That’s what I hear from folks most. I should have taken that job, or divorced my spouse., or whatever. They regret not acting.
Under the right circumstances, I could have used violence back then against the police or any other government authority. I had already concluded that the government was illegitimate and I owed it nothing. I feel the same way today, although there is nothing going on that would lead me to use violence.
Everyone in the military chose to join, so they are not “victims” the way draftees were. They knew, or should have known, they might be killed for some useless military adventure. And money is just money, so I don’t care how many billions are wasted in Iraq.
I don’t regret the money I put into the stock market, which has tanked. At the tiome it was the correct decision and I know the market will come back so then the decision will be validated. But even if it never comes back, I will never concede that the decision was wrong. It was absolutely correct based on everything I knew, or could have known, then.
That may be why Bill Ayers does not regret what he did.
Okay then, my philosophical friend, I perceive some flaws in your logic 🙂
You said: “A lot of folks look back and say,” if I knew what I knew now I’d have made a different decision.”
That’s 20-20 hindsight. As useless as saying, “If I had wings, I’d fly.”
First flaw. From a social and psychological standpoint, regret is not useless. And the only way “useless” works from a logical standpoint is if your original decision was the ONLY one you could have made. If that were the case, regret would indeed be useless. It’s illogical (irrational) to regret a decision over which you had no control.
You then said: “Results cannot change the correctness of a decision at the time it is made and since we cannot see the future, to retroactively judge a decision based on results is not proper. ” This is a tricky one. When Ayers made the decision to plant bombs, the potential was there to kill someone. The fact that they didn’t does not validate the worthiness (“correctness”) of his decision. By the same token, the fact that the stock market tanked does invalidate the worthiness of your decision to invest. In other words, I agree with you that you can’t judge by the ultimate, future results. So the judgement must be made, in the present, based on potential results. In your case, you had the potential to lose money (which you knew, although maybe not to this extent) and he had the potential to kill people. From a logical perspective, the two situations are identical.
But we humans place a value on actions and decisions, which is not solely reducible to logic. Your move 🙂
> if your original decision was the ONLY one you could have made. When Ayers made the decision to plant bombs, the potential was there to kill someone.<
Of course. You may disagree on the acceptability of violence, but I’m focusing on once that (or any principle) is accepted then he was only acting on that principle. He had decided that violence was acceptable in that situation and I think he has never repudiated that, anymore than I repudiate that I was willing to use violence to under the right circumstance.
But just because he, or I, accepted violence then does not mean he or I accept it now. It is a different situation now. If there was a draft, if the police were murdering dissenters as they did the Black Panthers, etc. then I may have a different perspective.
Damn…my comment above was completely screwed up, as has happened before with long comments.
What you’re seeing is a comment about Ayers and violence. The comment to your quote was completely left off but when I hit the “back” button I could see the entire comment as I wrote it. Tried to cut an paste but that did not work.
I’m too tired (and p.o.’d) to try again. Good night!
Oh no…not p.o.’d at me I hope, but at your computer? I would never offend you personally on purpose.
Of course, I’m p.o.’d at he computer, not you!
It occurs to me that the screw-up may be…moi. I’ve noticed that the problem happens when I use those > symbol at the start of the quote, without a < at the end, the problem has not happened. Because without that < at the end, there is no complete html code.
LOL! It screwed up again! Because I used those two symbols together! I’ve proved my own theory….
Whew, well good…you had me worried there! I’ll never have your same problem, because I wouldn’t know an html code if I met it on the street. Thank goodness for copy and paste.