For almost everyone who pops up in the news, I have a general theory of that person, beginning with how they got in the news in the first place.
If WAPO or New York Times said something approvingly about them, my starting point is likely to be a minus -1. Disapprovingly? Plus +1. The media is my built-in bias meter.
But that bias can quickly be corrected if it turns out that what WAPO or NYT said was factually true. It would not change my overall opinion about either of them unless they actually got the facts right several times in a row, which indicate they may have changed their bias on a given subject.
Neither have in over 50 years.
A personal Theory of a Man or Woman is not something you generally publish. It’s an internal mechanism to remind yourself that there are rules of critical thinking, as opposed to giving over to raw emotion. It’s a reminder of who you are, not who an updated Donald Trump or Mitch McConnell is. You’d be surprised at how many so-called conservative writers have never engaged in this simple practice. It should be a regular as morning prayers. Only those under 45 don’t even know it exists.
I did a complete-180 on one Theory of a Man I had, in 2013, when hall of fame conservative George Will came down to Virginia on behalf of one of his life-long employers, WAPO, to do a hit piece on Ken Cuccinelli, in his race for governor against the unindicted Clinton skid-greaser, Terry McAuliffe. No fan of the Democrats, mind you, Will put his support behind an empty-suit Libertarian (these are easy to hire in any state election D’s think can be made closer). and indeed Rob Sarvis was the difference maker in that election. This allowed Will to come out of the closet about religion, allowing that Christians, (Cuccinelli is Roman Catholic) are worse even than the Left’s atheism, with which George Will agrees.
My theory about George Will, totally flipped, so I am deeelighted to see that just by Donald Trump living and breathing in the White House, George Will rarely draws a “Theory of the Man” consideration by anyone anymore. He has become irrelevant.
Every person should have a “theory of the man” process embedded in their minds. For one, it’s a shield against raw emotion, and the high degree of probability that our emotions can cause us to say or do something irrational that will cause other people to alter their theory of us.
“Stupid is as stupid does” –Forrest Gump.
Think about it. It’s been close to three years, and tell me how many people (some you admired and respected) but about whom your general opinion (theory) has shifted simply because one man now walks the earth as the President of the United States instead of as a flashy business tycoon from New York?
I expected tremors when Donald Trump was elected. His voters expected tremors, as well. But for the entire political class it was an earthquake. On the scale of Pompeii. And for men like George Will, Bill Kristol, Stephen Hayes, Jonah Goldberg, Erick Erickson, David French, Captain Kneepants and several others just on “conservatism’s” side alone, the earth collapsed from under their feet.
I don’t care how confident they may act, many now have secretly started biting their nails as their numbers; readers, followers, subscribers begin to fall. Kathy Griffin wasn’t supposed to lose contracts when she turned everything Hollywood and New York were saying into wicked humor. Or so she thought.
Money is not always the issue, status and clout are. But Glenn Beck lost big, and has tried re-inventing himself a couple of times since 2017, and even seems to be back on board with Trump. Still his audience has been shrunk. My theory of this man wasn’t modified about his faith, or conservatism, but his really poor judgment, from business management to decision-making. He lost much of his base with bad advice and bad hires. Hiring Captain Kneepants caused to tag several of the aspects of my theory of this man. Only I don’t listen to him anymore, so don’t care.
Many conservatives of the pre-Trump days will simply fall off our radar never drawing enough attention to cause us to wonder what ever happened to them.
I want to speak to Ralph Northam, Virginia governor, as an example of how this Theory of the Man is applied to an almost blank slate. I had only the thinnest of theories about him, never even knowing his name while he served as McAuliffe lieutenant governor, just up the road about 20 miles.
So, when Northam ran in 2017 he was like a Da Vinci line drawing, more blank than ink. That D in front of his name provided me most of the stuff I’d need to finish a sketch portrait of my Theory. After 8 years of McAuliffe, and inheriting a pretty sizeable vote-stealing operation that no one in the GOP seemed interested in breaking up, I couldn’t imagine the Democrats in Virginia would allow anyone with an ounce of integrity or fidelity to the law to succeed McAuliffe. But what drew them to him specifically, I can’t imagine. But someone in their party knows and it likely wasn’t executive management skills, as he was a hospital pediatric neurologist, usual staff of 3. He is obviously smart, Walter Reed, Johns Hopkins. Why he got into politics in 2008 I can’t say, but it drew someone’s attention enough that he was picked to join McAuliffe’s team in 2013.
Northam as a man seems something of an empty suit. He has vacant eyes. But the fact that he liked Michael Jackson enough to dress up like him, and dance like him, tells me 1) those eyes can brighten up, and 2) he is not a racist in the deep personal sense of the word.
But Democrats never are, at least since Robert Byrd died. Democrats are classical racists. with the accent on the “class-ical” aspect of it. In the Civil Rights days poor blacks in the South looked upon white Civil Rights volunteers as “white gods and goddesses”, volunteer elites who could always go back to Rhode Island, sit at any barstool they chose and have a cold beer. And vote. It was that way in 1964, as it was in 1824, when the Democratic Party was first formed in 1824, Andrew Jackson a slave-owner, and Martin Van Buren, from New York, who cynically looked upon slavery as a political means to grow power and wealth.
Blacks have been a political means to an end for Democrats every since.
Make your own theory of the man. If I’ve added anything into my “theory of the man” about Ralph Northam is that he likely is a coward, because he lied a coward’s lie, hiding something in his past, perhaps with his mates in the VMI Cadet Corps he can’t own up to. My theory of this man will continue to be modified, since his impact on Virginia and American political history could be disastrous for his Party. Only not by any ministerial act of his Office.
I have a theory of the Virginia GOP, too, and have not yet seen they intend to take advantage of this open door.
There is some chance that the term “racist” will be less easy to demagogue, now that there isn’t a member of the Virginia Democrat Party leadership that hasn’t dressed up in black face, as did Hillary in her Arkansas years, Ted Danson when he was dating Whoopi Goldberg. But I would have to consult VA-GOP watchers to see if they haven’t been conditioned to run and hide anyway.
Republicans everywhere in America should deny the Democrats the power to demagogue the term “racist” anymore, but that is not a certainty either.
I do know no power can push Ralph Northam out of office is he doesn’t want to go. And right now, as the conservative media is playing it up, it would be for the wrong reasons. So for now, I hope he stays.
The “Universal Theory” and the Theory of the Man
Jesus told us to go into our closet to pray,(Mt 6: 5-8). That is also where you go to arrive at a theory of any man or woman you may need to study more closely, but about whom you can never know factually except name, rank, and Wikipedia bio.
Unlike Science, there they deal in hard facts, all yours will be soft and mostly hearsay if the Media is the source. Your “theory of the man” will be what trial lawyers call “circumstantial evidence”. Some of that evidence a judge would never let be heard by a jury…which explains CNN’s rise in popularity among the dull and ignorant in America. Some is enough to win a jury, so learn to tell the difference.
Again, this is in your private closet, for your eyes only. Be sure before going ahead.
Take note paper with you, for there is also what is called “a universal theory” that states that for any theory to be correct all the integral elements of that theory must fit. Often that theory of the man has to be matched to a larger universal theory.
Universal theories about politics, human conduct, is what we call soft science, psychology, sociology, anthropology, where we can never know any truth absolutely, no matter what leftist political scientists say.
In fact, compare with hard science: Math is 100% correct, physical science (except climate science) is in the 90% range. (Not one single element of climate science can be verified with a Universal Theory. End of story.) But in the softer sciences, including philosophy, their grip on certifiable fact is down in the 60% range, on the high side. tilting down as we know from empirical evidence, closer to 10%, when we discuss “socialism”.
In soft science we measure truths and facts in terms of probabilities and probabilities, and those are subject to constant evaluation and re-evaluation, simply because they involve the almost limitless choices of human conduct. Karl Marx probably knew this, but for reasons that range from vanity, power-madness to self-delusion, he either missed it, ignored it, or believed human choice was a thing that could be removed from the Marxist formula of power….which at the cost of several million lives since 1918, has prove Marx wrong.
What we know now is there are now millions of 20-somethings in America who believe Marx’s laws to be as rigid as Newton’s about Gravity. And they have to be held down and given shots before they will calm down enough to even entertain any alternate theory of existence.
Managing this is not about politics. It is about human survival of the realest kind. So get to your closet and develop privately a new template about how to assess what’s going on in front of you.