Friday, August 13, 2010

A reader disagrees about the flying monkeys.

Monte Schmeige, one of my favorite critics, disagreed with my observations about who is pulling the wool over his eyes.

WB news 8.13.10

YOURVIEWS

Flying monkeys column- par for the radical course

Professor Mark Peterson entertained us with stories about flying moneys in Saturday’s paper. While ridiculing the Employment Policies Institute, he monkeyfied Republicans, Reagan, Bush I, Bush II, the wealthy, tea party groups and others. He follows the Saul Alinsky Rules for Radicals. “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.” “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.”

It’s pretty clear the professor is a big fan of government spending. He is a beneficiary, after all. He pooh-poohs any notion that growing debt is a problem. He says only Republican presidents have increased debt since 1945. Let’s see, why leave out Franklin D. Roosevelt or Barack H. Obama? Oh, I'm sure he would say they were just cleaning up after Republicans. Never mind that the president doesn’t write the spending bills or create the “business cycle” of boom and bust all by themselves.

Following the professor’s logic, why not double or triple the national debt? Since higher minimum wages are good, in his view, why not double or triple those as well? And why not limit income to $250,000, maximum.

He denounces free markets, something we haven't had much of since the Wild West. He’s clearly a “progressive,” someone who loves to give and take. Behind a mask, it’s called robbery. Behind a desk, it’s called justice.

My favorite is his claim that the rich, by opposing tax cuts, put the deficit, debt and the rest of us in a deeper hole. Which is it, professor? Are you in favor of debt or not? The rich put us in a deeper hole? I thought it was Congress that spends, excepting presidential vacations.

I’m not happy with Republican or Democrat spending, and I expect better after the November elections. It frightens me to think Professor Peterson is teaching in our university. Teaching what?

Monte Schmeige West Bend




It is true, I'm afraid, that teaching students to read difficult old books does teach them to think critically -- certainly the most threatening kind of thinking in Mr. Schmeige's universe.


hiho
Mp

17 comments:

Kevin Scheunemann said...

Excellent letter.

I especially like the reflection on Saul Alinsky, “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.” “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it."

Something I suspected the Motely Cow of practicing on a regular basis.

I'm very impressed you posted this letter on your blog.

Mpeterson said...

I like Mr. Schmeige, actually. Like you, every time he writes something, my street cred goes up.

It isn't ridicule Kev. These days simply laying out the truth about the intellectual bankruptcy of the Extreme Right (sic) only looks like ridicule... and it only looks like ridicule to those on the Extreme Right. It's an artifact of their ideological astigmatism. To the rest of us it looks like simple and unadorned description.

Kevin Scheunemann said...

So then you will not mind me "ridiculing" Barrett for calling himself an "environmentalist", but then being the biggest poop dumper/polluter into Lake Michigan in the state, as the man in charge of MMSD for 6 years.

If the basis of your argument is the progresive philosophy is the sole defender of "truth", you need to denounce Tom Barrett right now.

Somehow, I think you will "hold your nose" on this Barrett dumping, which will expose the intellectual bankruptcy of the "progressive" movement.

Grant said...

He is a beneficiary, after all

I'm sure Mr. Schmeige has refutiated his gubmint benefits. Today's Horatio Alger, mean mean pride.

Mpeterson said...

lol. It occurred to me afterwards that if Mr. Schmeige wished, the easiest way for him to check out my radical lectures would be for him to take advantage of the free tuition for students over age 62, something put in place by those progressives he hates so much.

larryteufel said...

I don't understand the letters to the editor that disagree with you. They always have some comment that your perspective on issues should disqualify you in teaching.

About Mayor Barrett. What would a Conservative mayor had done about seven inches of rain falling in 4 hours?

Larry T

Mpeterson said...

Hey Larry,

My sense of it is that this frame of reference is designed to disqualify any statements I make by undermining my social authority as a university professor. The level of discourse you often see here, from Kevin certainly, but often among the conservative (sic) citizens who write in to tell me I'm a lousy professor, depends on 1) claiming that my comments depend on my supposed authority as a professor and then 2) claiming that my authority as a professor is irrelevant.

And they do this even though I never stake any of my statements to my supposed 'authoritah'. What makes me scratch my head is the logic that goes "your comments are stupid because you have a better education and more experience than the rest of us."

So it's a way of denigrating my competence while admitting it.

This is particularly funny coming from Kevin who was briefly a student of mine.

So, in West Bend, when someone calls you "Professor" what they mean is "nothing you say can be true."

It's semiotically interesting and cognitively dissonant 1000 ways from Sunday -- which is why I can't take it personally. ;^)

Ironically, the best way for Mr. Schmeige to find out whether I'm any good would be for him to audit one of my classes, something seniors can do for free in Wisconsin thanks to the populism and progressive thinking that created, and maintains, our university system.

JPenterman said...

So, for me, all those college credits were a waste of time and money. Two accredited university degrees - nothing. All the books read, news article digested - waste.

By entering the work force at 16...18, putting forty in 'til retirement, avoiding books, intellectual discussions, avoiding criticism of the political pundits that speak to me, misinterpreting criticism of said political pundits, attacking the character of people I disagree with vs. dealing with their arguments...

“I know that I am intelligent, because I know that I know nothing.” Socrates

“I've always felt that a person's intelligence is directly reflected by the number of conflicting points of view he can entertain simultaneously on the same topic.”
Abigail Adams

“Power corrupts. Knowledge is power. Study hard. Be evil.”

Kevin Scheunemann said...

Mark,

I never said you were a lousy professor. In fact, I think you are one of the better prof. in the entire UW system. Being incorrect on a few political issues does not take away from your excellent teaching skill.

larryteufel,

Barrett ran ads against Mayor Marvin Pratt, who was only in office for 60 days, criticial of Marvin's MMSD sewer dumping, and Pratt's inability to fix it after only 2 months in office! Barrett has had 6 years to do something to fix MMSD and has done nothing!

I think it's racist to excuse what Barrett has done on this issue, given what he did to Pratt.

Mpeterson said...

Jason,

You've convinced me.

I'm going to have to redraft this fall's syllabi now. ;^)

CMHM said...

This is the most clearly written letter Mr Schmeige has written in a long time. I often sense that he writes the letter, consults a Thesaurus, insert 3 syllable words and caps it with a few biblical quotes.

Monte is normally the champ in letters posted yearly to the news.

and the Answer for an antiquated sewer system is ???????

CMHM said...

This is the most clearly written letter Mr Schmeige has written in a long time. I often sense that he writes the letter, consults a Thesaurus, insert 3 syllable words and caps it with a few biblical quotes.

Monte is normally the champ in letters posted yearly to the news.

and the Answer for an antiquated sewer system is ???????

alan markus said...

I think the reason the authority as professor comes up is because at the end of every column, it mentions that you are employed as a professor. I have noticed that some of John Torinus Milwaukee Journal Sentinel columns on health care have elicited responses that express skepticism because he is retired CEO of Serigraph.

I notice that your comments about this letter pretty much run to the "bottom line" too - other than responding to the personal attack (and you yourself personalized your response at the beginning of the post - "disagreed with my observations about who is pulling the wool over his eyes" - makes me wonder who exactly is doing the pulling), not once have you challenged anything he stated.

DanBack said...

@ CMHM I had the same theory for how Monte crafts his letters. Sometimes I even partially agree with him, but then he throws in that religious stuff and loses me.

Few things are more annoying to me than being preached to. Just this past weekend I was hiking in the Adirondacks and as I was sitting on top of the mountain, enjoying the view after 2 hours of sweat, an Answers in Genesis guy approaches me and says "I have a gift for you" and hands me a pamphlet. Lame.

James Dionne said...

"What would a Conservative mayor had done about seven inches of rain falling in 4 hours?"

He would have taken all that choo-choo train money and separated the sewers already- that's what.
We've had several smaller rain events every summer that turn our great lake into a great toilet. Thank You Sewer Socialists- Stupid short sighted morons.

Mpeterson said...

James, cut it out. Lowering your IQ to cough up some folksy tea party posturing is inappropriate for you. "Sewer Socialists" identified public needs and met them -- in that case, with sewers.

Don't confuse anyone currently in government with those old guys. Except maybe Feingold -- who wants to be Proxmire (and I hope he makes it).

Plus, the mayor does not have the authority to reapportion federally tasked funding.

All of which you surely know full well.

larryteufel said...

It's been a few years. But a story ran in the West Bend paper about a problem of people dumping spent oil into the sewers of West Bend. It explained that West Bends storm sewers go directly to the Milwaukee
River unfiltered. So when it rains, chemical runoff from lawns, animal waste, motor oil and anything else that gets in the storm water eventually lands up in Lake Michigan. Farm runoff also ends up in the Milwaukee River. I would imagine a lot of municipalities in Washington County do the same. James, you sound like a steward of conservation. You should approach the county board and stop this pollution. Surely you too would want a agency such as MMSD for Washington county. We too could have a deep tunnel system to catch all of the pollution and purify it before it reaches Lake Michigan. I'm sure the conservative population wouldn't think of taking stimulus money to build this because they would only feel right paying one to two billion themselves on their property taxes for this. Make sure it could handle eight inches of water from a storm, okay? Lets do it right and show those Sewer Socialist.