Cohabiting with elephants

There is an elephant in the room, according to an overused cliché, for something so big that no one can see it, because nothing else is visible. (Fish, it is sometimes argued, don’t believe in the existence of water.) Those blinded by its scale think the problem may just be oversized ear flaps, or over-hard tusks; over-heavy feet; or an over-swishing trunk or tail. Those eccentrics who suggest there is an elephant in the room, are dismissed for exaggerating. Or more effectively, their point is both conceded, and ignored.

In this case they are exaggerating, for the elephant has been mistaken for a donkey. If the people who live with it took off their blindfolds, they’d have better zoological judgement. But what if their eyes were sewn shut? Or what if their judgement is clouded because, they are themselves the donkey, and the problem is strictly relative? In the donkey’s view, too many animals in the room are not donkeys. Time to get into a rage, and kick them out.

But returning to our original analysis, the big problem was the elephant, Mr Donald Trump. For people don’t really have their eyes sewn shut; they just see what they want to see. And they see, clearly, that he is very large, in the mental room they are trying to occupy. Everything they want, he is in the way.

Let’s take a longer view of this, however. It’s not just the elephant. The people who live between New York and Los Angeles, except those in the other big urban tumours, are elephantine by nature. They sent the Trump monster to Washington, to trample as much of the “deep state” as possible. They aren’t inclined to apologize for this. Verily, their enthusiasm for the monster is confirmed wherever he holds a rally. The Batflu donkeys are unable to shut it down. “Fact-checking,” that the crowd was only thirty thousand when he said it was thirty-five, does not help shrink it.

They think they have him pinned by the zombie vote. But so long as he lives, he is not a butterfly. I am, of course, again referring to The Election, as I have been, obnoxiously, in many Idleposts lately. In my view — which enjoys a monopoly at this website — it was fraudulent, bigly. Or is, because the whole thing isn’t over, and won’t be until, right or wrong, the results are certified, and the Electoral College meets. If it is over, then. Unfortunately, the urban zombies have been misinformed. Elections in the Natted States, as elsewhere, are not decided by mass media. And in lawful jurisdictions, irregularities are investigated first.

But the fraudulence of The Election, indicated by the number of red flags thrown up — apparent to an easy consensus of boring, conventional fraud perfessionals — does not come down to anecdotes. I can’t speak to which ones are true; I wasn’t personally there, at the hundreds of locations, like so many journalists who imply that they were. The allegations are numerous, and run only one way. But in my view, the fraudulence was deeper. It is indicated by another consensus: the overwhelming agreement of mass media — who are Left in an unsubtle way — that there is nothing to see here. They have asked the operatives of the Democratic Party, with whom they are allied, if there were any irregularities; and their friends said, No.

Happily, this overwhelming consensus is undermining itself. It is feeding the quickly growing desire for alternative sources of information. Were I a Big Tech executive — and I assure gentle reader I am not — I would worry that my efforts to monopolize the conversation were highly counter-productive.

For if, as I believe to the point of know, a majority of Mericans have policy views much closer to Mr Trump’s than to Mr Biden’s, those views will surface, Trump or no Trump. Moreover, making these people more angry will not make them more calm.


FRIDAY THE THIRTEENTH. I’d intended to greet the day, as if it were a statutory holiday, the way I try to greet all other days. But it seems that I went ahead and wrote another Idlepost, in defiance of my own lazy intentions. Well, it’s too late now, and I am already being criticized.

On the subject of Intention, I have been reading Elizabeth Anscombe’s beuk on this topic, and getting less from it than I had hoped. This is because Mrs Geach (she was married to another of my philosophical heroes) writes with such precision, that I find it a disadvantage as a reader, to be old and mentally feeble.

To answer several who were themselves confused by my use of this word “intention,” the other day:

When a Catholic “prays for your intentions,” he is not praying that you will get what you want; unless they are good intentions, in the eyes of God. If your intentions are deranged, he prays that God will fix them. I learnt this the hard way some years ago, when a Catholic told me he was praying for my intentions. What he meant was, I now realize, he was praying that I would stop being an ass.

Today, I find myself, not for the first time, praying for our pope’s intentions.