Friday, November 14, 2008

Dilbert on Projects, or…?

Saturday 15 November 2008

Having spent many years in the IT industry, I have followed and enjoyed the cartoon “Dilbert” since it first appeared, have cut out and saved many strips, and have several Dilbert books. Scott Adams has a wonderful talent for observing the absurdities of corporate life and poking fun at them. Many of his strips involve engineering and computer topics, but since people are people wherever you go, his observations naturally apply outside the tech industry as well.

Last Sunday the Dilbert cartoon seemed especially appropriate to my job here managing facilities and construction projects, and I cut it out:

I took it to work to show some people. Naturally I expected people to get a smile out of it due to our experiences managing construction projects here. But one officer handed it back and said “Sounds like that could be the Obama Administration”.

Hmmm…could this be not-so-subtle political commentary, the weekend after the election? Perhaps Gary Trudeau wasn’t the only cartoonist to send in a strip about the election results early…

I have refrained from commenting on the election until this came up. For one thing, this is a military blog, not a political one. Although it is certainly a record of my personal thoughts, I’ve mainly kept it to topics related to my deployment over here. Since President-elect Obama will be my Commander in Chief, he will now certainly have an effect on that. As a military officer I am supposed to be officially apolitical. In today’s interconnected media world, the line blurs between what is an acceptable expression of personal opinion and what becomes an inappropriate endorsement or condemnation of people or policies. But the bottom line is that although this is intended for my friends and family, it is a public forum and I think it best that I refrain from most overt political commentary.

I will say this, however. After my previous post about John McCain’s book, I received the Fall 2008 issue of “The Objective Standard”, a journal of culture and politics to which I subscribe:

Reading some of the articles put me in mind of how some of my Objectivist friends might view my comments about John McCain and Teddy Roosevelt, since many of their actions and beliefs are inconsistent with Objectivism, the philosophy in which I believe and according to which I do my best to guide my life and actions.

Only a long explication of those beliefs could fully address the question, and again most of these would be out of place in this particular context. But I have read that “politics is the art of the possible”, and that is the best explanation I can give for always voting, even when neither candidate is everything I would hope for. While I live on principle to the best of my ability, sometimes one has to choose the least-bad option.

The author of the article “McBama vs. America” disagreed with that view, advocating that we stay home from the election altogether since the choice was essentially meaningless. I disagree with this approach, but it is easy to understand it as there are a number of things about McCain’s positions on certain issues that I found undesirable. The most frustrating thing is the lack of consistent pro-individual rights, pro-free market principles guiding his positions.

Another article in the same issue entitled "The Resurgence of Big Government" outlines many ways in which recent administrations have consistently blamed the free market for problems which were actually caused by government intervention, and then proposed (and implemented) further government controls as a supposed solution.

Over the past fifteen years or so, the Republicans have certainly lost their way and failed to live up to the principles for which I believe the party stands. So maybe they did deserve to be thrown out. I hope that they can learn the right lessons from this defeat and rededicate their party to the principles that led me to support them in 1980.

As a serving military officer I am not supposed to condemn or endorse particular political candidates. There is nothing wrong with intellectual activism, however, and in fact I consider it an important civic responsibility. If we want to have political parties that reflect proper, principled positions on issues, we have to ensure that our fellow citizens are educated in those principles as well as to the proper methods of thinking and analysis to guide their application. That is why I support the Ayn Rand Institute:

I guess that’s enough for now. Despite all these elevated thoughts, what I really feel like doing right now is going to the USO and playing World of Warcraft. I need to get to Level 70 so I can get my flying mount! (Can you say “anodyne?” I knew you could.) :-)

Mood: Upbeat
Music: Ilona Mitrecy – Un Monde Parfait


At 18:35, Anonymous Tamara said...

I laughed when I saw the sue bee honey! Remember the big bottles we bought at Costco? You look great Brad!We are expecting more snow tomorrow, and just on the heels of Hartland High schools football playoffs. Anna's team is still in it too as of last night.Wouldn't it be fun if the kids teams played for the championship? Wojo's team is in Rockford today just north of Grand Rapids of all places.Hopefully his team will live to see another week of football. However the longer you stay in the playoffs the chances of playing in inclement weather are pretty much laid in stone. Its cold as the dickens to sit on the rainy night benches that conduct it to be even more shivery.BRRRR!GO DILBERT!!!


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