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Conservapedia talk:Andy at Rutgers - November 2009

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Discussion of Spiny's insights[edit]

Great read! Thanks, larronsicut fur in nocte 08:32, 20 November 2009 (UTC)

Fascinating stuff. I suppose it shouldn't be a surprise that he's as nutty in RL as on CP, but it's still a bit weird seeing his opinions coming out like that. –SuspectedReplicantretire me 09:02, 20 November 2009 (UTC)
Indeed, fascinating reading and well reported I have to say. If only you were wearing an RW t-shirt at the time... Scarlet A.pngpostate 10:27, 20 November 2009 (UTC)
To be honest, I think it's no surprise that he comports himself much better in public than on CP. Sure, he may be only slightly less mad, but it shows that he is at least human. Thanks, Spiny.--䷉䷻䷶䷈䷰䷒䷰䷈䷶䷈䷡䷶䷀䷵䷥
Of course he's human. He's probably a perfectly decent chap and a good person. The problem is that he just doesn't realise when he's overstepped the boundaries of his expertise and seems to seriously think he's infallible and unquestionable. And this then manifests as quite a lot of anger at those libruls and some really stupid things like the CBP, where he could very easily face up to his critics and say "sorry, I was wrong" but he refuses to. Scarlet A.pngpostate 15:54, 20 November 2009 (UTC)
On Conservapedia, I think Terry Koeckritz is the stinker and Mr. Schlafly is the obliging fool with delusions of grandeur. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 17:22, 20 November 2009 (UTC)
Spot on, Andy's tone is normally OK on CP (what he says is just mental), but TK really is a nasty, condescending twat. DeltaStarSenior SysopSpeciationspeed! 21:19, 21 November 2009 (UTC)
His comments about the life expectancies of men and women and resulting need for cover is, to say the least, bizarre. We're already aware of his 'girls and boys are different' thinking, but to take it to that level speaks of a seriously warped outlook on life... and surely not the POV of the quacks he represents. Great work, Spiny, have a beer on me, you've earned it. --PsygremlinParla! 17:45, 20 November 2009 (UTC)

Break[edit]

That's part of the paradox that Andy represents. He is a polite, friendly and cordial man in person, and he conducted himself with complete professionalism in his demeanor at the event. As much as I disagree with the man on issues, I would have to refute anyone who portrays him as an angry tea-party type, because that's just not how he came across. The other part of the paradox, though, is that with this politeness comes an intellectual arrogance that can only be explained by the man being utterly certain that he's right. IMHO, Andy appears to see the world in a certain way, and is convinced to his core that his view is reality, and not just an interpretation of it.
What still puzzles me, though, is how he internally rationalizes the value he places on honesty and truthfulness with the suspension of reason and deception of himself & others that's required to hold up his worldview. The man may not be good as an engineer or lawyer, but he received extensive training in both fields and was exposed to the practices of critical thinking employed in them. He has to know he's using shoddy statistics when he makes bogus claims like he did the other night. He has to know that trying to correlate Hollywood values and breast cancer to show a causal connection is meaningless. He has to know that when shown that archeologists uncovered evidence that vikings were in North America before Columbus, it's far more likely to be true than the product of an evidence-planting conspiracy by fraudulent hacks. He has to know, deep down, that the KJV version of the Bible he's basing his "translation" on was compiled by religiously conservative men of deep faith who bear no resemblance to the contemporary "liberals" he loves to demonize, even as he criticizes the KJV for its liberal biases.
So I've thought about this, especially after meeting the man, and my best guess as to why Andy is the way he is comes down to something simple and ironic. He is the product of intense ideological indoctrination going back to his youth, which left him with a dependency on ideological approval to get by in life. His mother's a dynamic personality with charisma, intellect, and political savvy. I can only imagine how much he must have idolized her growing up, with her increasing visibility and influence among conservatives seeming to validate that her outlook was the right outlook. During those formative years, it makes much more sense that he'd be conditioned to accept and support her worldview rather than question or challenge it - it seems hard to separate the approval/disapproval you'd get from Phyllis the mother from Phyllis the ideologue.
Then Andy enters young adulthood, and gets a degree in engineering. It's an interesting choice, being a field where success comes from a mastery of math and science that is immune to one's socio-political worldview. He decides for his own reasons to change careers down the road, and gets a law degree that puts him on a path where the pure and objective matter less and less. He doesn't show great skill in business law, and in an attempt to run for congress comes in last place despite a respected family name, influence and connections. I don't know what his platform was compared to the others in that race, but it had to be a stinging rebuke to run on a set of values you believe to be right to your core, and to then be rejected more than any other candidate in a 5-way race.
So at this point in life, he's tried to be an engineer and quit. He tried to be a corporate lawyer and wasn't good at it. He tried to get elected to office based on his intellect and views and was rejected for them. This would be the turning point where most people press on and prove they are right by continuing to develop their outlook in a way to be successful with it, or realize that they are the one who needs to adapt and begin to change their outlook. Andy seems to have chosen a third route. He withdrew from personal growth and denied that he needed to adapt, and found a way to prosper by relying on the money and patronage of his mother. He has teaching and lecturing gigs through his mother's Eagle Forum, and his role with the AAPS must certainly have been set up through family connections rather than on his track record of success as a lawyer. Add to that any reliance on inherited money from the prosperous Schlafly family, and he's locked into a lifestyle that seems to makes him utterly dependent on adhering to the worldview indoctrinated into him by his mother all the years of his life. As a lobbying group, there's little risk of the quality of his legal work affecting anything of real material consequence for the AAPS and its members. As a counsel and teacher for the Eagle Forum, he works in a risk-free environment where the quality of his work matters less than his conformity and support for their platforms.
Then he discovers wikis, and when he realizes that he's found a forum where he's in control of what passes as "truth", and he's the one who ultimately decides which fawning acolytes stay on, and which annoying critics and their fact-based criticisms can be vanished from the record, he's found his happiness. Conservapedia is his fortress of ideological solitude, where there are many contributors but only one fundamental worldview that matters - his. He can venture out into the real world now & then, and offer his "insights" to polite audiences. If they approve, as some of the conservative student clubs must have done in the past, he feels validated. If they call him out as they did the other night, then he will probably be uncomfortable until he can get back to his desk, comment about the poor deluded liberals who refused to open their minds to his insights, and be comforted by acolytes and parodists who reassure him that he's right.
Pardon the ramble - I think a part of me is still decompressing from the other night, and the nature of people who think and act like Andy really is fascinating. I don't dislike him on any personal level, but I dislike many of his views, and understanding the man helps me to understand where the inanity comes from. --SpinyNorman 17:58, 20 November 2009 (UTC)

Very interesting and thought-provoking Spiny. It's very easy to see people like Andy as having only none dimension but the reality is always more complex.--BobNot Jim 18:02, 20 November 2009 (UTC)
I almost feel guilty posting such a short reply to your analysis, but I think you've closer than any of us to hitting the nail on the head. As Bob said, you've certainly given us some food for thought. Next up is a face-to-face with Creepy Uncle Ed. --PsygremlinSpeak! 18:09, 20 November 2009 (UTC)
As far as Andy's failed Congressional race goes... I'm not sure which district he ran in, but I'm presuming its one of the Northern Virginia (NoVa) districts surrounding Washington, DC. A hard core conservative would have zero chance of election there; its a fairly "blue" region of the country (and about the only thing that keeps VA from being a hard core Republican state.) I'm unsure as to why Andy would have even thought he had a chance there; perhaps he ran as some kind of protest candidate who knew he had no chance of winning.
I also just had something of an insight: Andy is, in one regard, similar to Prince Charles -- any significance he has in life is because of his mother. I wonder if Andy's wife comes closer to Diana or Horse-FaceCamilla. MDB 18:22, 20 November 2009 (UTC)
According to Newsmeat it was VA district 11, if that helps. It's also possible that Andy has been so reigned in by his mother's apron strings that personal development is no longer an option. --PsygremlinSermā! 18:36, 20 November 2009 (UTC)
Yeah, that's Fairfax and eastern Prince William Counties. A lot of very wealthy people, but a lot of the money comes from high-tech jobs (I think that's where AoL was headquartered), and they tend to be liberal, especially socially. Andy didn't have a chance to get elected there. A fiscal conservative social moderate might win there, but a hard line conservative running there is tilting at windmills. MDB 18:52, 20 November 2009 (UTC)
(EC)I have to agree with Psygremlin that it seems wrong to post a very short response to that, but there's little to really say or add bar the obligatory "+1" or "hear hear!" or whatever. We're often quick to judge him as a dick (he certainly acts like one online and I'm not trying to say that he isn't a total prick) but that may be ignoring the disastrous effect Phyllis has had on his life - though I'm not sure what justification we can find for her attitudes. Scarlet A.pngpostate 18:55, 20 November 2009 (UTC)
Excellent insight. We should save that somewhere on his profile for reference. Although I do feel slightly sorry for him, it's important to note that he is a dangerous person, because of his homeschooling and his rants like the subject of this essay. CrundyTalk nerdy to me 10:46, 26 November 2009 (UTC)

Valuation of human life[edit]

"At first he explained that capping malpractice awards would curtail healthcare cost inflation, but I argued that this assumed you can value a human life or human potential based on an arbitrary government-defined standard."

  1. I submit that no judgment by the State is able to influence the value of somebody's life in any manner.
  2. If any malpractice award can place a value on a human life, then this is done at any time a malpractice award is set, whether by law or by a jury. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 17:19, 20 November 2009 (UTC)
Interesting points. One of Andy's comments is that unless you can standardize some compensation thresholds, like pain & suffering, then the range can swing anywhere and trials would clog the courts perpetually trying to sort this out case by case. He cited the laws that let airlines cap a common compensation amount for deaths in a plane crash (or lost luggage regardless of what's in the bags), and if people can accept that so airfare stays affordable then why not apply the same principle to healthcare.
I didn't have to much time to get into a response, but I said that it was apples-to-oranges for two reasons IMO. First, air travel is a commodity service with a high safety record, which brings you from point A to point B, so the likelihood of airline "malpractice" leading to death is statistically low enough for people to be accepting of these caps. Medical treatment affects your body directly each time you receive it, and the consequence of even small mistakes can be significant. Second, the airline caps are for death, not injury. The cost of making up for injury has to be assessed on a case by case basis, just as medical liability.
What I was pointing out to Andy is that there seemed to be an inherent hypocrisy in worrying about "individual freedom" versus "government-mandated X", yet here was a policy that let the government mandate something affecting each individual, where the only real beneficiary would be corporation, not the government or the people. --SpinyNorman 18:10, 20 November 2009 (UTC)