Dear Gracie Pt. 3, Or; How to Remain Completely Oblivious Even After All This Time
By: Barry Belmont

Dear Gracie.

Against my better judgment, I still read what you write sometimes. Sometimes you write on my blog comment section, sometimes you write on the VisLupes comment section, sometimes you write on the Sagebrush. You know all this. You have a lot to comment on. A lot to say, really — important stuff, you think, stuff that needs to be said, why else would you say it? I make this tacit assumption each time I read your stuff, in fact I make it anytime I read anything: you feel you have something that the world needs to know. And so I read your stuff, knowing there’s a chase, wondering how I can cut to it.

Just a little bit ago you posted what you hoped would be your “last comment on any of these blogs” in response to one of the VislOops filing some judicial thingy, claiming that though you often agree in principle with what critics of ASUN have to say, you absolutely oppose them in practice. This is a shame because as you have spilled thousands and thousands of words onto the internet at folks like me and have had tens of thousands of words thrown right back at you (also by folks like me), it seems that you managed to not have taken anything away with you.

I guess this’ll have to be my last shot to convince you why much of what you believe is misguided — if not downright incorrect much of the time — and hopefully, hopefully, save you from having to get another one of these furious letters. Let’s not waste anymore time being cordial and get right down to the problem with your worldview.

To best understand the whole situation it is perhaps worthwhile to stress exactly what is going wrong with your thoughts. As I’ve commented on in the past, it is that you manage to always go tangent to the point being made, you have a terrible tendency to not address the subject at hand. I would like to be clear here: the problem — the reason for this letter — is that it is evident that you do not care even a little bit about how people espouse opinions. The problem is that you think it is okay to believe something in the face of evidence to the contrary. You ascribe, whether you think you do or not, to a form of confirmation bias wherein you do not take differing opinions seriously, to the point of being deaf to them entirely. Now, should you feel so inclined to respond to this letter, I urge you to respond to that thesis statement, as all that follows is simply evidence in favor of that proposition.

For instance, here, in beautiful, unadorned language is your obliviousness distilled into a single sentence, the context of which is you commenting upon the actions of people like UNR SFL and the VisLupes: “if you’re ultimate goal was to prove that the advisors are not doing their job and ensuring that ASUN is responsible and accountable for their actions, which I’ve sensed is your goal, then I couldn’t agree more.” If you don’t see anything wrong with this at all then perhaps this will help. Follow the logic.

1.) “If you’re ultimate goal was to prove that”

Improper contraction use aside, why would you assume this is our ultimate goal? Have I not made it abundantly clear that the abolishment of ASUN is my goal, that returning the mandatory fees to students the step after that? What makes you think that even that piddly goal is what could even come close to being an “ultimate” goal? How about abolish the real government? How about instituting free and open markets? Heck, getting Taco Bell ranks higher on my List of Ultimate Goals than does getting rid of your sad, sorry institution. You have to realize, dear Gracie, that the world doesn’t care about the ASUN. In fact, it appears that only about, what, 15% of the students of this university even mildly care. Due to the high proportion of those that don’t care about the ASUN (consider that Kenyans, the French, the Dallas Cowboys, etc, do not give one single damn about it), it is safe to say that NO ONE CARES about the ASUN. Not even me, dear reader.

2.) “the advisors are not doing their job”

No, Gracie. No no no no. You poor girl. We aren’t mad at “advisors.” We aren’t up in arms about bureaucrats when we’re insulting you. We are insulting YOU, Gracie. YOU and the SENATE. The advisors are bureaucratic hacks who follow bureaucratic principles. Yes, this is bad. Yes, they have no incentive to better the institution around them. Yes, they are partly responsible for what goes on in ASUN. BUT NO, NO, NO, Gracie, we are mad at YOU. You, as a person who claims to represent student interests. You, as the leader of the the student senate. You, as a person who received 7,000 unjustified clams of student funds. You, as a person who supports ASUN’s fees and programs and ideas and principles. You, Gracie, are what we are mad at. You who would pretend that it is not YOUR job to ensure ASUN is responsible, who would pretend it is not YOUR job to ensure ASUN is accountable, who would pretend that the ASUN can be anything but an inherently flawed system that only benefits and whose only input is to and from a small minority of students.

3.) “and ensuring that ASUN is responsible and accountable for their actions,”

Your ability to pass The Buck and Spread the Blame is astounding. Having followed what you’ve had to say for these past years, it never ceases to amaze me how you can think of yourself as so very innocent and free of sin. I believe I once remarked that “you play yourself as an unknowing victim.” It boggles my mind — being a believer in personal responsibility as I am — that you can think you are blameless. Utterly and entirely blameless. You may be the only person I know who manages to overwhelm with your declarations of underachievement. But, Gracie, when you convey a point in an open area of discourse, there are those that will disagree with you. This applies to the actions of which you partake as well: by participating in and supporting the functions of the ASUN, you are declaring a position which many, including myself, find wrong. The ASUN is a sorry excuse for an institution, especially one that claims to be the voice of students and to be doing so much good for them. Now, I’ve made the case elsewhere that this is wrong. Since it is wrong, you are wrong to support it. You can’t just take praise for the good stuff and say the bad stuff is due to Not-Me-A, Not-Me-B, and so forth. Hence, when I say something like “Gracie is wrong,” it isn’t a personal attack, it’s a claim about the world, namely that, You support a system which should not be supported.

4. “which I’ve sensed is your goal, then I couldn’t agree more.”

This conclusion falls so short of the truth that it is practically not worth bothering with. If A, B, C, then I couldn’t agree more. But no one posited A, B, or C. If unicorns are hollow, and if hollow things are filled with helium, and if things with helium float, then I agree that unicorns can float. But, sorry to break it to you, unicorns can’t float. Gracie, your internal logic may be consistent, maybe even tip-top, but how it applies to the external world is anyone’s guess. I hope you’ve gotten the point of all of this: what you believe must correspond to the reality of the world around us. Since what you believe currently does not do this, you are wrong on many many important accounts.

And that’s just the first sentence!

Now, I could bog you down with refuting the silly assertion that you believe how something is said makes any difference as to the truth or falsity of a position, but I think that maybe I would be making a straw-woman of you. Your only critique of the UNR Students for Liberty is that when we say something, we tend to yell it, and no one likes yelling, and no one wants to work with someone who is yelling, and aren’t they all just a bunch of meany-heads? Your critique of our position is that we are “assholes” and your biggest complaint about our methods is that they aren’t “diplomatic.” But this is just pathetic nonsense. Who cares about any of that stuff, indeed as I asked of you last time, qui gives a shit?

I don’t think you actually care about how mean we are as much as you feign to. No. I give you more credit than that. What I think you have a problem with is that you sense, however dimly, that we are right. That these assholes, these jerks, these douchebags may have something behind them in the way of reasoning and evidence and that maybe, just maybe, they are right when they criticize your opinion. After all, what exactly is incorrect about believing that people shouldn’t be forced to do things they don’t want to do? What is incorrect about believing that people shouldn’t be governed by those in an institution that is unsupported by the vast majority? What is incorrect in thinking that political opinions to the contrary are wrong?

Gracie, the UNR Students for Liberty are a silly bunch. They couch cogent philosophical points within immature Dear Gracie posts, they make political economy points by renting ponies! You can dismiss us as children, but it’s akin to being the Santa at Macy’s getting mad at the child who pulls off his beard and says “Look, he’s not Santa!” You were the Santa of the ASUN and we childishly ripped off your beard. But in getting mad at us you’re forgetting one important fact [Spoiler warning]: THERE IS NO SANTA.

Your frustration with us stems from the fact that you keep missing the point, Gracie. It’s not that we want to show that you, personally, are not Santa, but rather to show that there is no Santa, that the ASUN is not the North Pole and that it never can be. There is nothing wrong with there being no Santa, no North Pole. What is wrong is to continue to pretend that there is even in the face of evidence to the contrary. What is wrong is thinking that it is okay to believe something on insufficient evidence.

Love always,
Barry

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23 Comments Posted in Absurd
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  • Alpha Wolf

    Dear Barry, Or; How To Make A Fool of Oneself Without Knowing It:
    Gracie wasn't talking about you or UNR SFL. If your head wasn't so far up your own ass, you probably would not have made such a foolishly simple error. The comment was directed to the VLEG folk, not you. Indeed, her remarks had nothing to do with you. By responding to such comments, you just come off as a fool. But, I suppose that will never stop you from displaying your crush on Gracie.

    Kinda makes you feel like a total asshat realizing that this whole post was entirely unnecessary, don't it?

    Peace and love,
    The Vis Lupi Kids

  • Alpha Wolf

    And this is how to become the Beta Wolf: Said Gracie, in her last paragraph, “This goes for SFL, too.”

    D'oh!

  • Micky

    NT douchebag.

  • Shane

    Barry,

    It's understandable that you disparage a weakly justified belief in the pseudo-free-market, barely representative democracy that many American's have faith in. What I don't understand is how you can claim, with such commitment, that anarcho-capitalism is a viable long-term idea for situating society.

    It appears faith that this is a viable system is founded on a belief in the goodness of people? This is a serious question, not an effort at ridicule (and don't suggest I come to a meeting or butt out; if I could make it to your meetings I would), but the free-market/capitalistic ordering mechanisms I've come across in my very shallow examination of the literature don't appear to provide any protection from the formation of something state-like.

    For example, what is to keep security corporations from growing into coercive operations? Presumably some mechanism to enforce the rules of non-harm towards others must place some individual in a position of more power than another individual. This is the ideal position from which to operate a racket. I present this question in the framework of the historical, societal-development concept of the stationary vs non-stationary bandit.

  • http://unrforliberty.com Barry Belmont

    I find that responding to one-off criticisms of anarchocapitalism usually doesn't do anybody any good because they don't see where I'm actually getting all of my answers. If you're actually interested in how I would respond to this, you might want to check out my lecture on the subject (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e8aHOHcUT5g) because I get around to answering that question in the end.

    Briefly, though, there are about three ways to answer this:

    1) Yes, it relies upon the idea that most people most of the time in most situations are good, fine, decent people. This is an empirical claim. It can be right or wrong. I feel the available evidence shows that it is overwhelmingly true, but I could be wrong. If this were the case, if people were “bad” most of the time, then yes, anarchocapitalism would not be possible. (But couldn't one make the same claim over governments? How is it that only angels would come to lead the society of devils?)

    2) There are incentives and actual checks in balances in place to prevent protection rackets in a free market. If A's police start extorting A, A can call upon B's police to help by promising to pay them after. Or some such. There are tons of possible business models and it isn't the realm of the economist to propose such models, only to establish the principles to show if they would work.

    3) Even if the other two responses turn out to have errors, which they may, we can always turn to a sort of “natural selection” of societies. We can pose the question: which societies survive the best? Generally there a number of factors: health, wealth, freedom, cohesiveness, etc… Well, if we give anarchocapitalism a try, those flavors of it that turn up the dials of all of those aspects will be the ones that continue and those that do not, will not. Since it can be seen by inspection that a “protection racket” version probably wouldn't do as well as a “Don't be Evil” version, the protection racket would falter in comparison, leaving only the better societies in its place.

    And while I appreciate the comments, the only point I was trying to make in this Dear Gracie is that one shouldn't be satisfied with insufficient evidence. It is the benign-est of points, but there are those that do not follow this tenet and are led so far astray that they can no longer even see the relevance of discussion and turn toward proclamation instead.

    For instance, take your friend the Alpha/Beta Wolf down there. They were so entirely convinced that I had misinterpreted Gracie's comment that they had the audacity to claim I had made a fool of myself, that I had my head up my own ass, was a “total asshat” and that I made “such a foolishly simple error.” The irony of it all is that it is Alphiwalph diagnosed himself(?), not me. In believing something with such conviction and with so little evidence, we are almost invariably bound to make mistakes. And some of them can make us look quite silly.

  • graciegeremia

    Hahah. I'm just reading this. Barry, you really are a silly boy. I'm glad you read what I write. Great…I have a follower. I don't care if you don't agree with me. What I said on VisLupi has nothing to do with you or your crew. Vis Lupi (whether they agree with me or not) knows EXACTLY what I'm talking about. We had a personal conversation about that matter before. I wasn't trying to dodge any responsibility from the problems in ASUN. Indeed, I have contributed, unknowingly at the time, to some of the mistakes that were addressed in the cases.

    However, it's just embarrassing to try and align yourself w/visLupi. The difference b/w you and them, is they actually have substantial evidence to back up what they're saying, as much as I oppose anonymity. You, on the other hand, claim to use so much logic through your detailed “dear gracie” chapters. But, in reality, you're pretty emotionally reactive.

    You could SOMEDAY have a good argument if you weren't so set on being radical in your responses to ASUN. It's not effective when you don't have all your information right. That's why you guys didn't get into office. Students aren't going to be positively responsive to your tactics. They lack evidence. They lack information. Most of all, they lack any respect. I'm not asking for simple cordial respect because of any frivolous titles. I ask for simple respect, because I am a human being.

    Please do me a really big favor. If you want to destroy ASUN, there's a lot more wrong with it than “gavels and nameplates.” Look, like VisLupi has done, a little deeper. There's an even bigger problem internally. You've failed to notice, because your so set on trying to display all the obvious problems clouded by your opinion.

    im not Libertarian, and despite your need and strong desire to write “dear gracie” letters, I still agree with you on some issues. But, you are so set on hating people that you don't care. It's all or nothing. AND that is why you will fail. Please spend your time researching and getting information on the Association that I no longer serve in. It's a lot more effective than analyzing my rhetoric and personality.

  • Gracie Geremia

    I'm glad that you guys at least know what I was referring to and that is all that matters.

  • Micky

    You know i didnt really believe what Barry was saying until i read this comment. I'll quote him verbatim, “To best understand the whole situation it is perhaps worthwhile to stress exactly what is going wrong with your thoughts. As I’ve commented on in the past, it is that you manage to always go tangent to the point being made, you have a terrible tendency to not address the subject at hand. I would like to be clear here: the problem — the reason for this letter — is that it is evident that you do not care even a little bit about how people espouse opinions. The problem is that you think it is okay to believe something in the face of evidence to the contrary. You ascribe, whether you think you do or not, to a form of confirmation bias wherein you do not take differing opinions seriously, to the point of being deaf to them entirely. Now, should you feel so inclined to respond to this letter, I urge you to respond to that thesis statement, as all that follows is simply evidence in favor of that proposition.”

    He always says you miss the point and he is completely right. Your comment just sounds totally ignorant. You come off as really uneducated.

    His letter to you isnt about ASUN or VisLupi or “gavels and nameplates” or even him hating you. He was talking about how you…and by proxi people like you…and how you can believe something without basing it on evidence and how you, gracie, are completely deaf to other opinions. And your comment to this letter shows that better than he possibly could have.

    I hate to say it, but you completely missed the point.

  • EThornley

    I know this is the wrong discussion to say this but….is there a reason why you didn't give me a warning that you were recording our meeting? Thanks alot, Mr. East German Stasi guy.

  • KB

    Did you even read the article? Rather than reading, it seems you reacted on emotion and claimed Barry to be “emotionally reactive”. Unlike yourself, I actually read the entire letter and not once did I sense any emotion. You still have not addressed what Barry said and missed the point entirely, only proving the claims against you.

  • graciegeremia

    Barry is reacting to the post I made on VisLupi. The post I made on VisLupi was not at all in regards to him or SFL. I hate to say it, but he missed the point, because he doesn't have the context behind what I was addressing to them, nobody does. That is why my comment was posted on their blog.

    He shouldn't be defending SFL's actions through my post. It had NOTHING to do with this organization and was taken wayyy out of context. But, I am the one that missed the point. Please.

    I understand that SFL thinks that I contribute to the problem of student government, by being an officer in it. They don't think the organization should take money from students; they don't think it should exist. Fine. I get it. My point was specifically referring to his post in relation to my blog post on VisLupi.

    How many of these reactive “dear gracie” posts are you going to write? They are not effective, because they are ranting on me, when my posts are taken out of context.

    I'm starting to believe that you really do have an elementary style crush on me. But, picking on people may have won them over in elementary, but I'm certainly not interested in people who don't have a simple respect for humanity.

  • http://unrforliberty.com Barry Belmont

    Don't flatter yourself, Graciepoo. To actually go ad hominem for a bit I find you profoundly unattractive as a person. Not only physically, but mentally as well: you're happy in your obliviousness and it's disgusting in a very real, very visceral manner.

    Let's grant that perhaps you were a bit loose in your language in saying “any of these blogs that criticize ASUN” and assume that last little part about “And this goes for SFL too” was just a mistake…that doesn't change my point here at all. And that's what everyone on here is saying: you're missing the point.

    The point of the letter, if you actually read it, is that I find problems with how you come to accept your world view. You seem utterly content to believe things on insufficient evidence and then mute all discussion by not engaging the topic at hand. For instance, the topic *right now* is that I feel you are deaf to criticism and as such come to believe things without sufficient evidence.

    I'm not talking about anything else. I haven't been talking about anything else. So when you start talking about things relating to the VizziKids and ASUN, that may be all well and good…but it has nothing whatsoever to do with the topic. I'm claiming you don't stick to the point.

    So, just to reiterate, if you feel the need to respond, I'll grant your claim that I understood that particular blog comment without all the context. I'm granting that. But that doesn't do anything about my thesis statement: “You ascribe, whether you think you do or not, to a form of confirmation bias wherein you do not take differing opinions seriously, to the point of being deaf to them entirely.”

    I urge you to confront that head-on if you should so feel the need to comment again.

  • EThornley

    Barry…for the sake of humanity….shut the fuck up.

  • http://AndGTFO.com STFU Eric
  • KB

    Ethornley, you have delusions of adequacy. Rather than forming an actual argument against Barry, you proclaim “for the sake of humanity” to “shut the fuck up”. Please, do not speak on behalf of me because, in fact, I like to read what Barry says and find humor in your petty, idiotic comments. You, my little troll, can “shut the fuck up” and not come on this site if you are so bothered by the stories.

  • EThornley

    I have tried to listening to Barry's intellect, but his shoddy attitude and the apparent side effects of years of abuse in school are getting in the way.

  • http://unrforliberty.com Barry Belmont

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oCThvWLCnaM …Your intellect in action.

    …and people wonder why I get angry…

  • http://unrforliberty.com/ John Russell

    I know this is the wrong discussion to say this but….is there a reason why you didn't give me a warning that you did not want to be recorded at our meeting? Thanks alot, Mr. Libertarian Socialist.

  • EThornley

    Barry, if you seriously think a carefully chosen 3-minute clip that is edited to go in your favor is a testament of my intellect…then well…wow..I have nothing to say.

    I tell you what…if you ever gain the courage to meet me in person in one on one discussion then I will change my opinion, until then, I think you are a utter, miserable cunt.

  • http://AndFuckOff.com Seriously STFU Eric
  • http://unrforliberty.com/ John Russell

    It wasn't actually edited. This is only the last 3 minutes of the discussion before we closed. The reason there is a cut halfway through is because it spanned 2 video files on the camera. The whole conversation wasn't posted because it was really long and people generally don't like long boring conversations. However, if you feel there is a part you want uploaded, it can be thrown online.

  • Lisa

    In the spirit of missing the point- there is a North Pole. There’s little evidence to support elves.

  • Lisa

    In the spirit of missing the point- there is a North Pole. There’s little evidence to support elves.