Friday, December 21, 2012

In Praise of Muddlers

Charlie Pierce, in a terrific post today, suggests muddling is the right way to get through the holidays:

...To be a muddler is to recognize that the movement forward, however tentative the movement or however small the steps, is more valuable than a brief look at temporary tinsel. To be a muddler is to understand what optimism really is. To be a muddler is to be an American. There was muddling at Valley Forge. There was never a better muddler born than Abraham Lincoln. We do not celebrate our liberties because someone framed the Constitution one day, hanging a shining star, as it were, on the wall of the National Archives. We celebrate all the decades of muddling that we as a people — that We, The People — have done to make those words a living reality. When Martin Luther King, Jr. explained to the country, "Why We Can't Wait," he was announcing that the muddling had to accelerate. He wasn't asking for the results. He was demanding the effort. He was making a moral claim to the muddling.

So, on we go, muddlers all, toward what may or may not be a better day, trying not to be distracted by the shining stars hung on all the highest boughs by the people who fear where all our stubborn muddling as a people may lead, because they see and fear where all our stubborn muddling has led in the past. They want us to stop and stare at the artificial gleam of their private stars high up on the boughs they have designed forever to be out of our reach. They are still wrong... (scroll to 'Out on the Weekend')

Old pulp science fiction space ships usually had names like 'Polaris' or 'Far Star' or some other inspirational moniker.  Poul Anderson's Nicholas Van Rijn, a merchant trader in a galactic federation, named his spaceship 'Muddlin' Through'.  Loved it...

The muddlers do the actual work that needs to be done, that the purists usually disdain.  The muddlers live in the real world, and try to make it a better place.  They remember that living, breathing human beings are involved, and that people are more important than ideas.  God bless them, every one, mostly... 

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