The rest of that quote is …and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.The quote is from the St. James version of the bible. Proverbs 20:1.One of the things that happens as you hit the 60s and up is that you hear statements and pronouncements that your parents uttered repeatedly whether you understood them or not.Of course you experienced them obsessing about things that their parents repeated over and over again.At the time you may have thought it was just a presenile aspect of old age but being more generous with yourself you may decide that the repetitions are purposive.

When I heard those words from my father(wine is a mocker…) as a child I thought ,probably correctly, that he was warning against the use of alcohol.My mother on the other hand used the expression in contexts that I didn’t understand and I inferred that alcohol use and abuse was only the beginning of allegory.Those words have come bouncing back with the presidential debates. I am reasonably sure that they apply to both parties although I believe not equally.

The mocking wine is  a soothing,comforting mantra or compendium of assertions that  deceives(mocks)the uncritical receiver. The raging aspect refers to its popularity( related to its simplicity).”Whosoever is deceived  thereby is not wise”, is easy to understand.

OK lets play!One intoxicant that goes down so easily, is the belief in an American exceptionalism that is God given and unrelated to diversity of expression and superior access to opportunity over that in other forms of governance.(this is a close relative of manifest destiny).Another intoxicant that goes down easily is the belief that the complexity of governance and distribution of the products of labor and industry is beyond the comprehension of all  except the privileged who have had access to making those judgments historically.It follows that voting rights are to be jealously guarded since their wide distribution puts that in jeopardy.Denial of voting rights and gerrymandering are then justified.

Here’s yet another.On the international front, compromise is a sign of weakness since we are guided by divine judgment so it’s “our way or the highway”and an overwhelmingly strong military belonging to the world’s last superpower will  make diplomacy an archaic term unless it is preceded by “Gunboat”!

Reality Check:The latest conferencing between the U.S and Russia has produced solidarity on the principle of military opposition to Isis with the eventual fate of Assad off the table and the Iranian treaty taken as a given.The not quite unanimous opposition by republican hopefuls may smack more of”drinking the Koolade” than quaffing wine.



  1. I suppose, as Daedal2207 suggests, that there are some on the conservative side, who cherish the belief that “exceptionalism is God given and unrelated to diversity of expression and superior access to opportunity”. However, being a mind that knows Republican values, most (unlike me) apparently do believe in God given exceptionalism, but (like me) they also value diversity of expression and superior access to opportunity. But they want individual freedoms to be as free as possible. This reveals a fundamental difference between Democrats and Republicans: Freedoms compared and measured by group characteristics (as desired by Democrats) necessarily compromise the equal distribution of individual freedoms desired by Republicans. Another difficulty seems to be rooted in “as much freedom as possible.” It’s obvious that total freedom is impossible. We are not free to live without food and shelter. Discipline and freedom are opposites but pragmatically each needs the other. We must restrict some freedoms to learn appropriate disciplines (of work and habit) in order to expand the range of appropriate freedoms. It is possible to structure a social system that maximizes the likelihood that needed goods will be most readily available to the greatest number. This system existed for most of our country’s years and Republicans are trying to conserve that form of exceptionalism. Republicans make the case that free markets allocate scarce resources that have alternative uses more efficiently and productively than centrally controlled systems. About the distribution of products and labor they would argue that NO ONE has access to all the sources of knowledge that must be tapped in order to efficiently blend the intricacies of a 320million man market. That is why it is capitalism and not a person or committee that assumes the highest priority and needs protection from those who would manipulate it to their own interests. Centrally controlled economic systems become much more likely to be hijacked for other purposes such as social engineering. Charles Murray explored such waste of lives and resources with his now classic book “Losing Ground, American Social Policy 1950-1980”.
    Daeda2207 writes, “On the international front, compromise is a sign of weakness since we are guided by divine judgment so it’s “our way or the highway”.
    Isn’t it the Iranian Mullah leadership that is crystal clear about their “divine judgment”? Thus from their point of view it is “their way or the highway”. As Daedal2207 says, for them to compromise would be a sign of weakness. By Daedal2207’s logic, what really does that mean for our future?

  2. “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging … ”
    I had never heard that expression before, but the correlation between its meaning and the current political climate in America was an excellent analogy on your part. I concur.

    1. It would not be the first time that my mother was way out in front of me nor will it be the last.I have yet to deal with the reality that she was a believer in benevolent monarchy,giving up her British citizenship only under deportation threat during WW2.She lived during Victorian-Edwardian times,turncoat Edward, George VI and some of the reign of present Elizabeth II.Of course she was in the U.S.and didn’t live to see the emancipation of all of the British West Indies.

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