The Reason I Wrote "For Granted!!!"

I haven't looked forward to this, because it is hard to write. Let me begin this at an angle by talking about humor. You and I know that nothing falls flatter than a joke you have to EXPLAIN.

So let me state a Whitakerism, which means that I am looking at something so obvious that we tend not to analyze it because it so generally understood that it is part of the background.

The Whitakerism is this: Humor begins with common ground. Bible Belt humor begins with the assumption that we are all familiar with the Bible. Try a joke like this:

"Do you believe in baptism?" "BELIEVE in it? Hell, I've seen it DONE! "

A Moslem or an Oriental would not have the slightest inkling about what this joke was about.

To get the joke, we assume that all of us understand what "Do you believe in baptism" means in a theological context. You must know what Original Sin is. To see the humor of this you must have some idea of the history of the bloody history connected with this question.

When you say, "I've seen it DONE. " you come down from all that with a thump.

But to hear the thump, you must understand what you are coming down FROM. You do not have to be an intellectual giant to understand that joke. But you do have to have a certain common background.

Somebody who does not understand baseball would have a hard time understanding why you are standing there cheering because someone caught a fly ball. You cannot make very interesting comments about baseball if you have to explain the entire rules of the game before each comment.

Now you are in a position to understand why "For GRANTED!" is so important to me.

I have a hard time explaining many of my observations as a professional in my particular area if I have to explain the rules of the game constantly.

That's too bad, Bob, because that is largely what my profession IS. Professional politics should consist of explaining the game to people.

To my sister it was a contradiction that people dedicating their lives to the study of political science had not the slightest interest in real politics. This brought me up short and reminded me of the world where those who do not live in my world reside: THEIRS is the REAL world, not mine.

The field as a professional sees it is always going to be different from the world as others see it. That is the ONLY reason he gets PAID.

You don't need to hire anybody to have opinions. You DO have to hire somebody to express what you consider INFORMED opinions.

The reason you are here is because I have thought out your opinions. The reason you are here is because what I say makes sense IN YOUR TERMS.

But, as a professional, I see some things you don't see. To give a concrete example, if I am talking to someone who refers to Cuba as "socialist" I will go on with the assumption that this person is a Marxist.

Why? Because he has just told me he is a Marxist.

To anyone else, Cuba is what it calls itself, a Communist state. But in Marxist theology, "communist" is a technical term. Marx said that all the countries on earth are either in a socialist state or they are capitalist or feudal. A socialist state like Cuba is trying to REACH communism.

In EXACTLY the same way, it would be hard for a person not schooled in Christian theology to understand that a Christian, who has used the word "damn" so much, attaches such grim importance to the word "damned. Like a "communist" society, a Damned soul is entirely different. A person who refers to Cuba as "socialist" has told me he is Marxist.

Likewise a person who says "THE National Review" has told me has not been a part of the conservative political movement. Everybody who has been INSIDE the conservative movement refers to that publication as "National Review. When he says, "THE National Review" he is telling you a lot about himself, just as the person who says "socialist Cuba" is telling you about himself.

Other physicists caught Einstein when he divided by zero. I catch theorists all the time using some phrase that means, "You are not allowed to argue with this."

Most of you will never learn what I take for granted. But I am begging for a few of you who think it worth your while to find out.