It is what it is

TOP 25 QUOTES BY MARCUS AURELIUS (of 777) | A-Z Quotes

A comment in response to my post on The Australian is now the print version of the ABC.

I disagree Steve. The Australian is by the far the most balanced newspaper in Australia. And I saw the Swan interview of Trump – I think Trump looked like an idiot. He really has lost the plot; moreover he has destroyed the Republican brand and therefore has really been the Manchurian Candidate – the Democrat sleeper agent to tear the GOP apart. This he has done an amazing job – basically he will lead to a left wing Democratic Presidency with a Democrat majority in both the HoR and the Senate. I can’t believe you can support this man. The response to Covid has been appalling and the data shows clearly the excess deaths due to the incompetence of the Trump administration. We have had four years of idiocy and he has achieved none of the promises, which is not surprising since he stood for nothing and has no substance. All those people who wanted to take down the elites in Washington have only managed to cement them in more power thanks to their support of Trump.

You may take this comment as you find it. So far as The Oz being the most balanced of the papers, let me note that this article was in The Age: The economic crisis is still to come, and was written by our very own Sinclair Davidson. As for the C&P, this is the most “cutting edge” of the comments:

When asked, Donald ducked:

Trump: Well what’s your definition of control? Under the circumstances, right now, I think it’s under control.

Swan: How? A thousand Americans are dying a day.

Trump: They are dying, that’s true. And it is what it is.

The Tonight Show’s Jimmy Fallon:

It is what it is? You’re the President of the United States. You’re not Paulie Walnuts delivering bad news to Tony Soprano! “Sorry T, things got a little messy and, uh, it is what it is, capiche?”

I suppose what these fools were looking for is an approach along the lines taken by Daniel Andrews, such as by the Governor of New York, who sent individuals who were diagnosed with the coronavirus back into their nursing homes. But the real point is first, no one is arguing against what Trump did do, since he was early on the scene and attempted against all the opposition the Democrats could muster, to stop everything he tried to do. They were the ones inviting people to come along to Chinese New Year celebrations in February or to BLM marches just last month.

But the second part I am astonished about is that Trump actually said this:

“They are dying, that’s true. And it is what it is.”

This is a comment worthy of Marcus Aurelius. Stoicism in the face of adversity is all that can sustain us.

AND LET ME CONTINUE: And also thank the Cynic of Ayr for his comment below. Of course the ancient Greek Cynics were related to the Stoics so we are in accord on some of the basics. I wished, however, to continue with a bit of further research since posting. On Wikipedia, I confess, but since none of this offends modern political agendas, we can probably rely on what I found.

Marcus Aurelius was a Roman emperor from 161 to 180 which happened to coincide with the Antonine Plague.

The Antonine Plague of 165 to 180 AD, also known as the Plague of Galen (after Galen, the physician who described it), was an ancient pandemic brought to the Roman Empire by troops who were returning from campaigns in the Near East. Scholars have suspected it to have been either smallpox  or measles. The plague may have claimed the life of a Roman emperorLucius Verus, who died in 169 and was the co-regent of Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, whose family name, Antoninus, has become associated with the pandemic.

Ancient sources agree that the plague appeared first during the Roman siege of the Mesopotamian city Seleucia in the winter of 165–166. Ammianus Marcellinus reported that the plague spread to Gaul and to the legions along the RhineEutropius stated that a large population died throughout the empire. According to the contemporary Roman historian Cassius Dio, the disease broke out again nine years later in 189 AD and caused up to 2,000 deaths a day in Rome, one quarter of those who were affected. The total death count has been estimated at 5 million, and the disease killed as much as one third of the population in some areas and devastated the Roman army.

Australian sinologist and historian Rafe de Crespigny speculates that the plague may have also broken out in Eastern Han China before 166 because of notices of plagues in Chinese records. The plague affected Roman culture and literature and may have severely affected Indo-Roman trade relations in the Indian Ocean.

A number of interesting parallels there, I’m afraid. There is then this on Stoicism:

Stoicism is a school of Hellenistic philosophy founded by Zeno of Citium in Athens in the early 3rd century BC…. According to its teachings, as social beings, the path to eudaimonia (happiness, or blessedness) is found in accepting the moment as it presents itself, by not allowing oneself to be controlled by the desire for pleasure or fear of pain, by using one’s mind to understand the world and to do one’s part in nature’s plan, and by working together and treating others fairly and justly.

But beyond that, there is Modern Stoicism where we find this:

 “Following nature means following the facts. It means getting the facts about the physical and social world we inhabit, and the facts about our situation in it […] before we deliberate about normative matters. It means facing those facts – accepting them for exactly what they are, no more and no less – before we draw normative conclusions from them. It means doing ethics from the facts constructing normative propositions a posteriori. It means adjusting those normative propositions to fit changes in the facts, and accepting those adjustments for exactly what they are, no more and no less. And it means living within the facts – within the realm of actual rather than hypothetical norm.” Ethical reasoning of a Stoic “cannot begin until all relevant description, representation, and prediction are in hand, […] – until, let us say, the empirical work is done.”

Or to quote another modern political philosopher, “It is as it is”, which will be the only approach for people such as ourselves for getting on with life should Joe Biden become President.

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29 Responses to It is what it is

  1. stackja

    Trump inherited BO’s USA.
    BO allies have fought Trump using illegal means. First “Russia hoax” then Wuhan virus now ANTIFA.
    If Biden wins the USA will become a third world country, like Venezuela.
    Red China and Putin will be emboldened.

  2. Tony

    This is a comment worthy of Marcus Aurelius. Stoicism in the face of adversity is all that can sustain us.

    Yet it comes across as indifference.

    Politics requires that leaders of democratic nations need to be the Mourned in Chief.

  3. Tel

    Swan: How? A thousand Americans are dying a day.

    America has a population of approx 300 million people, who normally live to approximately 75 years. That makes 11000 Americans on average dying every day just by the law of averages. Yes we have had somewhat higher death rates due to recent events, but at least some of those higher death rates are CAUSED by government reaction, shutting down hospitals and locking people in their houses … also by stupidly sending the virus to nursing homes where the most vulnerable people are.

    Many things kill older people … could be slipping on your front step, could be a virus, bacteria, burst blood vessel, dementia, cancer, heart attack. Check the stats and you see these are all completely normal … sure you can do your best to improve the situation but although doctors pretend to their patients they can defeat death, actually that’s a sales gimmick … you are going to die, so don’t waste your life.

    This is a comment worthy of Marcus Aurelius. Stoicism in the face of adversity is all that can sustain us.

    What about common sense in the face of exaggerated fake adversity? People have always died, and probably that’s going to be true for a very long time. Young people have nothing to fear, and sooner or later will all of them catch it anyhow, so might as well take advantage of that fact to boost immunity.

    Young healthy people should not be deprived of their chance to live … they don’t owe it to anyone else and the current generation of older people were never locked in their houses. Every ONE DAY of having 25 million people waste their lives sitting at home is equivalent to about 900 entire lifespans lost. Learn to do the math … please!

  4. Bruce of Newcastle

    Nearest to centrist in Oz is the Tele, I think. Mainly because of Blair.
    The MSM in Australia mainly does both kinds of music.
    Green and Marxist.

  5. Damon

    The most irritating stricture “Do the right thing”. According to whom?
    What it means is “Shut up and do as you’re told”.

  6. Cynic of Ayr

    Well, you have to ask a question, and the question is also for Danial Andrews, as well as Donald Trump.
    Are they Doctors? Are they experts in the field of Corona Viruses?
    They do not themselves have the ability to create a vaccine out of nothing.
    All they can do, as men, and as leaders, it to try to control an unseen, unheard and vicious enemy, that is beyond – at this stage -any medical person to get a grip on.
    In some of these endeavors they have failed, and some failures have been spectacular.
    Consider, Trump is doing as best he can with half the country, and most of the media absolutely and blindly, without rational reasoning, against him, and the other half indifferent. Included are the foreign media, like in Australia. You have to remember that, HCQ looks likely as helpful, but simply because Trump said it might be helpful, it is banned in many countries, including Victoria.
    Andrews, on the other hand, has half the country with him, and the other half indifferent, and he is doing remarkably poorly.
    And, I ask again, what can they, as men, do? All I hear is what they did wrong, but no one is stepping up and offering to take the job on!
    Never forget that there is a tremendous amount of political capital being seized from this situation, and to hell with the people!
    Trump Derangement is real! It’s incredible! The italics in the article above prove that beyond doubt. There is no rational thinking or opinion there, just derangement. It could easily be picked apart, but the writer would never change.

  7. C.L.

    Well?
    It IS what it is.
    Trump’s right.

    Norman’s cygnet is just another smart-arsed Skip trying to denigrate the response to coronavirus in the huge, lumbering, complex USA.

  8. currencylad

    Well said, Cynic.

  9. a happy little debunker

    If we apply the same ‘Covid related’ criteria to deaths as with Barrack Obama’s H1N1 pandemic – we would come to a number of deaths caused by Obama & Biden at around 450 000 (over the 18 months of the pandemic) – compared to the 160 000 deaths under Trump’s watch over the last 7 months.

  10. Joanna Smythe

    I’m a total Trump supporter and the thought of him losing the election is frightening. However, I’m totally pi..ed off with him. He has surrounded himself with ‘experts’ like Fauci and Birx and it is more than obvious their sole purpose is to be anti Trump yet he still says he supports the traitor Fauci. There are numerous other experts out there who have been totally supportive of him and what he is doing. Why hasn’t he brought any of them on board. The only conclusion can be he has a death wish.

  11. Cynic of Ayr

    Joanna Smythe
    I see your point, and I agree to some extent.
    Presidents of the U.S age pretty fast. They all do. Even Obama went grey.
    It is completely beyond my comprehension how to “rule”, “lead” ,”look after” 300 million people, when half do not in any way, appreciate the effort. It’s beyond my comprehension even if they were all on side!
    Jeez, there’s only 24 hours in a day.
    I’m not pissed off with Trump, I am just completely amazed that he just doesn’t say, “Shove it all up yer bums!” and walk away.
    I know I would have, which just proves Trump is a better man that I, and a gajillion others.
    As far as sacking Fauci, Trump has sacked others, and been vilified for it. I guess so much vilification gets tiring after a while.
    Anyway, as I said above, no one seems to have a real handle on this medically, and a Fauci replacement may be no better. (Couldn’t be worse, I admit.)

  12. duncanm

    ‘1000 a day’ ! aieeeeee!

    US mortality rate (a normal year) is ~ 720/100k/year.

    With a population of 330M, that’s 6500 per day.

    You can see the covid spike here

    Stoicism unfortunately is not respected in politics these days. Our voters dream of being able to vote for someone like Ardern or Trudeau.

  13. Cynic of Ayr

    Tel, well said also.
    I suspect a significant proportion of the deaths attributed to the Virus are erroneous, by accident or design.
    It seems, IF you have the virus, IT kills you no matter how you died. There are many reports of this, but certainly not all are reported.
    It’s a bit like running off the road due to a heart attack. If it’s a small crash, and the Ambos get there in time, there’s a good chance you’ll survive. But if it’s a bad crash that actually kills you, what did you die of? A heart attack or a crash?
    An accurate media report would be, “Victim died of injures from a crash caused by loss of control due to unconsciousness due to a heart attack.”
    The ABC reports it as, “A person has died of a crash caused by a heart attack, brought on by the victims fear of the Corona Virus!”
    (I’m being a bit flippant, but what the heck.)
    As a feller said once, we ALL have a fatal disease.

  14. Joanna Smythe

    So how come people on this site and others cane break down figures and put everything in perspective but Donald Trump and the traitorous Fauci and Birx just only give out the doom and gloom. Same here. Every day the headlines are, 400, 500 new cases etc. in Victoria. Why isn’t everyone being told everyday, over 90% of the cases are mild, no worse than the flu, people will recover in a few days. Why aren’t people being reminded every day that about 400 people die every day in Australia of all sorts of things. Why aren’t people being told that because of this people with other illnesses are not being diagnosed or treated. Why aren’t people being told there are treatments available. Why are some treatments being withheld. Scott Morrison should be making sure ALL the facts get out.

  15. JC

    Maybe, it’s a new bug and we’re conditioned to be concerned about bugs and it’s causing us to panic with the help of panicked governments.

    We’re used to the flu and colds. We know they’re shitty illnesses and nearly all of us get over them. But let me ask, if the flu was a new illness, would we deal with it as we do now (take it in stride), or would we panic like we are with the china bug?

    Mental images, choosing words to describe things are very important to human beings. We began calling this illness a version of SARS and Covid19. What if we had called it the Wuhan flu? I wonder if we had behaved differently? My hunch is that we probably would have because the connection with SARS made it sound scarier. SARS was a very scary illness and luckily it just wasn’t that contagious.

  16. NoFixedAddress

    Steve,

    I’m looking forward to the Axios/Swan interview with Biden.

  17. NoFixedAddress

    It truly is what it is

    Watch and compare if you dare.

    Former DNI Richard Grenell posted video on Twitter Thursday night that is just devastating for Joe Biden.

    https://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2020/08/former-dni-richard-grenell-posts-video-not-devastating-biden-campaign/

  18. Iampeter

    Or to quote another modern political philosopher, “It is as it is”, which will be the only approach for people such as ourselves for getting on with life should Joe Biden become President.

    Why would a Trump supporter have trouble with Biden becoming President?
    Is he not crazy, corrupt and left wing enough for you, or something?

  19. marc

    Why would a Trump supporter have trouble with Biden becoming President?
    Is he not crazy, corrupt and left wing enough for you, or something?

    The smartest man in the room has spoken..again
    1 amp meter
    You really are a weapons grade boor.

  20. Cynic of Ayr

    Jeez, ring de bells and blow de whistles, even the Ammeter thinks Biden is crazy! He’d know!
    Is he not crazy, corrupt and left wing enough for you, or something?

  21. Kneel

    Why would a Trump Biden supporter have trouble with Biden Trump becoming being President?
    Is he not crazy, corrupt and left wing enough for you, or something?

  22. Major Elvis Newton

    According to Paul Joseph Watson’s latest message, the average American thinks COVID has killed “around 10% of the population”.

    That’s more than 30 million people. Or 225 times the actual number.

    With that kind of weapons grade stupidity they deserve Biden and his caravan of Demonrat motards.

    Trump is wasting his time with this sinking ship of fools.

  23. Lee

    Jeez, ring de bells and blow de whistles, even the Ammeter thinks Biden is crazy! He’d know!
    Is he not crazy, corrupt and left wing enough for you, or something?

    LOL!

    +1

  24. Dasher

    Your critic is entitled to his view and I would agree that there is a lot about Trump that I find unwelcome..he is brash, at times crude and often un presidential. However the question that must be asked compared to what? The Democrats have never accepted the will of the people in the 2016 election and their antics to change the result is beneath contempt, their leader has lost his mind, in fact I am waiting for the announcement that he will withdraw, their politics have shifted to the far left and will be ruinous, particularly the green new deal which no one wanted . It cannot be implemented but the damage trying doesn’t bear thinking about. The Democrats are saturated with extreme political correctness and identity politics that stoke the fires of racism. Indeed they have rendered the word racist meaningless, they support the anarchists and call for defunding the police. I could go on but this is enough for me to say know. Interestingly, despite his negative points Trump is the one who has the most convincing message and a proven track record that he can get things done. It is ironic that he is now the safe pair of hands.

  25. John A

    JC #3539744, posted on August 7, 2020, at 10:53 pm

    Maybe, it’s a new bug and we’re conditioned to be concerned about bugs and it’s causing us to panic with the help of panicked governments.

    We’re used to the flu and colds. We know they’re shitty illnesses and nearly all of us get over them. But let me ask if the flu was a new illness, would we deal with it as we do now (take it in stride), or would we panic like we are with the china bug?

    Mental images, choosing words to describe things are very important to human beings. We began calling this illness a version of SARS and Covid19. What if we had called it the Wuhan flu? I wonder if we had behaved differently? My hunch is that we probably would have because the connection with SARS made it sound scarier. SARS was a very scary illness and luckily it just wasn’t that contagious.

    We did face new ‘flus with the SARS1, H1N1 and Avian varieties. Our governments DID NOT react as we see with this one. And our personal reactions are closer to the patterns of those previous invasions. We trusted our governments and their advisers to tell us the truth. The medical handling of such viruses was better and more effective in controlling the outbreaks.

    Sadly, this time our governments have been shown to be not worthy of our trust – especially here in the Daniel Andrews Diktatorship of Viktoriastan. The initial defence measures were weak, poorly implemented and those responsible have refused to admit their responsibility for those failures. Now the defence measures are being politically driven to shield our governments from blame.

    The result will be a lot of damage. About the only redeeming feature/s will be that we have become more aware of how little we need to survive, and maybe more aware of what’s really important in life. That doesn’t necessarily include the current crop of parliamentarians, nor will it include any slavish adherence to the pronouncements of “scientific experts.”

  26. Rayvic

    “Jeez, ring de bells and blow de whistles, even the Ammeter thinks Biden is crazy! He’d know!
    Is he not crazy, corrupt and left wing enough for you, or something?”

    But those relying on the MSM are brainwashed into believing that Trump is bad and Biden is not past it.

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