Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Irresistible Force Paradox

We good a hardy chuckle out of the comments that Mayor Mike supposedly made about the arrogance of President Obama: "In retrospect, it probably was not such a good idea to confide in Rupert Murdoch. Billionaires, it turns out, can be just as indiscreet as the rest of us. On Friday, in an interview with an Australian newspaper, Mr. Murdoch, the head of News Corporation, divulged that Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg had described President Obama as the most “arrogant man” he had ever met after playing his first and presumably last round of golf with the commander in chief."

This is what's known as an example of the pot and the tea kettle pointing fingers at each other-or, perhaps, an example of the irresistible force paradox: "The Irresistible force paradox, also the unstoppable force paradox, is a classic paradox formulated as "What happens when an irresistible force meets an immovable object?" This paradox is a form of the omnipotence paradox, but that paradox is most often discussed in the context of God's omnipotence ("Can God create a stone so heavy it cannot be lifted, not even by God Himself?"). Note that the immovable object is implicitly assumed to be indestructible, or else the question would have a trivial resolution ("it destroys it"). Furthermore, it is assumed that they are two separate entities, since an irresistible force is implicitly an immovable object, and vice versa."

You get our drift here, don't you? One can imagine how charged the atmosphere was when these two egos confronted one another-and it is quite ironic, isn't it, to see our mayor taken aback by the incandescence of another man's hubris? But, then again, irony isn't Mike Bloomberg's strongest suit: "Could the mayor really have said that? Yes. The mayor is known for his unvarnished, impolitic candor. And even as Mr. Bloomberg has publicly sympathized with the president (“He’s had a tough row to hoe, in all fairness,” the mayor told me in an interview a few weeks ago), he has at times made little secret of his private disapproval of Mr. Obama’s leadership. He recently said that his friends in the business world feel “vilified” by the federal government in the Obama era."

Political positions aside, it is fascinating-as well as quite droll-to see the mayor complain about another man's arrogance-and the President of the United States, at that.