Yes Virginia, Santa’s non-existence is as yet unconfirmed

According to ex-Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld, there is no reason to disbelieve in the existence of Santa. Please pass this message on to sceptical children.

Dear Mr Rumsfeld,
I am 8 years old.
Some of my liberal friends say there is no Santa Claus. Daddy says "If Donald Rumsfeld says it then it’s so."
Please tell me the truth. Is there a Santa Claus?
Virginia

Virginia, your liberal friends are wrong. They have been spending too much time watching PBS and reading the New York Times. They do not believe anything except what they read in the liberal media. They think that nothing can be known which is not a known known. Reports that say that someone or something does not exist are always interesting to me. We may know that we know there is a Santa Claus but we do not know how we know that there is a Santa Claus. That is to say, Santa Claus himself is a known known but the knowing of Santa Claus is an unknown.

How can anyone know that they know that there is no Santa Claus? It’s like saying that you know there were no weapons of mass destruction or you know that victory in Iraq is impossible. Your liberal friends could engage United Nations chimney inspectors to inspect all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did fail to verify that Santa Claus entered a house through the chimney what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus but that is not conclusive evidence that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are unknown unknowns. Did you ever see the President’s brain? Of course not, but that’s no proof that it is not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the things that go unreported in liberal media.

You could tear apart a country to see where the WMDs are hidden, but there is a veil covering the uninspected, unreported world which not even Fox News can tear apart. Only the simple faith and goodness of a child who trusts the adults who love them can push aside that curtain glimpse the unknown unknowns that may or may not be there. Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else as real as the things we do not know.

No Santa Claus! If it was possible to verify the existence of Santa Claus the Soviets would have intercepted his sleigh as it passed through their airspace on Christmas Eve. The fact that the Soviets were never able to shoot down Santa proves that, if he exists, he cannot be visually sited or tracked unless he chooses to be. This is why it is not possible to know that Santa Claus does not exist. Your liberal friends are wrong.

Merry Christmas and best wishes

Donald Rumsfeld

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Patrick
Patrick
14 years ago

Actually, that line about known unknowns etc was perfectly lucid and comprehensible.

I always thought it a somewhat disappointing reflection of our ‘commentariat’ that they disparaged it so.

Don Arthur
Don Arthur
14 years ago

Patrick – There are jokes we do not get that we know are jokes and jokes that we do not get that we do not know are jokes. There are also jokes we do not get because they are not funny.

I presume you think this post falls into the latter category.

Rex
Rex
14 years ago

A charming Christmas story Don.
Did you drop a ‘be’ though? They think that nothing can be known which is not a known known.

Patrick
Patrick
14 years ago

Well, that or a joke which I do partly get because some of it is fairly funny but with a slightly disenchanted feeling because half the joke is that apparently intelligent people nonetheless think that the central subject of the joke is a joke when in fact it is a perfectly lucid and comprehensible discursive comment.

Ie there are some jokes with respect of which the joke is that it is perceived to be a joke.

Don Arthur
Don Arthur
14 years ago

Thanks Rex. I’ve inserted the missing ‘be’.

Don Arthur
Don Arthur
14 years ago

Patrick – I agree, in itself Rumsfeld’s comment is entirely logical.

But if you remember the context, Rumsfeld used it to evade a question about weapons of mass destruction. Read the transcript and see whether you think the reporter asking the question now knows anything they didn’t know before they asked the question.

Q: Could I follow up, Mr. Secretary, on what you just said, please? In regard to Iraq weapons of mass destruction and terrorists, is there any evidence to indicate that Iraq has attempted to or is willing to supply terrorists with weapons of mass destruction? Because there are reports that there is no evidence of a direct link between Baghdad and some of these terrorist organizations.
Rumsfeld: Reports that say that something hasn’t happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns — the ones we don’t know we don’t know. And if one looks throughout the history of our country and other free countries, it is the latter category that tend to be the difficult ones.
And so people who have the omniscience that they can say with high certainty that something has not happened or is not being tried, have capabilities that are — what was the word you used, Pam, earlier?
Q: Free associate? (laughs)
Rumsfeld: Yeah. They can — (chuckles) — they can do things I can’t do. (laughter)
Q: Excuse me. But is this an unknown unknown?
Rumsfeld: I’m not —
Q: Because you said several unknowns, and I’m just wondering if this is an unknown unknown.
Rumsfeld: I’m not going to say which it is.

Don Arthur
Don Arthur
14 years ago

Patrick – I agree, in itself Rumsfeld’s comment is entirely logical.

But if you remember the context, Rumsfeld used it to evade a question about weapons of mass destruction. Read the transcript and see whether you think the reporter asking the question now knows anything they didn’t know before they asked the question.

Q: Could I follow up, Mr. Secretary, on what you just said, please? In regard to Iraq weapons of mass destruction and terrorists, is there any evidence to indicate that Iraq has attempted to or is willing to supply terrorists with weapons of mass destruction? Because there are reports that there is no evidence of a direct link between Baghdad and some of these terrorist organizations.

Rumsfeld: Reports that say that something hasn’t happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns — the ones we don’t know we don’t know. And if one looks throughout the history of our country and other free countries, it is the latter category that tend to be the difficult ones.

And so people who have the omniscience that they can say with high certainty that something has not happened or is not being tried, have capabilities that are — what was the word you used, Pam, earlier?

Q: Free associate? (laughs)

Rumsfeld: Yeah. They can — (chuckles) — they can do things I can’t do. (laughter)

Q: Excuse me. But is this an unknown unknown?

Rumsfeld: I’m not —

Q: Because you said several unknowns, and I’m just wondering if this is an unknown unknown.

Rumsfeld: I’m not going to say which it is.

..

fatfingers
fatfingers
14 years ago

“Did you ever see the President’s brain? Of course not, but that’s no proof that it is not there.”

LOL. And I don’t use that lightly.

Patrick
Patrick
14 years ago

I agree, Don Arthur, in fact I quite enjoy Rumsfeld’s press conferences, mainly because I don’t have any sympathy for his interlocuteurs.

But, whilst I admit that in context this joke actually does quite well capture the ‘esprit’ of his rhetorical dodge, and is consequentially funnier than I thought it, I hadn’t yet seen any one of the numerous twitty criticisms of it that went beyond: I completely don’t understand what Rumsfeld said, I am smart, ergo he is dumb.

Chris Lloyd
Chris Lloyd
14 years ago

“I don’t have any sympathy for his interlocuteurs.” The “interlocuteurs” are journalists doing there job by bringing a lying, murdering cunt to public account. Paddy doesn’t like the joke Don because lefties may gain oxygen from Rumsfled’s embarassing failures.

Patrick
Patrick
14 years ago

Hmm. Overwrought? Overindulged? Both?

whyisitso
whyisitso
14 years ago

“because lefties may gain oxygen from Rumsfled’s embarassing failures”

Yes of course. That’s par for the course for lefties. They’ve never done anything constructive or positive in their lives and jerk off at any perceived “failure” of people who are trying to get a difficult job done.