How to Educate the Ignorant Masses

BookEducationA StubbornThings Symposium   7/14/14
Introduction  •  Generally speaking, it’s considered rude to call anyone “ignorant.” But ignorance is simply the condition of being not informed. It is the normal state of our birth unless and until we are fed good information.

Anyone on the political Left already believes that they know everything that they need to know. They are the kindest, nicest, most compassionate people and — gosh darn it — people really like them.

But in the world outside of these comforting and self-aggrandizing delusions, those who have been propagandized by the education system, and the “Progressive” culture at large, actually know very little about the vital subjects of the day. They are, that is, ignorant.

And we all are ignorant to varying degrees. No one can know everything about everything. We simply have different degrees and spheres of ignorance. The wise and humble man will admit this . . . thus opening himself up to reducing his ignorance, for admitting ignorance is the first step.

I’ve heard chilling stories of the entrenched ideology and ignorance of those on the Left. Sons and daughters go off to college only to return as the equivalent of space aliens, for all intents and purposes.

The Left, we must give them credit, is very good at cult techniques of indoctrination. And the first lesson of a cult is to de-legitimize and close off contrary beliefs. This the Left effectively has done by being able to dismiss those who disagree with them as racists, sexists, homophobes, and despoilers of Mother Gaia. And who wants to be any of those?

Conversely, those who at least mouth the bumper-sticker slogans of the Left (even if their personal lives are quite contrary) can think of themselves as tolerant, compassionate, environmentally sensitive, fair-minded, and open to progress. These are very flattering notions. But life in the real world is not so simple and not so flattering to the narcissistic impulses of these cults.

So what can one do to try to deprogram this cult mindset? Well, again, the programming that people have been subject to is very powerful. But if we operate under the honest assumption that even the most entrenched mind can be changed if the information is made available — and the time is right — then we can make inroads.

And this is what this symposium is about. We will suggest reading resources that have the power to undercut and destroy the most fundamental premises of the Left. And given that none of us wish to pick up a sword at the moment, the pen will have to suffice as mighty enough.

The Editor


How to Educate the Ignorant Masses


 

LIBERTYMARK

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption, by Laura Hillenbrand

This second offering from Hillenbrand is as good as or better than her first book, Seabiscuit. This is an excellent true story of Louis Zamparini, a native of a Los Angeles suburb, who experienced first-hand some of the 20th Century’s most important history.

Soon to be released as a movie, this story encompasses one man’s journey from Hitler’s 1936 Olympics through Air Force service in the South Pacific through Japanese POW camps to a POW camp on the island of Japan itself to finally confronting the demons from his time as a POW.

While the redemption theme is core to this story, be sure to note the first-hand account of society in Japan as WWII was coming to closure. It clarified for me something that had troubled me about the Left’s narrative: that American is evil for being “the only country to ever drop The Bomb.” Although this is factually true, the implication has been that we had a choice and chose mass murder instead of the rules of war. Had we waited just a little longer, etc. etc.

Something was going on in Japan in late 1944 and 1945 that Mr. Zamparini was witness to: every remaining man (there weren’t many other than the old or very young), woman, and child in Japan was performing military drills in anticipation of an American invasion, and would have fought to the last person to defend the Emperor.

Should we have used the Atomic Bomb? You decide, but this important sub-plot is itself worth the read as the author, who spent a huge amount of time with Mr. Zamparini, chronicles his up-close-and-personal experiences with the Empire of the Sun. I better understand now the rationale behind using the first atomic weapon, thanks in large part to Mr. Zamparini’s experiences at the hands of his captors and his first-hand observations of that evil and corrupt war machine.

We were in a pitched battle to the death with Evil, and even as we lose sight of how evil Japan was, Louis Zamparini experienced it up close and personal. It truly would have taken an invasion force of 1,000,000 American soldiers to have any hope of finally defeating Japan. Every Japanese person considered himself or herself a soldier in the Emperor’s army. Don’t let the Left’s narrative pull you in: Truman’s use of the atomic bomb saved untold lives and was the right thing – the only thing – to do. Read the book; it is inspiring on many levels.

— LibertyMark is a staunch conservative and regularly contributes to this site’s wisdom.

 

LEIGH BRAVO

Rules for Radicals by Saul Alinsky

I know this to be an unusual book suggestion for those seeking freedom and adherence to the Constitution, but we should remember the famous saying,

“Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.”

Michael Corleone used this famous quote in the movie, The Godfather, but the origin of the quote was from Machiavelli in The Prince which was the primer for how to be a dictator.

Some might think the credit goes to Sun-tzu, who was a Chinese general and military strategist, but his quote, although different, carries the same message: “Know your enemy and know yourself and you will always be victorious.” Thus, my suggestion for all Americans to read Saul Alinsky’s book, Rules for Radicals.”

In a letter from Saul Alinsky’s son David, he states,

“Obama learned his lesson well. I am proud to see that my father’s model for organizing is being applied successfully beyond local community organizing to affect the democratic campaign in 2008. It is a fine tribute to Saul Alinsky as we approach his 100th birthday.”

Hillary Clinton wrote her thesis on Alinsky’s theories and methods while at Wellesley in 1969. In concluding her thesis, she wrote,

“Alinsky is regarded by many as the proponent of a dangerous socio/political philosophy. As such he has been feared, just as Eugene Debs or Walt Whitman or Martin Luther King has been feared, because each embraced the most radical of political faiths, ‘democracy.’”

Alinsky’s book was dedicated to “the first rebel,” Lucifer, which points to the main theme of the book, which is to “fundamentally change” from within.  Below, you will find a summary of 6 of his rules,

1. Politics is all about power relations, but to advance one’s power, one must couch one’s positions in the language of morality.

2.There are only three kinds of people in the world; Rich and powerful oppressors, the poor and disenfranchised oppressed and the middle class whose apathy perpetuates the status quo.

3.Change is brought about through relentless agitation and trouble making of a kin that radically disrupts society as it is.

4. There can be no conversation between the organizer and his opponents. The latter must be depicted as being evil.

5. The organizer can never focus on just a single issue. He must move inexhaustibly from one issue to the next.

6. Taunt one’s opponents to the point that they label you a “dangerous enemy” of “the establishment.”

We must understand that to defeat the enemy, the Liberal left, we MUST understand the rules of their game. Only then will we be able to defeat them at the very game they have perfected.

— Leigh Bravo blogs at The Trumpet.

 

N. A. HALKIDES

Economics in One Lesson, by Henry Hazlitt

Several of the veils of ignorance that must be lifted if this nation is to survive are economic in nature. In particular, Keynesian economics must be thoroughly discredited so that the political Left loses one of its excuses for its preferred mode of budget financing: deficit spending. The very idea that deficit spending could somehow be good for the economy is so stupid on its face that it’s hard to imagine Keynes and other economists could have ever believed it. It has persisted, however, perhaps because economics, like other social sciences, has the great weakness of being unable to test its own theories with the exactitude of the natural sciences. Thus every time deficit spending fails to “stimulate” the economy, Keynesians simply argue that the amount of spending wasn’t enough!

Of course, deficit spending isn’t the only bad economic idea advocated by the Left. Minimum wage laws, rent control, and government price-fixing in general are all still with us after years of failure, amazingly enough, and unions are still considered beneficial in many quarters. High taxes are imposed by the Left with outright glee, so ignorant or unconcerned are they by the discouragement of production that results.

To the rescue comes Henry Hazlitt with this little book. Hazlitt’s main method is to use logic to demonstrate how statist economic ideas are wrong, and he does so by repeating the same lesson:

The art of economics consists in looking not merely at the immediate but at the longer effects of any act or policy; it consists in tracing the consequences of that policy not merely for one group but for all groups.

The first myth to be exploded from the application of this lesson is the broken-window fallacy, which as explained by the great economist Bastiat is the idea that destruction creates new employment, in this case for the glazier. Government loan guarantees and public works are next to be examined in a critical light. Admirers of Barack Obama will be crestfallen to learn that contrary to his belief, ATM machines and other advances in technology have not hurt the economy. In short, this book lives up to its title: everything the ordinary citizen needs to understand about basic economics will be found here.

Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand

This may seem a strange choice, since Rand was no Conservative (see The Objectivist/Conservative Schism for more). It might seem even stranger when we remember that Rand’s avowed purpose in writing the book was not to educate the public on the subject of politics but rather to depict men as they should be – in other words, heroes – and that Bennett Cerf at Random House decided to publish it for neither of those two reasons but rather because he recognized the thriller plot at its core that would sell lots of copies.

The impact of that thriller plot is somewhat diminished by the book’s great length, and as for presenting Man as a heroic concept, I think Rand’s earlier book, The Fountainhead, was more successful, perhaps because it had only one leading man, architect Howard Roark, allowing for a more concentrated effect. But what Rand may have considered a secondary issue is what to my mind she did best and what is the greatest value of this book: presenting the gradual paralysis and inevitable destruction of a nation’s economy as the government imposes progressively more controls, making it impossible for men to produce.

We witness the difficulties businessmen experience in trying to comply with ever-more arbitrary regulations, some of them contradictory, to the point that railroads and oil refineries are driven out of business, and metals magnate Hank Rearden is ordered to produce steel at a price he points out to the irrational regulators will be a net loss for him. At one point, Rearden and Dagny Taggart go searching for the great factory that had once produced automobiles for 20th Century Motors until government controls drove them out of business:

“A rusted padlock hung on the door in the main entrance, but the huge windows were shattered and the place was open to anyone, to the woodchucks, the rabbits and the dried leaves that lay in drifts inside… They stopped in the great hall where a ray of light fell diagonally from a gap in the ceiling, and the echoes of their steps rang around them, dying far away in rows of empty rooms. A bird darted from among the steel rafters and went in a hissing streak of wings out into the sky.“ [p.268]

This description could apply to the factory ruins in Detroit today, and the cause is exactly the same: government controls, principally labor laws entrenching the UAW with a monopoly on labor and regulations forcing automakers to adopt unprofitable designs to meet EPA mileage standards, have destroyed the city’s once-thriving auto industry and turned Detroit into something that looks like it came out of the undeveloped world.

During the course of the novel, we meet a number of men who have “gone on strike” to protest their exploitation by the statists Rand doesn’t call by any particular name other than “looter” and which we nowadays should call the Progressive (Democratic Party) Left. One of the more interesting cases is one of those Rand spends the least time on, Dr. Hendricks. Here he explains why he left the practice of medicine:

“I quit when medicine was placed under State control, some years ago,” said Dr. Hendricks. “Do you know what it takes to perform a brain operation? Do you know the kind of skill it demands, and the years of passionate, merciless, excruciating devotion that go to acquire that skill? That was what I would not place at the disposal of men whose sole qualification to rule me was their capacity to spout the fraudulent generalities that got them elected to the privilege of enforcing their wishes at the point of a gun. I would not let them dictate the purpose for which my years of study had been spent, or the conditions of my work, or my choice of patients, or the amount of my reward. I observed that in all the discussions that preceded the enslavement of medicine, men discussed everything – except the desires of the doctors. Men considered only the ‘welfare’ of the patients, with no thought for those who were to provide it. That a doctor should have any right, desire or choice in the matter was regarded as irrelevant selfishness; his is not to choose, they said, only ‘to serve.’ That a man who’s willing to work under compulsion is too dangerous a brute to entrust with a job in the stockyards – never occurred to those who proposed to help the sick by making life impossible for the healthy. I have often wondered at the smugness with which people assert their right to enslave me, to control my work, to force my will, to violate my conscience, to stifle my mind – yet what is it that they expect to depend on, when they lie on an operating table under my hands? Their moral code has taught them to believe that it is safe to rely on the virtue of their victims. Well, that is the virtue I have withdrawn. Let them discover the kind of doctors that their system will now produce. Let them discover, in their operating rooms and hospital wards, that it is not safe to place their lives in the hands of a man whose life they have throttled. It is not safe, if he is the sort of a man who resents it – and still less safe, if he is the sort who doesn’t.”

I have often thought that everyone who claims Obamacare is a good thing should be forced to read this and then answer the question, “By what right do you enslave doctors, businessmen, and in fact all of us forced at gunpoint to obey the individual mandate? What do you think gives you the right?” Leftists who finally understand the moral issues involved and give up trying to socialize medicine would be spared, those who go on whining about the “needs” of the “uninsured” trumping individual rights would be taken out and shot. A rather extreme fantasy, perhaps, but there would be justice in it, and I think much of the appeal of Atlas Shrugged lies in its essential justice: the good people who produce triumph over the bad people who desire to rule them and who make production impossible.

I’m hardly the first person to point out that Atlas Shrugged is coming true today in the age of Obama, but the fact that it is coming true is proof of Rand’s prescience, and more importantly, of something she well understood: human history is determined by the ideas that rule civilization at any particular time. Those who do not understand today’s economic stasis with low production and employment could do no better than read this book if they truly desire to learn the reason for our present miseries.

— Nik is a freelance conservative curmudgeon and commentator who, in a perfect world, would be editor of NRO.

 

KUNG FU ZU

Blacklisted by History: The Untold Story of Senator Joe McCarthy, by M. Stanton Evans.

For nearly sixty years, to accuse one of being a “McCarthyite” or of using similar methods as those used by Senator Joe McCarthy has been one of the most damning charges which can be hurled at an American. It is probably only slightly less damning than being called a “racist.” And like that allegation, the point of the accuser is to silence all discussion on the particular subject at hand. It is better to silence one’s opponent than to be forced to defend one’s position with facts which may not be in one’s favor.

Senator McCarthy’s name has become associated with just about all of the seven deadly sins and in the public mind he is sitting at the right hand of Satan. This image of Joe McCarthy, the demon, has become so fixed in our national psyche that it is used by both the right and left when either side wishes to accuse the other side of some dastardly deed.

Unfortunately, this perceived wisdom is wrong, as so much that is “known” today, is wrong.

In Blacklisted by History, Evans shows McCarthy was much better informed on the communist threat to the US government than was officially acknowledged at the time. Evans shows that the names that McCarthy mentioned were, most often, spies in the employee of the Soviets or people who helped such spies. Perhaps more damaging is the way Evans illustrates how McCarthy was hindered in his investigations by powerful forces in both parties — forces who knew much of what McCarthy said was fact.

Using extensive government documentation, including previously unexamined FBI records, Evans does much to rehabilitate McCarthy’s name for posterity. As anyone with the slightest knowledge of history should know, government insiders will often close ranks against an outsider who has not learned to toe the party line; the party line being big government.

The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce, by Judith S. Wallerstein, Julia M. Lewis and Sandra Blakeslee

The “sexual revolution” and no-fault divorce are two developments which were born in the 1960’s and have done immeasurable damage to society. The raw numbers on the damage are easy to hunt down. The statistics regarding illegitimacy, child abuse, poverty, and the like are updated every year and only fools or liars deny the problems which have arisen from the rubble of the traditional moral framework which the Left and the gullible have successfully demolished. But long-term studies of dealing with individual children from divorced parents are not terribly numerous.

No-fault divorce, like many of the social diseases which infect our society, originated in California. In 1971, just two years after Governor Reagan — yes that Reagan — signed the first no-fault divorce legislation into law, Dr. Wallerstein began a study of 131 children whose parents had recently divorced. This study continued for twenty five years following these children into adulthood. Dr. Wallerstein wrote several books about this study, with this being the last. Among other things, Dr. Wallerstein wished to show her readers how the divorce of one’s parents during one’s childhood reverberated for decades in a person’s life. She does this by reporting on several of the study’s children whose experiences were representative of the larger group. Thus this is not a book about statistics, but about individuals who, through no fault of their own, suffered emotionally over a period of years.

Dr. Wallerstein is not against all divorce, but she shows that the potential damage done to children of divorce was too easily ignored by just about all those who thought no-fault divorce was the Yellow Brick Road to happiness.

In one poignant paragraph the author notes, “Not one of the men or women from divorced families whose lives I report on in this book wanted their children to repeat their childhood experiences. Not one ever said, ‘I want my children to live in two nests—or even two villas.’ They envied friends who grew up in intact families. Their entire life stories belie the myths we’ve embraced.”

Hmmm, “the myths we’ve embraced.” In the fourteen years since this book was published, America appears to have embraced such myths more wholeheartedly than ever. If we are to ever regain our bearings and shatter such myths, we could do worse than absorbing some of the lessons taught in this book.

— Kung Fu Zu is a conservative prognosticator who has traveled widely and lived outside the United States.

 

TIMOTHY LANE

I have reviewed a number of books here over the past year, and a substantial number of these were explicitly intended to express a significant point. In some cases, such as A Planet for Texans by Piper and McGuire, this probably wouldn’t be appropriate as a book designed to introduce someone to conservative ideas.

Others were reviewed precisely for that reason. The Road to Damascus by Ringo and Evans, we see how quickly freedom can be lost, the importance of the right to arm oneself, and (both by demonstration, and by the explanation of the Bolo to its assistant, which superbly explains the nature of welfare-state liberalism). Sunset of the Gods by White demonstrates the dangers of elitism (particularly the danger that it can lead to contempt for ordinary people) as well as the importance of Western civilization. More recently, A Few Good Men by Hoyt made several important philosophical points from the libertarian-conservative point of view, dealing with such concepts as precisely why individual rights are important, on the danger of placing the group above the individual, and on the danger of sacrificing principles out of expediency.

My submission here will look at two writers, and in particular two items by them. Keith Laumer was not a major science fiction writer, but he was fairly significant. He was best known for his stories about Bolo tanks (which have also attracted other writers, as exemplified by the Ringo-Evans book) and about adventurous diplomat Jame Retief and his struggles against the enemies – including the government’s own red tape. (As a former diplomat himself, Laumer knew something about this sort of thing.)

One story of his is The Plague, which I have in a collection called The Big Show, but may well have appeared elsewhere as well. In this one, a homesteading farmer finds his land being grabbed before he has gained full title by a semi-official (and very influential) group that sets up relocation centers for the “underprivileged” from Welfare Centers. He soon realizes that they were simply waiting until he had a good enough farm to be worth stealing. After all, doesn’t everyone have a right to “Nature’s bounty,” and what are his private property rights compared to the welfare of the poor? Such questions are hardly new (the 1862 Sioux rebellion was sparked at least partly by an Indian hunting party that robbed a chicken coop on much the same grounds, murdering the owner who didn’t want to share his portion of “Nature’s bounty”), and neither is the correct response – there’s a difference between what Nature provides and what Nature makes available if you work hard at it. But then as now, many people are happy to ignore that distinction.

The homesteader, Nolan, finds himself forced to fight for his home and his land against a ruthless enemy. He does have a little help that the invaders are unaware of, and at least one of the invaders will learn a lesson in values. But the questions raised by this story are, if anything, even more important today than they were when the story first came out (it was originally published in Analog in 1970).

Robert Heinlein was an interesting writer, at times as good as there was in the field. (I had read only a few pages into Citizen of the Galaxy, perhaps the magnum opus of his nominally juvenile fiction, when I said, “This is why Heinlein is the master.” But a lot of his more recent works would never give one such an impression.) He tended to press his political views very strongly, which shows up in such novels as Starship Troopers and The Puppet Masters (neither of which should be judged by the movie based on it), and even more so The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, a novel of libertarian revolution. He also (particularly when he wasn’t writing for John W. Campbell and Kay Tarrant at Astounding Science Fiction aka Analog) included a considerable amount of sex (Heinlein sometimes seemed to regard sex as the only significant human drive, and could be almost obsessive in writing about it).

But my prime subject here will be the novel, Double Star, in which an actor is hired as a stand-in for a famous politician who was recently kidnapped at a time when he has a function he must attend (and precisely to keep him from it, with potentially severe consequences). Basically non-political (though he dislikes the particular politician he’s – hopefully temporarily – replacing for more or less personal reasons), he finds himself forced to figure out where he really stands on issues, and comes to see the virtue in the views he must espouse (and also gets some introduction to the nuts and bolts of political campaigning, which Heinlein knew from his personal experience in his younger days when he supported Upton Sinclair’s 1934 EPIC campaign, and wrote about in more detail in a short story, “A Bathroom of Her Own”).

All of this can be interesting; Double Star was voted a Hugo Award by science fiction fans (the award was only a few years old at the time). But I include it here because of the conclusion the actor comes to as to the duty of a statesman to concern himself with the condition of ordinary people: “Perhaps their lives have no cosmic significance, but they have feelings. They can hurt.” Not the best phrasing, perhaps, but Heinlein (his major characters tended to be stand-ins for him to varying extents) is basically pointing out the importance of ordinary individuals. In a day when politicians usually give this only lip-service, it can be well to remember that ultimately this is the justification (if all too often not the purpose) of government.

— Timothy Lane writes from Louisville, Kentucky and publishes the FOSFAX fanzine.

 

BRAD NELSON

Other than Jonah Goldberg’s book, Liberal Fascism, the book I quote from more than any other is Mark Steyn’s American Alone. It’s the concise, if gloomy, summing-up of the results of the policies of the Left. Multiculturalism, diversity, and non-judgmentalism might give someone a self-satisfying sense of being among the most compassionate and enlightened. But have these same people looked beyond their own noses to see the actual results of these beliefs?

Steyn has, and it isn’t pretty. In America Alone, Steyn doesn’t just harangue the Left. He shows, using plenty of easy-to-understand statistics, the effect various Leftist policies are having on Europe. If you like the fact that the most numerous name for newborn babies in all of Britain is some version of the name, “Mohammed,” then good for you. But if you think Western Civilization is a unique and good thing worth preserving, then the picture Steyn paints is alarming.

And although no refutation of the pleasing delusions of the Left is going to be cheered by those same people, Steyn’s polemics are of the readable kind. I wouldn’t, for example, suggest a book by Ann Coulter as the breeze to blow back the liberal fog that many find themselves in. It’s not that she’s not right. It’s that she’s a bit bombastic. And for the tender girly-man sensibilities of your typical liberal, she’s too much. I love her. But I admit she’s too much for most.

Mark Steyn, on the other hand, is just plain funny. No one offers such a frank assessment of the doom of the West (if we keep following our current suicidal policies) and does it with such humor and good grace. Steyn writes well, is to the point, is fact-filled, and is downright cool. And cool might be what it takes to get through the minds of those indoctrinated by the Left. If despising Christians and loving Muslims is your preferred orientation to life, Mark will show you exactly where those beliefs will take you.

And if cool is the way to reach across the aisle and slap some sense into a few liberals, then you could do worse than suggest a book by the very cool, and very funny, Adam Carolla. Carolla may be approachable by Leftist-indoctrinated yutes if only because he liberally throws around the f-bomb. He speaks the language of the counter-culture (as toxic and draining as this can be at times) while refuting that same culture. I would recommend as a starter book his In Fifty Years We’ll All Be Chicks. It’s only $2.99 for the Kindle, so even those yutes made poor by Progressive policies can likely afford it. Here’s a brief excerpt from the opening pages:

My son, I worry about. I’m pretty sure he’s gonna be gay. At this point I’m just hoping he’s not a bottom. Sorry to sound closed-minded and uptight, but let’s face it, no dad wants his son to go gay. Not only do you get no grandkids, but I’m sure high school is no picnic for a fifteen-year-old gay boy. On the other hand, maybe I’m just viewing this through the bifocals of an old heterosexual dude. The way things are going, my son will probably get his ass kicked for not being gay. “Carolla thinks he’s too good to suck cock. Come on, boys, let’s get him.”

Never mind gay. At the rate we’re moving in a couple of years you won’t be able to tell the difference between chicks and dudes.

Carolla is not everyone’s cup of tea. He’s a secular sort with not much soul in the traditional sense. But he is the ambassador for conservatism (such as Carolla imparts it) that the crowd who equates “vulgar” with “vanguard” might listen to. But he’s just a stage to the end goal, Carolla himself being too stuck in the mindless and vulgar counter-culture. But he could be a stepping stone on the journey away from the Junk Culture of the Left via a reconsideration of one’s most basic assumptions — f-bombs and all.

— Brad Nelson is editor and publisher of StubbornThings.org.

 

PATRICIA L. DICKSON

If I had to list the life changing events in my life, I would have to include the semester that I took my first critical thinking course. I was an adult woman that had been in the military for a number of years when I decided it was time to complete my college education, so I enrolled in evening classes after work. Before I enrolled in the critical thinking class, I thought that I was a logical thinker (I always valued being blessed with common sense). However, I soon learned that although I did have a tremendous amount of common sense, I lacked critical thinking skills. The root cause of my skewed thinking skills was because many of my beliefs at the time were based on false premises. If one begins his or her thought process with a false premise, the rest of the entire thinking process will lead to a false conclusion. I immediately began to apply the concepts that I learned in that class in every area of my life. I learned so much in that first class that I elected to enroll in an additional two classes in philosophy and critical thinking. I have since joined a professional critical thinking organization.

The problem that America is facing today is the inability of the vast majority of the citizen to think critically. A male Liberal colleague and I were discussing the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision. He began the discussion by immediately stating that he thought the decision was stupid and that Hobby Lobby was wrong for denying women birth control. I informed him that before the Supreme Court hearing, Hobby Lobby was already providing sixteen forms of birth control. I also informed him that the reason Hobby Lobby’s case went to the Supreme Court was due to the requirement under Obamcare that would force a business to provide the morning after pill which is a form of abortion.  He was surprised and said that he was not aware of that. How do you comment on an issue if you do not have the facts? Why was he so quick to believe that Hobby Lobby wanted to deny women birth control? It was because he believed the false premise parroted by the media that conservative Christians are bigoted sexually repressed people that want to control the lives of others. Once you accept that premise, it is easy to believe the ridiculous meme that a Christian business owner’s agenda is to prevent women from having access to birth control. Any rational person would have come to the same decision as the courts and the media knows that and that is why they made it about birth control instead of abortion. The media’s first step is to create a false premise and then appeal to the emotions of the people with mush for brains. All of this is done to distract from the disastrous policies of the current administration.

I sometimes visit the websites owned and operated by black Americans. The one thing that is common on every site is the accepted false premise that every criticism of Obama is based on racism. Every article published on the sites brushes over the issues at hand and gets right down to the root cause of the opposition…….racism. The majority of the comments on the sites reinforce the same meme. How sad that the readers cannot see past false premises and participate in an honest intelligent discussion.

Critical thinking is critical as noted by Anniel, for the survival of this republic. The media has basically abandoned its responsibility of reporting facts in exchange for distracting, propagandizing and protecting. It is imperative that individuals acquire and hone critical thinking skills in order to navigate through the lies and distortions coming from the mainstream media. I recommend Set of Twenty Two Thinker’s Guides by Dr. Richard Paul & Dr. Linda Elder for anyone that lacks or wants to improve their critical thinking skills.

Every morning after reading the Drude Report, I tell my Liberal colleagues that American is gone and it is going to be difficult to bring it back.  However, they (have their heads in the sand) begin their morning reading the Huffington Post and they believe everything is just fine. They think that I am the modern day Chicken Little crying, “The sky is falling.” 

— Patricia Dickson blogs at Patricia’s Corner. She can be reached at dicksonpat@sky.com. • (4015 views)

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23 Responses to How to Educate the Ignorant Masses

  1. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Thanks to all the symposium contributors. I, for one, really enjoyed reading all these. A couple more could trickle in tomorrow. If they do, I’ll just add them onto the end.

    I’d like to do something like this at least once a month or so. Pick a topic. Suggest a topic. I’m not quite sure how to organize this “democratically.” I don’t want to have to choose. I’d rather collect those who volunteer. I think I’d like to just post a notice and take the first 10 people or so who commit to writing something.

    As for choosing the topic, perhaps I’ll present a poll with some logical choices. But I hope this type of project (besides the gaud-awful amount of work in the background…not complaining, just sayin’) is looked at as a fun thing to do and not a chore. And I’m especially looking to attract those people who may not desire to write a full article but can manage four or five paragraphs on some topic dear to their heart.

    I’ll open the next subject up to The Ten Commandments gang. But because we already have #8 coming up soon, I just wanted to get a variety and not over-tax these good writers who are already contributing so much.

    • David Ray says:

      How would I submit a short and sweet essay on “Why I quit watching NCIS.”? (If you use your editing skills, I promise not to go apoplectic like Ann Coulter did with NRO.)

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        Just send it to “submissions@stubbornthings.org”. Or click on that blue graphic on the right side of the web site, near the top.

  2. Timothy Lane says:

    There are several books here I’m quite familiar with. Hazlitt’s Economics in One Lesson gave me my introduction to Frederic Bastiat and his Broken Window Fallacy (from an essay of his that I unfortunately don’t have). I would also suggest his message novel The Great Idea aka Time Will Run Back, in which a Soviet leader (after the whole world has been taken over) works his way back to democratic capitalism as the only way to improve people’s lives.

    Liberal Fascism has also been a major reliance, particularly when combined with an extensive library on the subject of Fascism, Nazism, and Bolshevism. There are many similarities between the Obama Nation and Fascism, and Goldberg didn’t come close to getting all of them. I can also second the recommendation of Evans’s Blacklisted by History, one of three books I have (four if you include the novel The Redhunter by Buckley) about the Senator, the others being by Ann Coulter and Arthur Herman. (Herman mentions an incident in which McCarthy, getting on an elevator, encountered Dean Acheson and — ever the Irish pol — greeted him in a friendly manner. The self-important Acheson ignored him.)

    Atlas Shrugged was the book which sent my political views on an entirely different path back in 1972 when I first read it. It has its flaws (such as the humongous, and virtually unreadable, speech by John Galt), but it also has much of interest. Robert Stadler’s statement that the first word of “free scientific inquiry” is far more needed now than then. But I enjoy most the scenes in which she (usually through Francisco D’Anconia) skewers liberal hypocrisy.

  3. Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

    Should we have used the Atomic Bomb?

    There are a group of people in Japan, who use the dropping of the atomic bombs for political purposes. Then there are others who, not knowing much about the war other than they lost and two atomic bombs finished them off, simply mouth what they have heard from others about the bomb.

    When I lived in Japan, this subject was occasionally brought up and I could approach it two ways. 1) tell the Japanese that it was a shame that it had to be done, 2) tell them the luckiest thing that ever happened to Japan was the Bomb.

    This of course got their attention. I would then ask them to imagine what would happen to the Japanese people trying to fight with bamboo sticks when the Soviets invaded Japan from the North and about 1 million soldiers and Marines invaded Japan from the South? I would then remind then that many of the the soldiers and Marines would have already fought Japanese forces in the Pacific and would have terrible memories of friends and comrades being killed by the thousand in beach landings, banzai attacks and Kamikaze attacks. Thus they would, understandably, give little quarter to any Japanese, soldier or civilian, who put up resistance. I also reminded them that the Soviets still held Japanese islands almost thirty years after the end of the war.

    I guestimate that at least 5 million Japanese would have been killed had the Allies been forced to invade the Japanese homeland. Kyushu would have become a wasteland. The Kanto plain might have become one as well.

    There were militarists who were committed to going down in flames and performing national Seppuku, as it were.

    • Rosalys says:

      My Dad would have been part of that invasion and I for one am glad that Japan surrendered. Do we need remind everyone that they only surrendered after a second bomb was dropped? We’ve always been told that the Japanese were prepared to fight to the death and absolutely no information has been brought forth to prove otherwise; in fact, time has only solidified the fact.

      The day after the attack on Pearl Harbor my Dad, who became a fighter pilot and an ace, after calling the professor a communist, walked out of one of his classes at Boston College. As he went outside and down the steps of the building a recruiting band was marching down the street. He followed it and signed up. He was patriotic and believed in the cause, but at the beginning of the war at least, he had respect for the Japanese soldiers who were after all just following orders and had their own love of country. But an incident on Biak changed all that.

      They were on Biak and the Japanese were close by. Some time, I’m not sure when, Dad and a few of his buddies cautiously went down to a stream to wash up and shave and what they found made them puke. By the stream, lined up faced down, each with a bullet to the back of her head, were five or six “comfort girls” – Korean girls, aged 13 to 16, kidnapped for the purposes of prostitution, to be used as slaves for the morale of the Japanese soldiers. The Japanese had moved on and this excess baggage was not worth dragging along. From that moment on Dad said he couldn’t wait to go out and shoot more Japs. They were animals and it was like going duck hunting!

      The Japanese political culture at that time of and the time building up to the Second World War was neither moral nor good and the Japanese were not nice people.

      Dropping The Bomb saved countless American military lives, quite possibly my own father’s. I’m glad you point out that, whether or not they know or appreciate it, countless Japanese lives were also saved.

      Rhode Island is the last state in the Union to celebrate our victory in the Pacific theater. A few years ago, bending under pressure from the PC crowd the legislature officially changed the name to “Victory Day.” My recent job was prepress at a small commercial printer and I was responsible for, among other things, putting together our official giveaway calendar each year. I made a point of listing the second Monday of August as “Victory Over Japan Day” and the Boss never objected – good man.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        A friend of mine once did an article on the bombs and the possible alternatives — dedicated to his and my fathers and his wife’s, all of whom might have been right there (my father graduated from the Point in 1945). There have been a sizable number of books over the years that look into the cost of NOT dropping the bombs.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      The basic problem for those who complain about dropping the bomb is that they implicitly assume that we would have done nothing else while Japan’s military rulers refused to surrender. To start with, the fire-bombing would have continued, and the 4 cities exempted as possible nuclear targets (Kyoto and Hiroshima on Honshu, Kokura and Nagasaki on Kyushu) would have been hit hard as well. The campaign to starve Japan out (literally) would also have continued, and been intensified. The Soviet Union (already pushing into the Kuriles and Sakhalin) would have invaded Hokkaido (an important food source for Japan, assuming the supplies could be transported south despite American bombing and mining) and then claimed the island as spoils of war. And then would have come the American invasion.

      And the price of all these for ordinary Japanese would have been very high, even aside from bombing and the deaths of ill-armed militias (which would have been bad enough). Anyone who doubts this should check out the Suicide Cliffs of Saipan.

  4. libertymark says:

    Errata: In my post to Brad on Unbroken, I incorrectly stated the Olympics in Germany were in 1932. This was incorrect; it was 1936. HT to KFZ.

  5. This is an excellent Symposium!!! Thank you Brad for being so creative and coming up with this idea. What I find stunning is that most Liberals do not read!!! That is why their heads are full of “mush”. I am glad that the authors are suggesting books that I can begin reading, I have read a couple of the books that are mentioned. The main problem that I’ve noticed when trying to talk to Liberals is that they do not have any critical thinking skills and they do not know how to thing logically. Liberals get so emotional about all of their so-called causes and can not or will not see the end results. I expect women to be illogical and emotional ( many conservative women including me are very logical) however, I am floored at the Liberal men that I am constantly trying to discuss issues with that sound and respond like women. I must admit that I find Liberal men to be very weak. Thank you again for this Symposium.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Thanks, Patricia. It’s so nice to have some feedback. It’s great when it’s good, but as I say, even negative feedback is appreciated.

      I plan on doing these symposiums regularly (perhaps once a month). I might just set up a blog post or symposium sub-blog to talk about upcoming topics and participants.

      My idea has always been that as we travel down the road, we are comforted, strengthened, and energized when we collect fellow travelers. And not all people want to write full-length articles as you, Glenn, Deana, and others regularly do. And that’s fine.

      But this site was founded on the idea that we all needed to step up and at least make a symbolic statement — draw a verbal line in the sand, if you will. It was no longer enough to just chirp from the sidelines. That’s why I really want to encourage those who don’t particularly want to write a full-length article to write at least four or five paragraphs for a symposium. And if people can’t find their inner Palin to do so, then that is a regret. But I think most people have it in them to do so. They have something useful and interesting to say.

      Your one paragraph alone suggests a vital topic for a symposium: The Girlification of Men and the Demonization of Femininity. I’m on record as stating that I’ll take all the strong, powerful women I can get as long as they come with the ideas of a Thatcher, Palin, Mother Teresa, or even Camille Paglia, for that matter. Here at StubbornThings we believe in true diversity, not the BS Progressive kind that has one mold, and one mold only, for what it means to be “diverse.” Their “diversity” is little more than a mask for ideological conformity.

      If anyone would like to participate in a symposium of The Girlification of Men and the Demonization of Femininity, let me know. Or suggest a topic for a symposium and post it here. Or email me. Or maybe I’ll get off my butt and do some kind of symposium sub-blog as a central clearinghouse to discuss upcoming symposiums.

      As a fellow traveler, Patricia, you are a treasure to have met.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        A friend of mind described liberal diversity as “Disney diversity”: a group of little dolls of all different colors — but made from the same mold and singing in unison. So they prefer androgyny to differences between men and women (and are surprised whenever they’re forced to face up to those differences, as some magazine cover many years ago notoriously observed). This is why liberal women can be stronger leaders than liberal men; the former are allowed to be strong and occasionally are, but the latter aren’t allowed to show strength (and therefore never do).

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          Walter E. Williams once said that “diversity” means everyone looking different but thinking the same.

          Theodore Dalrymple in “Farewell Fear” does an excellent job exposing and describing the mindset of the counter-culture. It’s contrarianism run amok.

          And the point of feminism (despite those who think they can make peace with it) was never equality for women. It was always anchored in a hatred of men.

          That many women don’t have this attitude is all well and good. But they should realize the motivations of those at the top, just as those “compassionate” people out there should realize that Barry Obama doesn’t care for illegal aliens. He simply hates this country and wants to flood it with what he see as “victims” of America. He’s a perverted man.

          • Timothy Lane says:

            I don’t know if feminism was always rooted in hatred of men. Christina Hoff Sommers differentiated in Who Lost Feminism? between equity feminism (which simply sought equality and was the original dominant form) and gender feminism (based on hatred of men, which became the dominant form later on). As best I can tell, in the late 1970s there was choice: they could align with man-hating lesbians (which isn’t a redundancy, but it’s certainly true that many women chose lesbianism out of man-hatred), or they could align (as they had up to then) with like-minded men. They chose the former.

            This left feminist sympathizers (such as a friend of mine who had been VERY unhappy to learn that I opposed the Equal Rights Amendment on basically procedural grounds) nowhere to turn. Of course, androgynous male Democrats who wanted their votes willingly sold whatever souls they had (e.g., Jesse the Jetstream switching from anti-abortion to pro-abortion for the sake of political advantage).

          • William Manning says:

            A real narcissist doesn’t actually like anybody. Those folks should be careful. Chesterton was/is right; the devil is not only a liar but more dangerous to his friends than his enemies. When he throws them under the bus he’s really going to need all that ammo he bought. Producing succeeding generations of narcissistic whiners may very well backfire when they stop getting what they want.

            • Timothy Lane says:

              It’s clear that Barry Screwtape Obama already has thrown any number of people he no longer found it convenient to associate with under the bus — Jeremiah Wright, Bill Ayes and Bernadette Dohrn, even his grandmother. If he decided he no longer needed his family, who knows what might happen?

    • Timothy Lane says:

      As best I can tell, liberals reason backwards: If the conclusion agrees with their own views, then the argument must be right. As Dick Armey put it, “A conservatives believes it when he sees it. A liberal sees it when he believes it.”

      • David Ray says:

        Dick Armey had another pearl of wisdom: “The more I get to know Al Gore; the more I like Bill Clinton.”

        Armey was also a huge fan of the flat-tax. Former communist Russia has a 13% flat-tax. We have an insanely bloated 73,000 pages. (Needless to say, it’s read about as frequently as Jimmy Carter’s books are.)

    • David Ray says:

      Patricia, you have GOT to be prior military. (If so, I’m guessing NCO.)

  6. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Thanks to Patricia for adding her thoughts to this subject. I just wanted you all to know that this symposium has been updated. We are if anything a dynamic enterprise.

  7. OK, folks — my reading list just tripled. Too many books, too little time — but I’m not complaining. Thanks for the great reviews.

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