The World According to Garbled

by Brad Nelson   2/10/15

I find it amusing that because of the Brian Williams incident that Rush has demoted TV anchors from “News Readers” to mere “Narrative Readers.” I think he’s onto something. He usually is.

In the scheme of things, Williams might be a rather harmless Baron Munchausen-like character of relatively harmless embellishments due to a combination of self-aggrandizement and just being sort of a doddering fool. On the other hand, Dan Rather used his platform as major network anchor much like a one-member Soviet tribunal — for an attempted and self-conscious political assassination. And if I were Brian Williams, Dan Rather is the last guy I’d want defending me.

Jonah Goldberg has weakly defended (or diffused) Williams’ lies as basically big fish stories. I’m not down-playing Williams’ lies. But some lies are worse than others. And as a cultural observer, wouldn’t it be grand if all the lies that were told on TV and in the media resulted in a sacking or suspension? When will the fraud of global warming, of Israeli aggression, of Keynesian economics, of supposed Republican racism, or of even the multiverse be cause for a sacking if not at least some words of correction?

I don’t know that human societies have ever lived with truth as a guiding influence. Humans are adept at lying and rationalizing. Arguably much of our brain power goes toward that. But it could be worse today. As Dennis Prager notes, “Truth is not a left wing value.” Nor, as he was saying the other day, is free speech. One look at any college campus is proof of that.

Rush was even a bit hesitant about piling on Brian Williams. Rush had noted that Williams had always been fair to him. What may be remarkable is not that Williams told a lie that was potentially so easily refuted. It’s that his lie was noticed at all in a media that is one big Pravda-like lie in a society that routinely engages in fantasy about the most important things.

There are probably only a handful of prominent people in the media who see through the lies and understand the opposition. I would put that at a minimum of Victor Davis Hanson, Mark Steyn, Andrew C. McCarthy, Mark Levin, Dennis Prager, Jeffrey Lord, and of course Rush himself. Because the lies are so thick and so quickly renewed with fresh ones, it is very difficult even for yours truly to know which end is up sometimes. And it can’t be any easier for all the rest of us in fly-over country. That is one of the powerful features of lies, and more lies. They bury the landscape like a blanket of snow and you can’t remember what reality even looked like.


Brad is editor and chief disorganizer of StubbornThings.
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About Brad Nelson

I like books, nature, politics, old movies, Ronald Reagan (you get sort of a three-fer with that one), and the founding ideals of this country. We are the Shining City on the Hill — or ought to be. However, our land has been poisoned by Utopian aspirations and feel-good bromides. Both have replaced wisdom and facts.
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50 Responses to The World According to Garbled

  1. Jerry Richardson says:

    Brad,

    There are probably only a handful of prominent people in the media who see through the lies and understand the opposition. I would put that at a minimum of Victor Davis Hanson, Mark Steyn, Andrew C. McCarthy, Mark Levin, Dennis Prager, Jeffrey Lord, and of course Rush himself. —Brad Nelson

    This is indeed very unfortunate. I’m often on the Internet-prowl looking for unexpected others who may possibly promote-into the category you described above, or maybe just by force of temporary circumstances fit, at least on a few issue, into that category.

    One of those possible bit-player people for me has become Sharyl Attkisson who I consider to be a liberal media person. Here’s what she’s had to say about well-known liars:

    Emmy Award-winning journalist Sharyl Attkisson, who covered the story of Hillary Clinton’s lie about being shot at in Bosnia, says she can’t understand how the former secretary of state weathered the scandal while NBC News anchor Brian Williams may not. “To me, part of the irony is if Brian Williams isn’t able to survive it — that we think it’s important enough when somebody gives this kind of story that he would lose his career — yet we didn’t care enough to have it matter that much with someone who became our secretary of state,” Attkisson said Monday on “The Steve Malzberg Show” on Newsmax TV. “[A person] we relied on for honest answers and truths in the aftermath of Benghazi and so on.”
    —-
    “I don’t know, that’s up to the American people to decide, but clearly they got past it in the case of Hillary Clinton, although it was never explained. We’ll see if people can get past it in the case of Brian Williams.”

    Clinton’s gaff came during her 2008 run for the White House, when she claimed she and her staff had dodged sniper fire on an airport landing strip in Bosnia. But news video of the event revealed it never happened.

    Sharly Attkisson: Why did Hillary survive a Bryan Williams—like tale

    What are your thoughts on Attkisson and her reporting?

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      It is a mystery sometimes — even if one is relatively aware of the mechanics of Leftist/Progressive culture — as to why one issue blows up while another does not (or blows over quickly).

      On any objective scale, Williams’ lie is unimportant compared to that of Hillary. I’ll leave it to Rush to explain this. And I think he’s one of the few who could.

      My own guess is that Hillary is sort of “too big to fail” for the Left, so they cover for her. Williams, on the other hand, seemed to be lying only for self-aggrandizement. Had he been involved in a sex scandal, that would be okay. If he were forwarding the narrative of the Left via his lie, that would be okay too. In fact, regarding the sex scandal, unless it involved underage girls (or boys), it would likely raise his status because it would provide him an opportunity to “emote,” to apologize and thus further connect with the average soap-opera-minded Americans. And Rush himself has referred to the drive-by media as little more than a soap opera.

      Regarding Attkisson, forgive my skepticism and suspicion, but her “objectivity” could likely be about being pro-Elizabeth-Warren and anti-Hillary rather than having committed, as Rush calls it, a random act of journalism. But maybe she is on her way to actually becoming a journalist and doing her job, regardless of ideology. It’s always possible.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        Attkisson has a record of investigating scandals regardless of who is guilty. Of course, when this meant investigating Fast and Furious or Benghazi or Solyndra, CBS (whose news division is run by the brother of Slick Barry’s national insecurity advisor) became increasingly concerned. In her recent memoir, Stonewalled, which I got for Christmas, she discusses the Obama scandals she covered. Her view is that the main problem is really at the management level, where all sorts of stories are censored because they’re inconvenient.

        The key to understanding liberal ideologues is to consider them all extremely unethical politicians. The agenda is what matters; whatever helps the agenda is good, whatever hurts the agenda is bad.

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          Attkisson has a record of investigating scandals regardless of who is guilty.

          I’ll take your word for it, Timothy. When Jerry mentioned her, it was the first I had ever heard of her. And I’ve seen so many liberals being trumpeted by conservatives for the one thing they get right (while ignoring the 999 they get wrong) that I’m not very quick to jump on the bandwagon.

          But, indeed, if she is the exception, she should be praised for being in a quite exclusive club . . . that of a journalist. There are not that many of them out there these days. But I remain skeptical.

          The agenda is what matters; whatever helps the agenda is good, whatever hurts the agenda is bad.

          That’s completely consistent with what Dennis Prager says: “Truth is not a left wing value.”

          • Timothy Lane says:

            Attkisson ended up departing CBS because they were so unhappy with her investigations of corruption in the Obama Gang.

            • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

              In the actual School of Journalism (if there was one), being fired by a major network for committing an act of journalism would be considered a badge of honor.

              If I’m hard on some of these people, it’s because I’ve seen this type of person do little but walk baby-steps back to reality. But liberalism is something that needs to be removed quick like a Band-Aid. It’s less painful for all of us if they do so.

    • Anniel says:

      Jerry, Google Sharyl Attkisson’s talk she recently gave at Hillsdale College. I stayed up late to hear it live streamed and could hardly stay awake through it. She is lovely looking, but I got the distinct impression she is not conservative in any real sense. What she didn’t seem to like was being personally thwarted in any way. She had two Q&A’s, one after the half hour mark and the other at the end. They revealed more about her thinking than her talk did. It made me not want to pursue her book and I’d like to know if the Brass at Hillsdale were happy with her.

  2. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    More evidence that truth is not a left wing value. And more evidence that the “compassion” of the left is artificial compassion. It’s more about the esteem of the believer than care for the welfare of others.

    Thomas Lifson has a post about some idiot “street artist” who painted some coexist graffiti on a wall in Paris — and was promptly beaten up by unnamed yutes.

    And that’s the darkly humorous part of this. This idiot muralist won’t reveal the identity of the yutes who beat him up. I think we can assume it wasn’t a group of Swedish grandmothers or Jewish teens.

    And this shows that reality is indeed not a left wing value. What is most important to this “street artist” was his vision of himself as the specially compassionate, open, wise, and loving….no matter what evil he helps to forward in this cause.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      In Ball Four, Jim Bouton mentions an incident in which fellow Seattle pitcher Mike Marshall was mugged in DC. He did his best to avoid telling the police the race of the mugger(s), which Bouton seemed to report approvingly. The idea that you can’t identify a criminal without providing as much information as possible about him was (and still is) an alien concept to the terminally politically correct.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        I don’t blame him. Those blonde-haired Swedish grandmothers are causing havoc all over DC. It just wouldn’t due to give them a bad name. They’re all such nice old ladies.

  3. Jerry Richardson says:

    some idiot “street artist” who painted some coexist graffiti on a wall in Paris — and was promptly beaten up by unnamed yutes.

    And that’s the darkly humorous part of this. This idiot muralist won’t reveal the identity of the yutes who beat him up. I think we can assume it wasn’t a group of Swedish grandmothers or Jewish teens.

    And this shows that reality is indeed not a left wing value.

    Yeah:

    the word “coexist,”written on a wall using a Muslim crescent as the letter “C,” a Star of David as the letter “X,” and a Christian cross as a “T.”

    Ideological dupes such this artist, and political dupes such as Barack Obama simply are not emotionally capable of accepting the reality that Islamists DO NOT WANT TO COEXIST—they demand submission (that’s what Islam means) and if they don’t get it, off goes your head. In this case the disconnected-from-reality leftist muralist is fortunate he only got beat-up.

    There is German word for how I feel about this: Schadenfreude.

    Yes, I know that’s not a Christian attitude, but when dopey Progressives attempt to actually live-out in the real-world their irrational ideological values I can’t help but smile a bit and think: “Well, if you weren’t so totally disconnected from reality and trying to replace it with your self-created-fantasy world this wouldn’t have happened.”

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Ideological dupes such this artist, and political dupes such as Barack Obama simply are not emotionally capable of accepting the reality that Islamists DO NOT WANT TO COEXIST—they demand submission (that’s what Islam means) and if they don’t get it, off goes your head.

      Jerry, the interesting thing about what Obama said at that prayer breakfast the other day is that his is not the exclusive position of left wing radicals. Almost everyone who has been to university the past 40 years has picked up this narrative. It’s become second nature for most. If you criticize Islam, the instant response from many (and not just from Obama) will be, “But what about those Christians, the Crusades, and the Inquisition?” And then you’ll typically be told about how Islam supposedly saved Western Civilization by passing on Aristotle while Western culture stagnated in the Dark Ages.

      For the moment, let’s not worry about the details of this argument. The point is, this is what people believe in large measure. And rare is the day I don’t wake up astounded by the fact that there are a significant number of people in the West who are downright gleeful about dumping on their own culture and raising that of another over their own.

      This would be fine, probably harmless, if we were talking about the appreciation for Chinese fireworks, Russian vodka, Eskimo igloos, or the hunting techniques of some South American tribe. Indeed, cultures throughout the world often have something superior to offer. And this accounts in a large part to the success of the West. We invented some of our own best practices and borrowed heavily from others. Many of these cultural practices that are significant to us were under-appreciated or largely ignored by the cultures they were borrowed from.

      It’s not even in dispute that Islamic regions certainly had to have offered something, even if it was just being a vehicle for transmitting “Arabic” numbers (and the idea of zero) from India.

      But appreciating aspects of some culture is entirely different from dumping on one’s own culture (which is generally good) and raising another above your own (which, in the case of Islam, is generally bad).

      To some extent, one has to tip one’s cap to the power of propaganda and our modern human willingness to value a sense of personal superiority over the actual facts of the world.

  4. Jerry Richardson says:

    Brad/Timothy,

    Speaking of propaganda, I currently have two books in my Kindle library on propaganda: Propaganda by Edward Bernays and Goebbels On the Power of Propaganda by Joseph Goebbels.

    Do either of you have other books on this subject to suggest—could be tangential as well as direct. I thought for a while about possibly writing a couple of articles, but haven’t quite read enough yet, I don’t think.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      This isn’t a book on propaganda, per se, but I once read a book by Robert Cialdini titled Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. There are a couple books with a similar title, so be sure to get the one by Cialdini if you’re interested.

      It’s mostly on marketing techniques and how people manipulate other people. For instance, one of the techniques of marketers or salesmen is the “free sample” technique. And I’m not necessarily talking about a free sample of Tide detergent. Remember when you used to get such things in the mail?

      I’m talking about the technique whereby you give somebody something in order to stir up in them a feeling of a commitment of reciprocity. Heck, you don’t have to look to clever marketers to see this in action. Word has it from my Cultural Experts that the practice of small gift-giving is getting way out of hand among many ladies. Once someone gives you a gift, you can easily get caught in the gift-cycle. It starts a chain reaction that seemingly never ends.

      I haven’t read this book in years, but I remember that what was particularly good about it was that it wasn’t dry. It was filled with humor (relative to the genre). At least once this guy talks about when he’s been roped in by some marketing gimmick or another, even though he’d literally written the book on such techniques. I believe that one time involved Girl Scout cookies or something.

      And, if memory serves, it’s not another dreaded materialist/naturalist worldview whereby the human being is explained in terms of dry, impersonal, mechanical processes. Yes, there’s some of that. It goes with the territory (after all, we do have many built-in inclinations…aka a “human nature”). But this is no radical “scientific” screed as is so typical today (and so unreadable, at least to my mind).

      And yet — gosh — when you see how easily people are manipulated (to the point of electing and re-electing an America-hating Marxist and never noticing it) — perhaps I under-estimate the materialist point of view. Be that as it may, I do recommend this book. It will certainly be “consciousness raising” which, in the true sense (not the New Age buzzword sense), is a good thing.

  5. Jerry Richardson says:

    Brad,

    Thanks. Just got my Kindle copy. I chuckled at the opening lines in the Introduction; the book is now in my reading queue (which is rather large), but I will get around to it as I feel driven by some sudden interest (yeah, I know, a crazy way to manage personal reading):

    I can admit it freely now. All my life I’ve been a patsy. For as long as I can recall, I’ve been an easy mark for the pitches of peddlers, fund-raisers, and operators of one sort or another. True, only some of these people have had dishonorable motives. The others— representatives of certain charitable agencies , for instance— have had the best of intentions . No matter. With personally disquieting frequency, I have always found myself in possession of unwanted magazine subscriptions or tickets to the sanitation workers’ ball. Probably this long-standing status as sucker accounts for my interest in the study of compliance: Just what are the factors that cause one person to say yes to another person?

    Cialdini PhD, Robert B. (2009-05-28). Influence The Psychology of Persuasion (Collins Business Essentials) (Kindle Locations 31-36). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      I’m glad you acquired that, Jerry. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. I was thinking about re-reading it myself. But there are so many books I want to read, that is something I rarely do. Maybe if you read it you’ll want to review it and then touch on some of the major points…or include them on an article or two regarding propaganda.

      One of the interesting things I’ve picked up from talking to my friends (who have conversations with their children who have often been thoroughly indoctrinated by the Left) is how much those little skulls-full-of-Progressive-mush are on guard against “Propaganda.” It’s truly amazing to me that someone can be propagandized in such a way as to view any contrary views as someone’s attempt to propagandize you. That’s a logic bomb that I doubt even Captain Kirk could break.

      In your reviews or commentary on the subject, perhaps you’ll delve into the difference between culture (which is somewhat accidental, instead of essential in the sense of being inevitably this way instead of that, but that does have good pragmatic value in terms of getting by in life) and propaganda which is (to my view) the intentional molding of a mind to a narrow point of view, usually political, with a specific intent to keep that mind insulated and isolated from contrary points of view, and quite aggressively so.

      It’s one thing to believe something and/or to have a cultural habit. Cultural is inevitable and believing things to be true (without being 100% certain of them or of all alternatives) is the nature of being a fallible and limited human being. And, really, we don’t need to know everything in order to function in life. “Good enough” is, well, usually good enough. Approximations (egad, even stereotypes) are useful and inevitable. The only question is whether we are so emotionally beholden to our point of view that to question the point of view (and thus to refine it) becomes a threat to our very sense of selves.

      There is a cult-mindedness that I think is the very mark of propaganda, although not all intransigence, of course, is a result of that. But if something is propaganda, it will infuse cult-mindedness into people and a stubborn resistance to new information. And that cult mindedness we see all over the West as inculcated into unsuspecting skulls-full-of-mush.

      Thus one could do far worse in life than to come to StubbornThings and peruse our suggested reading list. The movie suggestions aren’t bad either.

      That’s a good quote from the book. And as one Amazon reviewer mentioned, this isn’t a psychopathic book in the sense that these techniques mentioned are there for the using as one will. The author gets into the moral aspect of it — almost unheard of these days regarding many “pop” psychology or science books.

  6. Jerry Richardson says:

    Brad,

    At the end of Deana’s latest article, after narrating a rather lengthy taxonomy of Evils, in her next to last paragraph, she asks the very practical question:

    So what to do?
    —Deana Chadwell

    And then she listed some things that I later described as ways to fight Evil in general: Specifically prayer and truth.

    FKZ focused on taking specific steps to fight specific Evils:

    Pick one or two of the above mentioned evils and fight against them. You may lose friends and customers, but the West must be saved.
    —Kung Fu Zu

    I think that one possibility for a person to join in the “truth” fight is to publically, in print, take a stand against Evil, so:

    Thus one could do far worse in life than to come to Stubborn Things…
    —Brad Nelson

    and think through their “truth” and post it on Stubborn Things; and perhaps occasionally make a small contribution. I think one could “do far worse.”

    The fact that we may not be able to conduct large, heroic efforts to battle Evil does not mean that we cannot do small but important things.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      Maintaining the truth, wherever one can, is always a good start. Without truth, we can’t reclaim the country. Above all, strict adherence to truth even when it doesn’t help your own side is a good way to avoid the tribal ethics of liberalism.

  7. Jerry Richardson says:

    Timothy,

    Pass on to Elizabeth that I congratulate her on being with a truth warrior. I suspect she is rather bold in that arena herself.

  8. Anniel says:

    I have tried to listen to Sharyl Attkisson’s talk at Hillsdale College again. She just does not seem too interested in things her audience might be expecting. One man at the end of the last Q&A asked how he could find a trustworthy news site. She looked a little confused and recommended he check around until he finds one he agrees with and likes. She said she thinks Obama really does want to be transparent but is finding it very difficult because of the advisors around him. Kind of the “poor guy” approach. Most of the questions I thought were good she kind of brushed off as “not my area of expertise.” And if the question had to do with history, forget it, hadn’t studied that. I also dozed off a lot.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      It will be interesting to see if Imprimis does anything with it. That would be a good test of whether or not there was anything worth listening to, though it can take a while to decide one way or another.

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

      she thinks Obama really does want to be transparent but is finding it very difficult because of the advisors around him

      Sort of like Hitler didn’t know about the holocaust. It was those bad people around him.

      • Anniel says:

        Yep. She’s still unable to let go of the dream.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        It’s a longstanding tradition, I gather. The peasants, abused by the local aristocrats, would always say, “If the king [or tsar or whatever] only knew . . .” In reality, of course, the king didn’t care a whit. Eventually, sometimes, they realized this, which is why the Ruthenian peasants of Galicia eventually turned against the Kaiser — they finally realized that the Polish aristocrats were the ones with the imperial influence.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Thanks for filling us in on that a little, Annie. I get this feeling this is sort of the “recovering alcoholic” type who perhaps hasn’t quite admitted yet that there is a problem. It’s not Obama’s fault. Yada yada yada. We’re back in high school again where it’s hero worship.

      But it must be understood the kind of mind-farking these people have undergone. To even criticize her own people is a little like a Jew eating pork. And that’s just how Dennis Prager described some of his first movements toward the right (after having first undergone his own sort of youth rebellion). He had been so programmed to think in a certain kind of liberal Jewish way that down to the very depth of his soul he felt like he was doing something dirty and wrong by thinking conservative thoughts.

      So I do understand that it is difficult for people who have been programmed into “Progressive” culture to dump the program. But one really does just have to rip that Band-Aid off in one quick motion. Find a mentor. Find someone you can trust (such as Dennis Prager) and then at least make the assumption that they are telling the truth and then see how that works out.

      But it doesn’t sound as if this woman is there yet. She’s been lied to, and horribly so. It’s almost like battered woman’s syndrome the relationship so many have with the Left. We can wish her well. But she needs to make a bold move toward truth and quit with the baby steps.

      • Anniel says:

        After listening to her twice I thought I might write a review on her, but I couldn’t pin down exactly what was wrong. Behind her smooth, educated facade I didn’t feel there was a woman with much in her mind. Smart in a way, but no wide-ranging intellect. Oh she sinks her teeth into things OK, but she truly is single minded about what she wants. She may yet enlarge her perspective, but watching her reaction to questions doesn’t leave me hopeful.

        For the first time I got an inkling of what happens when someone gets programmed, as you put it. She thinks her mind is open and that she thinks critically, but she does not. The writers on Powerline Blog seem to put a lot of stock in her.

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          I’ll see if I can hunt up the video, Annie, and maybe I’ll give it a view tomorrow. But I have no desire to obsess on her particular case. She looks like so many I’ve seen before. They seem to know something is rotten in Denmark but don’t know how to get on the boat out of the place.

          As I’ve said before, in regards to purely aesthetic differences, or matters of personal preferences, I don’t expect a liberal to change his or her ways on my behalf. If you simply think it’s the cat’s meow for homosexuals to marry, then good for you. Just don’t tell me that not allowing homosexuals to marry is “discrimination.”

          If you wish to kill fetuses in order to maintain a promiscuous lifestyle, then fine. I don’t agree with that, but no one died and made me god. But don’t hand me some horse-crap line such as “It’s a woman’s right to choose.”

          If you prefer to be on “your side” just because it’s your side, then fine. Tribalism is as old as mankind. But then don’t try to tell me that you’ve come to your views via careful reason. Bumper sticker slogans and thinking in stereotypes is not reason. It’s rationalization.

          Conservatives are allowed to think for themselves, In fact, it is incumbent upon us to do so. That doesn’t mean they can’t have preferences. No one “reasons” there way to a love for blackberry pie instead of apple pie. But a conservative is aware of the essentials as compared to the accidentals. He is aware of what is timeless and what is transient. And he doesn’t mix up the two.

          To come from the Left to the right probably means actually considering issues for the very first time. Most Leftists do not think. They simply adopt the pre-fabricated views of others, views that come with ready-made and built-in rationalizations. It’s no surprise to me that that woman had a hard time articulating her views for there is a large difference between thinking you are among the smartest people in the world and actually knowing something.

          It might even be best for some liberals to stay liberals because it’s all they know and all they can ever know. To become a conservative would be as radical as a sex-change operation, although a desirable one in this case. To move from the comfort of groupthink and non-think to a side where you actually are required to have a reasoned opinion about the major subjects of the day is difficult. To expose the vacuousness of one’s ideology is embarrassing and I can understand how difficult this would be to do. Most have spent their lives looking down on “the right,” seeing them as knuckle-dragging Neanderthals of ill motives – mindless drones of business, of the “religious right,” etc.

          To realize that you are the programmed one is indeed a shock. And that shock may be too great for some. So like I said, it would be best to find a mentor such as Dennis Prager. It’s not going to be easy to trust that the “other side” isn’t as devious, stupid, immoral, and manipulative as you’ve been taught…and as your very side has typically acted.

          • Anniel says:

            Thank you, Brad. Seeing clearly in such tumultuous times takes a megaton of energy.

          • Timothy Lane says:

            No one reasons their way to a taste for blackberry pie instead of apple pie — but Ayn Rand, having developed such a taste, would claim that it was the only rational taste — so while everyone else should make their own (rational) decision, apple instead of blackberry would be less than fully rational.

            • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

              That’s a good point, Timothy. “Reason” is used by many (libertarians, Objectivists, and even some conservatives) sort of as an incantation. It’s used like Elmer’s Glue — you can use it to stick nearly any idea to the wall and give it support. What we need is “reason,” they will say. And what they really mean is that if you are smart, you will come to the same conclusions they have on various issues, however they got there (which surely was not actually via “reason”).

              Reasonableness? Even-handedness? Equanimity? A lack of foaming-at-the-mouth zealousness? Cautiousness? A pause to stop and consider? A willingness to allow facts, logic, and evidence to influence the substance of the issue? Not rushing too quickly to judgment? Yes, yes, and yes. If that is what people call “reason,” then so be it.

              But it is usually not. People tend to use “reason” as a way to avoid the fact that many, if not most, issues have answers or preferences that are not arrived at by the inevitable logic of some formula. Libertarians and Objectivists, in particular, are beholden to this voodoo and it is perhaps the one thing that forever corrupts their thinking.

              As I’ve formulated it, it’s perfectly “reasonable,” for instance, to state that one prefers enabling a promiscuous lifestyle and is therefore willing to sort of pay for that by killing fetuses or unborn babies. That is the honest way to state this. And “reason” isn’t going to get you there. This is a moral question not one of “reason.” And libertarians, Objectivists, and most on the Left cannot see past the word “reason” which is used, again, like some kind of universal solvent. It works with everything, solves everything, explains everything.

              I would assume that these kinds of ideas used to be part of Western Civilization 101 or Thomas Aquinas 101, or whatever. Alas, people now gain their “wisdom” from Jon Stewart, from one book by Ron Paul, or from some idiotic “gender studies” class in college.

  9. Jerry Richardson says:

    Anniel,

    Jerry, Google Sharyl Attkisson’s talk she recently gave at Hillsdale College. I stayed up late to hear it live streamed and could hardly stay awake through it. She is lovely looking, but I got the distinct impression she is not conservative in any real sense. —Anniel

    I listened and watched to some of the programming including some of the Q&A on the following:

    “Investigative Journalism and the Obama Administration” – Sharyl Attkisson

    Sharyl Attkisson

    I did not like the fact that Sharyl seemed determined to classify the Obama administration as essentially no different from all other Presidential administrations.

    Sure, I liked the fact that she faulted the press for not doing their job in countering , for example, Obama’s non-transparency and other actions; but in my humble opinion anyone who insists that the Obama administration is essentially no different from other Presidential administrations is actually part of the problem and only accidentally part of the solution.

    Don’t worry, I not taken in by her; and I am pleased that she is, at least, high-lighting a few of Obama’s many thuggish actions.

    …but I got the distinct impression she is not conservative in any real sense. —Anniel

    I have never considered Sharyl Attkisson as a conservative (see my first comment to this article):

    …Sharyl Attkisson who I consider to be a liberal media person. —Jerry R.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      It sounds like Attkisson is someone who either has no political ideology, or is determined to say nothing that would reveal it. Either way, this is actually a good thing for an investigative journalist, who should be ready to follow the trail to the truth no matter where it leads and no matter whom it hurts. She may be a disappointment in some ways, but at least she isn’t an Obama shill like so many others, which is basically why CBS no longer wanted her around.

  10. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    More on Brian Williams.

    M. Catherine Evans has an article titled Does Brian Williams’s Incestuous Voyeurism Trump Lying?

    One thing about the Left is that they are morally sick. Dennis Prager was talking about the idea of “soul pollution” the other day. Who can doubt that this can take place?

    I don’t consider myself a prude and have watched my share of internet porn or stag films. Men are wired to find endless novelty in a nice pair of boobies. That’s just the way it is. That said, one of the very important aspects that Dennis Prager points out is the private vs. the public aspect. He notes, for instance, that we should refrain from public swearing, but privately he admits that a word will come out a time or to.

    There is clearly a difference between the public and the private. No good father, for instance, actually bemoans the fact that his married daughter is doing all kinds of things in the privacy of her bedroom with her husband. That’s what married people do. It’s natural and generally good. But it’s an entirely different thing if your daughter is being sodomized graphically on some HBO series for all the world to see (and gain entertainment from).

    The Left is a cult of sex, to a large extent. And this stems from their deeply-held belief (shared by libertarians) that any kind of restraint upon personal behavior is regressive in some way, a sign of undue religious influence, an impingement of free speech, or whatever. Soon this way of thinking gives way, as it can’t help but do, to the idea that to just let it all hang out is an actual moral good. Having anal sex on TV isn’t reason for blushing but for having your father (Brian Williams) say, when asked about how he felt watching such scenes involving his daughter, “Unmitigated Joy.”

    Whether he really believed that or not, it is almost the only answer that one on the Left can give. To give any other answer is to betray oneself as some kind of old fuddy-duddy who has sexual hangups, is religiously motivated, or any number of supposed pathologies.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      That does sound disgusting. I hadn’t heard about it, but then I haven’t watched NBC or MSNBC news in, probably, decades.

      As for porn, I will repeat Glenn Beck’s computations from An Inconvenient Book: 83% of men like porn, 16.99% of men say they don’t like porn but really do, and .01% are comatose. Similarly, he computed that 78.99% of women find porn degrading, 21% have been married to Charlie Sheen (whose alimony payments must be devastating), and .01% are Courtney Love.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        As for porn, I will repeat Glenn Beck’s computations from An Inconvenient Book: 83% of men like porn, 16.99% of men say they don’t like porn but really do, and .01% are comatose.

        LOL. That’s probably funny because it’s true. I’ve got an older brother (a pastor or former pastor…he’s somewhat in transition to becoming a Dylanite — he’s a terrific singer and guitar player) who has bemoaned porn from time to time. And, well, I’m not in any position to play holier than thou. You ought to see some of the unsolicited soft-core photo compilations of, say, “Women from Bavaria” (full of buxom blonds in and amongst the Alps, maybe with a beer stein in one hand) that one of my friends sends me.

        Of course it goes straight into the trash. The nerve!

  11. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Timothy (and all), last night I read the Kindle sample of Civilization and Its Enemies by Lee Harris. The free sample alone is a terrific read. Lee and his publisher have done a very good job of using the contents of the sample to induce the reader to buy the book. The sample is that good.

    And he describes some things in a way that I’ve heard no other do, particularly the “activist” aspect of Leftitsm — the kind of “activism” that is likely little more about the individual trying to achieve some kind of secular religious experience rather than it being about helping people (in Palestine or wherever). The people themselves are just props. Here’s an excerpt from the free sample of his book:

    Oddly enough, the post 9/ 11 “celebrity comment” that came closest to capturing the true significance of the event was the much-quoted remark by the German composer Karlheinz Stockhausen, that 9/ 11 was “the greatest work of art of all time.” Despite its repellent nihilism, Stockhausen’s aesthetic judgment comes closer to a genuine assessment of 9/ 11 than the competing Clausewitzian interpretation. For Stockhausen did grasp one big truth: 9/ 11 was the enactment of a fantasy— not an artistic fantasy, to be sure, but a fantasy nonetheless.

    A Personal Recollection

    My first encounter with this particular kind of fantasy occurred when I was in college in the late sixties. A friend and I got into a rather odd argument. Although we were both opposed to the Vietnam War, we discovered that we differed considerably on what counted as permissible forms of antiwar protest. To me the point of such protest was simple— to turn people against the war. Hence anything that was counterproductive to this purpose was politically irresponsible and should be severely censured. My friend thought otherwise; in fact, he was planning to join what by all accounts was to be a massively disruptive demonstration in Washington, and which in fact became one.

    His attitude greatly puzzled me. For my friend did not disagree with me as to the likely counterproductive effects of such a demonstration. Instead, he argued that this result simply did not matter. What then was the point of the demonstration, if not to achieve our political objective, namely, an early conclusion of the Vietnam War?

    His answer was that even if it was counterproductive, even if it turned people against war protesters, indeed even if it made them more likely to support the continuation of the war, he would still participate in the demonstration and he would do so for one simple reason— because it was, in his words, “good for his soul.” What I saw as a political act was not, for my friend, any such thing. It was not aimed at altering the minds of other people or persuading them to act differently. Its whole point was what it did for him.

    And what it did for him was to provide him with a fantasy— a fantasy, namely, of taking part in the revolutionary struggle of the oppressed against their oppressors. By participating in a violent antiwar demonstration he was in no sense aiming at coercing others to conform with his view, for that would still have been a political objective. Instead he took part in order to confirm his ideological fantasy of marching on the right side of history, of being among the elect few who stood with the the angels of historical materialism. Thus, when he lay down in front of hapless commuters on the bridges over the Potomac, he had no interest in changing the minds of these commuters, no concern over whether they became angry at the protesters or not. They were there merely as props, as so many supernumeraries in his private political psychodrama. The protest for him was not politics, but theater; the significance of his role lay not in the political ends his actions might achieve but rather in their symbolic value as ritual. His was not your garden-variety fantasy: it did not, after all, make him into a sexual athlete, or a record-breaking race car driver, or a Nobel prize– winning chemist. And yet, in terms of the fantasy, he was nonetheless a hero; but a hero of the revolutionary struggle, for his fantasy— and that of many young intellectuals at that time— was compounded purely of ideological ingredients, smatterings of Marx and Mao, a little Fanon, and perhaps a dash of Jean-Paul Sartre. I have therefore elected to call the phenomenon in question, if only for lack of a better term, fantasy ideology—political and ideological symbols and tropes used not for political purposes but entirely for the benefit of furthering a specific personal fantasy. It is, to be frank, something like Dungeons and Dragons carried out not with the trappings of medieval romances— old castles and maidens in distress— but entirely in terms of ideological symbols and emblems. The only important difference between them is that one is an innocent pastime while the other has proven to be one of the most terrible scourges to afflict the human race.

    I think this is an extraordinary bit of analysis. Jonah Goldberg writes about this somewhat in “Liberal Fascism,” but never with such clarity. When Dennis Prager calls Leftism the world’s most dynamic religion, you can perhaps understand where he’s coming from.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      That attitude of protest as personal expression rather than political act has clearly been followed by the police brutality protestors. I would say that a lot of the motivation is simply an expression of their all-consuming Hate — for society and for the ordinary inhabitants of that society.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        It’s narcissism, in part. At best it’s a severely misplaced sense of compassion. And if one is on the Left (which I consider a religion), doing what they do (going to Africa to help with Ebola, going to Palestine to supposedly help the Palestinians) is often their version of trying to achieve a religious experience.

        In world lacking a view of right and wrong and of a sober view of enemies (which the introduction of this book brilliantly outlines), all they have left is “nice.” They will attempt to “understand” and have “empathy.” They have little to no idea of the dangers of the world other than global warming. Let me quote some more from the free Kindle sample, because Lee has superbly described the naive way the Left views others:

        They forget, in short, that there has ever been a category of human experience called the enemy.

        That, before 9/ 11, was what had happened to us. The very concept of the enemy had been banished from our moral and political vocabulary. An enemy was just a friend we hadn’t done enough for yet. Or perhaps there had been a misunderstanding, or an oversight on our part— something that we could correct.

        This is what the “nice” people have learned — combined with (as Rush just mentioned on the radio) that all these third-world people are victims of the greedy, polluting, racist, and sexist West. And these people are like sheep going to be slaughtered by the wolves — sometimes individually. But they’re dragging our entire culture there because of their naiveté.

  12. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Also, Michael Curtis has a good article at American Thinker titled France Protecting its Culture from Islamists. It ‘s a bit feckless in places, if you ask me. But it contains some good insights and information, particularly about France.

    I have some inkling of what France had become since the Revolution. They mean to enact the Secular State which is the Holy Grail (so to speak) of the Left.

    I also knew that a lot of what they believe in France is pretty stupid and naive. But I was not aware that these following words were an actual part of their constitution: “France shall be an indivisible, secular, democratic, and social Republic. It shall ensure the equality of all citizens before the law, without distinction of origin, race, or religion. It shall respect all beliefs.”

    It shall respect all beliefs? Nazism? Multiculturalism, relativism, and all the other inane ism’s are written right into their constitution. And we all will likely live to see that day that France is torn asunder because of their “secular” project. They are, in the words of Derbyshire, doomed.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      Judging from the author’s regret at the strong performance of the National Party (and not at the victory of the Socialists), it’s appropriate this came out just after Soumission. That attitude is evidently not confined to France.

      This sort of emotive, high-sounding constitutionalism was also featured in the Spanish Republic (and Hugh Thomas criticized them strongly for it). As for Karl Marx accurately reporting the problem of Islam, leaving aside the blind chicken matter, he no doubt was angry that Islam left to room for the class conflict he considered crucial. Socialism preached an end to all forms of nationalism, which worked until their nations went to war (for example, that was when the good socialist Benito Mussolini switched to nationalism).

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        Ditto. Well said. Speaking of garbled, the crown prince of garbled is retiring. Kevin Williamson has a suitably prickly article about perhaps the biggest and stupidest jerk in these United States and, no, I have not forgotten Baldwin, Moore, and company. I had friends once who praised Jon Stewart. The first time I saw Stewart, I immediately saw in him exactly what Kevin is describing. My hat is off to Mr. Williams for not being namby-pampby about it. I like this guy

        The Destoyer Goeth.

        Much more could be said about Stewart but Williamson said enough, including:

        Jon Stewart’s genius — “and for once that overused word is appropriate,” Aucoin of the Globe insists — is that he provides intellectually lazy people with an excuse for forgoing the hard work of informing themselves at anything but the most superficial level about political events.

        • Timothy Lane says:

          Well, to be fair, that’s the whole point of all liberal disputation. Note Williamson’s discussion of liberal newsliars’ asking Walker if he “believes” in evolution. (Too bad I can’t face that question. I could ask them which theory they’re questioning me about — Darwin/Dawkins, Huxley, Eldridge/Gould, Wallace, Morgan, Behe, Margulies, or Watson.)

          • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

            Well, to be fair, that’s the whole point of all liberal disputation. Note Williamson’s discussion of liberal newsliars’ asking Walker if he “believes” in evolution.

            There are a few things that any decent person dare not do. One is to doubt evolution. Others include:

            1) Not just accepting homosexuality but “celebrating” it
            2) Being embarrassed or wanting to show restraint regarding vulgarity, sexuality, or stupidity.
            3) Not just being for a “woman’s right to choose” but seeing abortion as an enlightened thing to do

            And on and on. At the end of the day, the aesthetic of the Left is the very essence of lowest common denominator.

            One thing about Jon Stewart is that he, of course, trivialized truth. But I think there’s a bigger lesson to be learned from him. He was the very symbol of civics being turned into mere entertainment. It was also harmful that he turned everything into a joke. In fact, a popular post under Kevin’s article reprinted part of C.S. Lewis “The Screwtape Letters,” including:

            “MY DEAR WORMWOOD…I divide the causes of human laughter into Joy, Fun, The Joke Proper and Flippancy . . . If prolonged, the habit of Flippancy builds up around man the finest armor-plating against the Enemy that I know, and it Is quite free from the dangers inherent in the other sources of Laughter.

            It is thousand miles away from Joy. It deadens, instead of sharpening, the intellect, and it excites no affection between those who practice it.

            Stewart was the culmination of the hippie culture of “Don’t trust anyone over 30.” Everything was a joke. Everything was a sneer. One didn’t have to make an affirmative statement regarding anything. Instead, one could sit back and feign omniscience by ridiculing everyone else. The juvenile has been elected king. And VDH had an article on that very subject regarding Obama’s juvenile and never-ending snarkiness.

            Regarding evolution, the synthesis of all my reading on the subject leads me to believe that things do indeed evolve. But Neo-Darwin’s theory of common descent is not supported by the evidence, nor is another crucial part of their theory, that major changes occur via a combination of mutations and natural selection. Eventually to move forward on the subject, scientists will have to scrap that theory and find one that best explains what we now know. Frankly, I cannot yet conceive of what that theory would look like for it would appear that completely “natural causes” are impossible as a source for the information contained within a cell.

            On the other hand, the idea of an “intelligent designer,” while not contradicted by the evidence as a general theory, is problematic in explaining life as it has actually played out which is full of contingencies. One must explain why, for example, an intelligent designer of such obvious power would design dinosaurs and yet allow a comet to wreck his creation.

            There is still a major mystery here to be solved. “Intelligent Design” is, at best, a rough placeholder for that mystery. But Neo-Darwinism is dead. It’s merely a secular religion at this point. It does nothing to explain either the origin of life or the evolution of complex forms.

            • Anniel says:

              That C. S. Lewis quote is an article all of its own, and explains a lot. Watching those who laugh that way makes me quake.

              • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

                One can analyze this stuff forever, Annie, but it’s interesting how the first time I saw Jon Stewart on TV I was repulsed and instantly saw the vacuousness of his approach. The same with Obama. It wasn’t the politics he espoused, per se. It was the fact that he was an obviously slimy character.

                Am I a genius about such things? No. I’ve certainly been deceived before. But there does seem to be some kind of “reality distortion field” that some people are in where they see evil as good, liars as truth-tellers, charlatans as grand figures. I honestly don’t get that.

            • Timothy Lane says:

              One might note that Father Brown made a similar observation about sudden laughter in one of Chesterton’s stories, that it came from either confiding his private joke to God — or the Devil. This sort of sneering (as a substitute for honest discussion) occurs frequently among liberals, which is why I refer to liberal fan Darrell Schweitzer as Schweitsneer.

              I will note that such humor was listed as a logical fallacy in Being Logical. The point is that it’s easy to mock and sneer at something, and especially to use it instead of answering the argument.

  13. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    I like how Dan Flynn has un-garbled things in his review of “Fifty Shades of Grey” in his article, Fifty Shades of Beige.

    Men like their violence and their porn and women seem to like their romance movies and novels. Well, it’s interesting that apparently regarding this book and movie, the central character, Christian Grey, is anything but your typical metrosexual “sensitive” girly-man. Flynn describes the appeal of this character thusly:

    Christian Grey might be interpreted as the result of the failure of feminism. But he is really a comment on the crisis of American masculinity. When Steele asks, “You want to play on your Xbox”? Grey laughs, “No, Anastasia, no Xbox, no Playstation. Come.” He’s not like the other loser suitors that Steele, or the female readers projecting themselves upon Steele, encounter. When the dating world offers guys addicted to role-playing video games, imaginary internet sex, and delusion-inducing chemicals, the romance genre can’t help but again romanticize the silver-back billionaire — even one who believes choke chains, rather than diamonds, are a girl’s best friend. He’s an exaggerated male in a world of weakling males.

    Well said, Mr. Flynn!

    • Timothy Lane says:

      Makes me wonder how many women read John Norman’s Gor books, which apparently (I’ve only heard about that) are heavily into that sort of thing. It may be that it’s time for a major production of The Taming of the Shrew.

  14. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Perhaps most have Brian Williams fatigue at this point. But this article is interesting because it shows how he clearly lied in his apology about lying:

    The military paper released the full audio of its original interview with Williams on Monday and it shows that Williams, pre-apology, had been informed he was in a completely different helicopter formation nowhere near the RPG-struck helicopter. The reporter Travis Tritten said to Williams: “what I was told by one of the crew members who was actually on your Chinook was that you guys were an hour behind this grouping of three Chinooks that were out in the front.” Williams responded by saying, “And that’s the first I’ve heard of that. I did not think we were in trail by that far.”

    It’s clear that many people at NBC new about the lie. Rush speculated today that he was probably admired to some extent for his ability to lie, just as Clinton was. A lie that damages the right is considered a noble thing. So there were probably lots of people turning their heads the other way. Yes, popularity and ratings can account for much of this desire to dismiss the lies. But I can’t help thinking that the Progressive mindset (Dennis Prager notes that “Truth is not a left wing value”) is permeated with fantasy and lying. One wonders how they ever know which end is up?

    And it’s clearly not Williams’ lying that is the problem. It’s his damage to NBC news. NBC news, and the rest of the mainstream media, will continue to present their narrative as truth. They will continue to be Jon Stewart but without the big yucks. But it is all a lie.

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