In 1994, while I was living and practicing law in Macon Georgia, a major flood occurred. My living and working in Macon didn’t cause the flood. Although I’ve always been energetic, my talents in flooding geographical areas are limited (albeit kitchens and bathrooms are exceptions). However, I’m including the legal part of my background to make a point, about the tenuous nature of professionalism, in the face of a major flood.
Within a few days, water, plumbing, and food scarcity became major problems.By the fifth day, pretty much all professional work had stopped. Some people began to panic. That’s when it hit me, that local professionals (lawyers, judges, journalists, doctors, teachers), filled with self aggrandizing thoughts about their skills, as needed commodities, were completely wrong. The only skills that were of value were from vendors who could provide food and water and plumbers.
Many in the city and county would have hitched their wagons to any dictator who would have brought sufficient food and water and restored their plumbing. Thank goodness, it wasn’t 2020 and we had sane city and county leaders who decided to call in the National Guard instead.
Had we not received National Guard help when we did, civilized thoughts could have easily given way to the acceptance of terrorism, which first steals our thoughts of humanity and then steals our thoughts of even wanting to think about what we’re willing to do to each other to get basic necessities.
Hannah Arendt said that the Nazis chose innocent people, including children, to put into concentration camps, with little food and water, under the worst of unsanitary conditions. If politicians or sufficient numbers of well known people had been so imprisoned, the public might have united in outrage.
The Nazis’ well planned thinking was that if the general populace didn’t rise up against the inhumane treatment of innocents, either because of their own problems imposed upon them by the regime, and/or because they were given a rosy picture (as the Red Cross was) of the horrors, any dissenting thinkers would be arrested as disloyal to the regime, and the rest of the population, fearing their own dissenting thoughts, could be easily controlled. Once that kind of dehumanization becomes the norm, the theft of thought of anything but daily survival, becomes more and more the norm, as well.
History has shown us again and again that socialist and communist extremist inherited dictatorships or dictators, as victors of a coup, know that if people are kept hungry, thirsty and anxious about their own survival, keeping them controlled -through meagerly doling out those basics- is easy.
Bertrand Russell, writing about the flow of a thriving culture, warned us that “the two great obstacles to freedom of thought [from which all else can flow to make a society thrive] are economic penalties and distortion of evidence”.
About economic penalties, Russell continued: “It is clear that thought is not free if the profession of certain opinions makes it impossible to earn a living”.
Make no mistake, we’re bordering on this now: cancel culture mobs have hijacked a political party that used to be tolerant of differences but which now pays lip service to democracy while attempting to dismantle it.
A woke cancel culture, with the lunatic fringe of critical race theorists setting an academic agenda, has shunned, ruined reputations and demanded firings for those who even question, no less refuse to obey. This political bigotry, fueled by arrogant, intolerant, and unforgiving political leaders, about whom Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, who lived under such terror, warned us. Those kinds of “leaders” who, can change lives for the better, are doing the opposite. Such leaders can destroy democracy by their unwillingness to stand against subtle and overt domestic terrorism.
As an example of subtle cozying up to cancel culture terrorism, let’s look at the lack of character of Kamala Harris who, a month ago, was the only person in the entire country to have been able to have calmed down a guillotine atmosphere in Ohio. A twenty six year “old” (twenty six years young, really) reporter, was fired because he mistakenly announced that Harris, who had been chosen earlier in the day by Biden as his VP choice, was a colored woman rather than a woman of color. Harris, as a modern Madame DeFarge, an intolerant woman or a woman of intolerance (take your pick) said nothing. And the young man’s head rolled.
Overt examples of the cancel culture connection come from Joe Biden and other “Democratic” political leaders in the financial pockets of those who control the mobs (please see my Herschel Walker blog for details on this point). Political leaders and politicians, in catbird seats, rather than speaking up in the face of evil, are silently joining in the audience to watch the guillotine “party” atmosphere.
Harris keeps knitting and Biden, when asked, at the debate, if he, as the face of the Democratic Party, had called the mayors of major cities to offer to speak up to stop the violence, answered that it wasn’t his place to do so. When Obama had a chance to ask the rioters in Chicago (his home base) to stop the violence, his deafening silence screamed volumes.
And the media played, and continues to play, a tone deaf tune.
Russell wrote about the theft of free thought by those who have power over the sources of our information (which should remind us that George Orwell said, those who control sources of information control the people):
About those stewards of information, Russell said: “It is also clear that thought is not free if all the arguments on one side of a controversy are perpetually presented as attractively as possible, while the arguments on the other side can only be discovered by diligent search”.
The woke cancel culture are seen as “frustrated and in pain protestors”, by the likes of a clueless in Colorado, thirty something, college professor (I‘m mentioning her profession because it shows her shortsighted influence on her students). Her information comes straight from social and biased left wing news media sources and her friends who also rely upon those sources of entertainment that has become minute by minute entertainment for the masses.
When I’ve suggested reading other information, such as All Sides Connect, or the writings of Black (and other) conservatives, to gain a more balanced view, she and others like her, who have no interest in exercising the ability to think deeply, have answered that they have no need to study countervailing arguments.
My response, to such chilling arrogant answers, is to cite Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, on the results of a one sided education. Failing to carefully study and weigh the pros and cons of all views leads to knee jerk intolerance of any views other than those with which the student has been indoctrinated.
Solzhenitsyn, on the true meaning of education, wrote: “Intolerance is the first sign of an inadequate education. An ill-educated person behaves with arrogant impatience, whereas a truly profound education breeds humility.”
Social and news media bias, is that young woman’s, and too many others’, highest educational standard. They are so blinded by the biased entertainment, classified as reporting news, that they are unable to see that what they take for news actually meets the lowest standards of education. Those low standards, which appeal to those who choose not to think deeply, have changed the old Democratic Party’s, liberal openness to civil discourse, to a progressive disinterest in the plausibility of other political views.
If the definition of the term progressive is studied fully, the young woman’s lack of interest in other sources of information isn’t at all surprising. Because her party is called the Progressive Party (and not the Regressive Party), she’s willing to accept -in 1984 fashion- that she is a sheep and not in a part run by wolves in sheep’s clothing.
Those who allow themselves to be swayed by a shallow and biased education explains their willing rejection of the term liberal -open to the idea of others- as unnecessary, in favor of a Progressive Party’s agenda with regressive goals.
In the face of the cancel culture’s regressive desire to set us back to 1990s Venezuela, 1959 Cuba, 1917 Russia, and the 1789 French/Jacobin bloodthirsty taste for those who fought against the decline of a civilized change, if history is studied, needing to change the term liberal to progressive is not at all puzzling. And for those who find history dry, reading classical fiction, or even just watching the movie Dr.Zhavigo, will also explain the game.
But, do public schools even teach the warts of history and classical literature that can foster deep thinking, to warn of regressive goals? If not, that educational omission is, in and of itself, a red (in the true sense of the color, as it used to be known for communism’s hammer and sickle) flag warning.
In the US, today, biased social and news media, as the main sources of education and are hosting one big party, allowing mobs to speed up the decline of democracy, by featuring, without any negative reporting, the burning and looting of major businesses (because they have insurance that will cover the damage), along with Black, White, Asian, and Arab mom and pop businesses (that don’t have that kind of insurance), and city centers that house those businesses. The bought and paid for social and news media also allows puppet and in the pocket political leaders and politicians to join the partying, by not holding them accountable for their silence about the violence.
If one wants a better education than cancel culture violence, lunatic fringe critical race theory demands, and media madness, Carl Sagan’s Baloney Detection Kit would be a good place to start. The kit can help a willing user carefoassess what “Democratic” leaders and puppet and pocket politicians aren’t doing and aren’t saying about the theft of free thoughts, by social and news media which fuel that theft.
Biased reporting of criminals as “frustrated protesters”, woke dictates of shunning, ruining reputations, and unwarranted firings are reported as just another day’s news. Cancel culture mobs spitting on Black police officers and calling them the N word, the glorification of “Democratic” leaders who could stop the madness and won’t, and the silence of politicians who choose to say nothing are disgraceful examples of what Bertrand Russell told us was bad news “perpetually presented as “attractively as possible”.
Social and news media, as primary sources of information, encourage a party atmosphere in response to the toppling of our freedom of thought. And, as Russell warned it can happen, it is happening. Our freedom of thought, now at stake (and being burned at the stake along with businesses and cities) is happening because news from “the other side can only be discovered by diligent search”.
It’s up to those who are unconcerned to see that these obstacles to freedom of thought should absolutely concern them: history and classical literature teach us that extremists always find each other in pursuit of the struggles for power over the masses. The historical result is that once the two powerful extremes have fought it out, the winner who takes all, always sees how easy it was to have devoured one side’s freedoms, through the manipulations of which Russell warned us. The victor will also see that any remaining dissenting thoughts can either be easily “purchased” for food, water and sanitation or, just as easily, eliminated.
If we fail to use our detection kits and, instead, toss away our freedoms through thoughtless votes, the destruction of democracy that will follow will swallow up all that we now take for granted. That, in turn, will make freedom of thought worth nothing in comparison to thoughts of food, water, and sanitation.
Abraham Lincoln, perhaps because of his ability to think deeply about humanity, and his lack of easy access to others of like mindedness, suffered from feelings of isolation and severe depression. Today, we are blessed to have access to immediate humanizing thoughts with like minded souls. Let’s not throw away those blessings by shutting off our brains.
All that separates us from the basest of terroristic thinking is our willingness to choose to think deeply about the humanization of each other versus the horrible effects of dehumanization of “the other”.
When sufficient numbers give up their ability to think for themselves and allow evil doers to think for them, they put all, themselves included, in cultural, social and political peril.