There are two ways of forming an opinion. One is the scientific method; the other, the scholastic. To the scientific mind, experimental proof is all-important, and theory is merely a convenience in description, to be junked when it no longer fits. To the academic mind, authority is everything, and facts are junked when they do not fit theory. – Robert A. Heinlein
[T]here seems to have been an actual decline in rational thinking. The United States had become a place where entertainers and professional athletes were mistaken for people of importance. They were idolized and treated as leaders; their opinions were sought on everything and they took themselves just as seriously – after all, if an athlete is paid a million or more a year, he knows he is important … so his opinions of foreign affairs and domestic policies must be important, too, even though he proves himself to be ignorant and subliterate every time he opens his mouth. – Robert A. Heinlein
We’ve been seeing a lot of this attitude lately, mostly from entertainers.
I was recently asked to answer the question: “What do you think of John Solomon? Is he the evil mastermind of the right wing narrative?” My answer in the link basically asked IS there a Right Wing Narrative?
There is definitely a Left-wing narrative. In fact, there are several. Author and former newspaper columnist Stephen Hunter wrote about The Narrative™ in one of his novels:
You do not fight the narrative. The narrative will destroy you. The narrative is all-powerful. The narrative rules. It rules us, it rules Washington, it rules everything.
The narrative is the set of assumptions the press believes in, possibly without even knowing that it believes in them. It’s so powerful because it’s unconscious. It’s not like they get together every morning and decide “These are the lies we will tell today.” No, that would be too crude and honest. Rather, it’s a set of casual, nonrigorous assumptions about a reality they’ve never really experienced that’s arranged in such a way as to reinforce their best and most ideal presumptions about themselves and their importance to the system and the way they’ve chosen to live their lives. It’s a way of arranging things a certain way that they all believe in without ever really addressing carefully. It permeates their whole culture. They know, for example, that Bush is a moron and Obama is a saint. They know communism was a phony threat cooked up by right-wing cranks as a way to leverage power to the executive. They know that Saddam didn’t have weapons of mass destruction, the response to Katrina was fucked up…. Cheney’s a devil. Biden’s a genius. Soft power good, hard power bad. Forgiveness excellent, punishment counterproductive, capital punishment a sin.
And the narrative is the bedrock of their culture, the keystone of their faith, the altar of their church. They don’t even know they’re true believers, because in theory they despise the true believer in anything. But they will absolutely de-frackin’-stroy anybody who makes them question that….
I, Sniper, pp. 231-232
Remember the JournoList? If you think it’s gone, or something similar does not now exist, I’d like to know what you’re vaping.
And if you’d like an example of The Narrative™ please watch this:
I was asked to answer the question “Is it accurate to say that the left is intolerant of the right’s ideas while the right is intolerant of the left’s behaviors?“
One of the first answers I saw to the question was by a Scott MacDonald that went like this:
The left is intolerant of intolerance.
The right is intolerant of…
Religions that are not Christianity
Skin colors that are not white.
Political views that are not modern Republican
Sexuality that isn’t hetero
and so forth.
Put it to you this way.
If the left were tolerant, of the right’s intolerance we would be allowing them to walk all over actual minority groups who need protecting, not majority religious groups who want to act like persecuted minorities, just because after a few thousand years people are finally evolving past their ideas.
So I responded in kind:
The Left is intolerant of anyone who does not toe their (ever-changing) ideological line. If you oppose any part of their incoherent philosophy, you must be a:
Oh, and “You want (X-group) to DIE!” (Where X is: old people, brown people, children, homosexuals, etc., etc., etc. depending on the outrage-of-the-day.)
THAT is the “Party of Tolerance and Inclusion.”
Why do I say “incoherent”? Well, consider this “logic” train:
Gender is a social construct, but “I am woman, hear me roar,” but anyone can be a woman, but no uterus – no opinion, but transwomen are women, but “I demand women’s rights!”, but men are women, but men are scum, but drag queens are beautiful, but appropriation is evil. – Matt Walsh.
Note that the people trying to end Freedom of Speech, who protest speakers, who bang drums and fire off air horns to drown out the words of people they don’t “tolerate,” are the Left, not the Right. The Right likes it when the Left runs their mouths. It exposes their hypocrisy and vacuity. And far too often it exposes the schisms between the various victim-groups that make up the Left.
So yes, I think it’s fair to say that the Right does not like the behavior of the Left, and the Left hates the ideas of the Right. Pundit Charles Krauthammer explained it in 2002 – “To understand the workings of American politics you have to understand this fundamental law: Conservatives think liberals are stupid. Liberals think conservatives are evil.“
You do not debate with evil. You do not compromise with evil. You do not tolerate evil. You destroy evil. It’s a religious crusade. They are the Chosen People who will drag us, kicking and screaming if necessary, into their Promised Land. As evangelists, it is not unusual for them to enter careers in education, journalism, and the entertainment media. How better for them to proselytize? And, of course, politics, because how else can they drag us into Utopia unless by force of government? After all, their ideas are so wonderful, they must be mandatory!
My answer was collapsed for violating Quora’s “Be Nice, Be Respectful” policy. Mr. MacDonald’s is still up.
Slightly scatalogical. You’ve been warned.
This is not my story. If it had been, I’m not sure I’d be telling it.
I had a dinner date at a very fancy restaurant. About halfway through the meal, my body informed me that I needed to make a bathroom run – quick. I excused myself and made a beeline for the Men’s Room at not quite a sprint, but I was moving with determination.
As I entered, I rapidly surveyed the space: Double vanity, two urinals, and two toilets stalls. No other customer. Unbuckling my belt as I quickly strode to the nearest stall, I managed to get my pants and underwear around my ankles and sat down just as I ripped off a ten-second porcelain-shattering wet fart. I even impressed myself. But as the echoes faded, I heard the bathroom door shut. Someone else had entered in the middle of my performance.
I was mortified. A couple of seconds of silence ensued, then I heard the door on the stall next to mine close, and a voice akin to a movie announcers reverberated off the tiled walls:
“Player Two Has Entered the Game.”
I need to start reading The Bleat regularly again. Today’s gem comes from today’s post:
My favorite term is “free-dumbs,” which marks the latest continuation of the word “freedom” as a signifier of idiocy. At some point “liberty” fell into disfavor with these people, because the wrong people were insisting that it applied to them as well.
Those of us on the putative “Right” are often – and loudly – accused of “anti-intellectualism.” One of their favorite memes is this one:
This was most recently illustrated on CNN’s Tonight program when two of his guests, well, watch it yourself:
Now, I’m not going to say that there aren’t such people on the right side of the divide, but the Left paints us ALL with a brush that should be reserved for a tiny minority. The theme of “anti-intellectualism!!” is wound through their worldview, and I believe it is part and parcel of the Leftist belief that it is they who should be leading us all into a Utopia, if only we’d just stop RESISTING them, and the only reason we resist is because we’re too stupid to see that they’re right.
Robert Heinlein posited what has been called “The Expert Syndrome.” It goes like this:
Expertise in one area does not impart expertise in other areas, though experts often think so. The narrower their area of expertise, the more likely they are to think so.
I’m reminded of an old joke:
A shepherd was herding his flock in a remote pasture when suddenly a brand-new BMW advanced out of a dust cloud towards him.
The driver, a young man in an Armani suit, Gucci shoes, Ray Ban sunglasses and YSL tie, leans out the window and asks the shepherd, “If I tell you exactly how many sheep you have in your flock, will you give me one?”
The shepherd looks at the man, obviously a yuppie, then looks at his peacefully grazing flock and calmly answers, “Sure. Why not?”
The yuppie parks his car, whips out his Dell notebook computer, connects it to his cell phone, surfs to a NASA page on the internet, where he calls up a GPS satellite navigation system to get an exact fix on his location which he then feeds to another NASA satellite that scans the area in an ultra-high-resolution photo. The young man then opens the digital photo in Photoshop and exports it to an image processing facility in Hamburg, Germany. Within seconds, he receives an email that the image has been processed and the data stored. He then accesses a MS-SQL database through an ODBC connected Excel spreadsheet with hundreds of complex formulas. He uploads all of this data and, after a few minutes, receives a answer.
Finally, he prints out a full-color, 150-page report on his hi-tech, miniaturized portable printer and finally turns to the shepherd and says, “You have exactly 1,586 sheep.”
“That’s right. Well, I guess you can take one of my sheep.” says the shepherd. He watches the young man select one of the animals and looks on amused as the young man stuffs it into the trunk of his car.
Then the shepherd says to the young man, “Hey, if I can tell you exactly what your business is, will you give me back my sheep? “
The young man thinks about it for a second and then says, “Okay, why not?”
“You’re a consultant.” says the shepherd.
“Wow! That’s correct,” says the yuppie, “but how did you guess that?”
“No guessing required.” answered the shepherd. “You showed up here even though nobody called you, you want to get paid for an answer I already knew to a question I never asked, and you don’t know crap about my business…”
“…Now give me back my dog!”
Mike Rowe talks a lot about our severe and growing “skills gap,” described as a distinct lack of skilled labor, caused by decades of telling our children that their only path to a good career is a four-year college degree. The “intellectual” life. And in doing so, the plumbers, carpenters, electricians, A/C technicians, welder, machinists, pipe-fitters, and on and on get older and retire, and too few follow them into what are necessary and decent-paying careers.
Because we need to work smarter, not harder.
Mike illustrates the difference between office-bound “experts” and someone who actually does the job for a living in a twenty-minute presentation. Please indulge me and give it a watch:
The “experts” tell Mike the “proper” way to castrate a lamb. The guy who actually raises sheep shows him the better way to do it. It’s an epiphany for Mike. The people who are out there actually doing things understand the real world. They know how things work. The people in the high-rise office buildings, capitol buildings or university campus offices know how things OUGHT to work, and we should listen to THEM. They’re EXPERTS.
And if you don’t, you’re an “anti-intellectual.”
On top of that, the intellectuals haven’t exactly wrapped themselves in glory, but then they seldom (if ever) pay a price for being wrong. University professors don’t lose tenure, cabinet members keep their jobs, or end up as consultants making more money, etc. Those of us who follow their lead (willingly or not) are the ones who suffer the consequences when they err.
We would trust the intellectuals more if they had to live with those consequences along with the rest of us. Or if they acted like there was a crisis when they tell us there’s a crisis. Until that happens, I guess we’ll remain “anti-intellectuals.”
UPDATE 5/9: Rev. Donald Sensing points to this piece – The Fallen State of Experts:
If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs, you’re not paying attention to the experts. Epidemiologists tell us that if we do not hide in our houses with the door securely locked, hundreds of thousands will surely perish. Economists tell us that if we do not return immediately to work, civilisation will collapse. Good luck figuring out which expert has the better advice. Is it any wonder a harried Michael Gove blurted out, “I think the people in this country have had enough of experts from organisations with acronyms saying they know what is best and getting it consistently wrong.”
From Jeff Greason, seen on Facebook:
There’s a scene in one of the Lord Darcy books, where Darcy uncovers the spy. They are discussing who might have turned traitor, and the other party discounts the suspects, because they have money, and so wouldn’t sell out. From this, Darcy correctly concludes the other party must *be* the traitor, and must *have* sold out for money, because he can’t think of any other motive for turning traitor.
For decades, the Left has talked about this or that adversary of the moment is to be feared, because they want power, crave power, would abuse power, and would not peacefully surrender power.
From this, you can correctly deduce what the Left dreams and obsesses about.
It’s called “Projection,” and the Left does it in 70mm IMAX with full Dolby sound.
Schools are shut, we’re in lockdown and I’m playing teacher. My daughter is 13 and doing a project on world war 2. It’s basically a critical thinking piece about why it is important to remember the atrocities with also room to argue that we should be able to forget about it and move on.
I feel incredibly strongly about remembering WW2, for a variety of logical reasons I won’t get into, but also I’m quite an emotional person who wants to remember. However for the purpose of this project I tried to stay unbiased.
My daughter who is generally a clever and kind person just wasn’t getting it. I looked at the reading material and it was all very… I don’t know. Dull I guess? Watered down? Far removed?
Later on she was in a video call with some school friends saying learning about ww2 was a waste of time. Essentially the gist was it’s boring, it’s in the past and we don’t have to deal with these sort of things nowadays. I heard one of her friends say “I don’t think it’s even as bad as the text books made it out to be”
In that moment I guess I decided to take a more hands on teaching approach.