Monday, January 11, 2016

Things You Already Know

     That’s what this piece will be about. It’s virtually all I do here: tell you, in my trademarked sesquipedalian fashion, things you already know. It strikes me that it’s time to “leap to the meta-argument.”

     A dear friend I never met in the flesh, the late, much lamented Jeff Medcalf, once complimented me richly for stating the following:

     In the political realm, there are currently a number of engagements in progress in which one side is playing fair and the other is fighting dirty. Political combat is supposed to be an argument, in which facts and logic are piled up against one another, and the legislature or electorate decides which side has the better case. Dishonor on that field consists of:
  • Deliberate deceit,
  • Evasion of legitimate issues and matters of concern.

     The reasoning here should be equally lucid:

  • To deceive in argument is to seek victory at the expense of honesty, and therefore at the expense of the honest man. It deprives him of the choice he would have made, if fully and honestly informed, and tricks him into making a choice (and its consequences) that is not to his liking.
  • To refuse to address legitimate concerns, sliding around them with ad hominem or tu quoque replies, is to seek victory at the expense of candor. The voter must proceed with inadequate data, when the data he needs to make the best choice (by his lights) could have been made available to him.

     Gentle Readers who just read the above passage probably shrugged and said “Of course. It couldn’t be any plainer.” In other words, what I said there was something you already knew, even if you’d never previously articulated it for yourself. I would contend that any American intelligent enough not to stage a mumbly-peg tournament in the middle of the Long Island Expressway would react the same way.

     Yet at this time, the greater part of all political discourse consists of “one side playing fair and the other fighting dirty.” Indeed, the ranks of those “playing fair” have shrunk in recent years. And we the rational and decent almost never object, much less punish the dirty fighters.

     I once tried to blast out some obvious truths in the form of a personal credo:

  1. I am a Caucasian of Irish and Italian descent, whose parents were immigrants from those lands.
  2. My loyalties are to my family and the United States of America. I would defend either or both to the death. Apart from a mortgage and a car loan, I owe nothing else to anyone.
  3. What matters most to me about others is their character: their willingness to respect the rights of others and to discharge their proper responsibilities, without whining about any of it.
  4. I believe that there is an American culture, and that it is infinitely superior to all the other cultures of the world, past or present. More, I believe that Americans are the finest people in the world -- that no other land produces anything remotely comparable to our general standard of decency, justice, generosity, or good humor.
  5. I believe that the races, as conventionally defined, differ in various ways. The importance of those differences is topical and contextual.
  6. I believe that the sexes differ in various ways. As with racial differences, the importance of those differences is topical and contextual.
  7. I believe that homosexual sodomy is self-destructive, but that, at least in certain cases, sexual orientation can be changed.
  8. I believe that there is such a thing as general intelligence, that it is at least partly inherited, and that it varies widely.
  9. I believe that the handicapped should receive our sympathy and compassion as individuals to other individuals, but that they are not entitled to more as a matter of right.
  10. I believe that laws that mandate preferred treatment for the members of any group, however defined, are both unConstitutional and destructive.
  11. I hold these convictions not because anyone else holds them, but because the evidence of my senses and my own powers of reasoning have led me to them.

     That essay was met by a chorus of “of courses” and cheers that could probably be heard on Pluto. I received hundreds of grateful and congratulatory emails about it, and very few notes of criticism or denunciation. Clearly, I’d said some things my readers already knew; no one awakens to enlightenment and immediately bursts into applause.

     But if those are things we already know – things I’d merely put into words, but that others already grasped and would endorse without argument – why was it regarded as a daring act to state them? More to the point for this morning, why are so many Americans reluctant to state them and embarrassed when confronted about them?

     Has our political devolution become a personal devolution? Have we edited our own perceptions, stunted our own reasoning processes, to placate those who “fight dirty?” Are we as far gone into moral cowardice as that?

     One of Robert A. Heinlein’s last emissions was a story titled “The Happy Days Ahead,” which capped his collection Expanded Universe. Its central motif was the elevation, by election and accident, of a black woman to the presidency. Among the subsequent developments, she lambastes the “women’s rights” harridans by noting that women are a considerable numerical majority of American voters. Ergo, if women were to vote en bloc, they could have any electoral outcome they’d like – and therefore, any legal outcome as well. So the pretense of women being an “oppressed group” is utterly fraudulent and has been since the Nineteenth Amendment was ratified.

     Scott Adams would call that “a blinding flash of the obvious.” At least, it should be. Yet this pampered, privileged majority, which enjoys legal and social preferences never before granted to women anywhere – preferences that effectively demote American men to second-class-citizen status – continues to promote the notion that it’s oppressed – and American men defer to the claim more often than not.

     Folly, said the late Barbara Tuchman, is knowing better but doing worse. We know better. What’s our excuse?

     And that’s not the only thing about which we know better:

  • We know that a baby in the womb is as human as you or I.
  • We know that one’s biological sex is an inborn attribute that cannot be altered by any procedure.
  • We know that the Left is actively working to criminalize various aspects of Christian belief and conduct.
  • We know that American Negroes are responsible for a hugely disproportionate fraction of the nation’s crimes of violence.
  • We know that Muslims adhere to a savage creed that promotes conversion by the sword, the subjugation of non-Muslims, the taking of slaves, the chattelization and brutalization of women, the execution of apostates, heretics, adulterers, fornicators, and homosexuals, and the unification of church and state under “the black flag of Islam.”
  • We know that the environmental lobby is animated by a lust for power and a hatred of Mankind so rabid that it has, on occasion, actively promoted the coercive reduction of the world’s population.
  • We know that those who prefer to be called “educators” are far more interested in wealth and security than they are in educating America’s children.
  • We know that the government-controlled education system is now principally a conduit for socialism, radical environmentalism, and moral and cultural relativism.
  • We know that the War on Drugs has been a colossal, ruinously expensive failure, that it’s become a pretext for destroying all rights of privacy and property, and that a great deal of the violence along our southern border can be justly attributed to it.
  • We know that criminals ignore gun-control laws – that they favor legal restrictions on the ownership of firearms that only the law-abiding citizen will respect.
  • We know that government at all levels has become disdainful of any constraint – that it imagines its powers to include anything and everything it can get away with, and the explicit dictates of the Constitution be damned.

     Indeed, these facts are so obvious, so invulnerable to effacement, that even those who promote their contradictions, by whatever tactic, are aware of them. Isn’t it well past time we got off our several asses and did something about them?

     I would classify the answer to that question as something else we already know...which goes a long way toward explaining the great embarrassment many of us feel at our current social and political torpor.


Reg T said...

While I agree with everything you have said, Fran, I cannot- for the life of me - think of what I can do to make a difference. Voting has been proven to be fruitless, although if Trump can win the nomination he will get my vote. I could consider picking off a few of the low-hanging socialist fruit in my locale, but the only change would be my probable incarceration as "one of those pro-Christian domestic extremists", if it was publicized at all, and the "Machine" would keep on driving the country into collectivist tyranny. My tired old brain just isn't up to the chore of imagining a useful course of action, beyond isolating in a small community and preparing as best I may for what I believe is coming.

When you wrote: "Deliberate deceit, Evasion of legitimate issues and matters of concern," it struck me what perfect definitions those are for "Taqiyya" and "Kitman". Old mohammed was the proto-typical politician, save for one thing: he _actually_ made good on his promises. Promises to allow those who agreed to follow him every perversion of which their minds could conceive. Not just 1400+ years ago, but right through to today.

Stewart said...

I've given much thought about your second item in the personal credo list. I find that I too am primarily loyal to my family, but my second loyalty is to what I suppose I would nebulously title "my civilization", meaning Western civilization, European-derived civilization, and Christendom, to the extent that any of these still exist in any kind of tangible way. My third loyalty is actually to my state (Utah, in my case), and a distant fourth is to the United States, to the extent that it does not actively place itself in opposition to the previous three.

That latter caveat largely means that the fourth loyalty is rather theoretical, at this point.