Saturday, August 25, 2007

The Tyranny of The Press

I think it was Ronald Reagan who made the observation popular, “that it wasn’t what one doesn’t know that is dangerous, but what one knows to be true -- that isn’t,” which is the role mass (mainstream) media has appointed itself as the exclusive guardian “for the people.”

Most people assume there must be some basis in fact or legitimacy for their doing so -- but it has to be demonstrated and proven freshly each day (word), rather than becoming just a habit because there are not more convenient sources to turn to. That was largely true up to the last century -- and then became less true in the age of the Internet, whereby one no longer had to walk down to their newsstand or to one’s doorstep to learn the mantras for the day, or even have to turn the pages and dirty one’s fingers.

But that made other sources as easily accessible too -- if one could recognize and wanted that input. The others, still operating in the old mentality, continued to force their “information and opinions” down everyone's unwilling throats -- as though people had no rights in resisting them.

The Old Mentality was not used to the idea of communications by agreement between peers -- but still subscribed to the notion that there was those who dictated and those who were merely told what to think, and what “thoughts” to repeat as though they were one’s own, and came by one’s own conclusions after carefully investigating the facts.

Instead, such people were directed to apply pressure to their elected representatives or whatever target, by whatever devious means and deceptions they had no qualms inflicting on their friends, neighbors and relatives. Usually these dictators (demagogues) had no friends or willing listeners either -- and their writing and speaking were of that quality of soliloquies (talking to oneself as the ultimate pleasure in their lives).

In that world, they were masters over everybody -- including mere mortals as the president, governor and pope -- they imagined chastising each day personally. It’s kind of sad to see people acting out their fantasies in such a public way -- of another age and era they hope to perpetuate just by the repetition and revival of those behaviors. They are not capable of recognizing that time has passed them by -- in the last century.

They are still ranting and raving as though everyone still has to listen and obey them -- or be at their unlimited mercy, constrained and mollified only by one’s willingness to relent to their superiority of thought, deed and character.

It’s time for these people to be retrained, redeployed, resocialized and recycled into the great stream of humanity -- in which they will have all the rights of every other, and are free to distinguish themselves on whatever they choose in open competition and forums. But ruthless and terroristic insanity, no longer rules the world. That is the success of the war on terror, intimidation and brutality -- in all the forms it cloaks itself.


At August 25, 2007 10:02 AM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

Power corrupts and maddens -- even if it is just being editor down at the local newspaper, or any other position one imagines themselves to be The Big Boss.

Size isn't everything.

At August 26, 2007 6:08 AM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

For those who track thought on the cutting edge of developments, here’s the next revolution:

The liberals’ war against liberalism: What is so scary about free thought?
Posted: Sunday, Aug 26, 2007 - 12:25:34 am MDT

Whatever happened to liberals?

One thing I have learned by writing columns on global warming the past two weeks is that liberals are less interested in free expression of ideas than in total compliance with their ideas, less interested in critical thinking than in being critical, and less interested in the truth than in their truth.

It wasn’t always so.

In fact, considering that I was raised as a good Democrat and a proud liberal, it pains me to have to admit such distaste for the current state of liberalism. But how can I remain silent when so many people tell me that they agree with my ideas, but are afraid to speak up for themselves because of the names they will be called? How can I remain silent when I have a position of power to defend myself, and I know that young people in colleges across this nation are afraid to turn in papers that contradict the liberal social agenda of their professors? How can I remain silent when there is so much at stake?

Week after week, I endeavor to write columns which raise questions and propose answers. Week after week I am told by my liberal friends that my questions are foolish and my answers are stupid. Yet I wait in vain for anyone to read my last two columns on global warming and show me where I went wrong. What I hear instead is that “all” the climate scientists in the world agree that global warming is man-made and ruinous, with the implication left hanging or spoken aloud that I am supposed to shut up, get in line and do what I am told.

Sorry, but I don’t work that way.

What I believe in is looking at the evidence for myself, weighing it with the scales of logic and reason, and then making up my own mind. I have been studying the evidence on global warming for more than two years, and for all the reasons already listed the past two weeks I am convinced that this is a manufactured crisis.

Telling me that “all” the climate scientists in the world disagree with me doesn’t counter my argument; rather, it demonstrates that my opponent is willing to fabricate evidence. Many, many scientists disagree with the hypothesis that human industry has accelerated global warming to a dangerous level. To claim otherwise does not make it so.

The other argument repeatedly used by global warming advocates to belittle their opponents is to say that their case is supported by “peer-reviewed” research. That’s fine, but many opponents of the Global Warming Movement have also published in “peer-reviewed” journals. Besides, peer review does not ensure that the conclusions of an article are correct — merely that the author followed accepted principles of the scientific method in striving to prove a significant hypothesis. It should also be noted that when a vast majority of scientists concur with a theory, peer review may easily turn into peer pressure. Thus peer review could be a form of peer-imposed censorship as alternative viewpoints are marginalized or denied publication.

It is certainly a form of elitism — basically limiting discussion of serious ideas to a few thousand degreed academicians. Well, sorry, but I spent eight years in college and graduate school, and I don’t buy the idea that universities are the fount of all knowledge. A good idea is just as good whether it came from the barbershop or the “Journal for the Preservation of Self-Important Professorships.” Indeed, the marketplace of ideas is of no value whatsoever unless it is an open market.

At least, that is what I believe. So, too, I think, did Socrates — the father of philosophy. And so too did liberals in the days when I counted myself among them. In fact, liberals are supposed to welcome debate, free expression and open exchange of ideas. But you would never know it when you read the words of the global warming cabal. They are intent on halting debate, even to the point of proposing to make it a crime to “deny” global warming.

It is almost as though liberals are at war with liberalism itself — with the spirit of freedom. Consider, for instance, what liberals themselves say they believe in. Geoffrey Stone, a law professor at the University of Chicago, wrote an interesting essay on “What it means to be a liberal” in which he lists 10 fundamental principals that encapsulate the liberal position. Here are the first three:

“1. Liberals believe individuals should doubt their own truths and consider fairly and open-mindedly the truths of others.

“2. Liberals believe individuals should be tolerant and respectful of difference.

“3. Liberals believe individuals have a right and a responsibility to participate in public debate....”

Say what?

I just need to look at my mail bag to know that some liberals have gone seriously astray in their efforts to “doubt their own truths” and “be tolerant and respectful of difference.” And as for rights, the only one I know for sure that liberals apportion to me is “the right to remain silent.”

Here are a few examples of liberals “doubting their own truth” in response to my last two columns on global warming (note: grammatical and spelling errors have been corrected):

• “Those who claim that research has been falsified have not been able to demonstrate that to legitimate climatologists. It’s easy to make claims. It’s not so easy to back them up. But I’m not surprised that those on the right don’t understand how science works. Those facts are cleverly hidden in books.”

• “The way Frank Miele cherry-picks factoids to match his Rush Limbaugh opinions right down the line every week is absolutely irresponsible. He says there is no ‘scientific certitude about a long-range trend’ but he doesn’t seem to realize the simple fact that there is no such thing as scientific certitude. There is however something called ‘likelihood.’ The overwhelming evidence is that this warming trend is most likely to be due to human activity. But Frank and his right-wing cronies only like things to be black or white.”

• “Another right-wing rant... Frank does not appear to understand science.”

• “With all your latent scientific knowledge you should be the USA’s leading climate scientist. The problem is not that you’re a schmuck, which you are, or that you’re an a--hole, which you are, but that you’re a damned FOOL.”

Nor is this kind of ambush mentality limited to liberals who read my column, and want to shut me up. It appears to be part and parcel of the liberal agenda to bring all humanity into compliance with — well — the liberal agenda.

An example of this mentality was exhibited by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. during the “Live Earth” concert last month, when he jumped into the vanguard of global warming fanatics by denouncing skeptics as “corporate toadies” for “villainous” enemies. Remarkably, he declared that holding a scientific view counter to his own was “treason,” and said, “we need to start treating them now as traitors.”

“Off with their heads,” as the equally emphatic Queen told Alice in Wonderland.

Fortunately, RFK Jr. does not control public policy yet, but he speaks for a large group of people in this country who want to silence or besmirch the opposition. In a sense, the Global Warming Movement is the framework for a liberals’ version of the Chinese Cultural Revolution, although presumably without the bloodshed. Today’s “corporate toadies” would have been called “capitalist roaders” back in 1966 when Mao launched his attack on the culture, history and freedom of his own people — but aren’t they really the same thing? Isn’t the name-calling just an effort to stifle debate?

The Cultural Revolution was an effort to institutionalize Communist Party thinking as the mechanism of massive social change under the guise of inevitable progress. Similarly, the Global Warming Movement is intent on institutionalizing environmental thinking that will lead to massive social change under the guise of indisputable science. Mao used the Cultural Revolution to empower the masses to crush intellectual debate and the free exchange of ideas in the service of the “higher calling” of “class struggle.” The Global Warming Movement is empowering the mass media to crush intellectual debate in the service of the “higher calling” of “saving the planet.”

The pronouncement of the Cultural Revolution included these words:

“...our objective is to struggle against and crush those persons in authority who are taking the capitalist road, to criticize and repudiate the reactionary bourgeois academic ‘authorities’ and the ideology of the bourgeoisie and all other exploiting classes and to transform education, literature and art, and all other parts of the superstructure that do not correspond to the socialist economic base, so as to facilitate the consolidation and development of the socialist system.”

Substituting just one phrase, we easily arrive at a pronouncement that describes the intentions of modern liberalism as embodied in the Global Warming Movement:

“...our objective is to struggle against and crush those persons in authority who are taking the capitalist road, to criticize and repudiate the reactionary bourgeois academic “authorities” and the ideology of the bourgeoisie and all other exploiting classes and to transform education, literature and art, and all other parts of the superstructure that do not correspond to [our beliefs], so as to facilitate the consolidation and development of the socialist system.”

Well, I have been criticized and repudiated, but I’m not going anywhere. Needless to say, I am prepared to struggle against ignorance in all its forms, whether political or scientific, no matter how loudly I am shouted down. There is no opinion which does not have an opposite, and no truth which cannot be challenged.

Liberal or not, it is up to all of us to listen to opposing ideas, expose ourselves to challenges, and engage in Socratic dialogue. Otherwise we will be no more than stagnant, unevolving, politically correct lumps of mud that will never experience the pleasure of walking upright, unafraid and unbowed.

It is time to live the life of free thought that we espouse.


Posted by:mgsorens 2007/08/26 09:08:26 AM
The 'core' of the Global Warmists argument is not data, but the claim that a consensus of scientists agree with them. They claim that scientific measurements (polls) of those scientists show that the scientist are in nearly unanimous agreement regarding that humans are causing catastrophic global warming. But that claim is entirely untrue! I have been unable to find anyone who could direct me to such a poll. The nearest thing I've seen was mentioned by Lawrence Solomon in his series of articles on global warming. That poll of the U.S.-based National Registry of Environmental Professionals, an accrediting organization whose 12,000 environmental practitioners have standing with U.S. government agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy. In a November, 2006, survey of its members, it found that only 59% think human activities are largely responsible for the warming that has occurred, and only 39% make their priority the curbing of carbon emissions. So in that poll a majority of 59% believe in anthropogenic global warming, BUT only 39%, a minority give it a high priority.

Posted by:Jack Rail 2007/08/26 08:51:11 AM
Today's liberals are McCarthyites, just as the Alger Hisses of the Fifties were. They exist behind walls of usually dirty names and skulking dirty tricks such as flattening the tires of GOPers. They call others what they are and accuse others of doing what they do. Someone rightly said that if you want to know what liberals are up to, just listen to what they're accusing the rest of us of.

Posted by:mooseberryinn 2007/08/26 08:13:26 AM
I have also noticed that the present day liberals seem to support free speech, and the exchange of opinions, as long as the speech and opions agree with their own. Or, Like the liberal media, they refuse to report such.


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