Critical Thinking

A Republic at Risk

When the 1776 Commission was created to produce the The 1776 Report, the normal mindless, partisan politics ensued. The report couldn’t possibly be of importance and was ignored and deleted. So I, unlike many others, decided to actually read it. Here, quoted from the report, is what it was fundamentally about:

The core assertion of the Declaration [of Independence], and the basis of the founders’ political thought, is that “all men are created equal.”

[This] does not mean that all human beings are equal in wisdom, courage, or any of the other virtues and talents that God and nature distribute unevenly among the human race. It means rather that human beings are equal in the sense that they are not by nature divided into castes, with natural rulers and ruled.

Natural equality requires not only the consent of the governed but also the recognition of fundamental human rights…as well as the fundamental duty or obligation of all to respect the rights of others. These rights are found in nature and are not created by man or government; rather, men create governments to secure natural rights. Indeed, the very purpose of government is to secure these rights, which exist independently of government, whether government recognizes them or not.

…the Ninth Amendment [establishes] that the Bill of Rights was a selective and not an exclusive list; that is, the mere fact that a right is not mentioned in the Bill of Rights is neither proof nor evidence that it does not exist.

In other words, the Declaration of Independence is a statement of the ancient belief that human rights are innate and exist whether or not any particular government thinks otherwise. These were the founding principles of the United States, all of which used to be taught in schools. That was a primary purpose of schools after all. The report writes:

Education in civics, history, and literature holds the central place in the well-being of both students and communities. For republican government, citizens with such an education are essential. The knowledge of human nature and unalienable rights — understanding what it means to be human — brings deeper perspective to public affairs, for the simple reason that educated citizens will take encouragement or warning from our past in order to navigate the present.

When the lessons of the past are ignored, the truth of natural rights ignored, and politicians try to undo or work around checks and balances of power, this is cause for great concern. When these cancers began to eat away at a republic, often hidden behind movements and catchphrases that hide the decay, one day people wake up wondering how their government moved into tyranny. History, however, tells us how easy governments can fail:

Republicanism is an ancient form of government, but one uncommon throughout history, in part because of its fragility, which has tended to make republics short-lived. Contemporary Americans tend to forget how historically rare republicanism has been, in part because of the success of republicanism in our time…

We only need to look to that famous republic, the Roman one, and its slide into tyranny, and the warnings it has left us. Edward Watts in Mortal Republic writes:

A republic is not an organism. It has no natural life span. It lives or dies solely on the basis of choices made by those in charge of its custody…The [Roman] Republic could have been saved. These men, and many others less famous as they, chose not to save it…When citizens take the health and durability of their republic for granted, that republic is at risk.

The 1776 Report wasn’t a partisan document; it was a warning. As Daniel Webster wrote, if the American experiment fails, “there will be anarchy throughout the world.”

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Defend Your Rights or Lose Them

In what is a disturbing trend, private companies, journalists, and the government, have joined together in the censorship of speech, sharing of information, and academic freedom. A growing number of voices are recognizing the danger and speaking out. Here is a small sampling from recent weeks.

In In Big Tech world: The Journalist as Censor, Hit Man, and Snitch:

A new and rapidly growing journalistic “beat” has arisen over the last several years that can best be described as an unholy mix of junior high hall-monitor tattling and Stasi-like citizen surveillance. It is half adolescent and half malevolent. Its primary objectives are control, censorship, and the destruction of reputations for fun and power. Though its epicenter is the largest corporate media outlets, it is the very antithesis of journalism.

– Glenn Greenwald

From GameStop Was A Warning: Elites Are Weaponizing Censorship To Keep Outsiders Out:

If there is a Big Lie in American politics right now, it is the idea that censorship of social media is necessary to save democracy…The last thing that the rulers want to see when they look down is a teeming throng in the Square. And nobody benefits more than the rulers from malleable censorship rules that are easily weaponized to restrict, disrupt, or disband the Square.

What the insiders fear is not the end of democracy, but the end of their control over it, and the loss of the benefits they extract from it. Ultimately, the battle over speech is just one aspect of a broader war for power amid a growing political realignment that is not Left versus Right, but rather insider versus outsider. Thanks to social media, the outsiders are threatening to replace who’s in the Tower, and the insiders have never been more scared.

– David Sacks

Orwell’s 1984 and Today reports:

Totalitarianism will never win in the end—but it can win long enough to destroy a civilization. That is what is ultimately at stake in the fight we are in. We can see today the totalitarian impulse among powerful forces in our politics and culture. We can see it in the rise and imposition of doublethink, and we can see it in the increasing attempt to rewrite our history.

– Larry P. Arnn

From Congress Escalates Pressure On Tech Giants To Censor More, Threatening The First Amendment:

The power to control the flow of information and the boundaries of permissible speech is a hallmark of an authoritarian regime. It is a power as intoxicating as it is menacing. When it comes to the internet, our primary means of communicating with one another, that power nominally rests in the hands of private corporations in Silicon Valley.

– Glenn Greenwald

And in Why Are People Celebrating Free Speech Crackdowns?

It is really disheartening to see how people are so inward-looking at only supporting of voices of those who agree with them, rather than recognizing the country that our founders envisioned for all of us…this is something I take to heart in a very deep way like every other service member that we take an oath to uphold our constitution, to support and defend it, which supports including the freedom of speech of every single person in this country, whether we agree with that speech or not. Whether that speech offends us or not.

– Tulsi Gabbard

Realize if you support the suppression of people you disagree with, then you have set the precedent and given power to politicians and companies. The power to suppress and silence you. It always happens. It already has.

So many naïve people will wake up someday and be surprised when their beliefs are banned, their voices silenced. The wielders of power will simply say, “You gave us the power to do so. You supported us even when we quit hiding our intentions.”

Will people snap out of their childish thinking, or choose not to awaken until the nightmare becomes real?

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Climbing Out of Your Silo

I understand that in a sense we all live in a silo, following our preferred sources of information. But…[some] function in a cult-like manner. All competing information is excluded. Debate is avoided. Contact with outsiders is discouraged. Anyone who leaves the cult and goes over to the other side is demonized. To admit doubts even in private is to invite censure. The other side is demonized and distorted. Thus a consensus in favor of the ruling narrative is maintained. Sure, those in the cult are well aware of the existence of people outside, but rarely if ever converse with them. Why anyone would wish to live outside, unless they are stupid, deluded, or wicked, is a subject of distressed bewilderment. – David Klinghoffer

Klinghoffer’s article is directed at the evolution model of origins, a model that scientifically collapsed many years ago. Yet it is kept on life support not by science, but by philosophical materialism.

However, the main point of the piece (quoted above) applies to all subject matter and the abandonment of critical thought. Thinking and research isn’t hard, but we have been told otherwise. We pretend to educate people in how to critically think, while telling them not to question anything. I guess people feel safe in a silo of thought, but from the outside it looks sad. Cults and fundamentalist thinking always end in disaster.

We move so slowly forward, and so quickly backwards, and if you’re in a silo, you won’t see the bricks collapsing until it’s too late.

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Your Brain is a Superpower

Rather than codifying the ‘special’ wisdom and knowledge of a few fallible men into governmental law, we must base policy on the protection of the rights of all men. We need more critical thinking, less mindless trust; more responsible self-education and self-governance, less abdication of such responsibility to ‘experts’; more individual, informed decision-making, less acceptance of one-size-fits-all mandates.

We are not mindless robots; our politicians and their advisors are not infallible dictators. It’s time for us to send that message to them loud and clear. -Tabitha Alloway

What Ms. Alloway is writing about here and in the full article: The misuse of science; those who think if they use the word “science” then they should not be questioned; and those who act as if science is free of influence or possible error. I feel bad for those who think they are not capable of evaluating what they are told is true by experts (real or imagined). Testing and questioning is at the foundation of the sciences. Those who tell you not to question, or suppress questions, should be held in suspicion.

Your brain is a superpower. Use it.

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Unearthing our Past, to Understand our Future

Let’s face it, when many people take a position on one issue or another, they often don’t put a lot of thought into it. Instead, we go with whoever sounds the best, ignited our emotions, happens to agree with our philosophy, worldview, or politics — these are the lazy reasons we employ in allowing others to buy our allegiance. Yes, we’re all busy, so much to do, but why take a stand without digging a little deeper? Why not pause, allow the emotions to calm, and think with the goal of finding the truth?

One topic that could use this wisdom are the debates on climate change. Is man causing the climate to change, or isn’t he? You know what I found? Most people — anointed experts included — leave out the overwhelming majority of climate data, yet try to convince us of their model. Let me explain.

Continue reading

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Thoughts on Corona Chaos

I found it odd when a school said it was going to disinfect their rooms and buildings over the weekend. I was wondering, “Why don’t schools take those precautions all through flu season? Why do we just choose to suffer through yearly flu and cold outbreaks?”

We stopped taking influenza serious (and viruses in general) even though most influenza strains are dangerous to people whose immune system are compromised by other factors, or if they are elderly (much like the current corona virus strain). Our anti-viral medications are no where near the level of advancement they should be. One would think these would be high-profit drugs for companies to produce. With all the money politicians take from Big Pharma, maybe they should expect more out of them than vacation junkets?

Having said all that, I think the many people quoting high mortality rates for the corona virus (covid-19 or SARS-CoV-2), may be causing unnecessary panic.

First, don’t get me wrong, we should be taking steps to squash this disease outbreak. Would our efforts be so drastic had we already had a more serious perspective on diseases as I mentioned? No, probably not. Certainly not with the economic and social havoc that has been occurring.

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Will Rome Have to Fall Again?

The Medieval era has always been a fascinating time to study. This is where the modern era was born. Our industry and commerce, our government and arts, our science and technology, all took root in those days. The myth of it being a “dark age” didn’t come until later, from revisionists trying to make their era look better.

With the corruption and malaise of Rome — that only served to maintain the elite — swept away, progress had begun again. Then, and now, calamity befalls the people when they don’t keep its rulers in check, when they cease paying attention to what conspiring their leaders are engaged in. Too busy accepting handouts like the Roman citizens, only to be surprised at the barbarians at their gates. Turns out the barbarians weren’t so barbaric. They built a resilient new civilization better than the last. The fall of Rome was a long time coming, just as our leaders didn’t begin their downward spiral yesterday. Continue reading

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Finding Wisdom

It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. – Aristotle

It is a dangerous trend that critical thinking and the application of knowledge — wisdom — is a lost art. Deep thought is replaced be emotionalism, individuality replaced by tribalism. We are quick to react, slow to learn. We spurn our responsibility to younger generations — creating a sibling society shaped by peers rather than elders. We ignore the lessons of history in willful historical amnesia. We allow falsehoods into our thinking. Ryan Michler writes in Sovereignty:

One phrase that gets tossed around a lot these days is “my truth.”…the reality is that there is no “my truth.” There is only “the truth.” You might have a theory. You might have a perspective. You might have an assumption. But unless you’re operating in objective reality, your opinion is just that — an opinion…Words are powerful. If you’re distorting the meaning of a word or phrase to fit your narrative, you’re likely limiting your perspective and your own sovereignty…[we] must strive to recognize, understand, and act according to objective truth — as in truth that is not subject to interpretation.

Continue reading

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Myths Carl Sagan and Neil DeGrasse Tyson Told Me

Scientists enjoy telling stories. They tell stories about, among other things, the quest to understand the universe — stories that sometimes have implications for belief or disbelief in God…

Too, often, these stories are false.

This is how science historian Michael Newton Keas beings his engaging and enlightening book, Unbelievable: 7 Myths About the History and Future of Science and Religion.

Unfortunately, he his right.

What he is referring to is when celebrity scientists stop talking about science and interject their personal beliefs under the guise of science. If those beliefs aren’t friendly to religion, they have a habit of promoting the false religion-is-at-war-with-science narrative with a variety of myths. The war between science and religion  is a modern fable, not surprisingly promoted by those who don’t think highly of religion.

This is a shame, really, because we need popularizes of science, but when some scientists become celebrities, they can fall off their intellectual foundation rather quickly. When Neil DeGrasse Tyson turns Giordano Bruno into a martyr for science in his show Cosmos, much of the story is fiction. When Carl Sagan made claims to the effect that the cosmos is all that there is or always will be, he wasn’t making a scientific statement, but a personal, philosophical one. When Sam Harris claims the church had been “torturing scholars” for “speculating about the nature of the stars,” it simply isn’t true.

It’s not hard to review history, as Dr. Keas shows, and see there is no widespread hatred of science from religion. In fact, he details some of the ways “theistic religion nurtured the development of modern science from its start.” He also reveals the irony of these celebrity thinkers replacing religion with their own naturalistic philosophy and materialistic magic.

I’ve studied a lot of history and science over many years, so I have seen elsewhere the history Keas lays out.  Such as there is far more to the Galileo story — he isn’t the poster child of a war between the church and science. The Dark Ages weren’t so dark — the Renaissance didn’t appear out of nowhere. Nor were most of our ancestors really confused about the shape of our planet — most thought it was a sphere and didn’t need Columbus to prove it (he didn’t think it was flat either).

Do the celebrities purposefully spread their myths? I hope not, but the history isn’t hard to find and they keep repeating their myths anyway.

The takeaway from Keas book is we should learn to recognize when our experts, celebrity or otherwise, switch from teaching to evangelizing. There’s nothing wrong with the latter, unless you are passing it off for something it isn’t. And don’t for a moment think you aren’t capable of testing and questioning those who portend to speak for all of science and history.

They don’t own all the keys to our past and our universe. We all do.

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Waking Up

“Washington doesn’t represent the American people anymore, because the bureaucrats and elected officials in Washington pursue their own self-serving agendas rather than doing what is objectively right for the country…Congress [has] only one problem that they’re serious about solving — and that’s getting reelected.”

Those are strong words from Congressman Ken Buck. In his book Drain the Swamp, he gives an insider’s look into the rampant corruption in Congress. From outright ignoring the Constitution, to dead laws that never die, passing laws through intimidation, to purposefully creating problems so they can cash in.

It’s troubling how easily people are distracted by the smoke and mirrors, the staged drama, and the promise of money, from our government. If only more would look behind the curtain. Buck writes:

“The federal government is supposed to be small. Its power is supposed to limited. The United States is supposed to be a union of largely sovereign states…Our founder’s default position was to keep power as far from Washington as possible.”

The scary truth is that they don’t want you to know this. Why? Then they lose the power they gave themselves.  The power we turned a blind eye to.

“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction,” Ronald Reagan warned.  “We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected and handed on for them to do the same.”

What will you choose to do?

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