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ANOTHER EXERCISE IN CRITICAL THINKING 20 Aug. 2017 PDF  | Print |  E-mail

ANOTHER EXERCISE IN CRITICAL THINKING

 

20 Aug. 2017

 

Dear Friends and Patriots,

 

            Remember back in June of 2015 when I sent you my thoughts about the importance of critical thinking?  If you didn’t get that, you can find it in my third book, Our Year of Fear.  One of the concepts I discussed in that article was “The Five Whys.”  The basic premise of that concept is that to get at the heart of difficult issues it’s often helpful to view them much like onions.  You peel those onions layer by layer by asking “Why?” as many times as it takes to get to the core “truths.”  Those truths will be as close as logic will take you to discerning the essential nature of whatever issues are under examination.

            Today I’m going to ask a question, then see if peeling the layers of it by asking “Why?” will get me to the truth I seek.

            The question is:  What is the actual purpose of the current demonstrations against Confederate memorial statues and monuments?

            The first “Why?” that occurs to me is:  Why do the demonstrators against those statues say they want them removed?

            If you listen to the spokesfolks for the various participants in the anti-Confederate memorial efforts they’ll tell you they’re offended by what they call symbols of white oppression, celebration of slavery, celebration of treasonous actions by southern states, memorializing of criminals, and a plethora of other similar attributions.  In other words, those statues stand for a whole lot of bad things, and we need to remove them from sight, because having representations of all those bad things creates bad emotions in those who are descendants of victims of past bad things.  They will tell you those statues represent hate, and have no place in our society.  They must go, and anyone who professes to love them must go, too.  After all, no decent human being could possibly love a symbol of hate and oppression, ergo those who love them cannot possibly be decent.

            The second “Why?” might just be:  Why do they feel that way?  Why do they reach such conclusions?  Yeah, I know, that’s a double “Why?”  But, they mesh, don’t they?

            The operative word here is “feel.”  Yes, they feel.  If those activists had a real understanding of American history and culture they’d know, but because their educational growth has been purposefully stunted, few people today have any insight into the realities of any period of Americana prior to their own birth.  The majority of those aren’t even curious.  They live their lives invested in the false belief that if they “feel” something or independently believe a thing to be true, then it must be.  In other words, objective truths mean little.  Feelings are far more important.  Beliefs distorted by those feelings are their version of objective truth.

            The third “Why?” could be:  Why do they place more emphasis on feelings instead of actual knowledge?  What happened to intellectual rigor and study of objectively provable fact? Yes, another double question.  Certainly you don’t want me to apologize?

            This gets to the heart of the educational experience in America.  Students today are not taught critical thinking.  They’re not taught how to rationally discern fact from fiction and how to test a logical hypothesis.  In fact they don’t know how to recognize a logical hypothesis.  Logic itself isn’t taught in K-12.  With the advent of Common Core math, even that discipline lacks coherent logic.  Unless a student majors in one of the STEM disciplines at a university that still has rigor to its programs he or she is often not exposed to logic as a discipline.  It’s usually not a requisite course for any student not pursuing some form of philosophy or law degree.  That fact infers very few students ever are formally introduced to logic and don’t understand our society is rife with fallacies that are commonly considered logical.  Confusing emotions, feelings, and beliefs with logical and objective-based truth is common to a frightening extent.  This is a social deficit that could be fixed in three generations, but today there’s no recognition of the need.  A good summary of this discussion is:  most Americans today are not intellectually and educationally equipped to tell facts from fiction.

            Now, maybe we’re getting somewhere!

            The fourth “Why?” that occurs to me is very direct:  Why is the understanding of logic not more valued?  Why are feelings and beliefs given higher standing in the hierarchy of valued human expressions than logic?

            The answer to that “Why?” may just be ideological.  I hate to use the word “logic” to explain this, but what kind of logic makes that kind of intellectual prioritization valid at all?  To me, it’s not.  To you, it might not be.  But, to those who have designed our education system over the past 130 years, it makes perfect sense.  The answer lies in an ideology that promotes the belief that our education system should train young people in a particular belief system; to train them to believe in certain social concepts that can’t actually pass any rigorous test of logic.  It’s education according to the theories of John Dewey, the principle architect of progressive education theory in America in the late 19th century.  Dewey believed that socialization according to progressive norms should be of equal importance to any academic curricula.  In plain English, he believed schools should be used to convert children from the teachings of their families and religious institutions to belief in the social teachings of the government in order to ensure the success of the social agenda of that government.  If that teaching emphasized logic, perhaps there would be less wrong in it.  But, it doesn’t.  In fact, it does the opposite.  Our government schools have become indoctrination laboratories, where constant experimentation takes place to determine the most effective and seemingly innocuous ways to impart progressive ideology on the minds of the young.

            Maybe it’s time to take a stab at a fifth “Why?” question.  How’s this:   Why is all this being done? 

I don’t have to go far here do I?  Most of you are well schooled in the objectives of progressivism.  Most of you have knowledge of what’s going on that equals my own.  So, forgive me, while I turn to the few who might not and fill that gap for them. 

The objective of it all is to create a compliant, accepting, malleable populace.  It’s to facilitate the creation of the progressive utopia. It’s to ensure that utopia is peopled with those who have limited capacity and knowledge to challenge the authority of government.  It’s that “dumbing down of America” thing we’ve all heard about for several decades.  Didn’t it ever strike you as odd that this “problem” was identified about 40 years ago, yet nothing was ever done about it?  Instead, the government filled us with nonsense that was designed to tell us children can’t learn in certain environments.  They can’t learn in old facilities.  They can’t learn if their teachers don’t have certain credentials.  They can’t learn if their home life isn’t peaceful.  They can’t learn if they didn’t eat breakfast.  There have been all kinds of illogical claims made by governments over the past 50 years, and every time one of those claims is made a new entitlement program is created to funnel more money into communities to “help Johnny learn.”  So, what’s been the result?  Almost all universities today have remedial programs aimed at teaching incoming freshmen how to do things like read, write, and perform simple math computations.  Yes, all those years of “helping” Johnny to learn have turned many such Johnnies into dolts.  It’s not their fault, though.  It’s the fault of every parent, every school, every teacher, and every level of government that failed to try and stop it.  I’ll cease my rant, now.  You get the picture.

Now, I’ve peeled my onion with five “Why?” questions.  I started out with the question:  Why do the demonstrators against those statues say they want them removed?  I arrived at a general condemnation of the public education system of America.  So, what does it mean?

To me it means our progressive education system has succeeded in its goals.  It has turned out millions of citizens who are incapable of rigorous, logical thought.  They’re creatures of feeling and belief, and their belief system is the one their progressive teachers have indoctrinated them with in their educational experience.  They are essentially drones, programmed by a government that has become so totally infested with progressive ideologues that the people are left with few viable alternatives, other than home or religious-based schooling.

In reality, I’ve let the demonstrators off the hook.  If they’re mindless drones, then they’re little but actors on a stage, being directed by unseen hands.  They want those statues removed because the progressive masters who do their thinking for them are manipulating their feelings and beliefs and telling them that all logical, historically truthful arguments put forth in defense of those states are nothing more than excuses for the continuation of ancient hate and wrongs.  Instead of a focus on the objective evidence of what the statues represent and why they were allowed in the first place, the demonstrators are fed emotional appeals by their “handlers” and go forth with a strong belief in the totality of their righteousness and of the completely wrong and hateful stance of anyone who might stand or speak out in opposition to them.

Want to see all the nonsense end?  Get involved in education in your city, county and state.  Become an activist for the young.  Make sure the only indoctrination they get is in real academics and classical methods of learning and analysis of the world around them.   Schools should not be left to those who claim education is some kind of mystical process.  Every parent figures out how their children learn.  There’s nothing mystical or magical about it.  We all need to ensure our children’s intellect is developed and they aren’t taken from us in order to convert them into compliant drones – useful idiots. 

The Bible contains a verse we often distill down to “you reap what you sow.” In our land today we see our crops on full display.  If any parent is dismayed at what their children are doing, they need to reflect on their part in it.  If any teacher wonders why his or her students didn’t turn into Rhodes scholars instead of radical activists, they also need to reflect on their part in it.  Ours is a bitter harvest, and perhaps we all need to reflect, because in some tiny part each of us has had a part in it.  We need to do much more and much better in our efforts to elect decent, thoughtful, and non-ideological candidates to office.  We need to ensure those candidates are people who do understand the basic concepts of simple logic so they aren’t fooled by legislative proposals that seem intended to produce good, but are actually nothing more than well-disguised attempts to exercise more limits on the freedom of the people.

I will end this exercise in critical thinking with an admission.  Critical thinking can lead you to logical conclusions, but because we all are influenced by our biases, our conclusions are almost always “a” logical possibility, not “the” objective truth.  There is objective truth, but unless one can know absolutely all the factors that influence the creation of that truth, any decomposition argument such as this one is always accurate to a unknowable degree.  We can discern something of the nature of the truth, but we cannot with 100% certainty state that we know it in its totality.

I have another admission.  This is not the article I started out to write.  It evolved as it went along.  Perhaps it’s best it did so.  What do you think?

In Liberty,
Steve