Unschooled in Adjustment: Part 4

America has become all too cozy with run-of-the-mill information that caters to your cravings. Some suppliers are sincere, some are corrupt to the core, and there’s a faction for everything in between.

In any case, we’ve seen more than enough and it’s not working.

You’ve got plenty of that 24/7/365 — would it kill ya to see somethin’ new and say to yourself:

Hmm, this is unlike anything I’ve ever seen — maybe this guy sees something we don’t. And shouldn’t I apply my own standards to find out?

Putting aside Bill Cosby’s fall from grace — he was a universal icon of goodness growing up. In this 5-second scene from Picture Pages — a parallel can be drawn to everything I advocate:

There’s a mutual responsibility in communication — and that “deal” is to hold up your end of the bargain (and it’s in your interests to do so). After all, you want others to consider your concerns — shouldn’t you do the same?

Wouldn’t some good ol’ give-and-take be refreshing for a change?

But now information is so funneled in a fashion to your liking — you don’t even know what to do with anything that isn’t. It astounds me that wading through unfamiliar territory on this site is somehow seen as complicated as quantum physics.

I assure you . . .

What it took to acquire this information was infinitely more demanding than anything you face here — let alone the complexities in exposing systematic deception at the core of our country’s ills.

I wrote my documentary as a tool for discussion — to illustrate argument in the face of folly . . .

opinions lightly adopted but firmly held . . . forged from a combination of ignorance, dishonesty, and fashion

— Life at the Bottom

I’m not smart enough to be a nuclear scientist — but I’m smart enough to interview one. When I drove up to the University of Virginia to meet with Dr. Houston Wood — on my iPad I was packin’ pictures and structured inquiry like nothing you’ve ever seen.

I’d never done any journalism, but I was striving for the best of what it’s supposed to be.

My Prime Directive

  1. No leading questions
  2. If this man wants to talk — scrap the script and keep my mouth shut

Because of that — I obtained information that nobody else did.

My grades wouldn’t cut it for the intelligence community — but I could ask key questions to Colin Powell’s chief of intelligence at the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR).

With a little help, I managed to make it through physics in college — but I couldn’t be a physicist. I could correspond with the one who wrote extensively on the subject matter though.

I could believe what liars claimed on intelligence investigations — or I could read the reports and make up my own mind.

I could do all that & much more

And then be belittled by people who didn’t do anything but gleefully get in the way — torturing the truth without mercy.

There’s a correlation between the above & below in accuracy, craftsmanship, commitment, detail, and design:

What road have you taken to lose sight of such things deserving of at least a little respect?

Respect is not my concern . . .

But if you showed some — it might be just enough to crack open a conduit to this quaint thing called conversation.

You might mock my tireless dedication to the truth, but maybe you’ve got woodworking experience — or any kind of background in creating things. Perhaps you have an eye for unconventional problem solving.

Or maybe an appreciation of the arts alone would be enough to connect on a human level. Let’s start with that . . .

wouldn’t that be something!

We are living through an epidemic of cowardice. The antidote is courage. . . .

Courage means, first off, the unqualified rejection of lies. Do not speak untruths, either about yourself or anyone else, no matter the comfort offered by the mob. And do not genially accept the lies told to you. If possible, be vocal in rejecting claims you know to be false. Courage can be contagious, and your example may serve as a means of transmission.

— Bari Weiss: Some Thoughts About Courage

Why have things come so undone? And what can we do to rebuild them?

I have an Idea . . .

But she’s not gonna like it — no one will. But like my ideas on homelessness in Cruel to be Kind: That you don’t like it doesn’t mean it wouldn’t work. And we’ve seen the results of your endlessly recycled ways.

Just for kicks — couldn’t we try somethin’ new for a change?

And it’s about time we ditch the desire for the so damn easy . . .

We get rewarded by hearts, likes, thumbs-up — and we conflate that with value, and we conflate it with truth.

There are countless people saying the same things in the same old ways — with channels, sites, and substacks that conform to the formula.

No offense to the fine work that many people provide on those platforms. But I find those environments unimaginative, unfulfilling, and of questionable efficacy.

Not to mention — this:

But we’re all here because we share some important things in common: a commitment to reason, curiosity, independence, decency, and a hunger for honest conversation. In our upside-down world, holding fast to these ideals can sometimes feel lonely.

More than ever, we crave the company of people who share our core values.

— Bari Weiss: Welcome to Year Two

It’s a nice gesture to bond with her audience.

Unfortunately, it’s not true . . .

In any audience

I’m sure it’s intoxicating to amass a following and feel like you’re making a difference. But I’m gonna weigh your impact partly as a reflection of your community:

How people behave — not what they believe.

If you can’t get that right, I don’t care how big your following gets — you’re taking this nation nowhere. Not in the right direction, anyway.

McWhorter’s right

Anti-racism has become religion, but fighting that religion has become another religion — and they already belonged to one before that. You’ll see.

Like Black Lives Matter, they’re just pounding away at problems without any examination of the efficacy of their efforts.

This is not problem solving — it’s serving a market.

Their audience doesn’t know the difference, and I’m not sure they do either. However intelligent and well-intentioned some of it may be — this is not the mark of Loury’s “looking at the deep questions”:

We’re a university. We should be above whatever the fad or the fashion is of any given day. We should be looking at the deep questions. We should be analytical. We should be emphasizing reason. Instead, it was like a kind of emotional rush — in which . . . the president and provost and the top leadership of my university — wanted to jump on a bandwagon. They wanted to wave a banner.

And I thought to myself, what have we come to at the university — that the first reaction to grave matters — and the rioting in the street after George Floyd died is a grave matter.

That the reaction is not to think it through, not to question, not to assemble facts, not to make arguments — but instead to wave banners and spout slogans such that you could hardly distinguish what they were doing from a manifesto that would come out of Black Lives Matter

— Glenn Loury

Remove the references around George Floyd — and that behavior rings a bell.

Now I Remember . . .

As the patriots Never Forget

The aftermath of this

That the reaction is not to think it through, not to question, not to assemble facts, not to make arguments — but instead to wave banners and spout slogans such that you could hardly distinguish what they were doing from a manifesto that would come out of . . .

If you’re not gonna do your part and accept responsibility for the damage you’ve done, why should the Left?

Why should anyone?

We should be above whatever the fad or the fashion is of any given day. We should be looking at the deep questions. We should be analytical. We should be emphasizing reason.

Only for problems that are popular and easy to perceive? Whatever’s in your wheelhouse? Is that as deep as your questions go?

Rush Limbaugh once said, “I’m an entertainer.” I didn’t believe him at the time, but now I think it’s the most honest thing he ever said.

So when I came across this question below, it really hit home. I had asked a similar question before I found this one.

His was better. Not only was it more direct, but it also shed light on something I hadn’t thought of . . .

And I love that

I wanted to believe — and it’s easy to get lost along the way. But I never get lost for long, and this question kickstarted my turnaround.

Across those communities . . .

I’ve never seen anything with even a hint of the questions we asked. And what they miserably fail to recognize is that their efforts act like a firewall by unwittingly providing an unlimited supply of candy to that piñata.

I’m not suggesting they stop — I’m suggesting they reframe the debate by broadening it. I explain all that later. Somebody really “looking at the deep questions” — would have the courage to consider mine.

By not deviating from your lane, you don’t understand the roadblocks within it that were created outside of it.

It would be extremely difficult to reach the Left no matter what you do. But by feeding that firewall, you’re building in barricades that block you from reaching them in ways you might be able to without the Right sailing Scot-Free.

That the Left brings it on themselves is another matter.

Preach responsibility and take none

Conservatives control the narrative about responsibility and think that magically translates to taking responsibility. Republicans pounce on the Left day in and day out — as if the Right’s record vanished off the face of the earth.

It’s all about framing the narrative — and the Left institutionalizing weakness is a gimme for the Right to rail on them.

And the icing on the cake

Sincere intellectuals justifiably calling out universities, woke ways, racially rigged incidents and such:

Providing endless fodder for the Right to rip people for behavior that pales in comparison to what they did after 9/11 and to this day.

The Right delights in ridiculing the Left for burning buildings to further the cause. Yet they went batshit crazy after 9/11: Setting the world ablaze — and browbeating anybody out of line in their March of Folly

That — is faith-based belief at its best . . .

The Left’s anti-racism religion, woke, and whatnot — they’re amateurs.

I’m not an authority on race relations, but I have a knack for knowing what’s not working and why. My area of “why” is in human behavior — not the answers to how all these things can be fixed.

There are people who have the answers (or ideas that could get us there with the cooperation and courage to foster them).

The same can be said for most issues in America. So my aim is to clear the clutter for honest debate — especially for people who really know their stuff.

Like this guy, Glenn Loury . . .

The Civil Rights Movement is over” — in 1984!

That — took guts!

And that — is the Loury I was looking for.

Maybe when you’re done talking race, woke, and CRT for the ten-thousandth time — we can consider approaching problems in a more multi-dimensional manner?

Just a thought!

The commentary in these communities speaks volumes about social media & the state of society: Habitually slinging self-congratulations and high praise for purveyors of virtue:

Virtues that vanish the second they’re called to put them to the test.

Following facts going in the direction you desire — doesn’t count.

Anybody can do that!

The bit below is tame compared to the savagery I’ve received for decades on WMD. But it’s emblematic of how new-age apologists mindlessly dig in to defend — without even knowing what the topic is yet.

This crowd: They bark back at me on things we even agree on. The nanosecond they sense any dissent from the company line — rapid-fire ridicule is well on its way.

That my scrutiny has a higher purpose that actually serves theirs (and everyone’s):

Does not compute

In their collective state, the Borg are utterly without mercy; driven by one will alone: the will to conquer. They are beyond redemption, beyond reason.

— Jean-Luc Picard

And this is the best part: Their world revolves around peddling praise and pouncing on people who don’t fall in line — while the personalities & principles they praise are about being critical of the unquestioning.

It’s just pathetic

And in that entirely-transactional universe:

No one even bothers to notice that it’s not working — and actually getting worse. But they just repeatedly rehash the same topics — red meat devoured by an audience that thinks these people are some of the greatest minds to ever live.

This lecture has made me kinda sad. This is NOT the guy we see on Bloggingheads. Glenn has clearly lost a step or two (intellectually) since 2003.

To which I replied, in part:

I can’t speak for what he’s lost on that front, but from personal experience with him — I can speak definitively on this one . . .

As I admire Loury’s boldness back in 1984, I’m simply saying he’s lost something since then. Or maybe he was never the person I believed him to be.

In any case: Since Loury once called my writing “brilliant” and was “blown away” by my site and signed up, I’d like to think that would earn me some credibility.

Not with these people. Nothing registers — no matter what you say and how much evidence you’ve got to back it up:

You are the enemy!

He’ll never know how much more the world had to offer him — and how much more he had to offer it.

Ridicule just rolls right off me anymore. I’m not dealing with individuals — I’m dealing with a collective machine that’s been programmed to put me down.

My job is to jam up the gears — and get these gears going again:

I like the cut of your jib, sir

And then there are those memorable moments when someone surprises you with the simplicity and elegance of a line like that.

In a sea of insults, one kind comment is like wind in your sails.

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