Unschooled in Adjustment: Part 6

The solution to this problem is more truth, not less

— Someone on Twitter

Not in today’s trench warfare between armies of unreachables — paralled by this excerpt from Blueprint for Armageddon:

The Belgians are going to teach the first great lesson of the war — about what’s changed since the last time great powers faced off. How much the killing power that machines afforded mankind on the battlefield.

How much that had changed the age-old equation of war.

Machines have been taking over for a long time — becoming more and more important. This is the war where they take over completely. And man’s supremacy on the battlefield — even though they’re the ones who run the machines — will always be now secondary compared to the killing power and mechanization that can be brought to bear by modern societies. . . .

And one of the interesting sort of sub-themes of this whole upcoming conflict is: How long it takes some people to absorb the lessons that are being taught in this conflict.

Lesson number one is how deadly the weapons are and how you have to account for that.

Some of the generals and military thinkers understood this going into the war, because they had paid close attention to the 1905 Russo-Japanese war . . . That taught lessons about what happens when two sides armed with machine guns, and two sides armed with modern artillery and all that face off.

But the lessons were not the kind of lessons some people wanted to learn. . . .

These cavalry commanders don’t want to hear that it’s even worse than it used to be. . . . If your country’s doctrine and your entire military is organized around the culture of the offensive . . . where it’s all about guts . . .

Nobody wants to hear that machine guns just rip guts out — that’s the only thing they care about guts, and it doesn’t work to have bayonet charges and ridiculous offenses. Well, the French would say:

“Yes, well what doesn’t work for the Russians or the Japanese — will work for the French — and that’s why we have a great military.”

There are all kinds of ways to rationalize what you don’t want to learn.

Audio version (with additional commentary)

Tuchman alighted on a root cause of folly that she called “wooden-headedness” — defined in part as “assessing a situation in terms of preconceived fixed notions while ignoring or rejecting contrary information.”

Many of the militaries of the world are organized like Napoleonic times. They don’t want to hear that that is a completely wrong way to be organized.

The French cavalry heading off to war . . . you have to imagine this:

If you want to see what Napoleon’s soldiers looked like — go look at pictures of the French cavalry in 1914 going off to war — with metal breastplates and horse hair helmets. You’d have to be an expert to look at a picture of them in 1914 and a picture of Napoleon’s cavalry in 1814 — and find the differences.

The officers are gonna go to war in white gloves. They’re gonna have swords.

They’re gonna stand up and troops are gonna march into combat — in like billiard ball formations or bowling pin formations, drill formations from the battlefield.

None of the people who consider this to be an integral part of military culture want to learn:

That the rules have changed. . . .

The military virtues of valor that were so celebrated during this period — where the romance of warfare, which had always been strong in human culture, was probably at its height.

The 19th century — the romance was incredible. This is the era where that romance runs into reality.

Here’s the thing that this war is gonna teach: If you watch the Charge of the Light Brigade and you think it’s magnificent and brave — a doomed sort of attack on the part of incredibly courageous men:

What happens if, after the charge fails — they send another one and the same results occur. And then they send another one and the same results occur.

And then they do it again and again

At what point does this wonderful, doomed, romantic celebration of the courage of the military heart become something obscene?

This war is gonna take us there — and it’s going to pound the point home till you’re sick of it.

Audio version (with additional commentary)

She also saw wooden-headedness as a certain proclivity for “acting according to wish while not allowing oneself to be deflected by facts.” Wooden-headedness, said Tuchman, was finally — “the refusal to benefit from experience.”

The refusal to benefit from experience

In today’s trench warfare — “white gloves” depict the presentation of tactical arguments that don’t account for larger complexities in play.

Swords” are posts that puncture with a pinprick at best:

YouTube talksTweets, podcasts, debates, speeches, books, blogs, articles, conventional docs . . .

The “billiard ball formations” embody the endless barrage of niche-based argument — repeatedly rehashing the same old problems in the same old ways.

And right on cue

An audience that eats it up like they’re part of some revolution in reason.


The program aims to honor and foster investigative reporting and deep storytelling in service of the common good. . . .

This is as deep storytelling as it gets. But by juxtaposing irrational behavior by both the Left & Right, I had a snowball’s chance in hell that any organization would award my doc 7 years ago.

The Iraq War shaped the society you see today — and the guilty got off scot-free. Had my documentary been on that alone — I would have been welcomed with open arms by programs seeking “deep storytelling in service of the common good.”

But the fact that my submission letters had to dance around the race-related element of my doc — speaks volumes about the integrity of these organizations.

If they were what they claim — I wouldn’t have to worry about being seen as insensitive for being so direct about racially-rigged incidents. And since I go after both parties on the war as well, clearly, I don’t play favorites. It’s a judge’s job to weigh what that means — and welcome being challenged in ways they’ve never been.

If they acted impartial instead of protecting the image of their mission — they’d see that my mission serves theirs:

And this one

Somehow I doubt the judges were keen on uncomfortable conversations — somewhat like those who blindly believe in this guy.

Never mind that my criticism could elevate the people you’re coddling: That holding their feet to the fire is in their long-term best interests — and yours.

But America doesn’t do long-term thinking . . .

And some circles

Well, God can’t make square circles — but these people think they can:

Any one minute of my doc is more substantive than everything Sowell ever said on the subject.

Even without it — any of my posts is plenty to prompt any rational person to wonder. In a matter of moments, just scrolling through the imagery alone is enough to know that something’s off on Sowell’s claims.

Sowell’s cogent & sober arguments . . .

regurgitated garbage

“Disjointed” or not — you’ve been bombarded with detail that could only be known with real research — and a helluva lot of it. For anyone who wanted the truth on this matter of world-altering consequence — no way you’d ignore that.

I point you to a 7-part, 2 hours and 40 minutes documentary — that distills a story that demanded a massive amount of effort, thought, research, and writing:

And you tap a Tweet with a talking point or two — thinking you can inform me.

That you even think that a story so complex and convoluted could be explained away so easily — is a monumental problem all by itself.

Such behavior is an embarrassment to the entire history of human achievement — and lo and behold, what he wrote:

Is wrong in every respect

Rather than reflect on where his words go in Graham’s Hierarchy of Argument below, he doubled down with an insult:

Incorrectly classifying it to boot.

These people have no understanding of the subject matter — and make no attempt to learn or show any civility in refusal to do so. They begin and end by contorting anything they can twist to their liking in a sycophantic effort to absolve Sowell.

An Ad hominem attack is a negation of reason and an appeal to emotion and is irrelevant to any debate. It is a non-debate, or an avoidance of debate because the person resorting to this strategy has no substance to what they are saying or does not know how to properly respond to the argument being presented. . . .

“To be more specific, a fallacy is an ‘argument’ in which the premises given for the conclusion do not provide the needed degree of support.”

Ad Hominem is a general category of fallacies in which a claim or argument is rejected on the basis of some irrelevant fact about the author of or the person presenting the claim or argument.

Typically, this fallacy involves two steps. First, an attack against the character of person making the claim, her circumstances, or her actions is made (or the character, circumstances, or actions of the person reporting the claim).

Second, this attack is taken to be evidence against the claim or argument the person in question is making (or presenting). This type of “argument” has the following form:

1. Person A makes claim X.

2. Person B makes an attack on person A.

3. Therefore A’s claim is false. 

The reason why an ad Hominem (of any kind) is a fallacy is that the character, circumstances, or actions of a person do not (in most cases) have a bearing on the truth or falsity of the claim being made (or the quality of the argument being made).

— On Ad Hominem Attacks / 42 Fallacies

When you have no idea what the argument is:

Wrapping quotes around “argument” is as ridiculous as using air quotes incorrectly.

And without even the most basic insight into anything on this story: His camp has a habit of glossing over global issues of catastrophic consequences with:

“Seems”

If he’d paid any attention at all:

He’d know that the baseline argument is about Sowell’s abysmal failure to address the evidence that Powell presented.

By Sowell’s status and by his own ethics — he had a huge responsibility.

By himself, he could not have shaped the decisions in those dead set on going to war. But he could have been the catalyst for the kind of debate that such decisions should demand.

Even if you take his responsibility off the table, the very basis of “Hard to Imagine” — is that he would have something to say about world-altering lies and ineptitude for the ages.

So on top of having no idea what you’re talking about — you don’t even understand the most basic tenets of the person you put on a pedestal for those principles.

It’s just a fancy quote to float

You walked into the party
Like you were walking onto a yacht
Your hat strategically dipped below one eye
Your scarf it was apricot
You had one eye in the mirror
As you watched yourself gavotte . . .

Well I hear you went up to Saratoga
And your horse naturally won
Then you flew your Lear jet up to Nova Scotia
To see the total eclipse of the sun
Well you’re where you should be all the time . . .

The account he’s referencing isn’t even Thomas Sowell (and I’m sure he’d would have a lot more than 850k). But even if he had 850 million — it has no bearing on the issue in question.

All of this behavior is an egregious breach of the very principles they put him on a pedestable for.

Clockwork

I tried again in 2022

I’m sure these people are worthy of winning this award over my 5-part series Behold the Legacy of Your Beloved Sowell. I don’t do anything for accolades — and taking on the entire is not a path to popularity.

But whatever their reasons for not awarding my work last time and this time — they could have fostered my ideas in some fashion (which is all I really cared about anyway). With the right connections, my doc could have changed the trajectory of the country.

Whether it went more Right or Left is your game, not mine. I don’t do politics — I do reality.

However exceptional other submissions might be, they tend to operate in one theatre of overlapping concerns. My work operates in the theatre of all concerns — as I’m saying something larger about who we are, what we’re becoming, and what we can do to turn it all around.

— Richard W. Memmer

That’s a big idea

Secret IRS Files — is not.

Purely on the merits of shaping a story, I don’t doubt that their work outshined my series on Sowell. But on the impact of what I have to say — there’s no comparison, and that was deserving of a least a little help.

You blew off my doc 7 years ago — and unwittingly rolled out the red carpet for Trump. Even Sowell was spot-on about him in 2016. Why wasn’t he worshipped as a Maverick for that? . . .

But nobody beats what someone else had to say on the subject:

The thing that is most disturbing to me, in a sea of disturbing things — is that there is no opportunity in all of humanity, to observe the world we live in, and to see all the scope of life in the world, like being President of the United States. You sit there, and for 4 years, or for 8 years — the crème de la crème of society is presented to you.

“Here’s the bravest man and woman in the military. Here’s the smart scientists. Here’s the most dedicated children in their learning.”

You get to see the ugliest . . . what are terrorists doing in torture camps. You see the world from a vista that only a man, or one day a woman, can have that outlook. And I thought to myself: “Surely, when he won . . . he would change as a result of that.”

Every day, you’re having meetings and talking to serious people. And then you come into the Oval Office to “Here’s the winners of the Spelling Bee of San Diego.” . . .

And you meet these people, and life just comes washing over you. Your heart and your mind open up. What a learning experience — how much you learn about the world.

And I thought, “It’s gonna change him.” . . .

He didn’t change one f#%@g gram.

That says a great deal more about America than it does about Trump.

And now you’re fighting over what could happen on Roe v. Wade. Had you listened to me 7 years ago, this would not be happening.

But had you listened 14 years ago

A Hillary/Obama ticket was the smart move. He wasn’t ready (nor do I think he was presidential material anyway — but leaving that aside).

She’d most likely get 8 years — and in the meantime, Obama would be groomed for the next 8. That’s a high probability of 16 years of Democratic rule — and who knows from there.

You wanted a plant when you could have had a crop — and all you had to do was sacrifice a little longer.

But you just had to have your first black president — instead of getting a seasoned candidate 8 years later.

This ain’t Monday-morning quarterbacking — I said so at the time.

It might surprise you that I voted for Obama in 2008. I gave Romney a shot in the second round. I just have this old-fashioned idea about not rewarding people who  are dishonest and don’t do a good job.

— Richard W. Memmer: Prologue

It’s hard enough making change even with fairly reasonable people in any environment — let alone the incessant scheming in politics.

Black Lives Matter with the first black president sitting in the White House — was the worst possible thing you could do to make black lives matter.

If the indiscriminate approach of BLM pisses me off: What did you think it was gonna do for people gunning to bring Obama down?

You overplayed your hand

He had golden opportunities to take the country forward, but instead of leading the way — he followed his base and went backwards.


Whatever I think of Obama — you stole that seat no matter how you slice it. Mine is a principled position — yours is nothing of the kind.

What was different in 2020 was we were of the same party as the president

— Mitch McConnell

Jesus, it just never ends with these people.

If it weren’t that it would be “leap year” or some other ridiculous rationalization.

It was March 16, 2016 — so “the people should decide in an election year.” If it were October 16th with your boy in office — you’d bulldoze that nomination through if at all possible.

I wrote that 4 months before they did exactly that . . .

One of my proudest moments was when I looked Barack Obama in the eye and I said, “Mr. President, you will not fill the Supreme Court vacancy.”

There is no measure for how small you are in my eyes, Senator McConnell — you rank with the most soulless scoundrels I have ever seen.

There is one thing, my dear sir, that must be attempted and most sacredly observed or we are all undone. There must be decency and respect, and veneration introduced for persons of authority of every rank, or we are undone. In a popular government, this is our only way.

— From John Adams to James Warren, 22 April 1776

My record is impeccable on seeing the lay of the land — and that includes the conservative side. I argue for the smart thing and the right thing — which side it serves at a particular time is not my aim.

They brought a [butter] knife to a gunfight

In the Florida election fiasco of 2000, I just wanted the right thing to be done — whether it served my interests or not was irrelevant.

And said so at the time

That sense of fairness is so foreign that I might as well be speaking another language.

If Bush really won — then that’s what I wanted. If Gore did, that’s what I wanted. The smart thing and the right thing — tend to be the hard thing. And these things are good for the country in the long run.

That’s my aim

I’m mostly met with mockery and all sorts of dismissiveness, but occasionally someone comes along with a courteous reply in the interest of truth and understanding.

I like the fact that this guy below doesn’t just take my word for it. And it doesn’t bother me one bit that he’s too pressed for time to read my site.

But he kept the door open . . .

I could have just pointed him to Without Passion or Prejudice — which provides the outline he asked for. But I decided to honor his request by writing a more condensed page for my plan.

It all boils down to the opening “quote” in Echo Chamber of Affirmation below — and Thomas Sowell to Team of Rivals is the shortest version.

Right on cue — some will race to the end as if nothing matters in the journey. Without even understanding the problem, they’ll delight in deriding the solution.

You cannot be, I know, nor do I wish to see you an inactive Spectator, but if the Sword be drawn I bid adieu to all domestick felicity, and look forward to that Country where there is neither wars nor rumors of War in a firm belief that thro the mercy of its King we shall both rejoice there together.

I greatly fear that the arm of treachery and violence is lifted over us as a Scourge and heavy punishment from heaven for our numerous offences, and for the misimprovement of our great advantages.

If we expect to inherit the blessings of our Fathers, we should return a little more to their primitive Simplicity of Manners, and not sink into inglorious ease.

We have too many high sounding words, and too few actions that correspond with them.

— Abigail Adams, 16 October 1774

Abigail and I go way back . . .

Return to Sender

These are people who never exerted the slightest effort in educating themselves on the subject matter — and yet they are consumed by certitude in the most narrow of contexts. All the sarin gas shells in the world would have no bearing on the aluminum tubes and other intel, but loyalists to logical fallacies are not burdened by the inconvenience of FACT.

They will nitpick over pebbles while refusing to even glance at the mountain of evidence that crushes their convictions.

— Richard W. Memmer: Act V

They assembled a team of reporters to explore its significance and came to one shocking realization: the wealthiest Americans, including famously successful business leaders, had not paid a single dollar in income tax to the U.S Treasury while amassing fortunes worth many of billions of dollars.

The real problem? It’s all legal. 

2022 Hillman Prize For Web Jouranlism

We have very different definitions of the “real problem” . . .

Hard to Imagine

The smart move . . .

You know what — he saw the writing on the wall 8 years ago. We didn’t listen and look what happened. His series on Sowell doesn’t meet our qualifications, but let’s link to the doc and see what we can do to foster his ideas.

Unlike most efforts, I don’t need to change policy, institutions, or laws — I just need to get to one man, and a domino effect will take care of the rest.

Coleman Hughes might be the only one willing to open his eyes to the truth about Sowell. Hughes has shown he’s willing to change his mind, and he’s young enough not to have Sowell baked into his entire being.

McWhorter might surprise me though — it’s hard to say after Loury’s knee-jerk reaction . . .

All I need is one

The others will fold in the face of the irrefutable being accepted by someone of influence in this community.

Thomas Sowell is not a National Treasure — but he could be . . .

There is no market for what I do

But there wasn’t one for PCs at one time either.

We could revolutionize the world too — just by using the tools we were given from the get-go:

That’s that lump that’s three feet above your ass!

Of all the great principles that foster fruitful communication, this one is paramount:

You Improvise, You Overcome, You Adapt

I adapt to you and you adapt to me . . .

And somewhere in the middle or on the way to it, maybe we come to a meeting of the minds.

There’s no finer example of that than these classic scenes from the all-time “everyman” master. Tom Hanks’ character is coming from a different place — and his attitude from the start was:

I don’t have ballplayers, I’ve got girls!

But little by little, he came around — and once he saw them as ballplayers, he treated them as such. And that’s what that first scene above is all about.

In the second scene, as much as he’d like to treat them the same as any player, he adapts to find some way of communicating his concerns without being too harsh.

You’re still missing the cutoff man. Now that’s . . . . that’s something I’d like you to work on . . . before next season.

And whad’ya know, she responds in kind!

She recognizes that he’s trying really hard to get something important through to her, and that he’s adjusting his approach from last time — and she appreciates that.

Now that’s something I’d like you to work on . . .

Imagine!

There are powerful forces that make damn sure you don’t.

I love you so much that I can’t leave you
Even though my mind tells me I should
But then you make me think that you still love me
And all my thoughts of leaving do no good . . .

You’ve got me heart over mind worried all the time
Knowing you will always be the same
You’ll keep hurting me I know but I still can’t let you go
Cause my heart won’t let my love for you change

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