How do we make people realize they’ve been lied to? You have to knock down one small pillar that’s easier to reach.
I’ve got an idea . . .
And it’s got teeth. Most efforts involve changing policy, laws, and institutions: I just need to get to one man. And to do that — I need to breach the force field of fallacy that shields him. But that echo chamber is the very thing that would reveal the reality of his record:
Right along with the biggest and most costly lie in modern history (and other issues suffocating our society).
On the former, he could not be more wrong — but on the latter, he makes sense on a helluva lot. In a culture consumed with being right — wouldn’t it be something to see someone of stature admit that they’re wrong?
On a matter of world-altering magnitude, no less.
Mark my words, that admission would accomplish far more than all the times he’s ever been right. It would take someone of considerable influence to compel him to come clean, and I’ve got just the person in mind.
Getting to him is another matter. I could use some help on that — and I’ll explain how at the end. It requires barely any effort, but ya never know what one more voice might do:
The mud consumed each man till there was nothing visible but our heads. The instructors told us we could leave the mud if only five men would quit. Only five men, just five men, and we could get out of the oppressive cold. Looking around the mud flat, it was apparent that some students were about to give up.
There was still over eight hours until the sun came up. 8 more hours of bone-chilling cold. The chattering teeth and shivering moans of the trainees were so loud . . . It was hard to hear anything.
And then — one voice began to echo through the night. One voice raised in song. The song was terribly out of tune — but sung with great enthusiasm.
One voice became two, and two became three. And before long everyone in the class was singing. The instructors threatened us with more time in the mud if we kept up the singing. But the singing persisted. And somehow the mud seemed a little warmer. And the wind a little tamer. And the dawn not so far away.
If I have learned anything in my time traveling the world, it is the power of hope. The power of one person . . .
If this gets out, the religious-like following of the icon in question — will go out of their minds defending the indefensible. It’ll spread like wildfire.
They’ve got nowhere to go
We ain’t talkin’ tax policy here — these are matters of mathematical certainty in an industry where fractions of a millimeter matter.
The rotor speed required to separate uranium isotopes doesn’t care who’s president.
In order to maintain such speeds, the material properties of centrifuges are as critical as it gets. You don’t need to interview a world-renowned nuclear scientist to figure that out — but I like to be thorough.
And guess who else gets exposed in very specific culpability: The guy in the White House right now — Joe Biden.
How so? How I’d love to live in a world where you’d ask not out of party-line pursuits, but because it’s on the trail to the truth. I don’t do politics, I do reality — and I don’t give a damn who gets in the way.
The plausibility of these tubes being used as centrifuges was so far-fetched that one D.O.E. analyst said: “If Iraq was really trying to make them into centrifuge rotors — we should just give them the tubes.”
— Richard W. Memmer: Prologue
Anyone entering this discussion with sincerity — would come away realizing that there is no debate, and there never was.
They just made it up . . .
What road have you taken to lose sight of such things deserving of at least a little respect? A modicum of courtesy perhaps? Doing your homework used to count for something. How about we just start with that?
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.
I put it all on a silver platter, but you won’t consider 160 seconds, let alone 160 minutes. You think I wanted to chop up my doc into clips to accommodate America’s attention span?
But still that wasn’t enough. I do all the work, you do nothing and consider nothing — then blame me for failing to convince you. In slinging your insults, you’re insulting your intelligence far more than you’re insulting me.
And every time you allow emotion to run roughshod over reason, you further calcify habits at the other end of the spectrum from these.
How can you expect anyone to admit when they’re wrong if you won’t? Just telling people that you’re right and they’re wrong doesn’t get it done — you gotta lead by example (which I do repeatedly throughout this site).
You want others to listen and learn — you listen and learn.
“To learn to ask: ‘Is that true? Maybe there’s something to what she just said. Let me think about it. That’s interesting. Maybe I should change my mind. I changed my mind.’”
People really don’t listen.
People are just either not that interested in what you’re saying, or they are too focused on their own agenda. It’s ridiculous to see two people acting like they can’t really hear each other — by choice.
In “The Significance Principle,” authors Les Carter and Jim Underwood posit that we should listen past where the other person has finished. We should even pause before answering. Let them get their point, their story, their compliment, and even their criticism out. Completely. . . .
The ability to hear is a gift. The willingness to listen is a choice.
Explaining America’s decline over decades of delight in the Gutter Games of Government — is as apples & oranges as it gets when compared to the transactional nature of news and social-media norms.
Understanding how seemingly unrelated events impact one another takes time and effort to digest.
It involves thinking ahead & looking back
We’re marching to Black Lives Matter with the first black president sitting in the White House.
Is that a smart move?
The answer should be abundantly clear — and yet the question is not even considered. I’ve been blocked by people on Twitter for just politely suggesting that BLM is a counterproductive cause.
The moment Obama caved on the Democratic Party playbook — he put Trump on the path to the presidency.
It’s quite possible that Comey’s cover-his-ass actions in the 11th hour tipped the scales. Given the possibility that a single event like that could alter the atmosphere of an election — what do you think pouring fuel on the fire for years did?
If the indiscriminate approach of BLM pisses me off: What do you think it did 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. Given the tight margins — there’s not a doubt in my mind that their ploys put Trump in the White House.
And still — you don’t learn:
At the core of our country’s decline — is the unrelenting refusal to get to the bottom of anything.
Like this 1619 business: You wanna draw correlations from the past — while flagrantly ignoring crystal-clear connections in the present. Black Lives Matter, monuments, kneeling, and now this?
You’re all over the place — and you’ve got company:
As with Kaepernick’s kneeling, Black Lives Matter, and the removal of monuments — what are you really gonna gain out of 1619? Even if you could miraculously get what you want . . .
And you have a better chance of walking on water:
What’s it gonna take for you to see the unintended consequences that come with it?
Therein lies the folly of it all. This consortium of causes has no chance of achieving anything remotely in the realm of your loosely defined aims — and you’re doing catastrophic damage to the very thing you’re trying to remedy.
Has it ever occurred to anyone in BLM — that simply calling it something else would have served your interests far better?
All Lives Matter . . .
How could you not see that tit for tat in taglines coming? You predictably damaged the debate on the name alone.
Like many alternatives, however, it was psychologically impossible. Character is fate, as the Greeks believed. Germans were schooled in winning objectives by force, unschooled in adjustment. They could not bring themselves to forgo aggrandizement even at the risk of defeat.
— Barbara Tuchman
Unschooled in Adjustment
And now, even now . . .
The cat . . . TOTALLY out of the BAG!
A country that can’t even establish this much — has some serious issues:
At the heart of why we fail to live up to our potential as a society is because we excel at polluting even the purest form of fact. How can we possibly solve serious problems when we refuse to adhere to some semblance of the fundamentals of making sense?
— Richard W. Memmer: Epilogue
But there is a way . . .
To use folly from the past for the benefit of the future. First, ya gotta understand the problem before you can weigh the merits of the solution.
To claim that Iraq WMD wasn’t a lie should be like saying we didn’t land on the moon. In denying that reality, half the country helped create a culture where denying reality is now the norm.
This nation needs a national conversation — to learn how to have conversation: For those who forgot and for those who never knew.
And to do that — you need some kind of tool to rein people in on undeniable truths they deny.
8 years ago, I wrote and produced a documentary to do exactly that. As I’ve been practically spit on for telling the truth for 20 years, I knew what awaited me then — as I know what awaits me now.
But through it all, I came up with another idea: A framework for honest debate that uses this tool and others to clear the clutter that’s crippled this country.
The seeds of that framework were planted 2 years ago when I got this reply from Glenn Loury in response to I Don’t Do Slogans (a piece I wrote in the aftermath of George Floyd).
Thank you, Rick Memmer, for your brilliant commentary. I am honored by it.
I Don’t Do Slogans became the basis of this site — and can be found on The Yellow Brick Road.
At first glance, it would seem that it’s only about the Left, but a careful reading will show otherwise.
The Dust Bowl quote captures America’s March of Folly for “dealing on the moment” in everything.
True folly, Tuchman found, is generally recognized as counterproductive in its own time, and not merely in hindsight. In Tuchman’s template, true folly only ensues when a clear alternative path of action was available and ruled out.
I have a clear alterative path . . .
And after getting this follow-up from Loury a year later, I thought I might have the perfect person to put my plan into action.
Fyi, I followed your link, was blown away by what I found, and have signed up. GL
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. As you’ll soon see, I didn’t find him.
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 . . .
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.”
If you’re not gonna do your part and accept responsibility for the damage you’ve done, why should the Left?
Why should anyone?
Ripping on woke is all the rage. And outrage industries of dish it but can’t take it — would talk about race and responsibility till the end of time. But heaven forbid we have a single conversation about war and responsibility.
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?
I’m an entertainer . . .
When Rush Limbaugh said that long ago, I didn’t believe him. 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.
Repeatedly rehashing the same topics is not the mark of Loury’s “looking at the deep questions.” It’s not problem solving — it’s serving a market.
Like Black Lives Matter, they’re just pounding away at problems without any examination of the efficacy of their efforts.
Nothing in the atmosphere of America is improving on any front — but hey, “We’ve got 24 millon visitors to our website, an email list of 2 million & growing, fundraising on the rise, and a million actions taken.”
7 years of Black Lives Matter and the increasing level of attention is the first thing that comes to mind as a measure of success?
Never mistake activity for achievement
— John Wooden
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. Someone 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 ’em.
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.
Big time . . .
In our culture of instant offense, we ban before we think. However, banning isn’t a sign of strength or resolve, but an admission of defeat, of showing how little we have engaged with whatever the bigger issue that belies the ban.
Instead of asking or addressing the roots of violent racism in the South in 2015 — far too difficult, far too intimidating — we focus on symbols. If we take a flag down, if we remove a TV show from the schedules, it shows we are doing something.
It shows our hearts are in the right places.
Elaine’s exasperation x 10 =
How impossibly stupid it is that they banned The Dukes of Hazzard
But the high five is just so stupid!
From as far back as I can remember, I loved the Land O’Lakes Indian. And then they butchered the spirit of it for the sake of sensitivity.
If such measures had any chance of actually making an impact that matters — I’d gladly sacrifice my precious brand of beauty.
For those who would try to educate me by saying I don’t understand the feelings involved in the removal of monuments and wiping Indians off boxes of butter:
No, you don’t understand . . .
And neither do you . . .
Anti-racism has become religion, but fighting that religion has become another religion — and they already belonged to one before that.
Including the ones I agree with. They all operate under umbrellas of interests that don’t account for complexities outside of them.
There is where the clear-the-clutter framework comes in.
I don’t see a single person of prominence doing any analysis on how the problems that plague America are interrelated.
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
The Right wants the Left and the black community to get its act together on matters deeply woven into the fabric of America’s long history of brutality and disgrace:
Slavery, Jim Crow, lynchings, murder, decades of civil rights violations, questionable shootings, and so on . . .
While the Right won’t even look at the material properties of a tube. What’s wrong with that picture — and this one?
Hmm, so the dimensions exactly match the tubes used in Iraq’s history of manufacturing the Nasser-81mm artillery rocket (a reverse-engineered version of the Italian Medusa)
Be quite a coincidence if they weren’t . . .
Ya know, connected
But this nation has no desire to understand how anything’s connected if it flies in the face of shortsighted interests. Most of America seems oblivious to how their actions help create and/or exacerbate many of the problems you’re perpetually fighting.
That’s exactly what Glenn did the day I took his hero to task — after months of being treated with nothing but contempt by Loury-like communities across the board.
Over the last year or so, I’ve seen savagery on a level I’d never seen before. Automatons devoid of rational thought & manners — behavior without an atom of integrity, courtesy, curiosity, courage, decency:
Or any virtue of any kind
One picture is worth a thousand words. Without passion or prejudice in the way, you would wonder what the image below is about:
And fill in some of the words for yourself.
You’d have questions
Who are you to criticize this great man? . . .
Would not be one of ’em. The second you deflect from the issue in question — you’re in breach of Thomas Sowell’s tenets.
What should go off in your mind is:
“Said so and so” doesn’t strike me as Sowell’s standards. This guy seems to know something about him that I don’t — maybe I should find out what that is.
Or you could do nothing
And just not being a jerk would be something.
Just not being a jerk is a pretty low bar. Courtesy is not simply a matter of being polite and offering up some agreement.
At the core of courtesy and respect is the willingness to learn — to take one look at this image and think:
These props look pretty important. Perhaps I should start by listening to what I don’t know — before I start talking about what I think I know
Just because someone does a documentary doesn’t make them right. But to argue in good faith — you have to take information into account, and have the courage to admit when you’re wrong.
I promise you — it’s much more enlightening to pursue the truth as a journey of discovery. If you’ve got the goods , you’ll be able to back up your beliefs and be right after all.
But finding out that you’re wrong will be far more valuable — as you can learn from your mistakes.
I’m in good company
Einstein borrowed from the one below:
The worth of man lies not in the truth which he possesses, or believes that he possesses, but in the honest endeavor which he puts forth to secure that truth; for not by the possession of, but by the search after, truth, are his powers enlarged, wherein, alone, consists his ever-increasing perfection.
Possession fosters content, indolence, and pride.
Since I interviewed a world-renowned nuclear scientist, and you don’t even know who he is — that’s strike one.
Most people probably know what CIA, DOE, and NSA stand for — but how about INR, NGA, WINPAC, JAEIC, and ORNL?
I also correponded with Colin Powell’s chief of intelligence at the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR). I did the same with the physicist who wrote extensively on the subject matter.
If the marquee evidence claimed as components to build a nuclear bomb isn’t of paramount importance for consideration:
Uranium Enrichment Primer
If you’re gonna lie about a world-altering war while promoting a follow-the-facts standard you flagrantly failed to follow — making a living and a legend out of preaching responsibility & accountability to boot:
Your just deserts are decades overdue.
People who talk glibly about “intelligence failure” act as if intelligence agencies that are doing their job right would know everything.
— Thomas Sowell
D.O.E’s standard is to spin a tube at 20% above 90,000 RPM before failure — so 48,000 short is a pretty loose definition of “rough indication.”
And since the entire point of testing should be to replicate the conditions of centrifuges, one would think that the full-blown testing would be performed before the N.I.E. was completed.
— Richard W. Memmer: Act II
Between Sowell’s words and mine
Which ones strike you as glib?
On the biggest and most costly lie in modern history, a Maverick was needed most. 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.
And now he can be the catalyst to turn the tide — right after he’s exposed for his reprehensible lies and hypocrisy (and not just on the war).
Well whad’ya know — Sowell’s saying what I’m saying in the highlighted lines below.
Somehow he forgot to follow his own rules on Iraq.
“Compared to What?”
You can’t have a “Compared to What?” standard without comparing what’s in question. In the aftermath of 9/11, the marquee evidence used to sell a war in the Middle East is as critical as comparison gets.
Seems like having some baseline understanding of an issue is a sound approach to ascertaining the truth.
I’m old-fashioned that way
Which images below look related to nuclear weapons?
Contrast his loose language of “various nations‘ intelligence agencies” (and anything he said on the subject) — with the specificity of mine . . .
Could you tell me why the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) — got an equal say on the aluminum tubes for the NIE vote?
An agency that does imagery analysis of the Earth . . .
Same for NSA and other agencies that had no expertise in centrifuge physics.
And why wasn’t JAEIC allowed to weigh in? What’s JAEIC?
DAVID ALBRIGHT (RWM): An alternative method to resolve this conflict would have been for the DCI to ask for the judgment of the Joint Atomic Energy Intelligence Committee (JAEIC for short) which is officially part of the [National Intelligence Estimate] process.
JAEIC has been a standing DCI technical intelligence committee for several decades.
WASHINGTON POST (April 1st, 2005): The CIA refused to convene the government’s authoritative forum for resolving technical disputes about nuclear weapons. JAEIC proposed twice — in the spring and summer of 2002 — to assess all the evidence.
The CIA’s front office replied that the CIA was not ready to discuss its position.
RICHARD W. MEMMER: For a year and a half the C.I.A. was ready enough to shovel its certitude to the White House. Turner was ready enough to arrogantly dismiss the conclusions of all the world’s top centrifuge scientists.
And yet somehow the C.I.A. was never ready enough to openly debate the issue.
DAVID ALBRIGHT (RWM): This polarized debate was formalized, but not resolved, in October 2002 with the NIE. In this process, roughly ten intelligence agencies each had one vote, which pitted one agency against the other in a drive for a majority, vote.
RICHARD W. MEMMER: Only DOE and INR dissented. The CIA won a majority vote with agencies that had no business being involved in the discussion — which is where Colin Powell’s empty assertion of “most U.S. experts” came from. What does satellite surveillance and phone tapping have to do with centrifuge science?
Even the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency got an equal say on the aluminum tubes — an agency that does imagery analysis of the Earth.
Out of 31 tubes in subsequent testing, only one was successfully spun to 90,000 RPM for 65 minutes — which the C.I.A. seized on as evidence in their favor.
One D.O.E. analyst offered a superb analogy of that contorted conclusion: “Running your car up to 6,500 RPM briefly does not prove that you can run your car at 6,500 RPM cross country. It just doesn’t. Your car’s not going to make it.”
In an industry where fractions of a millimeter matter, these guys were playing horseshoes with centrifuge physics . . .
— Richard W. Memmer: Act II
right on cue
Apologists redirect the “debate” to frame it in their favor. They’re bullshitters by definition:
Bullshitters seek to convey a certain impression of themselves without being concerned about whether anything at all is true. They quietly change the rules governing their end of the conversation so that claims about truth and falsity are irrelevant.
CIA is not the all knowing God of the Bible. The CIA could do everything 100% correct but still not know everything.
There’s another reason why they wouldn’t know everything: Nuclear scientists don’t work there — they work at the Department of Energy.
And that — is what this is all about
You’d know that had you watched Trillion Dollar Tube instead of trying to educate me on things you know nothing about.
Note: I modified the Intelligence Community image below by overlaying CIA on top of Director of National Intelligence — to show how the IC effectively operated pre-9/11 and before DCI took center stage.
And that — is how the CIA rigged the NIE with the majority-rules vote I exlained above.
INR (Powell’s own intel agency) — backed DOE (the only real experts on this issue). They were outvoted by totally unqualified agencies (under pressure from CIA). If that doesn’t raise any eyebrows, what would?
I point you to a 7-part, 2 hours and 40 minutes doc — 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.
At every turn, the faithful tap dance around reality — oily evading anything that requires them to hold Sowell to his own standards. Expert, amateur, or anything in between: If you’re following the facts — seems like you’d take the trail to the most obvious place it would go:
To see what two of the foremost experts on the planet had to say . . .
Dr. Wood and the late Dr. Zippe talking tubes:
Engineering the NIE vote paints the picture all the more, but Trillion Dollar Tube is plenty to put this lie in its place . . .
In all of 5 minutes
5 minutes of your life to open your eyes to lies you’ve spent decades spreading.
Most U.S. experts think they are intended to serve as rotors in centrifuges used to enrich uranium.
— Colin Powell
Scott Pelley: Do you know one in academia, in government, in a foreign country who disagrees with your appraisal, who says “Yes, these are for nuclear weapons.”
World-renowned nuclear scientist: I don’t know a single one anywhere.
Which guy looks like he’s on point?
I defy you to find a single instance of anyone on the Right even attempting to make an argument on the dimensions, material, and quantity of the tubes.
You’ll be lucky to find them mentioned at all.
You think it’s just a coincidence that all the “arguments” on the Right just happen to follow the same pattern (conveniently leaving out the most key evidence presented by Powell)?
That — all by itself, speaks volumes
To anyone who thinks world-altering wars are more important than whining about websites that expose painfully obvious lies, anyway.
What hard evidence do you have?
— Thomas Sowell
Hard enough to drop the hammer on you a hundred times over.
Sowell is a great man because of his books. I stand by that. you want to refute his books — go ahead. I’m listening.
— Glenn Loury
You said that they had no argument against your [R]ebuttal to Brown University’s letter on racism in the United States.
Neither do you on your “National Treasure.”
You wanna confine his record to a box of beliefs that suit you, and ignore anything that doesn’t. So the rules of argument you espouse on a daily basis don’t apply to you . . .
A lot of that goin’ around
Sowell sold out to sell those books you stand by.
Why not — it’s the American Way.
And so’s this . . .
Rack up attention, rake in rewards, accomplish nothing, make matters worse, and be hailed as a hero — another “brilliant” mind beloved as a “National Treasure.”
It’s all so goddamn cheap anymore . . .
We get rewarded by hearts, likes, thumbs-up — and we conflate that with value, and we conflate it with truth.
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.
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.
We are living through an epidemic of cowardice. The antidote is courage. . . .
— Bari Weiss: Some Thoughts About Courage
I’ve seen no such courage her community or any other.
You couldn’t carry Sowell’s jockstrap . . .
Is the kind of “courage” I’m used to.
One Tweet is all it should take:
Thomas Sowell flagrantly failed to follow the facts on Iraq WMD — opting to peddle party-line talking points that poison political discourse & butcher debate to this day. Here’s my 7-part documentary that exhaustively details the biggest and most costly lie in modern history
I threw down the gauntlet
Your mission, you should you choose to accept it — is to do what you say you do. If you go around griping about how others don’t follow the facts — here’s your moment to show how it’s done.
It’s in 7 parts totally 2 hours and 40 minutes. Watch one at a time for 7 weeks or 7 months: Fine, whatever it takes for the truth to have its day in the sun. You could watch clips and ask questions . . .
There are powerful forces that make damn sure you don’t.
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 didn’t write this from my imagination
You can be worshipped for weighing in on issues outside your wheelhouse — and have no idea what the hell you’re talking about. Of course, you could ascertain the truth by simply following your own standards:
But why bother when you can completely abandon them and still be seen as some kind of saint-like Sherlock Holmes.
- You’re instantly forgiven for being “wrong” — when you don’t even have to admit when you’re wrong
- An army of believers belittle anyone who questions their beloved Sowell — while they promote the principles I followed to find he didn’t
- You only look at evidence that works in your favor — following the facts only when they go in the direction you desire
- You can flagrantly fail to follow your own standards on matters of world-altering magnitude — then people who didn’t follow the facts any more than you did, will instantly absolve you with membership in the “everybody got it wrong” club
- Then you can turn on a dime to pounce on people for refusing to examine the evidence — and copy & paste some more fancy quotes to float for good measure
And on and on . . .
It’s indefensible! Don’t you know that?
I wouldn’t care if Sowell cured cancer:
You don’t get a pass for basking in baseless beliefs that cripple the country — and have the bottomless nerve to preach responsibility & accountability to boot.
That is a cancer of its own
The poison he pumped into the atmosphere helped destroy the internal organs of America. So we have very different standards as to what qualifies as a “National Treasure.”
A “great man” would not have his egregious hypocrisy and gross negligence plastered all over my website.
Sowell is not a great man — 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!
Coleman Hughes might be the only one willing to open his eyes to the truth about Sowell. Hugues 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.
What I have in mind is something of a JSOC — to join forces for a greater good that’s the gold standard of unimpeachable integrity.
Institute for Honesty? Institute for Integrity?
Something along those lines. Let’s just stick with JSOC for now — since it sounds cool and it’s got a nifty badge and all. Whatever the name . . .
JSOC’s scrutiny spares no one
These are just the first voices that came to mind to float the idea.
I’m really aiming for a Team of Rivals, but I’d need some help in finding people who could put their politics aside when acting on the behalf of JSOC.
When I couldn’t think of anyone else, I looked around and came across Transparency International:
To end corruption we must first understand it. That’s why we look at what causes corruption and what works against it. . . . We advocate for power to be held accountable. Everywhere.
Now we’re talkin’
Since the psychological gymnastics of human nature is at the root of our culture’s decline, exploring that would be central to JSOC’s mission.
I’m not familiar with the people in The Psychology of Politics, but they’re asking the right kind of questions.
Sowell joins JSOC
I know he’s gettin’ up there in age, so I’m not looking for major involvement. His seal of approval would do plenty — and some occasional involvement would be nice.
Then we go after this guy — boxing him in by his own “facts over feelings” standard.
With Sowell’s backing, how does Shapiro escape his own words about what a “terrific thinker” and “ethical guide” Thomas Sowell is?
Thomas Sowell is of course one of the foremost economists in America. He’s a terrific thinker — and more importantly, Thomas Sowell is I think a real ethical guide for a lot of folks because he thinks about issues rationally.
To be clear
Outside of overall views like Why war in Iraq is right for America, I haven’t seen anything Shapiro’s said on WMD (which I find curious). In any case, I want to make it clear that I’m not implying anything about his record on WMD — as I simply don’t have any information on that.
“Go after this guy” — is about bolstering what Thomas Sowell says if he comes clean. Shapiro’s word carries a ton of weight — and his following dwarfs Sowell’s.
Which means Shapiro could blow this thing wide open all by himself.
That aside: As opinionated as Shapiro is, you have to wonder why there’s no clear trail of his thoughts on WMD. He weighed in on the war but not how we got there?
That strikes me as a calculated move by someone being very careful.
Up against JSOC (with Sowell and hopefully Shapiro on board): Larry’s days of dishing but not taking are done.
And if he stops behaving like a child when challenged — and consistently delivers on “facts over feelings,” JSOC would welcome him right in.
JSOC drops the hammer on the whole show
And this is the short list:
A young man sittin’ on the witness stand
The man with the book says “Raise your hand”
“Repeat after me, I solemnly swear”
The man looked down at his long hair
And although the young man solemnly swore
Nobody seemed to hear anymore
And it didn’t really matter if the truth was there
It was the cut of his clothes and the length of his hair
What is Truth
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.
They made a difference
Not long before this Tweet — this guy was condemning my efforts like all the rest that day.
And then he opened the doc . . .
I never heard from that guy again — nor the one below.
But they made a difference
I wrote Thomas Sowell to Team of Rivals in response to the above — and wrote Clear the Clutter in response to the inquiry below.
I included my Tweet for context:
I may never hear from him again either, but he made a difference.
He could make a lot more if he could reach Loury in a way that I couldn’t — and here’s his email: email@example.com. I’ve had no luck connecting with McWhorter or Hughes, but those guys or even someone of lesser influence could be the catalyst for this conversation.
Or just spread the word
America has gone totally off the rails in its worship of the wildly [unworthy] — and that includes the so-called Rock Star running the show right now.
— Richard W. Memmer: Epilogue
Anyone worth this ridiculous hero-worship — wouldn’t want it, as they’d have a helluva lot higher expectations of their supporters.
Not only did Sowell flagrantly fail to follow the facts on all-things Iraq — he brazenly ignored the debauchery in his own party to politely pounce on the other.
To believe he’s a “great man” and “fearless” “maverick” with what you knew of him — is one thing: To continue to believe it in the face of overwhelming and irrefutable evidence — is pure fantasy.
Maybe you don’t know Sowell as well as you thought you did, and heaven forbid you hold him to same standards pushing your popularity.
You asked them to take stock — just don’t ask you.
“The truth” about so and so — but not Sowell . . .
He’s off limits
If you don’t Seek to Understand Before You Seek to Be Understood, how do you know where I’m going with this question?
Then one day at the end of my thirty-seventh year, while taking a spring Sunday walk, I happened upon a neighbor in the process of repairing a lawn mower. After greeting him I remarked, “Boy, I sure admire you. I’ve never been able to fix those kind of things or do anything like that.”
My neighbor, without a moment’s hesitation, shot back, “That’s because you don’t take the time.” I resumed my walk, somehow disquieted by the gurulike simplicity, spontaneity and definitiveness of his response.
“You don’t suppose he could be right, do you?” I asked myself.
Somehow it registered, and the next time the opportunity presented itself to make a minor repair I was able to remind myself to take my time. The parking brake was stuck on a patient’s car, and she knew that there was something one could do under the dashboard to release it, but she didn’t know what. I lay down on the floor below the front seat of her car.
Then I took the time to make myself comfortable. Once I was comfortable, I then took the time to look at the situation. . . .
At first all I saw was a confusing jumble of wires and tubes and rods, whose meaning I did not know.
But gradually, in no hurry, I was able to focus my sight . . . I slowly studied this latch until it became clear to me . . . One single motion, one ounce of pressure from a fingertip, and the problem was solved.
Disciples of Thomas Sowell have no such notion:
As my videographer perfectly put it
We finally figured out what we were doing by the end
If we don’t change course as a country — we won’t.
It was a picture-perfect wedding
We had the whole world at our feet
Everyone thought we were
Heading down a lovers easy street
We’d have a house out in the country
A picket fence, the whole nine yards
They said our love would last forever
It was written in the stars
I should have known it all along
When the future looks too bright
Can’t be anything but right
Wrong . . .