Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Reality And Truth

It seems to me that we're living in a society that's based upon fundamental dishonesty.

Heck of a statement, isn't it? - but I think it's true. Let me explain.

In many areas of our lives we've become accustomed to living a lie ourselves and expecting others to live a lie as well. We no longer adhere to the fundamental principle of truth, of reality, as a yardstick against which to measure ourselves and our society. We no longer call ourselves or others to account when that principle is breached. A few examples from the past year:

1. General David Petraeus came back to Washington from Iraq to deliver his progress report. What he had to say was demonstrably, factually accurate - anyone could have gone to the places he mentioned and investigated it for themselves. Subsequent events have more than proven his points. However, his reception was bitter, negative and contentious, from politicians who were opposed to the President's policies in Iraq to news media and pressure groups who feared that his truth might undermine the lies they had been spreading. The New York Times, Moveon.org and their ilk were particularly contemptible in this regard. The 'Petraeus - Betray Us?' advertisement was a new low in character assassination on their part. They tried to destroy a man who has spent his life in the faithful service of his country, solely because they disagreed with his mission and were afraid of his success. Have they been called to account for their lies? Have they suffered any penalty? Not that I can see.
Another example: CNN's handling of the recent debate for Republican presidential candidates. They carefully screened hundreds of 'reader-submitted' questions . . . and ended up with six questioners who ALL happened to be members or representatives of the Democratic party. When called on this CNN's response was indignation that their 'impartiality' could be questioned. Oh, come on! If you believe that this was an accident or a coincidence, and that CNN, the NYT and their ilk are 'impartial', then there's a bridge in Brooklyn I'd like to sell you. Cash only, please, and in small bills. (The same thing can be said of news organizations on the Right, of course. The problem isn't one-sided.)

2. President Bush and members of his Administration have spoken at great length about the danger of terrorism and the need for increased security measures (laws, regulations, surveillance, the use of questionable interrogation techniques, etc.) to combat it. Yet, at the same time, they've ignored the reality that many of the measures they advocate and have signed into law are pointless and fruitless. The Transportation Safety Administration is a wonderful example. We all know which religious, racial and ethnic groups pose the main threat to our aircraft - yet the TSA is forbidden from 'profiling' (on racial or other grounds) and therefore cannot target the most likely threats because of the risk of lawsuits. The result is the ridiculous spectacle of elderly ladies being given extra screening 'for security reasons' whilst multiple passengers in likely 'threat groups' are waved through with minimal scrutiny. Even their security measures are laughable. They take great pains to prevent passengers boarding with anything that might remotely resemble a weapon - but illegal aliens are working on the ground staff at many of our airports with unfettered access to the planes (see here, here and here for a few examples). If I were a terrorist I'd arrange for my comrades to get jobs like that and place weapons, explosives and other necessities on the aircraft for me whilst I and my team went through the TSA checkpoint 'clean'. It wouldn't be difficult to arrange.

3. That brings up the security of our borders. Our politicians on both the Left and the Right seem impervious to the reality of the situation. This year they tried - repeatedly - to ram through amnesty for illegal aliens despite a very clear majority of the American people being opposed to this. They really think they know better than we, the people, do and that we'll meekly toe the line they draw. For so long as our borders are not secured against illegal entry, for just so long our hospitals will be overrun and driven to near-bankruptcy by those who have no health insurance and rely on the emergency room to provide what they can't otherwise afford; for so long our prisons will be filling up with criminal illegal aliens; and for so long our social infrastructure - schools, housing, transport - will be overburdened by those who have no right to it. I'm an immigrant myself - a legal one! - and I obviously support legal immigration, but the powers that be seem perfectly happy to impose the enormous cost burden of illegal immigration on American taxpayers for the sake of their big-business friends. They lie about this in grandiose terms, referring to 'compassion' and 'the American way', but in reality they're being bought and paid for by lobbyists and pressure groups. As a side benefit to terrorists, they don't have to worry about how to get into the USA - they can cross the borders almost with impunity.

4. We cloud the debate over fundamental issues by creating new words and then couching the debate in those terms. For example, 'abortion' has become a matter of 'pro-choice' or 'pro-life', neither of which is an appropriate term for the reality. We're talking about the deliberate killing of a human being, folks. Even that reality is challenged by those who claim that a foetus isn't a human being at all, or is not 'viable'. Oh, come on! If you leave a foetus alone for its natural term, out pops a human baby. You can't tell me that at some point something in the womb changes so that what was not human suddenly becomes human. It's human, or it isn't - one or the other. As for 'viability', that's another straw man. How many infants are 'viable' without constant adult care and support? None. How many elderly people are 'viable' without the care and attention they receive from family members or other care providers? Does this 'lack' of 'viability' mean that they are less than fully human? Of course not! No, the debate is really very simple in its fundamental reality. It's all about the deliberate killing of human beings. If we deny that, or try to camouflage it by using weaselly terms to avoid or evade the issue, we're basically living a lie. We can, of course, have different opinions about the value of human life - that's another story - but let's at least agree to speak the truth.

5. The same point can be made about many problems in society. The so-called 'gun control debate' isn't about guns at all. There's no such thing as 'gun crime' - after all, what gun has ever committed a crime without someone to pull the trigger? You can't blame the instrument for the crime, otherwise we'd be blaming cars for drunk driving and speeding! Also, without exception, the jurisdictions that impose the most swingeing controls over firearms are also the most crime-ridden and violent in the USA. You'd think that would be a wake-up call . . . but no. Those who are opposed to private ownership of firearms aren't really worried about the firearms at all. They simply want people to be dependent on the State rather than on themselves. It's precisely the same reaction visible in those opposed to home schooling or school vouchers. They want to control what your child learns and absorbs, and anything threatening that control is dangerous in their eyes. The same can be seen in many calls to stop the abuse of alcohol and drugs. You can pass all the laws you like - remember Prohibition? - but the reality is that individuals will make good or bad choices. All the laws in the world won't prevent them from doing so. The so-called 'War On Drugs' has landed hundreds of thousands of our citizens in prison and absorbed billions upon billions of dollars of taxpayers' money. Has it worked? Has it stopped the 'drug menace'? Like hell it has! There's an old definition that fits here: insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results. By that standard many of our laws - and the politicians and pressure groups that work to impose, expand and enforce them - are insane.

6. Precisely the same problem occurs in many relationships. I've been a pastor for many years and I've lost count of the number of problem marriages I've had to counsel. Time after time after time the real problems were actively denied by those involved, to such an extent that they literally refused to face reality. For example, in situations of domestic violence I've heard many women say, "But I love him, and he needs me, so I can't leave him." Bull! The only thing he loved about them was their easy availability as a target! Some of those situations have ended tragically . . . all because the victim refused to acknowledge the truth and act upon it. In similar fashion I've told many prospective couples during marriage preparation classes that a marriage can't be built solely upon lust or physical attraction. Inevitably, sooner or later that's going to die down as the 'chemistry' wears off. At that point you've got to have something more in common than sexual frenzy or your relationship won't last. Invariably I've found that many of the relationships that became sexually active early on, before a deep foundation of friendship and mutual respect could be formed, have ended up in the divorce courts.

All of the above points can be traced back to the appalling lack of education in how to think. In the old days people were expected to think for themselves. Schools and universities taught one to analyze, criticize, assess and compare points. Debating societies were widespread. People thought about issues. Nowadays the mantra is not 'What do you think about this?' but 'What do you feel about this?' Feelings have replaced facts as the yardstick for assessment of a problem, and that's had a disastrous effect. Feelings are irrelevant to truth. I may 'feel' that I have the right to go walking through grizzly bear territory telling the bears how much I love and respect them, as the late Mr. Treadwell did . . . but when the bears 'feel' only hunger in response, and kill and eat me, it's my problem and my fault. Treadwell chose to ignore the facts about grizzly bears, and that choice killed him and his girlfriend. I've spoken to many people who claim the 'right' to dress as they wish, walk through dangerous neighborhoods whenever they please, and so on, but scream to high heaven when they're robbed or raped for doing so. Sorry, but they asked for it. It's not right, it's not fair, but life doesn't give a damn about what's right or fair. If you fall off a ship in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, try telling the sea about your right to life. It doesn't care. You'll drown in it anyway. Much better to take precautions and not fall in at all, or avoid walking through dangerous neighborhoods, or dress sensibly rather than provocatively so that rapists and sex offenders won't target you. That's reality. Live with it.

I could go on for hours in similar vein, but there's really no point in doing so. Fundamentally all of the problems I've mentioned above boil down to a simple common factor. We've chosen to turn away from the stark, black-and-white reality of the truth and cloud these and other issues in vagueness, uncertainty, 'feelings' and a host of irrelevancies. For so long as we choose to do so as individuals, for just so long our society as a whole - which is, after all, no more than an agglomeration of individuals - will do the same. For so long as we as individuals allow others to do our thinking for us: for so long as we as individuals fail to stand up and speak the truth: for just so long others will remain trapped in the fog of unreality in which our society moves at present and for just so long that society will be manipulated and distorted by those who deal in untruths and chimeras.

Truth begins with us, folks. There's no-one else.



Anonymous said...


You are a very intelligent and perceptive man. Everything you have stated is true. I don't believe that the issues you have addressed are the result of complacency but rather a result of a plan that was orchestrated by the ACLU several decades ago, people that hate America and the American way of life.

Their first step was to invade our universities. Communist and socialist professors invented what we refer to today as political correctness. In other words anyone who spoke anything that was against what they believe was branded a racist, biggot, intolerant tyrant. Free speach became a thing of the past and truth and a clear cut sense of right and wrong was replaced by secular humanism.

Then they began attacking the rest of society through lawsuits. They attacked anything that was in anyway connected to the moral foundation of our culture. Whether people like it or not this society was founded on Judeo-Christian morality and ethics. The first target was prayer in school and then they went on to attack crosses on public land, the Ten Commandments, etc., etc.

Then came the institution of the social welfare sytem. A system in which we actively fund and sponsor negative behavior and penalize positive behavior. If you want a free house, food and medical care go have a child out of wedlock and fill out a form. If you are too uneducated to fill out the form we will help you fill the form out. If you can't read the form because you are here illegally and don't speak english we will print the form in a language you can read. The only stipulation is that there has to be no family structure in place with a father and a mother and you have to refuse to work. This just breeds an endless cycle of children from dysfunctional, broken homes. Drug dealers, armed robbers and other criminals.

On the other hand if you get married and have children we are going to impose a marriage penalty tax. If you work hard and make a lot of money we are going to take your money and give it to people who could and should work but won't.

The ACLU constantly comes to the aid of those who engage in behaviour that is destructive to our society and attacks those which attempt to remind us of the truth and right and wrong.

It amazes me we live in a time where the same person who will hold a sign and protest the killing of a whale or a baby seal will become irrate to the point of violence when someone tries to tell them abortion is murder. I never thought I would see the day when people would even consider the notion of same sex marriage. Twenty years ago the notion would have been laughable.

The masses sit hynotized in front of their televisions and refuse to become involved. We are witnessing the decline and death of our culture.

MadRocketScientist said...

NOt bad, but one bone to pick.

A woman will not get assaulted or raped solely on the basis of how she dresses, but rather, her manner of dress may provide clues to a predator as to a woman's potential vulnerability to attack. Other factors, such as attitude, posture and carry, etc, factor in the decision for a predator to attack. To say that a woman's manner of dress, no matter who distasteful you may find it, is her way of "asking for it" is to ignore the rest of the equation.

I agree with the rest though, that by not encouraging our fellow citizens to think, we are creating a society of persons who act on impulse with no regard for logic. This is why we have a culture of violence in our inner cities, because the youth have never been required to think, only to act, so they act on emotion and instinct instead of applying logical thought to the problem.

Anonymous said...

Very nice. I feel exactly the same. Keep up the good work, i really enjoy reading this blog :)

MadRocketScientist said...

And firstar99, don't be so quick to RIP the ACLU, they may not always do things you agree with, but the also fight against things like this:

The ACLU is as likely to support your right to worship as they are to support my right to not have to listen to your worship.

Sevesteen said...

2. It depends on what you mean by profiling. If we just give all Arabs or Muslims extra harassment (which is 80% of the TSA's work), it is going to help the terrorists in recruitment more than it keeps them from acting--They have fanatics that don't look like the profile, and they will just use them when needed.

3. While I agree that illegals should be sent back, and those who hire them should be prosecuted, it is because unenforced laws weaken the legal system and promote corruption. Most illegals work illegitimately at legit jobs. They pay taxes on someone else's SSN, but can't collect refunds or social security. They are not disproportionately represented in the prison population.

The problem with hospitals isn't illegals, it is the unfunded mandate of purely voluntary payment for ER care--We would have the same problem if we decided that food was a right, and restaurants were not allowed to demand payment. The number of native abusers overwhelms the illegals.

4. Most of the anti-abortion movement is dishonest--they use abortion as an anchor to promote their value system. It is tied in with abstinence-only sex education, anti-birth control, and anti-extramarital sex. Through distribution of birth control, Planned Parenthood has probably prevented more abortions than it has performed.

5. Won't argue with you here. We've got a system where "tough on crime" means increasing penalties, regardless of whether the crime involved has a victim.

6. The only difference between domestic violence and plain violence is that the law should treat the domestic victim as "under duress" and not require their cooperation to press charges.

Peter said...

A couple of responses.

1. Madrocketscientist, with the greatest possible respect I must disagree with you. I've worked in prisons with felons ranging from the relatively minor to the worst of the worst (those on permanent lockdown for the rest of their lives). Invariably they told me that the way a woman dressed was, indeed, 'asking for it' according to their lights. Innumerable felons told me in so many words (I'm censoring their language here!) that 'if she dress lak a ho, I'm gonna treat her lak a ho'. I know that's not PC or terribly sensitive, but that's the way criminals are.

2. Sevesteen, again, with the greatest of respect, I must disagree. I know - from the inside - how many illegal aliens are in prison: and believe me, it's out of all proportion to their purported numbers in society. Furthermore, many of them are remunerated on a cash basis without payment of any taxes at all. (We have a number of their former employers behind bars for that reason.)

As for the hospital/ER situation and its relationship to illegal immigrants, I respectfully suggest that you read some of the blogs written by ER personnel. They don't have to be politically correct, and their views of the situation are blunt and very much to the point. Sure, there are some areas of the country where the problem is basically the uninsured, but in major centers such as the greater Los Angeles metropolis the illegals are the huge bulk of the problem. As a result hospital ER facilities in that area are so bad (compared to what they were even a decade or two ago) that your chances of death as an emergency patient appear to be measurably greater there than in other large cities.

Otherwise, thanks to all of you for your comments. Keep them coming!


MadRocketScientist said...

I'm not saying her manner of dress is not a factor, only that it does not act alone. And I wonder at how much a violent predator really thinks about his criteria for making an attack, and how much is an instinctive reading of body language with the idea of "treating her like a ho" because that is the woman he sees before him, by her posture, body language, speech, and dress.

I guess what I am saying is a provocatively dressed woman walking down the street armed with a .45 in her purse and the conscious will to use it would be a less appealing target than a similarly dressed woman who was without the means or will to defend herself. An attacker would never see the gun, but he would know the signs of that will, and would likely find other prey.

Anonymous said...

I have to take issue with Madrocketscientist over the ACLU. The little chip story you used as an example is just another example of how the ACLU over reacts.

Parents have the right and option to choose to participate. The chip does not "eavesdrop" and once the backpack is off the kid he isn't traced at all.

The ACLU makes issue of things to mislead us and cause us to ask the wrong questions.

I wish more people thought like "Bayou Renaissance Man."
Peter, I like the way you think, and the blog is one of the best I've read.

MadRocketScientist said...


Yep, it is opt-out, not opt-in, and how long will it be until the opt-out part goes away "for the good of the children"

How can we expect to raise intelligent, thinking children when we make such obvious displays that we can not trust them.

If I want the school to know where my kid is at all times, I'll sign up for the program, but I should not have to opt-out so the school knows who the troublemakers are.

Anonymous said...


I cannot think of one instance where the ACLU stood on behalf of anything Christian. In fact they selectively choose to ignore the propogation of Islam and fight anything to do with Christianity.

If you do some research on the ACLU you will find that it was founded by people who hate America and anything to do with God. It was their stated agenda to destroy America.

HollyB said...

We may have to agree to disagree on the whole "dressing provacatively is asking for it" issue. We both worked with Sexual Predators, rapists and pedophiles.
With both of them, it's more about control than it is about sex.

I respectfully submit to you that when your inmates were verbalizing the sentiments you paraphrased in your reply to above comments, they were still in Denial mode. And we BOTH know that De-Nial ain't just a river in Egypt, don't we?

When they'd arrive in my parole office with that same attitude it was my job to confront that denial head on. I'd say things like, "Do I LOOK that naive?" or "Do I have 'Lie to me' tatooed on my forehead?" Then we'd go about the business of getting him to admit that her mode of dress jeans that were too tight], where she was walking [down the street a block from her house in a bad neighborhood], with a bunch of books in her arms after a night class actually had NOTHING to do with his decision to rape.
It had a LOT more to do with his feelings of Anger, her being isolated and unaware of her surroundings, looking weak and like easy prey.


MadRocketScientist said...

Sorry Peter, I don't mean to turn this into a debate about the ACLU.





I think if you look, what you'll find is that the ACLU supports your right to practice whatever faith you want, but that it will not support any action that forces religion, or gives the appearance of a government endorsement of faith.

Pop said...

Excellent, excellent article. 100% in agreement. It's nice to know that not everybody is over the edge!