Curb Your Bias

Last night on Twitter I posted the comment, “Once you realize the astonishing amount of bull**** which is believed by massive majorities, Clinton vs Trump makes sense” (though on Twitter, as it is a crude place, I didn’t use “****”) and it got a fairly high response for a Tweet by a guy with around 500 followers – 13 likes and 5 retweets. My follow-up Tweet, however, didn’t get any response, at all: “A lot of ‘likes’ for my Tweet about the amount of BS believed. Now, ask me what is BS so I can piss all you off, one by one”.

I can only assume I had no takers because people were a little wary of responding – which leads me to believe that what is BS is, for a lot of people, entirely subjective. People liked having it generally confirmed that everything is messed up because a lot of BS is believed, but weren’t quite ready to have their own beliefs examined under the BS-Detector.

Just how much of a BS detector I want to put out here is based upon just how mad I want to get every last person who reads this; because if I were to list all the BS, then it is bound to offend everyone at some point (and that is leaving aside The Issue Which Shall Not Be Named). But, for now, I immediately call to mind a time when I was effectively banned (actually, put on “audit” where my comments would be reviewed before being published) at a Catholic, Conservative website. Yep, Catholic, Conservative me so angered fellow Catholic Conservatives that I was banned. How? Well, in an historical discussion, I brought up the point that the French Revolution, at bottom, was set in motion because a collection of Bankers figured the only way they could collect on their government bonds (the royal government being de-facto bankrupt) was if the government would confiscate the wealth of the Church…which event would not happen as long as deeply Catholic Louis XVI was in charge.

This assertion just infuriated the guy running the blog – and I can only imagine it did so because he had a conviction that the fundamental reason for the French Revolution was a genuine aspiration on the part of the overwhelming mass of the French people for a Republic. I think the revolt in the Vendee kind of indicated otherwise – even without (I think it was Robespierre who said it) the understanding of the Revolutionary government that a free and fair vote of the people would amount to a recall of the Monarchy. At the end of the day, the Monarchy fell not because of a desire for a Republic, but because the Monarch ordered his troops to stand down when a howling mob of thugs assaulted his palace. A “whiff of the grape” at that time would have worked just as effectively as it did when Napoleon, commanded by the Revolutionary leaders allegedly in favor of liberty, equality and fraternity, blasted heck out a similar mob a few years later.

To me, it illustrated the habit people have of simply confirming their own biases. If there’s something a person disagrees with, they’ll look for reasons to support their disagreement even if it means ignoring evidence that it isn’t, perhaps, disagreeable. So, too, will people find reasons to support what they like, even if evidence exists that perhaps it isn’t so good. As for me, I can only figure that I’ve been lucky – over the past 10 to 15 years, I have come to appreciate that as everything is run by human beings who are Fallen from grace, even the best has some bad in it and even the worst can be explained. I’ve also come to understand that no person – or group of persons – is irredeemable. The worst rat you can think of can still be saved – but, also, the most angelic person can still err.

As it relates to right now, I think this is why I am just not all that upset about Trump – nor about the likely result of a Hillary Presidency that Trump represents. Not for me getting out there and being all fanatic #NeverTrump all day long. What is the point? Trump is a man who is doing things – as such, of course he’s doing some things wrong. It can’t be otherwise. Voting for Trump doesn’t make you either wicked or a fool, nor does voting against Trump garner you any virtue (and ditto with Hillary). Even if we had got our dream candidate, we’d still all be voting for a flawed human being who would make all sorts of mistakes. Naturally, I’d prefer if my choices in November were different from what they’re going to be, but these are the choices I’ll have and I’ll just have to make the best of it and pray that things come out as well as possible.

It is always good to keep in mind our own inability – no matter how smart or knowledgeable any of us are, there is still a vast amount we don’t know, and we’re not nearly as smart as we think we are. Herman Khan was a certified genius – yet the man routinely got lost going between his house and his office. The best course of action I can suggest is that when either pleased or angered by something, think it over a bit before you react. You’re first reaction is probably wrong – or, if not flat wrong, didn’t take into consideration all (or even most) of the factors involved. Curb your bias! Think a bit. Keep silent for a long while, if possible – the words you never write or say are words you never have to take back! Also, of course, if you write or say something you’re very likely to dig in and keep defending yourself, even when you’ve been proven a fool…better to not have to defend folly, you know?

Happy Easter!

On the first day of the week,
Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning,
while it was still dark,
and saw the stone removed from the tomb.
So she ran and went to Simon Peter
and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them,
“They have taken the Lord from the tomb,
and we don’t know where they put him.”
So Peter and the other disciple went out and came to the tomb.
They both ran, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter
and arrived at the tomb first;
he bent down and saw the burial cloths there, but did not go in.
When Simon Peter arrived after him,
he went into the tomb and saw the burial cloths there,
and the cloth that had covered his head,
not with the burial cloths but rolled up in a separate place.
Then the other disciple also went in,
the one who had arrived at the tomb first,
and he saw and believed.
For they did not yet understand the Scripture
that he had to rise from the dead. – John 20:1-9

Freedom is Dying in America

Earlier today a family member told me they were leaving a social media format – because others this person works with are liberals and as this person does not toe the left wing party line, having the liberal co-workers find out about heterodox opinions could be costly. Meanwhile, Erick Erickson details how he is living under threat for being anti-Trump.

Last year a cousin of mine found out that my grandfather – George Childs Noonan, Sr. – was a bit of a “blood and guts” Noonan during World War One. His battalion was attached to a British force assigned a vital task in piercing the Hindenburg Line, grandpa (per a unit citation) was one of a group of men who, surrounded by the enemy, fought doggedly, killing and wounding large numbers of the enemy before being forced to surrender when they ran out of ammunition (it was late in the war so grandpa only spent a short time as a POW). Grandpa was fighting for freedom – and he gave it his best. He and all 7 of his brothers fought in World War one – and two of his sisters served as Red Cross nurses in France. All 8 of the brothers were wounded to one extent or another…and so determined what that batch of Noonans to fight for liberty, that one brother actually joined up with the British Royal Flying Corps before the United States entered the war. And now, 100 years later, we’re finding out at the all the dedication and sacrifice was completely wasted – the great-grandchildren of those men and women are getting to be opposed to freedom, as such.

It is just bizarre how little the young know of history, or of what liberty is. A fellow Conservative on Twitter retweeted a youthful, liberal comment about Trump…the kid was wondering why the government hasn’t already gotten rid of Trump! Say what you want about Trump – and I’ll say a lot – but it never occurs to me in the slightest to try and stop Trump from doing what he wants to do. Nor Sanders or Hillary or anyone out there. Free country, right?

Not any longer.

And I think it must be because we’re not teaching young Americans about history. Oh, to be sure – there’s something in school which is identified as a history class, but I’ll bet the whole thing is nothing but a screed about how lousy the United States has been along with a few identity-politics plugs for selected “in” social groups. I feel pretty confident that in and among all they are teaching, why we went “over there” in 1917 isn’t covered…and I’m frightened to think about what I might find covered in World War Two. Probably something about the internment of the Japanese and the Atomic Bomb…I’ll bet a lot of schools even steer away from the Holocaust because that might offend Islamist sensibilities. I suspect it because I see the results – plenty of young people are getting suckered into neo-Nazi ideology because they don’t know the truth, and so easily fall to Nazi imagery and those out there who have crafted elaborate Holocaust-denial narratives.

Freedom is never more than a generation away from being lost – so said Ronald Reagan a generation ago, and he was right.

Now, can we recover? I’m not sure – it might be that various stripes of tyranny battle it out until one wins and suppresses everyone else. I hope freedom can still prevail – but I worry that time to do so is rapidly running out.

Justice Scalia, RIP

I can’t even.

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, the intellectual cornerstone of the court’s modern conservative wing, whose elegant and acidic opinions inspired a movement of legal thinkers and ignited liberal critics, died Feb. 13 on a ranch near Marfa, Tex. He was 79.

The cause of death was not immediately known.

Naturally, there’s a lot of talk about what happens next.

 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell released a statement:

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Let’s hope he means it.

Here’s my spiel.

Democrats are responsible for some of the most shameless obstruction of judicial nominees. Honestly, this is the Supreme Court we’re talking about here, so if the Senate GOP needs to obstruct a SCOTUS nominee of lame duck Obama, I am all for it… but they do have the votes to let the process move forward and simply vote down Obama nominees until he either nominates an acceptable nominee (unlikely) or is no longer in office.

Paris: Does Anyone Want to Get Real, Yet?

Or are we just going to have some teary-eyed candlelight vigils and proclaim our “solidarity” with the victims? I suspect that is all we’ll do – oh, to be sure, any terrorists taken alive will be put on trial by the French and France might even carry out a few selected attacks in the Middle East; but I don’t think the French, or anyone, will really do anything.

To do something about this requires courage, determination and a willingness to inflict and suffer losses. And to have all that, you have to have something you believe in. Say what you want about the terrorists who carried out the attacks, but they clearly believe in something – something they are willing to throw away their lives for. To fight such, we need people who believe just as vigorously in a different set of ideas. What do the French believe? What do Americans believe? What do the people of the West believe? Some of the elements in Europe which are opposed to the establishment seem more interested in just deporting immigrants and ensuring more welfare for native-born layabouts. There are, of course, some who do believe in better ideas – but I don’t see them in charge; nor likely to become in charge any time soon.

I do wonder why we in the United States have not suffered such attacks – it could be just luck, but it also might relate to just how well-armed the American people are. Part of the appeal, as it were, for these types of attacks is that they provide the Islamists with a show which encourages other people to join up. You see, the prospect of Europeans – so long the dominant people of the world – completely cowed and dying helplessly at the hands of Islamists gives a sense of power to people inclined to believe Islamist propaganda. It might work out differently in the United States – certainly in parts of the United States. Rather than helpless, unarmed people the terrorists might find a good number shooting back. It would not at all be a good bit of propaganda if a terrorist cell went down before the arms of American civilians…even if a number of civilians were killed in the fight. Nope: helpless people screaming for their lives before the police can respond – that is what gets terrorist juices flowing.

But, still, we must expect that eventually some sort of attack like this will be launched in the United States. It really isn’t a matter of “if” but of “when”. Our borders are open so we’ve probably got a good number of people already here who are inclined to these types of attacks. But it would be better if we could calmly and reasonably assess the situation and reacted before such an atrocity occurs. Better to take the fight to the enemy rather than just waiting for him to strike – and even if you are of the belief that it was American actions which provoked the attacks, there’s no putting the cat back in the bag. If they are already provoked then nothing we do will un-provoke them. Better, then, to have at them before their plans are matured.

This is a world at war – and even if we want to ignore the war, it won’t ignore us. We’ll have to fight at some point – some of our lives will have to be lost. They’ll be lost in response to terrorist attacks, or because we sent out forces to attack the enemy. Pick which one you want.

Never Again?

I was watching “Band of Brothers” last week–the episode where the Nazi death camp is discovered.

They (the Nazis) were massacring tens of thousands of people, in a camp located right near their community, right under the noses of those in the community–and they did NOTHING.

After they liberated the camp, the 101st Airborne conscripted the nearby townsfolk to carry all the bodies out of the death camp and to bury them. The people were aghast as they carried out their grisly duty; unaware that such atrocities could occur, right under their noses. They had no answer when interrogated as to why they continued to allow those atrocities to occur.

At some of those death camps, there were even bizarre experiments in dismemberment, disfugurement, and other forms of torture conducted, sometimes on live prisoners.

After WWII, the solemn pledge that arose was the phrase, “NEVER AGAIN!”

NEVER AGAIN! would the world allow such atrocities to occur against a defenseless group of people.

NEVER AGAIN! would the world stand by and do nothing in the face of what is surely evil.

And now, eighty years have passed, and there are now ‘death camps’ scattered all over America, centered mostly in minority urban centers–these death camps are massacring hundreds of thousands of babies every year. These death camps are also known as ‘abortion ‘clinics,’ most commonly known as “Planned Parenthood” clinics. At a goodly portion of these death camps, bizarre and horrific dismemberment and disfigurement of their victims take place for later experimentation and other uses, sometimes perpetrated on born-alive victims.

These atrocities take place right under our noses. And the powers that be do nothing. People literally whistle past the graveyard. Even our own United States Senate, charged with the Constitutional Duty to protect the Right to Life, today refused to remove the mechanism through which these atrocities are funded and are allowed to continue. Even after the atrocities, thanks to the Center for Medical Progress, had been documented on film ad nauseum, the abject cowards in the United States Senate refused to lift a finger to keep these atrocities from continuing.

We who individually and collectively refuse to defend the defenseless can no longer lay claim to live in a blessed nation. I cannot fathom a Creator who would continue to bless his creation for disrespecting and wantonly desecrating that which was made in His own image, and that we were charged to protect.

A moment of Judgment is no doubt coming… one in which our Creator will force US to view and to confront the horrors which we have wrought, and one in which which we will singularly and collectively have to answer the question, “What did YOU do to defend the defiling of My creation?”

I’m afraid my answer will be, “Not enough Lord…not enough.”

Never again?

Leo Pusateri's photo.