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Why the INFOWARS Purge is Nothing to Celebrate

Why the INFOWARS Purge is Nothing to Celebrate

I am a free speech absolutist by nature. Short of purposefully screaming fire in a crowded theater with the intent of causing mayhem … I just like having it all out there … from the wackiest religious tripe to the most virulent racist poison. For me, it’s better to see it exposed in the sunlight than to have it driven underground where it collects bacteria and followers … followers who can secretly live double lives until it is too late.

I say turn over the rocks and let them scurry around. Or goad them into the light to willingly reveal who and what they are … let them mark themselves with their own words so we can keep an eye on them while they do whatever it is they do to prop up their fantasies. Doing otherwise is a tacit admission that you don’t trust the facts or the veracity of your ideas. Don’t concede the debate by being unwilling to take it up.

Obviously, I am enthusiastic about the competition of ideas. And yes, I do know that we might end up with a bad product because a lot of people haven’t the foggy idea how to shop for a thought or fact or sound analysis. But open competition also makes it likelier that there will be a backlash and shame and other organic, dialectical responses that could create new ideas and even produce some change.

I know it is a dangerous game. It could all go wrong in a hurry. But so could your trip to the supermarket. Which is why I find myself decidedly phlegmatic about the purge of INFOWARS by some of the leading tech platforms. I do get it … I get why many are celebrating and why Jones may even be a little dangerous by potentially stoking violence.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Taste of Another’s Thoughts

The Taste of Another’s Thoughts

We’ve taken a somewhat rambling route in our discussion of how each of us can haul ourselves up out of the swamp of abstractions in which modern industrial society is sinking fast, and find our way to the solid ground of things that actually matter. I know some of my readers have been baffled or irritated by the vagaries of that route, but that can’t be helped. Our sense of where to look for straightforward solutions is exactly what’s led us into this swamp; raised in an era of abstraction, we instinctively try to solve problems caused by too much abstraction by piling on more abstraction, or swapping out one set of abstractions for their opposites.

As Einstein pointed out, you can’t solve a problem by using more of the thinking that created it. What’s more, the solutions to really intransigent problems usually have to be found by asking questions about the most basic assumptions that undergird the thinking that created them. One of Einstein’s odder contemporaries, the irrepressible Charles Fort, put it this way: “It is by thinking things that schoolboys know better than to think that discoveries are made.”

For most of two thousand years, to cite a useful example, astronomers across the western half of Eurasia had tried to make sense of the motions of the planets under the assumption that the sun, moon, and planets moved in circles. The result, as observations piled up, was a vast creaking mechanism of epicycles, eccentrics, and equants—geometrical gimmicks intended to force circles into copying the simple and elegant motions of the heavens. It took a mystical astrologer named Johannes Kepler, who’d brooded over Renaissance sacred geometry for decades, to see through the clutter, realize that the planets moved in ellipses rather than circles, and send the whole lumbering mass of fudge factors into history’s compost heap.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Colonizing the Western Mind 

Colonizing the Western Mind 

Photo by Marco | CC BY 2.0

In Christopher Nolan’s captivating and visually dazzling film Inception, a practitioner of psychic corporate espionage must plant and idea inside a CEO’s head. The process is called inception, and it represents the frontier of corporate influence, in which mind spies no longer just “extract” ideas from the dreams of others, but seed useful ideas in a target’s subconscious. Inception is a well-crafted piece of futuristic sci-fi drama, but some of the ideas it imparts are already deeply embedded in the American subconscious. The notion of inception, of hatching an idea in the mind of a man or woman without his or her knowledge, is the kernel of propaganda, a black art practiced in the States since the First World War. Today we live beneath an invisible cultural hegemony, a set of ideas implanted in the mass mind by the U.S. state and its corporate media over decades. Invisibility seems to happen when something is either obscure or ubiquitous. In a propaganda system, an overarching objective is to render the messaging invisible by universalizing it within the culture. Difference is known by contrast. If there are no contrasting views in your field of vision, it’s easier to accept the ubiquitous explanation. The good news is that the ideology is well-known to some who have, for one lucky reason or another, found themselves outside the hegemonic field and are thus able to contrast the dominant worldview with alternative opinions. On the left, the ruling ideology might be described as neoliberalism, a particularly vicious form of imperial capitalism that, as would be expected, is camouflaged in the lineaments of humanitarian aid and succor.

Inception 1972

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Socialism and the Battle of Ideas

Socialism and the Battle of Ideas

[This article is excerpted from Socialism: An Economic and Sociological Analysis]

It is a mistake to think that the lack of success of experiments in Socialism that have been made can help to overcome Socialism. Facts per se can neither prove nor refute anything. Everything is decided by the interpretation and explanation of the facts, by the ideas and the theories.

The man who clings to Socialism will continue to ascribe all the world’s evil to private property and to expect salvation from Socialism. Socialists ascribe the failures of Russian Bolshevism to every circumstance except the inadequacy of the system. From the socialist point of view, Capitalism alone is responsible for all the misery the world has had to endure in recent years. Socialists see only what they want to see and are blind to anything that might contradict their theory.

Only ideas can overcome ideas and it is only the ideas of Capitalism and of [Classical] Liberalism that can overcome Socialism. Only by a battle of ideas can a decision be reached.

Liberalism and Capitalism address themselves to the cool, well-balanced mind. They proceed by strict logic, eliminating any appeal to the emotions. Socialism, on the contrary, works on the emotions, tries to violate logical considerations by rousing a sense of personal interest and to stifle the voice of reason by awakening primitive instincts.

Even with those of intellectually higher standing, with the few capable of independent reflection, this seems to give Socialism an advantage. With the others, the great masses who are unable to think, the Socialist position is considered unshakable. A speaker who inflames the passions of the masses is supposed to have a better chance of success than one who appeals to their reason. Thus the prospects of Liberalism in the fight with Socialism are accounted very poor.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai IV: Courage
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