Monday, August 10, 2020

Stand

 After months now of wavering on what to say about what's happening and whether to say it, I finally decided today that I do have a duty to address the crisis in whatever slight capacity I have as a teacher, writer, and (very green) apologist, and to do so in a timely way. I wish I had spoken out sooner about my COVID-19 doubts. I feel too few people did at the very beginning. I even had friends request that I write something on it, flattering me with the idea that I would have some comfort to offer people. I did try to, though not publicly. Not that my blog has any huge impact on public discourse, but I do feel like some cowardice played a part in my reticence to speak out, a fear of being wrong.

So I've decided to speak out now. There is a great deal to say. So much that I'm afraid that this will get too long to finish, as my previous attempts at writing a post, over the last several months, have ended up. In each case as my musings became endless ramblings--whether on free speech and government corruption and whatever political philosophy seemed most relevant--my doubts piled up over whether I had a clear solution or fruitful idea to express, and my fears over whether I was crossing any lines into conspiracy theory or dangerous political incorrectness. As the news and crises piled on and on, higher and higher, I struggled just to know what I thought about it all. Are we seeing a revolution? A civil war? A totalitarian coup? Or is this all just hot air, a media scramble for ratings and the fevered hysteria of a bored, quarantined public? I wavered between endorsing outright civil disobedience and advocating that we just relax, obey, and ignore the hype so it would go away.

No doubt something real is happening, even if it is "just" psychological. (Psychological storms, especially in an information economy like ours, are probably the worst kind.) And the one thing I couldn't deny was that the stories being given in the media just didn't cohere, that the media is incredibly biased (big surprise), and that people are getting more afraid to speak out and contradict it. 

I hold no judgment or grudge against those who find it safer to remain silent. Too much noise, too much radicalism, and not enough thought, is itself a danger. Yet when precious few simply call things as they see them, those few become that much more helpful. So I hope this can be a service to you, that I am willing to be straight and honest about what I think. I ask you not to judge me, to cut me off for this if you disagree. I ask you to engage in cool-headed rational dialogue. There's too much to talk over and too few (really) talking.

I don't feel that I have any reason to fear for my safety in speaking out. The main reason is that I am nobody. At best a post on this blog gets a couple hundred reads, but usually it takes a couple of years to get that high and I am sure most of those are bots. My only really faithful readers are family and friends and maybe a dozen or so internet fans. If the twitter mobs went after half the people twice as famous as me they'd never get done.

And how can I expect to make any difference with what I write when so few will see it? This question itself forgets the exponential power of word of mouth. If I only reached two people with an idea, and those two people reached two people, and so on, then that idea now has life and can spread as it needs to. This is why some of you have received a video or article by text or email from me. You've been one of the handful I've decided to share it with because I thought you'd appreciate it and forward it on. Thus harnessing the power of word-of-mouth networks, I've managed to largely bypass using search engines to find insightful news. Because what you get on Google is so culled and biased and well-funded that it's practically useless to understanding what is really going on. But more on this later.

Establishing all this in my mind, I then asked myself the obvious question of what exactly I had to say. And as I thought I'd learned in my decade of secondary education, what to say is often a distinct question from how you will say it. Professors never responded well when I simply wrote what I thought. They always needed something that followed the format; people needed to be gradually led to whatever insight you had to share. 

Ah, how many years it's taken for me to get over this indoctrination. I've had to untrain myself, unschool myself merely to express the simplest thought in a clear way. Here we have the essence of political correctness. Force your opponents to couch their terms. Make them feel they have to. And then in their verbose circumlocutions what they have to say will be lost. And so the politically correct will always win an argument, because only they are allowed to be simple, direct, and clear.

But I did not realize this quite yet, as I sat planning out this essay. All I knew was that I wanted to come across not as some radical alt-right thinker or conspiracy theorist, but as one who was simply stating what he believed, and being honest about his degree of confidence. (I am pretty sure of some things, not so sure about others.) But this too was a ridiculous thought I now see -- and so the circumlocutions build.

So let's just say it. I need--we all need--to be honest about our values and convictions.


I. On the Current Civil Unrest

Here are my views on this civil unrest. I agree that black lives matter. Also that police lives matter. Senior lives matter. Unborn lives matter. In fact, all lives matter. But the organization "Black Lives Matter," is reprehensible in its Marxist goals. On its own website it says (https://blacklivesmatter.com/what-we-believe/):

"We disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family ..."

"[W]e gather ... with the intention of freeing ourselves from the tight grip of heteronormative thinking ..."

"We cultivate an intergenerational and communal network free from ageism. We believe that all people, regardless of age, show up with the capacity to lead and learn."

What do any of these goals have to do with black lives mattering? I and every conservative, on the contrary, seek to defend the nuclear family, to teach our children traditional gender roles, and to respect our elders as wiser and generally more capable of leading. If you're familiar with Marxism you'll recognize everything in the "What We Believe" webpage for Black Lives Matter as Marxist. 

https://nypost.com/2020/06/25/blm-co-founder-describes-herself-as-trained-marxist/:

Cullors, 36, was the protégé of Eric Mann, former agitator of the Weather Underground domestic terror organization, and spent years absorbing the Marxist-Leninist ideology that shaped her worldview, Breitbart News reported.

“The first thing, I think, is that we actually do have an ideological frame. Myself and Alicia in particular are trained organizers,” she said, referring to BLM co-founder Alicia Garza.

“We are trained Marxists. We are super-versed on, sort of, ideological theories. And I think that what we really tried to do is build a movement that could be utilized by many, many black folk,” Cullors added in the interview with Jared Ball of The Real News Network.

Is it any surprise that the increasing influence of BLM has led to more and more violent protests? This is what they are trained in.

https://www.city-journal.org/black-lives-matter

“Defund the police” is the new rallying cry of the “woke,” and BLM is the leader of this dangerous push. Defunding police would make the neighborhoods that activists profess to care about less safe.

...

Donating to charities that uplift and empower black Americans is the best way to make a difference. Mentorship programs, food banks, public-health facilities, black-owned businesses, violence-prevention programs, educational initiatives—if you want to make a difference in the black community, you have many good choices. Black Lives Matter is not one of them.

Antifa too, if you are willing to do any research on it, is funded by overseas organizations and actually originates in Europe. They are trained in violence, despite propaganda to the contrary. At the start of this most protesters on both sides were peaceful. But as things have developed the violent tactics of trained agitators have gradually led to more and more violence in our cities.

Defunding the police is not only unjustified, it is a dangerous course of action. This only gives more power to these mobs, who rule by fear. 

Homicides have been increasing during the past few months of unrest:

https://www.dailywire.com/news/portland-disbanded-police-gun-violence-unit-on-july-1-finished-month-with-most-homicides-in-30-years

https://www.wsj.com/articles/homicide-spike-cities-chicago-newyork-detroit-us-crime-police-lockdown-coronavirus-protests-11596395181?mod=hp_lead_pos7

Police have been attacked by protesters as homicides rise:

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/fox-s-varney-mob-rule-shutdown-will-set-back-american-cities-for-years-and-years/ar-BB16S5AZ

Police have even been targeted at their homes:

https://pjmedia.com/news-and-politics/tyler-o-neil/2020/08/03/seattle-police-chief-urges-city-to-oppose-mob-rule-after-rioters-target-her-house-n743908

Radicals are using death threats to keep people silent about what is really going on. We're in Gestapo territory now.

https://www.dailywire.com/news/seattle-police-chief-slams-city-council-after-activists-target-her-home-you-must-forcefully-call-for-the-end-of-these-tactics?%3Futm_source=twitter

Durkan’s rhetoric about the activists changed when they showed up to her home, which she responded to by going after far-left Seattle City Council member Kshama Sawant, who reportedly led the protest to Durkan’s home.

“Mayor Durkan and her family are in the state program to keep their address confidential because of the death threats mostly related to her work as Seattle’s U.S. Attorney under President Obama,” Durkan’s office initially said in a statement.

...

In Councilmember Sawant’s case the media has uncovered documents suggesting that she may have effectively delegated decisions regarding hiring and termination of City employees to an outside political organization. According to the documents, the National Executive Committee and the Seattle Executive Committee of the Socialist Alternative party had authority over staffing decisions for the City Council office. At least one employee was allegedly fired as the result of a decision of the Executive Committee of this political organization, and that employee protested that the firing was the result of political retaliation."

Do some research. What I've cited here is only the tip of the iceberg of what I personally have found.

Police stations across the country have been burned to the ground. Police have been dragged from their homes and shot, both black and white. All because of a single instance of police brutality that may not have been racially motivated

Whether this is the power-grab from the radical left that it appears to be, I can't say. But I definitely understand why many people see it that way. Is it any wonder that there are more and more counter-protesters from the right? Is it any wonder that more conservatives are themselves radicalizing, arming themselves even, and preparing for confrontation? And isn't it obvious that as more radicalism appears on each side, each side can be led to react that much more strongly? The kind of polarization seen today isn't much different, demographically, than what you saw leading up to the Civil War. I don't say this to frighten anyone or increase anyone's panic. What we need to do more than anything now is to stop, calm down, and think.

The left wants to paint the extreme right as a bunch of white supremacists and fascists. But if anything this is less true than it was back in 2016 when Trump was elected and this rhetoric was at its height. As more conservatives join the counter-agitators, the ranks of the far right are getting diluted with people who just want business as usual, and gaining hordes of intellectuals that see through all the leftist propaganda. 

The right wants to paint the extreme left as a bunch of terrorists. But I would guess that this is also becoming less true. Most protesters of course are just mainstream Democrats who want justice for blacks and want to clean up what they see as rampant social injustice. These of course provide excellent cover for the more violent elements behind the scenes. Along with a left-leaning mainstream media the worst of the "protesters" goes unnoticed except by those they are hoping to terrify.

The strategy of exploiting a threat from the opposing side of the political spectrum -- the way the Nazis did the Communist threat in Germany -- is obviously a growing part of both right-wing and left-wing propaganda in this country today.

But I want to promote cool-headedness, and I think anyone who does this even in a small way is being part of the solution. Yes, there are indeed radicals on both the left and the right who are looking for ways to create and exploit more and more crisis. But whoever these people are they are in the minority. Jordan Peterson has even pointed out that the twitter "mobs" that terrify whole universities into witchhunts against professors are often comprised of just a couple of hotheads. The thing the rest of us need to do is start talking sense. And as much of it as possible. Make noise, lots of it, but I mean quiet noise. A shushing noise, and let it die down so the rational discussion can start. If someone says, "You know it's strange that the majority of people who die of covid are over 75," instead of accusing them of hating the elderly, maybe it would make for a more productive conversation if you said, "What exactly is strange, in your view, about that?" and let them say what they mean to say, which is more likely about how the covid numbers are super cooked. Give people the benefit of the doubt. (But never the mass media, more on this below.)


II. On Media and Censorship

We've known for a long time that the media is biased and full of propaganda. We know that it is controlled by wealthy interests. This is even more obvious than in the case of government agencies. Media didn't have to be corrupted to become beholden to mega-corporations--it is mega-corporations and has been from the beginning. 

We've all learned from a young age that advertisements exist to sell you something. They want your money. And advertisements pay for media in most cases. Where we have to pay for media out of our own pockets, as with movies, then we are basically paying to watch something advertise itself, and all the toys, games, and sequels that will come of out it, all owned by the same Rich Guy somewhere in Hollywood or New York. This is why it's not a great idea to let the TV raise your children. Better go find some classic, time-tested books written by unusually wise people. That's how you get educated in wisdom. The media only educates you to buy. It's an education in materialism.

Now when the media, such as Fox News or Facebook or Google, promotes something political, you've got a very special kind of advertisement called propaganda. I'm sure you already know this, but it pays be clear in our definitions. And often it seems to me that people these days act as if they didn't know this. Covid-19 is a great example. A little common sense and a healthy dose of conspiracy theory makes sense of it way better than what you get on the news. 

The media is heavily biased. It pays to read news from across the spectrum. It also pays to avoid news altogether. You won't die without news. I've gone years without it myself, getting my important news word of mouth. This is the way news traveled for thousands of years and it suffices for most purposes. And it's generally ad-free. But what I like to do when I feel the need to catch up is read news from the far left (maybe NYTimes or the New Yorker), the left (CNN, Atlantic Monthly, Washington Post), the center-right (Fox), the right (e.g. DailyWire, Breitbart, PJMedia), and occasionally the far right (InfoWars). I know I'm making myself sound like a news junky here but that is absolutely not what I'm advocating. I spend maybe 30 minutes browsing the headlines of a few online news sources twice a week if things are happening but usually twice a month. Usually CNN and Fox and one or two others. More than this and I can tell that it ruins my mood and wastes my time. I don't subscribe to anything. The rest of what I read I get from suggestions from friends and family and other articles. If I find something I think is being neglected or suppressed by search engines and social media, I share it with family and friends via text, email, or my blog.

I am not a very political person. For those who want to be more involved, Oliver and Rachel DeMille, parents of eight, bestselling authors, and influential speakers who have written several great books on educating yourself and you children using the classics, have some great advice:

Since the natural consequence of studying the classics is to look around at the current world and wonder what is really happening, we are often asked about the best source for current events. The truth may surprise you. First of all, most people get their news from the electronic media ... They know very little about what is really happening, but either do not care or very strongly share their opinions when asked. They have no influence on what happens, and no idea why it is happening ...

The second group of people is a little more studied. They either listen to the same newscast or radio program each day (thereby following events in more detail), or they read a daily newspaper or weekly magazine. They are less strongly opinionated, consider themselves basically objective, and know a little bit more than the first group. In short, they know little to nothing about what is really going on either, and have no influence on what actually happens--except perhaps locally.

Finally, a relatively small group of people are part of the Great Debate. They are continually pursuing a classical education, and when they go to the library they take time to read the latest articles from scholarly journals like Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, The Congressional Digest, Vital Speeches of the Day, etc. They may or may not also read the newspaper or listen to a daily television or radio program ... When Leadership Education parents go to the library, they set the example by reading classics and scholarly journals. At first they struggle to even understand the journals, but they keep doing it just like they kept reading Shakespeare. Eventually they understand what is going on in the world--really--not just surface skimming, but deep understanding. This education process is a natural precursor to becoming someone who influences world events. (The Phases of Learning, p. 127)

For a first-hand account of how such habits of self-study can lead to an influential public career, I suggest Condoleezza Rice's excellent autobiography, Extraordinary, Ordinary People.

The stereotype of a homeschooler as a backwoods hick isolated from the outside world couldn't be further from the truth. I have friends in the homeschooling community here that are deeply engaged in local politics, such as city council members, state politics, lobbying at the state legislature, and even international politics, being involved in the United Nations and speaking internationally. Homeschoolers publish books and are successful entrepreneurs and businesspeople, and they give their children the tools to do the same. And though I personally am among the less political, I am deeply interested in the Great Conversation that has taken place over the centuries, and I believe that studying classics gives you the foundation you need to see through much of the day-to-day propaganda of the news and entertainment media. The DeMilles write:

As a good mentor, you need to be personally active in the Great Debate. Mortimer Adler, compiler of The Great Books series, called it the Great Conversation and others have called it a Great Discussion. It is the current state of the debate that has been going on now for as long as we have written records. Most people do not even know about the the Great Debate, but it is perhaps the most influential thing going on in the world at any given time. It is not found in textbooks ... The Great Debate is found in the classics, and the purpose of Scholar Phase [a phase of wide reading for parents or teenagers] is to become fully conversant in the language of the Great Debate.

The DeMilles hit the nail on the head when it comes to characterizing the current woes of our country:

For the last three decades, our society has been setting the stage for economic, cultural and political decline. At the center of this stage are the schoolrooms ... E.D. Hirsch's Cultural Literacy and Allan Bloom's The Closing of the American Mind both warned in 1987 that our modern educational format could not deliver on its promises to the future. Both suggested that only a return to great education, rooted in a deep understanding of history and the classics, would allow us to prevent decline and build that future of promise. Twenty years later, their warnings are still applicable.

History shows repeatedly that the strength, wisdom, and foresight of one generation creates peace and prosperity for the three generations that follow. ... The structures which come crumbling down ... are rooted in widespread poor education and high levels of expert training for "the few"--the lethal historical combination of ignorance and arrogance.

I've quoted at length because this is precisely what we're seeing. The coronavirus fiasco is a result of arrogant experts stringing along an ignorant and docile majority. Our bending over backwards to satisfy the cancel culture of twitter mobs is due to the same fearful ignorance.

It is horrific the amount of control Google, Facebook, Wikipedia, Twitter, and Youtube have over what political and scientific views get expressed and disseminated. Again, I only have time for a couple of examples.

When Judy Mikovits came out with her provocative interview, Plandemic, criticizing Fauci's handling of the epidemic, and giving a voice to silenced doctors across the country, Google, Facebook, and YouTube openly censored it, Mikovits is a whistleblower who has been brutally and unjustly suppressed for years. She was part of research in 1980 that led to the first immune therapy for cancer, was awarded graduate student of the year in 1991 for helping develop HIV/AIDS treatments that saved millions of lives, had a career that spanned decades, was often appointed chief scientist, and published dozens of articles each cited dozens of times. She was first labelled a "pseudo-scientist" when she co-authored a paper that suggested a link between a certain vaccines and auto-immune disorders. 

An "activist" recently went ahead and hacked Mikovits's website for good measure.

Searching for anything scandalous about members of the Democratic Party will give vastly different results whether you search using Google or Duckduckgo vs. Qwant or Swisscows for instance. The bias is painfully obvious. Search for Democratic Joe Scarborough, whose scandal began when Michael Moore began questioning the public narrative years ago and see for yourself:

Qwant.com top results for "Joe Scarborough" a few months back:

  • Joe Scarborough - Wikipedia
  • twitter.com/joenbc
  • Joe Scarborough Art - Paintings, Art, Prints and Merchandise
  • BREAKING: Video Surfaces of Joe Scarborough Joking About Having Affair With Intern and Having to Kill Her (thegatewaypundit.com)
Google.com top results for "Joe Scarborough" at the same point in time:

    • Joe Scarborough - Wikipedia
    • twitter.com/joenbc
    • Donald Trump's disgusting attacks on Joe Scarborough (CNN.com)
    • Attacks on Joe Scarborough Draw Criticism from Trump's Usual Allies (NYTimes.com)

    Apparently big tech is complicit with the Chinese government in censorship. https://video.foxnews.com/v/6159646892001#sp=show-clips

    At the same time, Europe is censoring about 1/3 of American news. https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/1002665/GDPR-2018-general-data-protection-regulation-act-block-us-newspaper-chicago-tribune-websit

    Twitter has even suppressed tweets from the president. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-44248448

    Election fraud is being suppressed. https://www.oregonlive.com/news/2020/05/twitter-suspends-account-of-oregon-group-that-claims-voters-party-affiliations-were-changed-without-consent.html?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=oregonian_sf

    Protests are allowed but for some reason there is violent opposition to churches opening up. https://www.foxnews.com/faith-values/mississippi-church-fire-investigated-arson

    While BLM riots continue virtually unchecked, they've even gone so far as to ban singing in churches in California. https://www.foxnews.com/us/california-singing-ban-church-coronavirus-restriction

    Amazon is censoring books critical of COVID-19 propaganda. I know this first hand because they cancelled my order of Mikovits's Plague of Corruption for an unstated reason. I eventually bought my copy on Barnes and Noble. The book is incredibly eye-opening to what is going on. 

    Every conservative I know is furious at how the tech giants are censoring social media and search engines. These companies need to own up to their duties as common carriers and practice non-bias. News is always going to be biased. But social media has no excuse for it, and search engines need to stop employing political bias. Trump's ongoing battle against this censorship is one of many recent actions that has determined me to vote for him in the upcoming election. He signed at least two executive orders in this vein that I urge you to read:

    Trump's executive order preventing online censorship. 

    Trump's executive order defending freedom of religion. 

    Churches have been burning around the world and religious views and speech suppressed. Not everyone realizes this, but it's another good reason to seek out alternative news sources and search engines.

    One way I've found of getting around the censorship is to use alternative internet browsers. Brave browser is my favorite, but also good is Iridium and Pale Moon. These are "privacy" browsers, protecting you from ads and sharing information with websites. You can also use an adblocker. I use uBlock Origin. Using Brave with Ublock has sped up my internet browsing speed considerably.

    As for alternate search engines, I get around Google's censorship by using SwissCows.com or Qwant.com. They are not perfect but they are a lot better. Avoid DuckDuckGo--I have noticed as or more biased results than Google.

    What is the solution to all this? Our president can only do so much. I advocate a Christ-like solution. We need to practice good faith. Our protests should be peaceful. We should love our enemies by--first and foremost--listening to them and being honest with them. 

    Many are afraid of speaking out. Several people tell me that freedom of speech is dead. But it will never die if we resolve to peacefully witness to the truth. The day we stop sharing our viewpoint out of fear, that is the day that freedom of speech dies. We absolutely must stand up. And we absolutely must be peaceful and loving. Speaking out is a moral imperative. The more people see through the propaganda, the less power it has. Something as simple as not wearing a mask--not out of defiance, but because you believe the evidence shows it does more harm that good--is a statement to others that they are not alone in their doubts. As more and more people stand up, all the nonsense will evaporate and we can laugh it off.

    Whether our fate is totalitarianism and the death of the republic, or a continued tradition of free speech and tolerance--this is up to every one of us. Each one of us is a foot soldier in this peaceful war for the soul of America. Do not give in to hate. Do not judge your neighbor because they are conservative or go to church, wear a mask or don't wear a mask, do not even judge them for being Marxist. Rather, talk to them and see what they think and why. Share your own views. I guarantee that even most Marxists just want a better America. But we will not get there by violence, we will not get there by censorship, we will not get their by shouting people down, by ridiculing them for not kneeling, by calling them racists, bigots, or homophobes.


    III. Education as the Solution

    Education is what is needed most of all. And of the most important kind: self-education. Reading the best books. We each need to study other ideologies and become conversant in them before we criticize them. Look at who funds what organizations. Look at where they came from. Study the history of ideas. Study parallels in Soviet Russia, in Nazi Germany, in Victorian England, in Revolutionary France, in 18th-century Spain, in ancient Rome, Athens, Sparta. Get some kind of perspective, build yourself a foundation, before you go around trying to tear everything down. 

    The rain fell, the torrents raged, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because its foundation was on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not act on them is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain fell, the torrents raged, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell--and great was its collapse! --Matthew 7:26

    Philosophizing only ever leads to truth or goodness or wisdom by God's help, otherwise it builds its great systems on the sand. My own philosophy, as I built it up in my teenage and college years, eventually itself came crashing down, a motly and crooked tower cobbled together from bits of physics and mathematics and evolutionary theory and poetry. The edifices built by 20th-century philosophy--positivism, pragmatism, postmodernism, Marxism, evolutionism, existentialism--are themselves coming to a pivotal point, teetering on the edge of collapse as their weak foundations are less and less able to bear the weight of the manifold systems we burden them with. We would do well to search in faith through the science and philosophy and theology pre-1900, which held up so much longer and so much more fruitfully. We still live on, still squander the wealth of ideas and truths discovered and developed before modern times. But unless we return to those fresh and original fountains of truth, via the scriptures, and to a lesser extent via the classics, our culture will continue to decay, as the pagan culture of the Romans--however high and nobly was built--decayed long ago.

    We think we are making progress. But we are not sure. We struggle and argue and scheme to make this civilization of ours into what we feel it could be. But as our schemes and plans become more vehement and attentive, they come to encompass--everything. Ultimately, we're trying to control every aspect of the world, down to minutely detected bias in each and every mind. We are too quick to condemn, too quick to regulate. Our bureaucracy bloats, our laws and regulations multiply without end, until it is next to impossible to simply do your own taxes, let alone start a business, let alone settle down to a simple life of farming and study.

    For these reasons, progress leads to totalitarianism. To progress you must find solutions to every little problem (environment, disease, population, inborn racist bias, etc.). Finally, nothing is sacred as you end up banning singing in churches because it might spread a disease about as deadly as pneumonia but with a much better PR campaign behind it; you force everyone to kneel and disrespect the flag that stands for our freedom because that freedom is not perfectly shared with certain minorities; you make it impossible to farm traditionally by calling it "organic" and withholding the subsidies given to industrial methods to counteract the too-high taxes they'd otherwise pay; you demean the procreative act and endlessly sensualize it in the media with the excuse that when not done for pure pleasure it adds too many people to our "population" as if we were each a number and not a sacred being; ... and so on.

    The more problems this all causes, the more grist for the progressive mill, and the more control progressive ideology seizes over our lives. It's the same way any cult works. Turn to your leader. Government solutions to government created problems. Everything in the news is too big for any one person to solve. So to feel the least bit important we join The Movement. 

    But I think at this point most of us are just scared of The Movement. We pay it lip service, we bow to its demands out of fear. But it only looks like a mob. Most of my liberal friends are telling me they're sick of liberals. It's really the work of a few clever propagandists. Notice how each side always likes to say that their candidate is ahead in the polls. You gain popularity by claiming to be popular. The Movement is an emperor with no clothes. See this, and be free.

    Professors are losing their careers, journalists are being threatened. Their courage should be commended. And the best way to support them is to follow their example. Stand up. If you don't feel important, that should at least make you feel brave, because cancel culture only goes after what it fears. If you're small, you're safe. And if you do have a public face to protect, protect it by standing up. 

    The "controversial" medical researcher and whistleblower Andrew Wakefield writes, "[A] whistleblower is much safer once he has gone public in the public interest. ... [I]nformation is dangerous only as long as you are the only one who knows it."

    A great ancestor of ours once said, "Give me liberty, or give me death." Another said, "I regret I only have one life to give for my country." Would that our courage were once again so noble.

    "The rain fell, the torrents raged, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because its foundation was on the rock."

    I believe that our foundation is more than strong enough to weather this storm.

    Theists know that every soul is sacred and loved by God. This knowledge is antithetical to everything about population control. It is antithetical to isolating and neglecting the sick. It is antithetical to hiding our faces and going along with lies. It is antithetical to everything about government solutions. It is antithetical to everything about stifling individuals' free speech, or forcing them to kneel before our flag, or any worldly flag. As divine beings we each of us have the right to stand before any worldly power--even kings.

    Christ taught us to start each of us with our own heart. "Remove the beam from thine own eye, so that you can see to remove the speck from your brother's." 

    Love your enemy. Educate yourself, so you can set an example for them. 

    You want to make a difference? Get involved. Watch what organizations you give your money too. Direct service is always more sure and more satisfying.

    Our culture may lack fulfillment, but sources of fulfillment in service to our fellow man are all around us. We live in a civilized time and place where life is relatively easy. Peasant life, centuries ago, was hard. Paradoxically, it was also more fulfilling. Why? It was humbler and closer to God. It was based on service. "Blessed are the meek." And that was 99% of existence before modern times. 

    As important as turning off the media is education. Educating our children is a holy commandment:

    And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me. But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. Woe to the world for the causes of sin. These stumbling blocks must come, but woe to the man through whom they come! --Matthew 18:5-7

    It is for this reason than so many homeschoolers remove their children from public school. Or at least educate them in the Gospel so they can withstand public school, and later college.  The most successful homeschoolers know that as parents they must educate themselves first of all. This means tuning out propaganda and advertisement and tuning into the Great Conversation that has spanned dozens of centuries. The classics uplift us, give us a foundation, while the news and entertainment industries try to dumb us down, demoralize us, and lead us into sin and decay.

    When the advertising industry first started booming in the early 20th century, cultural critics like G.K. Chesterton warned in strong terms of the dangers of letting the superficial arts of "hypnosis," rhetoric, and emotional appeal creep into more and more of our attention and time. We are now reaping what we have sown, as disrespect for everything logical, philosophical, and spiritual becomes rampant. 

    Descent into totalitarianism and descent into ignorance are really one and the same. Under a totalitarian state, all "truth" is controlled by the propagandists. But this is only possible if emotional appeal can trump logic. Because it requires that (a) you have no firm system of value or morals, or (b) you have no ability or patience to work out the logical consequences of that system. Either way, you have been demoralized, you are ignorant. Either way, you have sacrificed the soundness of your own mind.

    The antidote to ignorance is simple: knowledge. To reverse this trend, it is enough to read our scriptures; still better than this, delve also into the Classics. It was doing this that healed me of the "psychosis" that I had been saddled with by psychiatrists. It's a simple cure, and advocated by more and more psychiatrists themselves, particularly those in the movement of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. This movement itself, in a nutshell, is nothing but the idea that reading the Classics (especially in philosophy) is psychologically healing. And there is mounting scientific evidence to back this up. (See the last chapters of The Coddling of the American Mind.)

    You may be surprised to learn that the fundamental philosophy of the most successful homeschoolers is exactly this: read! If you don't believe me, read Charlotte Mason's Philosophy of Education (considered a foundational classic of modern homeschooling, though written by a public school teacher), Oliver DeMille's A Thomas Jefferson Education, Susan Bauer's The Well-Trained Mind, or any other of numerous excellent books being written on the subject. The reading group I attend locally is comprised of all homeschoolers who educate their children this way, and these children go on to great schools and to do great things.

    Autodidacts throughout history have educated themselves simply by reading books. Ignorance equals slavishness. Dictators rule by it. The more classics we toss by the wayside and forget, the farther down the road to ideological slavery we march. Your scriptures, whatever they are, will teach you how to serve God. Propaganda, wherever it comes from, will teach you how to serve Mammon--that is, Money.

    One famous Marxist essay I read denounced the "materialism" of the middle class newspapers. His suggestion? Read Marxist or Labor newspapers instead! But how is this not more of the same? It's putting too much stock in newspapers, of whatever stripe, that took us down this path to materialism in the first place. Because what do Labor newspapers ultimately demand? A redistribution not of knowledge but of money. But what is more powerful about knowledge is that by giving you knowledge, my own knowledge also increases. It might be worth contemplating the meaning of Jesus's miracle of feeding the 5000 in this context.


    Conclusion

    Let's return to the events that have unfolded in 2020, this unusual and disquieting year. The more people I talk to, the more people tell me that something just doesn't smell right about all of this. For the first time in our history, the government is forcing people to hide their faces behind masks, and socially isolate themselves. All this on the pretext of a relatively mild "pandemic," not much worse than a bad flu season. This enough is food for thought. But then you have a single police killing, brutal but not unprecedented, which sparks protests worse than anything we've seen for half a century, in which the most violent protesters are members of Antifa, who normally wear masks and thus hide their identities still more effectively than before. While such protesters gather, a minority burning and looting, workplaces and churches are forced to remain empty, and all social interactions are forced online, where explicit censorship by the biggest tech corporations reigns. In the meantime the major news stories on the right and on the left are so different that it is often a shock to go from one to the other--as if someone were trying to turn us violently against each other.

    How does any of this not smell strange? How blind can the public be?

    How does that proverb go? "If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything"?

    A great elaboration on this principle: Ravi Zecharias on "Why I am not an Atheist".

    As I first began outlining the ideas behind this blog post, I kept coming back to the question: By how will I express it? I kept thinking back to my posts that received the most positive responses. They generally told a very personal story. Of course, in the end, none of this is about being "well-responded to." This is about standing up for something that might be unpopular. It's about speaking the truth. 

    What I finally decided was that if I were to go back through my insights and repackage them in some "politically correct" way, I would be conceding the whole game. This is how too many rational voices are being silenced now. They are forced to pretend to say what they are not saying -- but then why speak at all? Do not let your firmest convictions be forced below the surface. Let your light shine. Don't kneel before what you don't believe in. Stand.


    Epilogue: On Marxism

    If you think that Marxism is a harmless ideology that's just been misused by a couple of misguided dictators, you need to actually read what the Communist Manifesto says.

    The Manifesto is short, but if you don't even have 30 minutes here's a 5 minute summary of what people absolutely need to realize:

    Marx was a totalitarian. He believed that all previous traditions and cultural forms, including the family and religion, needed to be swept away in the dictatorship of the proletariat. He predicted that once a communist revolution succeeded in doing this, the government itself would then dissolve of its own accord. This prediction has proven disastrously wrong. No country that has undergone a Marxist revolution has succeeded in producing true equality and freedom, but only a more totalitarian government. The USSR slaughtered more innocents for their revolution than the Nazis, even more than all the pre-20th century wars combined. 

    Modern Marxists claim they can learn from all these "mistakes." (I would call them atrocities.) But the Communist Manifesto itself, written in 1848, has an entire chapter on how it was different from all previous Socialist doctrines. History has proven this arrogance false. I am against Marxism entirely. I have absolutely no tolerance for it. Read the Communist Manifesto to see for yourself what it advocates.

    (1) Communism sees all "law, morality, and religion" as "bourgeois prejudices," or "modes of appropriation" that must be abolished.

    (2) The Manifesto says that "The abolition of bourgeois individuality, bourgeois independence, and bourgeois freedom is undoubtedly aimed at."

    (3) The Manifesto admits to wanting to abolish the family: "Abolition of the family! Even the most radical flare up at this infamous proposal of the Communists. ... The bourgeois family will vanish as a matter of course when its complement vanishes, and both will vanish with the vanishing of capital."

    (4) Communism also does not deny being against home education. "But, you say, we destroy the most hallowed of relations, when we replace home education by social. And your education! Is not that also social, and determined by the social conditions under which you educate, by the intervention direct or indirect, of society, by means of schools, &c.?"

    (5) The Manifesto also states that it is for the "community of women" or the abolition of marriage.

    (6) The Manifesto advocates the abolition of nation and culture.

    (7) The Manifesto states that all traditional ideologies, philosophies, and religions must and will be overthrown. It is completely totalitarian, as practical a form of nihilism as you could imagine.

    Marxism is militantly atheistic. Christians have been horribly persecuted in all communist states. You even see this starting to happen now in the U.S., with protesters burning down churches across the nation, with church singing being banned, Christian clubs being banned on campuses, churches being closed while protests continue, and the Bible being labeled racist.

    Anyone who supports BLM or any other Marxist/Communist organization is against everything I stand for. There are many better ways to support the poor and underprivileged. More direct service tends to be a surer way of doing real good.

    You say you believe in the morality taught by Jesus, but you also say you support BLM. Who's side are you on? I suggest reading the Communist Manifesto and comparing it to the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John before you make your decision.

    I pray that this country will come to its senses soon.

    https://youtu.be/DeYRK16PIlA

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z1EA2ohrt5Q

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