Today’s Thoughts, Feb. 3, 2014: Journalism in America

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What happened to journalism that actually challenged – or even questioned – authority? You know, looked into things – and (as the slogan of a big-time paper styles it) exposed wrongdoing to the world without fear or favor? When did journalists become the leashed Shih Tzus of the powers that be, barking ferociously at times but never or very rarely at anything that really matters?journalism1

I can speak to this – as a guy who did work within the system as a writer/editor (and who personally knows people who still do).

There is no written code one must follow to get hired – and to avoid getting fired – as a journalist in America. However, there is a very clear sub rosa understanding as regards the opinions one must possess (or not express) which results in a startling – almost Stalinist – degree of political orthodoxy at major papers, TV networks, magazines and so on.

The independent thinker is not wanted – and the independent actor will quickly find himself unemployed and/or unemployable.shih tzu pic

The media is also extremely insular and controlled. There are very few independent newspapers, for instance. Most of the medium-sized (and small) city/local papers are just shells. They are either owned by a national media conglomerate (e.g., Gannett) or they obtain most of their “copy” from “the wire” – the AP – and produce very little of their own, independent copy. The editors at these smaller papers simply pluck the stories – invariably the same stories, written by a handful of writers – and place them on the page. Hence the startling uniformity of the stories (and the opinions expressed). It is just like McDonad’s. A Quarter Pounder With Cheese in Seattle tastes pretty much exactly like a Quarter Pounder With Cheese in Pittsburgh.

Keep in mind, also, that most young journalists are the product of government schools – and of a society dominated by government/corporate conditioning, most of all in non-thinking. To react by rote. To be “one of the boys.” To laugh breezily at the right jokes and banter. To evince disapproval of that which you are expected to disapprove of.

In other words, to be a vapid, inoffensive chucklehead.

I personally saw what happens to people who are heterodox in their opinions – and dared to not care. I saw them – the wire pullers – destroy the careers of two exceptional writers and thinkers: Joe Sobran and Sam Francis. Joe for his questioning of slavish, Israel uber alles politics; Sam for his politically incorrect writings on race. Both had syndication deals, regular columns in major papers and magazines (Joe at National Review). Then, like someone turned off a light in a room, virtually no major publication carried their columns any longer. In short order they were reduced to poverty – and professional obscurity. Both died not long thereafter.Sobran pic

A lesson to others.

They – the wire pullers – can make – or destroy – a career just like that. It is not unlike the celebrity machine, which manufactures products for public consumption.  Literally anyone can be made famous – the object of adulation and wealth – by this machine. Completely ordinary people elevated to godhead. The Kardashians, et al.  And just as quickly, the rug can be pulled from under. When you know that your success is not the result of talent or hard work – and that, accordingly, it can be taken away at any time – you tend to toe the line. Without needing to be told, you know what to do  . . . and what not to do.

Journalism works exactly this way. Individuals of modest talent made famous – put on TV, given book deals, promoted and preened. Provided they abide by the script. It is not necessary to explain this to them. Everyone grasp it – most of them in the same way that a Labrador Retriever knows it must not jump on the sofa.A KARDASHIAN FAMILY AFFAIR:  Kim and Kourtney Kardashian with Kendall, Kylie, and Kris Jenner at the opening of Scott Disick's RYU Restaurant in New York City

I also saw at firsthand (at the time, I was an editor/writer for a major paper) something very interesting: The hand-feeding of a new buzzword – 911 – literally hours after the events themselves. Like trained parrots – and that’s what they are – virtually everyone in the media (print and TV and radio) was using that keyword. Over and over and over and over. Not “today’s terrorists attacks,” not “the events in New York City.” Just – 911! The lessons of 911! All over the AP wire, almost instantaneously. Every big wig editor suddenly mouthing the words… all the write-ups (news and commentary) coming over the transom suffused with this now-totemic term.911 pic

It was bizarre. But, for me, revelatory. I saw, for the first time, concretely how it really works. It was a living, real-life example of Orwell’s deftly crafted scene in 1984 – when the crowd, by a process of political osmosis, flips over to reviling Eurasia – the new enemy! – without anyone having to actually tell them so.

What is demanded (to borrow again from Orwell) is not merely orthodoxy but unconsciousness. To bleat like a goat – the tone of the bleating and its duration to be determined by the powers that be. The goat who does not bleat in tune will soon find himself on the spit.

There are a few exceptions to this rule – Drudge. Breitbart. Greenwald. But even they are marginalized and live precarious lives. In not a few cases, their lives get ended.journalism pic

In summary, journalism in America has been almost entirely co-opted by corporate/government interests (they amount to the same thing), with a few loose ends yet to be cleaned up – most of them online.

Attempts have already been made toward that end. For example, the proposal of wire-puller Cass Sunstein (he is one of them) to revive the “Fairness Doctrine” – to require that contrarian web sites publish “opposing views” in order to “balance” things out. That went nowhere. But what has gone somewhere – and is well on its way to doing real damage – is the international treaty to (ostensibly) reduce copyright infringement but the real goal of which is to cripple contrarian expression. Equally sinister is the characterization of contrarian viewpoints as “extremist” – soon to be elevated to “terrorist.”domestic extremist

And then, the machinery is already in place to deal with such people.

Just remind the cattle to remember the lessons of 911.

I have no doubt most will moo their approval.

Throw it in the Woods?

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  139 comments for “Today’s Thoughts, Feb. 3, 2014: Journalism in America

  1. Jean
    February 3, 2014 at 9:15 am

    This actually highlights the problem of waiting to act until you literally hAve no other choice. Waiting until the choice is to fight and die on your feet, or to die in servitude.
    We are civilized, rational people.
    Those we face are not.

    THEY have been getting more than fair treatment by us for a LONG time. They cannot see it – in fact, they believe they’ve been VERY understanding, waiting for we barbarians to see the perfection, the Utopia, they offer. They believe they can enforce “equality” from the outside.

    They will push until there is nothign elft – and they will claim “equality” is achieved when they take a limosine from their homes to their place of employment, where they will tell all fo US how to live, what to think…
    And somehow will think everyone else lives that same sort of life, even while they drive past (over?) the people scrounging for scraps in the garbage…

    “A violent plan, executed imediately, trumps a perfect plan in two weeks.” (Paraphrasing Patton).

    Media is a loss; the type of people who seek work there are the same sort who seek to govern. They may wish to rule well, but first and foremost: THEY INTEND TO RULE.

    If ever there was a justification for abortion, these walking homunculi are it.
    And now that they’re talking infanticide…. Well, it’s truly open season. After all, it’s not murder – just a post-partum abortion, a “32nd Trimester pregnancy termination.”

    Since they WANT this reaction, so they can do all the evil things they want – for instance, martial law, nationalization of private property, outlawing guns, monitoring conversations eternally, OWNING the citizens.
    If they are planning to ENSURE we go to that “point B,” and already learned from Goebbels how to mold the populace’s psyche so they will support war… Maybe we’d better get started defending before we see the reason? Maybe even “assist” them in justifying their actions, JUST so they feel safe and move too fast, exposing themselves for ALL to see?

    Because the alternative is to die on their schedule.

  2. mikeLL
    February 3, 2014 at 10:17 am

    Eric,
    Seymour Hersch is the only example from the mainstream of media who has been able to continually publish work critical of the state and yet not suffer any threats to his income (emotional stress not withstanding). Instead, his work is punished with the tin ear that characterizes DC politics. Literally nothing he has written since the My Lai reports in 1969 has made any difference that I have been able to discern. I can’t believe that the man keeps at it. Any thoughts on why he’s been tolerated for so long?

    • eric
      February 3, 2014 at 10:24 am

      Hi Mike,

      In re: “Any thoughts on why he’s been tolerated for so long?”

      Yes – because he’s been very effectively marginalized; I doubt one out of 500 Americans even knows the man’s name. He has very little influence – and hasn’t had much, in decades.

      Now, if he were becoming a “stone in the shoe,” you can bet he’d have a sudden heart attack, or perhaps his car would accidentally pile-drive into a telephone pole . . .

      • mikeLL
        February 3, 2014 at 10:57 am

        Yes, but the mystery is how and why he’s become so marginalized and yet still able to publish in mainstream sources. The paradox is that he is marginal yet mainstream. Why didn’t he get the Sobran treatment years ago? I have to wonder if he’s kept around in order for the powerful to know what’s going on within their own bureaucracies. Perhaps he’s their own unwitting whistle blower.

        In any case, most dissident journals are first marginalized and later terminated in one fashion or another. But Hersch sure has mysterious staying powers for someone so ignored.

        • BrentP
          February 3, 2014 at 11:50 am

          I wonder sometimes too… but then I realize that the powers that be are secure that certain voices won’t be listened to or serve to get the conditioned masses to rally to the side of the state. I haven’t read enough of what he has written to know where he may fall but I would guess that his commentary falls safely in one of those useful areas. Also they need to point to someone and say ‘look we aren’t Pravda’

          Here in cook county Illinois corruption pieces in the news media are pretty much a weekly affair. Yet the masses still love government. This has been on-going since I started paying attention to news in 1978 or 79. They even brought Bill and Walter back to channel 2 so it’s really like nothing has changed in 35 years…

          The city workers loafing… so and so hired his brother in law… millions of dollars missing… the cops are crooks… some one gave out jobs and appointed offices for money…. corporate insiders got the contracts, an upper hand, use of government power…. on and on and on… but around here when I question the legitmacy and honesty and goodness of the state… I’m the kook. The conditioning is so strong people can be exposed to corruption stories every week for decades and it does get them questioning the system one bit.

          So long as he stays within bounds, doesn’t do anything that would wake people up, a journalist can be as critical of the government in mainstream media. It will have zero effect.

          On another note, there need to be journalists to do the stories that ruin the political careers of some people. Within the state there is always in fighting for who gets to be on top. Someone has to do the stories that will send person B’s career into the crapper so person A can advance.

      • David C.
        February 4, 2014 at 11:10 am

        Eric, while I agree with the dismay your column carries, I see no “fix,” for the defect, as Shakespeare stated, is in “us.”

        The snowballing destruction of even the pretense of liberty in the USA, paired with the vast growth in militarism to the point of becoming Neo-Sparta, derive from defective philosophical moorings that are very widespread and over 150 years in the making.

        Painfully obvious, destructive trends in U.S. society are legion:
        1. A monetary system fully divorced from the prior production of value.
        2. A voting system explicitly supporting the looting of rapidly dwindling productive sectors of society.
        3. Anonymity and zero-accountability at all ruling levels of the nation above the level of homeowners’ associations.
        4. All ruling levels thus explicitly becoming avenues of plunder.

        Societies prosper or wither based, as I see it, on the relative honesty of the philosophy widely embraced by their members. The USA (and Western “Civilization” as a whole) is saturated by what amounts to a barbaric philosophy that sees all other people simply as means to one’s ends. Such a dehumanization of others forms a toxic brew from which “reform” is impossible. The future is thus baked into today’s cake by today’s conditions.

        Doomsday preppers may plan rightly or wrongly, but I share their basic idea that our shared values have guaranteed a “process” of prolonged, serial catastrophes before renewal is possible.

  3. JoePA
    February 3, 2014 at 10:44 am

    It’s the “level” of freedom you’re talking about. In full blown dictatorship (communist) countries freedom of speech is limited to unimportant blather or else you’re executed. In Europe you’ll end up in prison for making politically incorrect comments. In the USSA we are lucky enough just getting fired because economic sanctions are the tool of choice…..for now.

    As crazy as I might sound I believe its a wonderful thing limiting speech. I think the best thing that could ever happen would be arresting people for just talking. Worse is better is my motto. Its like taking a cold shower….wakes you up! let government try to control millions of pissed off people with the mass media propaganda. Younger people get all their news from blogs.

    Worse is better!
    Worse is better!
    Worse is better!
    Worse is better!
    Worse is better!

  4. JoePA
    February 3, 2014 at 11:11 am

    Eric. It’s the level of free speech you are talking about.

    Communist countries Politically Incorrect speech will get you executed.
    Socialist (Europe) will get you imprisoned.
    USSA its economic and you’ll get fired.

    There is no such thing as true free speech.

    • David C
      February 4, 2014 at 11:14 am

      Humans today are indistinguishable from prehistoric savages of 10,000 years ago.

      Going against the tribe’s superstitions then was an invitation to eviction (and likely death). Today is no different. During World War 1 there were people who questioned the British propaganda about “Huns committing atrocities” and they got themselves lynched for their trouble.

      Never forget that you live among savages. NEVER.

  5. BrentP
    February 3, 2014 at 11:37 am

    Eric,
    The powers that be have also been trying to legally define who is a journalist and who is not. This would then determine who has first amendment rights and who does not. Their working definition? Someone who works for giant corporate media company. In other words, even Alex Jones’ operation would not qualify for journalistic protections. And if that little empire off in the corner doesn’t qualify then neither do you or an internet commentary “loudmouth” as myself…

    One world. One voice. Is the game on?

  6. EricB
    February 3, 2014 at 12:42 pm

    yea, I agree – seems all they talk about is the state, what it’s doing, how it’s going to do it, and what our response should be. Underlying principles aren’t discussed, only the latest manifestation thereof, with (as Tom Woods puts it) an analysis picked from the 3×5 card of acceptable opinion.

    They are just lapdogs, modern government media, and ironically so given that freedom of the press is supposed to still exist in this country. Would the reporting significantly differ if it were not so?

  7. MikePizzo
    February 3, 2014 at 3:09 pm

    Well, if there’s any “good news” in this, it’s the fact that mainstream media is losing credibility across the whole spectrum of viewers/readers. Not just among anarcho- libertarians ;-) Viewership is declining. The newspapers are literally dying away. And in the case of the “Arizona Republic” it couldn’t happen to a more deserving publication.

    Watching mainstream media is sort of like being exposed to “the emperor’s new suit of clothes.” Everyone can see he’s actually naked. Not everyone is going to have the courage to openly state this fact. But NOBODY is going to have much confidence in the little guy,

    • eric
      February 3, 2014 at 3:42 pm

      Very true, Mike – and it couldn’t happen to a more deserving bunch.

      PS: Thanks for your letter, which arrived over the weekend!

      PS PS: Review of the R-Line Beetle (what VW is calling the turbo/sport Beetle now that base Beetles will also be turbo’d) is on deck for later today/tomorrow morning.

  8. Burke
    February 3, 2014 at 4:14 pm

    __” …most young journalists are the product of government schools…”

    Yes, that’s THE fundamental cause. But it also afflicts journalist of all ages and 95% of Americans. Such GroupThink is by pervasive design.

    It’s the root cause of most American societal problems that you routinely highlight here. A solution requires breaking the government stranglehold on education.

    The government takeover & control of the entire education system (Pre-School thru Graduate School) has been spectacularly successful, far beyond the wildest hopes of the nationalists, religionists, and progressives who planned and implemented it, starting in the mid-19th Century. The populace is now numbed with very effective, systematic indoctrination.

    ————

    “A general state education is a mere contrivance for moulding people to be exactly like one another; and the mould in which it casts them is that which pleases the predominant power in the government, whether this be a monarch, a priesthood, an aristocracy, or the majority of the existing generation. In proportion as it is efficient, it establishes a despotism over the mind, leading by natural tendency to one over the body.”
    — John Stuart Mill

    ———–

    “Give me four years to teach the children and the seed I have
    sown will never be uprooted. ”
    — Vladimir Ilyich Lenin

  9. Mike in Boston
    February 3, 2014 at 6:14 pm

    The PTB learned their lesson in th 60′s, when reporters could pretty much wander around Vietnam on their own and the media they represented would publish/air their stories as written. That was a big factor in turning public opinion against the war despite all the bullshit from Westmoreland, etc. The Pentagon Papers were the revelations of that era, as Eric Snowden’s are today. Of course the govt. reaction is always the same: kill the messenger now matter how true the message. I’m sure there is already a plan in place for the Internet “kill switch” to shut down the Internet when the shtf so the sheeple’s only source of information will be the major networks feeding propaganda to the masses. Sadly most of them will be just fine with that; in my neck of the woods they still think it was fine to lock down the city to (supposedly) catch one “terrorist”. My opinion to the contrary brings a lot of head shaking, and probably has me on a list to be investigated when they bring it on regionally someday, but I’m ok with that; rather go down swinging my fists than with them held over my head.

    • mikeLL
      February 3, 2014 at 6:55 pm

      Mike, you’re right about the Vietnam era. There was a window of time when it was possible to publish very hard-hitting work—above I mentioned Hersch’s My Lai story—and it would make a difference. But one thing Reagan and his henchmen succeeded in doing was convincing the US public that it was safe once again under the umbrella cast by the state. And from then, the rest is, as they say, history.

      • David C.
        February 4, 2014 at 11:22 am

        Mike, we live in a time of unprecedented social mood highs. It is during such times that unimaginable evils propagate, simply because the mood renders people uninterested in seeing them.

        Rot is promoted by blind faith and blind optimism. Americans have been pinning the needle on such blindness for nearly 20 years. We cannot imagine what horrors will come to light once the blind optimism turns to open-eye rage (which will be evident once this debt-fueled, debased-money simulacrum of an economy follows its inevitable future plunge).

        We may presume that today’s police-torture/murder stories are but the proverbial tip of the iceberg, and I suspect that the poisoning of our land, food and water by Monsanto, GeoEngineering & other catastrophically stupid government tricks will exceed our wildest nightmares.

    • merica
      February 4, 2014 at 4:01 pm

      you hate america because you don’t support the theft and violations of basic, unalienable rights. you hate america because you stand for the outdated principles and beliefs that this country was founded on. you hate america because you question your kings.

      • eric
        February 4, 2014 at 4:09 pm

        That’s the refrain, unfortunately.

        And as I remind my Republican friends, it was The Chimp who made this catcall popular, who gave this tool to the Democrats to use in their turn.

        Back to fuuuuuhhhhhhhttttttttttball!

  10. Garysco
    February 3, 2014 at 7:05 pm

    Follow the yellow brick road.

    “The Great Transformation,” Where Society to Be Given Indoctrination
    By “Experts”, From Cradle to Grave, For “Perfect” Citizens, Sure to Behave,
    Huxley’s Brave New World, Order Perfect, Ruled by Specialists on Behalf of Elect”
    Alan Watt – cuttingthroughthe matrix.com

    Hasen’t new been turned into info-tainment?
    Steven Paul Jobs (24 February 1955 – 5 October 2011) was the Chairman and CEO of Apple Inc., Jobs was the Walt Disney Company’s largest individual shareholder and a former member of its Board of Directors. He is considered to have been a leading figure in both the computer and entertainment industries.

    Google buys Deepmind (AI) and Boston Dynamics (robots).
    Together with input from other AI researchers, Barrat has developed a wishlist of five policies he hopes Google’s safety board will adopt to ensure the applications of AI are ethical. These include creating guidelines that determine when it’s “ethical for systems to cause physical harm to humans,” how to limit “the psychological manipulation of humans” and how to prevent “the concentration of excessive power.”

    With AI poised to reason, learn, create, drive, speak, comfort and possibly even decide who dies, the world also needs a moral code for the computer code.
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/29/google-ai_n_4683343.html

    Even the writers of the Old Testiment knew human psychology.
    2 Timopthy 4:3
    New International Version
    For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.

    • February 3, 2014 at 7:37 pm

      Gotta say, I preferred Asimov’s laws of robotics:

      1) A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
      2) A robot must obey the orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
      3) A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

      Seems like a better set of guidelines than “a robot must decide when it is socially just to harm humans.”

      • Garysco
        February 3, 2014 at 11:05 pm

        @Darien – Who (or what) is Google? Black bag/ black budget government funded and designed from the start to learn and track ALL human activities and relations.

        Google Now technology (just one of many programs they have) currently available for Android & IOS. You volunteer yourself in exchange for content shaped just for you. In other words you loose control of the source documents and true information and give yourself over to the machine. 1984 covered with Brave New World icing on the cake.

  11. February 3, 2014 at 7:39 pm

    Wait, Cass Sunstein is a man? I honestly didn’t know that. I was just imagining Cass Elliot’s evil twin all these years!

    • eric
      February 4, 2014 at 7:19 am

      Yup – by sex, a man.

      • Bevin
        February 4, 2014 at 7:51 pm

        Dear Darien, Eric,

        Cass Sunstein is not a man. He is a worm. What man would write this?

        Without taxes, there would be no liberty. Without taxes there would be no property. Without taxes, few of us would have any assets worth defending. [It is] a dim fiction that some people enjoy and exercise their rights without placing any burden whatsoever on the public… There is no liberty without dependency.

        War is Peace

        The Ministry of Truth — Minitrue, in Newspeak [Newspeak was the official language of Oceania. For an account of its structure and etymology see Appendix.]— was startlingly different from any other object in sight. It was an enormous pyramidal structure of glittering white concrete, soaring up, terrace after terrace, 300 metres into the air. From where Winston stood it was just possible to read, picked out on its white face in elegant lettering, the three slogans of the Party:

        WAR IS PEACE
        FREEDOM IS SLAVERY
        IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH

        • February 4, 2014 at 9:06 pm

          I stand corrected!

          • Bevin
            February 4, 2014 at 9:20 pm

            Dear Darien,

            If it’s any consolation to Sunstein, he is male. A male worm.

            Who knew 1984 would be upon us full blown, without apology?

            I mean, Sunstein came right out and said it for chrissakes!

            “Without taxes, there would be no liberty.”

            What is that, but “Freedom is slavery?”

            Or if you want to be a stickler, “Slavery is freedom?”

        • methylamine
          February 4, 2014 at 9:44 pm

          My GOD these people are evil!

          What kind of twisted, malformed, mutated thought is that?

          • Bevin
            February 4, 2014 at 10:02 pm

            Dear meth,

            Democratic socialists, aka “liberals” used to blast Ayn Rand for making her altruist/collectivist villains grotesque, utterly unrealistic, caricatures.

            Who knew real world altruist/collectivist villains would make her “grotesque caricatures” look like exercises in understatement?

            LOL.

          • Bevin
            February 4, 2014 at 10:03 pm

            I mean, does this guy sound like Ellsworth Toohey or what?

          • eric
            February 5, 2014 at 7:38 am

            He is Toohey!

            The same effervescent malice, the same sneering contempt – the barely hidden hatred for others.

            This is what a psychopath with a high IQ looks like.

          • Garysco
            February 5, 2014 at 7:48 am

            @Bevin –
            Rolling Stone: Have you ever read Ayn Rand?

            President Obama: Sure.

            Rolling Stone: What do you think Paul Ryan’s obsession with her work would mean if he were vice president?

            President Obama: Well, you’d have to ask Paul Ryan what that means to him. Ayn Rand is one of those things that a lot of us, when we were 17 or 18 and feeling misunderstood, we’d pick up. Then, as we get older, we realize that a world in which we’re only thinking about ourselves and not thinking about anybody else, in which we’re considering the entire project of developing ourselves as more important than our relationships to other people and making sure that everybody else has opportunity -– that that’s a pretty narrow vision. It’s not one that, I think, describes what’s best in America. Unfortunately, it does seem as if sometimes that vision of a ‘you’re on your own’ society has consumed a big chunk of the Republican Party.

          • eric
            February 5, 2014 at 8:26 am

            So tiresome… the common, but unspoken meme of force that permeates their mealy-mouthed talk of “only thinking about ourselves and not thinking about anybody else.”

            How nice to “think about others” by pointing guns at them….

        • February 4, 2014 at 10:41 pm

          Also, I can’t quite wrap my head around “without taxes, there would be no property.” I mean just ontologically, how does that even work? Property depends upon taxation in order to exist… but then what does the original taxation tax?

          • methylamine
            February 4, 2014 at 11:25 pm

            I suppose to the statist, property rights can only be enforced by the state, hence taxes. Or perhaps–government grants property rights, therefore taxation is necessary.

            And I suppose to the abject hoplophobe, the thought never enters that one might defend one’s own property…with a gun!

            Alex Jones tells an hilarious story about a family friend in his fifties who literally had a panic attack, full-on with sweating and shaking, when he was moving a few hunting rifles from his dad’s gun safe to his car for a hunting trip. He carried them through the living room while this “man” was visiting…and he freaked out.

            I’ve never met anyone with that severe an aversion…but it seems it’s a big part of the problem.

            Another theory I have–the hoplophobe, deep inside, recognizes what a screwed-up human being he is. He knows he’s a bully, but a coward as well, a control-freak; but his control-freakism is an externalization of something so unpleasant about himself he’s unwilling to admit it and internalize it. It’s that he can’t control himself.

            And so the human part of him makes him afraid of guns–because he knows he’d be tempted to misuse them.

            Unwilling to fully realize this though, he again externalizes…and projects that fear onto OTHERS.

            Hence–you have to give up your guns.

          • February 5, 2014 at 1:53 am

            Colonialists managed to impose hut taxes and poll taxes quite easily even without recognising pre-existing property (though they sometimes did recognise it anyway). A hut wasn’t considered property unless it was registered and the hut taxes were paid up; if not, the hut was demolished and (usually) any cattle connected with it were seized to be sold off to cover the default. And if anyone was found out and about without poll tax paperwork, and he was liable for it (typically most young and middle aged males not working for the system, e.g. for settlers or for the authorities or by knowing enough of the colonialists’ language to show willing support), he was impressed for forced labour.

          • PanarchistamericanHelot
            February 5, 2014 at 2:24 am

            That’s interesting, P.M.Lawrence.

            It’s like they Never learned, ‘The Pilgrims’ Real Thanksgiving Lesson’?

            http://www.independent.org/newsroom/article.asp?id=1423

            Gawd, it’s like people are stupid. They didn’t learn the lesson then, and they didn’t learn it from the Wild West:

            ‘The Culture of Violence in the American West: Myth versus Reality’

            http://www.independent.org/publications/tir/article.asp?a=803

            …Will ‘The People’ ever learn?

            Ya, not if people such as Cass Suskind gets his/her/it way.

          • February 5, 2014 at 3:28 am

            No, PanarchistamericanHelot (of February 5, 2014 at 2:24 am), it’s not “like they Never learned, ‘The Pilgrims’ Real Thanksgiving Lesson’”, it’s that they quite deliberately brought everything within their own system. That approach allowed them to seize land and lease it (usually) to settlers and to collaborating natives who were provided with a labour force (who needed to work for them to get the colonialist currency to pay taxes), all the while squeezing out older forms of wealth holding (herds of animals, silver in the form of torques, etc.). The colonialists knew perfectly well what property was, they just wanted their version, favourable to them, to prevail. The more cunning ones made sure a lot went to locals, who then developed a vested interest in supporting the system; even the forced labour that backed the poll taxes got paid just enough to buy food from other locals, just to get the currency established (that was the French and Dutch; the Portuguese were more brutal and counter-productive in their forced labour methods, and the British mostly went the hut tax route to get started).

          • PanarchistamericanHelot
            February 5, 2014 at 4:00 am

            They “brought everything within their own system.”

            Like they stretched out their arms and scooped up everything and said, “Mine! All mine!”

            Yes, indeed. They made Helots of us all.

            The more things change, the more they stay the same.

          • eric
            February 5, 2014 at 7:33 am

            Hi Darien,

            Sunstein is being disingenuous. It’s a dodge, an intellectual flim-flam.

            He despises the notion of private property (except of course that controlled by himself) but recognizes that most people, even today, shrink from an outright repudiation of private property. Hence, we must “protect” private property by empowering authority; via taxes for the “common good.”

            With creatures such as Sunstein directing and controlling it, naturlich.

        • garysco
          February 5, 2014 at 7:38 am

          And he is just ONE of O-Man’s stable of Marxist policy making bureaucrats.

  12. Mark Porter
    February 4, 2014 at 2:47 am

    Many industries are this way. It’s not just media, it’s also in the technical fields, government service and especially the intelligence agencies.

    Most people are too cowardly to search for the truth and speak the truth. They are under control. Puppets who dare not stray too far from mainstream, regardless of how wrong it is.

    • eric
      February 4, 2014 at 6:34 am

      Hi Mark,

      Yup, agreed.

      Conformity, orthodoxy.

      The Company Store – the company man.

    • Bevin
      February 4, 2014 at 9:22 am

      Dear Mark,

      Exactly right.

      Mind Control – Television, Sports, News Media Are Used To Manipulate & Control You!

      Speaking are Alan Watt, G.Edward Griffin & Alex Jones.

  13. February 4, 2014 at 4:12 am

    The really weird thing is that the term “911″ did gain some circulation around here, though not as much as in the U.S.A., because it is basically meaningless here: nothing of note happened on the 9th of November, we don’t use that as an emergency telephone number, and so on. It only makes sense to someone who knows it’s U.S.-speak; sure, practically all of us know now, but how on earth did it ever take root anywhere else, without its meaning already being accessible?

    • eric
      February 4, 2014 at 6:33 am

      Probably for the same reason that the dollar, Coke (and so on) are also “lingua franca” outside the U.S. The ripe tide of American media, culture, economics, etc. manifests almost everywhere…

  14. anarchyst
    February 4, 2014 at 7:38 am

    So-called “journalism” has become a “fifth column” of government. The healthy adversarial relationship that once existed is gone.
    “journalists” are more worried about NOT being invited to the Georgetown / Washington DC cocktail party circuit than reporting truth, so they temper their articles accordingly, so as not to offend the “powers that be”..
    It is curious to note that there was very little outcry from the “mainstream media” when communists such as Pelosi and Boxer attempted to pass legislation to define “who” a true “journalist” is in contravention to the First Amendment to the Constitution.
    Like it or not, (unpaid) bloggers are journalists in the same light as those “journalists” who get paid by media outlets.

  15. Steve
    February 4, 2014 at 8:48 am

    Leashed Shih Tzu !
    That’s Killer !!!

  16. tom
    February 4, 2014 at 8:50 am

    Just wait until a non-Democrat party president, then you’ll see the media start to do its job….

    • eric
      February 4, 2014 at 9:37 am

      I doubt it.

      The media brayed just as enthusiastically for The Chimp as it has for Obama.

      What most MSM journalists crave is power and fame and riches. In brief, they have much in common with the government they’re supposed to be monitoring and keeping in check.

      • Bevin
        February 4, 2014 at 10:02 am

        Dear tom, eric,

        “So the U.S. major media (and much of the minor media) are not free and independent, as they claim, they are not the watchdog of democracy but the lapdog of the national security state. They help reverse the roles of victims and victimizers, warmongers and peacekeepers, reactionaries and reformers. The first atrocity, the first war crime committed in any war of aggression by the aggressors is against the truth.
        – Michael Parenti, New Left political scientist

        I know. I quoted it before. But it bears repeating. After all, the “US major media” are still repeat offenders who have not “repented of their sins.”

      • mikeLL
        February 4, 2014 at 10:45 am

        Eric,
        I have a slightly different view of how the media treats Dems vs Repugs. When a Dem is in office they promote the interests of the state with enthusiasm and fawning approval. Why, it’s not even a job, it’s a pleasure. But when there’s a Repug in office they do their duty of merely promoting the state, often through clenched teeth. The media, mostly liberal in their propensities, really and truly hated the Chimp for aesthetic , not substantive, reasons. But you know what they say, orders are orders and they followed them despite their disgust.

        One caveat: during the lead up to war, as in 2001-2002, there is but One Party in the eyes of the media. They rally around “their” President despite his sensibilities, simian or otherwise. This has been true since at least WWI.

      • Giuseppe Crowe
        February 4, 2014 at 11:33 pm

        The MSM is pretty much dead. One need only look at the ever shrinking printed media, dominated by ads and puff pieces to realize that. The online equivalents are likewise sucking wind as indicated by the relative visitorship of say MSNBC vs. Alex Jones (who I believe is about 75% full of shit as well) The only people who pay attention to the MSM are the braindead clovers who believe that the conditioning known as “public education” has any merit whatsoever. This set will also not fare well when the SHTF because of their total dependency on government to tell them how to think, eat and behave. TPTB hate the Internet for the same reason that they hate gold…..they cannot control either one and that just drives those drones to distraction.

        I think it’s instructive that I was listening to some program on, I think, Nationalist Proletarian Radio with two Democrats and two Republicans, one of them a “log cabin” (gay) Republican and the general expressed opinion of these stalwarts of the warfare/welfare state was that Edward Snowden should be tried for treason and executed…..sheesh. You know that Snowden and Greenwald must be viewed as heros by folks who truly value individual rights. But TPTB absolutely hate their lack of control on these issues….how dare the slaves rise up and assert they have rights!!

        WRT Seymour Hersh, he’s still active and was instrumental in exposing the Abu Ghraib prison debacle. Of course, the same unthinking proles that love football and think the U.S. military operations are A-OK dismissed this but Hersch is still respected. I’m surprised he has not been disappeared, and the same for Greenwald. TPTB have been exposed and a lot of people, including young people in a hopeful development, are just not buying the same old scheiße.

        • BrentP
          February 4, 2014 at 11:41 pm

          Mainstream media creates the tribal narrative. The things we are supposed to believe if we want to be accepted by and acceptable in society.

          I read an article that said the american people are largely economically ignorant because they favor a minimum wage increase by some big margin. The problem is that poll doesn’t tell us how economically ignorant they are because the socially acceptable answer is to support raising the minimum wage. It only tells us who understands economics and who is willing to say things that aren’t socially acceptable.

          BTW: alex jones exaggerates and sees shapes in clouds intentionally. but he and his crew source just about everything. So I read their sources and ignore their stuff as much as I can. I can then make up my mind on the facts.

          • Giuseppe Crowe
            February 5, 2014 at 12:09 am

            Hi BrentP,

            I don’t dislike Alex Jones, but I do see some really huge internal inconsistencies in his rants. He comes across like a fundamentalist preacher to me…..not sure why. He does seem to really get under the skin of collectivists both right and left wingers.

            Re: your comment about tribal narratives. Are you saying that MSM attempts to keep the proles divided over fluff issues so they will not see the man behind the curtain? That would be an observation I could agree with.

          • BrentP
            February 5, 2014 at 1:00 am

            The MSM does that too, but I was referring to things everyone is supposed to believe, even when they conflict with the written law, government’s own reports, etc and so on.

            The narratives of every major historical event, foreign policy, wars, economics, what certain laws are for, etc and so on. We all have to believe these things or we will be socially unacceptable. The mainstream media holds all these myths together for people once they leave the government schools.

          • PanarchistamericanHelot
            February 5, 2014 at 1:32 am

            RE: “The mainstream media holds all these myths together for people once they leave the government schools.”

            Don’t forget that the corporations and even the beloved small businesses to this too.

            I’ll never forget the day I and another fella were “let go” from a company because we didn’t bow our heads as the group of us were commanded to (not asked) at the forced gathering (why did we have to outside?) during the middle of a work day to pray on 9/11.

            I still remember the guy next to me muttering, “What about all those people killed on the road each day? Do we take time off from work to pray for them too?”

          • PanarchistamericanHelot
            February 5, 2014 at 1:36 am

            oops, ‘to’ should have been, ‘do’.

            Don’t forget that the corporations and even the beloved small businesses DO this too.

            But, you knew that, right?

            I friggin’ hate typo’s.

          • BrentP
            February 5, 2014 at 1:55 am

            PanarchistamericanHelot, the people who do this companies are second layer. They got their narrative from the mainstream media and are only following through with the social pressure like they are meant to.

            There is no conspiracy, just tell people what to believe and they do things all on their own.

          • eric
            February 5, 2014 at 6:35 am

            Exactly, Brent.

            Here is specifically how it works – from firsthand knowledge:

            Editor-in-chief tells subordinate editor which stories to pull from the wire; these go to the copy desk for a headline and formatting. Onto the page – and out the door. This is how national news gets “covered” at all but the biggest papers (e.g., NYT, WP). The big papers/media chains set the tone, determine which stories are “important” and how they will be covered.

            This includes commentary/opinion, too.

            Notice that most of the op-ed columns you’ll find in any newspaper in this country except the very biggest (NYT, WP, etc.) are not staff written. They are provided by syndicates – which transmit this stuff over the “wire” (electronic feed) from which it’s pulled by the editors at local/regional papers and slotted onto the page.

            There are a relative handful of syndicated pundits/columnists – George Will, Krauthammer (to name a few neo-con names) who appear simultaneously in papers all over the country. They say mostly the same things – predictably in line with whether they are Team Red or Team Blue.

            To my knowledge, there is no one in the game anymore like, say, Joe Sobran who is allowed to be nationally syndicated. Almost all such have been culled.

            One of the very few exceptions to this is Tom Sowell, but he too has been marginalized.

            Two contrarians who have been shunted aside in recent times are Judge Napolitano and Paul Craig Roberts. I know PCR slightly. Used to speak with him occasionally on the phone when I was an editor at The Times. Nice guy. One of the few heavy hitter “insiders” who turned on them.

            And look where it got him….

          • PanarchistamericanHelot
            February 5, 2014 at 2:27 am

            Good point, BrentP. But still, they are like the second arm.

        • methylamine
          February 5, 2014 at 12:27 am

          Agreed that the MSM, though nearly dead, still provides the “official” narrative.

          However that’s losing its power very quickly; people recognize now that the official narrative is full of shit.

          It’s propaganda–and they know it. Say what we will of the youth, but Millenials can smell bullshit a mile away and they’re not buying it.

          Alex Joneslove that guy! Sure, he’s brash as hell; it’s his style, and it’s a schtick that works for him. But underneath that is a highly intelligent, extremely passionate guy and I admire him like crazy. He’s done an excellent job waking people up.

          How many of us reach 15 million people a week?

          His fact-checking is 90% excellent. He flubs occasionally. That’s sometimes hard for me to accept, since I never make mistakes…but then he’s just human.

          For a non-scientist he does a decent job getting things like Fukushima right. But when it comes to hard-core anti-NWO research, there’s noone better. He could teach Carroll Quigley a lesson or two in history and I doubt even head minions like Brezinski could better him in a one-on-one.

          And what he did on Piers Morgan!

          We need guys like him, just as much as we need the Ron Pauls. They couldn’t be more different in style–but the underlying spirit of liberty, truth, and decency are identical.

          • February 5, 2014 at 1:23 am

            You’re pretty much spot-on my opinion of Jones, Meth. I don’t listen to him much — he’s a bit too loud for me, and frankly his voice drives me up the wall — but I love him for what he does, and I’m glad he’s out there doing it.

          • eric
            February 5, 2014 at 7:13 am

            My take on Jones:

            He can be over-the-top (but then, so can I) and sometimes seems to be deliberately exaggerating things. But there can be little doubt he’s exposed a very large audience to some very subversive/heretical thinking (and facts) and that’s of inestimable value to the liberty movement.

            So long as he doesn’t start ranting about “the Jews” … or that the world elite are really shape-shifting reptiles from another dimension (as per David Icke).

          • Bevin
            February 5, 2014 at 1:29 am

            Dear meth,

            Yes! I wouldn’t underestimate the millennials. Some of them are going straight from their old beliefs directly to market anarchism.

            They put us to shame. I was a Classical Liberal in college, and it took me 20 years to come around.

            Here’s a fairly recent poll, conducted in late 2013.

            http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2013/09/poll-more-americans-believe-world-trade-center-7-was-demolished-on-911-than-believe-the-governments-explanation.html

            On the 12th anniversary of 9/11, a new national survey by the polling firm YouGov reveals that one in two Americans have doubts about the government’s account of 9/11, and after viewing video footage of World Trade Center Building 7’s collapse, 46% suspect that it was caused by a controlled demolition. Building 7, a 47-story skyscraper, collapsed into its own footprint late in the afternoon on 9/11.

            The exposure and discrediting of the NWO is not yet a sure thing. But the veil is definitely being pulled open.

            Jones may be sensationalistic, but as far as I can make out, he is sincere. Some accuse him of being a NWO shill, of being “controlled opposition,” but that strikes me as pretty far fetched. He’s doing too much damage to the NWO to be “controlled opposition.” More like “uncontrollable opposition” if you ask me!

          • eric
            February 5, 2014 at 7:10 am

            Hi Bevin,

            In re Millennials: I know a few and have come to the conclusion that in a way, the slow-motion economic collapse has helped our cause. These kids come out of college – and in many cases, right back to Mom & Dad’s house. With $50,000 in debt hanging around their necks. The unemployment rate for recent college grads is something like 26 percent, IIRC.

            No job, no prospects – and heavily in debt. That’ll get you to thinking.

            My generation – Gen X – had such a different experience. We were accused of being slackers – and it was true, to a very real extent.

            It was fairly easy to get into a decent university; much easier than it is today – and exponentially less expensive. When we graduated, there were jobs. Real, salaried jobs. I got hired by a newspaper and made a not bad living as an editorial writer/editor/columnist.

            That kind of thing is gone now. These kids are holding the proverbial bag – and are not happy about it.

          • BrentP
            February 5, 2014 at 11:30 am

            re Millennials:
            There are the ones who angry about it, but there is an apparently much larger group who just want to be children forever. The angry ones give me hope, the larger group is frightening. They are everything the elite want. They are very well conditioned and many are useful idiots in the foundation financed anti-car politics, climate change politics, etc and so on.

            Are there more of them awake than in previous generations yes, but are the majority of them more asleep than previous generations? Yes, IMO. It almost seems to be a calculated trade off. They don’t even need to be co-opted into doing the ruling classes’ bidding… they believe it from the get go.

          • eric
            February 5, 2014 at 11:39 am

            Hi Brent,

            This is purely anecdotal, but:

            I have two younger friends – in their mid-20s, not far out of college. Both are of the “angry” type. They feel gypped and let down but do not look to government for salvation. They get that they’ve been screwed by government (and the “company town” takeover engineered by big corporations).

            They are on to the con. I surmise that a goodly portion of RP’s young supporters also fall into this category.

            It gives me hope for the future, especially given people in this age group have no personal memory of a substantially (compared with now) free America. Yet they want more freedom – less authoritarianism.

        • eric
          February 5, 2014 at 7:25 am

          Hi Giuseppe –

          Amen on all of that.

          And in re Greenwald: He was very recently sent a “Sicilian message” by them. His partner was detained and threatened at the airport; held for several hours, browbeaten …

          If he (Greenwald) gets too pushy for their tastes, I expect he’ll have an unexpected heart attack, his car will crash, there will be a “random” mugging-gone-wrong that leaves him dead in the street….

  17. clyde
    February 4, 2014 at 9:09 am

    Yes, if someone writes the wrong thing about race, they are through.

    I support israel, but i don’t see the same result from criticizing them that you are talking about. pat buchanan does it all the time and his columns are all over the place.

    • eric
      February 4, 2014 at 9:31 am

      Hi Clyde,

      Pat was recently fired from MSNBC following “outrage” over his latest book. His career has taken a big hit; the only reason he’s survived is that he became famous years before PC got real traction – and he developed enough of a headwind to carry him along. But his situation is much diminished.

  18. Steve Victor
    February 4, 2014 at 10:46 am

    Investigative journalism died with JFK.

  19. Tor Libertarian
    February 4, 2014 at 10:49 am

    Josie the Outlaw – on Anarchism and Speaking Out Against Tyranny
    http://www.disclose.tv/action/viewvideo/164495/Anarchism_Speaking_Out_Against_Tyranny_Josie_the_Outlaw__Radio_3Fourteen/

    Josie the Outlaw – on individuals bearing arms

    Josie the Outlaw – on Alex Jones Show

    - Journalism requires hardy extremists with shovels in good repair, it is increasingly difficult to uncover the nuggets of truth hidden deep within the mountains of crap these days

  20. February 4, 2014 at 11:00 am

    The media is in bed with our government, and those who would attempt to control us. Through our media, much brainwashing has occurred. As William Casey, the then Director of the CIA stated in 1981, “We’ll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false.” This could not have happened without the collusion of our lamestream dinosaur media.

  21. methylamine
    February 4, 2014 at 11:40 am

    tagged for email follow-ups…when I have time.

  22. dirk
    February 4, 2014 at 2:29 pm

    C.S.Lewis write about it didn’t he Eric http://johnrepici.com/Misc/TheInnerRing.pdf
    Great article,Thank you

    Yours truly, Liberace,s boy friend

    • eric
      February 4, 2014 at 4:22 pm

      CS Lewis was perhaps one of the greatest Christian apologists.

      But I didn’t find his defense of the faith persuasive.

      For me, the fundamental problem is ascribing what is taught by the various Christian sects as factual rather than belief predicated on authority. It says so – etc.

      I find it puzzling that people can be so certain on that basis. So insistent that they know.

      I understand – and can share in – people’s sense of awe when contemplating creation. And what is very possibly implied by it – that there might be something “behind” it all. More than meets the eye – and so on.

      But to leap from there to “Jesus is Lord” is a leap too far for me.

      • zach
        February 4, 2014 at 6:54 pm

        I love the article Eric, another paltry $10 coming your way.

        Christians like me say “Jesus is Lord” because we believe the Bible is self-authenticating. “My sheep hear my voice” and “No one can come to me unless the Father draws him” etc, etc. It also says that true disciples are chosen by pure mercy, not from anything good or exceptional from inside themselves. Make no mistake, this is a cop out, I understand that and honest unbelievers shouldn’t be argued with on this point. While moderns think their religion, science, has all the answers and has disproved the truth of the bible, they are mistaken. However, Christians will not and cannot prove their case with logic, the bible tells me so, lol. I only mention this because so often believers and non believers talk past each other.

        • eric
          February 4, 2014 at 7:08 pm

          Thanks, Zach!

          For the kind words – and the support!

        • TIA
          February 5, 2014 at 10:28 am

          zach,

          Great comment. No one can prove their ultimate worldview (Christian or otherwise) solely with logic. Having said that, Christianity is the only worldview which is logically consistent. Other worldviews either fall into irrationality or “borrow” from the Christian worldview to mask their inconsistencies.

          • eric
            February 5, 2014 at 11:00 am

            Er… except for things like a multiplicity of gods in an ostensibly monotheistic religion. And an omniscient god who (apparently) cannot locate his creations when they hide from him… and who makes bets with his adversary deity whose outcome he must – by definition – know beforehand… yet sadistically tortures poor ol’ Job anyhow (just for giggles, I guess)… who has a “son” who – though an immortal god – is said to have died on the cross.

            Stuff like that…

            It’s cool to believe whatever you want to (provided you’re not hurting someone else)… but don’t expect others to not scratch their heads in bewilderment when odd/conflicting/unsupportable/illogical statements are made with the zeal of absolute certainty behind them.

      • TIA
        February 5, 2014 at 10:22 am

        I find it puzzling how anyone can claim to know anything apart from “Jesus is Lord.”

        • eric
          February 5, 2014 at 10:57 am

          Hi TIA,

          When I say I know something, implicit in that is my ability to prove that it is so.

          Thus, when I say, “New York city exists” I can back that statement up with irrefutable, objective proof that, indeed, there is a city called New York that exists in a specific place (and so on). No one can gainsay the reality – the truth, the knowledge of this.

          But when someone states “Jesus is Lord” what have you got, really? A statement of someone’s belief that, although perhaps ardently believed, cannot be substantiated with indisputable facts. Hence it’s not really knowledge – no matter how ardently the believer believes. Or – to be more precise – it is not something that must be conceded as knowledge by others.

          • TIA
            February 5, 2014 at 3:56 pm

            Eric,

            Sorry for my rude introduction. I’ve seen your articles over at LewRockwell.com and come to your site a few times. I definitely appreciate your work and want to thank you for it.

            Having said that, your straw man characterization of Christianity in your 11:00am comment doesn’t help your case.

            Regarding “knowing” things, “New York city exists” is a belief just as much as “Jesus is Lord” is. I don’t disagree that you could provide irrefutable, objective proof about New York city, but some people still might not believe it. Similarly, I could provide irrefutable, objective proof that Jesus is Lord, but obviously many people don’t believe that.

            Again I assert that if “Jesus is Lord” is not true, you cannot know anything. If you don’t believe me, let me ask you, “How do you know anything?” By observation? Observation is important, but knowledge cannot be based solely on observation. As I said before, people inconsistently borrow from the Christian worldview in order to argue against it.

          • eric
            February 5, 2014 at 4:18 pm

            Hi Tia,

            No offense taken; discussion is what this site is all about.

            Do you really believe that “New York City exists” is merely a matter of belief?

            Whether some people refuse to believe it is irrelevant as regards the objective reality of its existence. New York City exists. It is a real place. Someone may choose to deny this – but if they do, they’re palpably crazy.

            One cannot say the same about the statement, “Jesus is Lord.” It is mere belief, an assertion – not knowledge. Because you cannot demonstrate the truth of the thing.

            Accordingly, to question the statement – to refuse to accept its validity – is entirely reasonable. Unlike refusing to “believe” that New York City is a real place and actually exists.

            Please provide the “rrefutable, objective proof that Jesus is Lord.” If you are able to do so, I will readily concede that Jesus is, in fact, Lord.

            Of course, the statement itself must be defined. Do you mean that a man named Jesus existed at one time and you regard him as your sovereign? In that case, certainly, I will accept the statement as true. There is sufficient evidence that Jesus, a man, existed. And if you wish to crown him your “Lord” – even though he has been dead for 2014 years – well, that’s ok by me.

            But if you are asserting that Jesus is a deity and that he exerts Lordship – active authority – over you (or anyone else) then I challenge you to prove it. Show me irrefutable facts that support these claims. If you can, you’ll have outdone every Christian apologist I know of!

            Your last statement – “Again I assert that if “Jesus is Lord” is not true, you cannot know anything” – strikes me as bizarre.

            Substitute “George Bush is a shape-shifting reptile” for “Jesus is Lord.”

            Why – how – is the latter any less absurd than the former?

            I may believe with all my heart that George Bush is, indeed a shape-shifting reptile. Does the ardency of my belief make it true?

            The same applies to “Jesus is Lord.”

            I realize you’ll take offense – because you sincerely, honestly do believe that “Jesus is Lord,” that you “cannot know anything” if you do do not “know” that.

            But, again, if I made the same claim about shape-shifting reptiles, you’d regard me as a little unhinged, minimally.

          • TIA
            February 5, 2014 at 5:29 pm

            Eric,

            I’m not sure exactly where this will get posted, but it is in response to your comment at 4:18pm. Thanks for being willing to discuss this in an intelligent way (even if the comment section of a website isn’t the easiest place to carry on this type of discussion).

            In response to your comment, I would say that “Jesus is Lord” is just as objectively true as “New York City exists.” What anyone believes one way or another is irrelevant to the truth of either statement.

            Regarding “proof”, no one can convince someone of something they choose not to believe. However, there is objective proof that Jesus is Lord, whether you believe it or not. That proof is not based on evidence. That’s not to say that evidence is not important or helpful, but that evidence alone is insufficient. This is clearly seen in the creation/evolution debate. Both sides look at the same evidence, but come to completely different conclusions.

            Again I would go back to the issue of “How do you know anything?” Why do you put “Jesus is Lord” in the same category as “George Bush is a reptile” and not in the category with “New York City exists”? Just for the record, I agree that “George Bush is a reptile” and “New York City exists” are in different categories. But I know that only because Jesus is Lord. How can you account for knowledge apart from Him? On a related note, what do you believe is the nature of reality? Is it material only, material and immaterial (mind and matter), or something else? My contention is that those who deny that Jesus is Lord are inconsistent with respect to the nature of reality and knowledge. I don’t know your personal beliefs about those things, so I can’t address them specifically unless you tell me more. This goes back to what Zach said about Christianity being self-authenticating. All other worldviews are self-contradictory. That is the “proof” in a nutshell. Obviously, there are a lot of details that could (and should) be fleshed out.

            Let me clearly state that you and others who don’t believe Jesus is Lord clearly do know lots of things. My point is that you cannot justify knowing anything apart from the fact that Jesus is Lord.

          • eric
            February 6, 2014 at 7:32 am

            Hi TIA,

            You keep asserting that “Jesus is Lord” – which is fine, if that’s what you believe. You are entitled to believe whatever you wish to believe.

            But I am not obliged to accept your assertion of belief as other than a mere assertion of belief – for exactly the same reason that I do not accept the equally ardent assertions of David Icke that he believes George Bush is a shape-shifting reptile. Or for that matter, the assertions made by Muslims that Allah is “Lord.”

            Maybe I believe the Flying Spaghetti Monster’s Noodley Appendage is “Lord.” I believe it very strongly. Does that impress you? Is it knowledge of the FSM’s reality?

            Etc.

            You’ve made an assertion of belief – that’s all.

            New York city’s existence is not a matter of mere belief. It exists in objective reality; one can know this – and prove it. One can visit New York, take picture of it, speak with the residents, take home souvenirs.

            Can you show me a photo of you and The Lord having coffee? A snapshot of heaven, perhaps? Some tangible thing that amounts to indisputable evidence of the existence of the things you claim to know exist?

            To deny the reality of New York as an actual place would be silly. A willful refusal to acknowledge facts – knowledge – that cannot be rationally disputed.

            “Jesus is Lord”?

            Well, how about “Zeus is Lord”?

            Or Mum-Ra the ever-living?

            How is the latter any less valid than the former?

            You keep on making statements such as “However, there is objective proof that Jesus is Lord, whether you believe it or not.” (Italics added).

            Really? Objective proof? Ok, show me. Where’s the beef?

          • February 5, 2014 at 7:13 pm

            Eric, how do you know that the NAP is right? How do you know aggression is wrong?

            I could argue that you cannot truly prove either of these assertions. I would claim to know they are true, but you can’t prove them. Without God to set an absolute standard of ethics, the standard is NOT absolute, even if you claim that it is.

            Obama has far more firepower than any of us. He never really needs to worry about getting a taste of his own medicine, because of his tremendous power, at least not in this life. His tremendous power allows him to routinely commit acts of aggression and get away with them. Why is he wrong?

            I would say that he is wrong because God is a higher authority than Obama, and God’s authority makes Obama’s authority irrelevant. God says to do unto others as you would want them to do unto you. Obama routinely refusing to live by this rule is wrong, morally, and something he will fall under judgment for unless he repents.

            But what about you? Why is Obama wrong? Not just as a pragmatic matter, but morally, why is he so evil? I’d challenge you to answer this question, explain how aggression is WRONG, yet without appealing to a higher power.

          • eric
            February 6, 2014 at 7:16 am

            Hi David,

            I know it in the same way that I know I must abide by the law of gravity. What I mean is that for human beings to exist in other than a hyena state – each preying on the other whenever the opportunity arises – they must come to understand that not behaving like a hyena is essential.

            As I posted (in reply to Bevin) earlier, I do not steal for two reasons, one practical the other ethical. The practical reason is simply that if I wish for my property to be secure, I must acknowledge the equal claim of others in that regard. If I do not wish them to steal from me, I must not steal from them. But there is also empathy, the thing that arises from awareness of suffering and the normal desire to not see others suffer. I understand that stealing entails hurting the person who is robbed. Since I do not wish to be hurt, I object to seeing others hurt.

            No Stalin in the Sky required!

          • Bevin
            February 5, 2014 at 7:32 pm

            Dear David,

            You wrote,

            “Eric, how do you know that the NAP is right? How do you know aggression is wrong?

            I could argue that you cannot truly prove either of these assertions. I would claim to know they are true, but you can’t prove them. Without God to set an absolute standard of ethics, the standard is NOT absolute, even if you claim that it is.”

            Do you really not know you are guilty of circular reasoning?

            http://fc01.deviantart.net/fs71/f/2012/129/9/6/circular_reasoning_does_not_solve_euthyphro_by_vepurusg-d4z1cvn.jpg

          • February 5, 2014 at 7:45 pm

            Eric wrote on February 5, 2014 at 4:18 pm:-

            One cannot say the same about the statement, “Jesus is Lord.” It is mere belief, an assertion – not knowledge. Because you cannot demonstrate the truth of the thing.

            Ah, there’s common sense leading someone astray again.

            You’re getting into the philosophical area of epistemology, how we know what we know. And it has been discovered – proven – that that common sense view is faulty. For instance, it has been proven that there are mathematical truths that cannot be proven; if someone stumbled on one of those, he would know it but be unable to prove it. “Know” doesn’t mean “have proof of”, it means “be sure beyond doubt of”; you can’t know something that can be disproven, but you can know something that cannot be proven. Weirdly, two people can know two different things which cannot both be true (just as quantum physics allows weird things that common sense forbids).

          • eric
            February 6, 2014 at 7:09 am

            Hi PM,

            I understand that, but ‘cmon now.

            Let’s stick with the example I gave: New York City exists.

            Demonstrable, factual – knowable. In that if you assert it, and I deny it, I am a fool. Provably so.

            And “Jesus is Lord”? The statement isn’t even specific. We must first define who Jesus is. A man – or a deity? And “Lord”? What does that mean, exactly? A sky god who exerts real-time (and perpetual) authority over us all? Or something rather more benign, like a historical figure one reveres and whose example one wishes to emulate?

            But, let’s assume the common meaning: Jesus is the universal deity and as such has absolute authority over everything.

            Says who?

            On what basis?

            You (speaking rhetorically now) can assert that you know it to be true – but I do not have to accept your assertion as knowledge because you cannot (or have not) provided real (tangible, objective) proof of your assertion.

            On the other hand, I do have to accept the assertion that New York City exists – as knowledge – once presented with the irrefutable facts that support the claim that, indeed, there is a city called New York and it does in fact exist. To deny that as “knowing” would be evidence of imbecility on my part – or some other mental defect.

          • methylamine
            February 5, 2014 at 11:10 pm

            @PMLawrence–

            Ha! And there we touch on Godel’s Incompleteness Theorem….which I summarize as “Just when you thought you knew everything…you know nothing.”

            It’s like the P != NP problem in computer science. We know there are some very hard problems, and we THINK we know there are impossibly hard problems–permanently, forever, inviolably “intractable”. Problems that cannot now, nor will ever be, solvable in a reasonable time.

            The big question is–is P = NP? Because if it is, the world’s our oyster computationally.

            Weirdly, it’s this kind of thing that makes me a Deist. When I see the order in the universe, I’m convinced it’s of a single Mind.

            I’m certainly not alone; there are thousands of scientists, many of them quite prominent, who are Deists or Christians (Muslims, Jews, etc) for the same reason.

            I’m open to suggestion regarding evolution vs. creation. I see no reason why a Mind capable of designing the universe couldn’t do it in such a way that life arose “spontaneously”–by design, but through apparently mysterious processes. Why not?

            But that’s a minor issue.

            The REAL issue is–are we just animals, or are we something more?

            Because the statists, the authoritarians, the eugenicists want very badly to convince us we’re just animals. Because then, we can be treated as cattle–and we can be milked, sheared, or slaughtered at will.

            I don’t think we are. Even if you’re not a Deist, it’s very important to embrace free will and the nobility of sentience. Humans must be something “more”–because if we’re not, why NOT treat us as cattle?

            In fact I think that’s the central fallacy behind all authoritarianism…if man is a beast, then “trampling and being trampled” is the natural outcome; survival of the fittest, social Darwinism, the will to dominate–libido dominandi–reign supreme.

          • February 6, 2014 at 12:13 am

            Methylamine of February 5, 2014 at 11:10 pm, I personally have found more accessible – easier to wrap my head around – the proof that Kolmogorov complexity is well defined – has a definite value that makes sense – but cannot be calculated in general. Chaitin’s Omega is a bit like that too, and nearly as accessible for me personally. Both of those lead to results about undecidability, though only the first can easily prove that there is such a thing as undecidability (more often, the second uses undecidability).

            There are some thought experiments about the nature of the universe, which provide considerable food for thought. Suppose that somewhere there is a civilisation advanced enough to run realistic computer simulations for social studies, like Daniel F. Galouye’s Counterfeit World – several steps up from economic models, but not vastly different in kind, and a stage that we might plausibly reach in the foreseeable future. We can apply the same sort of reasoning that goes into “why hasn’t intelligent life elsewhere in the universe already shown up?”, the Fermi Paradox. The odds are that “we” don’t really exist in any sort of free standing universe, but are in one of many simulations!

            That gives rise to the same sort of problem as made philosophers ask about first causes, i.e. whether if you traced the cause of each cause back you would ever get to a causeless cause or if it would go back for ever. Both are problematic, but really only if we build in our own experience of ordinary causes, only traced locally and not indefinitely. Our intuitions necessarily don’t allow anything but the normal sort, yet clearly they never can answer everything properly. It is at least possible that there is something we fundamentally cannot get to grips with (“ineffable”) that really does sort it out, if only because what we can get to grips with definitely can’t deal with it. (That answers Bevin’s objections to circular arguments, too; after all, how do we know that that is a valid objection to the whole of things? and many pseudo-circularities do in fact work, e.g. recursion, by always going down to a “smaller” case, ending with one or more base cases. Similar things work with infinite chains with no end, in which we can classify some head part of the chain as a first cause, under a suitable mapping).

            Anyhow, those arguments applied to “simulated humanity” ask if the simulation is in a “real” universe or in just another simulation (like the Galouye novel), if a chain of simulations must end in a “real” universe, if circularity is forbidden to such a chain – and what “real” means anyway, when looking at chained simulations in all directions.

            Here comes the clincher, that shows that Eric style objections are moot. If someone ran a social studies simulation to get us, not only would it present us with just such an “origin” for ethics (because that was why the simulation was run), and not only would we be unable to access the person who set it up except when he was tinkering (because a lot of intervention would disrupt the simulation), but also the universe we are in would look broadly as it does now, with deeper truths not provable within the “evidence” of the simulation. Even the objection that the researcher isn’t God but only a figure one level up doesn’t hold, because it simply brings us to the Gnostic idea of a demiurge operating within something else, a something else for which the concept of “God” is more appropriate – and we are back to the same problems philosophers have been grappling with, of moving things back ever further layers. And it is certainly food for thought that the frameworks that the philosophers found, before they knew about simulations, are applicable to a simulation built cosmos, even to one which is turtles all the way down.

            Anyhow, the universe as we know it is entirely consistent with a “God” concept that works out without us getting to grips with it, and there is at least one quite plausible scenario for it: we are more likely to be a simulation than anything else, just on the basis of choosing among a statistical universe of many simulations and at most one “reality”, all of which look real.

            By the way, any objections that all that is too hard are themselves evidence of a universe in which some things are too hard. Which is where we came in.

          • February 6, 2014 at 12:28 am

            Bevin of February 5, 2014 at 7:32 pm, Borromean rings demonstrate that at least some circular arguments are sound. The only reason any two rings stay together is because of the effect of the third, which itself stays because… and so on.

          • Bevin
            February 6, 2014 at 2:25 am

            Dear David,

            You wrote:

            “Eric, how do you know that the NAP is right? How do you know aggression is wrong? I could argue that you cannot truly prove either of these assertions.”

            Several of us expressed doubts about your commitment to the NAP. Do you see why?

            Comments such as yours do not prove that “ethics have no rational basis.” They merely prove that you have not connected the dots.

            What is right, what is moral, what is ethical, cannot be rooted in what some invisible person in the sky alleged told someone through a burning bush.

            It can only be ascertained by a rational “If, then” process rooted in objective reality — as in “If you want [blank], then you must do [blank].”

            Example: “If you want to live, you must eat food and not poison.”

            “If you want to be treated with respect, you must treat others with respect.”

            (Even Christianity lets slip and concedes that ethics have an objective, secular basis. Hence the Golden Rule.)

            “If you want a peaceful society, you must ensure that all are treated justly.” (“No justice, no peace.”)

            Ethical principles may sometimes be difficult to uphold. But they are not that hard to understand.

          • eric
            February 6, 2014 at 6:29 am

            Thanks for that superb synopsis of the rational basis for the NAP, Bevin!

            I often marvel that some people have more confidence in ethics imposed at gunpoint (so to speak) by an authoritarian Stalin in the Sky as opposed to those accepted by free will, after a process of rational calculation. That is:

            I do not steal because I understand that taking someone else’s property will hurt them, that it amounts to my giving sanction to theft generally – which means, I have no basis for objecting to others taking my property. Which means, a hyena society. And since I am not a hyena and do not wish to live among hyenas, I abjure theft.

            And so on.

            Stalin in the Sky not required!

          • Bevin
            February 6, 2014 at 7:18 am

            Dear Eric,

            “Thanks for that superb synopsis of the rational basis for the NAP, Bevin!”

            Thanks for the generous compliment. As I know you know, it’s essentially Aristotle’s Nichomachean Ethics and Rand’s Objectivist Ethics, restated in plain language.

            Just keeping it simple. Just keeping it real. As you did when your wrote,

            “I do not steal because I understand that taking someone else’s property will hurt them, that it amounts to my giving sanction to theft generally – which means, I have no basis for objecting to others taking my property. ”

            How hard is that to understand, really? Who says you can’t prove what’s right and what’s wrong? Jesus, assuming he actually existed, certainly didn’t think so. Hence his “Golden Rule.” Nor have countless other individual sages and human societies.

            … the Golden Rule has a history that long predates the term “Golden Rule”, or “Golden law”, as it was called from the 1670s.[1][6] As a concept of “the ethic of reciprocity,” it has its roots in a wide range of world cultures, and is a standard way that different cultures use to resolve conflicts.[1][5] It has a long history, and a great number of prominent religious figures and philosophers have restated its reciprocal, “two-way” nature in various ways (not limited to the above forms).[1]

            … the Golden Rule can be found in the early contributions of Confucianism (551–479 BC)… this concept’s framework appears prominently in many religions, including “Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Zoroastrianism, and the rest of the world’s major religions”.[7] … “ ’do unto others’ … is a concept that essentially no religion misses entirely.”[8] … the Golden Rule can be “found in some form in almost every ethical tradition”.[9] All versions and forms of the proverbial Golden Rule have one aspect in common: they all demand that people treat others in a manner in which they themselves would like to be treated.

            Old Testament God = Stalin in the Sky

            That’s a keeper. Should be listed in an Ambrose Bierce style “Devil’s Dictionary.”

          • February 6, 2014 at 8:27 am

            Eric of February 6, 2014 at 7:09 am, all you’re really doing just there is showing that “know” works differently in different areas – and in different circumstances. I know of New York, but quite possibly you know it personally, from being there. I know you, in an abstract sort of way that is nothing close to the way I know my brother or my downstairs neighbour. Why shouldn’t it be meaningful for someone to say he knows God – within the limits inherent in that – yet not mean by it the sort of thing that you mean by knowing New York, that would be subject to being tested the way that would work for a city that combines northern charm with southern efficiency? It would be like saying I don’t know French, I can only know France. (By the way, many European languages use different words for “know” when it means knowing a skill or knowing a person – with figurative uses allowed, as well. That distinction avoids some confusion but generates other confusion.)

            Anyway, my point wasn’t to discredit your analogy, merely to point out that a failure to fit only shows a failure to fit, not a fallacy. Some eighteenth and early nineteenth century philosophers used to argue that absence of evidence wasn’t evidence of absence, using as an example the fact that black swans were unknown didn’t show that they were impossible; their opponents often retorted along your lines, saying that they had made up an impossibility just to use as an example, and they would only consider real examples (building in their own concepts of “know” and “real”, etc.). When black swans were indeed discovered, the philosophers both gained and lost: they could show that the opponents had been wrong that time, but they lost an example of something unknown they could use, and the underlying argument continued. You are, in effect, telling everybody that the parrot has beautiful plumage, without realising that you are not touching the essential issue – here, the nature of knowledge and the nature of the knowable. It is quite possible (in a wide sense of the word “possible”, though probably not one you would agree with) that God is real yet not knowable in terms of – jargon here – phenomena and epiphenomena. I’m sorry about the jargon, just as I would be if I had to talk about a torque wrench to someone who’d never come across one, but that’s where jargon comes from when it’s not simply done to baffle brains with bullshit, which I really, really am not doing here – it’s a technical vocabulary that’s needed to make it practical to get to grips with the technical stuff.

          • eric
            February 6, 2014 at 8:31 am

            C’mon PM – you’re a smart guy.

            One can visit New York; you and I could meet for coffee.

            Can one meet Jesus for coffee?

            It’s sophistry to posit equivalence between not actually having been to NY (or meeting me in person) and the Jesus stuff.

            I exist. NY exists.

            Jesus (the deity, not the historical man)?

            Pure conjecture unsupported by anything objectively real/actual. Just someone insisting it is so. That they “just know” it to be true.

            They may believe this ardently, sincerely. But I give it no more credence than I do shape-shifting reptiles or the reality of the Greek pantheon.

            And my position is reasonable, because it based on reason.

            It is not reasonable to deny the existence of NY because one has not actually seen it in person.

          • February 6, 2014 at 8:47 am

            Bevin of February 6, 2014 at 2:25 am wrote:-

            What is right, what is moral, what is ethical, … can only be ascertained by a rational “If, then” process rooted in objective reality — as in “If you want [blank], then you must do [blank].”

            Example: “If you want to live, you must eat food and not poison.”

            So far, so good (though one man’s meat is another man’s poison) …

            “If you want to be treated with respect, you must treat others with respect.”

            That simply isn’t true, in general. That is merely the only way available when there isn’t a dominating power structure operating. But it is notorious that oppressors get their come uppance when they slacken; it’s that that removes the respect they had and encourages revolt (I think even de Tocqueville remarked on it, as many have).

            (Even Christianity lets slip and concedes that ethics have an objective, secular basis. Hence the Golden Rule.)

            Now you’re just projecting. Nowhere, not nowise, not nohow, does Christianity ever derive the Golden Rule from any secular basis; the fact that secular ethics have also reached the same conclusion no more shows it than the fact that both Islam and the W.C.T.U. forbid alcohol shows that Muhammad got the idea from the same place they did.

            “If you want a peaceful society, you must ensure that all are treated justly.” (“No justice, no peace.”)

            See above, about respect. But you can certainly get a peaceful society another way: a Carthaginian peace, named after what the Romans did to the Carthaginians (among others – it was a Caledonian chieftain who is recorded as saying of the Romans, “they make a wasteland and call it peace”). Indeed, many modern Zionists draw on what the early Israelites did to the Canaanites, after which the Bible states that there was peace in Israel, to recommend the same for today – forgetting that the Canaanites are supposed to have been condemned already, dor their separate misdeeds which we are not told of, and that was supposed to be a just punishment. Either way, no more Canaanites (or Carthaginians), no more problem. That would have worked for Hitler, too, if only he had succeeded; as it was, he only showed the truth of Machiavelli’s insight that you should never do an enemy a small injury (as it will leave him with both the incentive to retaliate and the strength to do so).

            Ethical principles may sometimes be difficult to uphold. But they are not that hard to understand.

            I hope I have muddied the waters enough to demonstrate that, after all, these things do need to be thought through in a lot more depth.

          • February 6, 2014 at 9:12 am

            Eric, what gets me is that you still think I’m positing equivalence, that you really can only see one way of getting to grips with things, when my whole point was to show that different subject matter needs different mental tools. I’m not positing equivalence! I’m saying it’s a different sort of thing, and looking for equivalence and failing to find a proof of the sort that would prove New York is no condemnation – because the tests to use are not the same, since the subject matter is of a different sort.

            Look, if you have the time, look at some of the arguments mathematicians have had about what a proof had to be. The constructionists refused to accept “existence proofs” that merely showed that some kind of mathematical object had to exist (often by proving it impossible that there were no examples), they insisted on proofs that would eventually produce one by showing a method to get there (even if it took longer than a mathematician could work on it). One irony is that Brouwer, a stalwart constructionist, is most famous for Brouwer’s theorem, an existence proof, and it took a long time to come up with a constructionist proof for it.

            Well, it’s like that between the wider way and your (I hope this isn’t offensive) colour blind way that just won’t take other things in. If, like the black swan, God could ever be proved to your satisfaction, then that wouldn’t actually be God, because of some of the inherent attributes (here’s another technical term: ineffable).

            But I think you really will fail to see it, because you are confined to one kind of subject matter. Just possibly, you will one day find an analogy within your own experience that will show you that “knowing” works out differently in different areas. I mean, would you really want a bastard form of mathematics that rested on the scientific method, that used experiments for proof? I’ve got a mathematical background in the dim and distant past, so analogies like that resonate with me, but they may well leave you cold.

          • eric
            February 6, 2014 at 9:34 am

            PM,

            We’re doing the apples vs. oranges thing.

            I am simply stating that assertion of belief in whatever - absent some tangible proof of its reality, its objective truth – doesn’t qualify for acceptance by others as knowledge.

            If someone states, “I am the reincarnation of Heinrich the Fowler!” and that “I know I am!” (because he believes it) what am I supposed to do do with that? Accept it as true? Respect it?

            I respect facts, evidence, logic.

            I respect the right of people to believe in “Lords” in the sky, shape-shifting reptiles, that they are reincarnated medieval kings. But I do not give an iota of credence to these beliefs. Because there is nothing there beyond mere belief.

          • TIA
            February 6, 2014 at 10:33 am

            Eric wrote:
            “One can visit New York, take picture of it, speak with the residents, take home souvenirs.
            Can you show me a photo of you and The Lord having coffee? A snapshot of heaven, perhaps? Some tangible thing that amounts to indisputable evidence of the existence of the things you claim to know exist?”
            “… that cannot be rationally disputed.”
            “Thanks for that superb synopsis of the rational basis for the NAP, Bevin!”

            You didn’t answer my questions directly, but from what you did write, you seem to think that “seeing is believing.” But then you also make statements regarding rationality. Rationality cannot be seen. You cannot “take a picture of it” or provide “some tangible thing that amounts to indisputable evidence of the existence of the things you claim to know exist.”

            Clearly you believe very strongly that rationality exists. I agree. But only because Jesus is Lord. Please provide objective proof that rationality exists apart from that.

          • eric
            February 6, 2014 at 10:41 am

            Not just me “seeing.” (Or touching) Me being able to show you. To prove it – with evidence that cannot be denied.

            And it’s more than that – you being able to “fact check” the assertion for yourself in a way that is beyond merely accepting it is “true” because someone (some authority) told you it is true.

            NY is external reality – accessible to virtually anyone in terms of being to determine the objective fact that it exists. Not by accepting someone else’s assertion that it exists. You can verify it for yourself – and (this is key) in such a way that others cannot deny the truth of the thing. Well, they can deny it if they wish to – but in that case, they’re palpably crazy. Because NY exists. It’s not an opinion, not a belief. It exists. Period.

            Yes, I do believe rationality exists. Because I exist. Because I am rational. I can assimilate facts, draw logical – rational – inferences and conclusions that are not mere opinions or beliefs.

            Because others are rational. Because rational beings can discuss things rationally. That is, based on logic, on evidence, on facts.

            My brain – a rational thinking machine – understands the principle of the 4-stroke (and two-stroke) internal combustion engine. I have theoretical knowledge that can be translated into external, objective reality (a functioning engine).

            Rationality manifested.

            Do the same, please, for “Jesus is Lord.”

            It’s not doable. It is a matter of belief based on faith – not fact.

            Which is fine. But when you insist you “know” – and implicitly, that others (those who disagree/question) do not - then you have to expect being challenged to back up your beliefs with more than just “I know” and “I believe” or “it is written.”

          • TIA
            February 6, 2014 at 3:20 pm

            Eric wrote:
            “You can verify it for yourself – and (this is key) in such a way that others cannot deny the truth of the thing. Well, they can deny it if they wish to – but in that case, they’re palpably crazy.”

            This may seem obvious in the case of the existence of New York City, but what about more complicated things, as P.M. Lawrence has already pointed out?

            “Do the same, please, for “Jesus is Lord.””

            Your belief (by faith) in the NAP is good evidence. The NAP has no justification apart from the fact that Jesus is Lord. The NAP assumes that everyone must play by the same rules. But the NAP itself can’t justify that assumption.

            The examples both you and Bevin gave for a rational basis for the NAP have already been refuted by P.M. The reason your arguments sound good is because they are heavily influenced by the Christian worldview. But they can’t stand on their own apart from the Christian worldview. What is your justification for property rights apart from Jesus is Lord?

          • eric
            February 6, 2014 at 4:02 pm

            I do not “believe” or “have faith” in the NAP. It is an ethical/pragmatic position arrived at by conscious choice, based on facts and reason.

            It is unreasonable for me to expect others to respect my property if I do not respect theirs. If I do not like being harmed – then for empathetic as well as practical reasons I do not wish to see others harmed.

            Faith has nothing whatsoever to do with it.

            Look, you’re welcome to your belief that “Jesus is Lord” – just as other people are welcome to their belief that shape shifting reptiles control the world. Or that Bigfoot exists.

            But when you assert that you know these things, yet cannot substantiate your claimed knowledge with anything more than your belief, your assertion, you’ve got nothing more than your belief, your assertion.

            If you want to make a case for something, to convince others, then you’ll need to do more than assert, “Jesus is Lord.”

          • TIA
            February 6, 2014 at 6:07 pm

            Eric wrote:
            “It is unreasonable for me to expect others to respect my property if I do not respect theirs.”

            I agree. But you still haven’t provided any justification for property rights. Is that just your personal preference? What about people who don’t agree with that? I believe in property rights because Jesus is Lord. What is your justification for your beliefs?

            Pragmatism assumes that you already know what is good, that you know the end result you want. But apart from the Christian worldview, you cannot know what that goal should be. You are left with personal preferences or arbitrariness.

            Again, my assertion is that in order to make your system work you have to “borrow” from the Christian worldview in order to establish a foundation.

            BTW, I keep repeating “Jesus is Lord” not as some kind of mystical mantra. I am using that particular phraseology only because another commenter previously used it and because it highlights an essential truth of the Christian/biblical worldview. As you mentioned previously, there is much more that could be said regarding definitions and exactly what is meant by that phrase. But clearly if “Jesus is Lord” were not true, the Christian/biblical worldview would not be true either. So I am using the phrase “Jesus is Lord” as a kind of shorthand for “the truth of the Christian/biblical worldview” because apart from Him, no one has any basis on which they can know anything.

          • Bevin
            February 6, 2014 at 7:46 pm

            Dear TIA,

            “The examples both you and Bevin gave for a rational basis for the NAP have already been refuted by P.M. ”

            You’re kidding, right?

          • TIA
            February 7, 2014 at 10:28 am

            Bevin wrote:
            “You’re kidding, right?”

            No, I’m not. See P.M.’s comment on February 6, 2014 at 8:47 am.

            Both you and Eric are assuming that everyone must play by the same rules and that everyone has inherent property rights. I agree with those assumptions because Jesus is Lord, but you haven’t justified them apart from that truth. If you want to believe those things by faith, that is your prerogative, but don’t make out like those are objective, rational conclusions without any hidden assumptions. As Eric has said to me many times, you have asserted it, but you haven’t given irrefutable objective proof of it.

            Do you believe cars and cows have property rights? How are humans any different? I have an answer, based on the Bible. What’s yours?

      • EricB
        February 5, 2014 at 4:41 pm

        Eric, you ever read “The Case for Christ”? Written by a journalist, it started as an attempt to discredit Christianity on the basis of science and history, as well as the inconsistencies you mentioned below. If your mind isn’t too made up or you’re still interested in getting more answers to the questions asked below, I believe you’ll find it worth a read.

        • eric
          February 6, 2014 at 7:37 am

          Hi Eric,

          Yes. I’ve read that and many others. They all amount to “just believe” and assertions that “it must be so.”

          Jesus, the man, may have had some wise things to teach us. This I do not dispute. But Jesus the son of God? The “Lord”?

          Not buying that – because it’s illogical/contradictory and because there’s no evidence to support the claim beyond “believe” and “have faith” and “it is written” (in a book chock full of obvious nonsense).

    • TIA
      February 5, 2014 at 10:34 am

      Yes, “The Inner Ring” by C.S. Lewis is a masterpiece. Those who strive to be “in” find that it has no satisfaction. True significance is found by those who work faithfully outside the system.

  23. Tor Libertarian
    February 4, 2014 at 3:28 pm

    What has happened to America? It’s almost as if it never was about what we were told it was about…

    Katharine Lee Bates (1859 – 1929) was an American songwriter. She is remembered as the author of the words to the anthem “America the Beautiful”.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Katharine_Lee_Bates

    Katharine Lee Bates was an ardent feminist. She attended Wellesley college and later returned to join the faculty. While on staff she met Katharine Coman and began a relationship that lasted for 25 years.

    Bates and Coman’s relationship might be best described as a romantic friendship. It is not clear whether their relationship was sexual, but it was intensely loving; Bates referred to Coman as her “Joy of Life” and wrote many poems about their love.

    Poetry by Bates
    http://www.sappho.com/poetry/k_bates.html

    Our golden cord! our soft, pursuing flame From friendship’s altar fire!
    How proudly we would pluck and tame The dimpling clusters, mutinously gay!

    My sorrow asks no healing; it is love; Let love then make me brave
    To bear the keen hurts of This careless summertide,
    Ay, of our own poor flower, Changed with our fatal hour,
    For all its sunshine vanished when you died.
    Only white cover blossoms on your grave.

  24. Mark Green
    February 4, 2014 at 6:53 pm

    Terrific article. This one is an instant classic, Eric. You make many penetrating points, and effortlessly.

    And thank you for remembering Joe Sobran and Sam Francis; two great men!

    • eric
      February 4, 2014 at 7:10 pm

      Thanks, Mark!

  25. Everett
    February 4, 2014 at 11:51 pm

    Thanks Eric for mentioning the heroic efforts of Joe Sobran and Sam Francis. Sam was an acquaintance of mine through a close friend of his. He wrote some powerful essays. Joe Sobran was a friend (though not a colleague). Toward the end of his life his was destitute and though he suffered greatly, he took it all with a great sense of humor. Both were models of how we should conduct our affairs under duress.

    • eric
      February 5, 2014 at 7:20 am

      Thanks, Everett!

      I also knew both casually (through work) and had (and still have) tremendous respect for them as people and as writers. Both had a great sense of humor (Sam’s took a while to reveal itself) and both stood up like men for what they believed. It made a huge impression on me as a young journalist. I determined to follow their example, consequences be damned.

      Both are missed – and we’re the poorer for the loss.

  26. PanarchistamericanHelot
    February 5, 2014 at 1:17 am

    All the things said on this thread seem true enough, but it does not explain why NBC, CBS, and ABC all produce the same news stories in the exact same order every single night with the exception of a “lifestyle” bit at the end segment.

    Does the news-wire feed have an order of operation, or an order of importance when it spits out the news of the day for the talking heads to parrot to the zombies of the world?

    How is it that the three major networks All play the same news in the same order? Heck, it’s even in the same order on the radio.

    The more I learn, the more I think most people are simply hypnotized. That’s the only thing that explains why they don’t notice such… shit.

    • Bevin
      February 5, 2014 at 1:36 am

      Dear Pan,

      My theory?

      All the MSM anchors have chips implanted in their heads.

      You’ve heard the term “direct feed?”

      Enuff said.

      • PanarchistamericanHelot
        February 5, 2014 at 1:39 am

        Funny, Bevin. Yes, and, ‘They Live’. ?

        • PanarchistamericanHelot
          February 5, 2014 at 1:41 am

          …But seriously (not to downplay the possibility) how the heck does that process work?

          How do three supposedly competing entities do the exact same thing over and over… and over? And with such precision.

      • eric
        February 5, 2014 at 7:02 am

        Hi Bevin,

        MSM “anchors” are nothing more than newsreaders. Increasingly selected (per Fox News) for being young and cute and blonde.

    • BrentP
      February 5, 2014 at 2:03 am

      Because they are all run by the right people who attend the same schools, seminars, etc and so forth… just like everything else. There is one set of things people have to do to get ahead in their careers so they all end up doing the same things.

      What woke me up to the mainstream media was in the 1990s… NBC ran a story about the FDA was killing people by shutting down defibrillator manufacturers and keeping out proven technology from europe. Then some months later, it ran the same story except this time the FDA was keeping us safe by shutting these manufacturers down and keeping dangerous unproven technology from europe out of the country. I think this was ’92-’93 and the angle change was because Clinton had replaced Bush.

      I haven’t watched mainstream TV news regularly or voluntarily since. I can’t watch it. When I am elsewhere and it is on I can understand why Elvis shot out TV sets.

      • PanarchistamericanHelot
        February 5, 2014 at 2:38 am

        REALLY!? “Elvis shot out TV sets.”?

        That’s cool!

        I keep telling my better half I’m going to do that but all I ever get is this “look”.

        Anyway, you’re saying, “Because they are all run by the right people who attend the same schools, seminars, etc and so forth…” does Not explain why they played the same shit, at the same time, throughout.

        I guess I’m looking too deeply and wondering what the mechanism is that only an insider could explain?

        What I’m saying is, if they were independent organizations, there would Not be little change and they would Not be playing the same stuff, in the same order, Every Friggin’ day, Day, after Day, after Day. I wonder about the process, the mechanism. There has to be one for it to happen so consistently.

        • eric
          February 5, 2014 at 6:20 am

          Hi Panarch,

          Local TV stations are all affiliates of major networks. While they have local newsreaders and weathermen, the major stories they carry come from “feeds” from the network. Hence the unanimity of the coverage.

          It’s very similar with regard to print media. Almost all smaller papers are owned by larger media chains; they get their major (national news) coverage from “the wires.” Hence the unanimity of their coverage of major/nation stories.

          In both cases, there are splashes of “local reporting” – but the overall tune is called by a handful of big organizations who have thus very effectively controlled what most people are thinking about and talking about.

        • BrentP
          February 5, 2014 at 11:56 am

          Eric already answered the basic mechanisms… but as to why across networks and ownerships? because they all think the same way, all trained the same way, all use the same services, all get the same government press releases…

          The idea of Prussian model schooling and other mechanisms is standardization. Through over a century of application of these methods thought has become largely as standardized as a bolt.

          Once upon a time bolts and nuts were hand made in mated sets. Only that bolt and that nut went together. Of course this doesn’t work well to make lots of machines and keep them running. So things like bolts and nuts were standardized. The principles were then applied to people. A 1/4-20 bolt is the same in NY as in LA or TN, and now, so is the news and opinion.

          • PanarchistamericanHelot
            February 6, 2014 at 1:18 am

            I guess you’re right, BrentP. RE: “because they all think the same way, all trained the same way, all use the same services, all get the same government press releases…”

            It just seems like there’d be something like a dot matrix printer with a long steam of paper with an ordered numbering system for them to have the same story, in the same order, on all three networks, every single night.

            “Some anchors are managing editors of their own broadcasts. That means they sit around like newspaper editors and listen to lesser editors present the stories of the day. The anchors ask questions and pick and choose which pieces they’ll cover on the evening news, and they decide the sequence,” …

            http://jonrappoport.wordpress.com/2014/02/05/brian-williams-diane-sawyer-scott-pelley-and-salvador-dali/

            I guess I’m just amazed they can all decide the same.
            That answer is just bizarre to me.
            They really are androids. …Dot matrix androids.

          • eric
            February 6, 2014 at 6:38 am

            Hi Panarch,

            The reason why (in re all stories being the same) is that the lesser editors presenting the “stories of the day” cull these from the same source waters – the AP (and other major) news wires.

            These lesser editors (and reporters) do not do their own independent work; that is, cover a beat themselves, actually go out and do interviews with people, research, come to their own conclusions. No. They read what’s coming over the wire, pick whatever seems to be “trending” and use that as the basis for their “coverage.”

          • BrentP
            February 6, 2014 at 2:04 am

            I’ve seen it in engineering. When I worked for megacorp the political game players would just reiterate rules of thumb and things that were taught in school. Those of us who had learned a few things by experience or on our own outside of school were often over ruled by these people who could not design their way out of a wet paper bag. Why? the managers were the same way. They were taught the same thing.

            I broadcast school or something these anchors were probably told that this comes first, that comes second,…. you don’t get to be anchor by thinking for yourself and acting on it these days.

            Although the local CBS channel got desperate and brought back their 1970s stars for a news cast now and then. I suppose they were looking for something to do in retirement I guess. A desperate attempt to make the local CBS news relevant I suppose. I did watch once for the time warp feeling. But no hard hitting corruption stories that night. (they used to do them weekly when I was a kid)

          • eric
            February 6, 2014 at 6:33 am

            Hi Brent,

            Fox “News” has degenerated the MSM even further – by Bimbo-izing it. At least in our youth the news readers were newsmen with some background as journalists. Real journalists, who actually wrote stories, did some work on the ground. Cronkite – and even Rather (despite his authoritarian, pro-state editorializing).

            Today? One perky, well-coiffed blonde (or brunette) 26-year-old bimbo after the next, chirpily reading the Tele-Prompter.

            Fox understands the occult meaning of glamour – to fascinate with appearance – and has employed it to great success.

          • BrentP
            February 6, 2014 at 11:04 am

            Eric,
            to watch newscasters for their appearance, it is best to watch spanish language stations. Either domestic or foreign.
            The news readers are better looking. They show it off more. I don’t understand spanish so their news cast doesn’t annoy me.

  27. Tor Minotaur
    February 5, 2014 at 10:39 am

    What American Leaders look like to the rest of the world and the small remnant of American Subjects with at least a shred of humanity:

    Laughing About Dead Veterans and Children
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ocih62dSJR8

  28. Pauline Moreno
    February 5, 2014 at 4:18 pm

    I call it the mediatized propaganda churning machine…

  29. Tor Libertarian
    February 6, 2014 at 4:58 pm

    The “best” news in Vegas is LATV out of SoCal

    Esto es Insólito – This is Unusual
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uWQJxKIeiJI

    Two newsbabes read the prompters in tight clothing. Their chairs are positioned so their crossed legs are aimed at the camera head on. Even if you understand Spanish, its hard to hear them, because in every segment there is constant loud yelling and catcalling from off camera.

    One more diabolical joy of helotry I suppose.

    Esto es Insólito – Que Demonios Es Eso
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X35FURgnIc4

    Louis CK – A white Mexican from Mexico DF – never spoke English until 8 years of age
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NRio3Y1lCmQ

    • methylamine
      February 6, 2014 at 11:54 pm

      Wow. I can easily imagine that newscast in Idiocracy.

      At least it’s honestly stupid. Faux News and Commie News Network still pretend to be serious.

    • Bevin
      February 7, 2014 at 5:02 am

      Dear Tor,

      I checked with a native Spanish speaker.

      Apparently they were saying that 9/11 was an inside job.

      The audience was deeply divided between sheeple and truthers, hence the catcalls and whistles.

  30. Tor Libertarian
    February 6, 2014 at 6:54 pm

    Richard Dawkins uses a giraffe carcass to call intelligent design into question
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gb_J-imkehU

    This kind of science calls into question the humanity of these so called scientists. Why do their research in an artificial setting with dead subjects? Aren’t there many greater things to be learned from live animals in natural settings and various modified life settings?

    Shouldn’t the purpose of science be to help us excel and find long-term improvements? I can’t see how these ghastly cretins slobbering and babbling about their Gospel of Evolution is going to lead to any kind of greater natural mastery of our world.

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