The Personal Website of Mark W. Dawson
The following are my pet peeves, in alphabetical order, about current American society. They differ from terms and phrases as they are an attitude that many Americans hold. Whenever I have written a Chirp or Article on the subject mentioned, I would direct you to this article rather than further elaborate the subject on this webpage. I wish that this list was smaller, but unfortunately, in today’s society, we have forgotten intellectual acuity and substituted emotional reactions as a basis for our actions.
Assuming the Worst Connotation
One of the methods that a liberal-progressive utilizes in debating an opponent is in assuming the worst connotation of what their opponent has said (usually using "Torturous and Convoluted Reasoning" and "Obfuscation, Smoke, and Mirrors" to justify the connotation). This is done by utilizing "The Three D's (Demonize, Denigrate, Disparage) of Modern Political Debate" on the opponent in order to restrict or silence their free speech rights. This often puts words into their opponents' mouths that were never intended to demonize them. They then often criticize the person based on the words that they put into their mouth, not the words that were actually spoken. In "A Civil Society", it is always better to assume the best connotation of the words or deeds by the person in question until it is demonstrated to be the worst connotation.
Black Lives Matter
As I mention in my article, “Modern Journalism”, the Black Lives Matter movement was based on the false narrative of 'Hands Up, Don't Shoot'. It is generally true that anything that results from misbegotten means (in law, it is ‘The Fruits of the Poisonous Vine’) usually ends up badly. Consequently, this is true for the Black Lives Matter movement. The goal of assuring proper police conduct is a laudable one and should be supported by all Americans. The means that the Black Live Matter movement attempts to achieve this goal are not, however, the proper means.
Violent and destructive protests, physical confrontations with police, agitating others to ignore, fight, or flight during police actions, and intimidation of police to inaction are not acceptable and are destructive to the body politic. Changing police conduct is better done through legislation, lawsuits, oversight by appropriate government agencies, and better education of police as to their proper role, responsibility, and conduct during their official duties. It is also necessary to apply proper disciplinary measures (up to and including dismissal and criminal prosecutions) for flagrant police misconduct. We also need to ensure transparency so that there is no coverup of police misconduct and to assure that justice is prevailing.
There should also be no rushing to judgment as to alleged police misconduct. Rushing to judgment almost always leads to incorrect conclusions and improper responses. Remember that lynch mobs rush to judgment while juries dispense justice. And always remember that in American society:
‘All Lives Matter’
Equal Pay for Equal Work
Equal pay for equal work is a noble ideal, but as always, the devil is in the details. In this case, the devil is what constitutes equal work, which I have elaborated upon in my article, “Equal Pay for Equal Work”.
Experts Aren't, and Economists Are Not
“Experts should be on tap, not on
- Irish editor and writer George William Russell
The advance of knowledge has led to some important changes in the field of knowledge acquisition. Most importantly, becoming an expert on a subject has narrowed the subject matter being studied for your expertise. As a result, experts in a particular field of knowledge rarely have knowledge of other fields, even other fields that may overlap with their area of expertise. Indeed, experts within a particular field very often disagree with each other. This is most often true for the soft knowledge (Politics, Sociology, Economics, Psychology, etc.) vs. the hard knowledge (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM)) sciences. Experts also have their own presumptions and biases that they may not even be aware of. And experts often pontificate on areas outside of their expertise (beware of an expert that strays from their expertise as they are most often wrong). This often leads to not obtaining a full picture of the subject matter and perhaps leading to an incomplete or incorrect understanding of the subject matter.
Then there is the issue of wisdom, as I have written about in my Article, "Knowledge, Experience, and Wisdom". Experts may have the knowledge of the subject matter, but do they have the wisdom to apply that knowledge? And wisdom often comes from factors outside the experts' subject matter. You must also keep in mind human nature in any change you may be contemplating. You must factor human nature and the impact of human nature on the change; otherwise, you will run afoul of "The Law of Unintended Consequences".
When establishing public policy, this can lead to fateful results. Experts rarely understand the economic or social consequences of their recommendations, and economist rarely understands the feasibility or social consequences of their recommendations. As a result, wrong or incomplete public policy is often adopted. You should always beware the experts (especially the soft knowledge experts). And you should always keep in mind my Article, "Oh What A Tangled Web We Weave", when consulting experts.
There are many other issues regarding this phenomenon. The best book I could recommend that examines these issues is "Intellectuals and Society" by Thomas Sowell.
Free Speech Zones
You cannot control what others think, say, or do. You can only control what you think, say, or do. And suffering emotional hurt from another’s words and deeds is part of life and living, and you should always remember that others may be emotionally hurt by your words and deeds. Therefore, stop trying to control what others think, say, or do, and exercise control of what you think, say, or do. A sign of maturity is self-control, while the lack of self-control is a sign of immaturity. Therefore, you should grow up and control yourself and leave others to grow up and control themselves. Control over another’s thoughts, words, and deeds is only an illusion as people yearn to be free to think, speak, and act as they please. And when control is imposed on others, it is only maintained by force or threats of force.
As regards Free Speech, where in the world did people get the notion that they can restrict Free Speech just because the speech offends them? Are the would-be restrictors oblivious to the fact that the Constitution expressly protects freedom of speech while offering not one word about freedom from offense? Establishing a Free Speech Zones implies that there is restricted or limited speech outside of the zone. Free Speech Zones are also often located in areas that are not conducive to having your free speech heard and are often small in area and restricted in how loud you may speak, thus making it unlikely that outers can hear your free speech.
As I have Chirped on, “03/12/21 Free Speech is Essential”, those that would restrict Free Speech claim it is for the ‘Greater Good’ or ‘Safety’ of Americans, or that they wish to protect Americans from the emotional harm of offensive or hateful speech. They also wish to protect us from what they claim is misinformation or falsehoods. These attitudes have the hidden premise that they know what is best for Americans. But, as to the question as to what is best for Americans, we should all remember:
“The most basic question is not what
is best, but who shall decide what is best."
- Thomas Sowell
We must remember that there is no Free Speech unless there is Free Speech for all, and the best means to counter Free Speech that you disagree with is to exercise your Free Speech to countervail another’s Free Speech.
As to Free Speech on College and Universities campuses, I would direct you to my Pet Peeve on ‘Micro-Aggression’ and the fine article, “Dear Students: You Have No Right Not to Be Offended” by Rob Jenkins which examines this issue regarding College and University campuses.
I have spoken extensively in another article about "Gun Control". This pet peeve is about Gun-Free Zones. Have you noticed that most of the mass shootings in the last few decades have occurred in Gun-Free Zones? Gun-Free Zones attract the mentally ill person who would commit mass murder and wants to murder as many people as possible, without those people having the ability to stop the mass murderer (makes you wonder how crazy they really are if they think about avoiding places where people can't fire back). Gun-Free Zones are a perfect example of my Chirp on "04/09/20 Feeling Good vs. Doing Good". Every person has the human right to protect themselves, their family, and their neighbors from being assaulted or murdered. Gun-free zones restrict this right, as well as your Constitutional right to ‘Keep and Bear Arms’. To those people who desired Gun-free zones, I would say you should rethink your position and start doing good rather than feeling good. And I would also say:
Jumping to Conclusions Too Soon
Interruptions, talking-over, talking too long, i.e., dominating the debate or dialog, is a technique utilized far too often to shut out or silence an opposing viewpoint, as I have discussed tangentially in my other Chirps and Articles. This is unlikely to change in modern politics, but you should not allow yourself to be victimized by this technique. Before you make up your mind, you should try to discern the actual positions of both sides. You should also be aware of False Dichotomies (straw-man arguments) and the "Obfuscation, Smoke, and Mirrors" generated by one side or the other. These are techniques that are often utilized that are pet peeves of mine.
However, the one pet peeve of mine not previously mentioned is Jumping to Conclusion Too Soon. How often have we found ourselves when listening or viewing a debate or commentary, or reading an article or opinion piece, find ourselves agreeing or disagreeing with what we have seen, heard, or read before the person espousing the viewpoint has completed their statement? Far too often, I would guesstimate. We need to give ourselves the opportunity to fully understand what the person is saying or writing by allowing them to finish before we jump to conclusions. It would also behoove us to think about or reflect on what they have said or written before we start to agree or disagree. Who knows, perhaps we will learn something or modify our opinion if we did this.
A real-life example of this is my own writings. I have a good friend that I often ask to review and comment on some of my articles. Often, he will start his commentary in the middle of his readings. When this happens, I sometimes (and often not so) gently suggest that he finish reading before he comments. He has often discovered that his comments are addressed later in the article. After he finishes reading the entire article, we then have an intelligent and constructive discussion on the article.
Therefore, I would suggest that you not jump to a conclusion before you have given yourself the opportunity to understand what is being said or written. I would also suggest that you look askance at others who jump to conclusions too soon.
Jumping to Conclusions Through Ignorance
In my Article, “Jumping to Conclusions Through Ignorance”, I relate some stories from my life about this topic. When I speak of ‘ignorance,’ I am not utilizing this term in a pejorative manner, but I simply mean the lack of knowledge. And all of us are more unknowledgeable than knowledgeable, especially outside of our education and experience.
This is especially true of social and political commentators. While they are often educated and have conversed with knowledgeable persons, they often do not have real-life experience in the topic nor all the facts about the topic. They often reach conclusions without examining or investigating all the facts, and those that do have the knowledge and experience can often (negatively) critique their conclusions. I, myself, have often encountered this situation regarding the Information Technology field. This is especially true when commentators speak or write about classified information matters. As I have often commented to my friends about classified matters, ‘Those who know of such matters rarely speak, and those who speak on these matters rarely know what they are talking about.’ As for my qualifications to make this observation, I am one of those who rarely speak about these matters.
Politicians are also guilty of Jumping to Conclusions Through Ignorance, as they rarely have the time to uncover all the facts. They also do this to support or oppose policy decisions. They often rely on their staffers and colleagues to uncover the facts and reach some conclusions that they support or oppose. And just as politicians do not have the time to uncover all the facts, so does the public does not have the time, nor the resources, to uncover all the facts. Consequently, the public should also always remember that:
"There are three sides to every
story: one side, the other side, and the truth. And it is always
best to determine the truth before voicing an opinion."
- Mark Dawson
Therefore, you should not jump to conclusions based on ignorance (both yours and others) and instead try to get all the facts before you reach a conclusion.
Life Cycle Costs and Total Costs of Operation (TCO)
Rarely will a politician think about or discuss the Life Cycle Costs and the Total Costs of Operations of a law or regulation (see my Article on "Life Cycle Costs" that discusses this issue in regard to business economics). Many of the same factors that go into the costs of operations in a business also go into the costs of operations of government. The main difference is that in government, the costs of operations are in labor and facilities, while in business, the main costs of operations are in labor, facilities, and materials. And in a business, the result of the Life Cycle costs is in the price of the product, while in government, the result of the Life Cycle costs is in increased taxes.
All laws and regulations have costs of operations, as well as an economic or social impact. Politicians prefer to discuss the economic or social impacts rather than the costs of operations to taxpayers in implementing the law or regulation. The economic or social impacts make for both good and bad politics, as well as votes for or against a politician. The costs of operations hardly register a blip on the political scene. But government programs do cost money to operate and are largely responsible for the growth of government bureaucracy.
So, when a new or changed law or regulation is being proposed, you should be very concerned about how much it is going to cost in increased taxes and how much the government will grow as a result of this new or changed law or regulation. Because a new or changed law or regulation always results in a larger and more expensive government.
You should also be concerned if the Life Cycle cost will end, i.e., the end of a government program (a very rare occurrence in government); otherwise, the Life Cycle cost is ongoing and usually increases over time. This also results in a more expansive and more expensive government in the future. And you should also remember that:
“Nothing is so permanent as a
temporary government program.”
- Milton Friedman
Micro-Aggression and Safe-Zones
Micro-aggression is just a word for someone's feelings being hurt. Well, I'm sorry if your feelings are hurt, but I am not responsible for your feelings. Besides, get used to it, as the rest of your life your feelings are going to be hurt. The real issue is how you deal with your hurt feelings. If the intent of the perpetrator was to hurt your feelings, then you should stand up for yourself and correct the perpetrator. If the perpetrator made an innocent comment, not intended to hurt your feelings, then a private friendly conversation may be in order. Under no circumstance should an angry confrontation ensue. Remember, anger begets anger and often does not resolve the issue.
It is unfortunate that in today's society that the charge of micro-aggression is intended to silence the perpetrator for politically correct purposes. If someone is presenting facts with "Reasoning" to reach a rational opinion, then they cannot be a micro-aggressor; they are exhibiting intelligence. And intelligence is to be cultivated and critiqued and not silenced with charges of Micro-aggression.
Another fine article, “Dear Students: You Have No Right Not to Be Offended” by Rob Jenkins, examines this issue regarding College and University campuses.
The USA Patriot Act, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, The American Health Care Act, the DREAM Act, Employee Free Choice Act, the Right To Work, the Food Safety Modernization Act, etc., etc., etc. all of which give us this ‘feel good’ sense of ‘whatever it is, it's for our own good, and it promotes safety and security for America.’ The names given to proposed and passed bills in Congress are more often than not misleading, and we must beware of how politicians spin circumstances and designations to promote their agendas. These misnomer bills end up being more intrusive and invasive into the lives of the people, resulting in more loss of freedom and liberty. They often involve more rules and regulations upon the American people, which usually results in more government debt, higher expenses for consumer products and services, and as a result, lower living standards for most Americans. They are also an example of another Pet Peeve of mine, ‘The Perversion of the English Language’.
Nazism and Fascism
Accusations of Nazism and Fascism are so common today that they are rendering these terms almost meaningless. They are also based on the public’s misunderstanding of the true meaning of Nazism and Fascism and the public perception that Nazism and Fascism are right-wing ideologies. As I have examined in my Article, “Nazism and Fascism”, Nazism/Fascism ideology is left-wing - not right-wing. To see it any other way is to purposely disregard history and the facts. And as with my other Article on "Condemned To Repeat It", this can be very dangerous to the body politic.
One Party Rule
It is an unfortunate consequence of our political disunion that we have experienced an increase of one-party rule in many of our Localities and States. It is often factored into electioneering in that a Republican or Democrat has no chance of winning an election because of their party affiliation. So, for decades a locality or State has been ruled by one party. This upsets the checks and balances in our society and often leads to waste, fraud, and abuse of government, as well as the political corruption of the one party. There are also unfortunate economic consequences of one-party rule. As one party believes in a more activist government, more spending on social programs, and an increase of taxes to support these activities, it has caused economic stagnation and crippling debt on that locality or State. Add in the increased spending of wages and benefits for public sector employees and unions (as noted in the "Public Employee Unions" topic in my Observation oh “Politics”), and you have the real possibility of the locality or State facing economic collapse.
The perfect example of this is the States of California and Illinois, which have severe economic problems that may require intervention by the Federal government (God Forbid). You also have cities like Detroit and Baltimore, to name just a few, who require bailouts and assistance from both the State and Federal governments (God Forbid). I say, 'God Forbid' in that if these Localities and States did receive a bailout, there is no pressure for them to reform themselves, and they would continue on their destructive course unless the State or Federal Government forced reforms on them. This reform is highly unlikely given the political pressure the politicians would face to not intervene in local issues. There is also the injustice of having the taxpayers of other States or Localities fund these bailouts, as they did not create the problem, but they are being forced to fix the problem with their tax monies. After all, these taxpayers had no elected representation in the State or Locality that is being bailed out and therefore were not responsible for the creation of these problems. And as we all know that one of our founding ideals is 'No taxation without representation', and if a bailout occurred, they would incur taxation without representation.
If you examine carefully those Localities and States that are facing these economic problems, you will discover one common tie that binds them. They are Localities and States that have had decades of one-party rule, and this one party has been the Liberal/Progressive Democrats, who is the party of activist government, more spending on social programs, and an increase of taxes to support these activities.
Proving a Negative
In all of science, engineering, law, philosophy, theology, economics, statistics, and many other areas of human interactions, the "Burden of Proof" is upon the person or persons who make the assertion, or as Christopher Hitchens once said, "That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence."
The ‘Burden of Proof’ must be based upon "Reasoning" rather than emotions, for emotions will almost always lead to a false conclusion. If you do otherwise, you may fall into the trap of "if you cannot show their assertion is wrong, then their assertion must be right", which is obviously an untrue statement. You may also fall into the trap of trying to prove a negative, which is almost impossible to do. You should also remember that "Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence".
Assertions also contain Presumptions; Assumptions; Incorrect Facts; Incomplete Facts; Missing Facts; Irrelevant Facts; Faulty Reasoning; Logical Fallacies; Cognitive Biases; and the Unintended Consequences problems that may be inherent in the assertion.
Therefore, whenever anyone tries to shift the ‘Burden of Proof’ to someone else to prove them wrong or makes assertions without proof, their assertions should be challenged, and they must shoulder ‘Burden of Proof’ rather than someone else prove them wrong.
Prosecution vs. Persecution
Too often in today's excessive legal activism, we utilize the judicial system (Prosecutors and Courts) to coerce an individual, organization, or company into actions or behavior that they would not otherwise do, even if their current actions or behavior is clearly legal. The threat of legal action, the time and expense of defending your actions or behavior, and the damaging of your reputation make it easier to acquiesce than to challenge the legal action. It can often be ruinously expensive to defend your actions and behavior, and even after you successfully defend yourself, your reputation is often damaged beyond repair ("Which office do I go to get my reputation back?" - Raymond J. Donovan).
This is most nefarious when a prosecutor lodges criminal proceedings against an individual, organization, or company, not because of clear violations of the law, but for political purposes to appease an outraged public or special interest group. The rush to judgment, and political outcry against an individual, organization, or company, is often more damming and damaging than the alleged crime. We also hear politicians making legal charges against their opponents that often bear little relationship to the actual criminal code, just to score political points and damage the reputation of their opponents. You should always beware of a politician who uses legal terms to aggress an opponent.
It is an unfortunate fact that the intense partisanship of politics has spilled over to the justice system. By this, I mean the investigations, indictments, and trials of politicians with whom the prosecutor politically differs. There is no doubt that some politicians are corrupt and behave unlawfully. Those politicians who do so should be prosecuted for their possible crimes. However, many times prosecution of a politician is done not for justice purposes but for political purposes of electioneering, as I have written in my Article, “The Criminalization of Politics”. When this occurs, it is a perversion of Justice and an assault on our "Freedoms, Liberties, Equalities, and Equal Justice for All". The bring the awesome forces of a government prosecuting office against an individual because of their party affiliation is destructive to our democratic process.
And all of this has a damaging effect on society in the social, economic, political, and judicial arenas. Whenever you observe a hue and cry over some actions a prosecutor or politician has alleged, you must be careful to judge whether it is based on actual legal misdeeds or for political or social activism purposes. You should also try to determine if:
"That's not a prosecution, that's a
- Mark Dawson
Political Advertising and Sloganeering
Political Advertising and Sloganeering often consist of platitudes, banalities, generalities, clichés, bromides, inanities, hackneyed statements, and trite expressions and are not meant to inform the voter but to provoke a "Herd Mentality" in support of a candidate. Political Advertising and Sloganeering often contain disparaging allegations or assertions about an opponent that have not been proven and often have little veracity. Both sides definitely do it and do it regularly and constantly. And they are generally allowed to do it as political advertising and sloganeering is protected speech under the Constitution. This does not make it moral or ethical, only legal. And as I have written in my Article, "The Law is Not All", we need more than legality for "A Civil Society". This Political Advertising and Sloganeering also increases the incivility of our society, and it certainly is not helpful to the political process or the body politic after an election.
But politics is politics, and political advertising and sloganeering have always been, and will always be, part of politics. But while the politicians may engage in it, you should not pay much heed to it or allow it to influence your opinion or vote. Don't become part of the ‘Herd Mentality’ that political advertising and sloganeering are attempting to create. Use facts, intelligence, and reasoning to determine who you will vote for, and vote intelligently. If you are going to allow political advertising and sloganeering to influence your vote, I would suggest that you don't vote, as you will be doing a disservice to yourself and your country.
Politically Correct Thought and Speech
I have one word for Politically Correct thought and speech:
"Political Correctness" thought and speech abrogate our freedoms and liberties in that it restricts our Right to Free Speech, Free Associations, and Freedom of Religion. It also restricts open and honest dialog on the issues confronting us. I would rather hurt someone's feelings than accept the restrictions of Politically Correct thought and speech. However, I am mindful that in dealing with others that we should all be respectful and polite to each other. Instead of Politically Correct thought and speech, let's substitute:
Respectful and Polite Thought and Speech.
Sometimes a word or phrase is misinterpreted or distorted to suit a politically correct outcome. This is a perversion of the English language and is often counter-productive to civil society. An example of this is the term 'Indian Giver'. The politically correct would have you believe that this is an aspersion on the American Indian or their culture. This is not the case with the phrase 'Indian Giver', as it is actually an aspersion on the white man and the white man's culture. This phrase reflects negatively on the white man, as it refers to the white man giving something to an Indian when it was convenient and then taking it away from the Indian when it was inconvenient. Would it not be better if we utilized this term to remind us that giving and taking based on convenience or inconvenience is wrong and as a reminder of the injustice of the treatment of the American Indian by the white man?
It is unfortunate that in many places within the United States (mostly on college campuses), there are safe zones being set up where people can exercise their free speech rights, and anywhere else, their free speech rights are restricted. The First Amendment to the United States says:
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
Where in the world did people get the notion that they can restrict Free Speech just because the speech offends them? Are the would-be restrictors oblivious to the fact that the Constitution expressly protects freedom of speech while offering not one word about freedom from offense? Therefore, the only proper Free Speech Zone in America is:
And you should remember - the answer to free speech that you disagree with is the free speech of what you believe, not shutting down anyone else's free speech rights.
I also believe that it is unconstitutional for a public arena, especially one support by public funding, to restrict free speech. As colleges often receive extensive public funding, and colleges should be dedicated to the free expression of ideas and thoughts, it is especially pernicious that they have free speech zones. As such, there needs to be an enforceable policy regarding free speech on college campuses that includes the following precepts:
- Universities should not shield individuals from speech, including ideas and opinions that are unwelcome, disagreeable, or even deeply offensive.
- Students and faculty should have the freedom to assemble spontaneously, as long as the activity is conducted lawfully and doesn't disrupt normal university functions.
- On-campus protests are welcome so long as demonstrations are lawful and orderly. Any protests that infringe upon the rights of others to engage in or listen to the expressive activity shall not be permitted and shall be subject to sanction.
- Campuses are open to any speaker that students, student groups, or members of the faculty have invited.
- Disciplinary sanctions should be applied to anyone who, under university jurisdiction, interferes with the free expression of others.
I would, therefore, support the withholding of public funding for colleges that restrict free speech rights on their campuses. Of course, any private institution or entity that does not receive public funding may restrict free speech on its own property.
Academic Tenure use to mean the freedom to pursue rigorous academic scholarship regardless of recognized opinion, political pressure, or accepted belief. However, tenure in today's colleges and universities often means the ability for a professor to say anything offensive, usually without any academic scholarship, and often unrelated to the facts or the truth. As such, tenure is being utilized to reward Politically Correct speech by a professor, and this is contributing to the downward slide of intellectual vigor and proper "Reasoning" of tenured professors.
Tenure needs to be constricted to the research professors whose research advances human knowledge and to education professors who are leaders in their field that are providing a quality and effective education for their students. Tenure also needs to be revoked for any professor who has demonstrated a lack of rigorous academic scholarship in their research, teaching, writing, speeches, and pronouncements. This revocation should not be done by the other tenured professors at their college or university, as they often form a protective cocoon for their fellow tenured professors with an eye to protecting themselves from future actions that may be undertaken against themselves. A new process must be created to determine eligibility for tenure, as well as revocation of tenure if appropriate. Any creation of a new process to create or revoke tenure should be structured to assure a potential or tenured professor of equal treatment and due process in the creation or revocation of tenure.
The Intellectual and the Preposterous
In my Article, “The Intellectual and the Preposterous”, I point out that it is an unfortunate consequence of the lack of incomplete knowledge, improper reasoning, and overeducation, undereducation, and miseducation that many intellectual persons drift toward preposterousness. They can also be wrong due to incorrect premises, reasoning, and conclusions that are the result of faulty Formal and Informal Logic, Logical Fallacies, and Cognitive Biases, as outlined in my article, "Reasoning". This situation is not helped by many intellectuals not experiencing everyday life as they have been cocooned in an academic or institutional environment where they are often insulated from the realities of the everyday world.
The Intellectual Yet Idiot (IYI) and Skin in the Game (SIG)
As I have expounded upon these terms in my Article, The Intellectual Yet Idiot (IYI) and Skin in the Game (SIG), these terms are often descriptive of academic or journalist prognosticators, although they are not limited to these professions but are pervasive throughout the intelligentsia. The IYI and SIG seem to dominate the political and social commentators and often ‘Expert’ witnesses before Congressional committees. Thus, we have the American people being misled, and legislation that is not based on real-world experience, which results in bad legislation that is subject to "The Law of Unintended Consequences".
The Intrusion of Politics into Sports and Entertainment
When people attend or view a sports event or entertainment venue, they do so to escape from the concerns of their everyday life. For a few hours, they wish to simply enjoy themselves without issues or concerns of their life intruding. They commingle with others that share their sports or entertainment interest, and this comingling is only based on the sports event or entertainment venue. Indeed, these events know boundaries of race, creed, nationality, socioeconomic class, politics, nor any other distinction other than the common interest in the sports event or entertainment venue.
Today, however, the sportspersons and entertainers believe that they have the social responsibility to address social and political issues at these events and that they have the right to do this. I would argue that they do not have this right. In many cases, these sportspersons and entertainers are employees, and as such, their employers have the right to set reasonable rules of conduct for their employees, as I have Chirped on, “08/05/21 Workplace Reasonable Rules of Conduct”. In the other case, the attending public has paid these sportspersons and entertainers to see them exercise their talents and not to see nor hear their political opinions. As such, there is an implied contract for them to only exercise their talents to the paying public, and any other activities are outside this implied contract.
If sportspersons and entertainers wish to engage in this politicking outside of their paid venues, then they have the Constitutional Right to do so. However, they should always keep in mind that ‘You are free to choose, but you are not free from the consequences of your choice.’ And one of these consequences may be the freedom of choice of the public to not attend nor view their sports events or entertainment venues, thereby reducing the revenues from these events.
The other issue I have is that their comments are often platitudes, banalities, generalities, clichés, bromides, inanities, hackneyed statements, and trite expressions, or as I have Chirped on, “06/11/20 Parrot Praising and Parrot Condemning”, that they contribute little to the discussion on these social or political issues.
The Perversion of the English Language
As in my "Dialog & Debate" article topic of "Obfuscation, Smoke, and Mirrors", one of the tactics of Liberals- Progressives is confusion. And one of the ways they try to confuse an issue is the perversion of the English language. They will take a word or phrase that is innocuous and utilize it instead of the proper non-innocuous word or phrase (as Mary Poppins said, 'A little bit of sugar helps the medicine go down'). And they will continue to do this, again and again, hoping to replace the proper non-innocuous word or phrase with the innocuous word or phrase. And much like Humpty Dumpty in Lewis Carroll's ‘Through the Looking Glass’ their attitude is:
"When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean ' neither more nor less.' 'The question is,' said Alice, 'whether you can make words mean so many different things.' 'The question is,' said Humpty Dumpty, 'which is to be master' that's all."
A perfect example of this is investing and contributing. When a person, a group of people, or a business invest in something, they are voluntarily spending their own money, time, or energy on something, especially for some benefit or purpose to themselves. When a person, a group of people, or a business contribute to something, they are voluntarily providing their own money, time, or energy towards some cause that they consider beneficial, without expecting anything in return. The keyword and phrases here are 'voluntarily' and 'their own'. They decide they want to do this, and they utilize their own resources to do it.
When a Liberal-Progressive utilizes the words investing and contributing, they often mean utilizing other people's resources. And when they are talking about the government investing and contributing, they really mean the government spending and taxing. And this spending and taxing will not be voluntary, as it is in investing and contributing, but it will be imposed by the government. So, when you hear a Liberal-Progressive say they are going to provide more investment and ask for more contributions, they are saying they want to spend and tax more.
Investing and Contributing
by the Government
means the Government Intends to
Tax and Spend More.
Beware the Liberal-Progressive perversion of the English language because it usually means they are trying to impose something on you and make you pay for it.
The Right or Wrong Side of History
History is about what has occurred, current events are about what is occurring, and the future is mostly unpredictable. Imagine if Karl Marx had never been born. Communism may never have been invented, although various other forms of socialism would probably have arisen, and the history of the 20th century may have been quite different. Also, imagine that Adolf Hitler had died in the trenches of World War I. Extreme nationalism may have arisen in Germany, but Nazism may not have taken hold in Germany. Again, the history of the 20th century may have been quite different.
Those that say the wrong side of history is not accounting for free will. People can and do make a difference, and the decisions of individuals can and do make a difference in what can happen. People or society can and do make deliberate decisions on what course they wish to take. These deliberate decisions will change the course of history. If we had not invaded Iraq and disposed of Saddam Hussein, things would have been very different in the Middle East than they are now. Again, imagine if the recent Supreme Court's decision on homosexual marriage had been different. The future course of our society would have been different from the present course. Therefore, it is not possible to say that something is on the wrong side of history, as the future course of society can be altered by the decisions of the people and the government.
Those who say you are on the wrong side of history are attempting to stifle debate on an issue so that they can mold what is going to happen. This is often used as a tactic to silence the opponents of their policy. In civil discourse, it is not acceptable to try to silence your opponents, but rather you should reason with your opponents based upon an intellectual critique of their policy positions.
When the Democratic Party was founded by Thomas Jefferson, the party stood for decentralized government, agrarian concerns, and slaveholder's rights. The Republican Party at its founding was for Federalism, Trade Restrictions, and slavery emancipation. The parties of today often have the opposite positions of when they were founded. Political parties and their principles can and do change over time.
Having lived through most of the end of the 20th century, I can personally attest that there have been major changes on political issues by both the Democratic and Republican parties. If you think not, you should take the time to read "Kennedy's Inaugural Address" in my " Documents, Letters and Speeches" Article. After reading his inaugural address, ask yourself the following question 'Would that speech be given by a modern-day Democrat or a modern-day Republican?’ If you are honest with yourself, the answer is apparent. You should be cognizant of this and not base your opinions on the past positions of a political party, but only where they currently stand.
To Grow or To Evolve
How often have we heard a commentator remark that a person has ‘grown’ or ‘evolved’ whenever they change their mind on a particular subject or topic. This is usually said by "Progressives/Leftists" when a Conservative or Moderate adopts a more Progressive opinion or policy position. The words ‘growth’ and ‘evolve’ imply that something has changed for the better and not worse, with the implication that Progressive policy positions or opinions are the only correct policy positions or opinions. However, ‘growth’ and ‘evolved’ may come about for other reasons, and this growth and evolution does not necessarily imply for the better, as their new policy position or opinion could simply be wrong. There is also another explanation for a change in policy positions or opinions that are rarely considered as follows:
"For having lived long, I have
experienced many instances of being obliged by better information,
or fuller consideration, to change opinions even on important
subjects, which I once thought right, but found to be otherwise.
It is therefore that the older I grow, the more apt I am to doubt
my own judgment, and to pay more respect to the judgment of
- Benjamin Franklin
Consequently, it is perfectly acceptable for a person to change their mind based on better information or fuller consideration. And changing your mind can result in a change to either a more Progressive or a more Conservative policy position or opinion without implying a betterment or worsting of a person. Therefore, whenever a commentator remarks that a person has ‘grown’ or ‘evolved’, they are making a value judgment rather than a comment on a change of policy position or opinion. And value judgments are subjective to the values of the person making the judgment and are not objective statements.
It is fine for a politician, leader, or commentator to change their mind, as long as they explain the reasoning for changing their mind. For politicians, leaders, and commentators to change their minds without explaining their reasoning, is often an indicator of political gamesmanship. The reasoning for changing their minds is often an indicator of the intelligence or wisdom of the politicians, leaders, and commentators. That is why journalists need to critique the past and present statements and actions of politicians, leaders, and commentators and require that politicians, leaders, and commentators explain their reasoning for a change of mind.
A remark that is expressed in a casual or understated way is a throwaway line. How often have we found ourselves watching a discussion or debate (and usually an argument) and mumble or shout that a throwaway line is incorrect, incomplete, unverifiable, or the proponents are making an assumption or assertion that is debatable? These items often go unchallenged as they are usually a sentence or two followed by many more sentences, and they slip by, or some other topic takes priority. However, it is important that they are challenged because if you argue from a false premise, you will reach a false conclusion.
Many of these throwaway lines are a result of the problems I discussed in my Article "Oh What A Tangled Web We Weave", and I will not reiterate this topic here. However, these throwaway lines can often be categorized as follows.
Facts Not Correct
Often someone will slip a fact or two that is incorrect or debatable and then proceed as if it were true. It is often a statement of fact that is not factually supportable. They often assert something that is not true or demonstrably false. This can also come in the form of an assertion (see below). In law, this is known as 'Facts Not in Evidence'. For instance, someone may state that something is credible, verifiable, and substantiated, but if challenged as to how it is credible, verifiable, and substantiated, they could easily be shown to be utilizing incorrect reasoning. If these throwaway facts are not challenged, they will skew the results in favor of the person making them. More specifics on how this can be done are covered in more detail in the subtopics ‘Lies, Dammed Lies, and Statistics’, ‘Studies Show’, and ’Statistics Show’ of the aforementioned Article, "Oh What A Tangled Web We Weave". Whenever you are watching a discussion or debate, you should always keep in mind my "Truisms":
Just because you "believe" something
to be true does not mean that you "know" something is true, and
just because someone says it is true doesn't make it true.
- Mark Dawson
This can also happen if the person making the assertion is not fully knowledgeable or unknowledgeable on the subject matter. Therefore, also keep in mind my other "Truisms":
Obtaining advice from a person who
is neither knowledgeable nor experienced in that particular
subject is obtaining worthless advice (i.e., don't ask an opinion
of someone who does not know what they're talking about).
- Mark Dawson
Utilizing Statistics Inappropriately
The incorrect utilization of statistics is a very common means of inserting an incorrect or debatable throwaway line. Whenever statistics are utilized, you should be skeptical of them for the reasons I have outlined in the subtopics on ‘Using Figures and Studies Inappropriately’ in my Article, "Oh What A Tangled Web We Weave".
Hidden Assumptions or Assertions
Hidden assumptions or assertions are the most insidious type of throwaway line. They are often hidden in that the person making them approaches the subject as if their opinion or policy prescription is correct and undebatable. The result is that a person casting a contrary opinion is viewed as making false or unsustainable statements, and usually with connotations that the contrary person has a hidden or negative agenda. This often leads the discussion or debate to devolve into "The Three D's (Demonize, Denigrate, Disparage) of Modern Political Debate", as discussed in this article. It also leads the discussion or debate on one side or the other demanding that the other side prove them false. But proving a negative is not an acceptable recourse, as I have mentioned in my previous ‘Pet Peeve” on ‘Proving a Negative’.
Common sense, as I have written in my Article, "Common Sense", is not so common or not so sensible, and common sense can lead you astray. What most people mean by 'Common Sense' are common knowledge and sensible responses. But common knowledge may not be so common amongst many people, or sensible responses may differ among reasonable people, as I have covered in my aforementioned article on ‘Common Sense’.
Common Sense also has the problems of circular reasoning, social influences, uncommon sense, and various other sociological problems, as well as Logical Fallacies & Cognitive Biases. A very good book that explains these problems, and the problems of utilizing common sense, is "Everything Is Obvious - How Common Sense Fails Us" by Duncan J. Watts.
Therefore, be wary when someone utilizes common sense as a throwaway line.
Twisting and Turning the Constitution's Intent
Liberals (AKA Progressives) like to claim that our Constitution is a Living, Breathing Document as I have explained in my Article, "The Rule of Law or the Rule of Lawyers". By this, they mean that they can interpret the Constitution in the manner they want, and change the meaning of the words in the Constitution to suit their ends. They often utilize "Torturous and Convoluted Reasoning" and "Obfuscation, Smoke, and Mirrors" that bends the Constitution to suit their goals. However, utilizing these means is not acceptable, as the Constitution was written for ‘Government of the People, By the People, and For the People’, and should be understandable by the people. Anything else takes the Constitution away from the people and degrades the intentions of the Constitution.
And much like Humpty Dumpty in Lewis Carroll's ‘Through the Looking Glass’ their attitude is:
"When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful
tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean ' neither more nor
'The question is,' said Alice, 'whether you can make words mean so many different things.'
'The question is,' said Humpty Dumpty, 'which is to be master' that's all.'"
To this, I respond, how would you like to play any game in which the rules are living and breathing so that in the middle of the game, you or another player can change the rules to give yourself or them an advantage? The Constitution is a rule book in how we organize our society. The Constitution is a living, breathing document in that it lives through the process of amending, based upon the will of the people and/or the states, and this change should only be through the Constitutional Amendment process. Until that happens, we should all be playing with the same rulebook (i.e., The Constitution). It's breathing in that it has ambiguity built-in so that each generation can interpret it as their needs arise (but it should only do so within the bounds of what the founder's purpose was in creating that ambiguity). However, under no circumstances should it be interpreted in such a way as to infringe upon the liberties and freedoms of the American people. Fidelity to the Constitution, as it is intended, is the only way we can assure Peace and Justice in our society.
Using Pejoratives Inappropriately
Name-calling and pejoratives are often substituted for polite and respectful speech in political discourse. We no longer discuss issues and concerns within America based on "Reasoning" and with proper "Dialog & Debate" but instead argue with pejoratives for the purposes of political gamesmanship and political power. The use of pejoratives (i.e., Racist, Sexist, Intolerant, Xenophobic, Homophobic, Islamophobic, or Bigoted amongst other pejoratives) to characterize an opponent, rather than discuss the merits of their policies. Often this reveals the divisiveness of the person utilizing the pejorative as I have discussed in my Article, "Divisiveness in America".
Political opponents in today's society often utilize the dialog and debate technique of "Demonize, Denigrate, Disparage (The Three D's)" when discussing issues, policies, and personages. Progressives and Leftists are mostly guilty of utilizing The Three D’s, as their goal appears to be to obtain acquiescence or silence from their opponents. They also use this technique to get a Conservative to defend themselves against the pejorative rather than allowing them to state their opinion. Therefore, there cannot be an honest and reasonable dialog and debate on the issues when pejoratives are utilized in political discourse.
The use of pejoratives should only be utilized against people who have committed crimes, are immoral, or behaved in an unethical manner, not to people with whom you may disagree. And pejoratives should only be utilized in limited circumstances. They should never be utilized in political or social policy debates and discussions, as this only leads to divisiveness. To do so otherwise demonstrates a lack of character on the part of the people that utilize pejoratives. It is also revealing of their lack of intellectual acuity and their emotional instability, as they cannot intellectually reason nor calmly discuss their viewpoint.