The Personal Website of Mark W. Dawson
Containing His Articles, Observations, Thoughts,
Many would say that these Chirps are “stating the obvious” or just “common sense”. Unfortunately, in today's society, the obvious has become obscured and common sense is not so common. When I speak of common sense I do so as stated in my “Common Sense” observation which I would encourage you to read. The obvious is often (deliberately) obscured in order to achieve a political goal through the means of “Obfuscation, Smoke, and Mirrors” as I stated in another observation which I would also encourage you to read. Therefore, I think that I need to Chirp by “stating the obvious” and utilizing “common sense”.
When I speak of ignorance it is not in a pejorative sense. I mean a lack of knowledge, or incomplete knowledge, or just plain incorrect knowledge. When I speak of argumentation, I mean the logical structure of an argument: a statement or observation, the premises, and the conclusion. This includes the deductive or inductive reasoning of the argument. I also include the identification of logical fallacies and cognitive biases incorporated into the argument as outlined in my “Reasoning” section of my “Dialog and Debate” observation. There are many different ways that an argument can be improper. Statements or observation can be incorrect or misleading, premises can be incorrect or missing, and consequently, the conclusion would be wrong. These and many other things may make the conclusion of an argument wrong. Sometimes, even in the statements, observations, or premises are incorrect the conclusion may be right. This is usually due to blind luck and falls under the category that “a stuck clock is right twice a day”. You should keep this in mind when reviewing an argument, or when you are stating an argument. The Chirps on this web page are too short for a substantive argument. When I think it necessary to elaborate, I will direct you to an article that has a better argument.
The only acceptable method of public discourse is disagreement - to be of different opinions. If you are in disagreement with someone you should be cognizant that people of good character can and often disagree with each other. The method of their disagreement is very important to achieve civil discourse. There are two ways you can disagree with someone; by criticizing their opinions or beliefs or critiquing their opinions or beliefs.
Most people, and most commentators have forgotten the difference between Criticism and Critique. This has led to the hyper-partisanship in today's society. In a civil society critiquing a viewpoint or policy position should be encouraged. This will often allow for a fuller consideration of the issues, and perhaps a better viewpoint or policy position without invoking hyper-partisanship. We can expect that partisanship will often occur, as people of good character can and often disagree with each other. Criticizing a viewpoint or policy position will often lead to hostility, rancor, and enmity, which results in the breakdown of civil discourse and hyper-partisanship. It is fine to criticize someone for their bad or destructive behavior, but it is best to critique them for their opinions or words. We would all do better if we remember to critique someone, rather than criticize someone.
If you have any comments, concerns, critiques, or suggestions I can be reached at email@example.com. I will review reasoned and intellectual correspondence (Critiques not Criticisms) , and it is possible that I can change my mind, or at least update the contents of these articles. This is why these articles are dated. Whenever I make a change to these articles they will be re-dated. So check back and see if any articles have been updated (or perhaps I shall add articles).
As I have said in one of my “Principles”: “You may be the smartest person in the room, but you're not the only person in the room, and most times you are not the smartest person in the room”. This is not only true for “Intelligent” but also for “Wisdom”, as wisdom requires intelligence and experience. Or as I have stated in one of my “Truisms”: “True Wisdom Most Often Comes from Bitter Experience... Considered!”.
And so, it is with many of today's public figures. Celebrities, sportsmen and sportswomen, entertainers, wealthy individuals, and others who have excelled in their field of endeavor believe that they have a special insight on subjects for which they have not excelled. More specifically, they think that they are wiser on politics or social policy for which they espouse. Very rarely is this the case. They are most often expressing their feelings rather than their thoughts on a subject, and feelings can often lead you astray.
Sometimes we substitute our feelings for thoughts, but thoughts and feelings are two different things, and we should characterize each as such. Most times it is much easier to feel about something rather than think about something and to make up our minds based on feelings rather than thought. But we should always think about things before we make up our minds. And we should always utilize our “Knowledge, Experience And Wisdom” and “With Facts, Intelligence, And Reasoning” as I have stated on these topics within other observations. And when we think about something, we should utilize our feelings only as a guideline, never as reasoning. It is also important that we occasionally re-examine our thinking, as new knowledge, experience, or wisdom in our life could lead us to a different conclusion.
Or, as Dennis Prager has more elegantly put it:
“People who excel in one thing are tempted to think they are smart about everything, but that is almost never the case. There is no reason at all to assume that people who excel in anything (other than wisdom) are wiser than anybody else. And here's the kicker: People who think they are wise because they excel at something unrelated to wisdom are fools.”
In May of 2018, The Department of the Interior published a list of 35 mineral commodities considered critical to the economic and national security of the United States. This list is the initial focus of a multi-agency strategy to implement President Donald J. Trump's Executive Order to break America's dependence on foreign minerals.
The mining and manufacturing of rare earth minerals are a key component of much of modern electronic equipment and other manufactured products. If these mining operations were destroyed, damaged, or halted it would not be possible to manufacture many pieces of electronic equipment or other goods. We need to develop multiple mining operations for these rare earth minerals over several continents where those rare earth minerals are located for the benefit of all Americans.
Unfortunately, some of these rare earth minerals are not located within the United States and we are dependent on foreign countries for our needs. However, many of these rare earth minerals are located within the United States but are on Federal lands protected by mining prohibitions and environmental protection regulations. As a result, these rare earth minerals are not mined within the United States. As these rare earth minerals are critical to our economy and our society, we need to start locating these rare earth minerals that are within the United States. I would suggest that we relax the mining prohibitions and environmental protection regulations for the exploration of these rare earth minerals. If, and when, they are found we then need to determine if it is safe and environmentally friendly to mine these rare earth minerals then modify the mining prohibitions and environmental protection regulations to allow for the mining of these rare earth minerals.
With the recent electrical blackouts that have occurred within the United States, we are reminded of the absolute necessity of reliable electrical power. However, there is a lack of awareness of several looming issues and concerns regarding reliable electrical power.
The generation of electricity, the transmission of electricity over the national electrical grid, and the distribution of electricity to the general public, businesses, and industries are currently facing many troubles and possible massive disruptions in the near future. The National Academy of Engineering has a good overview of these issues and concerns here and as they stated below:
“The US power infrastructure is one of the largest and most critical infrastructures in the world. The country’s financial well-being, public health, and national security depend on it to be a reliable source of electricity to industries, commercial entities, residential facilities, government, and military organizations.
Considering the complexity and age of most of the equipment in the US power infrastructure, the lifetime reliability is extraordinary—and it has improved in the last ten years (NERC 2017). Future system reliability may be challenged, however, by the effects of climate change, increasing supplies of renewable energy, and potential cyberattacks.”
The time needed to fix these issues and concerns (decades) and expense (up to 5 trillion dollars) make this a big challenge. But it is a challenge we need to meet to assure reliable electrical power within the United States.
The Tenth Commandment of the Bible, given by God to Moses states:
“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”
And your neighbor’s wealth is something that belongs to your neighbor. If your neighbor earned their wealth through legal, moral, and ethical means then their wealth is no concern of yours, and you should not covet it. When you advocate taxing the rich more to support government programs that benefit yourself, or other people, then you are coveting your neighbor’s wealth. For the takings of monies from those that have earned it to the giving of these monies to those that have not earned it, rather than the taking of monies for the good of all is coveting. Whether it is done by an individual or a group of people it is still coveting.
Abraham Lincoln stated this succinctly about slavery:
"You work and toil and earn
bread, and I'll eat it." No matter in what shape it comes,
whether from the mouth of a king who seeks to bestride the
people of his own nation and live by the fruit of their labor,
or from one race of men as an apology for enslaving another
race, it is the same tyrannical principle.
- Abraham Lincoln
The first sentence; "You work and toil and earn bread, and I'll eat it." is the crux of this Chirp.
Democratic socialism, wealth redistribution, income inequality adjustment, tax the rich, occupy Wall Street, free education, free healthcare, etc. is all the same principle – "You work and toil and earn bread, and I'll eat it." For to implement the above government policies requires that you take from one class of people (those that work and toil) and give it to another class of people (those who do not work and toil). This taking of their wealth would have to be accomplished through Government coercion through threats of fines and/or imprisonment if you do not give up your labor (i.e. wealth). This is not the same as taxes, as taxes are levied to support the necessary functions of the government for the good of all, not for the good of some.
This taking restricts the freedom of those that work and toil by deciding how much of their labor is theirs and how much of their labor is to be given to those who do not work and toil. This taking also restricts the liberties of those that work and toil to utilize the monies they earned as they see fit. It also restricts the freedoms of those that work and toil by imposing the governments will upon them by despotic oppression (see my “Freedom From – Liberty To” Chirp). Therefore, the government is the master of the people as it is the decider, and the people are the serfs of the government as they must obey the dictates of government. Or, as Abraham Lincoln said in the last sentence of the above quote; “it is the same tyrannical principle.”
The 18th century (1700-1799) was a major turning point in human history. The world of 1800 was completely different than that of 1700. This difference impacted all areas of human activity; politics, religion, economics, government, human rights, science, technology, philosophy, the arts, etc... These impacts were felt by all; from kings, princes, aristocrats, to the common man, rich or poor and everything in-between. The world was truly turned up-side-down in the 18th century. My article on "The 18th Century" provides an overview of this remarkable century.
The secret ballot is a voting method in which a voter's choices in an election or a referendum are anonymous, forestalling attempts to influence the voter by intimidation, blackmail, and potential vote buying. At the time of voting, no one else knows who or what the voter chose. All voting should be voluntary and by secret ballot for these reasons. Only when political leaders vote on laws, rules, or regulations should there be public voting so that future voters can make an informed choice when they vote in secret. It is also for this reason that I believe that political caucus voting without a secret ballot are undemocratic and susceptible to undue influences and even a mob mentality.
But the secret ballot is not only important for elections but in other areas of human interactions. A modern-day example of this is in sports teams being invited to the White House after winning a championship. Many members of these sports teams are quite vocal in their opposition to President Trump. They have the right to express their opposition to President Trump but in doing so they must recognize the rights of other team members who may wish to visit the White House. They often state that they have solidarity with other team members but is this the solidarity of opinion or the solidarity of intimidation into silence. As most of the vocal team members who are opposed to the White House visit are often the team leaders are the other team members who may not be opposed to the visit acquiescing for the purposes of team cohesion or the fear of possible loss of playing time or even retribution. We may never know, but the possibility exists.
This question of the solidarity of opinion or the solidarity of intimidation into silence arises in many other arenas of human interaction. Whenever there is public voting on any issue, political or non-political, there is this possibility. And when this happens the other name for it is bulling.
The 21st century has shown a dramatic increase in fear and intimidation in America. The political polarization and division in America, along with the actions of many people in support of their politics and policies, has led to this sad situation. And much of this has been done by leftist and progressives in America. They believe they have this right because of their “Creed of Progressives and Leftists” as explained in another Chirp.
People are afraid to express their true thoughts, feelings, and opinions. The possibility of death threats, physical violence, doxing, loss of employment, loss of employment opportunity or employment advancement, loss of business revenue, loss of friendships and relations, etc. has led people to suppress their true thoughts, feelings, and opinions. Therefore, many polling predictions and election prognostications have been wrong. People are simply afraid of telling anybody what they really believe.
Our Freedom of Speech and Religion are suffering as a result. People can no longer peaceably assemble to support their policy position without fear of intimidation. In some places in America, they cannot even depend on police protection as the police are constrained by politically correct politicians. The 1st amendment to the Constitution is in danger, not by government actions, but by mob actions. And this must be stopped, or we cannot be a people dedicated to Freedom and Liberty.
Please Note - this is a companion Chip to my article "O say can you see" (Jul 2019) - A perspective on respecting the National Anthem.
Many politicians who are calling for radical social change are claiming that it is a human right to this change. Free health care and free college are but two examples. Claiming that something is a Human Right does not make it a Human Right. The question then becomes are these indeed Human Rights? Human Rights are difficult to definitize. Civilizations and societies, and mostly Western civilization have been struggling with the definition of Human Rights for centuries and even millennia.
Human Rights are inherent in being human and not something that is bestowed upon you by society or governments. You also have no Human Right to take from someone to give to yourself or someone else, as that would violate the human rights of the taken from person. Therefore, anything bestowed upon you by society or governments, or is the result of taking from another, cannot be a Human Right. To claim otherwise is to demonstrate your lack of understanding of Human Rights. You do have the “Freedom From” a society or government preventing you from obtaining these goals, and the “Liberty To” obtain these goals by and for yourself, as “Freedom From” and “Liberty To” are Human Rights.
Therefore, the politicians who are propounding these social changes as Human Rights are either disingenuous or lack an understanding of Human Rights. As such, you should not give heed to their pronouncements.
The previous four Chirps have explored the ideals of the American revolution. These ideals were codified in the U.S. Constitution. This Constitution has served us well for over two hundred years. Yet, today, we have seen this Constitution stretched beyond these ideals. To bring us back to these ideals I have proposed a rewriting of the U.S. Constitution to meets the demands of the 21st century. This rewrite is not a major overhaul, but a streamlined version that also adds particulars to the U.S. Constitution based on our governmental experiences of the 20th and 21st century. My proposed revisions, and notes on the revision, can be found at "A New U.S. Constitution".
As we celebrate the 243rd anniversary of Independence we should not also celebrate Independence but the meaning of Independence. As I have outlined in my article “The Meaning of the American Revolution” the meaning of Independence is a set of ideals of independence. The ideals; Freedom from - Liberty to, Equality, and Justice, are expressed in my previous chips below. In the hoopla of our celebratory activities we often do not consider these ideals. Yet, these ideals are what defines us as a nation and the goals we strive for as a nation.
These ideals are incorporated into the U.S. Constitution, most especially in the Bill of Rights and other Amendments, to establish a government dedicated to these ideals. Yet, these ideals cannot be preserved by the government alone but must be sustained by a people dedicated to these ideals. To this end we should remember the following quotes:
“The price of liberty is eternal vigilance.” -- author Thomas Charlton in a biography of Major General James Jackson (1809)
"But you must remember, my fellow-citizens, that eternal vigilance by the people is the price of liberty, and that you must pay the price if you wish to secure the blessing. It behooves you, therefore, to be watchful in your States as well as in the Federal Government." -- Andrew Jackson, Farewell Address, March 4, 1837
"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." -- Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania (1759)
The 20th century in America saw many changes in society that challenged these ideals. The shift from a States to a Federal focus on government challenged these ideals. The rise of more Federal intervention into the daily lives of Americans also strained these ideals. As we progressed from an agrarian to an industrial to a technological society these ideals often needed to be redefined to meet the needs of society. And in the 21st century, we see a full-scale assault on these ideals. As I have outlined in my article “A New Declaration of Independence” these assaults are numerous and pervasive in modern American society.
As we celebrate this 4th of July we all should consider these ideals and issues in modern American society. We must rededicate ourselves to these ideals so that as President Abraham Lincoln stated in his Gettysburg address:
“that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom - and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
What is Justice? Justice, in its broadest context, includes both the attainment of that which is just and the philosophical discussion of that which is just. The concept of justice is based on numerous fields, and many differing viewpoints and perspectives including the concepts of moral correctness based on ethics, rationality, law, religion, equity and fairness. Often, the general discussion of justice is divided into the realm of social justice as found in philosophy, theology and religion, and, procedural justice as found in the study and application of the law. - From the Wikipedia Article "Justice".
This Chirp is about Justice in a legal sense. The path to legal Justice throughout history has been long and torturous. For thousands of years, societies throughout the world have tried to determine the meaning of legal Justice. Today, in 21st century America, we have determined the best definition of Justice is the creation of Just Laws and the application of these laws through the "Rule of Law".
The first step to Justice is the creation of Just Laws. For you cannot justly administer an unjust law. Our forefathers devised a system for the creation of laws that would be just. They created three branches of government; Legislative for the creation of laws, Executive to enforce the law, and Judicial to administer the law. The checks and balances built into this system were to assure that the laws would be just and not infringe on the human and Constitutional rights of the people. But no system devised by men is perfect, and there are many instances of unjust laws in our history. However, our system allows for the reexamination of laws to revise or rescind a law in the Legislative branch, to provide for discretion in enforcing the law in the Executive branch, or to overturn a law by Judicial branch review of its constitutionality. Eventually, unjust laws are overturned to assure a more perfect Justice. But this requires that:
Eternal vigilance of Laws by all is necessary for the achievement of Just Laws.
The next step is the administration of Just Laws through Legal proceedings utilizing the Rule of Law. Without the Rule of Law, there can be no Justice. But the Rule of Law requires that several concepts and tenets be enforced for Justice to prosper as explained in my article "The Rule of Law". These concepts and tenets are “Etched in Stone”. They are:
Concepts - Due Process, Speedy Trial, Presumption of Innocence, Trial by Jury, Burden of Proof on Prosecutor or Plaintiff, No Burden on Defense.
Tenets - An Independent Judiciary, Probable Cause, Equality Under the Law, Equal Protection of the Laws, Pursuit of Justice, Pardons and Commutations, Full Faith and Credit, Contract Law Enforcement.
The rule of law must be sacrosanct in all legal proceedings for there to be any hope of Justice. It is also an excellent guide in our public and private dealings and judgments of others. For without using these guidelines in our dealings with others it is too easy to reach a possibly wrong conclusion about someone. These wrong conclusions could lead to the person losing their reputation, employment, wealth, future opportunities, and even family and friends. These things should never be taken from anyone without credible, verifiable, and substantiated evidence of wrongdoing. To do so otherwise would cause serious harm to the individual and to the social fabric of our society. But it is most important to remember:
To assure Justice for All you
must dedicate yourself to the Rule of Law.
Not only the Rule of Law for yourself but Rule of Law for all.
To do otherwise means there will be No Justice for Anyone.
As stated in the Declaration of Independence “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” does not mean we that we are all created equal in our physical abilities and mental capacities. Nobody is created equal in their physical abilities and mental capacities – we are all created differently as regards to these factors. What it means is that we are all created equal in our Human Rights and that no person, organization, society, or government may violate our Human Rights. These Human Rights also assumes that each person is entitled to pursue happiness. The right to pursue happiness is any legal activity as long as it does not infringe on the rights of others. This pursuit of happiness is to be unencumbered by any laws, rules, and regulations that do not apply to all. We should all have an equal opportunity to pursue happiness based on our physical abilities and mental capacities as well as our own efforts to achieve happiness. Equality is not a guarantee of equal outcomes but a guarantee of equal opportunity and equal treatment. This means that in practice that some will be more successful in achieving their happiness, some will fail, but most will achieve some degree of happiness. And many times, this success or failure is due to the inequality of our physical abilities and mental capacities. It’s called "Life".
One should distinguish between the terms "Freedom" and "Liberty." Speaking generally, Freedom usually means to be free from something, whereas Liberty usually means to be free to do something, although both refer to the quality or state of being free. Freedom generally means you are free from despotic oppression, whether it be by a government, an aristocracy, a theocracy, or an individual or group. Freedom of Religion, Speech, Press, Assembly, Petitioning Government, or to Bear Arms, etc. refers to the release from despotic restraints. Liberty on the other hand gives you the right to choose a course of action. How to spend your money, what job or occupation you wish to pursue, where you live, who you associate with, what education you undertake, who to marry, or any personal decision you make is liberty. Freedom is not to be used in the sense of our being free to do anything we want. All laws can be viewed as a restriction on freedom and liberty, and such restrictions are proper in any well-regulated society. But they are only proper to prevent one person’s freedom and liberty from infringing on another person’s freedom or liberty. It is this balance between each person’s Freedom and Liberty that defines the state of a Free society.
The following is a quote from a Democratic Senator and Presidential candidate which I hope that all of us can agree upon. Although I am opposed on almost all of the issues that this candidate supports I do support her in the following statement:
"I'm deeply grateful for the
opportunities America has given me. But the giant 'American'
corporations who control our economy don't seem to feel the
same way. They certainly don't act like it. Sure, these
companies wave the flag -- but they have no loyalty or
allegiance to America. ... These 'American' companies show
only one real loyalty: to the short-term interests of their
shareholders, a third of whom are foreign investors. If they
can close up an American factory and ship jobs overseas to
save a nickel, that's exactly what they will do -- abandoning
loyal American workers and hollowing out American cities along
the way. ... The result? Millions of good jobs lost overseas
and a generation of stagnant wages, growing income inequality,
and sluggish economic growth. ... We can navigate the changes
ahead if we embrace economic patriotism and make American
workers our highest priority, rather than continuing to cater
to the interests of companies and people with no allegiance to
- Senator Elizabeth Warren
As to my reasons for support this statement I would direct you to my article "Tariffs - A Double Entry Ledger".
Many politicians espouse policy positions that sound good (and some not so good). When pressed for more information on how the policy would work they often resort to platitudes of what it would or would not do. They most always never speak of the workings, funding, and costs of these policy positions. Yet these details are needed to ascertain how the policy would actually work and its impacts on society. After all, as it has been remarked many times “The devil is in the details”. Without these details being available I would quote Shakespeare “It is a tale Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing”.
From Macbeth, spoken by Macbeth -
By William Shakespeare
Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Gell-Mann, the Nobel laureate physicist who died Friday,
May 24, at age 89, also lived two lives. But both were spent
learning — about how the world works. In his first life
Gell-Mann was perhaps the preeminent theoretical physicist of
his era, playing a prime role in revealing the architecture of
the subatomic world. In his second life he pioneered the study
of complexity, probing the behavior of systems ranging from
economics to the weather, too complicated for the reductionist
methods of particle physics.
By far, Gell-Mann is most famous for the idea of quarks, the building blocks of most Earthly matter. Before 1964, physicists believed that atoms assembled themselves from only three fundamental parts — electrons, protons and neutrons. Electrons even today remain indivisible. But Gell-Mann suspected that protons and neutrons — the constituents of the atomic nucleus — concealed smaller particles within.
Gell-Mann expressed his concern with science’s frequent lack of openness to researchers challenging conventional wisdom. “Most challenges to scientific orthodoxy are wrong,” he said. “A lot of them are crank. But it happens from time to time that a challenge to scientific orthodoxy is actually right. And the people who make that challenge face a terrible situation — getting heard, getting believed, getting taken seriously.” He called the inherent opposition of traditional science to daring novelty “the pressure of received ideas.”
In my Chirp “The Creed of Progressives and Leftists“ I noted that they believe that they are more intelligent, better educated and morally superior so that they, therefore, of course, are always correct. This Creed leads them to believe that if you oppose a Progressive/Leftist you must be dumb or stupid. And they behave and speak to those that disagree with them as if they were dumb or stupid. They disparage those who disagree with them, as I have noted in my Chirp “The Three D's”, and utilize pejoratives about their intelligence. They also utilize the term “evolved” to describe a person who has changed their position to a more progressive/leftist stance. They forget that evolving goes not necessarily mean becoming better. Many species evolve then become extinct, as the evolution was not conducive to their (changing) environment. Evolution does not necessarily mean improvement, and it certainly does not have anything to do with intelligence. But then, since I often disagree with progressives and leftists, based on “Facts, Intelligence, and Reasoning” I, therefore, must be stupid. Given the above, I am proud to say, “I’m with stupid.”
As Mark Twain was once famously quoted:
“It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so.”
Or, as in one of my favorite locutions:
“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.”
And so, it is, with many Americans thinking something is true when it is not true. One of the reasons for this is not distinguishing between facts and statistics. I have covered Statistics in my observation on “Statistics and Polling’ and, therefore, I need not do so here. You should also keep in mind, however, that if the “facts” utilized for the statistics “Ain't So” than the statistics “Ain't So”. Another reason is the inability to distinguish between Lies and Beliefs as discussed in my article “ Lies and Beliefs”
The big problem, however, is facts. Americans are inundated with many “facts” during their daily lives, and many of these “facts” are untrue. Many of these “facts” are told by people who believe them to be true, but they never determined if they were true. We are all human and make mistakes, or we have the inability or lack of time to determine the facts. Therefore, these people are often mistaken and not malicious. However, some people recite “facts” to gain an advantage or to persuade you to their beliefs. These people are behaving in a disingenuous manner and you should be wary of them. In your daily life, these people may be difficult to distinguish. Simply be wary of any statement of fact from someone who is not knowledgeable nor experienced in the subject matter, or who is unknown to you.
What I am more concerned about is the “facts” utilized in public policy discussions or debates, as well as by politicians. These people wish to persuade you of the correctness of their policy positions. As such, they often only inform you of the “facts” that support their position. They often do not place their “facts” in context, or are selective of their “facts”, or omissive of other contravening “facts”. Their “Reasoning”, as discussed in my observation, is also often fallacious. As such, it is not possible to ascertain the rightness of their position. Before you accept any policy position be careful of the facts and reasoning. Otherwise it “Just Ain't So”.
Several States have begun legislative action to place constraints on whom may run for President of the United States on their ballots. More specifically they are requiring a Presidential candidate to release several years of Federal Tax Returns to be placed on the ballot. Some States are also requiring that State Tax Returns be released to Congress if Congress Requests them. I believe that both of these actions are unconstitutional.
Article II, Section 1, Clause 5 of the Constitution says to serve as president, one must be: (1) a natural-born U.S. citizen of the United States; (2) at least thirty-five years old; and (3) a resident in the United States for at least fourteen years. Adding any other criteria to be placed on a State ballot would violate the Constitution by adding additional requirements. If you can add additional requirements could you also add a requirement for race, religion, creed, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, ancestry, age, veteran status, disability, military service, political affiliation, or another status? Of course not! But if you can add one requirement you can add other requirements. The only legitimate requirement to be added to a State ballot is that a certain number or percentage of the state voters sign a ballot petition for a person to be placed on a ballot. This is necessary to reasonably limit the number of persons on a ballot. These actions could also be interpreted as a Bill of Attainder -a legislative act that singles out an individual or group for punishment without a trial. The Constitution of the United States, Article I, Section 9, paragraph 3 provides that: "No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law will be passed." In this case, it is to limit President Trump from running in their State unless he releases his tax returns. There is no legitimate purpose for releasing any tax records for any taxpayer, as this information is privileged between the taxpayer and the IRS
There is also no legitimate purpose for releasing State Tax records for any taxpayer as this information is privileged between the taxpayer and the appropriate State tax authority. To break this privilege is no endanger the collection of taxes as many people would be reluctant to provide true and accurate information to a State Tax Authority on fear of it being released to damage their reputation or to harm them some way. No freedom and liberty loving person should be fearful that their government damage their reputation or to harm them some way, for this could lead to tyranny by the government.
Many Democratic politicians and progressive media commentators are proclaiming that we are in a Constitutional Crisis – and I agree with them! But it is not the crisis that they are proclaiming but the crisis that they are fermenting. The actions of the current Executive Branch are typical reactions to the Legislative Branch actions throughout U.S. history. We need not go back further than the administration of President Obama to demonstrate Executive Branch reactions to Legislative Branch actions. Resisting subpoenas, withholding information, invoking Executive Privilege, evasive answers, and other methods have been utilized by the Executive Branch to thwart what they thought were Legislative Branch incursions on the Executive Branch duties and responsibilities. Sometimes the Executive Branch was in the right, and sometimes they were in the wrong. Usually, through negotiations or Judicial Branch interventions, these issues were resolved or lay dormant.
The Legislative Branch does have the duty, under the Constitution, to create laws and have oversight of Executive Branch actions. However, these duties and responsibilities require a legitimate legislative purpose in creating laws or proper Congressional oversight. It does not allow the Legislative Branch to do whatever it pleases. If the Legislative Branch could do whatever it pleased it would devolve into a Star Chamber unconstrained by the Rule of Law (see my article on “The Rule of Law in Non-Judicial Proceedings” for more information). The Legislative Branch requests for information, testimony, and subpoenas to the Executive Branch must serve a legitimate Legislative Branch purpose, and not a political purpose. The current actions of the House of Representatives are not for legitimate Legislative Branch purposes and, indeed, are politically motivated. As such, they are the cause of our current Constitutional Crisis.
There is no legitimate purpose for subpoenaing the Attorney General to release information that by law they are not allowed to release. There is no legitimate purpose for demanding the underlying documentation of a criminal investigation, some of which is Grand Jury testimony that cannot be released by law, or Classified Information that may only be released to approved Congressional Committees that they then must keep secret. There is no legitimate purpose for subpoenaing tax records for any taxpayer as this information is privileged between the taxpayer and the IRS, unless the Legislative Branch can demonstrate by evidence, not suspicion, that it requires this information for legitimate Legislative Branch purposes. Persons testifying before Congress should not be set-up for perjury traps, nor should they incur a significant financial obligation in lawyer fees to protect themselves from possible perjury traps. There are no legitimate Legislative Branch purposes for the accusations and pejoratives utilized to describe Executive Branch persons and actions, except to hinder the Executive Branch from performing their duties and responsibilities.
As such, the House of Representatives is fermenting a Constitution Crisis by stepping outside the bounds of their legitimate Legislative Branch duties and responsibilities. They are also violating their Oath of Office to uphold the Constitution of the United States. The House of Representatives must be roundly condemned for these deeds and words, and put an end to these actions, for this Constitution Crisis to pass.
Warfare, slavery, oppression, infanticide, human sacrifice, and female subjugation have all be constants throughout human history and in all societies. African, European, Asiatic, Native North American, and Native South American civilizations have all engaged in these practices. It is only in the last few centuries that these practices have been recognized as immoral. It was in European Society, guided by Judeo-Christian values, that the idea of the dignity of the individual human being and human rights arose and bloomed. With this recognition came the ideal of self-government, the advancement of the arts and sciences. and the development of capitalism which supplied goods and services to the common man (see my comment on this in my article “Capitalism is Freedom and Liberty”).
Yet, even in this development of the dignity of the individual human being and human rights, there were abuses and shortcomings. This is because this development was a struggle that had setbacks during its advancement. Man is imperfect and makes bad choices, or is good or evil, and lacked the knowledge or experience of the proper morals and ethics to achieve these goals. When we make a historical judgment on a society or personage, we need to keep this, and other factors in mind when making these judgments. My article “Condemned to Repeat It” examines these factors and how to best make a judgment.
There are many phrases and pet peeves that I have concerning political discourse that I have commented upon in my observations on “Phrases” and “Pet Peeves”. However, some are so egregious that when I hear them, I typically stop the conversation to correct their usage. The following is a list that triggers my ire:
I cannot and will not abide these statements. If you want to have a conversation or discussion with me and utilize these phrases you better be prepared to explain your meaning of these phrases, or your disingenuous usage of these phrases, or your ignorance of their true meaning.
As I have written in my article “Slander & Libel on Social Media and Journalism” social media is playing a more active role in our society as a source of news and political commentary. As such, we must be assured that all sides of news and political commentary have a voice. To not do so is to skewer the social and political scene, which can lead to undesirable and unforeseen results. Unfortunately, many social media outlets are banning speech that they disagree with. The majority of these bans most often occur on the conservative viewpoints of social and political speech. And this must stop as it is harmful to the body politic. I am aware of the Constitutional and legal issues in regard to legislating an end to this banning as I have outlined in the before mentioned article. I would encourage you to read this article for my thoughts on this subject.
The alt-right, or alternative right, is a loosely connected far-right, white nationalist movement. The term is ill-defined, having been used in different ways by various groups and individuals. A largely online movement, the alt-right is found primarily in the United States, where it originated, although alt-rightists are also present elsewhere in the world. Constituent groups that associate with the "alt-right" label have been characterized as hate groups.
The far-left term has been used to describe ideologies such as: communism, anarchism, anarcho-communism, left-communism, anarcho-syndicalism, Marxism–Leninism, Trotskyism, and Maoism. Since 2016, the term alt-left has also been used to refer to political views at the extreme end of this spectrum, and to those who adhere to such views.
In my opinion, I believe that the alt-right and alt-left are abhorrent to everything that I have written on this website. They regularly espouse views that are contrary to Human Rights and Constitutional Rights. Although they have the Free Speech right to express these views we who abhor these views have the Free Speech right to condemn these views. And they must be condemned. Condemned but not silenced, as this would be a violation of their Free Speech rights.
How often have you heard some say “I will not tolerate the intolerant”. The real question I have for those that make this statement is “Who gets to determine what is intolerant?”. Everybody has a different definition of what is intolerant speech. If we utilize everybody's definition then there would be no free speech by anybody. Do we set up a commission that determines what speech is to be allowed or disallowed? Who and how would we determine the membership of this commission? How would we enforce the commission's rulings? What would be the penalties for violating the commission rulings? And how would it be possible to review what is said, either before or after what is said, to determine if it was intolerant? Without a commission, the only way to determine intolerant speech is by mob rule. And mod rule leads to an uncivil society that I have discussed in my article “A Civil Society”. Most of the times when I have heard this statement uttered it is by Progressives or Leftists who utilize this statement to shout down or shut down the free speech rights of their opponents. This also leads to an uncivil society. Those who make this statement are really engaging in behavior that I have discussed in my article “Modern American Fascism” and, indeed, are themselves, intolerant people.
When Presidential hopeful Joe Biden was asked if he had a theme like President Trump's "Make America Great Again," Biden replied, "Make America moral again." MAMA is a nice acronym for the Democratic Party, as they often espouse positions that advocate the government be responsible for making decisions for the individual that the individual should make for themselves. Just as your mama wants to tell you what to do and direct your life so does the Democratic party. Therefore, MAMA is the perfect acronym for the Democratic party.
As the famous and brilliant physicist Richard Frymen once said, “String theorist don’t make predictions, they make excuses”. This is not a chirp on String Theory but a chip on making predictions. More specifically the making of predictions by political commentators, political pundits, pollsters, and economists. As all four of these activities are intertwined with human decision making, they are very unscientific and subject to change very quickly. How often have political commentators, political pundits, pollsters, and economists made a prediction that turned out to be wrong, and sometimes the opposite of what occurred? And how often have you heard them making an excuse as to why their prediction was wrong? Many would say that this occurs most of the time. Whenever you are predicting how the public will react you are more likely to be wrong than right. It is analogous to baseball hitting. A great baseball hitter is one who gets a hit once every three attempts, while the other hitters have a lesser average of hits. And so, it is with have political commentators, political pundits, pollsters, and economists making a prediction. They are more often wrong than right. A wise listener or reader will look at their past performance in making predictions to decide if they should be believed. Whenever you do this remember that the greats will only get one of three correct while most will have a worse performance. Any political commentators, political pundits, pollsters, and economists with a great average of predictions are more like to be right and most are more likely to be wrong. But keep in mind that over two-thirds of predictions will be wrong, so take a prediction with a grain of salt.
Everywhere you go there is weather. Good weather, bad weather, average weather, mild weather, cold weather, freezing weather, warm weather, hot weather, severe weather, storms, snow storms, rain storms, thunderstorms, hurricanes, tornadoes, etc. etc. etc.… And people are very interested in the weather, not only as it affects their lives but as it affects the lives of their family and friends and fellow citizens. This is as it should be, but it is just as important to retain your perspective of the weather. Do not assume the worst or best weather reports but assume the possibility of the best or worst weather reports.
In today’s weather reporting there is a propensity to hype the extremes of a weather report. This leads to good ratings, and increased revenues, for the weather reporters and media that reports on the weather. People get hyped and fearful that the worst is about to happen, and they react accordingly. These reactions are often not the best course of action and will often lead you to make irrational decisions. So, when you listen to a weather report do not assume the extremes but take precautions in the event the extreme occurs. The only caveat is when the authorities order an evacuation you should evacuate. To not do so is to endanger your life, health, and safety.
In my many discussions with my cigar smoking buddies, we often discuss the issues of the day (along with sports, history, and other b.s.). During these discussions, I often keep in mind my observations on “Precepts” and “Additional Perspectives” when discussing these issues. I believe we have a more thoughtful discussion when this occurs. I would encourage you to read these observations as I believe that these observations will make your discussions more levelheaded, and perhaps more harmonious.
Supporters of the Green New Deal exhibit their extensive lack of knowledge of science, engineering, and economics for believing that this is possible or practicable. They also have no idea of how energy is produced, distributed, and utilized. They fail to understand the life cycle costs, from mining, manufacturing, distribution, usage, and disposal of the materials utilized to produce energy that would result from the Green New Deal implementation. They also do not account for the economic impacts that The Green New Deal would inflict on people and commerce. The Green New Deals ranks with some of the most inane ideas proposed by politicians. No matter how a politician or supporter packages it, redefines it, or limit it. or lauds its goals it remains inane. I would encourage you to download and read the report “The New Energy Economy an Exercise In Magical Thinking” from the Manhattan Institute that examines this issue.
Euphemism - An inoffensive or indirect expression that is substituted for one that is considered offensive or too harsh abound in today’s politically correct speech. But euphemisms can be very dangerous when utilized in regard to national security and social policy. In order to solve a problem, you need to recognize that you have a problem, clearly define the problem, and then clearly state the solution. Euphemisms do not contribute to clarity and indeed are often utilized to obscure the problem. Euphemisms are often utilized when identifying groups of people in order not to offend members of the groups, or to be deceptive as to the parties who are part of the problem or who are the victims of the problem. Euphemisms are often a means to doublespeak - language that pretends to communicate but actually does not. Disingenuousness - not straightforward or candid; giving a false appearance of frankness - is often the result when euphemisms and doublespeak are utilized.
When euphemisms are utilized in national security situations, we cannot clearly address the problems and solutions to terrorism and international aggression. When it comes to violence perpetrators and victims need to be clearly defined to identify the source and targets of the violence. Euphemisms, doublespeak, and disingenuousness do not solve any problems, and they contribute to the problem or allow the problem to fester. Anyone who utilizes euphemisms, doublespeak, or is disingenuousness needs to be ignored in order to solve a problem.
No its not! We only make it complicated to avoid facing the truth. And the truth is that a bad decision was made that you don't want to admit. Whether it be in our personal life, our family life, our work environment, or in our social life bad decisions are often made. Saying "it's complicated" relieves us of the burden of admitting we made a bad decision. But this is a burden that we should gladly accept. By admitting it to ourselves, and thinking about the bad decision, we can learn from our bad decisions and hopefully not repeat them. By admitting our bad decisions and learning from it we can also forgive ourselves. And by admitting them to others we not only help others learn from our bad decisions but it may lead us to forgiveness from others or possible redemption.
Karl Marx decried Capitalism because it organized labor and management into hierarchies with labor the lowest rungs and management and ownership at the highest rungs, along with the distribution of wealth according to your position on this hierarchy. He thought that this was one of the biggest inequities of Capitalism and needed to be abolished. However, hierarchies are not a feature of Capitalism but a feature of Humanity. We, as humans, have always organized ourselves into hierarchies. Whether it was tribes that had a leader, enforcers, and followers, to governments that had kings, ministers, and commoners, we have always organized ourselves into hierarchies. Not only in government did this happen but in all areas of human activity i.e. commerce, entertainment, sports, armed forces, etc... Force or arms, inheritance, or wealth were often utilized to establish and maintain these hierarchies to the detriment of the common man. The difference in Capitalism is that ability was the prime driver in creating hierarchies. The person or persons who produced wanted goods or services at a lower cost rose in the hierarchy, while those who did not or faltered in doing so sank in the hierarchy. The positive effect of Capitalism was that all benefited by the goods or services at a lower cost. It also allows for any person who has a good idea, determination, perseverance, knowledge, and ability to move up in the hierarchy while those who did not have these capabilities to move down in the hierarchy, thus removing impediments to progress. Therefore, Capitalism is the best force for allowing equal opportunity for all, wealth redistribution, and human progress.
Another impact of The Three D’s is the personal destruction of the character and reputation of the person who it is directed at. This occurs not only in the governmental arena but also in political commentary by non-governmental persons. The following examples from the governmental arena are the most current illustrations of this:
I have commented more extensively on this issue in my article "The Rule of Law in Non-Judicial Proceedings" which is a companion piece to this chirp. The upshot of this personal destruction is a loss of faith in the instruments of government and the integrity of the people who serve in the government. This is also true in the political commentary arena. The secondary impact is on the willingness of good and capable people to enter public office or expressing political opinions. Why would any sane person wish to undergo this personal destruction? Therefore, many good people are avoiding entering public service or expressing political opinions to the detriment of society.
When a conservative and liberal disagree, the conservative believes the liberal is wrong. However, the liberal often believes that the conservative is a racist, sexist, homophobic, mean-spirited or a money-grubbing person. The liberal/progressive then attempts to argue against a conservative position by utilizing the following Three D's tactics:
The liberal/progressive utilizes these as arguments in order to intimidate a conservative into silence or to intimidate a listener through guilt into not paying attention to a conservative. This method is often used by Liberals to argue with Conservatives. It illustrates how intellectually bereft many of their ideas are. Either way, these methods of the liberal/progressive is a bulling attempting to win their argument not through reason or intellect, but by silencing all opposition. This is very bad for the body politick as it cannot lead to understanding, and possible compromise, to achieve a reasonable solution to public policy. Indeed, it often leads to bitter partisanship as the liberal opponent feels oppressed, and the liberal/progressive feels righteous. The liberal/progressive will then demand bi-partisanship, and since they are righteous, and the opponent is a demon, the liberal/progressive policy should be adopted.
Sign. Sigh. Sigh. Whenever I hear someone state that we need Comprehensive Immigration Reform I know that they are advocating a position that is not going to happen and are utilizing this term as a canard. It is not going to happen because it has not happened for several decades. It is a canard because those that utilize this term know that it will not happen. The different sides of this issue have different meanings as to what constitutes Comprehensive Immigration Reform, and their different meanings are contradictory and polarizing. Therefore, given the political gridlock of these sides there will be no Comprehensive Immigration Reform, and I do not expect it to happen unless one side or the other obtain legislative and executive authority in enough numbers to ignore the other side (much like Obamacare). What needs to be done, immediately, on immigration is to secure the borders from drug runners, gang members, human traffickers, and other criminal elements. We should all agree that needs to be done and needs to be done immediately. But again, given the political gridlock of these sides, this may not happen. I would, therefore, want each 2020 Presidential candidate to state clearly the executive actions they would take on securing the borders from drug runners, gang members, human traffickers, and other criminal elements. We could then leave it to the American voters to decide how they wish to secure the borders based on the candidate's position. But again, I do not expect that this will happen.
The Presidential campaign of 2020 is heating up. On the Democratic side there appears to be a race to the leftist positions and what the Government should provide for the American people. The other side (centrists and conservatives) would prefer a debate on what they believe are the important issues. I believe the following are the important issues that need to be discussed (in alphabetical order):
Listening to the Democratic Party 2020 Presidential candidates’ positions I believe that the following list is a succinct summary of their positions (in alphabetical order):
These campaign positions do not seem to be consistent with someone who has sworn to “Preserve, Protect, and Defend” the Constitution and its concepts of Federalism, Limited and Enumerated Powers, Equality Under the Law and Equal Protection of the Laws, the Bill of Rights, as well as Liberty and Freedom for All. To the contrary, they sound as if their proponents believe that they can do whatever they think is proper irrespective of the Constitution. God help us if they are ever put in a position of power where they can impose their will in contradiction to the Constitution. For if they do this, we will not be a free people but a people subservient to the government. Or perhaps, they are just perpetuation a “Foolie” on the American public.
President Trump is fond of tweeting and much of these tweets are of a harsh nature. I do not particularly care for this type of political discourse. However, given the unrelenting negative discourse and commentary of President Trump by most of the news media, entertainment, academic, and sports world, as well as his political opponent's outrageous statements about President Trump his tweeting may be the only way to reach the American public with his perspective. They are also a means to exhibit to the American public the biases and unfairness of his opponents. Until his opposition changes its approach to civil discourse his tweeting may be the only way to counterbalance his opponent's equally uncivil discourse.
The Creed of Progressives and Leftists is that as they are more intelligent, better educated, and morally superior they are, of course, always correct. To oppose them not only makes you wrong, but it also means that you are evil. And being evil the opponents of Progressives and Leftists need to be silenced, driven from the public square and public forums, their livelihoods or careers threatened, and they are not to be allowed to hold any positions of social, economic, or governmental power. They can also have their private and family lives intimidated or menaced by physical violence, if not actual violence. Progressives and Leftists believe that to demonize, denigrate, or disparage their opponents is the primary and acceptable means to accomplish this.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is, unfortunately, an excellent example of leftism in that she displays a comprehensive ignorance of economics, science, politics, history, and human nature. This ignorance is a condemnation of the American educational system that has become more interested in teaching its students what to think, and not how to think. It is also a condemnation of American society that has become more concerned about feelings rather than reasoning. As a result of these factors polite and respectful reasoned speech and writings are no longer considered an important attribute for the discussion of public policy. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other leftists are like the child in the supermarket that wines and throws temper tantrums to obtain the prettiest and shiniest object that attracts their attention. We should never give in to such a child as it only encourages further bad behavior. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is becoming the face of the Democratic Party and dragging them into politically untenable policy positions. In addition, the Democrats have been looking for a way to demolish the Republican Party, while the Republican Party have Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who will demolish the Democratic Party. Given that the Democratic Party is now in the throes of leftism that could destroy the American ideals of freedom and liberty perhaps we who espouse these ideals should cheer Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on in the hopes that this will destroy the leftist Democratic Party.
In the Star Trek Episode (The Original Series) "Miri" the Enterprise responds to a distress signal from a planet in which all the adults have died and the children are living extended life spans. These children play a game called "Foolie" in which they can lie and/or be disingenuous to achieve their goals. Because these children had been without adult supervision for over three hundred years, the distinction between appropriate games and harmful violence had become somewhat blurred in their minds. To them, almost anything that amused them was acceptable behavior. And so, it is with modern leftists and many Democratic politicians. Never being taught what is acceptable behavior and speech, nor being chastised for inappropriate behavior or speech, leftist and Democratic politicians are constantly creating foolies. They believe they are so right in their opinions that foolies are appropriate to advance their causes. One of the reasons that freedom of the press was so important to our founding fathers was that they understood a free press would challenge what politicians and activists said or did. But as today's press is so sympathetic with leftist and Democratic politicians, they are no longer challenging the speech and actions of those that they agree with; indeed, many are supporting them. And until the press challenges the leftist and Democratic politicians’ actions and speech, they will continue to practice foolies on the American public.
As the Bible says in Matthew 7:5 “Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.” Before you criticize or require someone to do something you need to examine your own life. Are you practicing what you preach, for if you are not you have no right to preach? To do so otherwise is to be a hypocrite. And if you preach it should be in a manner that is helpful, rather than demanding, of the other person(s). To demand that another does something is to make them subservient to your will. The only demands that you can place on another is to observe the human right of others and to obey the just laws necessary to establish and maintain a civil society. All other demands need to be cooperative and agreed upon rules and regulations for the benefit of all and not for some. If you wish to implement rules and regulations for others to follow you should follow these same rules and regulations in your own life before you insist that others follow them. Lead by example, not by dictates. And most important, faithfully keep to these rules and regulations in your own life. To not do this is to pronounce that something is “Good for thee but not for me”.
I don’t care if your feelings are hurt, as long as I am expressing reasonable and intelligent positions in a polite and respectful manner and doing so in an honest and truthful way. I care about my spouse, parents, and children’s feelings, and perhaps my other family and friends’ feelings may be, and I am sensitive to their feelings. However, I have no control over what you do, think, and feel. I can only control what I do, think and feel. Your response to what I may say and do is a reflection on your thoughts and feelings, not on my thoughts and feelings. You may also be misinterpreting what I do or say, or perhaps I may be miscommunicating. If I am miscommunicating something, I will accept a critique (but not a criticism) and will try to do better or restate my thoughts. But for you to say that your feelings are hurt is not a valid objection or argument to what I do or say. Only a reasonable and intelligent response done in a polite and respectful manner, and doing so in an honest and truthful way, is a valid response to what I do or say. To make hurt feelings a valid response will result in the shutting down of free speech as someone, somewhere, feelings may be hurt by what is being said or done.
Words and deeds, or to pay attention to what one says or what one does. Too often in today’s society, we pay particular attention to what a person says and gloss over what a person does. It has become more important to communicate acceptably than to implement properly. The judgment of a person is often almost entirely based on what they say. But what a person says is not harmful (except emotionally) but what a person does can have positive or negative repercussions to all aspects of society. Therefore, we must pay more attention to the deeds of a person, and become more forgiving of what they say, if the deeds have positive repercussions. If the deeds have negative repercussions and the words are positive, we should be harsh in our judgment of the person. Of course, if both the words and deeds of a person have positive consequences, we should praise the person and elevate them into positions of responsibility within society. This judgment, of course, is very important for our political leaders. They must be held accountable for not only their words but their deeds. To ignore or discount one or the other in judging our politicians can be very harmful to society. Perhaps we should remember the wisdom of Benjamin Franklin – “Well done is better than well said.”
Both Sides Do It (from my Observation on “Phrases”). Of course, both sides do it, in the human experience both sides do everything. That is the nature of humankind. Whenever there is an issue confronting our society the extremes of both sides of the issue will often use the same methodologies and techniques to attack the other side. So, therefore, the question or statement that both sides do it is irrelevant. The question is whether the mainstream of each side of the issue both do it. In my experience, this is most obvious when dealing with Conservatism versus Progressivism or Leftism, Republican versus Democrat, left versus right, etc. What we should be asking is if the leadership of each side are both doing it. My experience has been that when the conservative, Republican, or right-leaning often use the tactic of disagreeing with the other side based on their belief that the other sides policy is wrong. Whereas the liberal progressives, Democrats, or left-leaning argues that the other side is evil or one of the isms (Sexist, Intolerant, Xenophobic, Homophobic, Islamophobic, Racist, and Bigoted (thanks to Dennis Prager)). This is done to demonize, denigrate, or disparage the conservative, Republican, or right leaning person in an attempt to silence them. In a civil discourse when one side criticizes a policy of another, it is not acceptable for the other side to disparage the motivation of the other side. The only acceptable response is to critique the other sides’ policy.
Hypocrisy (from my Observation on “Phrases”). As Ben Franklin once said during the debate at the Constitutional Convention; "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 not hypocrisy if you change your mind based on better information or fuller consideration on an issue. It is hypocrisy when you change your mind based on trying to attain an advantage or political goal. Hypocrisy is a charge that should only be utilized by someone when they are flip-flopping their position to gain an advantage, rather than changing their position based on better information or fuller consideration. It is incumbent upon the politician who changes their position to explain the better information or fuller consideration on an issue that has led them to a change in their position, to assure that it is a true change and not hypocrisy.
In my Observation on “Obfuscation, Smoke, and Mirrors” I point out that many who argue a political issue resort to Obfuscation, Smoke, and Mirrors as a tactic. This tactic is the activity of obscuring people's understanding, leaving them baffled or bewildered and susceptible to accepting their conclusions. It is most often done by inserting oblique facts, nonsequiturs, exceptions to the rule, and the perfect vs. the practical. You should always go to the core issue of the argument and examine its meaning. When engaging in a debate blow away the Obfuscation, Smoke, and Mirrors and get to the core issue. Determine the facts and truths of the issue, then debate the actions to be taken.
In my Observation on “A False Dichotomy” and “Putting Words into Another’s Mouth” I have commented on these tactics that are too often utilized in today’s political discussions and debates. This tactic is to rephrase or restate what someone has said in the most negative connotation possible or to add negative statements into another’s mouth. They will also establish their position, then assert the position of the other party at the extreme opposite of their position thus putting words into another’s mouth. The person who put the words into another’s mouth then goes on to criticize the words they put into someone’s mouth. This is a dishonest and despicable tactic and wholly inappropriate manner to debate political issues. It is often done to disparage, denigrate, or demonize someone in the hope that the audience will not pay attention to what the other person actually said. It is your responsibility to only speak your own thoughts and reasoning or to quote the words of another person. After both sides have laid out their reasoning and conclusions then it is fair to critique the others reasoning or conclusions, based on what they have stated, not what you have stated for them.
In my Observation “Not Answering the Question or Talking Points Ad Nauseam” this technique is also utilized in today’s political discussions. Too often someone will ask a question of another and the answer to the question is to ignore the question and start iterating a talking point. Talking points that do not answer the question, but simply state the policy or position of the answerer. Sometimes the talking points are an answer to the question the answerer wanted to be asked, but not answering the question that was asked. Other times the answerer will respond by asking the questioner a question rather than answering the question. This is not really an answer but a deflection to not answer the question. The answerer should not get to ask a question until they answer the questioners’ question. After all, if the answerer is going to ignore the questioner's question then the questioner can ignore the answerer's question. These techniques are done in order to not answer a question, usually because the answer to the question would expose a weakness or illogic in the answerers’ policy or position. I find that these techniques are extremely frustrating as they do not illuminate the policy or position but obfuscate the policy or position. Therefore, whenever I listen to a debate or discussion where these techniques are utilized, I become very wary. I am also disturbed as this is an attempt to preclude the exchange of reasonable and intelligent discussion or debate on policies and positions. It also makes me reevaluate the person, and the policy and position, of the person who evoked these techniques. I would suggest that you do the same.
As I have stated in my Observation “Torturous and Convoluted Reasoning” is another tactic used by those who engage in political debates. It is most often done to confuse the audience into accepting a conclusion that does not follow the facts or logic. It often contains many hidden assumptions that when they are exposed reveal the faultiness of the argument. When examining the argument, you should keep in mind a variation of Occam's Razor - “The simplest explanation, that fits all the known facts, is most often the correct explanation”. Be suspicious when someone presents Torturous and Convoluted Reasoning to convince you of their conclusion. Examine the premises of the argument, seek out the hidden assumptions, assure that the logic of the argument contains no logical fallacies or cognitive biases before you accept the conclusions (as explained in my Observation on “Reasoning”). If you do this, you have a much greater chance of reaching the truth. A Torturous and Convoluted Reasoning argument may end up being true, but I would not bet on it.