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Belmont Club

Lying as a Way of Life

July 21st, 2013 - 4:18 am

As I’ve written elsewhere the present crisis is one of information.  Society is increasingly unable to solve its pressing problems not for lack of a solution or resources, but primarily from an unshakable determination not to face politically inconvenient facts.  Take for example, Chicago’s new crime-fighting strategy. “Chicago police are going to hand deliver letters to people suspected of committing or being victims of gun crimes in an effort to stem violence in the city, according to a new report. ”

This is a triumph of PR over policy, fiction over reality and madness over sanity. Yet all the same everyone will sign up to the letter scheme like it might actually work even though they know it hasn’t a snowball’s chance in hell.  One minor, yet telling  defect in the plan is the unreasonable assumption that the criminals or victims can read the letters they are sent. Why would you think they could?

The Washington Post  says that “fewer than half of D.C. children are proficient in reading, according to standardized tests, and more than a third of all city residents are functionally illiterate, according to a 2007 report.” This despite the availability of “public education” which by rights should have made illiteracy a thing of the past.

But public education’s achievements — or lack thereof — can be gauged by the  Post’s further reporting that in certain DC schools districts  lagging children are no longer invited to remedial summer classes because they “are too far behind.” They can’t even be included in remediation for fear they will prove an anchor round the necks of any students who might actually have a chance to escape the government-funded shipwreck.  Money is apparently not the problem. The DC school district is already spending nearly more per capita than Harvard.

American taxpayers already spend some $600 billion per year on public elementary and secondary schools, with average per-pupil expenditures nationwide currently at an all-time high of about $11,000—a nearly fourfold increase (in constant present-day dollars) since 1961. But even this figure is dwarfed by the $29,400 per-pupil cost of a public elementary and high-school education in Washington, DC. That astounding sum is nearly as much as the yearly cost of an undergraduate education at Harvard.

And all to produce students who cannot even be remediated. The Post article naturally concludes with the heart rending appeal of a mother to include her failing son in the summer lessons, just as he did in the previous three summers without apparent result.

Yet how can you teach nothing year after year?

Well Detroit, which recently went bankrupt,  can show everyone the way. It also has the distinction of registering the worst NAEP scores on record. Their math scores are so dismal that Michael Casserly, executive director of the Council on Great City Schools, a Washington, D.C.-based coalition of urban school districts concluded they “are barely above what one would expect simply by chance, as if the kids simply guessed at the answers.” It is almost pure noise, something which might well have been the result of a random-number generator. There’s nobody home.

Mark Steyn argues that the greatest devastation inflicted by political corruption on America has not been the destruction of buildings. It has been the annihilation of minds.

In my book After America, I observe that the physical decay of Detroit — the vacant and derelict lots for block after block after block — is as nothing compared to the decay of the city’s human capital. Forty-seven percent of adults are functionally illiterate, which is about the same rate as the Central African Republic, which at least has the excuse that it was ruled throughout the Seventies by a cannibal emperor. Why would any genuine innovator open a business in a Detroit “innovation hub”? Whom would you employ? The illiterates include a recent president of the school board, Otis Mathis, which doesn’t bode well for the potential work force a decade hence.

For more on Otis Mathis, see this recorded newscast on YouTube: “Illiterate school chief charged with sex crime”.

Detroit is broke, but it can’t even admit it is bust.  Steyn continues, “late on Friday, some genius jurist struck down the bankruptcy filing. Judge Rosemarie Aquilina declared Detroit’s bankruptcy ‘unconstitutional’ because, according to the Detroit Free Press, ‘the Michigan Constitution prohibits actions that will lessen the pension benefits of public employees.’ Which means that, in Michigan, reality is unconstitutional.”

The facts are now illegal.  Note to self: You can always beat arithmetic. Math always lies. At least that’s how the story goes.

Under the current system, given a choice between the Narrative and reality, it’s the Narrative all the way. Things are so bad they’re drinking their own hootch. Recently, Eleanor Clift praised President Obama’s handling of the George Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin circus. “The President’s remarks on Friday are going to be read by future generations. They’re beautiful, they’re eloquent.”

Clift’s remarks underscored the key problem that has to be fixed. No one’s interested in fixing anything. It’s more lucrative to lie, cheat and steal. But not until the public rediscovers the truth and the facts once again  can the slightest progress be made made towards fixing anything. Yes, money is short. But far more importantly, sanity is in even shorter supply. Romany Malco, a black actor writing in the Huffington Post risked the wrath of the media gods by stating the obvious. The poor are being taken for a ride:

To be brutally honest, the only reason people are even aware of Trayvon Martin is because it became a topic within mainstream news and pop culture. Meaning: News directors saw it as a profitable, sensational story. …

Our “government” continues to wreak havoc on our civil liberties and there is little to no protest from the black community because of media diversion tactics that keep such pertinent issues out of mainstream media. But if Jay-Z or Rihanna were to make mention of it, we’d suddenly be jolted out of our sugar comas and protesting on freeways.

My point being, people are up in arms about Trayvon based on regurgitated pundits and manipulated facts aired to elicit emotion while fueling America’s anger and division. That’s how you boost ratings. No different from Piers Morgan’s desperate rant over gun control when he knew his ratings were in the dumps….

I believe we lost that trial for Trayvon long before he was killed. Trayvon was doomed the moment ignorance became synonymous with young black America . We lost that case by using media outlets (music, movies, social media, etc.) as vehicles to perpetuate the same negative images and social issues that destroyed the black community in the first place. When we went on record glorifying violent crime and when we voted for a president we never thought to hold accountable. When we signed on to do reality shows that fed into the media’s stereotypes of black men, we ingrained an image of Trayvon Martin so overwhelming that who he actually may have been didn’t matter anymore.

No he didn’t matter any more. Because Trayvon Martin the fact was never of any interest to anybody. The facts never mattered; reality is unconstitutional. All the system cared about was Trayvon Martin the fiction; the meal ticket,  the product, the Narrative. Nobody gave a damn about the actual man.  In this respect he was exactly what all those illiterate multitudes in the crashing cities are: just meal tickets for a system that uses them as window-dressing to justify scams and job programs  meant to benefit only political hacks.

Maybe one day people will wake up to the fact, if they can still count to one.

Did you know that you can purchase some of these books and pamphlets by Richard Fernandez and share them with you friends? They will receive a link in their email and it will automatically give them access to a Kindle reader on their smartphone, computer or even as a web-readable document.

The War of the Words for $3.99, Understanding the crisis of the early 21st century in terms of information corruption in the financial, security and political spheres
Rebranding Christianity for $3.99, or why the truth shall make you free
The Three Conjectures at Amazon Kindle for $1.99, reflections on terrorism and the nuclear age
Storming the Castle at Amazon Kindle for $3.99, why government should get small
No Way In, a novel at Amazon Kindle $8.95, print $9.99
Storm Over the South China Sea $0.99, how China is restarting history in the Pacific
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Top Rated Comments   
Not sure who said this, but I heard it mentioned somewhere:
"If Barack Obama had a city, it would look like Detroit."

To which I might add:
If Barack Obama had a country...Oh sh*# !
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I'm astonished a how the US has structured itself into a well educated elite ruling over the poor and stupid. And what is odd is that the really stupid are the well educated elite. What Obama came out and said, reportedly from his heart, was vacuous nonsense. Why is he working so hard at rousing racial tensions?

I do know why. The US has gotten itself into a situation best illustrated by Detroit. The assumptions of half a century aren't there any more. For a Zimmerman situation to not occur again requires a cultural change where childbirth and sex outside of marriage be frowned upon. Where teachers who don't teach lose their jobs. Where pensioners lose their juicy pensions and benefits. Where businesses that don't compete go out of business.

I guess it is easy to figure why people prefer the lie. Reality is a very hard mistress, and will not be denied, except for a while.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
What can I say... well said. I've read the other sides' arguments against yours and there essentially are none. What such "arguments" are is basically a foregone conclusion bathed in semantic gibberish like privilege and intersectionality and my racism and sexism; in other words, lying, a con game.

This stuff is mainstreamed to young people through sources they find credible. If I'm 9 years old and my parent sits me down and says whites are out to kill me, what am I going to do, call it BS?

If I'm 13 and the most pretigious science fiction organization in America, the SFWA, has their president writing about white privilege and 3 of the "best of" nominees are virulently anti-white 30-something ass clowns am I going to bring my worldly knowledge to bear and call it BS?

If I'm 11 and the very President of the U.S. himself is talking about stupid white cops and stupid white Hispanics, and stupid white who stole Islam's heritage and stupid whites who hate now back to plain Hispanic illegal immigrants am I going to bring my Socratic skills to bears and call it BS?

Meanwhile we have a feral population of ignorant youth AND their parents who are a couple hundred years behind the population of Cairo in social skills and innovation, and Cairo itself isn't as modern as NYC was in 1900. But don't say that cuz you're a racist. They can barely spell racist or write it in cursive but they are otherwise more fluent in Critical Race Theory than opening a tin can.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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Some facts speak loudly. Take a look at all the young lives lost every week in Chicago. That travesty is greeted with total silence all ‘round the country, but especially within the black community itself. Then look at the Zimmerman-Trayvon conflict where only one black was killed and the entire country goes off the rails. Clearly, this smacks of political angst more than it shows one iota of concern for black males in America.

It is apparent that it is OK for blacks to kill each other, but the real outrage is when a “white Hispanic” defends himself against a young black man raised in the “a man is never a man unless he’s first, a thug” culture. There is nothing less welcome in the black community than the truth. George Zimmerman presented all blacks with the thinking error you can “kick someone’s ass,” when they discovered real life - not Maury Povich – offers a different outcome.

In Florida, the shooter stood up and took responsibility for his actions. In Chicago, no one takes responsibility for anything – not the safety of black men, not the wanton killing of black folk of all ages, and Neighborhood watches are dismissed as “acting white.” Detroit is the future tale of a country where the art form of kicking a can down the road replaces the virtues of courage, integrity, and the truth.

Look at the use of “Cracker/Cracka”as preached by Rachael Jentel against a white man and “no racial animus is intended by the speaker.” “I’m educated; trust me.” Someone could call me Cracker all day and it would not move me to violence, even though it is a way to show me the same animus historically held for slave overseers who used a whip against their black ancestors. I know the history, I simply don’t feel personal guilt over what happened so long ago. Then there’s the “N-Word” that must not be spoken except by those to whom it is an insult. Blacks use it all the time with each other, but if a white person uses it – even to quote a discussion where it is being spoken frequently - all Hell breaks loose and the speaker, nay, the reporter is pilloried. The current insult surrounding the word is manufactured as a pure power play against whites: We get to use it “cracka” and if you use it we will destroy you.

Like the politically correct sheep we have become, we cower and bend over backwards trying not to insult our black fellow citizens by deigning to even “think” of the word – all the while they call us crackers with no social stigma.

This faux deference white folks have granted to their black neighbors and colleagues have convinced blacks that they must continue this “power play” to ensure that they actually have some modicum of power and respect. However, this “ground and pound” method garners little real respect – it simply enforces a hollow sense of entitlement that weakens black culture in a demeaning way. It only empowers liberals’ faux sense that they are “nice” people. In truth – and they must know it – they are treating blacks no better than the American Indian was treated. It is the perfect example of the pure bigotry of low expectations, pointed directly at people they say they love and respect.

In truth, with our country now led by a black, “transforming” president, race relations in America and our respect abroad have never been worse. This is the Alinsky meaning of hope and change, and the Cloward and Piven game plan for the destruction of America’s institutions. This is a coup in plain view whose goal is the transformation of America by fomenting its destruction. The Marxists have it well planned – they know for sure that while the Obama administration will make things especially bad for black folks and guilt-ridden whites, those sheep will remain permanently tethered to the “hope and change” president and his destructive ends.

The blacks’ willingness to hold so tightly to these grievances only hurts them – worse so if they take to arms over this ancient abscess kept festering by the intentional scab removal by our cultural elitists and blacks' own ineptitude at picking “leaders” to represent them. Blacks will continually be corralled by a democrat party who keeps them on the plantation; routinely stoked by emotion and bereft of critical thinking.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I think that in a wealthy society social spending is supposed to:

1) help that small percentage who genuinely cannot help themselves, temporarily or to support those unfortunates who need permanent help;

2) enable as much equality as possible at the starting line so that innate ability and hard work are the main causes of the natural inequality that should be observed at the finishing line.

The second purpose, if achieved will maximize social mobility so that generations are not permanently imprisoned in poverty or permanently cosseted in riches.

When a nation has an overclass whose ruling perch depends on the existence of a permanent underclass, then social mobility is sabotaged. The permanent underclass of ignorant illiterates who, from one generation to the next believe that the world “done me wrong”, represents a huge financial and societal overhead for that nation.

This permanent overhead is perpetuated by the co-dependent symbiosis between the over class and the permanent underclass. This overhead destroys wealth and poisons the vital organs of a healthy culture. Britain has already created this crushing overhead. Now America is copying Britain.

Social spending is no longer aimed at (1) and (2) above. Social spending is aimed solely at perpetuating the dismal symbiosis between the over and under classes. The rest of us are like crops that are farmed to produce the money needed to play the symbiosis game.

Well, the crops have failed. We can't produce enough to sustain the symbiosis game. Now money printing, borrowing and gamesmanship with the foundations of a civilized society are necessary to maintain the game.

I think that leads to self destruction.

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I never thought I would live to see this day. The president of the United States making such a comment to divide the nation on race sectarian lines.

I always thought that my generation and the one before it could at least take pride in the achievement of something close to a truly egalitarian society. I am ashamed now. We did nothing.

If this bogus case can be held up as something of significance it was all a sham. The public lynching of Zimmerman is revolting. What an idiotic thing for the president to say.

I could have been Travon Martin. Really? I was. I had the experience of .38 rounds pinging from the brick walks next to my head in gangland Chicago. I was a Jew in the wrong alley that night. Barak Obama does not know s***. Treyvon was not even close to that situation.

He could have said nothing. That would have been better than this.

Barak Obama will turn this nation into Iraq, Syra, or Egypt if we do not turn away from where he is leading.

One nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all.

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
In 1964 the Democrats came up with the model city program. Detroit was a model city. At the time Detroit was the richest city on the planet and the US the richest nation. The model cities, it was said, would be a showcase for innovative government programs. The model cities would lead the way and America would follow. Seems to be working as planned.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I'm not familiar with Romany Malco's work, but if what he wrote on race is any indication, he's probably very good at what he does. And brave. It takes enormous amounts of bravery to question the authority of those who employ you and the culture is the left's playground. My theory is that most leftists know that in the real world of culture - like there used to be, say, 50 or 60 years ago - they wouldn't have the natural gifts to succeed and so they eliminated those who didn't conform to their ideas of enlightened mediocrity. Of course, they don't look at it quite like that. They delude themselves into thinking that what they did was merely to "level the playing field" because it was a lot easier to believe your acts are altruistic rather than based on resentment. It all began, this monstrous distortion of American ideals, in the arts and has gradually infected every area of modern life. Good is bad, smart is stupid, ugly is beautiful, degradation is enlightening and on and on . . . until we've arrived here, not looking into the abyss, but tossing ourselves into it with abandon.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The link for Romany Malco's article is missing from HuffPo, imagine that.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
“The President’s remarks on Friday are going to be read by future generations. They’re beautiful, they’re eloquent.”
The only thing about this age that will be remembered by future generations will be that exoplanets were discovered.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Depends what you mean by "this age", doesn't it?

We could have had manned bases on the moons of Saturn by now, never mind a base on Earth's moon. Von Braun won the argument, with the help of congresscritters who were more interested in pork than progress - and so his disintegrating totem poles got built instead of the real Orion, followed by a jerrybuilt heap of trash that was never going to get launch costs down to anything reasonable. With a ground crew of 30,000, how could it?

Even with chemical rockets we could have had the first space habitats by now. O'Neill showed us how in the 1970s!

Excuse the language, but this is a quote:

"If NASA hadn't failed us wed have cities on the moon.
If it weren't for f*cking NASA we'd at least have walked on Mars.
And if I can't make orbit, then I'll never reach the stars."
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Better rockets, even better by several orders of magnitude, won't enable cities to be built on the moon or on Mars, any more than better submarines will enable us to build cities on the ocean floor.

I enjoyed science fiction when I was a child.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
And the first computers.
And the first biotech.
And fracking.
And maybe the first large-scale desalination.

Or if the left has its way, I suppose it could all be lost and fade into myth.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
In a couple hundred years it will all just be magic and myth; just like Roman technology and civilization was to Saxon Britain circa 800 CE.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I think what we're dealing with here is a battle between System 1 and System 2. Those are the two separate, but linked cognitive processes in the human brain.

This Wikipedia article gives a good overview:

Pay particular attention to the table in the middle that lists the differences between S1 and S2.

The Narrative, as W describes it, is an artifact of S1. Most S1 processing is done by the subconscious; only the "result" of that processing is part of our consciousness. That result is generally a story that makes sense of the patterns stored by our S1.

One key aspect of S1 is that it is pretty impervious to facts. Data, information, statistics, and the like are used by S2 as part of our rational process. And since S2 is VERY lazy (on account of it being physiologically very expensive to operate), most people don't switch on S2. Instead, they rely on their own internal narrative: on S1.

Now, in large scale societies, we have two different mechanisms for creating order out of our natural state of chaos: Culture and Law. Culture, which is really just another name for Narrative-writ-large, is something that is largely a S1 artifact. It is the shared S1 stories that reflect patterns shared by a lot of people.

Law, on the other hand, is a rational system of rules and processes that have resulted from evaluation of facts and circumstances by a lot of folks' S2. It is largely a S2 artifact.

Neither one of these is perfect. Culture is much more localized and has a much stronger impact on our behavior than Law, but Law is very expensive to operate and tends toward the centralization of power and the "expertification" of society.

Both systems can "lie" in that they can be disconnected from reality. Slavery laws said blacks were not human beings, when in fact they are. Feminist culture says that traditional marriage is bad for women, when in fact the destruction of traditional marriage has had profoundly negative impacts on women.

Education is supposed to be the process by which we use S2 to program S1 in a way that increases the likelihood of our survival. It is supposed to be a sort of compiler - translating rational instructions into patterns of behavior. But today it does the opposite - it takes existing patterns of behavior and teaches elaborate and conflicting rule systems that reinforce the existing S1. Instead of a compiler, we've got a decompiler.

This is a problem because S1 always contains bugs - they're called biases. So we've decompiled a buggy program and used that as the basis for constructing new code. The result is a massive, elaborate, and unmaintainable code library filled with proliferating bugs.

When faced with such a situation, the thoughtful systems architect only tries to fix the most critical bugs. Why? Because the only real solution is to go back to a foundational kernel and build a new, parallel system that will function alongside the existing program until it can replace it.

That is what is happening in education. Between home schooling, virtual schools, private blended learning academies, and charter schools, a new education application is being written as we speak.

The only question is whether the current application will crash the system before the new one has sufficient functionality and scale to replace it.

I suppose we'll see...

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Another way of putting it is that many people know things they have not learned.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
What black people are telling us at the moment is that the behavior of Martin--a bit of dope selling, school suspensions, a little burglary, an occasional beasting upon a perceived weaker opponent--is normal or even above average for a black teenager and no cause to get shot in retaliation. In fact all these things lead to getting black men killed-by black men.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Unfortunately I think you have that exactly right.

When I lived in the DC area and there was so much concern about the large number of murders, with video of weeping black mothers on the news almost every evening, the message from blacks came through loud and clear, “Sure we don’t like the murders. And if you set up things so that a teenager can make as much money and still work as few hours by flipping burgers rather than in the drug trade, we’ll gladly switch to more legal employment. But otherwise, we’ll take our chances dealing drugs; the money’s so much better.” And that’s really the message from the DC city council relative to Wal Mart.

And that came through loud and clear in the OJ trial, too. “Getting beaten is part of being a black man’s wife. And considering how much money OJ made Nicole should have been happy with those circumstances. Besides, we choose not to let you have this particular black man for your jails (as one black commentator put it).

But they are not alone. Many women want the right to abort children right up to the 4th trimester. And they also want no guns in the schools so the children they do not choose to abort will be safe. Unions want Obamacare, - but not for themselves. Politicians want to cut the military – but not the bases and contractors in their district. Every group wants a special deal for themselves.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I had no idea that the government octopus in DC had gotten so big it had brought the illiteracy rate up to 50%. On reflection. I guess it would take that many unteachables to run our government to such low standards. ;-)
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
We've raised kids for almost two generations now on the progressivist lies of affirmative action. Not only is the content of this anti-democratic and wrong in fact, but it conditions people to live their lives supporting a lie, questioning and thought and objectivity - even the empiricism that the progressives pretend they believe - are verboten. The technocratic details of actually operating a bureaucracy are literally beneath contempt - they are not even visible to ignore. Mathematics is irrelevant, something we hire little brown foreigners to come to our country and do for us, out of sight. As with Soviet science, as with Tony Robbins, as with the Japanese wealth cults, wish and it shall be true. None of this is new, so why is it seemingly more critical now?

Well, that's the question. We live in a more technological society now, so fakers and pretenders can do more damage, the machine stops. But I think even worse is too much of our elite now lives lies and fantasies, for so they were raised. They don't know any truths, truth is something to read about in history books:

A few million years ago there had flourished as a province of legendary New York City a magnificent district know as the Queen’s. ... One of the few permanent landmarks of the world was his statue of the Queen of the Red Veldt herself, stretching half a mile into the sky and covering an area of some six miles, showing the heroic queen in her cadillac (or chariot) drawn by six dragons, with her oddly curved spear in one hand, her square shield on her other arm and with her bizarre helmet upon her head, looking splendidly heroic as she must have done when she led her victorious armies against the might of the United Nations, that grandiose and ambitious alliance which had, in the legends, once sought to dominate the entire planet.
/Michael Moorcock, “An Alien Heat”
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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