As you have noticed, especially on Twitter and other social media, a lot of conservatives of every age lead with their biases to come to a conclusion about underlying facts of conservatism. I call these kinds of biases “want-to’s” for they are found in every person; Christian, philistine, patriot and anti-American.
Thomas Jefferson had a bias in favor Natural Law when he wrote the Declaration. Madison and Hamilton had a bias for Liberty when they drew up the Constitution, but then had do some quick after-action clarifications when some of their colleagues thought they were overly broad. So they added the Bill of Rights. George Washington chose becoming General of the Armies of our new wannabe new America when he could much easier have become the General of the British armies sent to put down our Revolution, all because of a few easy-to-understand over-riding biases. Even more miraculously, some of his GW’s biases were flu-like, contagious, for almost 20 years after he died a lanky 11-year old kid in Kentucky, a slave state, but whose family did not believe in slavery, read a biography of Washington, a slave owner, about the virtues of being American, and grew up to give his life to end slavery.
For the longest time in America “want-to’s” were recognized as a bad thing, for they often stretched a fact too far. All the way into the 1940’s in the United States “logic” was part of most public-school high school curricula. And it was taught in college even when I was there in the 1960s, only not as a requirement. Although Washington DC had tasted progressivism by 1900 (Woodrow Wilson) and virtually “succame” (per Isaiah Thomas, the great NBA player and coach) to it under the FDR Administration, it would be the 1960s before the progressive bias overwhelmed public education in America. That was when the federal government launched “federal aid to education”, (bet you didn’ know there was ever a time when that wasn’t the case) or, as my dad called it, “attaching strings”, for once the feds started sending money, they started controlling curriculum instead of the citizens.
In short, the government started parents what was good and bad for their children, and among those things that is that children would no longer be taught to think for themselves.
Since we’re all a product of our educations, at home, church and school, unless you’re old enough to remember how it once was, over 70, or have become a student of history you need to pause and reflect about all the things you don’t know about thinking in general, and thank God for the common sense you’ve been able to learn along the way, or you wouldn’t be here reading this in the first place.
I’m not trying to squeeze bias out of you, but rather, describe through history’s eyes, how biases can be abused by the simple injection of personal “want-to’s”, and it is a shortcoming that needs to stifled, especially in judging people and what they say, especially if of the Enemy, for it makes us sound too much like them.
And once we start sounding like them, I fear we may be actually doing their bidding, playing a role they’ve actually designed for us, a diversion away from things they are really intending to do. Hate can blind a person to that fact about himself. And when hate enters the picture, I always smell the sulfur of old Clewfoot.
Every bias contains its own fact-based logic, namely that purported facts are likely true…from a sliding scale of probable, plausible and possible, say 90% to 50-50 to around 20% or less. Good scientists only use words like “may” or “might” to describe the lower end of these probabilities. In other fact forums, judges often will allow only plausible (50%) evidence and higher to be admitted, while at the other historians will debate until hell freezes over about the date and place where Joliet and Marquette turned around, ending their descent of the Mississippi River in 1673. All they know for sure is that “they turned around.” History tries to be fact based, but often cannot. And for 3000 years historians were the world’s second oldest profession, men who could read and write and therefore paid to follow around behind the king to tell (glowing) tales of his exploits. That type still exists and is always for hire.
Moreover, History is a favorite target of the Left, because America’s is one it hopes some day to completely rewrite. I remember scholars in the USSR asking me if I could send them a copy of certain histories of Russia before 1918, for none existed anymore. In America a good example is of this level of indifference to fact is Howard Zinn’s “People’s History of the United States”. While one of the most dishonest histories ever written, it is still taught in a large number of American classrooms. There’s even a grade-school version available. And when Zinn died in 2010 I doubt he had an ounce of remorse, in fact, got a quiet “Job well done” by American socialists, probably has buildings and streets named after him, and should the Left actually take back the country, will probably get his own stamp. (For balance, I insist that you keep a copy of Scheikart & Allen’s “Patriot’s History of the United States” which I believe should replace Zinn’s book in classrooms.)
Finally, at the bottom of the fact-bias bin, “soft sciences”, the “-ologies”; psychology, sociology, anthropology, are even more speculative about their “facts”, almost to the point of guesswork. So when you hear (even hard) scientists use “may” “might” or “the evidence suggests” you know you are at the lower end of the fact-spectrum, where meteorologists and any other sciences that “models” generally dwell. This where “want-to’s” can run amok.
Any science that invokes guesswork isn’t fact-based.
But the recent explosion of false facts in media and the academy is in large part due to the threat of Donald Trump doing exactly what he has been doing, waking the other 70% of America up. Trump has given us laboratory-quality proof that their bilge is actually what the Left’s base actually believes. They don’t think of themselves as liars. If they can cause us to mimic them then, in their view, they come away as winners, for at the top end of the Left, they think as our generations pass common sense and logic-seeking will diminish.
As I repeat almost daily, and John Cleese reports, “those who are not good at what they do haven’t the skills to know they don’t know they aren’t good at it!” His “study” said that only 1 out of 7, 15%, actually know they are lying when they lie. And voting trends in America seem to suggest that as many as 60% of Americans of voting age still are able to think for themselves.
This is a slow descent into Hell which the Left calls “Utopia”. The world has seen this before.
The History lesson about “Want-to-s” and their ability to kill millions. It has before, right here on North America.
I want to give an instructive quote (below) from a man you probably never heard of, Bernard DeVoto. His “The Course of Empire” (1951) dealt with the discovery and exploration of North America, beginning with the Spanish in the New World in the 1500’s, and how they caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands of native Americans, the enslavement of millions more, all because they changed the priorities of their stated mission, commissioned to Columbus in 1492 by Ferdinand and Isabella, from “explore, map, and baptize” to “But first, find gold”, all based entirely on “want-to’s” about “facts” that were at best low-end, 20%, and the Big One, a water passage to India, totally false.
After the fall of the Aztecs in 1521, facts and logic got left in the dirt.
Then, DeVoto followed with chapters on the French, who came to Canada a century later, in the 1600s, after Jamestown but before Plymouth. They too were searching for a water route across the continent, having been commissioned by the French king similarly as Columbus, “explore, map, and baptize”. And the St Lawrence River- Great Lakes looked a lot more promising for a Northwest Passage than anything the Spanish had found in Mexico and the American southwest (Coronado) and southeast (Desoto).
But like the Spanish the French also became smitten by their want-to’s, the money-bug, only not in gold, but in furs. And the French, being French, were able to indifferently cause the deaths of millions of Indians, even entire nations, without ever firing a shot, simply by inciting a century of warfare between the tribes to secure middlemen with the tribes who would actually trap the furs further to the west. (Classic globalist business deal, c1630. Classic French.) Even the French missionaries, the Jesuits, got into the cynicism game, when, in lamenting the death of the last of the Algonquins (several tribes) one black robe wrote that “by being baptized, at least they went to meet God.”
The French were far better at making maps of the region (they were closer to being right about the river systems) but in the end they turned Canada into a state-run business monopoly, where every free trapper who actually ran the risks and trapped beaver in the wilderness had to give the “state” 40% up-front just for the ability to sell those furs in comfortable “corporate” Montreal… the only place they could be sold.
The joke was on both, it seem, for in the end, there never was a “passage” across North America in the first place. In logic-speak it was “a faulty premise”, like modern Climate Science or Covid-19 mortality rates, where none of the actual statistics are known. And at what a cost! France and Spain hauled off bundles of wealth before their fatal “want-to’s” were exposed, but nary a lament for the native people who had died making that happen. The French would be run out of North America 50 years before Lewis and Clark (Americans) proved that the Passage didn’t exist. And another American, in the next century, Theodore Roosevelt, would build a canal crossing the isthmus of Panama making that “passage” a reality. (Word is the Chinese may build a new one.)
Both Spanish and French went to Discover, Explore and Map, and Baptize, in that order. Then, because of gold and furs, they adjusted their explorations to first seek wealth, taking millions of lives in the process. The rest was an afterthought.
The Spanish especially were like the Clark Griswold family, jumping in the family sedan in the east, then heading west to the California beaches, while everyone but Clark was glued to their Gameboys and cassette players, never once peeping up to notice the changing landscape; the wildlife, the great river they crossed in Tennessee, or the flat prairie and sandy flats of Oklahoma and Texas, then the desert of New Mexico and Arizona before finally crossing the Sierras down to Venice Beach and Disneyland.
Don’t be the Griswolds.
DeVoto described modern want-to thinking perfectly:
….”These ideas originated in experience, however incomplete or misunderstood the experience was, however logic distorted or fantasy enlarged it. In their mind’s innocence men could pass from ideas that has a little empirical fact in to ideas that had none without ever knowing they had crossed a line. (Me-Based on the flimsies fact) Logic, desire, and mendacity could invent geography that would influence thought and action (for centuries) quite as much as the real geography.”
This is how common sense works. First and foremost, it must be a product of our minds, not our hearts. Our hearts are set in the trim by a different path altogether. Common sense teaches us how to judge, not what to judge. You have perfect synchronicity when those two things work in harmony.
It takes practice, lots of practice. And it takes regular visits to “the closet” (Matt 6:6), which, when it was still taught in public schools, was called “critical thinking”, which is the same as “self-reflection’, from whence comes “Maybe I’m wrong here” or “Maybe I need to dig a little deeper.” Humility.
I don’t care how much you strut your “want-to” thought processes in front of your peers or blog audience, or Twitter followers. But if you strut your stuff in front of the mirror…you have a problem.
This was supposed to be a key strategic advantage we have over our Leftist opponents. That road to their closet was blocked generations ago.
As a military guy, why I bring this up now is that, now that the Left feels plucky enough, or perhaps merely fatalistic enough to try yet another mad dash toward our goal line, in hopes of finally bringing America down…every fight is portrayed as the Fight to End All Fights.
Someday it will.
I have certain closet beliefs which I revisit regularly. One is they cannot bring us down…except by convincing us to bring ourselves down…by thinking and acting exactly like they do.
Once we do that our vision of America-as-founded becomes an illusion.
Contact: VassarB@gmail.com Twitter: BushmillsVassar
Books: Famous Common People I Have Known and Other Essays
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