Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Lies and damned lies

For the average honest, well-intentioned citizen who takes his duties in life seriously and tries to be responsible at work and in the raising of their families, it has to be difficult to grasp this nettle: when you tune into the news, when you open the newspaper, when you read a book, chances are you are being lied to. Notice I didn't say that what you read or see is merely wrong. No. I mean you have been deliberately lied to. It is so pervasive that once the realization hits you a feeling of disorientation causes feelings of vertigo. The mind reels. It's unbelievable, you don't want to believe it. You ask yourself if everything is a lie.
When you think about it, there isn't very much we know about the world from our own personal knowledge so we are accustomed to obtaining knowledge beyond our own personal experience through the reports of others. This type of knowledge may be of things that happened in the past or in some corner of the globe about which we know little or about what takes place in the circles of power. Very few people have personal access to this kind of knowledge. In many parts of the world, and for most societies down through history, the flow of knowledge was deliberately restricted by the ruling powers. They didn't want the little people to know anything. They wanted people to believe what the rulers wanted them to believe.
It's only been for about two hundred years that the idea of a free press began to take hold, and only in a few places. And only in the new American republic was the idea enshrined in the foundational law of the land and deemed essential to the flourishing of the democratic institutions the founders wished to establish.
As this new-fangled idea spread (in fits and starts) it took hold mainly in countries with a European heritage, most particularly those with an Anglo-Saxon heritage. And so in Canada we like to pride ourselves on a free press. That press is free to criticize the government if it wants, unlike in Soviet Russia where the press printed what it was told to print. Why, then does that free press of ours lie to us? Don't they like being free?
Unfortunately, I can't read minds so I can't answer the last two questions. Well then, you might ask how it's possible to know the truth of a matter. That's pretty tough, but the more you know, the better chance you have of separating the truth from the dross. Secondly, you have to learn how to spot logical fallacies. Since it is now an article of faith that one should trust ones feelings above all else, logic is no longer taught in school. Feelings are important but not always reliable. When I see a big slice of chocolate cake my feelings say eat, enjoy but my logical faculty reminds me that I am already overweight and therefore I should not give in to my feelings in this case. On the other hand, if I hear of a child being abused I experience feelings of outrage. These feelings are entirely appropriate. One of the signs that you are being had by a news writer is when he makes an appeal to your feelings. Thus, when socialistically inclined politicians and propagandists wish to tighten their grip on your wallet they will invariably try to make you feel guilty about something. They do this by trotting out some poor or sick individual and using him as a prop. "This is your fault," they say, "unless you give us more money for new government program xyz.."
So here's a little test. What is the oldest Canadian social program? If you answered the Department of Indian Affairs you would be absolutely correct. How has that worked out? Well, it just so happens that I have had occasion to visit some of the Indian Reserves around Victoria, and I will tell you that I know from my own direct personal knowledge that if you want to find a slum around here, that's where you want to go. The squalor is unbelievable. And this, logic tells me, as it would any person of normal intelligence, is a direct result of government trying to do something it cannot do, of sociologists, anthropologists, and other academic types using natives to conduct their experiments on, and of opportunists spotting a chance to make a few bucks.
I cite the squalor on Indian reserves, but examples abound. Let's get this straight. Government programs don't solve poverty, they create it. They have to- in order for the bureaucrats to perpetuate themselves and continue to collect their pay checks and pensions. They depend on suffering for their livelihood. It's a system that really stinks, and if there were any real reporters in Canada it would be a well known fact.
But I hadn't meant to get started on the fallacy of the welfare state. I meant this to be my post on the Victoria Street Newz, but it will have to serve as a preface instead. The Street Newz is so full of garbage that I'll have to save it for later. Actually, that's the best thing about it. Unlike the mainstream media, which spins its stories in fairly sophisticated ways, always preserving a patina of respectability, the Street Newz is blatantly crude and stupid.

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