Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Dopey David Brooks

So, here we have it. Dopey David Brooks, a man who pretends to know how to think and to write, has chosen to lecture us.

From his lofty space on the New York Times op-ed page, Brooks tries, yet again, to show us that he cannot think straight. Given that the New York Times has become a propaganda arm of the Democratic Party and given that the mainstream media and tech oligarchs have been pounding the American mind with non-stop leftist propaganda, Dopey Dave blames it all on Donald Trump.

A mind is a terrible thing to waste, but that presumes that Dopey Dave has a mind, at all. 

For instance, today’s leftist commentariat assumes that any female, for example, who decides that she is male is in fact male. If you disagree, you are a bigot. If you believe that changing your mind can change your gender, you should never, ever use the word-- science.

For his part, Brooks skirts the transgender perplex and declares that anyone who denies the reality of climate change is an ignorant rube. Of course, the issue has nothing to do with accepting or denying climate change. The issue is whether man-made pollutants and non-pollutants, like carbon dioxide, are causing it. Richard Lindzen, formerly head of the climate science lab at MIT thinks that the climate change hysteria is overblown. 

Who do you believe, Richard Lindzen or Dopey Dave? And of course, all predictions about the future course of climate change are precisely that-- predictions. Or, if you prefer, hypotheses. Or better yet, prophecies. 

Now, our thought police will insist that you take these predictions, hypotheses and prophecies as scientific fact. They are not. Yet, the right thinking journalists at the Times think so. If you do not accept their dogmatic groupthink you are an ignorant rube from flyover country.

Lest we forget, the Times has long since stopped pretending that there is a barrier between news reporting and opinion. 

Accepting a commonly accepted opinion because you have reasoned it out is one thing. Accepting an opinion because you fear opprobrium is quite something else. Knowing the truth about today’s weather is not the same as pretending to possess higher wisdom about the weather a century from now.

Dopey Dave seems, in his column, to have discovered a new big word: epistemology. He talks about the epistemic regime, a concept he borrowed from someone else. Philosophically, epistemology involves how we know, how gain knowledge. It distinguishes between observing objects in the world, knowing scientific facts, knowing basic concepts, like redness or roundness, and knowing big ideals, like truth and justice. It is a complicated field, to which Dopey Dave adds nothing.

He does confuse fact with opinion and to happily follow those thinkers who  believe that it is all settled, that differences of opinion need not be allowed. At a time when radical forces in our society are shutting down speech and when they are working overtime to rewrite American history, to make it resemble their prejudices, Brooks attacks Trump for calling out the Times and other media outlets for purveying fake news.,

Consider that The New York Times has been hawking an inaccurate account of the founding of the American Republic, called the 1619 Project, an absurd historical distortion, one that has been rejected by all serious historians, that claims that America is all about racism and about nothing but racism.

About this Brooks has nothing to say, except perhaps the implication that it’s all the fault of Donald Trump. Considering how much distortion and falsehood the left has been peddling, you would think that even the most pathetic journalistic hack, like Dopey Dave, would introduce some balance into his reverie. But no, the fault lies with Donald Trump.

Being of somewhat feeble intellect, Dopey Dave latches on to a theory about how our philosopher kings determine what is and is not real. If you think that your mind or their minds determine whether or not the ashtray is on the table, you need some serious retraining. They might form an agreement about what is true and false, but that is not quite the same thing as knowing what is real. And we also know that people have at times believed, on the best scientific grounds, in truths that have turned out to be false. Think of the flat earth society.

Apparently, Dopey Dave and his friend Jonathan Rauch want to control minds. They are so generous that they allow other opinions to be expressed but they do not allow those who hold them to teach in universities, to write textbooks or even to work for the New York Times.

Of course, this reminds us that many American schools and colleges use a textbook written by one Howard Zinn, which is radical leftist, America-hating propaganda. The only ideas that are currently under assault involve American greatness and patriotism.

Dopey Dave writes:

Rauch pointed out that every society has an epistemic regime, a marketplace of ideas where people collectively hammer out what’s real. In democratic, nontheocratic societies, this regime is a decentralized ecosystem of academics, clergy members, teachers, journalists and others who disagree about a lot but agree on a shared system of rules for weighing evidence and building knowledge.

This ecosystem, Rauch wrote, operates as a funnel. It allows a wide volume of ideas to get floated, but only a narrow group of ideas survives collective scrutiny.

“We let alt-truth talk,” Rauch said, “but we don’t let it write textbooks, receive tenure, bypass peer review, set the research agenda, dominate the front pages, give expert testimony or dictate the flow of public dollars.”

This has led to a situation where you have to accept the prevailing dogmas about cultural politics if you want to teach in an American university. This did not happen because of a scientific experiment. It was not the result of a deliberative debate. It happened because leftist radicals took over humanities and social science departments in universities and drove everyone who disagreed out.

So, we arrive at a situation where neo-Marxist nonsense has been declared to be objective fact in American universities. Do not diminish your already limited mental capacity by saying that this has anything to do with collective scrutiny.

In truth, and in point of fact, scientific knowledge is determined by experiments. Other scientists will try to replicate the experimental results, but surely, this is different from imposing Marxist ideology on American children.

Of course, the phenomenon of Donald Trump is a direct challenge to the entrenched power of these self-proclaimed philosopher kings. And yet, the left has not been of one mind on Trump. A number of serious leftist thinkers have risen up and declared that the assault on Donald Trump has been a national disgrace. 

Dopey Dave does not notice that the Russian collusion madness and the ginned-up impeachment charges deviate significantly from standards of objective judgment. But, liberals like Steven Cohen, Aaron Mate, Glenn Greenwald, Matt Taibbi,  Alan Dershowitz and Jonathan Turley saw it clearly and said so at the time. Now that the facts are established clearly, Dopey Dave still does not believe them.

So, Dopey Dave quotes a Harvard professor to buttress his belief system:

As Cass Sunstein of Harvard Law School points out, they provide liberation: If I imagine my foes are completely malevolent, then I can use any tactic I want.

Anyone who has a minimal sense of reality will immediately recognize that this phrase applies perfectly to the anti-Trump resistance. This group declared itself to be a disloyal opposition before Trump had done anything.

Who among them, whether the editors of the Times or the thought leaders of the American academy has not believed that Donald Trump is completely malevolent and that any tactic to defeat and destroy him goes. Make up news. Defame and slander him or anyone associated with him. Destroy the careers of senior military officers like Michael Flynn. Destroy a man like Brett Kavanaugh. 

Didn’t Sunstein’s colleague, Laurence Tribe, declare that Donald Trump is the Devil Incarnate? Surely, in that context, you can use any tactic, you can lie and cheat all you want, you can become Adam Schiff, because anything goes in your effort to destroy him.


370H55V said...

But why stop there? The sham investigation into selling presidential pardons is but the first salvo in the post-presidential persecution of Donald Trump, who after all, had the temerity to beat Hillary.

trigger warning said...

At risk of being accused of Dr Johnson's allegedly fallacious (argumentum ad lapidem) rejoinder to Bishop Berkeley's ridiculous epistemological claims, I believe the epistemological arguments of the modern Lysenkoists and racialists, i.e., the "decentralized ecosystem of academics, clergy, etc etc" collective, are even more ridiculous, even to the point of being downright bizarre (cf., transgenderism). Kicking the NYT's favorite academic/journalist, Paul Krugman:

2017: "At this point we do not have a legitimate President..."


2020: "[Joe Biden] will be the first president trying to govern in the face of an opposition that refuses to accept his legitimacy..."

Quoting Dr Johnson, "I refute it THUS", Mr Rausch (despite the Times' puerile attempt to stealth edit Krugman's 2017 comment - the internet never forgets).

In my view, serious theorists review and adjust the tenets of their theories when faced with disagreement by reality. An ideologue, on the other hand, begins mounting a more spirited, usually ad hominem / tu quoque, defense of the theory.

Sam L. said...

"From his lofty space on the New York Times op-ed page, Brooks tries, yet again, to show us that he cannot think straight. Given that the New York Times has become a propaganda arm of the Democratic Party and given that the mainstream media and tech oligarchs have been pounding the American mind with non-stop leftist propaganda, Dopey Dave blames it all on Donald Trump." It's not just him and the NYT, it's whole media gang! They hate, Hate, HATE Mr. Trump, those who voted for him, and everyone who only contemplated voting for him.

Ah, Paullie "The Beard" Krugman! Ya can't find anyone wronger than him, tw!