Stones are Hard, Water is Wet. Truisms are True

Stones are Hard, Water is Wet. Truisms are True, by Dystopic.

This quotation from Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four is a frequent citation on The Declination, for very good reasons:

The Party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command. His heart sank as he thought of the enormous power arrayed against him, the ease with which any Party intellectual would overthrow him in debate, the subtle arguments which he would not be able to understand, much less answer. And yet he was in the right! They were wrong and he was right. The obvious, the silly, and the true had got to be defended. Truisms are true, hold on to that! The solid world exists, its laws do not change. Stones are hard, water is wet, objects unsupported fall towards the earth’s centre. With the feeling that he was speaking to O’Brien, and also that he was setting forth an important axiom, he wrote:

Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows.

One of the harder lessons in life is understanding how little you know, and how small you are in the grand scheme of things. The Dunning-Kruger effect describes the great confidence utter morons often have in their conclusions, and the corresponding uncertainty possessed by those of more advanced intelligence. The idiot often has greater certainty than the skilled and talented.

This uncertainty is commendable in many ways. A man might remain mentally flexible, able to modify his opinions and beliefs as new information is revealed to him. But this uncertainty can also be cynically exploited. You can lob facts at a moron all day, and nothing will pierce the dense armor of stupidity that surrounds him. But you can do likewise with carefully-calculated lies and expert debating techniques, and convince a smarter man that lies are truth, and truths are lies. …

Now apply that to today’s media environment:

One thing became clear to me in the 2016 election. The enormous power arrayed against anyone with right-of-center views is too great to defeat in a framed debate. Questions were leaked to Hillary’s campaign, so as to give her an advantage. The media went from suspected bias to openly siding with Hillary’s campaign. Media collusion was revealed in the Podesta emails. The hatred of Trump was constant, the tears flowed from journalists live on television as Trump’s victory became certain. …

In a framed debate, the argument is seen only from the Leftist perspective.

Example — the huge welfare budget:

If we were to talk about welfare payments, the Left would demand that any Right-wing alternative should give even more to the poor. Otherwise, they say, you must hate the poor and want them to suffer.

When Milton Friedman proposed a negative income tax as a replacement for welfare, Leftists loved the idea… so long as it wasn’t actually a replacement for welfare. Negative income tax plus the welfare state was something they considered to be a great idea. Milton Friedman, of course, was advocating no such thing. He wanted the massive welfare bureaucracy to go away and be replaced with a more efficient system with less overhead.

Nobody can even discuss the opportunity cost of the welfare state. For instance, could we have colonized Mars with that money? Or perhaps could we have cured cancer with it? … It is entirely possible that America without the welfare state may have actually elevated the poor relative to their current position. But we’ll never know any of it. We can’t even discuss it without accusations of greed and hate being lobbed our direction.

Those questions cannot be asked in a Leftist frame. The welfare state is axiomatic. All that is allowed the discussion of how much more may be given to the poor, and where the money might come from….

Example — immigration:

Discussion of whether or not illegal immigrants should be permitted to stay, and which countries we deign to accept legal immigrants from, are not allowed in the Leftist frame.

All illegals must be given amnesty — citizenship would be most ideal — and as many immigrants from any country on Earth must be permitted to come to America. That is the Leftist frame. All that is open for discussion is how we can give them more money, more benefits, and how we can best elevate their lives. The lives of the existing citizenry are irrelevant. Nothing is allowed to be discussed, except how America can best give up its wealth to everyone else.

Government, media, entertainers, academics, and most of the gatekeepers, from HR departments to publishers all agree that no discussion that takes place outside of these bounds is to be permitted. The debate is framed this way, and so framed, it is nearly impossible to obtain victory. The argument essentially becomes a moral superiority contest within a narrow Overton window that is exclusively Leftist. …

Allowing Leftists to control the frame is not only stupid, but quite possibly suicidal. … If your entire country is rendered into a third world cesspit, as are all other first-world nations, where will you go?

Read it all.