Perception Of Reality--Or Lack Of It

November, 2010 Feature--Truth Based Logic

Human reality involves a vast array of dynamic, constantly interacting, factors. Failure to recognize essential aspects of the human condition, in this context, indicates a dangerously flawed perception.

Fighting the Left in all its pretensions, manifestations, guises & promotions, since the age of 15, we have usually focused on the folly of proposals, the compulsion behind them, the ignorance of proponents on particular subjects or the likely consequences of their success. Yet the true ideologues--"true believers"--are few & far between. The vast majority of those who accept Egalitarian, Collectivist Humanist or Socialist dogma, are neither stupid nor truly evil; may not exhibit a full measure of egalitarian compulsion, nor be even representative of those we have described as "Mipips" (Marxist influenced pseudo-intellectual poseurs). Some of the attraction to varied manifestations of post Jacobin, Marxist or totalitarian collectivist, ideology over the past Century (e.g. the Fabian, Bolshevik, Nazi & contemporary American variations) may be attributed to declining quality in the verbal arts, seen in Academic & Media quackery.

This, whether reflected in 'politically correct' taboos or class envy & demonization, stimulates anything but serious thought or analysis. On certain issues, it completely suppresses them. But this, too, is only a partial explanation. Why do so many, even some with average or above average intelligence, continue, year after year, to blindly accept absurd--easily disproven--shibboleths of the Left?

An Experience Based Analysis

Serious study of any aspect of the human condition must start with recognition that human reality involves the interaction of a vast array of dynamic, constantly fluctuating, factors. Failure to recognize essential aspects of the human condition, in this context, may indicate a dangerously flawed perception. Our hypothesis here, that many who advocate forced Egalitarian & Collectivist "solutions" to perceived "problems" suffer from such flawed perception, is based upon personal experience over many decades of intellectual confrontation. We do not want to embarrass the less able, but to assist Conservatives in understanding a serious, real, problem in the communication of ideas for the formulation of policy.

As a College Freshman, we were struck by what seemed a lack of intellectual discipline among campus "Liberals" (in the Mipip sense). There was a clear pattern to their arguments, whatever the subject. They were never grounded on demonstrable premises; rather on cloudborne wish lists. They would legislate against things they did not like, yet never perceived a need to answer basic questions, such as we posed in our May, 2009 Feature (below) and in other essays on applying a Socratic challenge to the Left's misuse of the term "Social Justice." But that was only one small point of light on a far deeper problem. So too, a gradual realization that modern "Liberals" (the almost perfect antithesis to the 18th & 19th Century versions, despite endless banter on the subject) were not about advancing individual freedom, but sought to suppress it in favor of new group rights & entitlements, in response to perceived problems, whether real or imagined. Yet that is not our point here.

The phenomena, observed, reflected a "Liberal" or Mipip failure to recognize the context of their own ideas. As the years passed, it became clearer that many on the Left saw "problems," against which they inveighed, as a collection of "still life" pictures. They felt no need to address a vast array of factors (and variables) that might have led to each "problem," or which might flow from their proposals (the mislabeled, but readily predictable, "unintended consequences"); or even a need to explain how a Government, such as ours, with once carefully defined functions & only delegated powers, had any authority to inflict such proposals on anyone.

We have encountered many examples of such apparent perceptual deficits, over the years. The Egalitarian effort to level human society--the absurd pretense that everyone has equal potential to be anything under consideration--is a prime case. Consider some of the more obvious phenomena, within the common observation of almost every sentient human, yet somehow never in the thought processes of those who seek to force a make believe egalitarian order on the nations of the earth:

Who ever sat in a classroom with any other student--save his or her identical twin--who had the same complex of aptitudes, strengths, weaknesses or propensities, as the subject student? There is no one reading this who does not have within his own ken, sufficient experience to absolutely repudiate the notion of true human equality--of the interchangeability of people, of a potential for equal achievement, a common rate of progress, even of common social attributes, tastes or aspirations. Why, then, general silence over self-defeating but idiotic programs, by which remote Federal power interferes with class room procedures in every local school district, under the pretense that no child must be "left behind?"

Consider the lack of perception of biological, as well as human psychological, reality in a Feminism that treats men & women as competing interest groups; indeed, which focuses on competition in areas--such as the military--where women are at a distinct biological disadvantage, yet ignores functions where feminine traits are most essential! (See Chapter 8, of the Conservative Debate Handbook, below.) Or consider the arbitrary distinction that Mipips make between a child just born & the same child minutes before, in order to justify legalized killing. Anyone able to recognize the context of procreation will understand that it is the same baby before and after it emerges from the mother; that its place in the womb is an essential element to its being before that birth; that it has a distinct personality & temperament, quite evident in its prenatal behavior. Calling it a "fetus" rather than a baby changes no part of its nature; playing arbitrary word games brings nothing real to the argument over abortion.

There are primitive peoples who condone infanticide. While we do not believe abortion should be legal, we can not deny that some may disagree. But the argument that American Mipips make, only demonstrates perceptual deficits. Moreover, while they claim to believe in equality between the sexes--whatever that is supposed to mean (as all new life flows from the profound differences)--the present status of Abortion creates an extreme matriarchy, where only the female parent has life or death authority over the infant progeny. That there is almost no discussion on the Left of this facet, again speaks to a perceptual deficit.

How Different People Perceive Reality

That most of our contemporary political leadership exhibit perceptual deficits, can hardly be denied. The recent frenzy for economic gimmickry in America is a very clear demonstration. What works best in the economic affairs of nations may be seen in the economic history of nations. It is also what analysis of the context of economic decision making should predict. But let us tighten the focus.

The economy of a major power, today, may be far more complex than in earlier eras; this does not alter economic fundamentals, nor inherent personality factors in the participants. If anything, explosions in population, job categories & types of enterprise, make it ever more imperative that one understand, recognize--perceive--the realities of human nature; the "whats," "wheres," "hows" & "whys," of human action.

There is no mystery what works best in the affairs of Man. While acknowledging that incidence of particular personality traits may vary widely from one race, nation, tribe or subset, to another; it is that social order which makes each participant personally responsible for his own affairs--his progress or lack of it--that brings out the best in virtually every group. This is supported by all collateral experience. Have you not observed, in families within your own community, the better progress of children systematically taught to assume responsibility, with regular chores within their developing level of competence at each age, as compared with those spoiled by over-indulgent or posturing parents? Or considered the traditionally low Swiss crime rate, where a system, advocated by George Washington for America, trained its armed youth with a sense of responsibility for the safety of the Nation. In every situation, there is benefit to making each individual, in each generation, personally responsible--and, of course, accountable.

But one does not have to extrapolate from familiar analogies. The America of the Founders, until virtually aborted by the modern "Welfare State," gave Americans the highest standard of living on earth. And while that may be attributed in part to exceptional characteristics in the original settlers, the economic principles employed were put to successive tests, as immigration from many nations followed Independence; the emigrants from each tending clearly to out perform their ethnic cousins who remained behind. It was not that we did not have major recessions; but a resilient people adapted & quickly bounced back, until a now over-reaching Government, under Hoover & Roosevelt, made quick adaptation impossible. Almost no one in a policy making role in Washington, today, perceives why America once worked so well; nor why a repeated invocation of Keynesian quackery, since 1930, may be destroying our future.

The framers of our written Constitution had a clear perception of economic reality. The tragedy, over the past eighty or so years, is that those entrusted with carrying their vision forward, are intellectually myopic. They do not see the whole picture. Suffering from the perceptual deficit under discussion; seeing economic life as a series of still pictures, where only part of the contextual dynamic is observed--that which offends their notions of what should be;--they fail to notice the wonderful symmetry of the Constitution with respect to an intention to unleash the economic potential of a free people. Yet there is no mystery in that intent or its execution!

The Federal Government was given only limited--yet very specific functions. The States were only limited in a few, very specific, instances. With respect to economic factors, Federal delegations were all directed towards creating a predictable environment, where an enterprising American could rely on stable parameters, uniform weights & measures, sound money, uniform rules as to Bankruptcy, etc.; while States were forbidden to make anything but gold or silver a medium for the discharge of debt or from interfering with the obligation of contracts. Basically the goal was a predictable absence of Governmental impediments to private initiative--maximum individual involvement in economic decision making--against a legal background, which sanctified the integrity of honest private dealings.

It worked so well, up until World War I, America was the envy of the world. Moreover, the stable dollar encouraged saving, the building of provident reserves, so that American families could manage the inevitable cyclical downturns, drawing on resources accumulated during times of plenty; applying lessons of the wise & frugal since the days of Joseph in Genesis.

Blind to the dynamics that actually work in human affairs; reacting with myopic self-righteous folly to economic problems, seen wholly outside the broader context, while citing the famous economic charlatan John Maynard Keynes (see below); those suffering from a perceptual deficit have not only prolonged every crisis by undermining a predictability needed for recovery. By focusing on stimulating blind "consumption," rather than provident utilization of resources; by encouraging a dependent, rather than a responsible mindset; by undermining our currency--now down over 97% (!) since the start of World War II and 98.5% since 1932;--they have discouraged new saving, while wiping out an enormous segment of the accumulated capital of the American posterity. As myopic policies also encourage improvident behavior, leading to new crises, we careen towards the catastrophic.

When confronted with such reality, a typical mipip--whether or not suffering from such a perceptual deficit--will change the subject by expressing concern for the truly needy, for those who do not have accumulated reserves nor the ability to accumulate reserves. Yet here again, perception may be flawed. To understand what sort of "safety net" works best in a compassionate social order, one must turn again to human experience. Contrast the discussion of the problem in Jefferson's Notes On The State Of Virginia, quoted in Chapter 1 of the Conservative Debate Handbook (below), with experience in contemporary America. When the answer was locally directed Charity--whether Church connected as described by Jefferson, or later run by County agencies--it was far easier to screen prospective recipients to determine who was actually needy, and who simply seeking to take advantage; to maintain, rather than destroy, traditional incentives for constructive, rather than destructive, individual behavior.

Jefferson observed that the system worked so well, that one could go from Portsmouth (New Hampshire) to Savannah (Georgia) and never encounter a native American begging. Go to any major American city, today; walk a few blocks through the center of town and contrast the results of Federal involvement. Or look at what has happened to the rate of illegitimacy, since the Federal Government decided to subsidize a breakdown of the family. No matter where you look, if you understand context--the forest rather than the bark on individual trees--you will get the same answer.

William Flax

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