Three degrees of separation

I enjoy reading my Liberal-Lefty friends’ Facebook posts because they are so insightful into the mindsets of the Left.

One insight that I have gained over time is that the differences between us conservatives and the Progressive/Left are so profound that they are unlikely to ever be bridged, barring some cataclysmic, life-changing events. What I have tried to do is understand why this is so. I share this with you because I greatly appreciate the insights that Bookworm group has to offer on such issues – be it “yay” or “nay”.

Our disagreements appear to come down to three levels of separation.

1) First, there are objective facts (OK, I am being deliberately redundant here). These are easy enough to resolve. Alvin Toffler’s Future Shock world has arrived: everybody is so overwhelmed with information that we can’t absorb and process all there is to know and we therefore choose our facts selectively.

As Ronald Reagan said, ““It isn’t so much that liberals are ignorant. It’s just that they know so many things that aren’t so.”

In discussions, factual disputes are easy enough to resolve: my typical response to Liberal /Lefties is simply tell them to “Google it”. Amazingly, many apparently don’t know that you can Google entire texts or sentences. A good example was the recent George Zimmerman trial…many people with whom I disagreed told me outright they were too busy to bother looking up facts. The Left operates on so many facts that just aren’t so.

2) The second level of separation involves our assumptions or premises. These are tougher to resolve, because we assume and presume events based on our past experiences. I suspect that we humans are hard-wired to build assumptions (true or false) as a defense mechanism: for example, my cave ancestors probably assumed that to allow a saber-tooth tiger to stand in their path was not a good thing and that such assumption is one reason why I stand here today.

We go through life building mental templates on how the world works in order to short-circuit decision making and evaluation. Otherwise, we would soon be overwhelmed with indecision. As long as our world templates work for us, we continue to hold onto them. Many formerly Liberals (e.g., David Horowitz, Bookworm) only became conservative when one or more events (e.g., 9/11) rendered their previously comfortable world views untenable. For me it was Reagan’s second term, when his policies led to the collapse of the Soviet Union and an economic resurgence. I, young man at the time, knew then that my Democrat world template had been very, very wrong.

I use the word “comfortable” deliberately, because our templates represent our comfort zones. Losing that comfort zone is terrifying. Imagine if all of a sudden nothing in the world made any sense to you; you would feel totally deracinated and quite possibly insane. You would also feel a deep sense of personal failure, as in “how in the world could I have been so deluded?”

And, the older you get, the more frightening that sense of loss, confusion and failure would be. So, the older we get, the more desperately we defend our mental templates, selecting and force-fitting “facts” to fit our own perceptions of reality. I believe this is where modern Liberalism and Progressivism are today (Google “Paul Krugman”). As Thomas Sowell put it, people of the Left expect the world to conform to their misperceptions. Eventually, however, reality hits like a 2 x 4 between the brow…as in “Detroit”.

I believe that this dynamic also explains the sheer viciousness expressed by many on the Left when the presumptions of their world templates are threatened (as by Sarah Palin or by black conservatives, for example). This is also the reason why I believe that world Islam will fail, because it doesn’t work and eventually people in Muslim worlds, aided by the internet, will eventually realize this (some of my Middle Eastern friends assure me that many already do). Reality is a harsh mistress.

This level of separation helps to explain why Liberals and Conservatives usually talk past each other. We try to rationalize our positions to each other, but our rationalizations only make sense if the other party shares the same assumptions and understandings of how the world works. We operate from completely different templates.

3) Faith. This the most difficult and potentially dangerous degree of separation, because it addresses fundamental values that are non-negotiable. Our “faith” defines how we perceive ourselves and our place in the world, irrespective of facts, logic and reason. I cannot, for example, “prove” the veracity of my Christian faith. Environmental extremists and atheists cannot “prove” the righteousness of their positions. We just “know” that what we believe to be true is true. There is no logical argument that I know of that can challenge faith-based values. Our values define who we are and how we perceive the world to be. Utopian fascist ideals (Progressivism, Nazism, communism, Islamism, etc.), for example, are defined by a faith in a future to come – they require no proof. Abortion is a similar issue of faith and values – there is no middle-of-the-road compromise if you believe abortion to be murder and that murder is wrong (a value proposition). Psychologists have claimed that only very powerful shocks to the system can challenge faith.

I have no dealing with the first degree of separation. I admit, however, that I am totally stumped on how to address (2) and (3). Any ideas?

Slouching into slavery

What the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) protestors don’t realize (yet) is that they have been suckered into becoming the agents of their own enslavement.

Orwell had it so right in defining the Left because he was a man of the Left. The term “Orwellian” now refers to the Left’s use of terms to mean the direct opposite of the intention of an idea or act (“war is peace”, for example). Orwell also noted the need for the State to invent enemies as a means of deflecting attention away from its own actions. It’s all about deflection away from true agendas.

Let me explain. Granted that the OWS movement is defined by many grievances, one underlying theme of  the OWS protests is the onerous debt assumed by students. I have sympathy for this because, as many commentators have already pointed out, these students were sold a bill of goods. The idea was that, whether qualified or motivated or not, kids could simply participate in the university experience, supported with “generous” (i.e., taxpayer-funded) government aid, and exit with a paper degree and guaranteed, high-paying job bereft of drudgery. This is the siren song that led to the inevitable crash upon the rocks of debt slavery.

Universities, those bastions of entitlement, have made out like bandits, taking the students money in exchange for worthless promises and worthless degrees. The government financed this process using “free” taxpayers’ monies and, in the end, developed a class of dependents that will spend the rest of their lives working their way out of indentured servitude at the behest their government masters (the Golden Rule is those that own the gold, rule!). For, as these students are slowly realizing, government debt and dependency is forever…there is no escaping their obligations.

It used to be that students could tap loans from private lending institutions that assumed the risk of a student borrower’s success or failure. If the student went bankrupt, the bank suffered. That is how capitalism and free markets should work. Not so with Liberal government. When the Obama administration took over these lending services, it took away failure as an option. Today, neither students nor their parents can escape their student debt obligations and the total student debt outstanding has been estimated to approach $1.0 trillion.

Many of these OWS students are now answerable to their government masters for the foreseeable future and during their most formative years… a period when they should be free to work toward satisfying careers, saving to purchase their own homes, preparing to raise families and, eventually, achieving financial independence. Instead, as long as the government holds their debt, it can now dictate how these students will lead their lives in service to their government’s regime goals (as in, “we will forgive x-amount of your debt if you “agree” to work in only certain prescribed professions or government-approved public works programs under certain given conditions dictated by us, your master) Or, let’s try the Chicago Way: “as long as we hold your debt, you will only believe certain things, work for certain causes, and vote in certain ways” . Their indentured servitude has taken away their freedom to think, to act and to build their own futures. Even more sadly, for many of these students, their expensive college educations amounted to little more than indoctrination whereby to accept these circumstances as a good thing: witness the large number whose goal in life is simply to work for “non-profits”.

The especially egregious aspect of this is that it is poorer students that have so been hooked into government dependency. But then, that has pretty much been par for the course for Liberal government, hasn’t it? Government did this before, with poor blacks and the War on Poverty. Government programs enslave the poor through indentured dependency.  Rich or talented kids don’t have to worry about this: they have parents, scholarships or trust funds to ensure that they never become indentured government debt pawns. The especially pathetic part of these events is that these indebted students and graduates have been led to believe, through Orwellian deflection, that the agents of their servitude are banks, conservatism, political and economic liberty, and capitalism – the very agents that could yet free them – rather than the government and academia that shackled them.

I suspect that, deep down in their hearts, many of the OWS protestors are slowly coming to realize their predicament. They’ve been had. Eventually, I expect, they will come to learn the truth about their servitude. I hope that they will still have the strength to resist.

I think that it is safe to say that slavery, not democracy, has been a defining condition for the great majority of human history. This may not be a point stressed in the Orwellian halls of academia that groomed this new government slave class at these students’ own expense, but it is a historical truism, none the less. It would truly be sad if what we are observing at the various OWS rallies around the country and world is simply an age-old historical evil reasserting itself in modern drag. What we are now seeing as the product of the college experience is the emergence of two classes: a wealthy, highly educated ruling class and a subservient, dependent, servant class that got suckered into paying the Liberal/Left ruling class to deprive it of intellectual and economic choices under the Orwellian guise of “freedom”. The Liberal/Left has done a bang-up job of severely crippling a generation of our children. I would be hard-pressed to conceive of  a more gross corruption of the American ideal.

I hope that I am wrong. What do you think?

 

The Bookworm Turns — an e-book with collected posts from the Bookworm Room

I started blogging in 2004, right before the election, and was hooked.  After years of churning out legal briefs, it was an endless pleasure to write about politics, pop culture, education, social issues, national security, the media, and whatever else caught my attention.  It was wonderful, too, to develop a new writing style, one that allowed me a type of word play and wit denied the legal writer.

My first year’s posts were not memorable.  Over the years, though, after writing about 9,000 posts, ranging from minimalist (“Hey, check this out!”) to lengthily analytical, I had polished my writing, deepened my knowledge base, and sharpened my analytical abilities.  By 2007, I really started to find my voice as a conservative writer and social observer.

As I’ve often told my readers, I will blog no matter what.  It’s a compulsion and, fortunately, a pleasure too.  However, the challenge to try something bigger and more tightly organized than daily posts (which appear in random order as the news cycle demands or as my fancy strikes me) was too strong to resist.  Last summer, I started going through my old posts, culling wheat from chaff.  There was an awful lot of chaff but, thankfully, there was a fair amount of wheat too.

Eventually, I ended up with a few dozen of my favorite posts covering a broad range of topics:  The family history that shaped me; my thoughts about Big Government (I’m against it); the intellectual dishonesty of the Left; my problems with modern American public education (something separate from the good will of most teachers); my strong support for Israel, because I am a Jew, because she is a moral, democratic country, and because she is a staunch American ally; my deep dislike for Obama; observations about pop culture and the media; my strong support and admiration for our military; and several more topics, both profound and mundane.

I ended up with a book that runs about 100,000 words.  If you had it in hard copy, it would be uncomfortable to carry around.  Since this is an e-book, though, transportation is not an issue.  Additionally, because it’s comprised of a series of essays, you can dip in and out of it at will.  In other words, you get a lot of bang for your buck (or, rather, your $4,99), with minimal inconvenience.

You can buy my e-book, The Bookworm Turns : A Secret Conservative in Liberal Land, at either Amazon or at Smashwords.  If you want to buy through Amazon, don’t worry if you don’t have a Kindle.  You can easily download Kindle apps for smart phones, iPads, PCs or Macs.  Smashwords offers even more options for e-books, so check it out.  Also, if you’re opposed to buying a pig in a poke, both Amazon and Smashwords allow you to preview about 20% of the book before you make up your mind whether to buy.

***

Here’s what people have been saying about my writing:

“Bookworm has become one of my favorite bloggers. She lives in California and writes on intellectual and domestic political issues, always with a fresh angle.”  — Barry Rubin

“Reading Bookworm’s essays is like intellectual chocolate – highly addicting, except it expands your mind instead of your waistline!” –  JoshuaPundit

“I’ve been a follower of Bookworm for years and am reading the book now.  Her writing is thoughtful, smart, and always entertaining.”  — Right Truth

“One of the best blogs out there is the Bookworm Room – no question. Trust me on this one – I have seen hundreds, maybe thousands come and go since I came online in 2001. I became friends with Bookie in an online forum years ago and I have voraciously read her posts at every opportunity. Witty, intelligent, reflective and often touching, her writings are what we all aspire to accomplish – a connection with others out there and a gift that we wield to express our thoughts in a manner that encourages others to do the same.  [snip]  Bookie has just put together an e-book on her posts that have occurred over time. It is some of the best writing you will ever read. Riveting and compelling, it is absolutely addictive.”  — Noisy Room

“I’ve been reading the Bookworm’s blog almost since she started. Her work is passionate, thoughtful, principled, and (at times) funny. She is an excellent writer – no big surprise as she does it for a living.”  — E. Aagaard

“I just purchased your book. I haven’t been able to put it down since downloading it last night. *** Thank you for such thoughtful, passionate and elegant writing, and for putting it out there in book form.” — Another secret conservative living in the deep blue.

“Yes, I’m 12% in already, have highlighted several passages, and am thoroughly enjoying it.  Woo-hoo!”  — elc

“Bookie is a friend but that’s not why I am recommending this read. I am recommending it because it is an interesting look into the world of a San Francisco Liberal who found conservative values.  That is exceptional enough to deserve your attention.”  — Pierre’s Pink Flamingo Bar

“I got it and I am enjoying reading it very much!  Congratulations!”  — D Wheeler

“I am working my way through my Kindle copy and savoring every word. Very entertaining and easy read with great personal narratives. It entertains, illuminates and instructs but does not hector.  I shall put this on my Christmas list for my Lefty friends.”  – Danny Lemieux

“I am reading Bookworm’s book on my Kindle, it’s not only intellectually exciting, but relevant to today’s news!! And at only $4.99, priceless!!! Get it!!”  – Anonymous

Cross-posted at Right Wing News

“The Bookworm Turns: A Secret Conservative in Liberal Land”

For those of you who have wandered over from other sites that have promoted my book, welcome!  If you troll around here, you’ll get a sense of my writing style and world view.  If you’re interested in the book, there are a few ways to get it.

First, there’s Amazon.  Even if you don’t have a Kindle, Amazon has apps for Smart phones, iPads, PCs and Macs, so you can download it and read it using a variety of hardware.

Second, I’ve published the book to Smashwords, which supports even more formats, including providing a pdf format for easy printing (although I warn you that you’ll end up using a lot of ink and paper).

In any event, if you do end up buying and reading the book, I hope you enjoy it.  And if you enjoy it, I hope you leave a review at either Amazon or Smashwords.

Alternative ways for the non-Kindle crowd to get my book

Many of you have said that you don’t have Kindles, something I certainly understand.  It’s an expensive luxury (altho’ it is something of a necessity for the compulsive readers among us, the ones who will read cereal boxes rather than read nothing at all).  If you have a smart phone, a PC or a Mac, you can still download Kindle apps, but even that may not be a comfortable fit for you.

Just FYI, I’ve also published my book — The Bookworm Turns: A Secret Conservative in Liberal Land — at Smashwords, which makes it available in multiple formats, including straightforward pdf.  If alternative formats are what you prefer, check things out here.