Sunday, July 09, 2006

Too Stupid to Know . . . .

. . . . when people are trying to kill you, part IV. Today's TSTK (too stupid to know) installment is inspired by the May-June 2006 message from Dan Simmons. The current message goes into more detail to clarify the April 2006 message from Simmons, which I posted on here. If you have not read the April message, be sure to do so before proceeding to the May-June message.

As I mentioned in TSTK part II, a lot of people reflexively reacted against the warning from Simmons' time traveler guest. Rather than thinking the issues through, they allowed their viscera to determine their instinctive response--probably without even reading the entire essay. This is typical of the denial response that one sees in people who have adopted a rigidly fixed view of the world based upon old notions learned "once upon a time." This type of person is generally not flexible enough in viewpoint to digest conflicting and contradictory information, nor can he integrate new information easily into his worldview that does not smoothly fit into pre-existing concepts.

For more open-minded individuals, Simmons' recent message is rich with references and supporting quotations:

Books commented on in this essay include—The Peloponnesian War by Donald Kagan, The Book of War: 25 Centuries of Great War Writing edited by John Keegan, While Europe Slept: How Radical Islam Is Destroying the West from Within by Bruce Bawer, The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of the World Order by Samuel P. Huntington, Civilization and Its Enemies: The Next Stage of History by Lee Harris, The Shield of Achilles: War, Peace, and the Course of History by Philip Bobbit, and Replay by Ken Grimwood

Go to Simmons' message, and carefully read through the logic. It is one thing to understand an argument and to possess a reasonable counter-argument. It is quite another--and very infantile--to simply stop reading in the middle and state categorically "this is bullshit", when you have not even read the entire piece, nor understood the foundations of the argument.

This is why the news media is such a poor guide to modern realities: most of the practitioners of media are incapable of incorporating real world level contradiction into a report. Journalists and columnists almost invariably simplify and dumb down their reports to match the world view and meet with the approval of their peers in the media club. The members of that club, as well as a large proportion of the public who take media club reports seriously, are too stupid to know . . . .

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