Conflation Confirmation Conflagration

Nobody asked but …

Conflation is running amock these days.  People are actually making important decisions because certain things are viewed as Republican, Democrat, conservative, liberal, patriotic, religious, lawful, or criminal.

It is critical in this complex world that each person take in as much information as needed, in the most effective way, to make thoughtful decisions.  We should practice Ockham’s Razor whenever we sift facts, fictions, and factoids.  Ockham’s Razor, you may recall, is an admonition not to overstir the pot.  Reject overwrought accounts.  Just think.  Almost all of the information crucial to our physical or social health comes through news media, social media, politicians, bureaucrats, hidebound professional associations — none of whom know of what they speak, passing along only hearsay.  It is cacophony.  Can you keep your head when all around you are losing theirs?

There are traits that do not serve humans well as a rational species:

  • Conflation,
  • Confirmation, and
  • Conflagration.

Conflation is putting ideas together that should be sorted apart, first, before looking for specious connections.  An example would be to make some ideas congruent merely because they arose together.

Of course conflation goes hand-in-hand with confirmation.  We tend to conflate ideas that confirm our pre-conceived notions.

When we have thoroughly burdened any chance at truth, we start dropping bombs.  Presto!  Conflagration.

— Kilgore Forelle

 

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The Disintegration of Well-Meant Collectives

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Not to oversimplify, but most movements start with a gathering of well-meaning individuals.

I look at the Tea Party, started innocently by Ron Paul and his followers, in the middle of the warmonger regime of George W. Bush (how are those wars going for us now?)  Well, the Tea Party was ruined by interlopers, wolves in tea party clothing.

Look at the police.  Spoiled by those who game the system, turn off the body cams, learn to push the limits of qualified immunity, exploit their union membership.

See the workarounds, see how the so-called champions of the little persons turn on them when the least bit of power is within reach.

— Kilgore Forelle

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Got Your Divide, Got Your Conquer

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There’s a popular behavior that consists of dividing everything in two parts.  All people are of two kinds — those who like this behavior, and those who don’t.

First those of ill-will tell us we must choose (why must we, btw?).  There are two occasion: being judicious, sometimes it is wise to make a binary choice, and sometimes not.

Last week I saw a statistical graphic on Facebook.  It was underlabeled and overinterpreted.  Mislabeling purported that it was a showing of dramatically different rates of Coronavirus cases by Red vs Blue political districts.  But how did the pollster determine which territory leaned which way?  How many voters were in each district?  At what level were the offices determined — local, state, federal?  What had been long term results of voting, or short term?  What had been long and short term effects of gerrymandering?

The graphic simply did not say, but complicated division was going on nonetheless — there was division between those who understood statistics and those who did not.  There was division between those who understood graphic representation and those who did not.  There was division among those who sought confirmation and those who sought information.

But why do we allow this kind of labeling?  Those among us who are cogent realize that this is knee-jerk divisiveness that is second nature to politicos.

Now we have at least 4 wedges at work, coronavirus, government response to a pandemic (real or supposed), police brutality, and protest.  Each of these wedges are in the process of spinning off new wedges, as I write.

But considering only the 4, that gives us the potential for 16 groups of sentiment composition (2^4).  But journalism keeps drumming up new wedges which are surreptitiously ideated by courtiers in the oligarchy.  The more division, the smaller are groups to be conquered.  The more division, the exponentially more groups of minorities.

— Kilgore Forelle

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Things I’ve Learned in the New Normal

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Some of the things I’ve learned in this iteration of “Normal:”

  • Everyday is a new normal.  Not only are you a unique individual, but you are a different instantiation of that unique individual every moment.
  • A good friend shared with me yesterday — an admirable couple were married for 8 years, when the male was diagnosed as autistic.  Someone asked the female why she hadn’t known.  She opined that the symptoms of autism and maleness were so similar that she hadn’t been able to tell.
  • I have a theory that autism is a precursor to the next stage of evolution.  We’re still waiting to learn if it’s an advancement.
  • Q. … Why does time go so slow for a child and yet the same time appears to go really fast for an adult?           A. … We throw away bags full of chunks of the past whenever we choose to have a spring cleaning of our minds.
  • Sports radio talk shows do not go away when there are no sports.
  • All politicians are not bad.  Most of them are trapped in their preconceived notions.  Like lawyers and accountants, good ones find something better to do.
  • The world still contains two types of people — those who intervene and those who don’t.
  • I have also learned, as did Socrates, who is the smartest; the person that knows that he or she knows nothing.
  • Voluntaryists, libertarians, individualists, and responsible people do not run in packs.
  • TANSTAAFL. 

 — Kilgore Forelle 

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Murder Hornets, Herd Immunity, Bleach

Nobody asked but …

We have heard some doozies in the last three months.  And all sides have been manipulated.  We keep getting warned that we are being led by the nose rings to divide and dissent, but apparently that’s the one conspiracy theory we will not buy.

Take herd immunity.  When has that ever happened in a situation that ended a pandemic?  If herd immunity works, when can we expect the state to dissolve?  Isn’t statism a universal pandemic?  Aren’t state-run schools part of a rampant contagion?  Isn’t public debt sown with dragon’s teeth?

So now we begin to thrash around with ideas like bleach.  The salve of lost causes is bloodletting.

I hear that murder hornets are vanquished by disinfectants.

— Kilgore Forelle

 

 

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Setting an Example

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When we ask why a nation behaves the way it does, the first question we should ask is: “how have children been treated there?”

— Robin Grille

In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.

— Albert Camus

My parents gave me the gift of deciding many critical issues on my own.  They told me there were religions, and it was my responsibility to either choose one or reject all or to cherry pick among several.  They never asked me to select a political bent, although they were both dyed in the wool Democrats, but my Dad was a dixiecrat, prejudiced, and fiscally conservative, while my Mom was a Bostonian liberal, who broke the color line on Chattanooga city buses.  I was watching them.

Thinking back, I don’t believe that either would have set the best example for me.  So there is more than letting your kids be free range.  You have to set a good example.  My mother would have trusted the doctors and the liberals during this Coronavirus scourge, but my father would have discounted the medicos and cursed the politicos (who were not dixiecrats).  I was somehow left suspecting that all doctors are not the same,  nor are public servants.  I was further suspicious that there were huge numbers who didn’t give a damn what I suspected.

It is almost humorous watching people explain their doctrinal takes on Coronavirus.  They appeal to the past (when there has been no pandemic like this), they appeal to the present (when nobody knows anything for sure), and they appeal to the future (which hasn’t happened yet).

The blind are being led by the blind.  In the society of the blind, the one-eyed person, inappropriately, wears the crown.  The untested becomes the exemplar.

Await the instruction of time.

— Kilgore Forelle

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