Once upon a time, in medieval universities, new students enrolled in the Trivium. It was the foundation curriculum. It was required. Its parts were: grammar, logic, and rhetoric.
Grammar: the interior construction of language; the parts of speech; the proper agreement of parts of speech.
Logic: the valid and invalid connections in the course of an argument; the method of proper reasoning; the deductive links in a chain, at the end of which is a conclusion.
Rhetoric: oral presentation; the use of language to make a case; the capacity to persuade, even in the face of counter-argument.
Today, the subject matter of the Trivium is not only downplayed. It has been shattered.
This article focuses on the death of logic.
When the intensive handling of ideas is seen as a laughable goal for education, indoctrination is plugged in as the only alternative.
The mind of the student shifts from being an active force to being a container.
The destruction of logic is a conscious strategy, a game plan. Its goal is to pervert rational thought at its core and insert ideology masked as insight.
The game plan was cooked up a long time ago at the Carnegie Foundation, where the undermining of American history was the number-one pastime.
Instead of merely erasing knowledge of American history, it was decided that the basic way ideas are studied should be torpedoed.
The actual meaning of an idea was firmly placed on the back burner. Front and center would be: relentlessly assess and attack the people who forwarded those ideas.
And sure enough, this strategy has gained great prominence.
“The revered Founders of the Republic? Shysters, con men, slaveholders, monopolists who saw rebellion from England as the way to win greater power for themselves, at the expense of everyone else living on American soil.”
Therefore, the argument continues, and this is crucial, the Founders’ ideas, as expressed in the Declaration and the Constitution, were rotten to the core. The ideas can be dismissed out of hand as coming from “a bad source.”
If you want to see that sleight-of-hand trick in action, just visit a few American studies classes in universities and catch the wave.
Ideas no longer need to be judged on their sense, merit, and alignment with basic principles. Nor are they judged by their position in a well-formed argument. All that is out. Now, you have to “look to the source” and make all your decisions based on “who these people really were who expressed the ideas.”
And since that’s the case, learning to think or reason is unnecessary.
New education, then, once you strip away the old essentials, is really nothing more than learning who the bad guys were and the good guys were. This can be taught by ideologically motivated professors in a few hours.
In logic, this used to be called the fallacious ad hominem argument. Now it’s not called anything. It’s praised as the insightful way to do intellectual business.
In the case of the Founders’ ideas, we have, among others: the free market; individual freedom; private property; severely limited central government.
No need to examine these concepts. No need to assess, for instance the success of the free market, despite its corruption by criminals and monopolists, in providing a better standard of living for millions of people. Forget it. All you have to know is that the free market was proposed by phony American aristocrats who wanted more power for themselves. On that basis alone, you can reject the free market.
How about private property? Same thing. The same phony Founders put that idea forward; therefore, it must be wrong.
Thomas Jefferson? He owned slaves. Therefore, as the night follows day, everything he said or thought or did was wrong.
See how easy education has become?
Individual freedom? Another absurdity proposed by the crooked Founders. Reject it. Don’t bother thinking about what that freedom has allowed you to express. Who cares?
So, one by one, these core ideas fall to the ax, and criticizing America becomes destroying America.
To argue that very bad people have taken over an idea, and therefore the idea itself was never good, is like arguing that, since hijackers took over a plane, the plane was a despicable object altogether and probably deserved to be stolen or blown up.
Once the core ideas and ideals of the American Republic are destroyed, new ideas inevitably take their place. The possibilities are endless. But here is, in fact, what has happened:
Instead of the sanctity of private property and right of its owner to protect it, we now have, coming into vogue, “assigned use.” This means someone somewhere, at the top of the food chain, will decide how property should be deployed, for the greatest good of the greatest number.
He determines the definition of greatest good.
Instead of individual freedom, we have the collective need. Behavior should be adapted to the group. How this is defined falls to our leaders.
The free market becomes central planning and distribution of goods and services.
It can be quite interesting to discuss these matters with people who have been educated “in the new way.”
On the issue of the free market, I had a PhD candidate tell me this: The idea of the free market was a smokescreen. It was proposed as a way for the very rich to dominate commerce. The “free market” was a non-concept. It never existed. It was an illusion, like people sprouting wings and flying.
You might be surprised by the number of people who believe this. They are essentially saying that the very EXISTENCE of an idea depends on WHO expressed the idea. If the wrong person first expressed it, it was never real.
Students with a vast sense of self-entitlement and meaningless self-esteem love this stuff. It allows them to parade around and call the shots and decide which ideas are worthy and which aren’t, without reflection. They have a scorecard of good guys and bad guys and that’s all they need.
In the world of social engineering, here is the larger program:
first make every idea dependent for its value on who proposed it;
attack the men who created the Constitution and thereby trash all the founding ideas of the Republic;
instead substitute the notion of oppressors and the oppressed—all the bad people who founded the Republic were the oppressors;
cultivate, encourage, and create many groups within society as “the oppressed”;
come in behind that with big government as the answer to the problems of the oppressed;
ratchet up dependence and government control to new heights.
Of course, big government, under its humanitarian banners, is a dictator. To maintain the illusion that it is not, there must be new oppressed people, new victims, new helpless people coming out of the woodwork all the time whom the government can help.
From this angle, it doesn’t matter whether the ever-growing dependent population is genuine or not. Sorting out the real from the imaginary obviously isn’t part of the program. Nor does it matter how government is disenfranchising people to make them into victims.
Some people see labeling themselves victims as a winning strategy for their lives. Others actually are getting their noses shoved down into the mud.
In our teaching institutions, you could look in vain to find courses on the individual, his freedom, his power. That’s gone.
It’s all about: what group do you belong to? What are the needs of that group? Who is oppressing your group? How can you get government to solve the problem?
Once the oppressor-oppression model is set in stone, everything that follows is a disaster.
Oppressor-oppression equals victim-rescuer. The rescuer turns out to be a tyrant. He gives and he takes. He makes the rules. He builds his power.
If you can educate the young to make snap judgments about core ideas, you eliminate their capacity to reason. You own them.
You turn them out as programmed androids. They follow your game plan.
From that point on, they hold a hostile attitude toward anyone who can discuss and analyze ideas. They look at such people as an entitled and privileged class who is speaking a foreign language. If overnight, you discovered that the most elevated members of society were all speaking Hungarian and nothing else, do you think you could maintain a friendly attitude toward them?
Here is another tool of the new education. Blur over the distinction between a widespread condition and a universal defining condition. For example, yes, there are oppressors and there are people they are oppressing. True. But to move from that and say the very ideas at the core of society were designed, everywhere and at all times, to create only oppressors and the oppressed…that’s a vast generality which leads to all-inclusive programmatic general solutions.
And those solutions, voila, turn out to be the means of making slaves.
Criticizing America is productive only when it has a reference point for comparison. A rational discussion to establish the reference point is essential. Are we going to hold up a mirror to the founding ideas of the Republic, or are we going to say, for example, that the true and proper purpose of government should be to alleviate suffering? And if the latter, what exactly does that alleviation entail? How far does it go? Who does it punish in the process?
This isn’t a brush-off conversation. In order to participate in it, people have to be able to follow a train of thought. If they can’t, because they were educated not to, where are we? We’re in the dark. We’re living by slogans.
Freedom? Liberty? Collective need? Responsibility? It doesn’t matter what ideas are on the table, because the overwhelming number of people don’t know what an idea is. They don’t know how to walk up to one and look at it from several sides. They don’t know how to trace its implications. They don’t know how to fit that idea alongside its cousins. They don’t see a Whole. They see the ceaseless spinning machinery of an alien process, from which they’ve been excluded.
Then, no matter what shape society takes, it’s a dumbshow, as far the majority of its citizens are concerned.
Who solves that?
The invasive State takes charge. It picks up the pieces of the wreckage it was a key actor in delivering.
Ever since the ratification of the Constitution, the actions of the federal government have confirmed the need for the limitations written into that document. New needs and crises have “demanded” illegitimate expansion of federal power.
In order to convince the people that this expansion was, at every turn, vital, the goal of educating citizens about what it means to take part in a Republic had to be blunted. This was done, a step at a time, through education.
Dismantling the ability to reason, employ logic, and handle ideas was the prow of that destructive campaign.
And yet…logic isn’t only a subject that’s taught to students whose minds are a blank slate. There is an inherent tendency toward rational thought that persists, despite programming to the contrary.
For example, if a television station or web site offered a prolonged debate between two intelligent people on the meaning of the 2nd Amendment—a real debate, not just a brush-off—many viewers would be intensely interested.
I’m talking about an old-style debate, one that lasted at least several hours, with each proponent allowed sufficient time to make his case fully. No name calling or shouting of slogans. No interruptions from either side. No stupid moderators.
This traditional long-form format would serve to wake people up to the fact they have minds, they can think, they can spot contradictions and non-sequiturs.
Or, as I’ve suggested before, why not a Debate Channel, devoted exclusively to key issues of our time, taken up in the long-form?
True, many viewers would tune out. But others would feel a jolt of inspiration. A sense of deja vu. “I’ve been here before. I can’t remember when.”
Yes, they’ve been here before, when they could think and reason, before the curtain was lowered.
Actual reasoned debate could become a growing trend. And by contrast, the insane nonsense that presently passes for argument on television would be highlighted as a counterfeit substitute, a fool’s errand.
You can make your own list of vital issues you’d like to see debated, in the long-form, by people who know their material (not merely the usual dome heads and pundits). I have my list.
It’s never too late to wake up. It really isn’t.
For instance, suppose we had a ten-hour reasoned debate, over the course of two days, on television, or on the Web, on this simple question:
What really happened at Sandy Hook?
Do you think that might draw a few viewers?
Are you kidding?
It would outrank many major network programs. It would put the networks’ coverage to shame.
Never a bad thing.
Coda: Here is an illustration of no-logic in action. It occurs in a recent article in the Washington Post, “Uncle of young Newtown shooting victim turning tragedy into action.”
From the headline alone, we pick up the slant of the article. It’s going to praise the uncle for being able to turn grief into action.
The uncle is attorney Alexis Haller. His nephew, Noah Pozner, was killed in the Sandy Hook shooting.
The Post article tells us that Haller has worked as a lawyer for the Vatican. We don’t learn exactly what he did for the Vatican, but it’s more or less suggested that, because Haller has a keen interest in “reporting requirements,” where child abuse is occurring, he may have had something to do with the Vatican now “expecting” (requiring?) bishops to report pedophile priests to law-enforcement authorities.
This is quite fuzzy. The Post doesn’t clarify what role, if any, Haller played in the new Vatican expectations/requirements.
Nevertheless, the article presses on to indicate that Haller saw a way to codify reporting requirements in situations of imminent violence, like Sandy Hook. In fact, Haller has written (or made notes on?) a bill:
When a person “has knowledge of a grave or imminent threat of serious harm or death made by someone with access to a gun,” that person must notify the police within 24 hours.
Haller has met with Joe Biden’s committee and discussed his proposal.
The article doesn’t bother to take up how this bill, if made into law, would be enforced, or what implications might flow from it—such as the birthing of an expanded snitch mentality; and excessive, wrong-headed, or even malicious reporting in cases where the threat of imminent violence wasn’t real.
No, this article, we learn, is more a human interest story about Alexis Haller and what’s he’s motivated to do in the wake of the death of his nephew.
The Post article doesn’t bother to cover Haller’s actual history as a defense lawyer for the Vatican. For example, in a case involving the sexual abuse of a Portland, Oregon, boy, in the 1960s, where a 2011 suit was filed against the Holy See, Haller was defending the Vatican, claiming that the pedophile priest, Andrew Ronan, was committing crimes against children without the knowledge of the Holy See, and was not an employee of the Vatican.
Why is this significant? Because the Post article states: “Haller had crafted and forwarded several proposals to prevent future gun violence that were shaped by his experience as a lawyer for the Holy See.”
Which part of that experience? Ahem, cough-cough.
By the end of the article, we know nothing about the precise wording of Haller’s new bill to limit gun violence.
We do know that he was tragically connected to the Sandy Hook shootings. We know his initial efforts to have input in new gun legislation were ignored. We know he overcame that problem. We see his posed picture above the article, in which he’s walking in the rain under an umbrella.
We understand the Post is “on his side.”
This is the old ad hominen argument, in which the person forwarding an idea is more important than the actual content of the idea…except in this case, the person isn’t being attacked, he’s being praised.
As if that gives more credibility to his idea, the precise legal content of which we don’t know.
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Contributed by Jon Rappoport of No More Fake News.
The author of an explosive collection, THE MATRIX REVEALED, Jon was a candidate for a US Congressional seat in the 29th District of California. Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, he has worked as an investigative reporter for 30 years, writing articles on politics, medicine, and health for CBS Healthwatch, LA Weekly, Spin Magazine, Stern, and other newspapers and magazines in the US and Europe. Jon has delivered lectures and seminars on global politics, health, logic, and creative power to audiences around the world.