From the outset I fully recognized the ambiguity of your opening remarks about me being biased.
Notice for a moment how your comparison could imply two biased people. For example, if someone is richer than me, that hardly implies I’m poor. On the other hand, if someone is smarter than me, that could mean I’m a moron. Therefore, if someone is more biased than me, am I biased or not? It isn’t obvious. And so I undertook the challenge as an exercise — like an Übung in “The Well Tempered Clavier.”
The solution? Given the abundant ambiguity of language, more context is required to disambiguate the situation. And you’ve since provided it.
Meanwhile, humans have spent the best efforts of their cognitive history in similar work: trying to find a context — more context — the context — any context — that disambiguates the universe and themselves. To date the success of all the efforts has been — ambiguous.
Once upon a time, the ample unclarity of the world word surdity depressed me. But at that time I was convinced of my inner destitution and self-cognitive poverty. Now, with the advantage of wealth over poverty, and abundance over destitution, word problems aren’t depressing. And it’s obvious why. Amplitude enables opportunity, and its graces whimsy. When both are done well, the result is success with fun. A wealthy humanity understands now that an unambiguous universe provides less opportunity, and it portends less fun. And so the uncertainty of the human condition isn’t the death gloom of an existential doom, but the rich life of the world open.
And yet notice how, even now, you go on to say that you didn’t mean to say I’m biased, but that I’m unbiased. But I reject both sides of that concept! The opposites of such ideas are fraternal twins. Therefore, in my philosophy, bias is an unconcept just like atheist is, and straight line, too. Without metrics, words are meaningless. Philosophy is the measure of world metrics, both everyday and absolute. And when the metrics aren’t there, philosophy breaks the rulers of meaning. Absolute kings. Absolute right. Straight. Bias. Nonsense.
The meaning of this logical maneuver can be easily disputed and even misunderstood. For example, Nietzsche famously — or infamously — entitled one of his great books, Beyond Good and Evil. Shallow enthusiasts — garage anarchists, bunny huggers, masturbating blasphemers — think Nietzsche meant to eliminate a regimented world of soft warmth and cuddled hugs, and replace it with a wild universe of random violence and rough love. Actually, Nietzsche meant to replace a totalitarian morality — angels versus damnation — with a spiritual aesthetics of world love versus bad taste. Had his century not been so carnally coy, Nietzsche would have conceptualized spiritual sex.
But regardless now of personal caveats and possible misunderstandings, you can see that I’m glad I took the opportunity to discuss “bias” and “opinion.” Both words are great obstructions in political discussions — and all other exchanges in which people are being asked, in effect, to reveal their world interests, and therefore their innermost meanings.
For example, in religious conversations, you’re asked, “What do you believe?” “I believe in X,” is hopefully your forthright answer. Immediately you might be countered by, “I believe in Y.” Or “Z.” Or “@#%&?$!” And that counter-contribution to your conversation will probably be followed by the urgent, ardent, or curious request, “Why do you believe in that!” The intonation put on the word “that” can range anywhere from casual inquiry to contemptuous challenge. To answer “That’s my opinion! (Shut up!)” or “You’re biased! (I hate you for you disagreeing with me!)” is not the stuff of conversation and happiness, but its hateful evasion or resentful suppression. The authoritarian citation of “bias” and “opinion” means social silence. And only the quiet opposite of social silence — dishonest agreement — is politically worse. But they’re clearly unrepublican twins — like the medieval church hierarchy and socialist state apparatuses are.
Of course, no one must discuss anything with anyone if they don’t want to in America. Except possibly with your parents! Parents come close to being autocrats, or seeming to be deities. That was, in fact, the basis of Freud’s folksy little family psychology. I’ve even reminded my children, “I made you.” I’ve done that for the fun of playful power, or as a domestic version of the Riot Act. Socialists dislike the family so much because of that. They dislike the power facts of nature. They prefer to label the power of open strength the cowardice of weak bullies even as they oppressively induce your moral enervation for their tax-based upscale accommodation. Liberals can be very neo-medieval. They’re like bishops and other clergy ensconced in their secured communities while being sustained by peasants whom they worry with words. Meanwhile, you’ll recall, I advise my students that a failure of the discussion arts with others in public probably means a failure of the discussion arts with yourself in private, which is another name for thinking. “It’s my opinion!” and “You’re biased!” are convenient justifications for world thoughtlessness and spiritual laziness. They’re never strengths in my classes.
Your anecdote about how Clinton lost the election is certainly interesting, though I found it to be — well, ambiguous. If Clinton was seeking just another electoral vote or two, why didn’t she campaign harder in the Midwest for such votes? Are Texas electors pro-rated as opposed to winner-take-all? Or was her shot at Texas a piece of political hubris? Texas is a conservative state whose fondness for capital extends even to punishment. Was Clinton performing like the downhill skier who, as she neared the finish line and Olympic gold, started victory pumping the heavens, whereupon Zeus tripped her for silver and the mortal remorse of an immortal folly? If that’s what Clinton was doing, then the anecdote illuminates her character. In war and sports, prudence remorselessly forces the weak spots until victory is had. Only then do the winners cheer. And even then, the top leadership of war and sports don’t really cheer. It’s not out of respect for the dead, or the effort of the exertion, or the hazard of the chance. The leadership are already engaged in the work of peace and the next season. Cheering is for troops and crowds. I’m fond of recollecting Eisenhower’s apt remark on this matter. He said, ‘If the job calls for a battalion and you’ve got a brigade handy, smash ‘em with the brigade for swifter efficiency.’ That sure isn’t what Johnson was doing in the Viet Nam War as he played incremental footsy with the enemy. The North Vietnamese didn’t consider America’s little mincing maneuvers to be an international politeness as Johnson intended, but just a sovereign weakness. Whereupon the North Vietnamese won. And Johnson, the greatest Senate leader in American history, became the worst president in American history.
As for your preferences amongst presidential candidates, I’m interested to know what your interests are. What national interests do Clinton and Sanders represent that align with yours? By the way, did I misspell Sander’s name like the old bird Colonel?
You claim that Clinton was the one “adult” in the campaign. That might be an attractive trait to distracted and casual citizens, especially those who fulfill their American duties at election time on the basis of an unperturbable hairstyle or strong body poise. For example, Reagan wore suits well.
Thus I found Senator Cruz to be the most attractively balanced of the candidates. I mean by that his national stance, not the way he stood! Though when I recently asked an associate colleague what she thought of his stance, she told me that she just couldn’t vote for Cruz. “He had an attitude,” she explained with a shake of her head and the dismissive tone of finality: a tone filled with remorse and contempt. After some gentle inquiry, I discovered that she meant that Cruz had the eyes of a snake! Well! And Nixon, I suppose, had a ski ramp nose! For me, it wasn’t Cruz’s evil eyes but his Christian interests that were trumped by Trump’s weight loss plan for Washington, and his intentions to repatriate American capital and jobs. A “clown” who likes “energy independence” will be of much greater interest to the fracking industry than a “mature statesman” who hates “fossil fuels.” I put even that last phrase in quotes because, according to Soviet geological orthodoxy, petroleum is being generated in real time in the earth in serious quantities. I don’t know if that belief is a piece of reproducible oil science or was just some oily Marxist dialectics. After all, the Soviets troglodytically outlawed genetics under Stalin — for good political reasons. Genetics not only implies a human nature, it mandates it. And Marx denied humans a human nature. Many liberals today still deny human biology, and even denounce it just like many religions do. That’s quite a scientific accomplishment for naturalist atheists! But here we don’t yell “Inconsistent!” or scream “Hypocrites!” Rather, we ask for explanations of great questions. Why do atheists believe that humans are beyond nature — like God? Answer: Genetics means your parents count. The genetic transfer of parents can’t be replaced by an liberal income transfer of the state, or reversed by an obeisant apology of the people, or any other staged remorse.
Later in this post I’ll produce for you a short list of my national political interests insofar as I’m aware of them, and insofar as I mean them to be public. In politics I’m a Hamilton man. (See The Federalist, #1.) And I love classical music. Think of the advantage: Hamilton, the opera! After rock and roll, who would have thought it? But classics are always contemporary. That‘s what it means to be classical. Immortal now.
But before we come to that list, let’s politically look at a great old idea brand you refer to with a hint of august insistence and golden dignity.
I mean the truth.
Consider two situations.
First, someone says, “It’s true that it’s raining right now.”
And second, someone says, “It’s true we could have won the Viet Nam War.”
In the first case, the idea of the truth seems obvious. You look out the window or walk out the door, and you see or feel whether it’s raining or not. Of course, legal and ontological types might start quibbling “hence and thence” and thereby insist on “drizzling” or “pouring.” You can then change your word to “precipitation.” Or you can then change your quibblers to real people. “Get real or get lost!” In the environment of private property, free speech is the natural method that’s both ecologically sound and non-polluting. Even the politest indication produces closure — of the door! And like the best natural things of life, free speech is forever renewable. Reuse your best words! And make them new again! Liberty. Property. Republic.
Now, clearly it’s true — or not true — that it’s raining. And the truth of the statement can be determined in ways that all reasonable parties can easily and openly agree to politely and positively in public.
But what about the second question?
It’s not obvious that the question can be uniquely answered in public with the accord of all parties.
Worse, it’s not obvious the question can even be asked!
First, I know of soldiers who deny that we lost the war. We signed a treaty while in possession of South Viet Nam, and then we freely left of our own accord and in good order! Thank you, Gen. Giap.
Second, I know of legalists who insist that it wasn’t a war. War was never declared! Thank you, Congress.
And third, I know of philosophers who insist that we can’t say what the war was. Words falsely overlay nature and gender-oppress reality! Thank you, Prof. Derrida.
As a sidebar on your own, consider the above company that our American Congress keeps here.
Now, let’s consider the third recusal to the question: the neo-medieval word wiggle of the in-significant liberals.
Was Viet Nam a civil war America intruded itself into?
Or was Viet Nam a colonial war in which America substituted for France after France lost? And France was using our war-winning WWII equipment! In pictures of Dien Bien Phu, the French troops even look like Americans! That’s a prognosticator’s vision of things to come.
Or was Viet Nam a part of the Cold War in which Viet Nam was a geographical happenstance for a global battle of economic ideologies?
Let’s say Viet Nam fits the third case. Then Viet Nam wouldn’t have been a war to win, but only an episode in a global campaign for the geopolitical destiny of humanity. In artistic terms, you could say it was only a “happening” at a concept gallery. Such “wars” as the “Police Action” of Korea and the “Tonkin Retaliation” of Viet Nam weren’t wars but extended conflicts. Conflicts aren’t won or lost. They just tucker out. And Korea is still tuckering.
Do you see now some of the problems with a casual reliance on “the truth”? And do you see that they’re not just epistemologists’ problems or logicians’ puzzles — mere academic word games for publications and examinations? Meanwhile, since the book signing, I haven’t heard if you’ve dipped into Reality 101. A significant part of my new book is about this topic: the history of a concept called the truth. When you read it, let me know what you think.
For our purposes here, I fully sympathize with your political frustrations when people dismiss inconvenient facts as opinions —“That’s just your opinion!” — and disparage discouraging truths as biases — “You’re a racist! Sexist! Xist!” But you can see what they’re doing, right? You’re relying on the concept of truth from the first example above. And they’re relying on the second.
In the first example, there are facts, and the truths of facts are as clear as the sun in the sky.
In the second example, there’s no such thing as the truth, only world comfort stories or spiritual misery myths. And that’s not just rhetoric. Notice that scientists don’t use the word “truth” any more. The truth is scientifically obsolete. (See Reality 101 for liberating details.) As Nietzsche famously announced long before science advanced to the thought, “There are no facts, only interpretations of phenomena.”
This produces two immediate questions. One: Whose interpretations? And two: For what purposes?
Let’s schematize the political problem of the truth for now with a neat and convenient formulation.
Humans and the universe are phenomena. What to do about them are matters of judgement. Therefore there are two stages in any political discussion. The first stage consists of noticing the phenomena, admitting their existence, and measuring their presence. Anyone who can’t do this — people or parties — shouldn’t be admitted to the second stage, either for your consideration or for your considerateness. They should be left to themselves to relish their distracting mantras, and to savor their drunken rhetoric. You have no obligation to blind yourself so you can see other people’s inner darkness equally!
But just wait till you start stumping!
Now, here’s an example of this formulation at work in the contemporary philosophical politics of America. Humans have a nature. Of course they do! Humans are natural. It’s called human nature. Now, a part of that nature happens to be the acquisition of conventions. Humans are naturally incomplete without them. And the conventions culturally vary. But what did you expect? That the name of humanity would be as pat as the taxonomy of turtles! (See Reality 101, esp. Lectures 3-5.) That’s the first stage. The second stage consists of then asking: What should humans do about humans? Of course, that question taxonomically includes the natural environment of humans which they defend, nurture, and develop: the universe.
Logicians and epistemologists will recognize the above two-step as the great or notorious is/ought bifurcation of descriptive and prescriptive logos. “Logos” is “speech” for pedagogophiles. I address that matter in Reality 101: The Second Course (a work in progress). For now I’ll provide two simple solutions as illustrations of our American political situation.
The first solution asserts that both levels — both the “is” and the “ought” — are factual matters in an actual universe consciously made to intentional specifications. This attitude is typical of fundamental monotheistic faiths: Christian, Jewish, Islamic, and various other religions and philosophies such as Platonism. “We know the truth! The Book is written! And the world is the word. Hey, join us. Or be damned and die! Or get reincarnated.”
The second solution asserts that neither level — neither the “is” nor the “ought” — is factual. Rather, both forms of speech are the regime impositions of power economics brutally forced upon, and the personal predilections of gender oppressions dishonestly attributed to a random universe of nowhere chaos.
You’ll notice that neither of these world attitudes is conducive to a republic of discussion. And they also happen to be the metaphysical foundations of America’s two political parties. The pious preachers of intolerance on one side, and the social despots of dissolution on the other are the polar owners of America’s polarized political discourse in the name of the true universal spirituality — whether godded or atomic.
The far right is correct to deem the speech of the far left a moral orgy of political disassembly. But the far right’s ontological justification for the claim is incorrect sex and a national theology. In turn, the far left is correct to deem the far right an ontological fossil of choral accord. But the far left’s ontological basis is civic socialism and the nationalization of liberty.
For a federal form of speech, something else is needed.
Here now is the list of my biggest national political interests. Most of them are legislative, executive, and judicial — and in that mandated order of priority, magnitude, and importance. But some of them are matters of public discourse or popular disposition.
- State power and a renaissance of sovereignty.— At the national level, the 17th Amendment must be rescinded, and the Supreme Court rulings requiring population-apportioned representation at the state senate levels must be reversed. Meanwhile, the state renaissance is a matter of state assertion and sovereign celebration. The citizens and their states require no federal direction, inspection, oversight, regulation, or presumption.
- A diet for D.C.— Excessive power concentration at any level, but especially at the “top,” is an enemy of We the People. In politics, size determines content. Monopoly power and civil liberty are incompatible. To maximize Washington is to minimize America. And think of the money we could save by not feeding the national fat! Cinch in the beltway! And post a sale on Washington real estate!
- Economic restoration.— Offshored capital must be repatriated even as a patriotism of capital is celebrated for American jobs. At the same time, an intolerance for unregulated monopolies, economic as well as political, serves the common good. The break-up of Standard Oil and ATT unleashed enormous entrepreneurial productivity and managerial talent into the American economy. GM should have been broken into five auto corporations and various other pieces in the 1950s for the good of the GM shareholders as well as the commonwealth of America.
- Reconstruction of education.— American K-12 education is a human warehousing operation whose content is political socialization along with a few facts thrown in to garnish the cheat. Per capita cost is at the global top while results are mediocre or worse. The price per yield is four times the going world rate. Informed and assertive intelligence, not regimented and submissive mediocrity, should be the educational standard of a proud America. Not smaller classes with higher taxes, but better teachers with more classroom discipline are required. And vo-tech should be cultivated and advocated as a way to significant lifetime employment.
- An ethics of responsibility.— A Miranda Rights of Responsibility should be taught. “You have a right to be lazy. You have a right to be irresponsible. You have a right to disregard your well-being. And you have a right to fail. Your willful failures will be held against you by your fellow citizens in the highest courts of civil society.”
- Health care industry transformation and US health improvement.— Like the K-12 “system,” the American health care “system,” which is no system, is world tops in costs and mediocre in results. This fall I’ll once again be lecturing on the subject. Over the years I’ve accumulated an analytical list of a dozen decisive structural inadequacies and world-class failures in American health care which no amount of sound bites will ever diagnose let alone treat into systemic health and American well-being. Indeed, in all the campaign blather last year and all the Washington gabble now, I never heard or hear most of those problems ever even being sound-bited. Sound bitten? Instead, political red capes were and are waved about, and the populace ran and runs about in circles until it got and gets disgusted and fatigued, and then went and now goes shopping or to a sports bar.
- Illegals and the influx of the unwanted, the unneeded, and the unnecessary.— The population of the earth irresponsibly continues to grow. The present migration crises around the world are just the trickles of the floods to come which deep famines or great wars will release. Borders secured now with defensive infrastructure and conceptual confidence are needed to define the national geography of a nation of Americans, by Americans, and for Americans. And the world — including America —should study America with civil education. And everyone everywhere should to be occasionally thankful for America. Though asking for thanks from nations is almost like asking for thanks from nature.
- US world standing, status, and disposition.— The United States is a great and growing country. But it isn’t an empire. America has never collectively had the idea of “taking over the world,” not even of being polyglot or even bilingual as all empires are. (See my Republic, Ch. 42.) Therefore, since America doesn’t own the world, it shouldn’t pay for it either. America needs allies, like England, who pay and play. And it needs enemies who clearly do neither. The center of America’s world concerns should be its domestic interests. Ask not what America can do for you, ask what you can do to pay back America for what it’s already done for you, fleet and all.
- A moratorium on euphemisms.— The Republic is built upon the forceful and confident openness of forthright public speech. Political euphemisms are the pretty lies of unclean powers which are afraid to be seen in the light of speech. The dishonesty of indirection saps the energy and the pleasure of the mastery and the celebration of reality. For that we have private property is a greater-than-politics place for the soft words of sweet lies. The bathrooms there aren’t mandatorily be called [expletive deleted]. And privacy is also the Constitutional domain for unedited remarks about politicians like [redacted] and [redacted] who are [extreme expletives extremely deleted].
- A celebration of the ecstasies of excellence.— Passion, drive, struggle, triumph and immortality in a great culture of republican commonality and cosmological relaxation is the best ethics for the amazing nation, America. (See my Republic, Ch. 9, 15.)
As a result of this list, I voted for Trump. His advocated plans were more in accord with mine than any other candidate’s. Cruz came in a substantial second. The other candidates — Republican, Democrat, and otherwise — weren’t contenders for an alliance with my citizenship. (See my Republic, Ch. )
And now this just in.
In another restroom — I get around! — I discovered another copy of the “Hand Washer’s Guide to the Galaxy” or whatever it’s called. My memory, which is creatively lazy, wasn’t too bad in this case. But notice something. “I don’t remember, therefore I can create: To know all things is to imagine nothing.” Thus after the 6th day, God had nothing new to do as both Aristotle and the 18th century Newtonians surmised.
The hand-sanitation directions actually were divided into nine points rather than eight. That’s close! And the 9th direction advised that the paper towels be disposed of “without touching the waste container.” I missed that part of the final point. But maybe that’s because the door is ten feet from the waste container, which happens to be around the corner from the door, and out of sight as well as reach. Meanwhile, the directions don’t say, “Dispose of the towel in any container” — such as outside the restroom. That would be to aerate the lobby with terminal germs. No, the directions called for the appropriate use of “the” waste container.
Now, how can anyone open the door with the paper towel and then reach back ten feet and around a corner for the final civic sanitation obligation while at the same time keeping the door open and not touching the handle either!
I think the solution to this social perplexity is — next time — to beg the attention of the Restroom Monitor of the Health Commissariat and inquire of him or her or they or it — no sexism, comrades! — whether the Committee of Hygiene at its next conclave could clarify this difficult and even dialectical point. Meanwhile, lest I make an irreversible mistake and be sent into internal exile in Massachusetts, I’ve decided not to wash my hands at all. After all, a few germs, like a little liberalism, stimulate the immune system!