Define "Great" and Other Misunderstood Words

Dumb enough to trust this con man?
I am very pleased to publish an excerpt from a wonderful essay by Thomas G Clark that appeared on his blog "Another Angry Voice." I've quoted the part that most appealed to me but the whole essay is well worth a read and I strongly recommend it.

I can only add my own, less erudite views that there is probably a direct correlation between the educational/literacy level of the population and a country's general wellbeing, prosperity, cohesion and strength.

It is notable that the fortunes of the United Kingdom for example rose along with the general educational and literacy level and then went into decline as subversives infiltrated the education system and set about dumbing us down. This was, again, a programme of deliberate cultural destruction carried out by our enemies and their collaborators and fifth columnists within the government and its relevant departments .

A similar thing is happening to the United States. A society of low educational standards, that has never learned to evaluate information or exercise reason is a weak society ripe for conquest by criminals. As has proven to be the case.

The puerile propaganda that is uttered by the controlled mainstream media and which also issues from the mouths of our politicians would be treated with derision for its transparency and ineptitude had not We, the People, been intentionally so badly served by hostile elements within the upper echelons of our own educational establishment.

Making Britain "great" again will require an educated population able to reason and debate and most importantly able to LOOK and OBSERVE what people are actually doing instead of merely listening to what they SAY.

But we can hardly wait for our oppressors to turn around our education because they have a vested interest in it being . . well, crap. We will have to lift ourselves by our own bootstraps.

But where the heck do we start?

Well here's one idea: by questioning the meaning of the words people are using and taking the trouble to get them defined in a good dictionary. You can actually raise your own IQ doing that.

For example: what does "Communist" mean? Or capitalist? Or Jihad? Or economy? Or religion? Or what IS money? Can you define it? My God even the government cannot define it!

Or what does a politician mean when he talks about making our country "great" again? Are his idea of "great" and your idea of "great" the same thing? Define "great".

Redefining or shifting the meaning of words is of course the favourite tool of the propagandist.

Anyway, here is that excerpt from Mr Clark's poweful essay:

. . . When it comes to politics the situation is utterly embarrassing. When a revisionist halfwit like Michael Gove is considered to be one of the great intellectuals of the Tory party, and a the likes of Tristram Hunt and Gordon Brown are lauded as the great intellectuals of the Labour Party we know that we're in trouble.

Anti-intellectualism and stupification

The United Kingdom has turned from a country that celebrated intellectualism to one that treats it with suspicion and contempt, especially if intellectuals (these days so often prefaced with "so-called" by the tabloid press) dare to voice a political opinion that goes against the established orthodoxy. When people speak out against the right-wing economic orthodoxy that has dominated UK politics for almost four decades, they are hounded by the tabloid press. In my view an awful lot of public intellectuals are afraid to speak out against the right-wing economic orthodoxy for fear of the abuse they'll suffer from the right-wing press.

The hounding of public figures who speak out against the orthodoxy is not the only way in which the tabloid press helps to control public debate. Newspapers like The Sun and The Daily Mail are deliberately written in the vocabulary of children in order to make their glib right-wing political tropes accessible to even the least intelligent adults. It's not just conjecture that the tabloid newspapers have contributed to the stupification of the British public either. Research has shown that reading a tabloid newspaper is worse for your vocabulary than not reading a newspaper at all, and that "the presence of tabloid newspapers in the home during childhood has been linked to poor cognitive attainment at age 16".

It's not just the tabloids that are to blame. Generations of politicians have turned the UK education system into an absolute shambles, where children who attend state schools are denied the absolute basics in critical thinking, philosophy and economics and taught that correct answers are handed down to them by authority to be uncritically rote learned and regurgitated upon demand in order to obtain rewards in the form of grades. It obviously makes no sense for the establishment to teach future generations critical thinking skills and basic macroeconomics, otherwise they'd grow up to ask questions and find out that their own rational self-interest is not best served through continued support for an out-of-touch establishment minority that is clearly intent on hoarding political power for their own class and enacting ideologically driven economic policies that enrich the already rich at the expense of everyone else.

The declining standard of political debate

The standard of political debate in the UK continues suffering a steep decline. People seem to no longer even understand the meanings of fundamental political words and phrases. Terms like "communism", "anarchism", "liberalism" and "socialism" have been weaponised, so that simply calling somebody a "communist" is somehow considered sufficient to discredit their entire position, without any obligation for the term communist to even be understood, let alone it be demonstrated that the accused actually subscribes to any of the numerous communist ideologies.

We live in a world where hurling words like "communist" around as if they're crude insults rather than political words with specific meanings or publishing pictures of the opposition leader looking odd while he eats a bacon sandwich are considered dynamite by the political right. Meanwhile many on the left seem to think that simply calling David Cameron a "pigfucker" (instead of criticising any of the countless socially and economically destructive policies Cameron's government have inflicted on the UK) is a debate winning tactic, rather than the kind of crude unsubstantiated assertion that makes the left look like a bunch of ranting extremists.

The rise of someone like David Cameron was pretty much inevitable given the stupification of the electorate. Cameron has proven himself an egregious liar, an abuser of the English language, a snide and manipulative person who refuses to answer direct questions or act in good faith and a coward who is terrified of having to think on his feet (hence his refusals to participate in unscripted public debates). However, despite all of this evidence that David Cameron is a fundamentally dishonest charlatan and clearly the least intellectually capable Prime Minister in living memory, somehow over 11 million people saw fit to actually vote in favour of keeping him in power!

It doesn't matter whether you agreed with the likes of Benjamin Disreali, John Stuart Mill, Winston Churchill, William Beveridge or Clement Attlee, it's pretty much impossible to argue that they were stupid people who just read out a load of scripted nonsense and ran away from any form of actual debate. These were intelligent men of principle who knew what they were talking about and were unafraid of open honest debate.

I'm not Tory but I'm pretty damned sure that the likes of Disreali and Churchill would be utterly appalled that the Conservative party is now being led by such an intellectually stunted, snide and downright dishonest chancer like David Cameron.

What can be done?

It seems that little can actually be done as long as the parliamentary authorities allow David Cameron to continue repeatedly evading questions and blatantly lying to parliament, and as long as the mainstream media refuse to hold David Cameron and the Tories to account for their litany of lies and broken promises to the public.

David Cameron can sign a "contract with the electorate" then simply have every trace of it deleted from the Tory website when it became clear that they'd broken nearly every pledge it contained; he can lie to parliament that the UK has been"bankrupted"; he can lie to the public that the Tories are reducing the national debt (when they've actually created more new debt since 2010 than every Labour government in history combined); he can use all kinds of Orwellian languageto claim that black is white and white is black; and he can lie over and over and over again about the leader of the opposition. He can do all of this and get away with it because virtually nobody holds him to account for it.

Even if David Cameron is removed from power, if the means to lie, distort, adopt bad faith positions and spout logical fallacies remains so desperately unchallenged, his successors would be fools to limit themselves to honest, good faith debate.

The poet WH Auden once wrote that "Whatever the field under discussion, those who engage in debate must not only believe in each other's good faith, but also in their capacity to arrive at the truth". Surely nobody believes that it's possible to engage in this kind of honest debate with the likes of David Cameron? Surely nobody believes that David Cameron would voluntarily stick to the truth, argue in good faith or answer direct questions (rather than repeatedly evade them with a load of heavily scripted and largely inaccurate tabloid style rhetoric and snide political point scoring).

Unfortunately, until the public begin to demand a higher level of public debate from their politicians, any politician who does try to adopt the traditional British form of debate (by limiting themselves to avoiding lies and smears, arguing in good faith and actually answering the questions they're asked) would be voluntarily tying their hands behind their back while allowing other less scrupulous politicians to repeatedly punch them below the belt to cheers of delight from the tabloid-minded masses