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Thursday, March 23, 2017

THE AGE OF IGNORANCE

The author William Manchester named his book about the dark ages "A World Lit Only By Fire". It was an age of ignorance and suffering. 

In Occupied America, ignorance has become a virtue. The President generates huge applause lines when he threatens to "Shut down the National Institute of Health" or gut the budget of the Center for Disease Control. Invectives against global warming and declaring it "fake news" generate even larger applause, while ice caps melt and polar bears drown after swimming hundreds of miles. 

People don't want to think. And the deeper they get into trouble, the less they want to think. But by some sort of instinct, they feel that they ought to and it makes them feel guilty. So they'll bless and follow anyone who gives them a justification for not thinking. Anyone who makes a virtue - a highly intellectual virtue - out of what they know to be their sin, their weakness and their guilt... They envy achievement, and their dream of greatness is a world where all men have become their acknowledged inferiors. They don't know that that dream is the infallible proof of mediocrity, because that sort of world is what the man of achievement would not be able to bear...
Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged

In "The Death of Expertise" author Tom Nichols writes "Americans have reached a point where ignorance, especially of anything related to public policy, is an actual virtue."  One need only to see the choices of the president for his cabinet to know this is true. 

Nichols further writes "No longer do we hold these truths to be self-evident, we hold all truths to be self-evident, even the ones that aren't true." ("Obama taped me in Trump Tower.")

People think that a liar gains a victory over his victim. What I’ve learned is that a lie is an act of self-abdication, because one surrenders one’s reality to the person to whom one lies, making that person one’s master, condemning oneself from then on to faking the sort of reality that person’s view requires to be faked…The man who lies to the world, is the world’s slave from then on…There are no white lies, there is only the blackest of destruction, and a white lie is the blackest of all. 
Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged. 

Scientific facts are "false news". Lies are truth if repeated enough. The President and Republicans scorn "Washington", the bureaucracy, the federal government. "Return the power and the money to the states, to the people" they bellow at populist rallies. 
Then the Asian flu threatens America, and we turn our eyes to a hollowed-out CDC and wonder why we don't have a vaccine? The Zika virus strikes terror in pregnant women, and those Americans who scorn intellect and who voted for the president ask why won't the government do something? 

The government can't. It's been shut down. The best minds run out of town, scorned for their intelligence and professionalism. 

In Ayn Rand's classic Atlas Shrugged, civilization slowly falls apart as the best and brightest mysteriously disappear, unwilling to work for governments that scorn them, and steal their intellectual property. 


Do you know the hallmark of a second rater? It's resentment of another man's achievement. Those touchy mediocrities who sit trembling lest someone's work prove greater than their own - they have no inkling of the loneliness that comes when you reach the top. The loneliness for an equal - for a mind to respect and an achievement to admire. They bare their teeth at you from out of their rat holes,thinking that you take pleasure in letting your brilliance dim them - while you'd give a year of my life to see a flicker of talent anywhere among them. They envy achievement, and their dream of greatness is a world where all men have become their acknowledged inferiors. They don't know that that dream is the infallible proof of mediocrity, because that sort of world is what the man of achievement would not be able to bear. They have no way of knowing what he feels when surrounded by inferiors - hatred? no, not hatred, but boredom - the terrible, hopeless, draining, paralyzing boredom. Of what account are praise and adulation from men whom you don't respect? Have you ever felt the longing for someone you could admire? For something, not to look down at, but up to?"
Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged


Who is John Gault?

From Occupied America, Fight the Power.


7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Enough with the Ayn Rand worship

Claude Erskine - Brown said...

John Gault invented the encased postage stamp during the American Civil War

Anonymous said...

John of Gault is Bolingbroke dad?

Anonymous said...

A stunning post. There is no doubt that the recent election was in part a backlash against Obama's intellect and education. A lot of idiots believe that if a black man can handle it any stupid, uneducated, degenerate white guy can do it better.

Anonymous said...

Amen 7:10

Anonymous said...

He was the defendant in some important juvenile case named In re Gault but I forgot the details, I think it gave public defenders to juvies or something like that.

Anonymous said...

Rumpy, I think that you are trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. Think about it. Rand's point in Atlas Shrugged was that the work product of producing citizens in a socialist society was usurped for the benefit of moochers, so the producers went on strike. Trump's dystopia is something else. Trump shrinks worthwhile social programs for the benefit of wealthy corporations and individuals and everyone else be dammed.