The tribal rejection of facts: Excitement builds as we approach the new year, which starts at this site next week. We'll be focusing on "Aristotle's error," by which we mean the time when the greatest logician is said to have said this:
"Man [sic] is the rational animal."
Because Aristotle knew no English, it's hard to be sure what he actually meant. But in the current colloquial sense, are we humans essentially "rational" in some observable way?
Gossips and fiction filberts, please! We'd be inclined to rewrite that famous old bromide like this:
"Humans are the tribal animal, the creature which runs on script."
We humans! We construe events in novelized ways, then recite our stories in groups. If you doubt that, you can check the many ways the tiny minds of our tortured tribes have chosen to interpret last weekend's events from the D.C. mall.
Dear God, it was hashtag heaven! There were high school kids in MAGA hats, mixed with a bunch of Black Hebrew Israelites and one Native American elder. To what extent have various tribes and guilds chosen to massage this tale? On the front page of today's Washington Post, the lineups were rattled like this:
SELLERS AND WILLIAMS (1/23/19): The viral video showed a large group of Covington Catholic High School boys on the memorial steps in Washington, where students travel annually for the antiabortion March for Life. One of the boys stands inches away from the face of Nathan Phillips, a Native American elder, who was beating a drum during the Indigenous Peoples March. The boy’s classmates stood nearby, laughing and gesturing — what many interpreted as mocking.In two different news reports this morning, the Post was too dainty to let readers know that the "Hebrew Israelites" to which that text refers is actually a small African-American group more commonly known as the Black Hebrew Israelites.
But longer versions of the encounter soon appeared, showing it began when a group of Hebrew Israelites hurled offensive language at the teens. And the students said they were dancing and singing along with the Native American music, not mocking it.
Because the "offensive language" dispensed by this group involved a lot of "racial" smack, this is a basic part of the story. Unless you read today's Washington Post, where the story got perhaps just a bit massaged.
Teen-aged Trumpists, a Native elder and epithet-yelling blacks! In the past few days, everyone has been retelling this wonderful story, often in ways designed to drive a particular tribal narrative.
Increasingly, this is what we the people are strongly inclined to do. Such conduct is wired deep in the bone, reaching back into prehistory, and we now have major corporate entities dedicated to the proposition that tribal fiction is all.
Increasingly, we're tribal all the way down! Our nation's offshoot of the human race now runs on vast arrays of dimwitted tribal stews pushed by various corporate entities and by journalistic "elites."
Just as it ever was, each tribe can see that The Others tend to perform such acts. But we strongly tend to be blind to our own tribe's tribal behavior.
To see our own liberal tribe in action, we recommend a recent post by Kevin Drum. Drum summarized a report in the Washington Post magazine about Professor Marc Edwards, one of the original heroes of the Flint water crisis.
According to the Post report, Edwards has now become a liberal pariah. Headline included, Drum starts off like this:
DRUM (1/20/19): Marc Edwards Is a Sad Victim of Our Modern Political EraFor the record, Drum has done a lot of work on the effects of exposure to lead and on the boons of lead abatement. For his 2016 cover report for Mother Jones on these topics, you can just click here.
This is very sad: Marc Edwards, the Virginia Tech professor who first exposed toxic levels of lead in the water supply of Flint, Michigan, was initially a hero to the Flint community. Thanks to him, Flint became the target of nationwide outrage, and steps were finally taken to reconnect Flint to the (safe) Detroit water supply. In less than a year, lead levels in Flint water had dropped to safe levels.
So what did Edwards do? Well, he’s a scientist, and just as he had honestly exposed Flint’s problems in the first place, he also continued to honestly report the results of the intervention. When the water was once again safe, he said so—and that turned him from a hero into a pariah.
Concerning Drum's recent post, we'll ask you to notice a startling pair of facts—the type of facts we in our our increasingly brain-dead liberal tribe now reflexively disappear from our frequently brain-dead jihads.
The pair of facts we'll ask you to note are drawn from a graphic in Drum's post, the graphic which carries this title:
Lead Poisoning in FlintNote the following pair of facts from that graphic.
Children under 6 with elevated blood lead levels
During the worst of the Flint water crisis, fewer than 10 percent of children in Flint were showing elevated blood lead levels (above 5 micrograms per deciliter).As Drum has repeatedly pointed out, the recent degree of exposure in Flint would have been considered a public health miracle as recently as a decade or so ago. When baby boomers were growing up, almost everyone had that degree of exposure to lead. And everybody understands how well we boomers turned out!
As recently as 1998, 50 percent of children in Flint were showing that degree of exposure.
This doesn't mean that it was good that some kids in Flint were exposed to that degree of lead. It means that our brain-dead liberal world, including newspapers like the New York Times, were aggressively disappearing basic facts in order to heighten the thrill we could take from the alleged water crisis.
No one scared more Flint kids sh*tless than our own Rachel Maddow. In real time, we noted the fact that Maddow, despite her obsessive focus on Flint, never had Edwards on her show for a stand-alone interview segment. As we noted, the reason for this seemed obvious—she was selling the notions of "poisoning" and "crisis," and Edwards, a responsible scientist, tended to undercut these pleasing tribal cries.
Maddow proceeded to scare parents and children sh*tless. Eventually, the New Yorker ran a report citing the kids in Flint who inaccurately believed that their lives had been ruined by the water event. You aren't allowed to know how many millions of dollars Maddow is paid each year for such rating-boosting behavior.
The liberal world has begun to ape the conservative world over the past dozen years. We've begun to screech and yell about manufactured crises and over-emphasized random events. We almost always disappear or invent facts to drive our tales along. Or we play the Skittles card, endlessly citing wholly irrelevant facts.
The sheer stupidity of this conduct is a blight on the soul of the world. That said, our press corps lives for bullshit like this. This very clearly explains why we now have a thoroughly disordered and dangerous president, namely Donald J. Trump.
Go ahead—review Drum's graphic! As our own tribe's silly screamers tell us that We are the rational animals, just ask yourself how many other basic facts you aren't being told.
Man [sic] is the rational animal? Drawing on Harari's work, we'll go with "tribal" instead.
Our new year starts next week.