Thursday, February 9, 2012

Reasons Why I Don't Believe in it Anymore - Be Skeptical of Everything You Hear

"Government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it." - Ronald Reagan (1986)

I don't believe anything I see or hear on TV or radio and read in magazines anymore. Thirty plus years in mass media will make anyone very jaded and skeptical of everything coming out of the mouths of newscasters, scientists and politicians.

You wouldn't know it to read what I write about these days, but when I was a university student, I was pretty much a hard-core socialist, perhaps even a communist. Many people today are that way too but they don't like to use those words. Many people have been confused from decades of government run schooling.

I used to think - and I was taught in school - that the government is benevolent and needs to provide for people because the people are too useless and stupid to provide for themselves. That the people are stupid and useless is a pretty solid argument. But as I grew older, I began to learn that there is no such thing as a free lunch and for the government to take care of someone means that they are taking money from someone else.

You cannot keep taking money from the productive part of society and keep giving it to the unproductive part of society. We've been doing this for decades and not that's how we've gotten ourselves into the financial mess we're currently in.

Yep. Learn to live with it... Or marry a rich guy or girl.

For example, the idea that the government should provide medical care, retirement care, or a so-called "free" education to everyone was some of the ideas that I believed were the duty of government. I believed those ideas because I went to government run public schooling. Of course, in government run schools, they will teach you that government run schooling is the best. That's what government's do. Is there a government in the world today that tells their public, "We are not the best government for you. Vote for another party!"

I clearly remember my 4th grade teacher, Mrs. Demuth sitting us in class and saying, "The United States has the best and the freest government in the world. And the proof of that is that we have had the same government for 200 years." That, my friends, isn't true. We've had the same political system for 200 years, but not the same government for 200 years. If longest running means that it is the best (typical American exceptionalism type of twisted thinking and logic) then I don't think America even comes close. The longest running government in the history of the world is probably Mao's China. Can anyone verify that for me? Not that it matters.

Cooler than any US president. How many of them can say "Warhol did me"? 

I knew, even then, that what my teachers were telling me wasn't true. That's one reason why I don't carte blanche believe anything that teachers say and am very skeptical about their pronouncements.

Then, in high school, I was president of the Science Class. We were told that the entire world was heading into a new Ice Age. Scientists were absolutely sure about that one too. There were even some scientists who said that we should put ash and salt on the polar ice caps to melt them so that would warm up the earth. That was 1975. I even wrote a 140 page thesis on it for my senior year. I was proud of that paper. But guess what? Even though the scare last a few more years, the Ice Age never happened. I became skeptical of science.

I became a devout disbeliever when, not trusting the media I worked in, I studied the subject. This from the Business and Media Institute of America:

"Many publications now claiming the world is on the brink of a global warming disaster said the same about an impending ice age – just 30 years ago. Several major ones, including The New York Times, Time magazine and Newsweek, have reported on three or even four different climate shifts since 1895."

Yes. Big disasters sell advertising space and create revenues. Follow the money if you are ever wondering about the validity of anything you are told on the mass media.

I makes sense when you think about it; they can't even predict next week's weather with better than a 50% chance of accuracy, what kind of fool thinks they can predict the weather 50 years from now?

A few years later, I became old enough to vote. The very first time I had the chance to vote for president. I voted for Jimmy Carter because I didn't want war. Carter won the first time. I was happy. Then, during his tenure, inflation hit 22% and I was a university student. I realized that, at that rate, there would be no jobs even if I did graduate. Then when it seemed like he would lose re-election to Ronald Reagan, he committed a crime by sending the military into Iran to try to rescue hostages. The mission was called Operation Eagle Claw. It was a disaster. Two of the helicopters crashed into each other and eight US servicemen died. The mission was called off.

This was the guy I voted for!? I voted for him because I didn't want war yet he was sending our military in on military adventures in countries that we weren't at war with? I have never voted again, even once, since then.

Political hypocrites! That's one more reason why I don't believe anything that politicians say and am very skeptical about their pronouncements.

After that I worked for a Republican congressman from California named Bob Largomarsino. I was his chief staff cameraman. Congressman Bob was a nice guy. I travelled around with him and took photos of him visiting old folk's homes and shaking hands with people or going to lunch with other people. In the two years I worked for him, I never once took any photos of him actually doing an work besides schmoozing people. Then Reagan invaded Grenada.

This photo was congressman Bob's favorite. Him sitting between Reagan and Bush I.
This photo hung in his office. I didn't take this one.

They said they were invading Grenada because US students were being held hostage. We'd find out later that this wasn't true at all and many nations, including our allies like Britain were angry and upset about the USA breaking international law.

"What's the land of the free doing invading tiny Caribbean nations?" I thought. That was one more reason why I don't believe anything that politicians say and am very skeptical about their pronouncements.

The litany of being told one thing but later on finding out that the facts are different from what we were told is long. I could never name them all. Rick Gee had a good short list of government lies

  • Woodrow Wilson: won reelection with the prevaricating slogan, "He kept us out of the war." (Well, at least he did until after the election. Typical politician).
  • Bush I: "Read my lips: no new taxes." (Well, maybe just a few).
  • Ronald Reagan: knew nothing of the Iran-Contra shenanigans. (The Teflon President, indeed).
  • Bill Clinton: "I experimented with marijuana a time or two and I didn’t like it, and didn’t inhale and never tried it again." (Do you know anyone who tried it but didn’t like it?)
  • Bill Clinton: "I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky." ("Hey, I just sat there; she did all the relating herself.")
  • Vince Foster committed suicide (how convenient).
  • Richard Nixon: "I am not a crook." ("I shall resign the presidency effective at noon tomorrow.")
  • Marijuana has no medicinal benefits. (Tell Peter McWilliams’ survivors that).
  • Children are being molested in a compound in Waco (to protect them, we must kill them).
  • "Let’s Roll." Flight 93 crashed in Pennsylvania because heroic passengers thwarted the hijackers. (That the U.S. Air Force shot down Flight 93 seems far more likely).
  • Bush II: We must take the war on terrorism to Afghanistan because the Taliban are harboring Osama bin Laden, mastermind of the 9/11 attacks (never mind that the U.S. government had already planned to invade Afghanistan long before 9/11).

There's all sorts of others too (for too many to name) but another short list: Flouride in the water is good for you; the IPCC (a government agency by the way) says there is a "consensus on Global Warming" but there isn't at all; Saddam Hussein had nuclear weapons; the USA is spreading democracy; we are the "good guys;" the Japanese government saying that there was no problem at Fukushima; being the news director of a major Japanese broadcasting station and telling people that SARS, Bird flu and Swine flu were going to kill well over 250 million people worldwide (in total, until today, the three of them together have killed less than 300 people) the list goes on and on... 

These are all the million and one reasons why I am very skeptical about the pronouncements of teachers, scientists and politicians. 

Photoshop did wonders for the Man Made Global Warming movement...

That's why whenever I hear some politician say that they need to tax us to "help the children" or "save the environment" or "stop global climate change;" whenever I hear that we must go to war to stop some country from harming their people (as if bombing those same people is helpful) or that, in the worse case of an Orwellian nightmare, that "We must go to war in order to have peace" I am very skeptical.

I think, in this modern age, we need, we must to have a very strong and healthy skepticism about anything we hear, see or read on the mass media and that includes the Internet.

To do otherwise is to be foolish and completely ignore the historical record.


marcabela said...

"But as I grew older, I began to learn that there is no such thing as a free lunch and for the government to take care of someone means that they are taking money from someone else."

If I may... slight correction...

"for the government to take care of someone means that they are taking money from that same someone"

mike in tokyo rogers said...

I stand corrected!

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