“Don’t you put it in your mouth” was the theme song for an early 1990’s PSA in Canada designed to warn children against accidentally ingesting household chemicals and pharmaceuticals.i The meddling with Darwinian selection aside, these ads were in the full Soviet mold of discouraging discernment in all its various and sundry forms while encouraging broad-sweeping bottom-of-the-barrel uniformity in all its various and sundry forms. This, combined with the immoral creation of the state of perpetual fear as a means of continually limiting freedoms and increasing centralised state control, thus narrowing the perspective of fiat citizens as a means of reinforcing their laughably dubious claims to any description of superiority in any domain whatsoever, has resulted is a society of imbeciles who can’t tell their asses from their mouths, men from women, food from poison, nor Arabic text from pictures of dildos and anal plugs, as CNN’s Lucy Pawle demonstrates.
Part of this is confirmation bias – where you see what you want to see, filtering out the noise of the world to find data to support the (state-sponsored) theories you already hold true and dear – part of this is mental poverty preventing you from changing your theory to one that more accurately and precisely maps reality, and part of this is poor quality discernment. The former two are quite human qualities having to do with biological expediency, but finer-grained discernment is currently obstructed by the raft of politically correct -isms that paper over material differences under the twin guises of fairness and equality.
The world being neither fair nor equal naturally, nor particularly amenable to being wedged into the platonic hole in the ground carved out by socialists in this aim, this general disregard and distaste for discernment can only result in a high degree of confusion and a great deal of counter-productive activity – not at all unlike the boy who’s told by his Church that he’s going to go blind if he masturbates. The poor kid is going to spend his days rubbing up against trees and arguing with himself about the costs and benefits of sightlessness instead of just flogging the dolphin and getting on with his life.
Don’t be that confused kid. Put it in your mouth, explore the world, doubt a little,ii find the boundaries, push up against them, go “too far,” test your theories, own your failings when you make mistakes, and learn to discern.iii
Only by separating the lemma from the palea can you become the lemma.
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- Despite, arguably and plausibly, the historical utility of children for human society being that they were more than happy to stick random things in their mouth. Hey, someone had to test for poison and kids were the least expensive test kit. At least they once were. [↩]
Colorni believed that doubt was creative because it allowed for alternative ways to see the world, and seeing alternatives could steer people out of intractable circles and self-feeding despondency. Doubt, in fact, could motivate : freedom from ideological constraints opened up political strategies, and accepting the limits of what one could know liberated agents from their dependence on the belief that one had to know everything before acting, that conviction was a precondition for action.
From “Worldly Philosopher: The Odyssey of Albert O. Hirschman”, by Jeremy Adelman. Eugenio Colorni was Albert O. Hirschman’s brother-in-law. [↩]
- If you’re a manager, teacher, or parent, don’t assume that someone can or can’t do something based on their gender or race, that’s just ignorant, but don’t paper over the differences between people with uniform praise for inherent qualities because that’s just equally ignorant. Praise their work and their development of skill but don’t lower the barrier to entry just because some people aren’t as good as others at a given task. Treating everyone like a special little snowflake who’s brilliant and perfect no matter what will only breed resentment from your employees/students/children who actually are better at a given activity while simultaneously stunting the growth of the ones who have potential. They aren’t stupid, they want and need your feedback. So tell them when they suck and when they do well.
Heh. If you can tell the difference yourself. [↩]