False narratives damage the tellers most.

We humans are storytelling creatures. Facts simply don’t have the power of stories, which is why narratives are so effective and popular. If a narrative, a story told over and over purporting to explain, is false, but is repeated often enough, it becomes like revealed truth. If the narrative is false, it may fool some people hearing or reading it, but repeating it damages the credibility and self respect of the teller even more; Especially if they know it’s false.

This morning I was at the V.A. Hospital for some tests. The government mandates that they always start with some basic questions, to confirm that they have the right person in front of them: Full name, social security number, date of birth, and a brand new one, “what gender do you identify with?” Yes, exactly. As he (clearly male, with the beard and hulking muscles…at least I hope he was) immediately apologized for asking (“we are required to ask “), then looked at me expectantly, I said, in my most baritone voice, “I don’t identify as anything, I am male.” He later related a story about how he and his brother, also a veteran, hugged when his brother got back from Iraq, and someone who saw them asked him, “which one of you is the husband?”

Let’s start with a false narrative which is a the foundation of all false narratives: There is no sovereign God who created the heavens and the earth and all that is within them. By extension, let’s call it a sub-narrative, there is no absolute authority who/which determines what is true and what is false. The corollary is, everyone is free to determine their own truth, to be their own authority. Put in theological terms, because what we worship sets the rules for our behavior and opinions, we are each the god of our world. Under that principle, no narrative is false, because all narratives are just a different person’s version of truth. Now here’s the big paradox in that viewpoint: If you believe the previous sentence, as most liars do, then nobody lies! What an appropriate paradox, that those who are usually quickest to accuse someone else of lying don’t believe in absolute truth, which eliminates the possibility of lying.

A lie, by definition, is telling something you know to be false (commission) or leaving out something relevant you know to be true (omission). But if you believe it, it isn’t a lie, right? I read a response to a blog from “citizen Tom” by someone with the handle “Tsalmon” who excoriated both Donald Trump and Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez (AOC), as liars and self-promoters, but who opined, Trump was worse because he knows he’s lying and she believes her lies. She’s a more sincere liar? If it were possible to read minds or hear someone’s internal dialogue, then we could perhaps determine who believes what they are saying and who doesn’t, yet does that matter? If someone believes there’s no objective truth, which is to say “my opinions are the truth or are as valid as any truth”, that has no effect on whether something is actually true or false. If you believe something or promote something–whether you believe it or not–that’s false, you will be more damaged in the long run than those who hear it or read it and don’t believe it. The person who is damaged the most, however, is the person promoting what they know is a lie. They are damaging their very souls, whether or not they are directly affected by the lies, and ultimately are excising their ability to recognize when they are lying. Let’s expand this.

Perhaps the best, or at least the most accessible, way of determining whether someone is spreading a lie, is charges. Racist, sexist, homophobic, islamophobic, misogynistic are all charges, slogans that accuse someone of harboring hatred, contempt, or some other negative attitudes and beliefs about a certain group of people. These charges have in common: 1. the claim to be able to read human minds, 2. conflating statements with feelings, 3. invalidating even the most objective criticism of actions, 4. expanding any statement about an individual or a behavior to the entire group having a similar characteristic. “But what if that teller of tales, that spreader of the narrative, believes what they are saying?” Read this very carefully: The person who uses charges is telling lies, regardless of whether they believe what they are saying, because the very charges themselves have four requirements that are untrue!

1. Can anyone read minds? No, but if you insist you can, do I have a straightjacket for you. 2. If you make statement about behavior or suggest an action, does that reveal what you truly feel about a group of people? No, that’s the same thing as mind reading. 3. If you criticize an action or make a statement based on evidence, can it be invalidated by a charge? No, our legal system is based on standards of evidence, either beyond a reasonable doubt (in criminal courts) or preponderance of evidence (civil court). 4. Is a statement about an individual necessarily a judgment on a whole group? No, it’s a judgment about that individual.

Let’s get specific about charges. By now, virtually everyone who has a smartphone or watches tv or the Internet knows that President Trump has issued statements or tweets that have been called racist, misogynistic, sexist, homophobic and islamophobic, right? I analyzed his latest “racist” tweets in a previous blog and didn’t find them racist nor, because he was referring to women, did I find them misogynistic. I won’t go over my arguments again, you can read them. I agree with the principles he tweeted. If you can possibly pretend that you saw those 3 tweets and didn’t know who sent them, and simply read the words, what principles did he espouse? Basically, before you criticize our country unjustly, show me your ideas of how a country should be governed, and let’s start with the ones you identify with. Oh, and by the way, rather than just theorizing, go and show us how to fix a broken system, thus helping the people in those countries as well. How is that racist? If Ilhan Omar or Rashida Tlaib actually took sabbaticals to Somalia and Gaza respectively, while applying our constitutional principles or anything else they learned here in those places, who would be enriched? They, the people they are helping and even our people would benefit assuming they were in a position to effectively implement improvements.

More precisely, since I have already invalidated the word “racist” itself as a charge based on four invalid ideas, how is his tweet expressing animosity towards the races of these progressives? What if he had named them, and they were all female and POCs, would his exact words have indicated hostility towards darker skinned people (racist charge) and women (misogynistic charge)? Not without you making a lot of inferences (it’s Trump, everyone knows he’s racist, sexist, etc). What do the words actually say? Can you even separate the principles and words from what you think of the person writing them? Not if you’ve bought the narrative.

At this point, it will be easy to separate those who have bought into an inferential narrative so strong they can’t objectively evaluate the words written, and those who still have the ability to read and understand the English language without thinking they can read minds. The former group would respond to my blog with some variation of: 1. You’re racist; or 2. You’re just pro Trump; or 3. You hate Democrats/women of color/etc. Okay then, let’s get even more specific. I will save the racist charges for the next post, which will attempt to completely unpack what racism is and is not, including being specific about what I believe about race. I agree that many of President Trump’s tweets and attributed statements can be interpreted as demeaning to specified individuals and countries, and I don’t like the language of most of those, nor do I agree with many of them and I wish he would stop. For example, when he referred to certain “shithole countries”, which were probably Yemen, Somalia, Honduras and Venezuela, I would have used different words, liked “failed states” or “dumpster fires”, and I don’t think our country’s president should refer to any other countries that way, even though most of us, in private, equity think of a lot of places that way. Not having been privy to private conversations of our other presidents, I’m only guessing that they all (even the sainted Obama) referred to many countries that way. Perhaps their emigrants agree?

If I get the option to vote for Ted Cruz or Mike Pence or Dan Crenshaw for president, I would prefer their style over that of Trump, though I am not sure how effectively they could bait the Democrats or the dominant media into revealing their agenda. Because politicians and bureaucrats can do and have done far more to damage our country than to benefit it, I would vote for whomever can most effectively provoke them to reveal their agenda and stymie their efforts, and right now that is Trump. Because anyone who dares question the false narratives of our time is fodder for charges, and I declare (in case any reader might still wonder) almost every narrative purveyed by the Democrats, the Mediated Reality establishment, leftists, Antifa and fellow travelers is false, and for those among them who believe their bullshit, their ability to separate truth from lies is probably irreparably gone.

If you read this post as a defense of Trump, you have missed the entire point, and provided the evidence for my main point: Those who keep repeating a narrative, someone else’s charges about a person, instead of evaluating their words at face value, risks losing their ability to discern facts from fictions. There is no better example than the reality of the immigrant detention procedures and facilities, versus the media and Democrats’ narratives. AOC, for example, never even entered the facility she claimed was so inhumane. Protecting the narrative was more important than reality.

Those rockets really contain care packages.

Remember when you were away from home for the first time, like summer camp or college, and homesick? You really looked forward to mom sending you “care” packages with cookies and other treats? Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) says that the Palestinian movement against Israel is non-violent: “In the situation of Palestine, what we are doing right now is having hypocrisy in not celebrating non-violent movements there and condemning it.” So I suppose those rockets that Hamas frequently sends over from Gaza contain treats for Israeli schoolchildren?

Israeli Ofir Gendelman posted a YouTube video of Senior Hamas leader Fathi Hammad saying, “Hamas has built a new factory for making suicide vests that will be given to Palestinian girls (and boys) in order to storm the Israeli border and blow up Israeli families.” Now you know why Israel protects the border with Gaza from Hamas. Omar, who according to herself, “loves America more than any native born American”, takes lies and hypocrisy to greater apogees than those Hamas rockets. There is a sense in which she is right, though not in the way she intended.

There is a story in the NY Times by Isabel Kershner:

BILIN, West Bank — On a recent weekday, Muhammad Abu Rahma returned to the place where Palestinian protesters and Israeli soldiers used to clash in weekly confrontations that made the West Bank village of Bilin a symbol of resistance against the Israeli occupation. But this time, he came not to protest but to picnic with his wife and three children. He had served three terms in prison for his activities at the height of the protests. But now, at 33, he had a family and a job as a garbage collector. “People want money to live, and permits,” he said, referring to the Israeli permits allowing laborers to work in Israel, where they can earn twice as much as they do in the Palestinian territories.

In a 2011 analysis for Asia Times, David Goldman counseled Israel not to attempt to make peace with a Palestinian population heavily tilted towards hot-headed youngsters, and to wait until the declining Palestinian fertility rate had raised the average age of the West Bank population. Like Northern Ireland, the militants would find themselves married with mortgages (at least those who survived). He further writes about the situation, below.

Non violent? “Around 80,000 Palestinian men are employed by one or another of the “security forces” in Gaza and the West Bank. The Palestine Authority’s grossly inflated numbers claim that there were 587,000 men aged 20 to 40 in the territories; the actual number is probably around 400,000, which means that one in five has a job carrying a gun. Taking unemployment into account, that implies that one in three Palestinian men with a full-time job is a gunman.

Hopeful? “That may change over time. 5,800 Palestinians are working at technology companies on the West Bank, and the booming Israeli software sector is outsourcing to the West Bank, with a third of Palestinian software companies filling orders for Israeli firms, Bloomberg News reported March 15. 

“And the top school for Palestinian computer science students is Ariel University in Samaria, in the midst of a settlement near Nablus. ‘Administrators at the Ariel University Center are proud to have the Arab students, saying their enrollment is an example of loyalty and equality among Israeli citizens. For their part, the Arab students seem not to feel uncomfortable attending the college despite its reputation and location,‘ wrote the Chronicle of Higher Education. ‘On campus the fact that we are in occupied territory is irrelevant—it doesn’t affect us at all. We leave all the politics outside,’ the Chronicle quoted Manar Dewany, a 20-year-old student in math and computer science who commutes each day from the Israeli Arab town of Taybeh. ‘I never even considered it a reason for not coming here,’ Ms. Dewany added. ‘I have no problem with it. Why not come here? This place is full of Arabs‘.” What? This is in Israel, don’t you want to strap on a vest? What about all the suicide vests that will go to waste in Hamas warehouses?

“No one outsources computer technology to Egypt, where very few of each year’s crop of 700,000 college graduates meets world standards. The education that young Arabs receive at the settlers’ university on the West Bank is better than anything available among Israel’s Arab neighbors. In a quiet way, the settlers of Samaria may do more for peace than the diplomats.

“By 2040, the stone-throwing kids of the First Intifada will be close to retirement age, and the gun-toting young men who dominate today’s Palestinian employment picture (or those who still are alive) will have families. If they missed out on high-tech jobs, the spillover from the West Bank’s economic growth—driven in turn by Israel’s economic miracle—will keep them employed in service industries. Absent additional violence, the West Bank will flourish while Egypt and Syria descend into penury and chaos.

“There is no urgency to make peace, except in the minds of the Palestinians’ present leaders. The world has allowed them to rule a little fiefdom as warlords of private armies, with little accounting for billions in foreign aid, and the opportunity to indulge in a grand ideological tantrum on the tab of Western donors. The window is closing for radical Islam. That makes the present an exceptionally dangerous period, because the radicals know that it is closing. The Palestinians of the West Bank are better off than any other Arabs in the region by any tangible measure—health, literacy, higher education, per capital income.”

This hopeful picture can also be applied to our country. The young firebrands of Antifa and the Democrats will eventually move out of mom’s basement, get a real job, grow up and look around the world, finally appreciating the words of Proverbs 20:29. “The glory of young men is their strength, but the splendor of old men is their gray hair.” (gray hair bringing wisdom folks!).