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‘Confidently ignorant’ urged to educate themselves
In the late 1990s, two academic psychologists, David Dunning and Justin Kruger, conducted a study on cognitive bias. They discovered a phenomenon known as “illusory superiority.” This particular form of bias occurs when people of low-ability (i.e., competency) fail to recognize their underdeveloped aptitude for handling a particular subject or task. On its own, this discovery was not a world-shaking revelation. Ignorance is bliss, after all. What made Dunning’s and Kruger’s study stand out was their ability to demonstrate the relationship between low-ability and perceived superiority. That is, the less competent people are at a given subject or task, the more confident they are in their ability to successfully navigate that subject or task. Their perceived superiority is pure illusion. It turns out, ignorance is not bliss: ignorance is confidence. When I read the letters section of this paper, and now the editorial, I see a disturbing amount of ignorance and confidence – the “Dunning-Kruger Effect.” Particularly when the subject of socialism is up for discussion, confident ignorance and ignorant confidence reach an apogee. It seems the literate right-wingers of Macon County never tire of pontificating on a subject they demonstrate themselves to know absolutely nothing about. To be clear, it is not their ignorance that draws my ire. I, too, am ignorant of many things. Ignorance is nothing if not a timeless feature of the human condition. As Alexander Pope once put it, “to err is [to be] human; to forgive is divine.” Ignorant letters about socialism are forgivable. However, pompous, self-congratulatory letters full of blatantly false claims about socialism, the kind written on a near weekly basis in this paper, do not need forgiveness. Their authors need knowledge. Socialism is a working class movement that emerged in the early 19th century in response to the exploitative economic and social relations resulting from a capitalist mode of production in Europe. Socialists advocate for the immediate end of capitalism. The emphasis on immediate is crucial. Socialists do not want to reform capitalism. They want to end it and end it now. Simply put, socialism is a revolutionary movement. Reformist parties –from the mild and meek semi-reformist Democratic Party in the United States to the slightly more robust Social Democracies of Western Europe – are where socialists go to die, as the saying goes. Someone cannot be a liberal or a reformist and a socialist at the same time. But, without contradiction, someone can be a social democrat, or democratic socialist, and a reformist. Social democrats and democratic socialists operate within capitalism; the latter give lip service to ending capitalism at some ill-defined later time, but that time never comes. The Democratic Socialist of America is such an organization. Their program would give working people more power over their lives, and the capitalist elite less. This is a laudable goal. But, insofar as they aim to achieve this within the confines of a capitalist system, they are not socialists. Here is the reaction of the largest socialist party in America, the Socialist Equality Party, to the primary victory of the democratic socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: “Ocasio-Cortez is a bourgeois politician, not a socialist. She does not question the economic foundations of capitalist society—the ownership of the banks and giant corporations by a financial aristocracy. She does not suggest that the property system in America or the accumulation of unheard-of wealth by a tiny fraction of the population should be questioned, let alone ended. “There’s not a hint in her politics of industrial democracy or workers’ rights in the workplace. There is not even Sanders’ verbal condemnation—as phony as it is—of the billionaires, many of whom, in New York City, are Democrats. At best, hers is a mildly reformist program that would have been entirely unexceptional in the Democratic Party of 1965. “And even these piddling reforms are predicated on an absurdity: the reform of the Democratic Party, one of the two political instruments through which the financial oligarchy rules America—a party that has moved drastically to the right over the past half-century.” (https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2018/06/28/pers-j28.html) Even from this short excerpt, it should be obvious that socialists in America have no sympathy for Democrats, social democrats, or democratic socialists. In fact, as I’ve stated before, socialists often attack Democrats more than Republicans. The capitalist class has the Democrats on a short leash. This gives the illusion of separation between them. The Republicans are the lap dogs of the capitalist class. They sycophantically grovel before the financial and corporate oligarchy – fetching every tax cut for the wealthy, promoting every war for the profiteers, and reducing every protection for the workers on the command of their masters. Republican obedience to the demands of the elite is perfectly transparent for all to see. The need for socialists to condemn the obviously condemnable opponents of the working class, the Republicans, takes a back seat to criticizing the rhetoric of the pseudo-left in America, the Democrats. Thus I ask the confidently ignorant: If you want to understand something about socialism, get off Brietbart, Fox News, Limbaugh, Info Wars, or whatever right-wing conspiracy theory site that is feeding you misinforming. Try to find that virtue that has been completely lost in Trump’s America, honesty. Go to the World Socialist Website or any other socialist organization. Educate yourself. The Dunning-Kruger Effect can be remedied.
Marshall Solomon – Franklin, N.C.
Democrats setting a dangerous precedent
Democrat judicial senators have spent weeks undermining Judge Kavanaugh. With microscopic application, they’ve ascertained the candidate is a [blackguard] with an evil heart. They’ve done this through in-depth analysis of his high school yearbook. They have achieved this goal as successfully as they have cosmetically beautified a vampire bat. The Democrat senators have succeeded, however, in documenting their depravity. They will destroy anyone, anytime, anyplace, anywhere to meet their agenda. Judge Kavanaugh and his family are not the only victims. Should Democrats prevail, a precedent is set; every person in this country will be guilty until proven innocent. History repeats itself. The Spanish Inquisition tortured and murdered on a whim. Stalin sent 20-30 million innocents to their deaths. Mao, Pol Pot, the Khmer Rouge, and other dictators slaughtered unknown millions. The U.S. had McCarthy and the Salem Witch Trials. Our Constitution offers protection but it cannot protect if the public is ignorant or refuses to be involved. The Magna Carta created rights which we will lose if we don’t vote unscrupulous representatives out.
Kathryn van Heyningen – Franklin, N.C.
Socialist Democrats delivered vicious slaughter
“And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.” This excerpt from the U.S. Declaration of Independence demonstrates how far the political class has departed from our Constitution, Bill of Rights, and beliefs of our founding fathers. Recently the nation witnessed a good man, beaming with pride, as he and his family were ushered into the White House to receive accolades on his nomination to the Supreme Court. What we witnessed instead was the lamb and his whole flock led to a particularly vicious slaughter on the altar of political expediency, and at the hands of the Socialist Democrat party, their media propaganda arm, and their community organizer enforcement division. Judge Kavanaugh and his family surely expected that things could get a little rough during the hearings; but none of them could have anticipated the blood bath to come. At one hearing Democratic senators continuously interrupted in a pre-planned attack with total disregard for any rules of assembly or decorum. Their planted “organizers” joined them in such obnoxious shouted screams that the judge’s daughters had to be removed. Later we watched Queen Ford, a sanctified and deified “survivor,” enter the arena on the arms of her handlers and take the throne. Her Democratic knights in armor then demonstrated their investigative prowess by uncovering and exposing secret yearbook sexual deviant code words. Some of the Me Too survivors must surely have been ralphing when they compared their own experiences to Ms. Ford’s “near miss.” And thank God for the microphone button that saved Ms. Ford’s attorneys from having to clap a hand over her mouth. Nor did the Republican senators demonstrate any spine as their nominee was dragged through the mud. One could hear their exoskeletons rattling as they scurried back under their rocks and caved. Republicans must borrow and read the Democrats’ playbook by Saul Alinsky “Rules for Radicals.” They must then go to the so called “moderate” Republicans and discover what inducements they have been offered to throw Kavanaugh and the American people under the Socialist bus. The choice for future Supreme Court nominees is now a one-shot grab at the brass ring. Failure will mean the loss of their comfortable lifestyle, good name, and career. It is clear that most of the people in that hearing room, and unfortunately many outside it, don’t believe in any mutual pledge, or even common decency.
Diane Whitley – Franklin, N.C.
Country was ready for a street guy in White House
Well, took, the bride to Alaska as an early 66th anniversary, it’s a wonder how that woman lasted living with me. Pick up my favorite paper and what I got to the letters, wow! It’s amazing, the left has all the answers, the right says, no, they got it. Well, I don’t know about you, I voted for Trump. Yes, he’s not a polished politician; yes, he gets carried away. But why I voted for him, it was time this country needed a street guy. Yes, at 88 years young I’ve gone through a lot of presidents, good and bad, polished and not. Let me say this country, to me, a street guy, is a wonderful life, and I stand for my flag and its anthem. I will vote for our president again. To those who don’t like him, stop crying, you have a vote, use it. I am a Democrat and always will be, but my party has left us street guys and become a party of anti-Americans. Well, I guess you three page letter writers will tear me up. Who cares? I believe in free speech; have at it. The street guy,
Wm Trapani – Franklin, N.C.
A complete truth and love can be found
There’s a need within the human mind and heart to know what is beyond us. We know what we know at this moment, but don’t really know what comes next. We may have an idea but anything that is beyond the now and present is really in the future which we haven’t experienced. So we live literally moment by moment, thinking we know what takes place in the future. In seeking what is in hope for the future, one thing we desire is to find what is truth. But in our modern culture we are told truth can not be found, or you have your truth and I have mine. Which is like one saying, today it’s 15 degrees out, when actually it’s August and 90. Someone has the truth while the other may think they do, but their truth and their belief is really believing a non-truth. Truth is something likened to science in that true science works within and discovers laws that are proven over time and testing within nature and our universe. Things that can not be proven are hypothesized or as some imply, it’s an educated guess, or possibly even better, an uneducated guess, and if the guessing is push enough, it is then made out as truth even though it is a non-truth, but is believed anyway. This is so evident in all aspects of living that we can not escape; politics, religion, science, everything can be tainted in various degrees. So truth suffers and becomes corrupted by not seeking it out as truth. Mankind is really under two truth systems so to speak, or laws. One is we are all subject under the laws or truths of nature, the other are the internal laws or truths we seek and want, but internal truths may not be revealed in the same manner as nature’s laws or truths. Our nation’s laws are not seen but are understood. You can not see justice the same as you see gravity, but you know, want and love justice when you see it work well in the protection it gives to self and family. The evidence of it not in place or corrupted are all too evident for all to see, both at home and abroad. The internal laws or truths that come to mind is a want of respect or dignity, love, honesty, integrity, unselfishness, and the greatest of these is love, all are internal. These truths or laws are in need of being found even though they themselves are not physical but ever so needed and sought for. We being human all find that this is instilled in the hearts of mankind and we all want it; but search within yourself …. where does this come from … and why is it we fail at it so miserably? There’s something missing or not understood, but is in need of knowing. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with truth. (1 Cor. 13:6) The most complete truth and love you’ll ever find are only known in Christ.
Deni Shepard – firstname.lastname@example.org
Democrats have sold their humanity for power
If you watched the Kavanaugh hearing you witnessed the evil that has taken over the Democaratic Party. The thirst for power and control was quite evident and the proof showed how far they are willing to go to get it. It doesn’t stop with Judge Kavanaugh, it continues everyday to affect us as Americans. It touches our lives through the media, our children in school, our safety and our ability to pursue happiness and protect ourselves. Progressive Left politicians have been promised by the evil cabal of elitists in the world, power. The politicians who chose this path are called Democrats and Rinos [Republicans in Name Only]. They have sold their humanity for power. We witnessed the pure evil and hypocrisy of the Left. It radiated through our TVs. It was palpable. We also witnessed goodness and righteousness of humanity in the person of Brett Kavanaugh who fought for value and morality. He fought against this evil. He will fight for us with the same veracity to protect our Constitution from the people who tried to destroy him. Today, please take a moment to thank your God for preserving justice for us. The courage of Lindsey Graham to stand up against this evil restores my faith in the fact we may still have a few good people in the political arena willing to protect us and our Constitution. As for Dr Blasey, I believe she was a pawn used by the Demon Rats. I believe she may have experienced some trauma, but not at the hands of Judge Kavanaugh. We have a long way to go to restore some sanity and morality to our political system, but together with the help of good brave people, we may just save Lady Liberty.
Lynn Thompson – Franklin, N.C.
There really is a Santa Claus and a tooth fairy
This letter is for Mike Jones. You let him rag on Bob Wilson, the only one that is truthful in his letters to the editor is Bob Wilson. You print a lot of lies, but telling us that there is no Santa Claus, that is way over the top. Certainly you can’t deny me? We have six children, 18 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren and they all believe in Santa Claus. I played Santa Claus on a number of occasions all for the less privileged. About the moon, Mike Jones probably knows more about that than me. I understand he has visited the moon often. I do know that on a clear night and a full moon, he is smiling down on us. There is a tooth fairy. Back in the ’50s, the tooth fairy was paying 25¢ for a tooth. I sure it’s much more than that today. If you ever saw a look on a child’s face when they look under their pillow, the tooth is gone and a shiny new quarter is theirs. There is also a free lunch. That a lot of people say that there is no such thing as a free lunch, there is thousands every day. How do we know? My wife and I in our mid-80s – 84 and 85 – deliver Meals on Wheels to the old people.
Pete Young – Sylva, N.C.