I started out with a piece on applying logic to fact-finding from a by-gone historian’s persective and ended up with this. I thought it was an easy subject.
Bias can distort any opinion. But it is not supposed to alter discernible facts.
First consider that Conservatism is itself a bias, just as Leftism is a bias, both coming in many subtle shades. Since we don’t actually “debate” on Twitter, let’s not try to convince ourselves we do. We’re firing ephemeral arrows at ghost-like shadows and they are firing back the same. No arrow we shoots lands in part because we’re not allowed to know it landed. And vice versa.
This is by design, and by a malevolent creator, I might add.
So consider this sort of combat is designed to be draw, a Bart Simpson “You can’t prove it” fait accompli, for Bart’s generation knew that as long as there was no final judgment in their actions they could continue to repeat the most bodacious scams and lies, and if very smart and well-educated, could turn them into fine careers in Law, government, and bureaucracy.
My generation wasn’t so easy to roll. We had bloody noses, taught at an early age, sometimes firsthand, as I learned from Mick Hensley, (noted in that piece) but mostly learned in those days just by watching or listening. Gary Wayne and I could go out into a grassy area, strip down to our skivvies so our moms wouldn’t whomp us if we brought home dirty clothes, then duke it out for 15-20 minutes til whatever insult that might have started it was assuaged. And within 24 hours 25 kids would know about it. Grapevine. Tom-toms, hell I don’t know, but I’m sure he didn’t call more than one person, just like me. And we both won, so we’d have to settle that sometime later.
I thought of that when thousands got to see that hired thug get sucker-forearmed by a 77-yr old cowboy at a Trump rally in 2016. My heart soared.
That old gentleman represented a time when such an option was still out there, when a punch might just come out of right field if a person uttered some offensive unthought-out “fact”, or worse, a lie. A cultural deterrent of immense meaning.
I still mention Mick in my prayers, wherever he is.
The mere existence of that “bloody nose” option, which was always handled at the lowest common denominator of society, one-on-one, cast a general pall, or blanket, over the prospects of a Bart Simpson getting very far. His kind was a product purely of the 80s and 90s, and we’ve seen what that produced.
The mere existence of the “bloody nose” option, which was always handled at the lowest common denominator in society, cast a general pall over the prospects of a Bart Simpson getting very far, unless he could whip every kid in school. The Bart and Bartette Simpsons of my day would have had to slink into a playground circle to whisper about the way some new kid dressed, or scheme a prank, some even growing up from a 14-year old tart to become a clinical psychologist, but always standing ready when the team called, to accuse a supreme court nominee of rape 30 years later.
… which is still the general, sneaky, low-down image I have of the Left.
Make your own list or perps that fit the description, but I’m not sure Blasey-Ford would have tried that coming from an earlier generation. Sneaky, low-down, slutty, (heavy on the slutty), and cowardly, is the image I have of the Left today. All of them.
And it has galled me, and my entire generation, that we may all go to our graves while knowing we hold a principal key to a civil society inside our gnarly, curled knuckles, and future generations of Bart and Bartette’s may never know such an easy and healing deterrent exists….while lies, damned lies, and goddamned lies proliferate over the land like a swarm of locusts, devouring every truth in their path, simply because of the proven tools we’ve denied ourselves and the feeble tools we’ve allowed to be imposed on us by the very people who are forsworn to their god, to enslave us.
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But then you sit back and remind yourself what Brother Dave Gardner, the beatnik philosopher, said 60 years ago, when someone said, “Let’s do that again?”
“You can’t do that again” Brother Dave answered.
“But you can do something similar.”
Now that’s deep.
Only no one really knows what the path to that “something similar” is. For one, nobody’s really given it much thought. Does the average 45 year old parent, especially a mother, even want to? My 15-year old son and another fellow duked it out in our back yard, over a girl. I let them do it, just as my dad did me. A couple of bruised knuckles, next day they were best friend. My wife never forgave me.
So we can’t just allow an open season for fist fights again, because the guiding rule of the fist fight is that they be mano-y-mano. Two guys fight over bedrock rules of society; disrespecting, lying, trying to steal girl friends, whispering secrets, then word gets around and all the laws of society are reaffirmed. Nature remains in balance.
Nature is now way out of kilter, and I don’t know how to get that back.
I believe William Golding thought something along those lines with his “Lord of the Flies”, where a group of English school boys survive a plane crash on a remote island in the Pacific. One group chooses to set up a government similar to what they had known in England while some others, who would emerge as Alpha male gang leaders you would recognize in any society, with all the British-nanny constraints off, opted to go tribal.
Its central warning is the conflicting human impulses toward civilization, living by rules peacefully versus hierarchical power when all of a sudden there is no overriding law. Written 70 years ago, themes such as groupthink versus individuality, reason versus emotion, morality versus immorality are still ones we contend with in almost as stark as reality as going feral on a lonely island.
Small town Americans at least aren’t like the British, although our suburban schools have many similarities. State controlled school systems everywhere have a certain top-down sameness, and, should any child get his hair mussed, much less a bloody nose, there would be hell to pay, as would Mick Hensley had my mother ever found out it was he who had broken my nose…even though I had to lie to earn it.
If I were going to make an inquiry; literary, film, philosophical, sociological, to allow society to return many of its mores to the lower common denominators, I’d start with the schools, where the “bloody nose” had its greatest run as an element of social education. And I’d end with some serious parenting questions, for my oldest grandson will be working toward his first bloody nose in about 2-3 years, and I know how his father will go about it. But his mother?