Ever since the ratification of the Constitution, the actions of the Federal government have confirmed the need for the limitations written into that document. New needs and crises have “demanded” illegitimate expansion of Federal power.
In order to convince the people that this expansion was, at every turn, vital, the goal of educating citizens about what it means to take part in a Republic had to be blunted. This was done, a step at a time, through education.
Dismantling the ability to reason, employ logic and handle ideas was the prow of that destructive campaign.
And yet, logic isn’t only a subject that’s taught to students whose minds are a blank slate. There is an inherent tendency toward rational thought that persists, despite programming to the contrary.
For example, if a television station or website offered a prolonged debate between two intelligent people on the meaning of the 2nd Amendment — a real debate, not just a brush-off — many viewers would be intensely interested.
I’m talking about an old-style debate, one that lasted at least several hours, with each proponent allowed sufficient time to make his case fully. No name calling or shouting of slogans. No interruptions from either side. No stupid moderators.
This traditional long-form format would serve to wake up people to the fact they have minds, they can think, they can spot contradictions and non sequiturs.
Or, as I’ve suggested before, why not a Debate Channel, devoted exclusively to key issues of our time, taken up in the long form?
True, many viewers would tune out. But others would feel a jolt of inspiration. A sense of déjà vu. “I’ve been here before. I can’t remember when.”
Yes, they’ve been here before, when they could think and reason, before the curtain was lowered.
Actual reasoned debate could become a growing trend. And by contrast, the insane nonsense that presently passes for argument on television would be highlighted as a counterfeit substitute, a fool’s errand.
You can make your own list of vital issues you’d like to see debated, in the long form, by people who know their material (not merely the usual dome heads and pundits). I have my list.
It’s never too late to wake up. It really isn’t.
For instance, suppose we had a 10-hour reasoned debate over the course of two days on television or on the Web on this simple question:
What really happened at Sandy Hook?
Do you think that might draw a few viewers?
Are you kidding?
It would outrank many major network programs. It would put the networks’ coverage to shame.
That’s never a bad thing.
Coda: Here is an illustration of “no-logic” in action. It occurs in a recent article in The Washington Post, “Uncle of young Newtown shooting victim turning tragedy into action.”
From the headline alone, we pick up the slant of the article. It’s going to praise the uncle for being able to turn grief into action.
The uncle is attorney Alexis Haller. His nephew, Noah Pozner, was killed in the Sandy Hook shooting.
The Post article tells us that Haller has worked as a lawyer for the Vatican. We don’t learn exactly what he did for the Vatican; but it’s more or less suggested that, because Haller has a keen interest in “reporting requirements” where child abuse is occurring, he may have had something to do with the Vatican now “expecting” (requiring?) bishops to report pedophile priests to law-enforcement authorities.
This is quite fuzzy. The Post doesn’t clarify what role, if any, Haller played in the new Vatican expectations/requirements.
Nevertheless, the article presses on to indicate that Haller saw a way to codify reporting requirements in situations of imminent violence, like Sandy Hook. In fact, Haller has written (or made notes on?) a bill:
When a person “has knowledge of a grave and imminent threat of serious physical harm or death made by someone with access to a gun,” that person must notify the police within 24 hours.
Haller has met with Joe Biden’s committee and discussed his proposal.
The article doesn’t bother to take up how this bill, if made into law, would be enforced or what implications might flow from it — such as the birthing of an expanded snitch mentality and excessive, wrongheaded or even malicious reporting in cases where the threat of imminent violence wasn’t real.
No, this article, we learn, is more a human interest story about Alexis Haller and what’s he’s motivated to do in the wake of the death of his nephew.
The Post article doesn’t bother to cover Haller’s actual history as a defense lawyer for the Vatican. For example, in a case involving the sexual abuse of a Portland, Ore., boy in the 1960s, a 2011 suit was filed against the Holy See. Haller defending the Vatican, claiming that the pedophile priest, Andrew Ronan, was committing crimes against children without the knowledge of the Holy See and was not an employee of the Vatican.
Why is this significant? Because the Post article states: “Haller had crafted and forwarded several proposals to prevent future gun violence that were shaped by his experience as a lawyer for the Holy See.”
Which part of that experience? Ahem, cough, cough.
By the end of the article, we know nothing about the precise wording of Haller’s new bill to limit gun violence.
We do know that he was tragically connected to the Sandy Hook shootings. We know his initial efforts to have input in new gun legislation were ignored. We know he overcame that problem. We see his posed picture above the article, in which he’s walking in the rain under an umbrella.
We understand The Post is “on his side.”
This is the old ad hominem argument, in which the person forwarding an idea is more important than the actual content of the idea. Except in this case, the person isn’t being attacked; he’s being praised.
As if that gives more credibility to his idea, the precise legal content of which we don’t know.