The great majority of psychiatrists purvey an expensive, jargon-heavy pseudo-science for which little to no objective basis exists. The consequences of investing one’s trust in one can be severe, especially if the psychiatrist is hooked on some au courant mental-health snake-oil nostrum. However, there are a few who will tell you, unabashedly and in simple language, what you need to know to “get well”...which almost invariably amounts to: Cowboy the fuck up and face reality.
What are these tools, these techniques of suffering, these means of experiencing the pain of problems constructively, that I call discipline? They are four: delaying of gratification, acceptance of responsibility, dedication to truth, and balancing. As will be evident, these are not complex tools whose application demands extensive training. To the contrary, they are simple tools, and almost all children are adept in their use by the age of ten. Yet presidents and kings will often forget to use them, to their own downfall. The problem lies not in the complexity of these tools but in the will to use them.
Why, after all, is the truth said to be sacred? Why can’t we indulge the parts of ourselves and our culture that suggest we can slip the bindings of reality and use our imaginations to pretend we have more friends than we do, or that we aren’t facing mortal enemies abroad, or that our leaders need not be authentic, so long as they are entertaining, or that our companies need not prove their value, assuming they can assert it, convincingly?
The answer is this: Human beings suffer in exact proportion to the extent that they depart from the truth. This is a structural beam of the individual and collective human mind and soul, perhaps literally encoded in our DNA, and it defines our place in the universe. Human beings need the truth as much as we need food. Jesus and Gandhi both proved it by fasting, when necessary, until certain truths became known to them and others. And, for the sake of this argument, it matters not at all to me whether you believe that this elemental need is woven into us by God or by science. It just is.
Dr. Ablow’s last three words are the one and only key to emotional health: What is, is. Deny it at your peril.
Mimes was about the deliberate destruction of the objective meanings of words in service to an overt agenda that contradicts reality. Good is Evil reviews the Orwellian use of the deliberate contradiction of verifiable realities to induce passivity and submission in one’s targets. Reality, of course, is “the point:” the point the destroyers want to obscure, and the point you must see despite all the obstacles to it. But here’s the Ace kicker: the destroyers know the truth; they simply don’t want you to know it.
Smith who knows the truth has a tremendous advantage over Jones who doesn’t. If Smith is a man of good will, he will attempt to “clue Jones in,” so the two of them will see the same reality and can cooperate in coping with it. But if Smith is morally deficient – a destroyer – he will attempt to profit from Jones’s misconceptions.
One of the things the destroyers know is that government – the institution that is allowed to use force against others – cannot produce anything but deprivation, destruction, and death. The bedrock political deceit is the notion that the use of force against peaceable others is justifiable – perhaps even mandatory – if it can “solve” some “problem” or achieve some “desirable end.”
Government is not “just another word for the things we do together.” As George Washington apparently did not say, “Government is not reason, it is not eloquence; it is force. Like fire it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.”
The destroyers know that, too.
Remus’s essay “Frankly My Dear” is one of the most popular ever to grace this site. Why? The reason is simple: It tells the truth about a subject on which our eyes have been averted from the facts to make room for pretty lies. Other Liberty’s Torch essays that have proved popular share that central virtue: truth about a subject dominated by attractive fictions.
Dr. Ablow was more right than even he might know: People hunger for the truth. They know, in their heart of hearts, that they’ve been deceived, that the grand, ever-expanding campaign of public deception rolls on, gathering force from second to second. They suspect that they know why. But misbegotten notions about “politeness” and “political correctness” have inhibited the great majority of them from speaking out.
Schematic: A politician lies to you. You smell it and accuse him of trying to deceive you for his own advancement. How does he respond? With manufactured outrage. Perhaps he’ll accuse you of “racism,” or “sexism,” or “lacking compassion,” or of “questioning his patriotism.” If you’re typical, the accusations will either silence you or disgust you into abandoning the field.
Have a few truths:
- The biggest racists and sexists in America are politicians, as studies of politicians’ staffs have confirmed.
- Politicians are completely uncompassionate; they merely seek more of your money with which to buy votes, regardless of the havoc that results.
- To go into politics in this year of Our Lord 2015 is virtually a Certificate of Un-Patriotism. A true patriot would have no truck with the lying, thieving, murdering apparatus government in these United States has become. Rather, he would seek to empty the halls of power completely, perhaps as an overture to demolishing them once and for all.
How many of us are willing to say any of that into a live microphone, perhaps at a politician’s “town hall” meeting?
A final thought for this morning: Along with the many words whose meanings are being undermined or utterly destroyed, there are words and phrases whose utility is for nothing but deception. Their destructive power screams to have them excised from our political discourse. Today, one eclipses all others for cogency: public service.
“Who is the public? What does it hold as its good?” cried Hank Rearden at his “trial” for an “illegal” sale of Rearden Metal to Ken Danagger. Do you have an answer, Gentle Reader?
I have never held elective nor appointive office. I have never worked in government. Yet I am a public servant, and have been all my life. I produce products that are voluntarily purchased by my customers, to their material profit or non-material benefit. In all probability, this is also true of you.
What of the individuals to whom the title “public servant” is normally applied? How do these richly compensated, perquisite-heavy barons of the “public good,” to whom nothing but more power and prestige really seems to matter, actually “serve” the public?
I’d love to see one of them compelled to mime it.