QoTD: Push Polls and the Wrong Answers

 

Hi Thomas, I’m Mercedes w/ For our Future WI. We’re conducting a survey and want to hear from you. Our first question is simple. With everything that’s going on right now, what’s the biggest issue facing you & your family right now?

Spammers texting me without even getting my name right. Or were you thinking less immediately than “right now?” Well, the intersection between what’s possible with digital technology and what kind of human interactions are fundamentally destructive (mass push polls for example) ranks reasonably high on my list of worries. Is that one of the options? Somehow I think you’ll have to tick the “other” box on your form.

I think I’m most worried about the coming Civil War. I doubt y’all had the foresight to include that as an option either. Supposing I were to pick from your list; the ‘rona doesn’t worry me much at all, or the lockdowns. It’s not a pandemic when you can catch the disease and never notice it, and it’s not a bad economy until people are nudging Grandma towards the ice floe. As the major impetus behind the lockdowns now seems to be the fear of lawsuits I’m curious to see how that plays out. The lawyer-fication of American society is also on my list of worries. Maybe you’ll need more “other” checkboxes.

The riots don’t particularly worry me. What worries me is what’ll happen when the common citizen decides that the police aren’t going to protect him and so he takes things into his own hands. Things will escalate from the destruction of property into bushwhacking. And the righteous indignation of the left who can’t understand that they were asking for it by whacking the hornet’s nest will lead to an utterly predictable overreaction. Again, see the coming civil war. I don’t think we’re living through a repeat of Bloody Kansas right this minute, but I could be wrong.

Oh yeah, there’s a Supreme Court seat open. Fun, but ultimately irrelevant. The age of Supreme Court domination is over. Using the court as a super-legislature works as long as only one side is doing it. When it’s reduced to the pure will to power (as is nakedly confessed these days) then it’s not as useful a tool anymore; it becomes yet another proxy of the eternal struggle between the factions. The supreme court will still make its rules but people will go on and ignore it. A good blitzkrieg doesn’t get bogged down in a test of strength against strength; it’s strength against weakness that lets you advance. Expect people to begin flouting their rulings entirely. Refer back to “the lawyer-fication of American Society” and also “the coming Civil War.”

I suppose I ought to be worried about the media, the academy, the culture at large. I’m really not though. Propaganda always has a weakness; it’s not true. All the world can say that a man is a woman is a man, but if you give a little girl trucks to play with you’ll have a mamma truck, a papa truck, and a little baby truck on your hands. Meanwhile the boy will be shooting people with his Barbie doll. You can shout the truth down all you like, but all the lies in the world can’t make it any less true. In the end, the lies will be washed away and only the truth will remain.

How about geopolitics? All those competitors seem a lot scarier until you remember they’re human too. Putin does everything with the goal of keeping Putin in power. He’s getting old though. Once he’s gone it’s a jump ball and anyone’s game. I expect this will be a very miserable time to be a Russian, but the Russian people should be used to that by now. Islam? Islam is a scourge to remind us of the truth multiculturalism tries to shout down; that some things are right and other things are wrong. Islam too is subject to its own internal contradictions and will eat itself in time. A great many people will suffer in the meantime. Nothing you or I could do will prevent that. I’ll help who I can when I can.

China? I don’t know how that’s going to play out. I suppose that should worry me; it really doesn’t. A free people will always out-compete a slave state. Are we still a free people? Now that is worth worrying about. I direct you to the previous point re the coming civil war. I really doubt China will survive us.

I do worry about video games. Not the quake arenas and the prospect of blood-soaked teenagers going postal. I worry about phone-based freemium games. People warn you about eating processed cheese; I worry about the monounsaturated dopamine hits we’re feeding ourselves with notifications and microtransactions. But again, this falls under the aforementioned intersections between man and his machines. Or possibly machines and their men.

In the end, I don’t worry very much. God is in His heaven, and His hand on the tiller of this world is just as steady as it ever was and ever will be. I don’t presume to know His plans, but I do know a bit of His character. I’m afraid because I know that God is just, and we have not merited a good outcome. I’m hopeful because God is merciful, and if we have not merited mercy then we should at least remember that mankind has never merited His mercy, but by His infinite grace He bestows it on us regardless. Whatever we hope, whatever we fear, God has events in His hands, and the Judge of all the Earth shall do what is right.

Is “the just retribution of a righteous God” on your list of potential worries? It should be.

What else should I be worried about? Police brutality? Please. Systemic racism? Get bent. Global warming? Might as well say the Yellowstone supervolcano or another asteroid hitting. The world is going to end in God’s good time, and you and I can neither hasten nor delay it by worrying about it. Cancel culture? It’s one part technology, one part lawyer-fication, and one part lies that will be swept away in time.

Look, let’s assume that you’re even a real person and not just a computer I’d be talking back to. Doesn’t matter; you might as well be a computer, just easier to program. (I refer you back to, you know what? You get it by now.) All your job entails is taking the things I say and cramming them into neat little boxes so that the analyst types can make pretty graphs to show their clients. You’re fundamentally limiting the set of things you could possibly learn to the set of things that you already know. Hey, it might even work if y’all had some imagination; put “The coming civil war” on your next checklist and see who ticks that box. If we’re lucky it’ll be popular. But that’s you in the group sense; you personally are hourly and almost certainly don’t care.

Put me down as “Murder Hornets.”

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  1. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey
    @GaryMcVey

    Grim, but deep. Thank you for a lot to think about. 

    • #1
  2. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Murder hornets for me, too.


    This is the Quote of the Day. We have plenty of openings this month if you would like to share a quotation to educate, honor another, or just so you can rant. Our sign-up sheet is here.

    Or, if you’re looking to write something a bit more creative, you might try our Group Writing Project this month: It was a dark and stormy night…

    • #2
  3. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Hank Rhody, Freelance Philosop…: Or possibly machines and their men.

    Hank Rhody, Freelance Philosop…: Look, let’s assume that you’re even a real person and not just a computer I’d be talking back to.

    Hmmn.

    • #3
  4. Sam Rhody The Insane Member
    Sam Rhody The Insane
    @SamRhody

    And the LORD answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it.  For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.

    • #4
  5. Stina Member
    Stina
    @CM

    Hank Rhody, Freelance Philosop…: All the world can say that a man is a woman is a man, but if you give a little girl trucks to play with you’ll have a mamma truck, a papa truck, and a little baby truck on your hands. Meanwhile the boy will be shooting people with his Barbie doll.

    I laughed. Because its true.

    • #5
  6. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Hank Rhody, Freelance Philosop…: I suppose I ought to be worried about the media, the academy, the culture at large. I’m really not though. Propaganda always has a weakness; it’s not true. All the world can say that a man is a woman is a man, but if you give a little girl trucks to play with you’ll have a mamma truck, a papa truck, and a little baby truck on your hands. Meanwhile the boy will be shooting people with his Barbie doll. You can shout the truth down all you like, but all the lies in the world can’t make it any less true. In the end the lies will be washed away and only the truth will remain. 

    The clever propagandists cleave as closely to the truth as they dare without contradicting their narrative. They emphasize the elements that match, and diminish the rest. That way, they can’t be called on completely ignoring things. The Proud Boys can thus be declared racist on the say-so of a serial fabulist such as Joe Biden.

    I have paid little attention to the Proud Boys, but I know better than that.

    • #6
  7. EHerring Coolidge
    EHerring
    @EHerring

    I hope it makes the Main Feed so I can share it.

    My grandkids asked why I don’t answer my [landline] phone. I used to, and even answered polls. Now….

    • #7
  8. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    This is a fantastic essay on the present state of mind for America. 

    However, there is a way to address this type of anxiety. It is returning to your personal mission in life. At some point previously in our life, we worked through our principles and philosophies and myriad choices to write a personal mission that we have been working every day since to accomplish by acting in accordance with the priorities that support that mission. One leadership book I read years ago gave executives a quick way to identify that mission. The author said it’s “the promise we made to ourselves.” It’s impossible to read that without thinking, “Ahhh, okay, there it is.” 

    Throughout this pandemic crisis this past year, I have watched so many businesses dig deep and get to work. Their intelligent work is the reason our country and the larger world we live in did not suffer more than we did. 

    Each of these fear-inducing events will pass. The sun will come out. And we’ll be okay. And very proud of what we accomplished. 

     

     

    • #8
  9. Bethany Mandel Editor
    Bethany Mandel
    @bethanymandel

    this was so good

    • #9
  10. Hank Rhody, Freelance Philosopher Contributor
    Hank Rhody, Freelance Philosopher
    @HankRhody

    MarciN (View Comment):
    However, there is a way to address this type of anxiety. It is returning to your personal mission in life.

    Well, I’ve got good news and bad news on that front. The good news is that I’ve got a very clear focus on what my mission is. The bad news is that it involves worrying about this stuff on Ricochet. 

    And really, I don’t worry much about these things. If —

    Hold on, I need to take a call from my good friend Scam Likely.

    • #10
  11. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    Hank Rhody, Freelance Philosop… (View Comment):

    MarciN (View Comment):
    However, there is a way to address this type of anxiety. It is returning to your personal mission in life.

    Well, I’ve got good news and bad news on that front. The good news is that I’ve got a very clear focus on what my mission is. The bad news is that it involves worrying about this stuff on Ricochet.

    And really, I don’t worry much about these things. If —

    Hold on, I need to take a call from my good friend Scam Likely.

    :-) 

    • #11
  12. cdor Member
    cdor
    @cdor

    So what are you telling me, Hank? Don’t worry about things that I can’t fix? Heck, my wife tells me that every day and I married her anyway. Is it possible that each of us worrying about all these things we can’t fix will create a gigormic force field of combined energy that actually will fix all of these things? Hmmm.

    • #12
  13. Hank Rhody, Freelance Philosopher Contributor
    Hank Rhody, Freelance Philosopher
    @HankRhody

    cdor (View Comment):

    So what are you telling me, Hank? Don’t worry about things that I can’t fix? Heck, my wife tells me that every day and I married her anyway. Is it possible that each of us worrying about all these things we can’t fix will create a gigormic force field of combined energy that actually will fix all of these things? Hmmm.

    If you’ll allow me the liberty of a joke. I can tell your wife doesn’t worry about things she can’t fix; you’re still married.

    “Don’t worry about things you can’t change, God has this.” That’s a pretty good moral, but only part of what I’m going for here. We live in a fear-drenched media environment, but the journalist’s objective is complete regardless of whether it’s a useless fear or not. And people have a tendency to project the present into the future unchanging, even if you know that can’t possibly be the case. I know I do whenever I have an upset stomach. Best current example is the mask debate (and don’t say that phrase too quickly, you’ll get slapped). Whether or not masks are useful their days are numbered. Whether or not governors have gotten a taste for emergency power they won’t be able to hold onto it forever.

    If you’ll look at the things I’m actually worried about they all represent long term trends, things which have been getting worse for decades now and may continue for decades more. They don’t depend on the actions of a single actor. And they don’t butt up against the facts of nature; there’s no barrier to them getting worse. Take the virus for example; people live with disease and will live with disease until Kingdom come. Regardless of public health officials and vaccines people will develop immunity to this virus and we’ll go on about our lives. 

    And yeah, the problems I’m mentioning are amenable to mass-worry. Take the just retribution of a righteous God for example. If people repent His wrath can be averted. It worked for the Ninevites. I’m less confident that the coming civil war can be fixed that way. To know all is not, as the saying goes, to forgive all. People might be choosing between an enormously bad idea and a still worse one. But you can be darn sure that it’d help people avoid actions that hasten that bloody day.

    • #13
  14. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Hank Rhody, Freelance Philosop… (View Comment):
    Best current example is the mask debate (and don’t say that phrase too quickly, you’ll get slapped).

    🤚

    • #14