Why I Started Admitting I Was Wrong

Dale Carnegie said in How to Win Friends and Influence People, that if any of us were right more than half the time, we’d be making a killing on Wall Street.

It feels like others would lose respect for someone who admits they have been wrong, but the opposite is true. Continue reading

Don’t Fear the Light: Considering New Idea’s While Avoiding Blind Faith

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I believe it was Carlsbad Caverns that my family toured when I was going into fourth grade. We were taken deep beneath the earth’s surface, and guided into a large domed cave within the natural underground tunnels. The tour guide told us to put our hand 12 inches in front of our face, and he turned off the flashlight. “Can you see the outline of your hand?” he asked. We all could–or so we thought. There was no light at this depth in these caves detectable by the human eye, and the outline we thought we saw was simply a construction of our brain. A single match was then lit, flooding the ballroom sized cavern with enough light to see every stalactite and stalagmite in wonderful detail.

It seems likely that a humans’ aversion to new ideas is rooted in evolution. If what you have been doing has always worked for survival, changing it could be quite dangerous. Why let someone convince you to go out on a limb that could snap, instead of continuing practices that have always kept you alive? It is understandable that our survival instincts tell us to fear change, and support the status quo. If there were berries and game here last year, there will probably be next year as well.

But in evolution danger lies in too homogeneous a species. There is still much mystery surrounding why, but about 70,000 years ago the human population of earth “bottlenecked” and was reduced to somewhere between 2,000 and 10,000 individuals. Humans were extremely endangered and essentially almost went extinct. For the people living before the event or series of events or long-term change, there was not much reason to change what had worked for survival. But for some reason, a bunch of humans died off, and only a small group survived.

I don’t know why that group survived. It could have been a genetic variation, or special skills one group possessed, or perhaps, the ability to adapt. While many other humans could not break with tradition in terms of “what has always worked”, maybe a small group was able to reassess their method of survival, and change it in order to survive in the new environment. Whether the new environment was caused by climate, predators, wars, disease, famine, or aliens hardly matters. What matters is the ability to predict upheaval, and properly prepare for that change.

70,000 years ago there were probably a lot of people that knew something was happening, but did not know what to do about it. They probably continued living the only life they knew, and died because of it. There were probably also people who did not see any change coming, and failed to prepare out of ignorance. Others might have continued hunting the hypothetically disappearing game until the very last one was eaten, and then starved, refusing to believe that their way of life could possibly change.

Some humans might have seen a change coming, but prepared for the wrong change, or predicted an event that never came to fruition. But what we know is that there were a select few who were either lucky, or smart. I like to think that the survivors were the ones who were not afraid of the light. It seems that people who were the most open to learning, who could consider new ideas, and adapt to their environment would be most suited to survive, and I don’t think that has changed.

This does not mean any new idea should be seized upon and believed wholeheartedly without proper scrutiny; some of those early humans died because they saw the wrong change coming. But equally detrimental was refusing to see the light, and therefore not adjusting reactions to escalating dangers. The ultimate survival skills lie in those who can objectively and rationally consider risks and rewards. Shutting out a new idea is just as likely to end negatively as blind faith in a new idea, or being convinced that the oldest idea is novel.

Moving into the twentieth century, what humans must do to survive is be vigilant and logical. There are those who stand on their front porch and watch as a tsunami rolls in, and there are those who run to the top of mountains to be rescued by aliens who never show. We want to avoid each category. We should learn about the tsunami and assess the weather report: the risk to an area, the scope and magnitude, and the timing. But there’s no harm in hearing out the would be extraterrestrial pilgrims either; but beware of seeing something where there is nothing. Often your instincts will be correct, and there will be no facts behind the theory. However it does not hurt to listen and objectively consider data, you may be surprised by the result and learn things that seem so obvious in hindsight.

Sometimes we are more comfortable in the dark, imagining our hand is visible, than seeing our real environment illuminated. In a place so dark, it does not take much light to see your true surroundings. Don’t continue to imagine that you see your hand in the dark. Be brave, and light the match; it will illuminate things you never knew were there.

Benghazi Boiling Over

Yesterday Thomas Sowell released an article called “‘Cooling out’ the Voters”. What he refers to is the process by which a con man pulls the wool over his victim’s eyes. The con man, Sowell says, must keep the victim in a state of confusion for long enough to get away with the con. Eventually the victim will know he was conned, but the timing of when he figures this out is key to the con man. The period of uncertainty when the victim is still unsure of what has happened, is called “cooling out” the mark–the mark being the victim.

American’s have been conned by President Obama over the truth behind the Benghazi terrorist attack on the Libyan embassy on September 11, which left 4 Americans dead, including the Ambassador to Libya. The “cooling out” process is currently underway for voters, and by the time the truth comes out, the timing of the information will make the information practically irrelevant.

The belated release of State Department e-mails shows that the Obama administration knew, while the attack on the American consulate was still underway, that it was a coordinated, armed terrorist attack. They were getting reports from those inside the consulate who were under attack, as well as surveillance pictures from a camera on an American drone overhead.

So then all Obama had to do to “cool out” the voters, was shift focus. If he spun this situation right, no facts would come out until after the election. It wasn’t a terrorist attack, it was a protest that got out of hand. It wasn’t an assassination, it was a tragic death–and they weren’t joyfully dragging Ambassador Stevens’ dead body through the streets, they were simply trying to get him to the hospital. And all this was caused by a video depicting Muhammad, but don’t worry we will track down and arrest the man responsible… even though his right to free speech is protected by the U.S. Constitution.

We were confused, we did not know what to believe, anger and blame was thrown in many directions, but not enough of it directed at the Commander in Chief. He knew what was happening in Libya while it was happening, but Obama acted in a political way–like a con man–instead of acting like a leader.

As the Obama administration’s video story began to slowly unravel, their earlier misstatements were blamed on “the fog of war” that initially obscures many events. But there was no such “fog of war” in this case. The Obama administration knew what was happening while it was happening.

This is probably also why Obama made the call not to intervene in the situation, and not to save the lives of those Americans whose safety he was responsible for. Newt Gingrich appearing recently on Fox has suggested that the military was ready to respond to the situation in Libya, but were told to stand down. If they intervened, it would be harder to claim this was not a terrorist attack, and all the facts would have come out at once. If you caught a con man in the act, you would call the police. And if the American people were not “cooled out” before finding out the truth bit by bit, their anger would have boiled over and made the reelection of this incompetent President impossible. I’ll leave you with the quote from Newt Gingrich.

“There is a rumor — I want to be clear, it’s a rumor — that at least two networks have emails from the National Security Adviser’s office telling a counterterrorism group to stand down,” Gingrich said. “But they were a group in real-time trying to mobilize marines and C-130s and the fighter aircraft, and they were told explicitly by the White House stand down and do nothing. This is not a terrorist action. (Full Quote Here).

Click here to learn about another Obama lie. In the video of him addressing a mostly black crowd, Obama claims the feds forced New Orleans to pay for part of the costs of cleaning up after Katrina. Two weeks earlier however, the Senate had in fact voted to waive the cost for New Orleans, but Obama voted against waiving those costs!

Obama Lied About Federal Aide To New Orleans

In his recent article entitled “Phony in Chief”, Thomas Sowell reveals the lies behind Obama’s statements in the recently publicized June 5, 2007 video of Obama giving a speech to a mostly black crowd at Hampton University. Referring to Obama, Sowell writes:

In his speech — delivered in a ghetto-style accent that Obama doesn’t use anywhere except when he is addressing a black audience — he charged the federal government with not showing the same concern for the people of New Orleans after hurricane Katrina hit as they had shown for the people of New York after the 9/11 attacks, or the people of Florida after hurricane Andrew hit.

Departing from his prepared remarks, he mentioned the Stafford Act, which requires communities receiving federal disaster relief to contribute 10 percent as much as the federal government does.

Senator Obama, as he was then, pointed out that this requirement was waived in the case of New York and Florida because the people there were considered to be “part of the American family.” But the people in New Orleans — predominantly black — “they don’t care about as much,” according to Barack Obama.

The only problem with Obama’s statement is that it is a complete lie; the Senate had voted to waive the Stafford Act less than two weeks before Obama gave that speech. Obama knew this because he was a U.S. Senator at the time, and had been present for the vote. The vote was 80-14 in favor of waiving the requirement that New Orleans pay 10% of the recovery costs. Obama was one of the 14 Senators who voted against it! Yes you read that correctly, Barack Obama voted NOT to waive the requirement that New Orleans pay part of the costs of cleaning up Hurricane Katrina. He then told an audience 2 weeks later that the requirement had not been waived because of the racism of those who voted against it.

Sowell continues:

When he gave that demagogic speech, in a feigned accent and style, it was world class chutzpah and a rhetorical triumph. He truly deserves the title Phony in Chief.

If you know any true believers in Obama, show them the transcript of his June 5, 2007 speech at Hampton University (available from the Federal News Service) and then show them page S6823 of the Congressional Record for May 24, 2007, which lists which Senators voted which way on the waiver of the Stafford Act requirement for New Orleans.

Some people in the media have tried to dismiss this and other revelations of Barack Obama’s real character that have belatedly come to light as “old news.” But the truth is one thing that never wears out. The Pythagorean Theorem is 2,000 years old, but it can still tell you the distance from home plate to second base (127 ft.) without measuring it. And what happened five years ago can tell a lot about Barack Obama’s character — or lack of character.