Nonsensical phrases

Here are a few nonsensical phrases that I hope never to see again:

“It’s just the right thing to do.” Or “That’s just who we are.” These phrases are a sanctuary for small minds, a refuge from having to think about things rather than just react. A favorite of certain power-mad professional politicians like Pelosi and Biden, these are actually nothing more than virtue-signaling, reducing complex sociological topics to cheap empty slogans, an expression of anti-intellectualism. Don’t use them. It’s like putting your own “Kick me I’m stupid” sign on your backside.

“Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad.” I don’t know where this came from and I don’t care, though probably ancient Hellas. That’s “Greece” to hoi polloi. That’s “the common people” to those who never studied Greek or Greece, “hoi” being a translation of “the”. So if you ever see the phrase “the hoi polloi”, you know at once that the writer knows no Greek. Let’s add “the hoi polloi” to the list of phrases I want to eradicate. Back to the gods. They — assuming they actually exist — don’t inspire madness. This is an ancient misconception that illness is due to divine punishment or an evil spirit. Madness is a medical condition, not a divine punishment, so forget that. And forget the phrase.

“The definition of insanity is doing the same over and over and expecting a different result.” That is not the definition of insanity, but the definition of democracy. Insanity comes in many different costumes and flavors with many different causes and cures. But if there is any truth hiding in those words, it must apply to the elections that are routinely held in so-called democratic countries. First, let’s acknowledge just for the record that there is no such thing as a democracy. All political entities known to researchers are run by elites, as were all political entities recorded in history. So there is not, and never has been, a democratic election in the U.S. or anywhere else. You don’t get different results through elections, you get deflated hopes.

Even in ancient Athens, where democracy was allegedly first conceived and practiced, the majority of the population were slaves who were not allowed any significant input into the political process. Even in Athens, every “democratic” experiment eventually failed and was succeeded by a tyrant who restored law and order to the chaos left behind by the supporters of democracy.

In the modern world, the Founders of the U.S. Constitution recognized clearly that democracy would only lead to chaos and this became apparent to everyone when the French Revolution broke out, which was followed by the Jacobin-inspired black slave revolt in Haiti when the formerly enslaved blacks massacred thousands of French whites, and many freed blacks. Today’s electorate who flock to the polls time after time expecting things to change in their respective American or European capitals are somehow always surprised when nothing changes. That’s because entrenched elites make policy, not temporary figureheads sent in on occasion by the public. For example, the American public has voted consistently since 1916 not to enter into any foreign war for any reason whatsoever. Yet the U.S. has plunged into at least 5 major wars since then, with it seems a sixth on the way as Biden sends American troops secretly into Ukraine. Just as FDR waged a secret undeclared naval war against Germany, and JFK waged a secret American war against North Vietnam by sending U.S. troops into South Vietnam and Laos and lying about it.

Every President since 1916 was elected on a “no foreign intervention” peace pledge. Woodrow Wilson declared he would never send a single soldier to Europe to fight in World War I. Yet within 18 months he entered the war. FDR swore he would not intervene in Europe, yet he did all he could to provoke an Axis attack on American ships and finally with Pearl Harbor got the pretext he wanted to jump in. President Truman was a middle-of-the-road candidate in 1948. Yet Truman leaped into South Korea to fight the Korean War in 1950. President Johnson was the peace candidate in 1964, beating the “war” candidate Major General Goldwater by a landslide. Yet in 1965 Johnson leaped into Vietnam with both feet after the false flag Tonkin Gulf incident and waged a vicious war for 4 long years. Today we are seeing a repeat of this. Trump was elected in 2016 as the peace candidate who pledged to close overseas bases and withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan and Syria and Iraq. Yet none of this occurred as the elites simply ignored his instructions. Now the militant Biden is in office and is sending U.S. troops secretly into Ukraine as an intervention in that border war, and his satrap Pelosi is stirring up a military confrontation with China. That is what’s insane.

Just as it is insane to spend trillions of dollars in special education programs trying to boost the test scores of blacks and hispanics when fifty years of “no child left behind” and similar programs have shown conclusively that test differences are rooted in genetic differences and such differences will always persist. Continuing such expensive programs year after year with the same starry-eyed hopefulness is what’s insane. Ditch the phrase. It’s nonsensical.

”China is run by engineers, the U.S. by lawyers.” This phrase is a favorite of so-called conservatives, who are trying to imply that China is better-run than the U.S. because their economy is not strangled by useless lawsuits. This is wrong on so many levels. First, the Soviet Union was also run by engineers, there being no lawyers anywhere in that political entity. The Soviet Union had no lawyers because its legal system did not acknowledge individual rights. There were no individuals, only collective organizations, and only those organizations had power. Its Constitution was merely a fig-leaf, only for show.

No lawyers means no laws. No laws means no Constitution for courts to enforce, which means capriciousness and arbitrary decisions decided on the basis of influence and power. No lawyers means no one is safe with their lives or their property. In the Soviet system private property was prohibited. The state owned everything and all economic activity was the result of organizations inside the state competing to acquire ever greater shares of limited and dwindling resources. The individual meant nothing, indeed one can say that in the Soviet system individuals were invisible and did not exist. Any attempt to secure even the most basic food and shelter was met with “Who are you with?”, meaning what group did the individual belong to, only groups having any claim even to food and shelter.

China is a different situation. Having emerged from a Communist system that was different from the Soviet Union, it managed to avoid the chaos that followed the collapse of the Soviet state. Today China has laws and lawyers to enforce them. But their role is limited and lawyers there can go to jail if they defend a political dissident. In China today it is the Communist Party that runs the state, not engineers. The Soviet system was also run by the Communist Party, but it had a cult of engineers who were free to impose their vision on the country. The results were the drying up of the Aral Sea, the Chernobyl nuclear meltdown, and the outmoded oil industry which virtually collapsed during the Soviet era with tremendous waste of resources. In the movie “Things To Come”, adapted from the Fabian socialist H.G. Wells’s book of the same name, an engineer named Cabal at the end sets up a dictatorship of engineers. But in the end, the society collapses just as the Soviet Union did. This is what a society looks like when engineers are put in control.

Second, engineers are used to working with absolute quantities and things that are predictable and measurable. When it comes to a society and dealing with human beings, engineers miss the boat entirely and tend to imagine that a few grandiose infrastructure projects, or medical interventions with the latest vaccine-like genetic experiment, will satisfy everyone and guarantee progress. We call this “social engineering”. When engineers do social engineering it always fails. But when politicians do it, it often succeeds. It succeeds because social engineering is not engineering at all but propaganda and media conditioning.

The U.S. is run by lawyers for the simple reason that the U.S. has laws. China has just one jurisdiction for its centralized regime. The Soviet Union also had just one jurisdiction for its centralized regime. The U.S. has 50 jurisdictions with a unique set of laws in each one. Plus federal plus foreign relations. That’s 50 different jurisdictions that lawyers must master, plus those specializing in federal legal practice, plus those specializing in foreign or international practice, not to mention foreign laws which international lawyers must know. Not to mention immigration law which is another specialized field.

Yes, I fully agree that there are too many laws in the U.S. and too many lawyers. But the reason is because the U.S. is not centralized like other nations, but has something called “checks and balances” in its Constitution to prevent exactly the kind of centralization that Communists, and sometimes engineers, long for. Laws and lawyers are the guarantee of a republic that has done away with arbitrary oppressive commandments from a centralized elite. In theory at least. A few lawyers obviously are necessary and probably 90 % of lawyers could go into another line of work with society not suffering in the least.

Of course, 80% of lawyers don’t practice law anyway so it’s not like that would be a huge change from today. But to use the phrase “we’re run by lawyers” is to admit ignorance on how the U.S. is actually run. Government is a sausage factory for laws. Engineers and doctors are mechanics without the know-how for participating in law-making or governance. When doctors were bleeding patients with leeches and engineers were building ships out of sails and wood, lawyers were writing the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. The Constitution and lawyers are all that stand between the common citizen and anarchy or concentration camps. Without lawyers, doctors and engineers would never get paid and their professions would disappear.

Of course, if they truly wanted to know how things actually work in the U.S., other professions could get a law degree and many people of all backgrounds do obtain a law degree today because that has become the new high school diploma, and is a prerequisite to be an effective participant in government. Then they understand how the government works and no longer embrace such silly phrases. Most people, however, will never attend law school, partly because it is too intellectually demanding for most people, but more importantly because the U.S. populace is married to science and engineering and mistakenly believe that the solutions to society’s issues can be found in technology, therefore will always misunderstand how government and society work, and therefore the U.S. will always suffer from  attempts at “social engineering” by people used to dealing with quantities and will suffer its consequent upheavals.