Saturday, March 03, 2007

John Stosel, Give Me a Break

“Slight of Mind”

By Richard E. Noble

John Stosel has developed a very interesting technique; I call it “slight of mind”. Magicians perform what they call “slight of hand” where right before our very eyes they are able to make things change or even disappear. It’s magic.
John Stosel does a similar trick. He takes conventional wisdom - accepted truism - and right before our common sense or rational thinking process, he is able to make it all disappear or change from a matter of importance to something that is inconsequential and more often silly and nonsensical. He turns “up” into “down” and wrong into right. And he does it right before our mind.
It is wonderful to watch him perform his act each week but, unfortunately, I have lost interest. Whenever I see John Stosel on the tube I take my magic wand and flip the channel. I do this in self-defense. Just like I push myself away for the table in order to avoid getting fat; I push myself away from John Stosel in order to avoid becoming stupid.
I have read and studied all my life in the attempt to learn to think correctly; to form proper decisions; to come to reasonable conclusions; to leave no stone unturned. John Stosel’s “slight of mind” technique is an attempt to undermine my lifetime objective. I feel that his program is an attempt to make me lose my mind; my rational thinking; my quest for truth and justice; my common sense. And he does this by using the very weapons that I have developed to establish my guidelines and proper techniques.
I compare him to the Moonies who used the democratic principles of Protestant Christendom to steal the churches right from under their congregation’s very principles. These poor Protestants, being good Christians, welcomed the Moonies into their fold and then watched their fold and its possessions all disappear.
I don’t know exactly when I began to lose faith in John Stosel, but I think it was when he tried to convince me that Mother Teresa was a manipulative, scumbag and Michael Millikan, the junk bond criminal, was the proper moral idol for my do-gooder aspirations.
He used a kind of P. J. O’Rouke-Adam Smith self-interest principle to somehow prove that an old lady who spent her life living in garbage dumps in India trying to help the poor find food and salvation was truly an evil manipulative witch. While, on the other hand, a super-wealthy stockbroker, who escalated the value of worthless bonds and peddled them to lesser educated individuals - thus defrauding them, in millions of cases, of their entire life’s savings, was somehow a paragon of moral virtue. He ended this comparative analysis with the conclusion that what the courts had decided was an evil man who consciously and premeditatedly had swindled millions of people of millions, or maybe billions, and had been sent to prison, had actually performed an act of social kindness. And that Mother Teresa who had spent her life in garbage dumps and leper colonies trying to give people hope and lessen their pain and suffering was actually contributing to the moral squalor of the planet.
I thought John had really done a good one there. I mean, that was great. I knew, like when watching the magician, something tricky had just taken place, but for the life of me, I had to admit that I didn’t see it. He had performed this feat right before my mind. I knew it was a trick but I couldn’t figure out how it was done.
I have since defeated most of Mr. Stosel’s deceptive demonstrations by simply investigating more thoroughly than he chooses to do and gathering more facts, and applying them more logically and consistently - in other words doing more “home work” and thinking it through “intelligently”.
I really don’t know what Mr. Stosel is doing; it certainly isn’t journalism; it definitely isn’t reporting; it is the opposite of educating. It is truly magical though; I guess you would call it “stupid-fyng”.

1 comment:

Philosopher Scott said...

He sounds talented at rhetoric. I've heard criticisms of Mother Teresa before, but you make a good point about the absurdity of such criticisms. Thanks!

Oh yeah, you might like the Philosophy Forums.