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Thursday, September 21, 2017

Leftism as the triumph of rote learning

We all know people who made it through high school with stellar grades and got into good colleges because they were grinds, and good at rote learning. But these types were never much fun because they never had anything interesting or original to say.

People like that never seem able to draw a bead on exactly what is absurd about a situation. They never come to conclusions other than the ones they're taught. And they rarely have good senses of humor. They have a lot of facts stored away; but they rarely have any real "feel" for a subject.

The word that's often to describe what these students do on tests is "regurgitation." Being able to cram for exams may be a useful life skill, but when the only opinions one can offer are also regurgitation, it's a little pathetic.

We've all known someone who got a 5 on the History AP but couldn't tell you why any of those historical events happened, or draw parallels with other events.

Certainly neither Left nor the Right has an absolutely monopoly on such people. But these days, what gets taught at in school, what newspapers publish, and the viewpoints promoted on TV and in the movie theaters, skew Left.

In such an atmosphere, those who buy into the propaganda without pausing to consider whether it's reality-based or not, skew Left. Absorbing all that unthinkingly is, for all practical purposes, rote learning.

Consider the central tenet of Leftism: that there are no differences between the races and the sexes (other than that white men are evil). This is ridiculous on its face. Yet many people ignore all the evidence in front of them and subscribe to those notions -- because they've been told to.

Now, it's not just rote learning alone involved here: fear of social censure is too. (Not everybody who said the emperor's new clothes were beautiful actually believed it; many were simply afraid to mock him.)

But, unquestioning acceptance factors in on both fronts.

Back in the 60's and 70's, one of the Left's mottoes was, "Question authority." Today, the Left hates it when people question the establishment media, academia, or government.

They would far rather we accepted their viewpoints unthinkingly.

Because, really, that's about the only way you can accept them.


Anonymous said...

good stuff mister craig

the boss leftists don't actually believe in the whole schtick, they are just using it as a ready-made tool to increase their personal power and influence

the vast majority of dupe leftists (I arrive at my point) are susceptible to rote learning because they have the hated and hateful personality of little snitches, teacher's pets, goody two-shoes, hall monitors, "that's not very nice," "how come Donny gets two ice creams, no fair" ad nauseum

those people can't do for themselves, they don't catch their own or grow their own needful things, they need a hierarchical structure and someone to play fake-nice in front of...that goes with rote learning, versus real street-learning where you don't "make a show" of knowing how to do it, either you do it or fail, FOR REALS...leftists are the whining losers with excuses not results (and so in order to judge a good excuse, you need a system of rote learning for the excuses to conform to more or less successfully)

real farmers have ears of corn to count, loser farmers have excuses and a theory about the unfairness of agriculture


John Craig said...

Well put. You distinguish between the George Soros's of the world and their millions of dupes, a distinction always worth making.

"Little snitches, teacher's pets, goody two-shoes,hall monitors...." We all know them. And yeah, more often than not, they end up turning Leftward.

"Fake nice" also rings a bell (though that one isn't quite as clearly delineated politically).

Steven said...

'Back in the 60's and 70's, one of the Left's mottoes was, "Question authority." Today, the Left hates it when people question the establishment media, academia, or government.'

I've never thought about that before- good observation. Maybe that's why I prefer the anti-establishment spirit of the 60's to the leftism of today's whining little authoritarians.

John Craig said...

Steven --
The Left has come full circle on a number of issues. They supported free speech back in the 60's, now it's the opposite. I read recently that something like 40% of college students don't believe that "hate speech" should be protected speech. And look at Civil Rights. It used to be about equal rights; now it's about special set-asides and favoritism.

Anonymous said...

Hi John-It's interesting that you write about something like this given your ivy league pedigree? That said, I just read something that Tim Ferriss quoted that's obliquely related to this: "I would rather have questions that can't be answered than answers that can't be questioned" (Richard Feynman) Anyway, I noticed recently when arguing with an ultra lefty jewish guy when he got frustrated and uncomfortable with what I was saying he ended the conversation with "you shouldn't argue with facts". I told him that his saying that is essentially the same as giving me the finger. Botton line-I notice a lot of lefty's end "uncomfortable" dialogue with the word fact as a way of saying FU I'm right and you're wrong-because I have the facts. Brian

John Craig said...

Brian --
The Ivy League is a bastion of political correctness these days, in fact it's where some of these insane Lefty ideas originated. Just because I went there doesn't mean I'm a fan.

The ultra-Lefty's statement "you shouldn't argue with facts" could actually be interpreted two ways. He was probably trying to convey that you were essentially arguing *against" facts, but my guess is you were arguing *with" the facts on your side. If he'd been more honest, he would have meant his statement in the latter sense.

But this is what Lefties do when they have a losing argument, insult their opponents or call them names (racist, sexist, homophobe, etc.).

Dave Moriarty said...

true story: Amherst College history class circa 1972.

prof question to class : what do you think triggered the turning of the revolutionary war to the patriots favor?

your boy raises his hand to weigh in on Gentlemen Johnny Burgoyne surrendering at Saratoga.

prof to "know it all" student : "Why did Burgoyne surrender?"

Know it all: "ah... hmm... well... outnumbered by benedict Arnold?"

Prof: "you have no idea do you?"

Know it all: realizing he is short "no but i will for the next class"

Prof: "I look forward to hear all about it"

But as embarrassing as that exchange was , it was a great lesson in understanding the why of history as opposed to the what.

Hunting for the why makes history books come alive .

I fear now they would bash Burgoyne and Arnold for white privilege.

John Craig said...

Dave --
I appreciate your honesty.

Agree, the why is interesting. Actually, I think the most fascinating thing is when we find out that the story books were in fact lying to us, and that things didn't happen precisely as portrayed. (History IS written by the victors.)

Did you have the answer for the next class, btw?

Arnold has gotten bashed enough in the last couple centuries, his name is now synonymous with being a traitor. Now it looks as if even George Washington is going to be taken to the woodshed.

Dave Moriarty said...

i did a lot of research on the burgoyne experience and was fascinated by all the circumstances.
one may ask how it was that a bunch of patriots hiding in basements came to beat a 7k man army -where did the patriots get these guys .
it turns out that burgoyne has a partnership with some indians . these indians ( who of course now are deemed pure souls corrupted by white men) engaged in a kidnap/rape of a local woman named Jane McCrea. I have a hunch she was not much of an advocate for diversity in the 1780's given her experience which must have been brutal.

i wrote about it here:

but the point the prof wanted to make with me is not only the why of events but all of the circumstances leading the why are important

John Craig said...

Dave --
Ah, good for you of having done your homework. And interesting about Jane McCrea having played such a pivotal role in the war. I had had no idea of any of that until reading your post.