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November 2004

Enough with the Intellectual Relativism

I've noticed a growing phenomenon in America today.  You even see it in some of the comments on this blog: "Intellectual Relativism".  There.  I invented a somewhat new term.

"Moral relativism" is the belief that there is no truth when it comes to morality and faith. "Intellectual relativism" takes this flawed notion to the extreme...demanding that all ideas are equal and valid (more likely that my idea is equal to yours despite its merits).  It is the belief that an idea is right because I think it is right and nobody has the right to point out that it is wrong. 

Some ideas are just plain wrong.  Evolution exists just as the sun rises every morning.  Oh, and the world is not 6,000 years old.

Consider the words of a visitor on this blog, Ron:

"The bigotry is so much on the liberal side. They seek to impose their humanistic philosophy through forced taxation and indoctrination in the public schools.  You obviously believe your belief is superior, and you want to use government to enforce it. That is not new. It is in common with Hitler, Mao, and the Spanish Inquisition." 

Ron thinks that Creationism should be taught in school.  Creationism is a fairy tale, and I don't approve of fairy tales being taught as fact.  Sorry Ron, your ideas are not equal to mine.  They are inferior because they are wrong.  You cannot effectively argue your position and so you resort to sophomoric moral, and intellectual relativism.

Society's pursuit of truth and understanding demands intellectual honesty.

Mark Manney is the founder of “I am” by Infobeing (www.infobeing.com) (mark.manney@infobeing.com).

Respect for Authority: the core value of the values voter

Much post-election analysis has focused on the so-called “values voter”.  The concept of a values voter is puzzling.  Exactly what are these values and who defines them?  How can anyone be against laws that permit the killing of fetuses and at the same time support the unjustifiable murder of perhaps 100,000 innocent human beings in Iraq?  How can anyone support proven liars (Bush, Rice, Cheney, etc.) and be turned off by a proven truth-teller (Kerry, who testified to Congress about the atrocities he witnessed in Vietnam)?

The truth is, this isn’t about values; rather, obedience to authority

The so-called values voter is guided by an unquestioning faith in authority…faith in preachers, bosses, and the President.  At some level, they believe that if it is on TV it must be true and if it is on CNN or Fox News it certainly is.  They are taught to “know their place”.  They believe that the questioning of religion is a path to hell and questioning the President is un-American.  They believe that if they just do what they are told – just play by the rules – one day they will be rewarded.  They just want to fit in and the best way to fit in is to do as you’re supposed to.   They watch the hottest shows on TV, follow sports, and read the local paper because those are all just things you’re supposed to do.  They go shopping every weekend and buy what’s hot.  If you don’t do all these things, that’s just weird because those things are normal.   

Contrast this with the Progressive worldview: where authority is always questioned, where the government works for us, and where the mythology around mainstream America is stripped down to expose what it actually is: corporation power desperately trying to shape our thinking and sell us stuff. 

I remember the exact moment when I learned to question authority.  I was a freshman in college, taking Anthropology 101.  On the first day of class, my young, bearded professor, Dr. Palmer, began lecturing on textbook material very much like High School teachers do.  He grabbed my attention when he stopped midway through and asked the class, “What’s wrong with this material?  Can anyone find any flaws in this?” 

I was stunned.  He was talking about our textbook!  How could there be anything wrong with that it says in our textbook?  I had never been asked such a question…and I don’t think I was alone in that silent room full of stunned students.  I don’t remember his exact words, but his message came through loud and clear.  It was an unmistakable reminder that we weren’t in High School anymore and if we wanted to do well in his class we’d have to start questioning authority.

Thanks to Dr. Palmer, my entire world opened up in new an exciting ways.  The irony is that it actually took an authority figure to grant me permission to question authority.  Unfortunately, most of us aren’t as fortunate as I was on that day and many of us never learn this lesson.

Mark Manney is the founder of “I am” by Infobeing (www.infobeing.com) (mark.manney@infobeing.com).

Progessive politics in a deMOCKracy

Something is fundamentally different since this sham election. With the full recognition that the US is no longer a democracy – but is instead a deMOCKracy – Progressives need to do some soul-searching in order to remain sane and relevant.

In a true democracy, government power stems from the citizens…and those citizens feel a clear responsibility for policies that have gone awry. However, in a demockracy, the citizens aren’t at all responsible for the actions of the government because they have no control over it. The US electoral process is nothing more than a charade designed to suck up our energies and leave us feeling helpless and disappointed.  I think it is time to fully recognize that we are powerless subjects of our government...with little ability to influence anything.

With the full realization that this system is a sham, I think a lot of us also feel strangely relieved.  We did everything within the confines of the rules to stop the catastrophic reality that surely is to come.  But as truth-seekers, we now have to admit to ourselves that we never stood a chance. The Ruling Elites had different plans and they were never about to let us have a say. 

For subjects of a demockracy, Progressive political beliefs have little value beyond the extent to which those beliefs are directly incorporated into our personal lives.  We should focus our energies toward things we can actually influence.  We should let go of a lot of the guilt we have felt because, indeed, much of that guilt has to do with matters over which we have no control.

It is time for Progressives to get real – not to give in, but make sure our beliefs actually fit the reality in which we actually exist.

Mark Manney is the founder of “I am” by Infobeing (www.infobeing.com) (mark.manney@infobeing.com).

Senior yearbook ambitions

The really cool people don't even bother writing "Senior Ambitions" in the yearbook.  Well I did.  My "senior ambition" entry reads:

"To never stop learning and experiencing new things.  And most importantly, never stop dreaming."

Looking at the group photo of my class...what a bunch of freaks we were.  But deep inside, we never really change...for that is how I've lived my life.

Mark Manney is the founder of “I am” by Infobeing (www.infobeing.com) (mark.manney@infobeing.com).

The single point of failure and achilles heel of the United States government

Any grade-schooler can tell you about the brilliant system of checks-and-balances established by the founders of the United States.  Ours is a brilliant system whereby the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial systems are kept separate and independent.  Add to that another supposedly independent force -- the media -- and what we you have is a strong, sustainable system that is resistant to authoritarian, non-democratic rule.

What our Founders failed to anticipate is that all of that could be undermined through a single point of failure: the inability for the public to verify election results.  Instead, we are expected to trust the likes of Diebold, a pro-Bush Corporation which makes electronic voting machines that do not produce a verifiable paper trail.  In other words, a small group of insiders have the obvious means to tamper with the machines they made, and rig the election results.  If the vote can be rigged, then a band of thugs (the NeoConservative Bush Administration) can easily take over the Presidency, Congress, and finish us off by appointing like-minded judges.  And the brilliance of this plan is that the people won’t even know what hit them.

In the aftermath of the Nov. 2nd election, it is becoming more apparent by the hour that massive vote fraud took place.  Years of hard work and millions of dollars went down the drain within just a few hours on election night.  We sat helpless, completely dependent upon the mainstream media's report of the secret, hidden electronic tallies.  Evidence supporting the likelihood of vote fraud is piling up around the web at places like www.blackboxvoting.org and www.democraticunderground.org, and even on MSNBC's Coutdown.  And all the while, the powers-that-be are busy doing everything they can to make sure that we citizens aren't allowed access to the data that is the very foundation of our supposed democracy. 

Regardless of what can be proven, as long as we have unverifiable voting machines, we no longer have democracy in the USA.  The truth is, we don't know who won on November 2nd, 2004...and as long as these machines are in place, we never will know who actually wins any election.  And yet rather than being offered a solution, we are asked to trust that which we know we cannot: unaccountable, corrupt politicians and self-interested corporations.

Mark Manney is the founder of “I am” by Infobeing (www.infobeing.com) (mark.manney@infobeing.com).

On blaming the corporate media

I'm getting tired of blaming the media for what people should be doing themselves.  I'm tired of explaining away the ignorance and bigotry we see in this country...almost making the bigots themselves the victims when they are, in fact, the abusers. 

It's time to put the blame squarely where it belongs.  The primary problem with this country is ignorant bigots who call themselves Christians.  Each and every one of them is responsible for killing a lot of people (innocent Iraqis) and breaking a lot of others (good Americans who want to live in a just, livable world).  Same goes for the soldiers.  If you are stupid enough to become a killing machine, and you end up becoming the prey...tuff luck.

The time for "courting" is over.  The time for trying to reach out and help is over.  They have chosen this path and now they must travel it.  Just don't come complaining to us as your life gets worse and worse.  Go ask your church to explain.

Mark Manney is the founder of “I am” by Infobeing (www.infobeing.com) (mark.manney@infobeing.com).