Posts Tagged ‘Glaucon’s question’

Calling Good Evil and Evil Good

Sunday, June 18th, 2017

Dear Friends,

It seems to me, Glaucon’s question is pertinent today and is in many ways, the source of the societal convulsions we are presently experiencing. To those unfamiliar with The Republic, Glaucon’s question to Socrates was, “Is it better to be just and thought unjust, or better to be unjust and considered just?” The question went to the heart of the matter they were discussion, is justice really a good or only something we use to trick fools into following the “great men?” He went on to explain that someone who is just, but considered unjust, will be spat upon, ridiculed, attacked and his or her interests destroyed, while he who is unjust but considered just, will be lauded, protected and the road paved before him. Today our media tells us that people who clearly are unjust (evil), are just(good), and those who are just, as unjust. Seemingly to forward injustice as justice, which goes to the heart of The Republic’s premise, what is the nature of justice?

Machiavelli touched on the same question in The Prince. In that book, Machiavelli said that a wise prince must be dishonest (unjust) while appearing at all times to be honest (just). He went on that the way to appear just while being unjust is by several means. One must constantly claim to be honest, even when one is a consummate liar, because people will hear the words and forget the actions. We have the example today of Clinton and Obama, who lied constantly, about significant things, but are still considered by many as honest. Obama’s “you can keep your doctor,” and “Benghazi was due to an internet video,” are two glaring examples of our leaders following Machiavelli’s advice, be dishonest while claiming to be honest. The media backed those two liars, so they would appear to be honest, the media in other words, went to great lengths to make the unjust appear just.

Meanwhile, the media has bent over backwards to claim Trump, and Reagan before him, are/were bad people. The legacy media that calls itself unbiased threw mud at Reagan incessantly. They re branded Reagan’s every initiative, The strategic defense initiative was re branded as Star wars, Reagan’s supply side economics was called trickle down, are but two examples of many. Trump has faced the vitriol of the media since he became a viable candidate. Before that he was used as a tool to discredit republicans. That shenanigan backfired in the faces of the media that calls itself unbiased and helped get Trump in office. Clearly, judging by their actions the media is seeking to paint Trump, who may very well be just, as unjust.

Today, the media dutifully pretend that open calls for violence against republicans, is mere rhetoric. Claiming evil is actually good and thereby making the unjust appear just, while they make the just appear unjust. Knowing the way people treat those they consider evil, the media is complicit in creating “Great Men,” cut from the same cloth as other “great men,” Alexander, Caesar, Napoleon, Tamerlane, Hitler and Lenin… mass murderers every one. One thing they all had in common was that they were considered, at the time and some even today, as just, when they were anything but. The result of the media’s calling injustice, justice, evil good and good evil, is the political violence we are seeing today.

Take a look at what the media calls just, stealing from producers, and redistributing that ill gotten gain to politically favored groups. If an action is wrong (unjust) for me to do, then it is equally wrong for you, and even a group of people, no matter the size of that group. If a mob smashes a store window and steals the merchandise, it is as wrong as if you or I did it, and even if that mob consists of three hundred million rioters, it is still unjust. To claim it is, warps not only logic, but morality as well. The “great men” as Thrasymachus called them, seek to appear just, while they are unjust, as a means to trick the rest of us into believing in justice, so they can engage in injustice without oversight.

The ancient Greeks understood the nature on Man better than we do today. Today we are dazzled by technology and science, blinding us to fundamental truths of humanity. In our hubris at what our fathers have created, we forget the reality of human nature, and imagine we are gods. Yet we are reaping what we have sown, treating injustice as justice, is a sure path to economic collapse, crime, violence and human suffering. No less today that two thousand five hundred years ago. The heft of human history shows the absurdity of allowing the evil to masquerade as good while destroying the good out of ignorance of their goodness. Moreover, today the media calls those who are good, evil, because they are good!

So, we have a situation where the just are attacked, ridiculed and destroyed, for an unjust political end that is portrayed as just, while those who are unjust are lauded, protected and aided in ad for their injustice. Worse, the good today are attacked, for their goodness! To change this paradigm, stop the political violence, economic degradation, rising rates of crime and drug use, economic inequality, as well as the overt corruption in our governments… we must think for ourselves, see with our minds as well as our ears and our hearts, separate the just from the unjust… and refuse to be fooled again. Only then will Glaucon’s question be answered in the affirmative, yes, it is better to be just and considered unjust, than to be unjust and considered just, because humanity’s future depends on it.

Sincerely,

John Pepin

Humanity’s Tendency to Hate the Truth

Monday, October 10th, 2016

 

Dear Friends,

It seems to me, people love the man who tells them two plus two equals three, women will throw themselves at him, and men will die for him, but the man who tells people two plus two equals four… that man will be criticized and hated, spat upon and vilified, especially after he is proven correct. History is full of examples of both. This quality of human nature is as pervasive as it is destructive, since every aspect of the human condition depends on correct information, incorrect information leading to mistakes, mistakes that cost pain, economic loss, loss of freedom and lost standing, this penchant to prefer lies should have been weeded out of our psyche millennia ago, yet it persists… to our great detriment. If we really want to advance it is incumbent on us to actively counter this tendency in ourselves.

In The Republic, Glaucon asked Socrates, is it better to be so just, one is perceived unjust, or perceived just when one is unjust? Glaucon went on, the man who is perceived as unjust, even if just, will be hated, while the man who is perceived as just, even if he is unjust, will be lauded. What Glaucon meant was that the perception of the masses is more important to the individual than reality. In this example, the just man, the truth teller, is hated, scorned and put upon, while the unjust man, the liar, is glorified, raised up and helped in all his unjust endeavors. This historical anecdote shows the tendency of people to love a liar and hate a truth teller is at least as old as Socrates.

After a long diet of such cultural, social and economic poison, you would think people would long for someone, anyone, who will tell them even a hint of the truth. Sadly that isn’t the case. Edmund Burke correctly predicted the outcome of the French revolution. He also provided the reasons why it would end in bloodshed. He was vilified, hated and condemned for telling the truth, and when he was proven right, he was hated even more for being right. Glenn Beck is another example of someone who told the truth and is hated for it. Now that Beck’s predictions have come true, proving his hypothesis, Beck is loathed almost universally. The more one tells an ugly truth the more that person is hated.

This is because people want a glittering lie to be true. In this we will ignore facts and instead turn to emotion. People so wanted the Arab spring to usher in a new era of peace, prosperity and freedom to the Middle East, when Beck told the truth, those people who had invested so much emotional capital, turned on him with vitriol not even given a monster. When Beck turned out to be right, the Arab Spring so loved by people the world over turned out to usher in a new era of bloodshed, genocide and tyranny, all that emotional capital was destroyed. Instead of blaming themselves for believing the lie, people turned their hatred to Beck, for being right.

This is because of cognitive dissonance. That is the psychological theory that we think and feel in ways consistent with our past thoughts and actions. If I ridicule someone who has a different belief than I, then that person is proven to be right, my past actions will force me, subconsciously, to dislike that person. My past belief forces me to feel this way, because otherwise I would have been wrong in my ridicule, and to ridicule someone undeservedly would make me a bad person, since in my mind I can never be a bad person, therefore that other person had to have deserved it… so I hate him. Our cognition of ourselves cannot be dissonant from our self perception.

Since we so want to believe in pixy dust, when someone tells us pixy dust is nothing but dust, we become angry. When they are proven right, we become enraged, because we have been proven to be stupid or bad. Since in my own mind I cannot be stupid or bad, that other person must be stupid or bad, justifying my original belief. Sadly, this tendency has not served us well in the past and certainly will not in the future. Since it is impossible to force change on others, we can only change ourselves, we must self examine, look at how we tend to believe glittering lies while condemning ugly truths, so that we and our children, will not have to suffer so that we can feel better about ourselves. If enough of us do, liars will be vilified and truth tellers will be glorified, reversing a negative trend that has visited so much evil on the human race.

Sincerely,

John Pepin