July 20, 2018

Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction . . . By Bishop, Special Excentric Savant

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Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth.                                                                          H.D. Thoreau
While they were drinking shots of primordial vodka, gorging on caviar and sharing philosophies, the then-jolly Soviet leader gave the then-President Nixon a slice of advice: Alleged Khrushchev: “The trick is tell the people there is a river over there. And if they say they don’t see it, if they say there is no river over there, tell them to look harder, there is a river over there.”

Of course, the Soviet propaganda was nurturing Nixon’s imaginings, perhaps thinking such a tip would help Tricky Dick get some votes. However, that leads to another sage, this time an American named Will Rogers who wrote, “It isn’t what people don’t know that worries me, it is what they know that is wrong.”

That was 80 years ago. What about now?
Has anything really changed?

Do we realize, gentle reader, just how much of what we think we know in the world in which we live is plain wrong? For instance, day after day we hear legislators and some media insist that capitalism is in trouble because of liberal wing nuts and tree huggers running loose, and too much regulation. Nevertheless, hold your horses. Dig a bit deeper, one finds that capitalism in the U.S. began to go off the rails in 1970.

Why then? That was when economist Milton Friedman first promoted the axiom that maximizing profit was the corporate president’s only goal; other issues such as employee relations and such externalities as environmental concerns were secondary; truth be told, a radical shift from the “good old days“, and they surely were.

“Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened,”  Sir Winston Churchill (1874 – 1965).

Speaking of Big Business, repeatedly we hear and see attacks by them about dangerously high corporate tax rates strangling profits and inhibiting growth. Repeatedly readers are told in the Wall Street Journal that the U.S. corporate tax rate—35 percent—is so very much higher than in Ireland (12.5 percent), Britain (21 percent), and the Netherlands (25 percent). Believe it or not, what corporations really pay, on average, is 12.6 percent, reports the GAO, which is achieved by stashing trillions abroad to avoid US taxes, such a sweet deal that many corporations might lobby against tax reform should a law to do such emerges soon. Truth be told, Big Business may be whining in public about taxes, but where few reporters are rarely invited, they are sipping champagne behind the scenes.

We live in a time when fewer and fewer citizens acknowledge various realities looming up all around them. Believe it or not, one recent poll found that many citizens still think weapons of mass destruction are still stashed somewhere—just no one has ever found them. Moreover, right here in our valley, the majority of citizens tell pollsters they have never heard of the Verde River.

All around us facts are surfacing which shatter long held truths. For example, no scientist can agree on when the Grand Canyon was created. Year after year, studies pour out of universities and think tanks challenging all existing theories yet never put forward what is accepted as truth. Speaking of truth, until recently it was an unchallenged fact that the first people arrived in the Southwest from Asia some 10,000 years ago. New findings made possible by new technologies assert that the history of who came here and when is far more complex—and wrong. Evidence is being accumulated in Brazil that humans reached the Americas more than 100,000 years ago, and they came not by land from Asia, but by boat from Africa.

Day by day deniers of climate change pile up more reports asserting that Late Bronze Age civilizations collapsed naturally, so the waters rising and polar bears struggling to survive on melting ice bergs today is nothing unusual, and human behavior plays no role. “Didn’t Late Bronze Civilization’s fall to the wild and violent ways of Mother Nature?” deniers insist.

Believe it not, what is blowing in the wind these days is an alternative scenario! Could it really be we humans are actually the cause our own collapse?

 

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