I've been posting (for free!) chapters of Polemical Judo, in hope that at least a few of the ideas may percolate through some of you to where they'll do some good. (Or start fresh with Chapter 1. Or else... actually buy a copy?)
Last time we offered the first half of Chapter 5: End the War on Facts! Here we'll offer the Second half offering a a wide variety of specifics including "counter-incantations" that neutralize the common attacks by fact-haters. These examples would all be of use to our Union side in this blatant time of Civil War. If only we had generals with top level brains and imagination.
They are good people, though. So that will have to do...
POLEMICAL JUDO CHAPTER 5.... SECOND HALF
POLEMICAL JUDO CHAPTER 5.... SECOND HALF
COUNTER-INCANTATIONS FOR SPECIFIC WAYS THEY WAGE WAR ON FACTS
This method is no magic bullet. In a dispute among mature or sincere minds – or even Junior High School debaters – you should seek advice from prim and reasonable logicians. But no... I’m here to show you weapons against culture warriors who refuse fair argument, ways to get around their screeches and distractions.
These methods won’t work on the truly hate-drenched or dogmatic, but they can corner the uncomfortable ones, who chant their rightist nostrums in desperation not to see or hear what’s become of their hijacked movement.
Here are a few more very specific examples.
Bonus counter-incantation #1: In Chapter 8 we’ll talk about what it takes to run a conspiracy. The first rule is to limit the number of plotters in-the-know! And don’t have too many lower-level henchmen, either. (These rules don’t apply when you control a despotic state that easily kills whistleblowers.)
Here let me just reiterate the zinger that’s boxed a couple of pages back. That you can get real mileage by mocking the notion of a “conspiracy” of ten million scientists, journalists, teachers, FBI agents, professors, doctors, and intel/military officers, when it’s obvious to anyone that 5,000 golf buddies in an incestuous CEO caste can much more plausibly connive in secret with parasitic Wall Streeters, casino moguls, Mafiosi, “ex”-KGB agents and inheritance brats.
The very folks who want populist rallies pouring hate at both people of color and smart folks.
Bonus counter-incantation #2: Here’s one cult incantation that should long ago have been answered with a judo challenge, instead of year after year of plodding-grunting sumo:
The scientists pushing Global Warming are all in it for climate study grants.
Seriously, you never realized you can judo-kill that with just four words?
Show… us… the… ‘grants.’
Truly, has no one simply challenged Fox n’ Pals, on-air?
Back it up! Your assistants could tabulate these ‘climate grants’ in a day, certainly a week. Issue a list of ‘climate grants” and how they correlate with the incomes of the 98% of experts in pertinent fields, who avow that something dangerous is happening to our planet.
Show us how meteorologists, who are rich from selling forecasts to industry, need ‘climate grants.’ Those geniuses expanded the old two-hour ‘weather report’ into a miraculous ten day forecast, using much the same equations and data as climate scientists. Those flush-successful meteorologists owe nothing to measly ‘climate grants,’ yet they too agree Earth is in deadly peril.
Back up this ‘grant-hugging’ calumny on the Fox web site by next week, or admit now that you’re a coward-liar.
Bonus counter-incantation #3 THE GEORGE SOROS THING:
This one may seem old and a bit odd, but for 20 years I found that it always shreds! In fact, I’m told it deeply fretted Glenn Beck, back when his favorite conspiracy-yarn rants revolved around George Soros.
Of course Soros is a criminal mastermind whose NGOs suckered millions around the world into raving socialist frenzy. Never mind that his wealth and media “empire” are minuscule compared to the triumvirate of Murdoch, Koch and Saudi co-owners of Fox. Even after Glenn Beck left TV, other rightist pundits have repeated this chant:
Soros is so scary-manipulative that he personally toppled EIGHT foreign governments!
I don’t recall a single major figure of the left or center who noticed this doozy judo-opportunity. Because… it’s true! For once, Beck and his pals weren’t lying. Their Soros rant is based on one of those truths that must never be made explicit.
In fact, George Soros did – through his NGO foundations - help topple eight foreign governments!
Alas, GOP intellect has plummeted so far, since Goldwater and Buckley, that no audience member of the Beck, Limbaugh, or Fox Riefenstahl-rallies ever lifted his head to ask. “Um… Glenn? Rush? Sean? Which foreign governments are you talking about?”
Are you ready to ask? Here are those eight nations the right credits George Soros with toppling – without ever saying their names aloud.
The communist dictatorship of Hungary.
The communist dictatorship of Poland
The communist dictatorship of Czechoslovakia
The communist dictatorship of Romania
The communist dictatorship of Bulgaria
The communist dictatorship of Estonia
The communist dictatorship of Latvia
The communist dictatorship of Lithuania
And yes, Soros considered undermining the USSR and Iron Curtain to be his life’s core work, helping with the liberation of hundreds of millions and a victorious end of the Cold War. Russian President and “ex” KGB agent Vladimir Putin calls the fall of the USSR “history’s greatest tragedy,” and he pours special blame-hatred for that calamity at George Soros.
Others also credit Soros with this impressive (and terrifying) feat! The right-wing Heritage Foundation and American Enterprise Institute repeat the accusation, along with many GOP politicians. But… but wasn’t that supposed to be Ronald Reagan?
In fact, they both share credit with Mikhail Gorbachev, and with the architect of our grand 1945 to 2000 plan, George Marshall. And hey, let’s be generous and give some credit to the people of those nations, too.
OMG, such drivel!
Seriously, can you see the disservice that our brightest blue pols and pundits and observers have done us, by just shrugging off these Soros rants without efficiently cutting them off, at the knees? Sure, the viewers of this crap never rouse to question the tsunami of ironies and contradictions at their Nuremberg Rallies. But far more urgently – why does no one on the other side?
Bonus counter-incantation #4: Of course I should reference others who are also in this fight over restoring the primacy of verifiability and accountability to the word “fact.” For example, right after the 2016 U.S. election was trashed by malevolent forces, Facebook invited me to their headquarters to consult about ways to use transparency to prevent their site from being hijacked again by meme-manipulators. I can tell you now that absolutely none of my suggestions were adopted, or even closely examined. I am not encouraged.
In contrast, read about how sapient Italians have been using a two-level approach to combat the anti-vaxxer fanaticism, which had left Italy with the lowest immune-rate for preventable diseases in Western Europe:
“There are Italians who will be moved by forceful communications from a genuine expert, there are Italians who will be moved by gentle persuasion from someone who seems simpatico, and there are Italians who will be moved by government policy. And that has further implications: It means that any counter-disinformation campaign might require more than one tactic, more than one message and more than one kind of messenger if it is to succeed. In a world where conspiracy theories – medical, scientific and, of course, political – are proliferating, this is more than just a useful insight. It should be the beginning of a new way of thinking about long-term strategies to deal with disinformation more generally.” – writes Anne Applebaum in The Washington Post.
A well-reasoned approach, more mature than my radical demand for in-yer-face confrontation. But yes, by all means.
‘FACTS’ SHOULD INCLUDE MEASURABLE OUTCOMES
A chapter about the War on Facts should include comparison of outcomes. After all, what could be more pertinent to the purpose of politics in a mature society? Isn’t that purpose to elect statesmen and stateswomen of stature who will negotiate new laws and revised policies in good faith, based not just on theories but a landscape of changing but verifiable evidence?
Okay, that paragraph made you choke on your beverage. But after you clean up, consider: there have been momentary glimmers of political maturity across American – and human – history. Such beacons and the reforms they engender can make up for decades of sloth and turpitude, such as we’ve seen of late. Moreover, you can find some folks who are now clinging to conservatism with their fingernails – I call them RASRS or Residually Adult Sane Republicans – who yearn for such an era. They may be approachable with comparison of outcomes. I’ll do this in more detail in Chapter 10 (Government), Chapter 11 (Economics), Pause#15 (Clinton-Obama Obsession) and elsewhere, especially where the topic turns to wagers.
But for now let’s examine one more bulwark rationalization of your average Republican. One of the deepest is the truism that Democrats are squishy-compassionate. Therefore:
– They must be naive and inept at running a Pax Americana that can be agile and win at international realpolitik.
– Those “socialists” must do badly at encouraging growth in an entrepreneurial-competitive capitalist economy.
– They’re fiscally irresponsible and will saddle future generations with outrageous debt.
– Because liberals moralize, that means they cannot be the pragmatic ones.
Would it surprise you that these truisms all run diametrically opposite to fact? Or that almost none of our side’s pols or pundits have glommed onto that response?
Democratic administrations – at both the state and federal level – are almost always more fiscally responsible than Republican ones. Nearly always. Republicans are the budget busters and debt-saddlers, down the line. (Chapter 11.)
In fact, almost every clear metric of U.S. national health, from unemployment and GDP growth to deficits and liberal desiderata, like rates of poverty or public health or childcare, do better across the span of Democratic administrations.
The states that are run by blue-squishy moralizers are nearly all in better shape than those that are red-led. And the condition of our alliances – NATO and so on – is always better when the U.S. has a high moral quotient. (That’s also when we attract lots of defectors from our opponents, and nothing could be more practical than that. See Chapters 9 &14.)
Finally, a legitimate conservative gripe: All right though, there is one fundamental “red” complaint about their squishy-moralizing liberal neighbors that has credibility. In fact, it is one of the root-underlying causes of their resentment.
They’re rude. They get in your face with guilt trips. Last year’s progress is taken for granted without a spoonful of credit, as new issues and causes press forward. Their neighbors are called racist-sexist troglodytes and no litmus test will ever be good enough. No customs of courtesy or demure behavior will restrain or tone down the guilt trips. And there comes a point when many of our conservative neighbors shrug, asking: “Why should I try?”
Dig this well, I know which side I am on – the one that aims for a truly good and wonderful civilization, like in Star Trek. One where the liberal preoccupations of today are rendered moot and boring, because they were solved with compassion, generosity and fabulous innovation. So when I point out some of the underlying reactionary memes, and admit some have a point, I’m not changing sides. I’m trying to be adult.
Adults don’t deny facts. Well, they’re not supposed to.
THE FACT ACT 
RESCUING THE VERY NOTION OF OBJECTIVE REALITY:
All right then. Let’s suppose Brin is correct. A world cabal of elites – the stupidest and richest – have got it into their heads that they must repress democratically empowered voters (the mob) and restore a natural, pyramidal hierarchy based largely on money and inherited position… perhaps soon enhanced by technological tools of universal surveillance and even immortality. They further realize that one obstacle obstructs their goal: the rule of flat-fair-transparent and accountable law, administered by faithful civil servants, scrutinized by a savvy public and informed by tens of millions of smart-knowledgeable Fact People.
The oligarchic putsch must do what we see happening before our eyes. They must wage all out war upon those fact-using professions.
Their method is the same one chosen by German aristocrats in 1930 – subsidizing a hate-drenched populist movement that spews abhorrence at vulnerable minorities, but also goes after all fact-elites. And yes, we know how well that plan turned out for the German aristocracy.
How can we fight back? Well, democracy, of course. But powerful ways must be found to combat this new Know-Nothing campaign. The theme of this book – Judo Polemic – may offer at least a few weapons to those paladins of press, politics and punditry who are fighting for civilization.
But for a moment let’s assume victory. At least a partial one, in which the Confederacy and its putsch maters and foreign-despot allies get ejected from power in Washington D.C. In other chapters I offer lists of priorities! Suggestions and measures that could make a big difference.
But here, concluding our chapter on the “War on Facts,” I want to present something particularly pertinent. At the request of the Internet Caucus of the 2018 California Democratic Party Convention in San Diego, California, I hurriedly drafted a piece of “futuristic legislation.
The “Fact Act” would help restore access to useful and confirmable information for public officials, politicians and citizens. Rather than establishing some suspect "Ministry of Truth," this legislation will encourage systems that use diversity, competition and grownup adversarial methods, helping leaders and the public to parse lies and distractions from assertions that are supported by strong evidence.
... and now...
== Conclusion of Chapter 5 of Polemical Judo ==
Imagine you are a Jew in 1930s Nazi Germany, reading all the libels and lies spread about your people in Nazi-controlled media, unable to demand: “I want a fair trial, so I can show it’s all false!”
Or you’re an antebellum slave, told that your condition was “natural” because of inferior intelligence, yet forbidden even to self-educate, so you might prove that calumny wrong.
A similar world awaits all of us, if we don’t step up to reinforce the marvels of open honesty and knowledge and justice that our enlightenment has achieved, so far… including especially our chance to take it much, much farther. The hard-won lesson of the last two centuries, which even many liberals don’t grasp, is that most injustices shrivel under the application of light. And light consists of photons called facts.
Reiterating: we see zillionaire oligarchs finance relentless propaganda aimed at riling millions into hatred, and not only wrath aimed at powerless minorities. Just as dangerous is their campaign – stirring up that pre-existing SoA reflex – of open war against “knowledge elites” – precisely because those skill castes do have power! Civil servants, scientists, teachers, doctors, intel agents and so can do a lot to thwart the New Lords’ ambitions. All must be gelded. Broken to harness. Taught their place.
Ironically, while it’s been cleverly executed so far, this overall plan is incredibly dumb! Whatever the putschists envision… e.g. that they’ll “control” the hateful mobs they’ve riled… or that feudalism is the natural order… or that it’s for the greater good… or smiling happily as flatterer-sycophants tell them how superior they are… whatever their rationalizations, they have already lost, because the ultimate thing they are warring against is called Objective Reality. And it exists.
These plotters believe in triumph of their will, empowered by mountains of lucre. Indeed, they may succeed at bringing the Enlightenment Experiment crashing into a new dark age. But the cabal leaders themselves won’t benefit, nor will their scions, for one reason above all.
You see, the fact people are myriad and varied. Some of them know everything about the New Lords, including where their Patagonian or subsea or Himalayan/Siberian hideaways lie. Others know stuff about computers. About chemistry. About biology. About nukes. Hence, the stupidest thing for this deeply stupid clade of would-be New Lords to do is ignore the lessons of history. Myopic as they are, they should squint at what will be their inevitable outcome, if they insist on making all the smart people really mad.
Take some advice from Dr. Bruce Banner. You won’t like us when we’re mad. And that’s a fact you can bank on.
 “David Brin’s Epic Takedown of Fox’s Soros-Haters.” https://www.discourse.net/2014/10/david-brin-epic-takedown-of-foxs-soros-haters/
 The figure should be ten, to include East Germany and Ukraine.
 The Washington Post: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/global-opinions/italians-decided-to-fight-a-conspiracy-theory-heres-what-happened-next/2019/08/08/ca950828-ba10-11e9-b3b4-2bb69e8c4e39_story.html
 “Do outcomes matter more than rhetoric?” http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2014/06/so-do-outcomes-matter-more-than-rhetoric.html
 “Enact the Fact Act.” http://davidbrin.com/nonfiction/factact.html
 “Do We Really Want Immortality?” http://www.davidbrin.com/nonfiction/immortality.html
 Note: This "Fact Act" is not to be confused with another bill that was somewhat less apropos: The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003, an amendment to the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
 That the "Ministry of Truth" Orwellian accusation will be trotted out is guaranteed; hence, it must be prepared for.
 This principle underlies our competitive, fact-using arenas: markets, democracy, science and justice courts. We know how to do this.