America is having a problem with values. I understand that a diverse society will have differences; I applaud the differences. I praise America for not resorting to violence, for the most part, to resolve our differences. Certainly, there are people who commit violent acts in reaction to problems, when there certainly could be more constructive remedies. Many Americans have allowed ideologies to supersede what was, at one time, their ethical obligations. Ethics have become a matter of convenience, and if they get in the way of a person’s ideological objective, then the ideology takes precedence.
Many of the people who have deduced that their personal ideological agendas supplant professional ethics are because of either perceived or real laceration of their psyche. Someone, even if done unintentionally, has harmed them. Or their family. Or their race. Or their gender. Or someone that they knew once. Or maybe they read about it in some tome that documented some misery that justifies the abandonment of professional ethics; at any rate, their cause (in this case personal ideology) is estimable of the neglect of professional ethics, principles and standards. In short, the history of the underserved, ignored or enslaved deserves the disregard of professional standards. If you read the description of a profession, you will find that one of the distinctions between an occupation and a profession is a code of ethics. A profession carries with it inherent trust and honesty that defines it as something more than an occupation, but that seems to have gone by the wayside.
In the case of journalists, some of whom are named in this essay, there has been, in the past, some “decorum” regarding things like mistresses. John F. Kennedy, an almost sainted president, apparently had some mistresses. Make no mistake, I admire him myself. There is some debate, however, as to whether that would have been or even is news, and whether that information challenges the professional ethics of journalists. Many of the journalists of the time would argue that if JFK had mistresses, that was his own business, and not news. Let me repeat that, and not news. It would look something like this: “The Soviet Union just placed nuclear missiles in Cuba, and on a more important note, JFK’s mistress visited him for several hours last night.” If there is corruption, or someone was blackmailing JFK because of mistresses, then that would be news. In the present day, everyone’s past is an open book, and journalism has few boundaries when it comes to the private lives of public people. According to a Gallup poll in 2015, only 4 in ten, or 40% of American trust the mass media. It may be because they have abandoned the objectivity that they were supposed to uphold, and they have given their ideologies priority. Of course, media has always had to some degree a bias, and I am not saying that the media never had predilections in certain areas. It only seems more prevalent now.
Case in point: Donna Brazile, quoted in Salon (online) November 9, 2016, said she was “only sorry that I got caught cheating with debate questions.” People who only regret getting caught, not that they committed the act, when they are caught committing an offense are “confirmed thieves.” I would use the term sociopath, but I would not in any way, shape, manner or form state that Donna Brazile was a sociopath. It is, however, one of the characteristics of a sociopath that they have no guilt or shame for committing offenses against other people; they only regret that they were caught doing it. In the case of Donna Brazile, the offense was against the American people, a violation of the trust we put into journalists. Still, no shame, no remorse, no regret, it was justified. People such as Brazile are undeserving of any type of journalistic position; if they wish to promote their ideology, let them make their case and let the people decide, but to call it journalism defiles the profession and reflects abominably upon the profession. If others in her cohort were aware of the unprofessional conduct and allowed it to continue, they are just as iniquitous as Brazile.
I describe an example of the “criminal mentality” when an organization committed an egregiously disrespectful act against me, and when I found out, they were glaringly determined to ascertain how I had identified their indiscretion. I never revealed how I discovered their act of disloyalty, but to do it and not feel any remorse, only the regret of being caught, reflects a “criminal mentality,” not in my parlance, mind you, but in the colloquialism of the analysts who scrutinize sociopaths. Results are everything. How you obtained them, irrelevant. If Hillary Clinton had the debate questions before the debate and could practice them, then it would have been all the better for her. After all, she was deserving of winning by any means, even if “journalists” had to stack the deck. That Trump won despite Hillary being informed before the debate only makes Trump look better, and, unfortunately for Hillary, it appears she associates with people who indulge in moral turpitude. When approached by someone who claimed that they had the exact questions of the debate, Hillary could have refused to listen to them, to be fair, but apparently she didn’t. Imagine that.
The lack of ethics or sensibility is also reflected in the postings on the internet. I won’t bother with all of the conspiracy theories and downright lies that one can find on the internet; that would take the rest of my life. The lunatics that post “information” on the internet are too far off the planet to be believed. To challenge them with facts, critical thinking or historical perspective enrages them, sending them off on odious, scurrilous diatribes using every obscenity imaginable, claiming your facts are equine excrement. It is quite a pity for those who might someday seek legitimate positions in writing or research that they are unable to make their point in any civilized manner, which only reflects their lack of education, decorum, and literary ability. This is also a very clear reflection of the lack of values in America. When you cannot defend your position with reason, you simply revert to obscenity, vulgarity, and ad hominems. Hint: Make your point, address challenges to your points and do not bring up things that the critic didn’t say, or, “putting words in someone’s mouth.” The mixing up of points and rages against things that were not the issue of objection only makes you look more incompetent, uneducated, and delusional. Much like the person who opens their mouth and proves their incompetence, some of us thought you were rather smart until your postings proved otherwise.
Beliefs are wonderful things. Plenty of people believe that aliens have visited this planet, that certain people portrayed as evil were, in fact, really good people, or that we have created our own mess as America and deserve nothing more than to suffer. Given the amount of information, various opinions could be discerned. I have had professors with whom I disagreed, and there are still professors with whom I disagree. Being a professor does not automatically make you an authority, or your opinion flawless, but hopefully if you are a professor you have some research upon which to base your opinion. But research is not always the determining factor.
I reviewed a psychological study not too long ago that concluded that a substantial percentage of schizophrenics are marijuana users. The only thing that I could determine from the study was that schizophrenics who are admitted to hospitals like to smoke marijuana; and it could be that they took marijuana to alleviate the symptoms of schizophrenia, but they didn’t ask that question. At any rate, developing schizophrenia after you smoke marijuana and becoming schizophrenic and then smoking marijuana are not the same. While one could draw the conclusion that marijuana contributes in some way to schizophrenia, and that notion is becoming more evident, without ascertaining if the symptoms of schizophrenia were not seen before the use of marijuana, concluding that it contributes to schizophrenia is a leap. I am not saying either way; the study that I read didn’t explore the medical histories of the patients before their admittance to the hospital. It could just be that schizophrenics admitted to hospitals like to smoke marijuana; there just wasn’t any evidence that they smoked marijuana and then became schizophrenic. One more time, I am not saying either way, so do not consider me pro marijuana or anti- marijuana, the issue needs more research. The point being that scientific studies can, and are, misinterpreted in order to support claims that fit the position someone wants to take, and that is not science.
Some people live in the Google world, where all they read or have read are things posted on the internet. The internet has become infested with “fake news” that is transmitted by websites such as Facebook and other social media. There is a reason why college professors will not accept as citations websites found on the internet. Disguised as news or information, there are more websites that espouse false information than can be counted. When a student cites one of the whack-job websites as a truthful, valid source, the source is rejected, and the paper created receives a bad grade, or even fails the assignment. I have advised people of this, and the reaction was one of invidious, heinous insolence. My age and education and not assets, they are liabilities, and my citations of people whose observations were witness to some of the greatest, most brazen transgressions are summarily disregarded as vapid meanderings of befuddled morons. But, I think we know who are the befuddled morons; they are people who have been thoroughly indoctrinated and have exiguous critical thinking skills. I have stressed again and again the value of critical thinking skills, to those who refuse to acknowledge their value or significance. They consider me a superannuated drudge of a history whose significance was enigmatic, if not irrelevant. All that matters now is what they say and see. Their perspective is global and cosmopolitan, while mine is trammeled and irrelevant.
From personal experience, I have cited books from famous people (I have an enormous personal library) and they have been condemned false, invalid, and untruthful. The difference between a book written by someone who has held office, as in a former president or Secretary of State, versus some website promoting the ideology of someone who is trying to further their agenda should be rather obvious. It should be obvious, but it isn’t. Those who have grown up with Google and the ideologically-driven websites have a distinct contempt for facts cited from books written by people who, by their experience, should be knowledgeable. This contempt and disbelief is causing certain people to understand the world in ways that are unrealistic and tainted by ideologies that have rather nefarious intentions. I have always been puzzled by those for whom prevarication is the norm, but it is usually because they get something out of it, some recompense. The other disturbing aspect to the people of the Google world is the willful ignorance, the summary denial of any validity except to those that they know and believe. I believe the Soviets described them as "indoctrinated." As I have said, time and again, my agenda is the truth. Nothing more, nothing less. As A. Winberg said: “An expert is a person who avoids the smallest of errors while sweeping on to the grand fallacy.” There are a lot of grand fallacies circulating at present time, and the internet is facilitating those fallacies. Opinions have become facts, and many of the sycophants have taken supposition as veracity. America prides itself on free speech, a right that isn’t found in many countries in the world. Free speech includes the right to claim opinion is fact, even if it is not. Because of this freedom, the albatross of probity lies upon the backs of those who call themselves journalists; and those who knowingly allow it are just as guilty as those who do it.