Signing out on bad players

For a couple of days I involved myself with the blogsite run by Diane Ravitch.  I engaged because she had posted an article and commentary on that article that I thought got to many important issues important to the current situation that is our educational system. That article, I thought, took to task both those I think to be bad players (the Bush administration, the DeVos department of education) and those who I think think they are on the side of good, maybe, but really are not, the current leaders of the democratic party, the neoliberal crowd that sees education to be little more than a training program for docile workers who will serve the entrepeuneur class so that it may become more wealthy while the workers get just maybe enough to get by and are appreciative of the crumbs, enough so that they will love the system that screws them.

So, I write long pieces to that blog site and get a reasonable number of responses, some supporting what I say, some arguing against what I say, some inviting further conversation, all of this good, a good discussion of important things.  Then I write something that obviously was taken by Ms. Ravitch to be a criticism of Ms. Ravitch which definitely was a criticism of Ms. Ravitch because some of what she had done and supported in the past still haunts the world, namely her participation in the fashioning, implementation, and enforcement of the G. W. Bush educational policies that came to be known as No Child Left Behind.

Yes, though Ms. Ravitch managed to somehow convince the world that she had had an epiphany and was not longer in favor of brutily top down memorization oriented instruction, the historical record shows that she certainly did favor such and was an important player in the regime.  One note I sent to her site that drew a particularly nasty response contained mention of my problem with the historical revisionism, maybe worse, that was allowing some, Hillary Clinton and Ms. Ravitch, to offer passionate praise for the Bush family matriarch who had recently died, Clinton going so far as to deem the Bush Family and “extraordinary one,” and not for the extraordinarily cruel and inhumane things it has sponsored–the Iraq war and the concomitant torture that accompanied it, the lying, the cheating–remember the outing of Ms. Plame?–the deception, the outright violation of basic principles of decent human conduct, and, of course the never-think-again mandates of NCLB.

I was pretty much told by Ms. Ravitch that I was being cruel and insensitive, that I was not being humane in my dealing with the death of a woman such as Barbara Bush.  I responded that I could be sympathetic to loss but that such did not and should not cause me to be praiseful of an individual who, in the broad scope of things, deserved at least as much public scorn as praise for the things she enabled members of her family to do, the number of horrible things she supported by supporting her husband and her sons.

And yes, I had a personal and personally public grudge that I will never be able to settle, the absolutely horrific period of my life under the Bushes as a professor involved in the teaching of teachers, a 10 or 12 chunk of my career during which I was being force to teach as NCLB mandidated I teach so that the teachers I was teaching would do exactly what that fucked up policy said they had to do which was to acclimate students to a life in which they were to without reasoning do what those in authority were telling them to do.

That is what I threw back at Ms. Ravitch who I considered to be one of my tormentors, one of those imposing upon me, through my “superiors” a notion of education that was based on principles contrary to everything I understood to be the righteous goals of education and the proper methods for helping students to grow up to be conscientious, thoughtful, wise, informed decision makers who had the skills, knowledge, and dispositions essential to participating effectively in the decision making process of a democratic society.

For so many terrible years I resisted and took the punishment and took it from people I had known to be generous and humane who had become, in order to do what was right for themselves and their students, terribly wrong in what they were teaching and in what they advocated for in terms of college policy.  They had given in to doing what the masters told them to do and were teaching their students–teachers and future teachers–to do the same and rewarded for doing so.

So, I was faced with a terrible choice.  I could teach as I was being commanded to teach, absolutely, without a doubt wrongly and absolutely and without a doubt to the opposite of good ends or I could forgo the benefits of professorship, rising in the ranks by doing the kind of research I was being told I had to do for it to be considered worthy scholarship, by teaching in accordance with research I absolutely knew to stem from bogus premises that allowed for bogus methodologies to be found effective or I could resist and not receive grant money, be published, or be listened to at the conferences where educators of educators meet.

I chose the latter.  Really, I did, and not at all heroically, but selfishly because I would not have been able to live with myself if I gave in, acceeded to the fucking mandate that was NCLB.  And I could not live well with myself for resisting either because if my students thought what I was teaching, about instruction geared to promote critical thought, geared to bring students to understand why they were capable of thinking independently and in very, very meaningful ways, then they would go out to their job sites (a good term for schools as they operated at the time) and do what they had, through their own thinking and assessment of situation and meaningful goals, come to understand to be the right thing to do by their students and do what would cause them great grief and possibly hurt their students in that thinking for one’s self is not the right thing to do when taking tests of consequence that demanded the one right (whether right or not) answer the test makers had decided to be the right answer.

My students, knowing from the other courses they had taken in our had come rediculous teacher education program, in good numbers, rejected both my methods of teaching–methods that called on them to do considerable amounts of independent and critical thinking–thinking they could use to work on their own to truly meaningful and right answers–and the methods and the rationale for them that I tried to help them understand.  They knew from those other classes and from their observations in the schools that even if, when they really thought about it, what I was advocating was good for students, it was not good to take into the schools or, for that matter, their other teacher education classes, because it was understood to be wrong in the context of the system in which they would find themselves.

Of course, this is my story from my perspective with my biases built in.  But I can almost guarantee that if history is honestly told (and I am not very hopeful that it will) I had it right that NCLB was one of the worst things to ever happen to students, their teachers, the whole of the educational system, and to society and its future.  I would go so far as to say that the current (2018) political, social, economic and intellectual mess we are in has much to do with policies Diane Ravitch supported, won praise for supporting from the Bushes and their allies (Chester Finn, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld–just some of the terrible and dishonest players of the era).  These people, to say it simply, were rotten people and those who supported NCLB were particularly rotten because their goal was to  make kids lives rotten so that they could continue to get away with the rotten things they were doing.

I quit the Ravitch conversation because it was being moderated by the site owner.  The owner of this site believe that all voices should be heard.  Here they will be, without moderation because bad ideas giving proper airing are easily recognized for what they are worth by good people in pursuit of the truth.  And good ideas, as during the reign of NCLB and in its aftermath, the Trump era, they will continue to be said bad by those same people who hate it when intelligence has the opportunity to evaluate their meanings.

Signing out on bad players

For a couple of days I involved myself with the blogsite run by Diane Ravitch.  I engaged because she had posted an article and commentary on that article that I thought got to many important issues important to the current situation that is our educational system. That article, I thought, took to task both those I think to be bad players (the Bush administration, the DeVos department of education) and those who I think think they are on the side of good, maybe, but really are not, the current leaders of the democratic party, the neoliberal crowd that sees education to be little more than a training program for docile workers who will serve the entrepeuneur class so that it may become more wealthy while the workers get just maybe enough to get by and are appreciative of the crumbs, enough so that they will love the system that screws them.

So, I write long pieces to that blog site and get a reasonable number of responses, some supporting what I say, some arguing against what I say, some inviting further conversation, all of this good, a good discussion of important things.  Then I write something that obviously was taken by Ms. Ravitch to be a criticism of Ms. Ravitch which definitely was a criticism of Ms. Ravitch because some of what she had done and supported in the past still haunts the world, namely her participation in the fashioning, implementation, and enforcement of the G. W. Bush educational policies that came to be known as No Child Left Behind.

Yes, though Ms. Ravitch managed to somehow convince the world that she had had an epiphany and was not longer in favor of brutily top down memorization oriented instruction, the historical record shows that she certainly did favor such and was an important player in the regime.  One note I sent to her site that drew a particularly nasty response contained mention of my problem with the historical revisionism, maybe worse, that was allowing some, Hillary Clinton and Ms. Ravitch, to offer passionate praise for the Bush family matriarch who had recently died, Clinton going so far as to deem the Bush Family and “extraordinary one,” and not for the extraordinarily cruel and inhumane things it has sponsored–the Iraq war and the concomitant torture that accompanied it, the lying, the cheating–remember the outing of Ms. Plame?–the deception, the outright violation of basic principles of decent human conduct, and, of course the never-think-again mandates of NCLB.

I was pretty much told by Ms. Ravitch that I was being cruel and insensitive, that I was not being humane in my dealing with the death of a woman such as Barbara Bush.  I responded that I could be sympathetic to loss but that such did not and should not cause me to be praiseful of an individual who, in the broad scope of things, deserved at least as much public scorn as praise for the things she enabled members of her family to do, the number of horrible things she supported by supporting her husband and her sons.

And yes, I had a personal and personally public grudge that I will never be able to settle, the absolutely horrific period of my life under the Bushes as a professor involved in the teaching of teachers, a 10 or 12 chunk of my career during which I was being force to teach as NCLB mandidated I teach so that the teachers I was teaching would do exactly what that fucked up policy said they had to do which was to acclimate students to a life in which they were to without reasoning do what those in authority were telling them to do.

That is what I threw back at Ms. Ravitch who I considered to be one of my tormentors, one of those imposing upon me, through my “superiors” a notion of education that was based on principles contrary to everything I understood to be the righteous goals of education and the proper methods for helping students to grow up to be conscientious, thoughtful, wise, informed decision makers who had the skills, knowledge, and dispositions essential to participating effectively in the decision making process of a democratic society.

For so many terrible years I resisted and took the punishment and took it from people I had known to be generous and humane who had become, in order to do what was right for themselves and their students, terribly wrong in what they were teaching and in what they advocated for in terms of college policy.  They had given in to doing what the masters told them to do and were teaching their students–teachers and future teachers–to do the same and rewarded for doing so.

So, I was faced with a terrible choice.  I could teach as I was being commanded to teach, absolutely, without a doubt wrongly and absolutely and without a doubt to the opposite of good ends or I could forgo the benefits of professorship, rising in the ranks by doing the kind of research I was being told I had to do for it to be considered worthy scholarship, by teaching in accordance with research I absolutely knew to stem from bogus premises that allowed for bogus methodologies to be found effective or I could resist and not receive grant money, be published, or be listened to at the conferences where educators of educators meet.

I chose the latter.  Really, I did, and not at all heroically, but selfishly because I would not have been able to live with myself if I gave in, acceeded to the fucking mandate that was NCLB.  And I could not live well with myself for resisting either because if my students thought what I was teaching, about instruction geared to promote critical thought, geared to bring students to understand why they were capable of thinking independently and in very, very meaningful ways, then they would go out to their job sites (a good term for schools as they operated at the time) and do what they had, through their own thinking and assessment of situation and meaningful goals, come to understand to be the right thing to do by their students and do what would cause them great grief and possibly hurt their students in that thinking for one’s self is not the right thing to do when taking tests of consequence that demanded the one right (whether right or not) answer the test makers had decided to be the right answer.

My students, knowing from the other courses they had taken in our had come rediculous teacher education program, in good numbers, rejected both my methods of teaching–methods that called on them to do considerable amounts of independent and critical thinking–thinking they could use to work on their own to truly meaningful and right answers–and the methods and the rationale for them that I tried to help them understand.  They knew from those other classes and from their observations in the schools that even if, when they really thought about it, what I was advocating was good for students, it was not good to take into the schools or, for that matter, their other teacher education classes, because it was understood to be wrong in the context of the system in which they would find themselves.

Of course, this is my story from my perspective with my biases built in.  But I can almost guarantee that if history is honestly told (and I am not very hopeful that it will) I had it right that NCLB was one of the worst things to ever happen to students, their teachers, the whole of the educational system, and to society and its future.  I would go so far as to say that the current (2018) political, social, economic and intellectual mess we are in has much to do with policies Diane Ravitch supported, won praise for supporting from the Bushes and their allies (Chester Finn, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld–just some of the terrible and dishonest players of the era).  These people, to say it simply, were rotten people and those who supported NCLB were particularly rotten because their goal was to  make kids lives rotten so that they could continue to get away with the rotten things they were doing.

I quit the Ravitch conversation because it was being moderated by the site owner.  The owner of this site believe that all voices should be heard.  Here they will be, without moderation because bad ideas giving proper airing are easily recognized for what they are worth by good people in pursuit of the truth.  And good ideas, as during the reign of NCLB and in its aftermath, the Trump era, they will continue to be said bad by those same people who hate it when intelligence has the opportunity to evaluate their meanings.

 

 

 

 

 

In the midst of a hard discussion on a tough subject

Response to my earlier “essay” from a woman calling herself New York parent

I am missing why all the love for lafared’s essay.

To me, this is exactly what the right wingers say about teachers. There are some good ones and some bad ones. We need to get rid of the bad ones.

But the problem is no one wants to address HOW to identify and get rid of the bad ones. If I was really being anti-union, I would say that the decades of unions protections of bad teachers are the reason that ed reform came into being. Since once a teacher has tenure they must commit a crime to lose their job, how does one get rid of them?

Some reformers came up with a pro-union solution — which is probably why Randi Weingarten didn’t oppose it in the beginning. Use this curriculum and teach it and no one can accuse the teacher of being “bad”.

That solution was not pro-TEACHER. But it was pro-UNION.

Does anyone dare to agree with the notion that you need to get rid of the union to get good teaching?

Because I guarantee you that the right wing Republicans would be delighted to trade the entire Common Core testing regime if you can just get rid of the union and all job protections for teachers so that only the good ones remain.

After all, their agenda has never been the Common Core. It has been figuring out how to get rid of the union and all protections for teachers.

Randi Weingarten’s has been how to keep the union and agreeing to Common Core was part of that.

I have no doubt if you offered an exchange where we get rid of Common Core AND the union so that those “great” teachers that lafared are rewarded and the lousy ones (as judged by the principal or some higher up administrator) get fired, the right wing Republicans would embrace it.

 

My response:

I would caution that people do not react on the basis of labels and the behavior they signify but on ideas and, if schools are problematic and if there are too many bad teachers, and if there are too many disaffected students and if their are too many dropouts and if students graduate without the skills, knowledge and disposition that are essential to being an active and effective member of a democratic society, then we should be concerned with cause and remedies. I am a supporter of unions. I am in no way against for what I think AFT and NEA stand. I am for examining their role creating the problems as well as their contribution to the good. For me it is not a matter of pro-union or anti-union, or for that matter left and right, liberal and conservative. It is a matter of what students need to achieve meaningful, sensible, empowering educational goals.

I support teachers and in supporting them, I have to point to those who make teachers look bad and hope with all my heart that they will find another profession. I hope with all my heart that more of the best and brightest will decide to teach and I will continue to fight like hell against any institution or policy that contributes to low status in society for teachers (how can that be!!!!!!??????) and the concomitant lacking in the remuneration good teachers receive for their good work.

I say that we agree on goals. My reading of the CCSS is not that they are evil, that a good many are rock solid in what they show to be the kind of things that students should be able to do when they graduate high school. I love that the preface to the mathematics standards that orient toward students knowing how to think mathematically, know when the different kinds of mathematical manipulations taught in the various courses can be applied, what problems can be solved by their application. I like so many of the English standards, particularly the one that calls for students to be able to read and understand the foundational documents of the American nation, to be able to read Supreme Court decisions, both the majority and minority opinions and then argue themselves for which are right and which are wrong. I like too the Next Generation Science Standards because they too are oriented toward developing students’ ability to think scientifically, to not just memorize science principles but to understand them and be able to consider their elegance for the ways in which they may be applied to make incredible things happen.

So, criticize me if you find fault. I will think about what you say and probably respond. But as I said at the beginning of what is my second essay of the day, education and the educational system need to be fixed so that with graduation comes initiative, inventiveness, heightened creativity, and the kind of empowerment that allows people act upon their world and in there work in an informed and reasonable manner. It is these very things that the powers that be do not like because their power, so much and so often, depends on a citizenry that is not informed and reasonable. Bad, really bad and to ignore the reason for the state of schools in this country is to make it impossible to do what is necessary to make them the most wonderful places in the world.

Bad teachers and bad policy

In response to this article posted by Diane Ravitch on her blog site.  It was posted to that website.

A can of nasty complexity here that must be considered critically so that good teaching (really a difficult thing to do) is not made the problem because some teachers cannot do what is necessary to help their students to become the kind of thoughtful citizens who would be able to see and understand the kind of issues under discussion here. That the neoliberal approach is a problem, with this I fully agree. In fact, I see it as inhumane, the preparation of students for the workplace, ready to obey every command of the employer, unthinkingly. Neoliberal notions of education and its purpose are more about making an inhuman economic system not only palatable, but, no matter how much pain one suffers for it, understood to be the best there can possibly be. If a teacher is not willing or able to help students acquire and grow the skills that are essential to engage in what Neil Postman a long time ago called “bullshit detection” than that teacher is not worthy of being a teacher. This article and the arguments of those cited are examples of bullshit detection. A decent education would have allowed, ENCOURAGED those who vote to think first about what the candidates were really about and, in turn, because the voters were wise enough to demand such there would have been sound candidates who those voters could come to understand were viable ones because they would know that the agenda would be theirs, the citizen-voters agenda.

So, that so many are either hoodwinked or forced to decide either/or when none of the above is good enough, needs to be studied and, from that study derived a proper job description for educators.

I personally know of many excellent teachers, most of these terribly frustrated by the system in which they work, in large part because they are smart enough to resent being controlled by a system that works against what they know to be legitimate goals for education. They cannot teach well because decisions regarding what things are taught and how they need be taught are not theirs but decisions made by others whose goals are the wrong ones.

There is a mess from which we, people interested in good education, need to extricate ourselves and that mess is signified in the article to which I am responding. Teachers are, it is ever so true, an oppressed and under appreciated class of people. They are rigidly controlled and, in the school environment, restricted in ways that undermine initiative, innovation, creativity. They are not to think too critically about the curriculum they are handed and hardly ever asked with sincerity to participate in the development of curriculum or methods for instruction. Sad but true, there are many teachers who like the job because it does not require too much thought. There are curriculum manuals and teachers’ editions of the textbook that spell out step by step how instruction should be “delivered.” Too many are habituated to direct instruction approaches that wholly ignore the nature of the individuals being taught. Direct instruction teacher plug into a methodology that has for every question a right answer that is to be taken as true and right because it is in the book. There is hardly, if any, room for teacher or student to think about things and work toward conclusions that are based on their own knowledge and reasoning.

So, sad as it may be, there are bad teachers in the system and sadder, within the system, because they obey, they are said to be good teachers. The same goes for students. If they do what they are told, accept what is said as right, they succeed in school. If they ever question authority, they are punished in some way or another, many of these students labelled rebellious and good numbers of them not thriving in the system. I know these students. I now teach for them in a community college where I am an instructor in remedial English.

So there are not so good and even bad teachers. But the approach to dealing with them as per the Bill and Hillary approach is wholly inappropriate because it has nothing much to do with making sure that the quality of instruction is worthy of a citizenry that is supposed to be able to govern itself. I remember Hillary, in a talk recorded and played on a Pacifica station, touting educational programs that would turn out, en mass, new entrepreneurs, the entrepreneur, for her, the model for what all should aspire to. She said nothing about informed and thoughtful citizen. Her bad teacher would be one who did not buy into the system, who encouraged students to understand the system and properly critique it so that they could make decisions, personal and private based on what their thinking led them to believe was best.

We need good teachers and we do students a great wrong when we allow them to be taught by those who are not good. We need to reward teachers for their good work by paying them decent salaries. We need to force good salaries by refusing to allow the hiring of those who are not good examples of the well informed and thoughtful human being. From the lowest grades up, the teachers by whom students are taught need to be intellectual active beings who understand the subject matter and understand it properly by understand the context in which the disciplines work and the meaning of the understandings they produce. Teachers in the good school system would work together to create the proper curriculum for the students they teach. They would work together to adapt and create methods appropriate for the actual students in their classrooms. They would, by nature, be creative, innovative, and engaged regularly in discovery and critical thought. They would rebel against those who tried to cage them in and would force them to sing a gospel in which they did not see righteousness.

So, yes. The neoliberal approach is as anti-intellectual as the direct instruction approach and neither should ever be allowed into the schools. Since they are there and dominant now, they need to be expunged so that teacher have the freedom to be thoughtful teachers and students the right to grow up to be effective participants in their society, in determining what is right and wrong, good and bad so their decisions, personal and public, are based on understanding and not blind acceptance.

The Education System Destroys Intelligence

Indeed I know and have known throughout my career as an educator many amazing people who teach. I cannot say with any honesty that they constituted a majority, far too many of those I taught and watched being mediocre thinkers in their own right and far too many who were not themselves avidly involved in making sense of the world for themselves by keeping themselves informed and their minds active engaged in the process of reasoning by which truly thoughtful people come to understand what is real and meaningful.
 
Those who were so engaged, who were the most thoughtful, had a very hard time of it because of what they were ordered to do, to teach to a curriculum too often insipid that could not possibly inspire independent thinking, critical thinking, creativity, inventiveness because the prescribed methods had been created to be foolproof–even a fool could succeed if he or she could follow directions.
 
I am teaching remedial English courses now and have in my classes students who are much brighter than they know themselves to be, who, if I push them will express thoughts of a level far beyond what they think themselves capable. Almost to a student, they do not participate in the decision making process by which citizens of a democracy govern themselves. I asked them who the governor of the state was and I asked them for their thoughts about current affairs involving the president.
 
Really! Hardly a one could name the State’s chief executive and but one knew about the crisis surrounding the Nation’s chief executive.
 
THEY ARE NOT DUMB. THEY ARE NUMB. THEY ARE NOT STUPID BUT BELIEVE THAT THEY ARE. THEY DO NOT PARTICIPATE BECAUSE THEY DO NOT SEE THEMSELVES TO BE QUALIFIED TO DO SO. THEY DO NOT TRY TO UNDERSTAND COMPLEXITY BECAUSE THEY DO NOT THINK THEY CAN AND, SO, DO NOT TRY.  
In essense, they have been instructed in complacence.  They have come to accept that they are not amongst those smart enough to voice their opinions; they do not believe that they have opinions worth expressing.  The play rather than participate.  They pass time.
The good thing is that they can be revived.  And when they are given the opportunity, when they are encouraged TO THINK FOR THEMSELVES they, in the most wondrous way, COME ALIVE.
They should have been encouraged to do so a very long time ago.
Something has to change and drastically.  We need teachers who are thinkers and we need an educational system that exists to encourage and grow thoughtfulness.  If teachers need teacher’s manuals to teach, something is wrong.  If teachers have to teach according to some manual, something is wrong.  If students have to learn what is in the textbook accompanying the teacher’s manual as per how the manual says they must be taught, something is wrong.  If they are evaluated on how well they can say again what someone else has said to them, they are being cheated out of their intelligence.  If they are not encouraged to challenge their teachers and the texts and the correct answers on the tests, they are being indoctrinated.
The current system is anti-democratic, hostile to individuality and critical thought and it should not be tolerated or excused for being the best we can possibly do because it is destructive.

Opinion, Bias, and The Threat of Critical Thinking

What some in good numbers will understand to be the truth. The argument is, unlike what it pretends to be, anything but based objectivity based in fact.
 
Which raises another question for those like me who teach and consider it important that students know how to think critically and read the world with a critical eye. I do not know about others, but I have been hit over the head by students and administrators for bringing up issues and offering up and encouraging students to find and speak up about the various perspectives people have on important issue.
 
Of course I have a bias. They can read my blog site to know that. But when I ask that they speak with the kind of authority that comes will knowledge and reason, many think asking such of them to be unfair those I ask it of all who make claims that, of course, need corroboration.
 
I think we are at a point where it has become dangerous (again) to teach to critical thinking in schools across the spectrum, yes, even in college. There are many stories that tell of professors being castigated for discussing certain issue in their courses. Some are wrong is their forcing students to buy their bias. But a good many ask students to present their views so that the issue of bias can be worked out and truths discovered.
 
This is a base-line crisis in my mind because it about the basics of good sense, good will discussions that lead to better understanding of important things. Pushing the critical thinking element out of education on the basis of it being a ploy to indoctrinate is dangerous, very dangerous.

Mind set not issues

 

Dan Rather on Young Turks talking about Sinclair Broadcasting 

This is the waimage.pngy to a brutal end to rational discussion, the creation of realities into which can fit “rational” ideas that have no basis in fact and cannot, therefore, be argued against reasonably. Such ideas hold validity in the minds of those conditioned so as to possess a mind set that allows nonsense to stand as good sense and good sense to seem absurd. The real war that is being fought just now is really about the validation of versions of the real. The problem, the great difficulty faced by those battling to establish the real truth as THE truth is that what is real and true cannot be understood by great numbers of people to be such. The facts, incredibly, do not count for much for the different mind sets can interpret fact differently and, quite often, facts are created to substitute for true facts and these, because of the way certain people have learned to “think,” hold for these to describe actuality.

This is why rational argument has been made impotent in our modern day society. And the decimation of rationality has been the project of certain elements of society for a very long time. We are in a post-propaganda era because there exist more powerful ways to make dis-realities the realities against which people make “sense” of what comes before them. What is shown to prove the factual nature of a particular event or idea is not of much importance in convincing because the mentality of those interpreting is set to a particular reality channel that allows only certain understandings to develop and they will stand as truth no matter whether or not they hold any real truth value.

I need to say that it is not only the crazy right that is captive of the distorted mindset. There are, for example, Hillary and Bernie people who consistently are Hilary and Bernie people because they are Hillary and Bernie people because that is just who they are. When facts come their way that are inconsistent with what their mind set tells them has to be right, they do what ever it is to set things straight, even if the final result is something logically crooked. I notice this in a pronounced form in those I know who have to support Israel or a Muslim perspective. Their way of thinking is not motivated by desire to get things right but by a need to make right what they have come to believe is the only ACCEPTABLE right and this makes them wrong in a good many cases.

We are in a very dangerous period in the history of human beings and we will not be able to meet that danger until we allow for the truth, even if it hurts, even if it shows us to be wrong, even if it points to the need to change the way we think. Sadly, I see few signs of the many, let alone the most, being willing to do something so drastic. We have, religious or not, been conditioned by religion because it has been and remains so pervasive a force in our human world. One does not have to hold to a religion, per se, to be religious. More devastating an affect of religion is the way of thinking (non-thinking) it sponsors, belief against reality and the need to hold fast to that anti-reality sensibility for fear of punishment by forces understood to be dominant ones capable of rendering punishment that is great and lasting.

I have already written too long here but maybe we can think about this religious spirit that permeates or thinking, that is held essential to our character, that causes us to often to fear the truth, to accept the philosophical paradigms that are offered by those who wish to control us and begin to think for ourselves with the goal of understanding what is truly real and which truths survive the test of reason based upon real evidence.