One of my favorite quotes is from Thomas Pynchon: “if they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don’t have to worry about answers.” In the many months – M-O-N-T-H S – preceding Tuesday’s presidential elections, members of the establishment media have been preoccupied with getting us to ask the most irrelevant questions. Employing the concept “demographics” – a word that makes the process sound as if it had intelligent meaning – we have been inundated with alleged “opinion poll” results informing us of the voting preferences of “college-educated blacks,” “retired factory workers,” “women who are first time voters,” “evangelical men,” or any of an endless configuration of supposed collective identities. The study of chaos informs us that complex systems – including individual human beings as well as societies – are subject to far too many inconstant and variable influences to make outcomes predictable. What would the umpty-ninety-nine polls tell us about the candidate preferences of a “college-educated black male” who is also an “evangelical”? Those who place great significance on this information fail to realize that it is grounded in the same thinking that is incorrectly characterized as “discriminatory” (i.e., making judgments of people based upon superficial characteristics such as “race” or “gender”). “Racists,” for example, do not discriminate: they don’t know how to discriminate! They need to learn to distinguish people on the basis of their behavior, character, ideas, and other qualities that differentiate the “black inner-city violent gang members” from the “black dentist” who works to support his or her family.
It used to be a high compliment to tell someone he has a “discriminating” mind; it is now an accusation. Should people learn HOW to discriminate – which used to be a major purpose of schools – we might find ourselves living in a world in which men and women engage in clear, rational, thinking. A world in which people were obsessed with answers to questions formulated by those who have a special interest in collectively-defined conclusions, might be transformed into a world in which individuals ask the kinds of questions it is politically-incorrect to ask; inquiries that the institutional question-keepers want to keep away from those who are to be ruled.1:42 pm on November 6, 2016