Conjecture vs Fact

Posted: October 27, 2008 in News and politics

October 25, 2008

I was just reviewing a message from an associate chronicling all kinds of suppositions about the events on 9 – 11 – 2001. What some want to believe is the Bush administration had a plan in place and was hoping for a `Pearl Harbor’ incident to provide an excuse to go ahead with the (Iraq) invasion…” Harrumph! Wasn’t that what some people were saying about the Pearl Harbor attack? I’ve seen believable documentaries that no such conspiracy was afoot. I haven’t seen solid evidence (perhaps a reader can provide me with such evidence) that the Bush administration actually was looking for the excuse that conspiracy theorists are advancing.

So, we have conjecture. It’s too bad many people are duped into making bad choices at the ballot box after reading and believing a lot of propaganda that is not supported by any credible evidence.

I’ve read so many books about the events following the attack on the World Trade Center that has become known as “9/11”. I am sorry to say I did not read them with the same skepticism that is healthy in order to be a knee-jerk reactionary not unlike the Rush Limbaugh listeners who are known as “ditto-heads”.

Of course we make all kinds of enemies when we expose our skepticism. Before you know it you become known as a cynic. Now, I know some people would limit cynicism to the ancient philosophers like Diogenes.  “…ancient Greek philosopher: a member of a group of ancient Greek philosophers who believed that virtue is the only good and that the only means of achieving it is self-control. The sect was founded by Antisthenes in the 4th century bc.” or “Diogenes of Sinope (412?-323 bc), Greek philosopher, generally considered the founder of Cynicism (Cynics), an ancient school of philosophy.” But, there is an accepted dictionary definition that is closer to usage in politics today: “1. believer that people are insincere: somebody who believes that human actions are insincere and motivated by self-interest 2. somebody sarcastic: somebody sneering and sarcastic”. Encarta even goes further with many quotations that illustrate the many ways people see the world.

October 27, 2008

 

But I digress. Let us return to the subject at hand. Conjecture is healthy for exploring possibilities. Isn’t all scientific experimentation about conjecture? Doesn’t a successful scientific experiment start with a question of a possibility? But, when we let the conjecture be our truth without enough evidence we fall into the Rush Limbaugh trap where any and all wild scenarios become our world.

Here are some more examples. Associates tell me that congress had been warned before passing the recent bail-out plan that if they didn’t act the President would declare marshal law (the thinking being that it would be necessary to do a preemptive action to keep people from mob actions against banks and financial institutions. I have to admit it has a certain logic to it and presents a possibility. But, where’s the evidence? All I see are e-mails citing unknown sources.

Some time ago there was a rumor going around that a presidential proclamation made everybody who participated in demonstrations subject to having their properties confiscated. The source of this one was a Canadian professor that theorized that the presidential proclamation that was made shortly after 9/11 to grab the assets of real terrorists could be used to grab anybody’s assets if the administration decided to stifle our free speech we are exercising by demonstrating or participating in a vigil. So, I and my associates overcame the fear-mongers and continued our weekly vigil. Guess what – our numbers are even swelling! There was a time when we struggled to get more than two at our gatherings. Now it’s not uncommon to see a half a dozen there. And the reception is mostly positive from passing motorists.

Today I find it is absolutely essential to get enough sleep to make sound judgments. I am making all kinds of better observations today than I did a couple of days ago. I am even keeping myself out of trouble by not raising the red flag over trivial events that upset me a couple of days ago. I will write about some of them in another essay.

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