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Dumbth: The Lost Art of Thinking

Beware of mass movements and the herd-behavior that they encourage

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The late Steve Allen was an author, songwriter, and comedian, and among the most prolific talent in broadcasting history. He wrote more than 9,000 songs, including “This Could Be the Start of Something Big,” which is still aired at New Year’s Eve galas. Not bad for someone who played by ear.

He wrote TV scripts, gags, and jokes. Like many others in TV, Allen’s career began in radio where, as a young DJ, he once announced a Harvard vs. William & Mary football score as “Harvard 14, William 10, Mary 7.”

His interests extended beyond show business as well. A tireless advocate, Allen was instrumental in the airlines’ smoking ban.

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Capturing Good Ideas

I met Allen in the 1990s at the American Bookseller’s Convention in Los Angeles. It was rumored that he never traveled without a pocket tape recorder and when I asked him if this was true, he took out his pocket tape recorder and showed me.

Allen once explained that although he was thought of  as extraordinarily productive, he figured he owed his high output to “Not letting good ideas get away.”

He recalled that even back in the 1950s, when tape recorders were bulky and expensive, he had one in each room of his house, even the bathroom.

Steve Allen also managed to write 50 books: he started with mysteries; then he moved on to show business; then self-help topics such as presenting, speaking, and humor; and then he focused on social issues, before his departure early this century.

Near his passing, he was concerned that our entire society seemed to be “dumbing down.”

The Lost Art of Thinking

Here are my notes and excerpts from Dumbth: The Lost Art of Thinking, With 101 Ways to Reason Better & Improve Your Mind, by Steve Allen, originally published by Prometheus Books, in 1998:

* Decide that you will reason more effectively in the future.
* Beware of rushing to judgment or falling in love with your first answer
* Beware of erroneous assumptions or making predictions on scanty evidence.
* Recognize your superstitions and personal prejudices.

* Beware of arguments by slogans or epigrams,“ If the glove fits…”
* Beware of thinking that because you are bright and quick minded you therefore reason well.
* Beware of reacting to labels rather than to specific individuals.
* Concede ignorance when you are ignorant. Be more humble.

* Feel a twinge of shame when you employ a ad hominem argument.
* Be realistically skeptical, even of leaders.
* Beware of rationalization.
* Beware of the distinction between consistent evidence and conclusive evidence.

* Avoid falling for the one “right answer.”
* Become your own fact checker.
* Do not attempt to read minds.
* Recognize that all reality is complex – even describing a man sitting in a chair. This involves 100s of observations about lighting, the room, the man’s appearance, his clothing, expression, the chair, what happens over time

* Practice lifelong learning.
* Watch less commercial TV.
* Make notes, use your dictionary, and/or keep a journal.
* Rethink your religion, even if it is scary for you.

* Spend time with people brighter than yourself.
* Use maps.
* Beware of political rhetoric.
* Don’t be afraid to change your mind.

* Recognize that no one thing remains the same for very long.
* Find evidence first before making up your mind, not the other way around.
* Don’t equate your ideas with yourself.
* Study creativity itself.

* Play thinking games.
* Recognize that everything is subject to criticism.
* Become more familiar with history.
* Beware of mass movements and the herd-behavior that they encourage.

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Jeff Davidson is the world's only holder of the title "The Work-Life Balance Expert®" as awarded by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. He is the premier thought leader on work-life balance, integration, and harmony. Jeff speaks to organizations that seek to enhance their overall productivity by improving the effectiveness of their people. He is the author of Breathing Space, Simpler Living, Dial it Down, and Everyday Project Management. Visit www.BreathingSpace.com for more information on Jeff's keynote speeches and seminars, including: Managing the Pace with Grace® * Achieving Work-Life Balance™ * Managing Information and Communication Overload®



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Education

Replacement Theory is Not a Theory

Self-loathing liberals despise anything which they even remotely suspect somehow disparages minorities, and that includes all white people

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In 2015, Sue Payne, a conservative radio host, was inadvertantly included in internal White House phone call representing the “Task Force of New Americans.” This endeavor was led by Cecilia Munoz and was comprised of 16 members of the Obama Cabinet. The Obama-Biden administration had planned to initiate a “country within a country.”

Obama goal was to quickly grant citizenship to 13 to 15 million illegal aliens. As these “new Americans” came forward, the communities where they would be placed would be designated as “receiving communities.” As these “new Americans” came out of the shadows, existing U.S. citizens would be pushed into the shadows.

It was emphasized that the newly minted “Americans” must be informed of “the benefits they are entitled to” and that they would “navigate not assimilate.” Fortunately these plans did not materialize.

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Fast Forward to the Present

Jimmy Fallon announced to his studio audience one night that the white population of the U.S. had declined 8.6% in the last ten years, to which his audience responded with boisterous laughter and applause. He was shocked but sought to hide it.

Fallon has said, “The results of the 2020 census just came out. For the first time in American history the number of white people went down,” upon which the predominantly Caucasian audience responded with “glee and elongated clapping.”

Interesting reaction to that,” Fallon said. Interesting? More like bizarre. How can a plethora of white individuals, not merely those in attendance that evening, but rather untold millions across the nation loathe themselves so completely, that they revel in seeing their numbers drop? Do Japanese wish to see their numbers decline relative to the country’s overall population? Do Chileans? Finns? Jordanians? Tunisians? Tucker Carlson is completely correct on this topic and, as such, is the favorite target of the demented Left.

The Left is Giddy

To be sure, Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel, and the ultra-obnoxious Steven Colbert have catered exclusively to ‘progressives’ for upwards of eight years. Progressives populate their audiences, and progressive ‘elites’ dominate their guest spots.

Amazingly, non-hispanic whites in the U.S. today represent only 57.8% of the population, their lowest percentage ever and down from above 80% a mere two score earlier. Is this a cause for celebration? At the Washington Post, uber-RINO columnist Jennifer Rubin joyously greeted the data, citing it as it “fabulous news.”

Concurrently, if you even hint that the demographic decline of white Americans might prove to be unfavorable, you’ll be demonized as a dangerous individual. However, if you seek the elimination of people based on their skin color, and they are white people, this is perfectly okay. Indeed, it’s delightful. It’s entirely progressive! Let us all rejoice!

Self-Hate Abounds

The self-loathing that untold numbers of white liberals have for whites in general is mind-boggling. They have been taught — actually, brainwashed — to regard their ethnicity and skin color as invariably detrimental to society. To them, by virtue of their birth alone, they represent an extreme cultural blight.

This enormous group, tens of millions strong, is comprised largely of Democrats who also happen to comprise the core of cancel culture. These self-loathing guardians seek to financially and politically cremate any person, place, thing, or idea that they regard as offensive to others and, paradoxically, that aren’t necessarily directly offensive to themselves.

Why do white liberals act this way? They are self-appointed care-takers of what they believe is social fairness, justice, and equanimity. At the same time, it’s eye-opening to discover that most minority individuals are flummoxed by what whites seek to cancel, merely because the white majority thinks it offensive to select minorities.

You dislike The Cat in the Hat? On January 21, 2015, Michelle Obama invited The Cat in the Hat characters to the White House to read to young students as part of her ‘Let’s Move, Let’s Read!’ initiative. She noted, “Pretty much all the stuff you need to know is in Dr. Seuss.”

Windmill Jousting

Did anybody in attendance that day, Ms. Obama included, regard these characters to be portraying racial stereotypes? Was anybody offended, insulted, or outraged? Newspaper accounts and photographs indicate that just the opposite was true.

So when did The Cat in the Hat and other Dr. Seuss books, and his various characters, become ‘racist’ as not a single word changed, in any of his books? The quick answer: Self-loathing liberals despise anything which they even remotely suspect somehow disparages minorities.

Ironically, these same self-loathing liberals feel morally superior to everybody else. Thus they exhibit an odd psycho-social phenomenon that researchers will be studying for decades, if not centuries, to come: How individuals, programmed en masse to hate themselves, decided to despoil any aspect of our culture that they believe does not meet their ‘standards.’

Stranger Than Fiction

These obtuse standards become entrenched as part of liberal, Leftist, unassailable doctrine and spread via the internet like kudzu. And who among them can tolerate debate of official doctrine?

Those on the right observe this phenomenon with incredulity. How do so many people so thoroughly come to hate themselves, especially for phantom faux pas (i.e. that they haven’t committed)?

As they proceed with their many forms of boycotts, doxxing, and ostracism, and deepen their embrace of cancel culture, it’s difficult to predict when the dam will break. Self-loathing whites, you see, glean positive strokes and virtue signals from one another. They are giddy to be accepted as a member of the ‘morally superior’ strata of humankind.

Self-loathing liberals are hell bent on their ‘righteous mission.’ Each one knows to the marrow in his, her, or its bones that unquestionably they are on the ‘right side’ of history, when in actuality they are on the maniacal side of cultural and social suicide.

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Education

Arming Teachers? Not So Fast

You don’t trust teachers to execute a lesson plan but you’ll trust them to execute an intruder?

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Trey Antonetti, a teacher from Fayetteville, Arkansas has some notable thoughts on arming teachers in the classroom. He says:

To those in the general public screaming “Arm the teachers! Give the teachers guns!”…let me get this straight… You don’t trust us to teach our content — there are so many bills going to state legislatures undermining the expertise teachers bring to the field. We need to publish a year’s worth of lesson plans because you don’t believe we’re actually teaching, right?

No Trust

You don’t trust us when we say your student is the reason they’re failing when they are skipping class, aren’t submitting assignments, are playing both sides of the field and are dropping the ball, but it must be the teacher’s fault, right?

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You don’t trust us to hold your student accountable for their behavior, standing firm on commitments and expectations, because it’s the teacher asking too much, right? You don’t trust us to discipline students when they act out or abuse the system, because they’re precious little angels, and we’re the problem, right? But you’ll trust us, no…EXPECT us to take a bullet for them when the system – when, at this point, not if – fails them.

And NOW you’re saying you trust us, trust me, to add firearm safety and defensive firearm training to my plate? You don’t trust me to execute a lesson plan but you’ll trust me to execute an intruder?

Incredible teachers are leaving the field every day. Phenomenal teachers are barely hanging on as they go through our day to day. Accredited programs and universities all over the country are closing their education programs because no one is enrolling.

Enter the Under-trained

When your kids, or grandkids, nieces, and nephews are being taught by actual under-trained people who are the only option to hire, will that make you happy? I mean…at least they’ll have guns…right?

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