“The Wisdom of The Wise,” by Andrew Joppa

 

The use of quotations has been described in many ways.  One cynical writer offered that, “They are the last refuge of the ignorant.” Of course, he was building that thought upon another quotation from Samuel Johnson. I prefer to align with Benjamin Disraeli’s view that, “The wisdom of the wise, the experience of the ages, are perpetuated by quotations.” 

 

With that latter thought in mind I have worked laboriously…endlessly…tirelessly (you get the idea) to provide you with dozens of quotations, chosen for their succinctness, and pertinence to the issues buffeting current America.

It should be noted that many, if not most of the quotations I’ve chosen, precede our current era. This reveals that most problems have existed throughout the long period of recorded history.  Perhaps that demonstrates that to survive, previous societies have had to deal with these issues to succeed or would fail if they did not.

 

I also believe that it is failure in these areas that has, for the first time, brought a great nation to the point of its demise…all being done with the instigation of their elite and a manipulated population of millions. For the first time in recorded history a nation has, for no real reason, allowed itself to self-destruct by choice.

 

Each of these quotations could be endlessly considered for their implications and significance to the dilemmas we currently face. It is my presumption that only by identifying the disease will a cure be possible.

 

I will start with the longest quote…one penned by Michael Chrichton. It is his quotation that most meaningfully addresses the major malignancy in our society…the scientifically unproven circumstance of anthropogenic climate change.

 

He wrote:

 

 

I want to pause here and talk about this notion of consensus, and the rise of what has been called consensus science. I regard consensus science as an extremely pernicious development that ought to be stopped cold in its tracks. Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled.

Whenever you hear the consensus of scientists agrees on something or other, reach for your wallet, because you’re being had. Let’s be clear: the work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus. Consensus is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right, which means that he or she has results that are verifiable by reference to the real world.

 In science consensus is irrelevant. What is relevant is reproducible results. The greatest scientists in history are great precisely because they broke with the consensus. There is no such thing as consensus science. If it’s consensus, it isn’t science. If it’s science, it isn’t consensus. Period.

Michael Chrichton

 

The next quotation is the shortest…authored by Karl Marx. In a few words he describes the essence of the Democrat political attack on America. He wrote six words that are the entirety of their approach:

 

Accuse others of what you do.

Karl Marx

 

Obviously, Marx was a proponent of Keep It Simple Stupid.

 

From this point forward the quotations will range from Thomas Sowell to Cicero.  All, however, offering insight or commentary about 2023 America:

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In the world of science and philosophy, the merest hint of dogmatic certainty as to finality of statement is an exhibition of folly.

Alfred North Whitehead

 

Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else’s opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.

Oscar Wilde

 

For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.

H.L. Mencken

 

The next time some academics tell you how important diversity is, ask how many Republicans there are in their Sociology Department.

Thomas Sowell

 

The word ‘racism’ is like ketchup. It can be put on practically anything – and demanding evidence makes you a ‘racist.’.

Thomas Sowell

 

Our freedom to doubt was born out of a struggle against authority in the early days of science.  It was a very deep and strong struggle: permit us to question — to doubt — to not be sure.  I think that it is important that we do not forget this struggle and thus perhaps lose what we have gained…

Richard Feynman

 

It only stands to reason that where there’s sacrifice, there’s someone collecting the sacrificial offerings. Where there’s service, there is someone being served. The man who speaks to you of sacrifice is speaking of slaves and masters, and intends to be the master…

Ayn Rand

 

When you believe something is right or wrong, true or false, you believe the assumptions in the words which express the arguments.  Such assumptions are often full of holes, but remain most precious to the convinced.

Alfred North Whitehead

 

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed—and hence clamorous to be led to safety—by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

H. L. Mencken

 

For an engineer to keep his job, he has to be brutally correct and honest—all the time.  Products and reality don’t lie. For a scientist to keep his job, he has to obtain funding.  This is generally accomplished by convincing those who fund research that something you want to study is important, and frequently involves exaggeration and/or fabrication.

Real Science

 

Propaganda 101: Muzzle the other side by any means necessary, and then celebrate the overwhelming consensus.

Old Man

 

All truth passes through three stages.  First, it is ridiculed.  Second, it is violently opposed.  Third, it is accepted as being self-evident. 

Arthur Schopenhauer

 

The more people chant about their freedom and how free they are, the more loudly I hear their chains rattling.

George Orwell

 

While we should never give up our principles, we must also realize that we cannot maintain our principles unless we survive.

Henry Kissinger

 

Our present crop of politicians appears to have mistaken Orwell’s 1984 and Huxley’s Brave New World for instruction manuals.

Old Man

 

Too much of what is called ‘education’ is little more than an expensive isolation from reality.

Thomas Sowell

 

The duty of a patriot is to protect his country from its government.

Edward Abbey

 

There is nothing more dangerous than a surgeon with an open operating room and a mortgage to pay.

Kevin B. Jones, MD

 

In various countries and times, leaders of groups that lagged behind, economically and educationally, have taught their followers to blame all their problems on other people – and to hate those other people.

Thomas Sowell

 

I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.

Thomas Jefferson

 

Few people are capable of expressing with equanimity opinions which differ from the prejudices of their social environment.  Most people are not even capable of forming such opinions.

Albert Einstein

 

He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that.  His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.  But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion … Nor is it enough that he should hear the opinions of adversaries from his own teachers, accompanied by what they offer as refutations.  He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.

John Stuart Mill

 

One of the ways you control what people think is by creating the illusion that there’s a debate going on, but making sure that that debate stays within very narrow margins. Namely, you have to make sure that both sides in the debate accept certain assumptions, and those assumptions turn out to be the propaganda system.

Noam Chomsky

 

As Rosen argues, science always inserts a surrogate (a model) for the actual thing it is trying to study.  With the surrogate, scientists can use all the methods of reductionist science and figure out how the parts work.  The assumption is that the surrogate can substitute for the real thing. But when they go back to the real thing after working on the surrogate and try to plug in their findings, they usually fall short…

Michael Gazzaniga

 

Politicians are like diapers; they need to be changed often and for the same reason.

Mark Twain

 

It is human nature that what starts as gratitude, becomes dependency, and ends as entitlement.

Cicero

 

Our ways of learning about the world are strongly influenced by the social preconceptions and biased modes of thinking that each scientist must apply to any problem. The stereotype of a fully rational and objective scientific method, with individual scientists as logical and interchangeable robots, is self-serving mythology.

Stephen Jay Gould

 

Only a very highly evolved and advanced civilization can support a swollen elite grown rich on contempt for it. 

Mark Steyn

 

When you are no longer allowed to question the truth or accuracy of science data then you are no longer dealing with either science or truth. You’ve entered into the realm of propaganda and totalitarian politics.

John Szpara

 

The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present and is gravely to be regarded. Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific technological elite.

Dwight D. Eisenhower

 

It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines. I take no pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as an editor of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Marcia Angell

 

The budget should be balanced, the Treasury should be refilled, public debt should be reduced, the arrogance of officialdom should be tempered and controlled, and the assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed lest Rome become bankrupt. People must again learn to work, instead of living on public assistance…

Cicero 55 BC

 

The case against science is straightforward: much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply be untrue. Afflicted by studies with small sample sizes, tiny effects, invalid exploratory analyses, and flagrant conflicts of interest, together with an obsession for pursuing fashionable trends of dubious importance, science has taken a turn towards darkness. The apparent epidemic of bad research behavior is alarming. In their quest for telling a compelling story, scientists too often sculpt data to fit their preferred theory of the world. Or they retrofit hypotheses to fit their data.

Richard Horton

 

As long as “science” is funded by Government, it will deliver what the Government wants. Truth, honesty, honor, and reality be damned.  The money drives the results.

Lionel Griffith

 

I quit as a scientist (I can’t tell you the details because I would effectively name myself) because the political interference had become intolerable. It was becoming clear that research funding would dry up unless you gave them the results they wanted. I was reminded of the government maxim: “Never hold an inquiry until the outcome has been decided.”

Seldon

 

Few professors would dare to publish research or teach a course debunking the claims made in various ethnic, gender, or other ‘studies’ courses.

Thomas Sowell

 

 

Without open access to data, it’s not science.  It’s marketing.

Misterjohnqpublic

 

Fake science avoids the risk of being tested.  Fake science tries to shut down debate, using underhanded tactics and means.  Fake science hides in a faux consensus, ignoring the fact that true science is not about taking votes to reach a final conclusion, or reaching a final, beyond-debate agreement in committee.

Robert Carter

 

The technotronic era involves the gradual appearance of a more controlled society.  Such a society would be dominated by an elite, unrestrained by traditional values (of Liberty). Soon it will be possible to assert almost continuous surveillance over every citizen and maintain up-to-date complete files containing even the most personal information about the citizen.  These files will be subject to instantaneous retrieval by the authorities.

Zbigniew Brzezinski

 

These are grotesque violations of basic democratic rights to voice alternative viewpoints, which universities should lead the way in protecting. Instead, universities have decided they should be a challenge-free bowl of mush, unwilling to let students grapple with alternative viewpoints. This is not just wrong. Protecting the students as if they are delicate flowers is a betrayal of universities’ basic values.

Charles Lipson

 

This is the secret of propaganda.  The saturation of a group of people with propagandist ideas without their noticing it. Of course, it has a goal, but the goal must be so clever and so brilliantly conceived that the people who it influences don’t notice anything.

Paul Josef Goebbels

 

In liberal logic, if life is unfair then the answer is to turn more tax money over to politicians, to spend in ways that will increase their chances of getting reelected.

Thomas Sowell

 

We are faced with the paradoxical fact that education has become one of the chief obstacles to intelligence and freedom of thought.

Bertrand Russell

 

The world runs on individuals pursuing their self interests. The great achievements of civilization have not come from government bureaus. Einstein didn’t construct his theory under order from a, from a bureaucrat. Henry Ford didn’t revolutionize the automobile industry that way.

Milton Friedman

 

In a world where thousands upon thousands of quotations exist, choices have to be made. My choices were heavily influenced by the total misuse of science as a political tool. If we can’t escape from these distortions, then nothing else will matter.

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