Question everything

The imperative of our era.

There is no problem in the United States that could not be solved if we were still a nation of critical thinkers.  But critical thinking has been intentionally replaced by dogma.  Having a degree is not equivalent to having an education.  Knowing something is not the same as understanding it.  In a world saturated with information, the “key” to distinguishing between truth and falsehood is one question, one word: “why?”

Why should schools and companies discriminate based on skin color? Why should my race say more about me than my brain? Why is it okay for federal immigration law to be ignored while federal tax laws must be obeyed? Why are Americans who defend the Constitution treated as domestic terrorists? Why are Americans who burn down cities treated as heroes? Why does every “solution” to climate change involve the expansion of government powers and the contraction of personal liberties? Why must the government police speech in order to keep it free? Why must government disarm citizens in order to keep them safe? Why is the government so afraid of the people that it must spy on them at all times? Why is it no longer “our government,” but rather the government?

Are those questions dangerous in a “free” society? Of course not. They lead to discussion, which leads to debate, which leads to contemplation, which leads to greater understanding, which creates a more perceptive mind, a more capable American, and a more complete human being. When government deems some questions subversive, it is admitting that it no longer represents the people, but rather rules over them. And any public school system that replaces the tools necessary for developing critical thinking skills with rigid indoctrination countenancing no dissent is producing not healthy citizens, but useful slaves.

The great philosopher George Carlin used to say, “Don’t just teach your children to read[.]…Teach them to question what they read. Teach them to question everything.” That’s how real learning is done — in the trenches with one hand on a flashlight searching for knowledge and the other gripping a shovel, digging up the oft-buried truth. Carlin also knew that when it comes to truth, governments cannot be trusted: “I have certain rules I live by. My first rule: I don’t believe anything the government tells me.” If more Americans could learn this simple principle, our society would be in a much better place. Free people with free minds do not need politicians to do their thinking for them.

The science is settled? The time for debate is over? Never. Only people interested in stealing your agency and capturing your soul say such things. It is our capacity for reason that makes each of us distinct and our distinctive qualities that make each human life individually valuable. When government deems individual minds unnecessary, then individual lives become disposable. That’s when governments do great evil.

Ahh, but what about when government deems individual minds not just unnecessary, but an active, credible threat to their own designs? What’s to be done about government then?

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Notable Quotes

"America is at that awkward stage. It's too late to work within the system, but too early to shoot the bastards." – Claire Wolfe, 101 Things to Do 'Til the Revolution

"There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters." — Daniel Webster

“The illusion of freedom will continue as long as it’s profitable to continue the illusion. At the point where the illusion becomes too expensive to maintain, they will just take down the scenery, they will pull back the curtains, they will move the tables and chairs out of the way and you will see the brick wall at the back of the theater.” – Frank Zappa

“The right of a nation to kill a tyrant in case of necessity can no more be doubted than to hang a robber, or kill a flea.” - John Adams

"It is terrible to contemplate how few politicians are hanged." - GK Chesterton

"I predict that the Bush administration will be seen by freedom-wishing Americans a generation or two hence as the hinge on the cell door locking up our freedom. When my children are my age, they will not be free in any recognizably traditional American meaning of the word. I’d tell them to emigrate, but there’s nowhere left to go. I am left with nauseating near-conviction that I am a member of the last generation in the history of the world that is minimally truly free." - Donald Surber

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"There is no better way to stamp your power on people than through the dead hand of bureaucracy. You cannot reason with paperwork." - David Black, from Turn Left For Gibraltar

"The limits of tyranny are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress." - Frederick Douglass

"Give me the media and I will make of any nation a herd of swine." - Joseph Goebbels

“I hope we once again have reminded people that man is not free unless government is limited. There’s a clear cause and effect here that is as neat and predictable as a law of physics: As government expands, liberty contracts.” - Ronald Reagan

"Ain't no misunderstanding this war. They want to rule us and aim to do it. We aim not to allow it. All there is to it." - NC Reed, from Parno's Peril

"I just want a government that fits in the box it originally came in." - Bill Whittle

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