This year’s Academy Awards generated a controversy over the fact that no Black folks were nominated for an award. Given the number of categories, this might seem a bit odd. In short order cries of ‘Racism!’ filled the air. One might think that no Black’s had ever been nominated, or even won, due to the oppression and discrimination of the Hollywood power structure. A quick check shows this not to be true by a long shot. Of a piece with this are the articles claiming that some organization or process disproportionately affects women and minorities. The general form of these articles is that something is wrong with the process, while people in authority espouse the usual bromides. This practice is so common that it’s become a joke.
Then there’s the increasing mob rule on American college campuses. Hordes of some of the most over-privileged people on Earth are agitating that they are somehow oppressed by people who don’t take part in their mass psychosis. There is no thinking; only a mass hysteria fostered by a simplistic worldview. Those who don’t subscribe to the Progressive canon are Other, and in true animal fashion, must be silenced, and preferably eliminated.
What is lost is that data provides a What, but not the Why. If, as the local paper of record recently reported, Black inmates are restrained at a rate 47% higher than other inmates, that’s a datum. It isn’t an explanation. But the teachings of the One True Church have so permeated Western society that people automatically conclude that there is only, can only, be one reason why women and minorities are hardest hit. And so it goes for any of the other ills that permeate society. There is an -ism for everything, except for capitalism, which tends to solve most of the other problems.
At one time the ability to reason was much prized. The ability to ask Why, and then look at multiple data sources and reach a logical conclusion, is not something that comes especially easy to people. It has to be learned. Small children are infamous for annoying their elders with questions, but they’re expecting to be told the answer rather than work it out for themselves. Thinking is hard. It takes effort. The individual so engaged must be prepared to find that their assumptions are incorrect, or more recently, their conclusions are counter to the prevailing feeling. A reasonable person these days isn’t likely to be a popular person.
For any given circumstance, there may be multiple explanations. There may even be multiple valid explanations. It’s the responsibility of a conscientious person to evaluate the evidence within the context of experience. But we live in a time when many people in the Western world can’t be bothered to make the effort. I wouldn’t mind so much, but they’re taking the rest of us down with them.