"Conventional wisdom", science, and conmen
My writing on a number of issues, such as challenging the conventional explanation of the fall of the Roman Empire, has been described as presumptious. The response is that, when conventional explanations are false, challenging them and replacing them is a service done to both the present and the future.
There is much in what is known as "conventional wisdom" that is not wise at all. One obvious case is the fact that two incompatible statements - "life is not fair" and "you get what you give" - are both seen as conventional wisdom. Now if life is not fair, then you don't get what you give; and if you do get what you give, then life is fair. We are seeing two statements that are mutually exclusive as part of the same mentality, which shows that the mentality is not nearly as wise as it believes itself to be.
Another example is found in many youth cultures and schools, where students who take studies seriously are seen as "being better than everyone else" - and those claiming to speak for everyone else (7 billion people, most of them nothing like themselves) as not. Now if it is some form of arrogance to pay attention to studies, then it is far greater arrogance to presume to speak for "everyone else" - the whole of humanity, the vast bulk of which is nothing like the people who make such claims. And while the first form of pride has shown to deliver positive results such as cultivation of knowledge and technological advancement, the second form is in every respect parasitical, ugly, and destructive of what makes such things possible.
There are other parts of "conventional wisdom" that are likewise transparently false. One is the idea that the government impinges on individual liberty, but Texas Oil, Christian Right, American Medical Association, old-boy networks, gangs, communities and families do not. That an entity is unelected and unofficial does not mean that it can't violate people's liberties and rights. Indeed, being unelected and unofficial, it bears no accountability to the public; and being unchecked and unbalanced, it bears no scrutiny for its actions and can get away with the most extreme violations of people's liberties and rights.
Steven Jay Gould described a number cases of "shared dogma masquerading as objectivity." More common is the case of the shared dogma masquerading as sanity, reality and commonsense. And since the people who buy into that shared dogma have a vast range of false beliefs, from Earth being 6,000 years old to liberals being responsible for the debt caused by Reagan Republicans to the world being run by a Satanic conspiracy to global warming being a UN hoax, it is time to reveal that the king has no clothes and that what passes for such things as sanity, reality and common sense is in all sanity and in all reality a pack of lies.
There are many people who don't want the "government" academia or "liberal" media telling them what to think; but they have no problem with Alex Jones, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Pat Robertson and any number of conmen not only telling them what to think but maliciously attacking anyone who doesn't buy into their rackets. I ask this: What is the legitimacy of these racketeers, and what makes them more legitimate than real scientists and journalists? It was of course the hippies that first challenged legitimacy of academic orthodoxy; but hippies are the same people that these conmen and their followers murdered first. So they take the arguments of the hippies; kill the hippies; and then wage war on the academia. And millions of "common-sense" "reasonable" "honest" Americans accept this transparent manipulation.
These people claim for example that scientists have no common sense. The reason is that science is not based on common sense; it's based on the scientific method. Common sense - any common sense, whether it be that of Utah or that of Congo - is preconception that science requires one to get rid of in order to do scientific work. And yes, much of what gets discovered is not what the common sense of either of these, or any other, places around the world, would expect it to be. That is because the common senses - the shared dogmas - of these places are not based on scientific discoveries and for their preservation require sabotage of the findings of science.
The demand for such sabotage attracts the supply. That's how Pat Robertson, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and any number of professional liars, have made their millions. These conmen then claim that they have - integrity, honor, responsibility, values - and that you do not. This results in an inverted state of affairs, in which the most dishonest elements claim to have ethics and character and those with adequate intellectual honesty enough to pay attention to real discoveries not to.
Which brings us to the present day. Many millions of people believe lies of conmen and want to murder, imprison or ruin people who cultivate learning and those who practice it. These people think that they have conventional wisdom and that they speak for sanity, common sense, reality, righteousness, patriotism, and goodness, and that you do not. By such uses these concepts are profaned, cheapened, and used as tools of dishonesty. And it is only by showing this dishonesty and replacing it with clarity that any kind of goodness, reality, and sanity can actually be attained.