School Walkouts: An Irresponsible Tool of Mob Rule (Ochlocracy)

Photo: 1969 Harvard Walkout

There are many ways to demonstrate for policy change. We would expect places of learning for intelligent students led by mature and erudite teachers, to choose methods like debates, briefings, seminars, and councils. The school walkout is not new, nor is it clever, nor does it present its teachers and students in a respectable manner. It is nothing more than the schoolhouse version of the syndicalists’
general strike. Consequently, it should not shock anyone that the 2018 school walkouts are “astroturfed” by unions through their Women’s March influence operation.

Observant citizens will recall the marketing style, branding, sponsors, and partners of the One Nation Rally from the Obama years. The “Women’s March” is just a new face on the same organizations and ideological interests. The confluence of interests includes radical environmentalists, feminists, communists, democratic socialists, SEIU, AFL-CIO, syndicalists, social justice redistributionists, abortion advocates, racial activists, LGBT activists, felon activists, and public-school unions. Their goal? To elect democrats, and shepherd the democratic party towards their interests. To use a phrase from one of their most popular communist bands:

“Ain’t the new sound
just like the old sound
just like the noose wound
over the burning ground”

A school walkout is the childhood emulation of a general strike. The syndicalist general strike punishes consumers, business owners, the government, and the workers themselves. It’s an act of passive aggression writ large. The workers most likely were perpetrating level-one-and-two passive aggression in their workplace (temporary compliance, intentional inefficiency). In the general strike, they escalate to levels three, four, and five (problem instigation, hidden revenge, self-harm).

Acknowledging the behavioral and social manipulation of the general strike, it’s easy to understand the uncreative and irresponsible school walkout. The activist teachers and their student pawns seek to punish school administrators, school boards, parents, and the students and teachers themselves. Inspiring a minor to forego precious instruction time in order to parrot the democratic party activism of their teachers and parents is the height of irresponsibility.

Instigating school walkouts seeks to use the natural restlessness of youth, which would prefer to be whimsical and unproductive, and direct it towards rebellious mob activism. Would most students prefer to quietly and tediously solve math equations, or would they prefer to chit chat and fool around with friends in a circus atmosphere? What kind of political party would abuse the education of children for their own policy agendas? The democratic party should sanction the partners of the Women’s March and disavow this terrible influence operation.

Even worse, the school walkout can potentially turn students against their parents, their communities, and indoctrinates them with collectivism. They have not earned the moral justification for activism by first reviewing all of the evidence and opposing arguments. Like many foolish adults, they are consequently just parrots of whichever influencer they trust. The school teacher is gifted a near-monopoly of trust by the community and parents, and in that abused gift lies the betrayal of a teacher who instigates school walkouts.

If we agree that these acts of passive aggression are damaging to children, and that the teachers and parents who enlist child-pawns to do their political bidding are grossly abusing their power – then the question becomes, how do we confront this gaggle of lost souls? Our constitution affirms our natural rights to free association and assembly. That should apply to people within schools, businesses, and unions equally. In the workplace scenario, so long as right-to-work laws are advanced, the coercive aspects of union membership will be balanced by those of non-members.

Likewise, students should have the right-to-learn:

  1. A student should be free to walk out – and they should be subject to the same consequences for walking out as any other reason.
  2. A teacher should be free to incite her students towards her own ideological crusade and choose an unexcused absence from her job – and she should be subject to the same consequences for incitement and absenteeism as any other reason.
  3. The school administrators should be free to use their school as a tool of democratic party activism, by either permitting the walkouts without consequence, or by advocating them directly – and the school board and voters should then replace the administrators with ones who actually respect education.

A school under my management would never use education time for biased activism, even if we would encourage civic engagement in other ways. Nor would we harbor, protect, and apologize for deranged young killers who might someday come upon the tools of arson, shootings, or vehicular homicide.

Considering that this school walkout is a leftwing influence operation to scapegoat guns for failures of law enforcement, schools, and mental health professionals, it is egotistically self-serving in its whitewashing of teachers’ and school administrators’ responsibility to detect, isolate, correct, and neutralize predatory students – who could choose any weapon of mass killing. That is why the confluence of democratic party interests are astroturfing the event. Their sacred belief in the public education model is currently at risk, so they must deflect at all costs – in this case, towards their profane item of self-defense: guns.

While the actual policy goals are laughable and cannot stand against rigorous debate, the school walkout is a more insidious beast, using tax-funded education to inculcate a mob mentality in our youth. A healthy nation prefers academics to enlighten with reason, civility, and evidence, rather than to incite with propaganda, disobedience, and emotion. Perhaps the Women’s March and its affiliates use these methods because they know that their gun control agenda would never survive an honest, civil, and intellectual contest.

The front-persons of the Women’s March (Tamika Mallory, Carmen Perez, Linda Sarsour, Bob Bland)

The partners of the Women’s March:

The misguided influence operation of the Women’s March:


Pseudo-anonymous Superheroes

Bane vs. Batman in Batman: The Dark Knight Rises

Is a person who hides their true identity a cowardly menace or a noble hero? Why might a typical citizen consider hiding their true identity? History, movies, and literature provide us with endless examples. Those who saw Batman: The Dark Knight Rises were treated to a spectacular variation of Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities, with French Revolution kangaroo courts, Jacobin “liberators,” and the Reign of Terror captured through Information Age atmospheres. The villain, Bane, and the hero, Batman, both wore masks, but towards different ends. Bane wore a mask to terrorize, instill fear, and evade responsibility for his crimes. Batman wore his mask to protect the people he loved from reprisal, and as an ultimate act of humility – he wanted all of his achievements to be known by a symbol, so that Batman could be anybody, like a flag is to a Nation.

In the real world, spies, activists, authors, public figures, and celebrities must consider using pseudonyms (fake names). Pseudonyms include pen names (noms de plume), stage names, screen names, ring names, nick names, aliases, superhero identities, or regnal names of monarchs or popes. In the digital age, a false screen name can be useful for anyone to protect against identity theft, corporate, foreign, and domestic government surveillance.

The difference between heroic and villainous usage of aliases is not just notable in epic films. In the real world, examples of villainous uses of pseudonyms include jilted lovers’ vengeance, voter fraud, petty theft, bullying children, terrorism, illegal alien smuggling, human trafficking, prostitution, black market transacting, and other gang-related activities. Heroic or innocuous uses of pseudonyms include marketing, branding, sales, exercising principled privacy, avoiding business identification collisions, paparazzi avoidance, humbly emphasizing the message while relegating the person behind the message, and protecting friends, family, and career from malicious intimidation and character assassination from political, business, and ideological opponents.

Some of the most celebrated or hated people in our history have used pseudonyms: C.S. Lewis, George Orwell, Mark Twain, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, Stalin, Lenin, Trotsky, and Malcolm X. Almost every entertainer chooses a pseudonym.

In American history, there have been those who have tried to crush anonymous speech. The Supreme Court ultimately defended it. In McIntyre v. Ohio Elections Commission (514 U.S. 334), the court held that prohibition of anonymous political or campaign speech is unconstitutional. They affirmed the value of anonymous speech with three main points:

  1. It discourages ad hominem attacks: “Anonymity thereby provides a way for a writer who may be personally unpopular to ensure that readers will not prejudge her message simply because they do not like its proponent.”
  2. It encourages open discussion: “The interest in having anonymous works enter the marketplace of ideas unquestionably outweighs any public interest in requiring disclosure as a condition of entry.”
  3. It offers safety from reprisal: “The decision in favor of anonymity may be motivated by fear of economic or official retaliation, by concern about social ostracism, or merely by a desire to preserve as much of one’s privacy as possible.”

Considering the arguments of the Supreme Court for anonymous speech, how much more American can the concept of anonymous speech, superheroes, and pseudonyms get? We have long ago determined that the benefits of anonymous speech outweigh the risks. So why is there a trend led by educators and progressive politicians to destroy this spirit of free and anonymous speech? Do they not have access to history books, court records, or the movie theaters? Have they not considered that this topic has been thoroughly adjudicated for centuries?

Animosity towards pseudonyms is thus un-American, but attacks on free speech itself are completely anathema. The oppressors of free speech cannot tolerate pseudonyms. A person hiding their identity and deemed to be violating the laws and rules, would require authorities to demand the mask come off for justice.

The Wisdom of Pseudonyms

If the Supreme Court arguments were not compelling enough to understand the value of anonymous speech, then attempts to destroy free speech should be. Ultimately a person who is trying to unmask a superhero wishes to destroy him. It is tacit admission by the censor that they are wrong, and the only way they can affect their willpower is to destroy the messenger. They cannot defeat the superhero in discourse, with facts and reason, so they will use every form of ridicule and social aggression to destroy the people who oppose them. If they have the real identities of the superheroes, then they can even charge them with perception crimes, and blacklist them from jobs. Is it any wonder why the most legendary thinkers and authors in history have used pseudonyms? These situations do not change much through the centuries, even if we tend to forget what’s true.

How to Use a Pseudonym

If you are considering the use of a pseudonym, you may find these helpful:

  1. Choose your correct gender and culture. Unless you’re an expert actor and want to invest time into living up to a false gender or culture, you’re going to be uncovered eventually. Your persona won’t “feel right” to observers. You won’t fake it well.
  2. Never share Personally Identifiable Information (PII) such as date and place of birth, biometric records, medical, educational, financial or employment information. New computer algorithms can identify you from clear photos of your face. So use fake photos or cover your face.
  3. Decide the purpose of your alias. What are you trying to achieve? Are you influencing some policy? Are you speaking dissent in a hostile forum? Are you collecting information from opposition? Are you spying on the spies who are spying on you? Pick an agenda for your superhero identity and stick to it. Remember, when you use a pseudonym, you are a symbol, you are not fully yourself.
  4. Seed the persona with false information to throw off spies and antagonists. Use fake locations, PII, and even say things you don’t believe but don’t necessarily violate the agenda of your symbol. Play devil’s advocate. Make it so that even the most determined snoop either thinks you’re crazy, or can’t figure you out because of so much conflicting information. Enact organized chaos. Your snoops mean you harm. They are deceiving you. You must beat them at their own game of deception, or they will surely succeed in harming you.
  5. Keep people who don’t belong away from your alias. You do not want to engage people who do not service the purpose of your alias – whether on your side and spreading the value you contribute, or in opposition to you. Minimize your threat surface.
  6. Seed your speech with unique phrases. When you invent phrases that nobody else has used, you can trace your message all the way up to national exposure. People will steal your message, call it their own, and you will discover that you have succeeded in influencing the entire nation!

Be Satisfied

If the last suggestion is depressing and you feel like you want credit for your hard work, then pseudo-anonymity might not be for you. You will have to humble yourself, watch others steal your anonymous ideas, and be satisfied that you made a difference. It’s a price you must pay for anonymity. Pseudonyms are tools. Just as a knife can be used to save a human being in surgery, or kill them in a crime, aliases can be heroic or villainous. Never let opponents intimidate your right to anonymity and free speech. Choose to be Batman, and not Bane. With your noble mask on, you will do a great service for your neighbors, and for the integrity of discourse that maintains a civil and liberated society.

How to Use the News in The Information Age

“He who knows nothing is nearer to truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods and errors.” – Thomas Jefferson, letter to John Norvell, Jun. 11, 1807

We’re supposed to use the news to understand the world beyond our direct experience. That simple purpose is often neglected, as people unconsciously take stories for granted. I’m often asked by my audience where I find the time to discover such great information. My secret has nothing to do with spending more time than them. It has to do with leveraging self-awareness, analytical thinking, memory enhancement, simple technologies, wise friends, and valuable sources. Increasing cognitive skills, and developing a beneficial social network will take patience and devotion. Developing technology skills and finding better news sources can be achieved in one weekend. The following practices comprise my formula for success.

Self-Awareness & Analytical Thinking

We must be aware of our own bias, and then seek out sources that support and oppose it. The reason we are spending time on the news is to gain an accurate understanding of the world beyond our direct experience. We need diversity in our news diet. Feeding from one kind of source will leave our minds malnourished and increase our bias. If we approach the news to serve our feelings, ego, and entertainment then we will not get much out of the experience. We’ll become our own worst enemies, and our understanding will be less accurate.

We have to divorce our identity from the stories we hear. If we mingle our own ego with the events in the world around us, we will feel as if conflicting information is a personal attack. When that happens, we have no chance of being reasonable and fair. Our prospects of accurately understanding the situation can go to zero very quickly without self-control. It is a great challenge to regulate our feelings and distance ourselves from the story, but we must always do our best.

We need to know ourselves. We need to identify our dispositions on politics, religion, culture, and class. What political parties do we vote for most of the time? What news sources do we typically access? What are our familial and cultural backgrounds? What are our religions, philosophies, morals, and worldviews? What kind of financial and class backgrounds do we have? Once we know our leanings, we can select a diverse array of sources for news. For instance, it would be benefit an atheist to follow a Christian news source and try to see things from their perspective.

We must be rational when we consume news. If there is information that makes us uncomfortable or angry, we must be patient and logical. It helps to discern the reasons for our anger before we get trapped in an irrational conflict. Consider the source. How was the information obtained? Is it hard evidence, or just hearsay? Is it a video that has been truncated? Be wary of incomplete information, as it could be an indicator of half-truth propaganda. The smallest omission can change an entire story. One way that a news organization can produce false perception is to simply not report important facts. This is why it is wise to check more than one source on stories we wish to deeply understand.

We must study common fallacies and propaganda techniques so that we can identify them in practice. In my experience, every ten minutes of news presents at least a few fallacies or propaganda tactics. A journalist does not have to deliberately make those mistakes. The sensational nature of commercial news encourages a certain level of fallacy and propaganda. Rivalries and conflicts drive ratings and revenues.

Finally, we must put case studies and personal interest stories in their proper place. We often listen to stories about people, incidents, and special events, and then make generalizations based on the dramatized narratives. For instance, we may hear a dozen stories about murders in our metropolis and come to a false conclusion that we live in a very dangerous place. Yet the murder rate is very low, and we are not likely to be in a scenario that would even expose us to such dangers. If we hold generalized beliefs, they must be justified with generalized evidence. An array of stories can toy with our emotions and beliefs, and create unjustified stereotypes in our minds. At the same time, generalized evidence like statistics can be erroneously constructed. When reviewing statistics, we have to question how they were made.

Simple Technologies

Centralize Your News with News Aggregators

You can spend a lot of time waiting for web pages to load, or fishing through printed pages. If you’re not using a News Aggregator you’re spending too much time on the news. These apps go to the websites that you want to read and extract the content from them for you to browse. Not only are they faster than browsing the web, they also collect the latest articles from all of your websites in one location.

If you have Microsoft Outlook, then you already have one of the best News Aggregators. It will download your articles automatically if you tell it to. Your database can be enormous, and you will be able to search through articles in the same way you search through emails. If you load feeds from multiple websites, you can read the same stories from different sources to help eliminate spin and bias. Learning how to use this feature of Microsoft Outlook is very easy.

If you do not have Microsoft Outlook, there are many free News Aggregators for any device. Some software like FeedReader allows you to set up SmartFeeds that automatically pull articles from your sources with keywords. If you are following a certain story, they can do the leg work for you.

Create Your Own Digital Archive

The web can be fickle. Valuable information can disappear overnight, even from major sources like CNN. If you hope to recall notable articles later, especially for research, you’ll need to make copies of the articles on your local computer or personal cloud. The best technology for this is Microsoft OneNote. It allows you to copy and paste text and images from web pages, and it will automatically insert the original link. It will also give you the ability to take screen clippings for content that is harder to extract.

Once you have your own digital archive, you’ll be able to organize it, search through it, and access your sources with ease and confidence. Think of it as a huge filing cabinet filled with organized notebooks, and compacted to a small spot on your personal computer.

Social Networks

You can follow people that you trust on Twitter. Facebook allows for a more personalized interaction between trusted friends. Choose your sources wisely. Social networks are not substitutions for publications. Academic, government, think tank, and news organizations spend a lot of time and money to deliver information. The social network only acts as a filter and lead generator amongst your trusted friends. If you know that a certain friend is tracking particular issues, be sure to share related content with them. They will appreciate it and return the favor. If you’ve already created your own digital archive as previously described, you can even search for older gems related to your friends’ interests, and help them out by pointing them to older items of value.

Always Write Digitally

Always keep a local copy of your own writings, and create them digitally. When they are digital, they are searchable, easy to share and edit, and you can back them up for security.

Wise Friends

Develop a network of friends who have different political, religious, cultural, and economic experiences. People from different walks of life can be very helpful to you. Don’t dismiss a friend’s opinion because they disagree with you. You should however, keep news-friends who think critically and are rational, intellectually honest, and fair. Everyone suffers from fallacies, and propagandistic thinking from time to time. Help your friends to avoid these mistakes by advising them when you see flawed thinking. Be willing to tolerate different ideas and agree to disagree. If you grow comfortable with your own flawed thinking habits, then you will only attract people who agree with you. You could find yourself in a hollow echo chamber. The value we seek is information exchange. If your end of the exchange is not logical, accurate, deep, and mature, it will not be valuable to people who differ from you.

Lastly, don’t be intimidated by deceptive and dysfunctional people who might wander into your circle. There are many bad actors who will spoil the pot, attack you personally, and try to discourage you. It’s unlikely that you’ll change them, so never forget that you’re exchanging information – not recruiting tribal members. The only thing you can directly control is your pattern of thoughts and actions. Confront bad actors with dignity, conviction, zeal, and honesty.

Valuable Sources

Not all sources are equal in value or purpose. You should follow more than just raw news sources like Reuters, CNN, Fox News, or the New York Times. Add some collegiate journals, think tanks, government sources, and trusted public figures to your News Aggregator. Be open minded to new sources and test them out. You never know what value you might find. The feeds listed at the end of this post will get you started.

Memory Enhancement & Happy Discovering!

In the 20th century, false beliefs about memory were popularized by D. G. Treichler, Edgar Dale, Paul John Phillips, and many professors. They claimed that people remember 10% of what they read, 20% of what they hear, 30% of what they see, 50% of what they see and hear, 70% of what they collaborate upon, 80% of what they do, and 90% of what they teach. There is no empirical evidence to support these ideas. Empirical evidence has shown that stress is correlated with memory. That means the more pressure that you put upon yourself, or that others put upon you, the more likely you are to remember something. If you are apathetic, you won’t remember very well. If you are enthused about a topic, you’ll do better.

Because pressure aids memorization, stress can lock horrible experiences in your memory. Ironically, extreme stress and trauma has a tendency to make your memories less accurate but more vivid. Eustress (positive stress) can act as a poison as well. If you’re listening to a comedy news show, and receiving shallow, inaccurate messages, the positive stress is going to do a better job at locking the falsehoods into your head.

Remember that the purpose of spending your time on the news isn’t to entertain yourself, gratify your feelings, or to get a comedic experience. Those motivations will dumb-down your news and decrease the accuracy of your understanding. If you want to be entertained, spending your time on a stand-up comedian or watching a movie will do a better job. Investing time in news consumption should pay off by giving you an accurate understanding of the world that is beyond your direct reach. Anything that decreases accuracy is going to hamper your understanding – including fallacy, propaganda, distractions, entertainment, or your own biased interpretations. Take Thomas Jefferson’s advice and concern yourself with truth and accuracy. Happy discovering!

Sample Feeds