Saturday, April 13, 2024

OPINION: Blame Game Fear

by BRENT REGAN/Common Sense
| January 20, 2023 1:00 AM

“Fear is the mind killer.” Frank Herbert

Fear is a powerful motivator, which is why fear is often deployed as a tool for persuasion, particularly in politics where blame is assigned to past events and future predictions. We see it all the time. If you don’t vote a certain way something bad will happen. Your taxes will go up. Your freedom will go down. Government will become more oppressive. The View will be renewed for another season. All manner of horrors will befall us if we don’t get our votes right.

The blame game happens on all scales, from local to global, and can be found in almost every issue. So how do you assess the truth of the situation? How does one rationally evaluate the actual situation being masked by the hyperbolic rhetoric designed to sway your support for a candidate or cause?

It is amazing how a little logic and curiosity can part the mists of mendacity. Consider these examples:

Globally, human activity is being blamed for the predicted catastrophic consequences that will result from climate change. Climate change is real because the climate always changes. Anthropogenic impact on the climate is real because people produce heat, CO2 and other things that affect the environment. The real question is whether human activity will change the climate at a RATE that is too fast for us to compensate for, resulting in a catastrophe.

The climate blamers point to forecasts of doom, but the forecasts are based on computer models which attempt to predict the behavior of the extremely complex and chaotic system we call climate.

Is there any situation where computer models make accurate predictions of a chaotic system? Wall Street traders have spent billions on computer models to forecast financial markets, which are many orders of magnitude simpler than the climate. If they could, a finance bank with an accurate predictor would quickly accumulate all the money. The fact that they don’t and that financial markets still exist is proof that computer models can’t yet accurately predict chaotic systems.

Nationally we heard the president blame the events of Jan. 6, 2021, for the deaths of five law enforcement officers. Basic research shows that no police officers were killed during the protests on Jan. 6, 2021. One officer died of a stroke the next day and four others committed suicide in the following months. While all are tragic, none can be directly attributed to the events of that day.

Statewide, the fear of North Idaho College’s loss of accreditation is big news. Talk of losing accreditation started more than two years ago as a fear tactic during the NIC Trustee campaign. Opposition claimed accreditation would be at risk if McKenzie and Barnes were elected. Even a retired managing editor rises like a specter to forecast with grim clairvoyance.

Countless media articles blame the Board of Trustees and detail all the negative consequences of losing accreditation but we don’t hear about the “why.” What specific actions or events impact the academic performance of NIC that would cause a loss of accreditation?

Is low attendance to blame? Attendance has been on a steady decline for a decade and is down by about two thirds.

Is it stability? Documents show a former senator schemed with two trustees to have them resign so three new board members could be appointed by the appointed SBOE. The former senator became one of the appointed trustees.

Is it financial? The three appointed NIC trustees spent millions of college money buying a bar and a residence!

Is it legal? The NIC attorney resigned rather than face questions from the newly elected board.

If you don’t know the “why” then you don’t have the truth.

Locally a former senator and failed Secretary of State candidate blames the Republican Central Committee (KCRCC) and its chairman (me) as being a danger to your voting rights. How that actually happens, she does not say. Other things not mentioned are that when she announced her candidacy I was first to donate to her campaign the maximum amount, encouraged others to do so, and went on to endorse her in public and in print.

She blames the KCRCC for “duping” the public but professional polling done in February put her at only 14% with the other two candidates tied for the lead. In March, after a lengthy rating and vetting process the KCRCC members cast their secret ballot votes for whom to recommend; the candidate I donated to and endorsed only got 10% of the vote. On Election Day she only garnered 15% of the vote statewide yet somehow the KCRCC’s failure to recommend her is the reason for her loss. Denial is not just a river in Egypt.

If you want to have an accurate view of reality you must engage your mind, reject blame where it is not deserved, and don’t let fear overwhelm your sound judgement.

It’s just common sense.

• • •

Brent Regan is chairman of the Kootenai County Republican Central Committee.