Let’s start with four axioms.
1) Sensory data give rise to perceptions.
2) Perceptions form beliefs.
3) Beliefs create urges.
4) Urges compel action.
Keep these four axioms in mind as you read through the following two thought experiments.
THOUGHT EXPERIMENT ONE
Let’s say you never heard of the word, ‘chainsaw.’ Still, the word comprises two separate words you’re familiar with: ‘chain’ and ‘saw.’ You have an understanding of chains and saws and conclude a “chainsaw” combines a “saw” and “chain” in some manner. But, you don’t know its purpose and want to know. You see a film. It’s about lumberjacking. You learn a chainsaw is a useful tool. You’d like to develop lumberjacking skills, and you sign up for a course. Among the skills taught, you learn how to properly use and store a chainsaw. You’re aware a chainsaw is dangerous if used improperly. You recognize its dangers and understand its utility. You assess risks and benefits and decide to buy one. You are willing to take responsibility for it. As an autonomous individual, living in a free society, no one forbids you from owning or possessing it.
Soon, thereafter, the word ‘chainsaw’ crops up in news reports. You learn a maniac has gone on a rampage and murdered several persons with it. Individuals form grassroots groups to combat this new evil — the chainsaw. The organizations mobilize. They contact legislators. The legislators contact the newspapers and TV outlets. No one can watch TV or read newspapers without coming across articles about the horror of chainsaws. Politicians call for a ban. They write bills. Bills become laws. To own a chainsaw you must first obtain a license. Only police departments can issue licenses. You must pay a fee for the license. Once issued, you can buy a chainsaw. Some chainsaws are outlawed. Chainsaws must have certain dimensions. Battery powered or electric powered chainsaws are legal. Gasoline powered chainsaws are illegal. If you lawfully bought a gasoline powered chainsaw prior to the law banning them, you may keep it, but you must register it; and you have one year from the enactment date to do so, else you lose it. Disqualifications exist. Anyone convicted of a felony or a serious misdemeanor is disqualified. Anyone who’s under the care of a mental health worker is disqualified. Anyone who has ever taken antidepressants is disqualified. And anyone involved in a family dispute or disturbance is disqualified. If you own a chainsaw, the public looks at you oddly; you’re a potential threat to the “public order.”
The politicians gauge public opinion. The public outcry for bans on chainsaws subsides. But, that’s not good. Politicians work with the mainstream media to keep the public focused on chainsaws. They enlist the aid of “experts” and think tanks to write on the evil of chainsaws. They silently, secretly hope another incident involving chainsaws occurs. And another incident involving chainsaws does occur. Newspapers write articles anew. News anchors comment. Legislators amend existing laws further restricting chainsaws. They incorporate new definitions for chainsaws. All chainsaws are equal — equally bad. But, some chainsaws are worse than others. Under the old law — the public recalls — all gasoline powered chainsaws are illegal. Politicians realize they can’t ban all chainsaws outright. Many citizens own them. Millions exist, including gasoline powered chainsaws. Since politicians have already banned gasoline powered chainsaws, they write laws to ban a few more kinds of chainsaws. They come up with an expression to describe the worst sort of chainsaws. They categorize those chainsaws under the expression ‘assault saws.’ The mainstream news media begins to use the expression ‘assault saws’ when describing the worst chainsaws. The name, ‘assault saws,’ as predicted, catches on. “Assault saws” are illegal. The anti-chainsaw zealots create slogans and chants: “Get rid of ‘assault saws;'” “commonsense chainsaw laws we can live with;” “chainsaw owners for commonsense laws;” “commonsense chainsaw laws save lives;” and, “a reasonable compromise on chainsaw control.” As time passes, politicians include more chainsaws under the rubric, ‘assault saws.’
The police keep a watchful eye on those persons who have bought ‘assault saws’ lawfully prior to the new laws. Now, you, of course, happen to own an ‘assault saw.’ You had purchased it lawfully before the ban took effect. Still you feel harassed by the laws. You’ve never felt depressed or anxious; suddenly you do. You decide to get rid of your ‘assault saw.’ You feel the fuss over chainsaws is unfounded. But, holding onto it is not worth the aggravation. You turn it into the local police department. The police department decides to keep it and uses it to build a new precinct. After all, why destroy a perfectly good chainsaw?
THOUGHT EXPERIMENT TWO
The fact pattern here is the same as in “Thought Experiment One” with a slight twist.
You see a film. It’s not about lumberjacking. It’s a horror film, “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.” The film concerns a maniac who hacks innocent persons to pieces with a “chainsaw.” The film leaves you physically ill. Of course, that’s the film’s purpose. That’s the purpose of “slasher” films. Months later, you go to a home improvement store and happen across shelves of chainsaws. You feel unaccountably ill and, at first, you don’t know why. But, then, you dimly recall images of chainsaws and maniacs and bloodied bodies. You wonder why a person would want a chainsaw or need one other than to commit a horrific crime with it – and you give the matter no more thought until the word ‘chainsaw’ crops up in news reports. You learn a lunatic has actually gone on a rampage and murdered several persons with a chainsaw. You’d never buy a chainsaw and wish no one would have access to them. You surmise: if someone believes he needs a chainsaw, he can buy a hand saw. That’s sufficient. You wish that Congress or the States would outlaw chainsaw ownership altogether.
ARE CHAINSAWS EVIL?
The terms, ‘good’ and ‘evil,’ apply to persons, not things. Yet, the public tends to ascribe those terms to inanimate objects. The mainstream media, consisting of TV, radio, newspapers, and the like, create a perception in the mind of the viewer or reader; and that perception molds belief.
Beliefs are true or false. According to one theory of truth, if beliefs correspond or cohere to facts, they’re true; if not they’re false. The mainstream media seeks to create, mold, and alter public perception. That media, working in concert with, and likely at the direction of politicians and secretive cabals, isn’t concerned about truth. It works in lockstep with those individuals, groups and cabals to engineer deception. The goal is control over the masses.
THE PURPOSE OF THE “THOUGHT EXPERIMENTS”
The thought experiments provide a glimpse into how perceptions are created and how perceptions are reinforced. We are talking about how sensory data serves to create impressions in one’s mind. And we are, of course, alluding to guns. The thought experiments describe how one’s experiences impact one’s views about guns and how the SAFE Act of 2013 came to be. We are also alluding to the mainstream media’s collusion with politicians and antigun groups to foment confusion over and erroneous beliefs about guns.
The mainstream media isn’t interested in providing news about the world as it is but on relaying information to produce a false image about the world it wishes the public to see. That world view posits guns as dangerous entities, having no positive use or benefit to an individual. That world view posits guns as evil – an absurd notion. For, ‘good’ and ‘evil’ are moral concepts, properly ascribed, as previously stated, to persons, not to things. That world view posits guns as difficult for the average person to master. That world view posits guns as inherently and irrefutably dangerous. That world view posits guns as serving no tangible, societally acceptable purpose. That world view posits guns as anachronistic. That world view posits guns as incompatible with notions of decency and respectability. These ideas are all false or meaningless. The mainstream media feeds them to the public anyway.
What’s behind the feeding of false data to the public? What’s behind the deception? What’s behind the desire to create – in the mind of the public – a set of false beliefs about the world? At the moment, we can only speculate. But, that it’s occurring at all is abundantly clear.Copyright © 2014 Stephen L. D’Andrilli (Publius) and Roger J Katz (Towne Criour) All Rights Reserved.