Before beginning the next chapter in my long series on the educational decline inside this country, I finished a book this weekend that also discusses this topic more from a psychological and cultural perspective. Written by Lebanese Jew Gad Saad (Who is a citizen of Canada), it focuses on the psychology of the mind and how radical ideas based on lies and theories can destroy the knowledge and truths that allow our society to move forward collectively. His focus in this book is on the higher education system and the creation of a generation of radical ‘leftists’ who believe very strongly in their social justice causes without even entertaining the possibility that their personal beliefs maybe flawed. These “idea pathogens” are destroying our culture, educational research and increasingly, our politics. The radicalization of this generation with their binary “good versus evil” thinking has led to censorship, intolerance to diverse opinions, and career destruction for individuals who question these tactics. This will be a short review on a book that should be read by everyone if they want to understand some of the craziness that is increasingly coming out of our educational system. Despite this, the book also has one significant flaw that harms his arguments at the end due to the author’s own intrinsic bias.
After his introduction where the author dives into his own personal experience and professional career, he discusses why he defends the “freedom of ideas” so prominently important to the educational institutions. He breaks the book down into six chapters that analyzes a particular problem inside of our culture. Chapter Two on “Thinking vs. Feeling – Truth vs. Hurtful Feelings” is a good introduction to many of the problems inside the educational system. So much of the problems of present-day debate inside our society revolves around having to respect people’s personal experiences and opinions without causing any harm to their fragile egos. Human beings can hold radical viewpoints that are not based in any form of logic. It is important for alternative viewpoints to be expressed so individuals can evolve and find the truth. In our post-modern society, the educational system celebrates this lack of reason and allows people’s fragile egos to be protected from the oppositional viewpoint. If you personally feel that your strongly held belief is true, then it absolutely must be. Damn the evidence!
Chapter Three on “Non-Negotiable Elements of a Free Society” is the most vital chapter in this novel. The author lays out the important societal factors that impact personal freedom for everyone on the planet. He then evaluates all the various elements attacking this freedom. He focuses on tech censorship, identity politics, attacks on free speech and satire, and the forced conformity being promoted through diversity, inclusion, and equity. This leads into his next chapter about how authoritarian governments thrive inside cultures that reject reason, logic, and science. This freedom from reality allows institutions to attack basic cultural principles and stew the pot towards creating a world that the people in power can control and create their own vision of reality. His attack on post-modernism is spot on (Due to my own personal hatred of Michel Foucault) and how the educational system has turned everyone (Except “White Men”) into victims of “their” society. This led into the creation of the social justice warrior (Chapter Five) who has spread his wings outside the classroom and begun impacting our political system, our corporate boards, and other public institutions. This movement appears to have no particular purpose other than to destroy the First World’s most trusted institutions while creating a “collective” system that will hand technocratic control of your life over to corporations and governments.
The passion that the author has for exposing these problems is vital to the success of this novel. Even though he holds viewpoints that are distinctly conservative, he treats the subject matter in a non-biased manner using research, critical thinking, and logic to break down these “idea pathogens” and the terrible impact they are having on our present-day culture. Giving a background on how this originated and tying this into the current educational problems lays out a historical roadmap for how we have reached this current era under Joe Biden where the United States Government seems to be taking advantage of post-modernism in our culture and using this philosophy to crack down on our personal freedoms and pushing us towards an authoritarian collectivism. As he emphasizes throughout the book, as these changes continue to occur, there is no institution that is more responsible for these cancerous changes than our colleges.
His solutions to these problems explained in the Final Chapter are interesting ideas. First, his insistence on never apologizing for holding an opinion outside the mainstream struck me as an important principle. Plus, it is important for every individual to act and educate people who do not fully understand the cultural changes that are going on whether through an email to a small group of people, a post on social media, or writing an entire book on the subject.
I would be remiss if the flaws of this novel were not mentioned. Chapter Six and Seven stood out quite noticeably. Since this book emphasizes the changes inside our culture based on what has occurred with the educational establishment, his vent towards Islam (Which is a consistent theme throughout the novel) seems particularly misguided. While almost everything he says about Islam maybe true and he warns readers multiple times not to judge individual Muslims despite the teachings they honor, his attack on their religion seems like a grievance that a Jewish man has towards that religion. He did escape Lebanon with his life in the 1980s due to radical Islamic groups. But, when you are talking about the education system, the inclusion of this anti-Islamic rhetoric (While letting the Jews and Christians mostly off the hook) was ill informed and pointless. Save this topic for a book about the Islamic religion. But if you want to add a sense of logic to any foundational religious principles which are strictly built on the idea of faith, your argument will fall on deaf eyes to the true believers. Also, using United States government terrorist watchlists is another tool that should have been avoided. One country’s terrorists is another country’s freedom fighters. It is too bad he decided to go down this route as the book was perfect until this unfortunate diversion.
If you are interested in the novel, please purchase it here. Other than a misguided diversion towards the end, Saad’s novel will teach you plenty about what is occurring in our present-day culture.
As the world continues to rapidly change since the COVID-19 outbreak in March of 2020, there is one cultural artifact that has become a secondary or even tertiary matter of concern in my life. That artifact is the world of professional sports. It can be blamed on a couple of recent factors. This brief blog will explain these three factors in detail with a conclusive summary of the performance of my favorite sports teams’ 2021 seasons. Yes, many of my favorite teams had bad to average seasons but this is actually not the reason for my lack of interest. There are other more important factors at play.
The first most important part relates to government policies related to entertainment venues in general. As a person who has seen hundreds of rock concerts, sporting events, stand up comedians, toured museums, and probably have seen over 6000 movies, the new regulations related to attending these events are punitive and over-reactive. Here are the rules for Sofi Stadium, the home of the Los Angeles Rams and Chargers. Masks must be worn throughout the game even if you are vaccinated. They are encouraging you to show them your tickets through Ticketmaster while putting the CA Notify tracking app on your phone in case you accidentally come near an individual who has COVID-19. They now have a clear bag policy. Because you never know who is going to be bringing in that black tar heroin. Too much trouble, too expensive, and too much of a pain in the ass for a short three-hour event. My family is seeing Gabriel Iglesias at Pechanga Arena in Temecula on October 2nd (A show that has been delayed for over a year due to COVID-19). Their rules are even more restrictive. Clear bag policy, CHECK. Providing either proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of the event, CHECK. Movie theaters are my wife and I”s favorite place for a nice cheap date. Now, face masks are required (In Southern California) and it can only be removed when eating. Each movie now has safety “advisors” who will confront you if the rules are being violated. Plus, the seating is still spread out meaning that theater times are more difficult to come by during the prime-time hours. As a person who loves culture, these new protocols are sucking the fun out of attending cultural and sporting events.
Second, everything has become political including all the professional sports leagues. This has not been beneficial to many of them. People do not like being alienated. If athletes in the NBA are complaining about the inherently racist Caucasian culture of the United States, you are alienating a majority of your potential viewing audience. This leads to massive rating declines. Throw in the participation of male athletes that have “transitioned” to female after going through puberty as a male and sports is becoming a laughingstock for the world.
Finally, much of the reason for my walk away from sports has to do with my own personality changes. As many of my friends and family know, sports were a huge part of my childhood. I have not missed a Super Bowl (Even if I missed a quarter or two in a few of them) since 1981. My knowledge of the champions in each league (NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL & MLS) and who won a championship in a particular year is sickening. As a child, I was obsessed with statistics, an industry I should have continued to pursue after sabermetrics and statistics took over sports and data algorithms over this last decade. But as a person who loves to learn and lives life as open-mindedly as possible, my interests are diverging. Political Philosophies, Cryptocurrency and Linux, Investment, Interest in Studying Educational Research Topics like Culture, Film, Technology, etc. has also become an obsession with my life. Throw in my childhood interests in sports and entertainment and mix that with my young adult interest in video games, music, ornithology, and taking hikes in nature and there is only so much a person can accomplish and enjoy in a single day.
Despite these explanations above, I still pay close attention to my sports teams. Here are the recent records of my favorite sports teams and how their 2020-2021 seasons ended. Since the NFL just started, I will explain how the 2020 season for my Los Angeles Rams completed.
2020 Los Angeles Rams: 10-6, 2nd Place in the NFC West, #6 Seed in Playoffs. They played a complete game against the NFC West Division Winner #3 Seed Seattle Seahawks and knocked them out of the playoffs in the Wild Card game 30-20 despite Jared Goff’s broken thumb. Reality hit them the following week when the Green Bay Packers finished their season in the Divisional Playoffs 32-18. The Rams made some significant changes in the offseason trading their #1 pick QB Jared Goff to the Detroit Lions for another first round pick Matthew Stafford who is seven years older than his predecessor. The Rams won their first game easily 34-14. We will see what happens during the 2021 season.
After an amazing 2020 season that ended with the San Diego Padres making the playoffs after a COVID shortened season and getting the #4 seed in an expanded eight team field, the Padres won their first playoff series since 1998 by defeating the #5 St. Louis Cardinals in the first round 2 games to 1. The season ended abruptly when the eventual 2020 MLB champion Los Angeles Dodgers wiped the Padres injured pitching staff right out of the playoffs in three straight games. With a load of offseason signings, the Padres were expected to compete for the division. Instead, the San Francisco Giants are the ones leading the NL West with the Dodgers only 2.5 games behind. Both teams are shoo-ins for the playoffs. The Padres have declined and played under .500 baseball in the second half due to a fading bullpen, starters who have been ineffective over the past two months, and a host of injuries. Sitting at 75-69, they are now tied for the 2nd and final wild card spot in the National League while having the most difficult remaining schedule in baseball. The Padres season is quickly sliding down into a massively disappointing one.
The 2021 Angels are even more baffling. With phenom Shohei Ohtani and the amazing Mike Trout, their pitching has just been mediocre, and they are heading for another disappointing season while sitting in 4th place in the AL West at 70-73. The only hope the Angels have is to end the season respectably late and pull their record over .500. But any hope for the postseason is gone.
Not much to say here. In a COVID-19 shortened season, the Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks were terrible. The L.A. Kings finished sixth in their division due to the incompetence of the other two California teams, the San Jose Sharks and Anaheim Ducks who had nightmarishly bad seasons. The Kings are in a rebuilding mode, and they only finished with more points than six teams while only finishing ahead of the Sharks based on tiebreakers. The Anaheim Ducks who have been a consistently good team over the past decade only had a better record than one team (The Buffalo Sabres). Both teams have a long way back to be competitive once again.
My three-time NBA Champion (2015, 2017, 2018) and five-time consecutive Western Conference Champion (2015-2019) Golden State Warriors got back into the playoffs after an injury plagued 2019-202o season. Finishing 39-33 in a shortened season, they got the #8 seed and were subjected to the new play-in game format. After losing a close game to the #7 Los Angeles Lakers, the #9 Memphis Grizzlies beat them in the second play-in game to end their season. With a great draft and the full return of all their injured superstars, the Warriors should have a bounce back 2021-2022 seasons that will find them in the upper echelon of the Western Conference again.
After a miserable 2020 season that saw the Los Angeles Galaxy, the only five-time champion of the league, miss the playoffs. The Galaxy are playing well and seem secure in qualifying into the sixteen-team postseason tournament to determine the 2021 MLS Cup winner. They are sitting at 11 Wins, 4 Draws, and 8 Losses and in 4th Place in the Western Conference with 37 points, 10 points ahead of the current 9th place team LAFC. Now that there are two professional soccer teams in the Los Angeles area, I have always preferred the Galaxy. They were part of the league since Day One in the mid-1990s and have proven themselves to be a dynastic franchise. I don’t give a shit who owns the LAFC soccer club. I hope the Galaxy destroy that team continuously.
My predictions for the 2021 season are going to be very simple. Since the first week is already over, these predictions really have no meaning or value if I put them on the line in Las Vegas. I will just predict my seeding and will move onto my playoff predictions after the season is over. Here we go.
1): Kansas City
7): Los Angeles Chargers
1): San Francisco
2): Tampa Bay
5: Los Angeles Rams
7): Green Bay
Enjoy the season! Until next week!
There will be no long form blog this week. With Labor Day weekend mixed with family events and some personal problems that need to be handled immediately, I can not put the time into the research that is needed to write something semi-intelligent. Here are just a couple of quick updates.
My book has reached 180 pages. It should only be another 30 to 40 until the book is finished. Even though I am going to create an author’s page with Goodreads and Kindle, I intend on releasing the book at a bargain basement price with the goal of it going free to purchase after the initial release. An author instructed me on this money-making tool through his release of free mini e-books on his website using referral and advertising links. Since the creative world seems to be heading in this direction with all industries, I have decided to jump on this free e-book train instead of writing a long novel. The novel will be purchasable as a whole for a set price. Or people can download each chapter (There will be ten of them) individually and read the PDF file with referral and sponsored links inside the article. In the future, it will be much easier to release content in 10-to-20-page articles than committing myself to a full-blown novel. This is a transition that will also occur on my website in 2022. So stay tuned for this!
With vaccine mandates popping up inside my home state of California, I had to explore “exemption” options for my daughter at UC Irvine as well as for myself at my current job. This research takes time, effort, and a little bit of a financial commitment. Since my daughter is 23 and recovered from a COViD-19 infection in a 24 hour timeframe months ago, the chances of the vaccine being more harmful than the actual disease is very possible. So we are exploring our legal options to get out of this controversial and quite damaging vaccine.
I intend to return next week with a blog on the NFL followed shortly after with Part 5 of my education series on the damaging Critical Race Theory curriculum which is destroying our future generation of college graduates. Until then, have a good week!
EXPERT OF SOME