Lessons in Critical Thinking Skills “101”

Despite the success of governmental efforts to insert disinformation propaganda into the mainstream media in order to control public attitudes; to promote “political correctness” in all matters; to denigrate those who search for basic truths; to disparage as “conspiracy theorists” those who persist in reexamining historic cover-ups, people who wish to polish their “Critical Thinking” skills as a way to combat this “official deceitfulness” have many available resources.

In addition to numerous contemporary books on the subject, students are encouraged to begin with the early classics, such as George Orwell’s 1984 and Animal Farm and Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World.

In my book Who REALLY Killed Martin Luther King Jr. — The Case Against Lyndon B. Johnson and J. Edgar Hoover, (Appendix A — “Pondering the Motives of Critics of Dr. Pepper”), I examined how certain self-anointed “book reviewers” use deceitful tactics to discredit highly-important, critical books (That essay is also published in the section of this website called “Response to the Trolls,” among others which address this phenomenon).

Within the same book, I described how ” . . . the post-assassination cover-up was clearly still in place ten years after the fact, during the HSCA proceeding, and again in the DOJ report of 2000; it clearly continues today by virtue of the still-standing previously documented shams and the directed official indifference to ever getting to the truth. The cover-ups by elaborate and officious documents were created through use of the same techniques as previously done by the original fiction writers: selective preference, omission of exculpatory evidence, ignoring credible witnesses, and creation of unsubstantiated alternate theorems (all misdirected theories, of course), all of which have been thoroughly proven in this book.”

Also, within the Prologue of that book, is this excerpt addressing the same point:

“Ed Tatro, the iconoclastic long-term JFK assassination researcher, has described the reader’s dilemma created by such propagandized, cherry-picked, and factually incorrect book reviews written with a preestablished—but hidden and unstated—objective of disparagement thusly:

One must not only evaluate the credibility of the witness telling the event. One must also question the integrity of those who are judging the aforesaid witness. There is a fallacy entitled “selected preference,” the selecting of evidence or testimony which supports a previously determined answer or desired result. If the “Judge” harbors a hidden agenda or possesses a belief contrary to the testimony of the witness, the “Judge” will seek all kinds of rhetoric, all kinds of spin, and all kinds of manipulation to attempt to discredit the witness and the account which would, otherwise, undermine the “Judge’s” previous beliefs or conclusions.

The Warren Commission and the 9/11 Commission are ideal government case studies for avoiding the truth and anyone or anything providing glimpses of it. Many lawyers are the masters of fallacies and misdirection and red herrings. Their job is to win, not necessarily determine truth or justice. The same can be said for many individuals who will never admit they are wrong about a particular issue. Henry Winkler’s “The Fonz” could only utter, “I was wron . . . I was wron . . .” he could never finish the phrase. There are plenty of organizations and political writers and “talking heads” who are guilty of Fonzie’s tragic flaw, but please be assured that fallacies, although illogical in some fashion, are very effective unless the audience is very well educated and possesses the acumen of a critical thinker.

Unfortunately, I am reminded of a quote attributed to Winston Churchill who once said, “The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.” I am also reminded of a quote in the brilliant who-done-it murder mystery, Sea of Love, in which the homicide detective (played by Al Pacino) concludes, “People are a lot of work.” Alas, selected preference and the employment of other fallacious machinations can misdirect the populace from seeing the truth in a very complex and messy world.

As the final lesson on this point, we have David Martin’s (a.k.a. “DCDave”) “Seventeen Techniques for Truth Suppression.”  He explains: “When the government lacks an effective, fact-based defense, other techniques must be employed. The success of these techniques depends heavily upon a cooperative, compliant press and a mere token opposition party.”  The first three on the list are:

  1. Dummy up. If it’s not reported, if it’s not news, it didn’t happen.
  2. Wax indignant. This is also known as the “How dare you?” gambit.
  3. Characterize the charges as “rumors” or, better yet, “wild rumors.” If, in spite of the news blackout, the public is still able to learn about the suspicious facts, it can only be through “rumors.” (If they tend to believe the “rumors” it must be because they are simply “paranoid” or “hysterical.”)

Go to this link for the remaining 14 techniques

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