Saturday, April 11, 2009

Thinking like A Fox

Steve DeAngelis of Enterra Solutions has up an insightful post that challenges us all to become fox's in our pursuit of learning to think for ourselves. Steve introduces this topic with this poem, part of which I have posted below.

Little known poet Walter D. Wintle wrote only one poem of note. The poem is best known by the title “The Man Who Thinks He Can.” It goes like this:

If you think you are beaten, you are;
If you think you dare not, you don’t.
If you’d like to win, but think you can’t,It’s almost a cinch you won’t.
If you think you’ll lose, you’re lost,For out in the world we find Success begins with a fellow’s will;
It’s all in the state of mind.

Steve continues his essay by drawing from an op-ed piece in the New York Times by Nicholas Kristof about thinking, specifically about the often errant thinking of so-called experts ["Learning How to Think," 26 March 2009]. He then turns to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to illustrate how politicians lead us down paths without telling us about the landmines of contradiction strewn about. "I’m Not Running for President, but ..." New York Times, 28 February 2008].

Supporting today's focus on thinking is this post from Mark at Zenpundit is this post entitled.
Excess Complexity is the Route to Extinction. It is a post filled with links and an excellent analysis of the value of "keeping it simple stupid."

Finally, Thomas Barnett weighs in on what he describes as President Obama's wasteful and foolish dream of ridding the world of nuclear weapons. The logic of Dr. Barnett's comments are deafening is one stops to apply the lessons conveyed in Steve DeAngelis's post and seek the simplicity of evidence offered by Mark.

Barnett begins:
Obama's team proposes a replacement to START that would limit both sides to 1k nuclear warheads (not weapons, warheads). We currently have about 4k and Russia has 5k. Bush-Cheney had an agreement with Moscow to go down to 1700 US and 2200 Russia by 2012.

I could live with both sides dropping down to maybe 2500 a piece, but to me, 1k is too low. I like a big, "unthinkable" lead on the rest of the world and I don't worry about having Russia along for that ride, because we cancel each other out in that regard.

But we can argue over the best long-term number. What we should not argue over is this notion of trying to get the world to zero. Since that simply will not happen for rising great powers any time soon, we need to remain many-fold larger than their current/desired arsenal levels, and we need to keep our arsenals in solid shape.

That's why Obama's rejection of the Reliable Replacement Warhead (simple updating) program is deeply flawed. Gates wants it and so does the military. Without it, our arsenal degrades and becomes less safe and less operationally sound.

Taken altogether, learning to apply critical thinking is a tool once learned, must be sharpened constantly in order to cut through the rhetoric and gibberish offered by self-serving politicians, many in the MSM and self appointed experts. I confess to being like most, getting my news and information via the MSM. Reading two newspapers a day and watching several news shows, not only consumed a large part of my day, but limited my exposure to important views that time did not permit pursuing. Today, with the Internet, it is possible to peruse dozens of sources offering a broad spectrum of ideas. Using my own mental Medici Effect of letting the convergent ideas intersect in my brain, I am able to form an opinion that I can support mentally and emotionally.

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