Anything could be true. The so-called laws of Nature were nonsense. The law of gravity was nonsense. ‘If I wished,’ O’Brien had said, ‘I could float off this floor like a soap bubble.’ Winston worked it out. ‘If he thinks he floats off the floor, and if I simultaneously think I see him do it, then the thing happens.’ Suddenly, like a lump of submerged wreckage breaking the surface of water, the thought burst into his mind: ‘It doesn’t really happen. We imagine it. It is hallucination.’ He pushed the thought under instantly. The fallacy was obvious. It presupposed that somewhere or other, outside oneself, there was a ‘real’ world where ‘real’ things happened. But how could there be such a world? What knowledge have we of anything, save through our own minds? All happenings are in the mind. Whatever happens in all minds, truly happens.He had no difficulty in disposing of the fallacy, and he was in no danger of succumbing to it. He realized, nevertheless, that it ought never to have occurred to him. The mind should develop a blind spot whenever a dangerous thought presented itself. The process should be automatic, instinctive. CRIMESTOP, they called it in Newspeak.He set to work to exercise himself in crimestop. He presented himself with propositions —‘the Party says the earth is flat’, ‘the party says that ice is heavier than water’— and trained himself in not seeing or not understanding the arguments that contradicted them...
-- George Orwell, 1984
Yesterday, Dean Baker did a solid job of cutting the pro-TPP arguments of Mr. David Brooks of the NYT into paper dolls and making them dance:
David Brooks Warns of Economic Collapse and War Without TPPPublished: 16 June 2015The Washington chattering class is really upset that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) looks like its going down. David Brooks pulls out all the stops today, using his NYT column to yell at "Tea Party" Democrats for not supporting the fast-track authority that would facilitate the passage of the TPP.Unfortunately, Brooks was largely unarmed with facts when it came to the attack. To start, he tells readers;"The North American Free Trade Agreement, for example, probably didn’t affect the American economy too much. But the Mexican economy has taken off. With more opportunities, Mexican workers feel less need to sneak into the U.S."If the Mexican economy has taken off since NAFTA they managed to conceal this fact from the I.M.F. and other keepers of official statistics...
Also not for nothing, but just the title of Mr. Brooks' opus -- "The Democratic Tea Party" -- positively reeks of the kind of fact-free Both Siderist/Hippie Punching claptrap which is now synonymous with the name "David Brooks" because A) There. Is. No. Tea. Party. and, B) What Dean Baker just said.
But the larger, existential quandary caused by Mr. Brooks' existence is raised by blogger Andrew Gelman:
The David Brooks files: How many uncorrected mistakes does it take to be discredited?
That's the question. That is the only question.
And the answer is -- as I have documented to the point of absurdity over the last 10 years -- no such number exists.
Because David Brooks* does not make mistakes in the conventional sense which we mere mortals understand them.
Because the entire vile and surreally profitable Beltway media machine hangs by a single, slender thread: the fiction that people like David Brooks are the Voices of Reason who can be trusted to tell their viewers, listeners and readers the simple, unvarnished truth.
So if David Brooks thinks that a thing is true...
And his media co-conspirators think they see him telling the truth...
How could it be otherwise?