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The Dumbbell's Dictionary

Clinton Department of Education proponent of the new, new math, as exemplified by that
Department’s misbegotten Certificate of Initial Mastery. Duh, let’s get a group of kids
together and encourage them to guess the correct answer to 2 + 2. Or better yet, let’s take
a poll. Will the majority opt for the answer „4?’ I would hope so, inasmuch as that is the
only possible correct answer in a rational universe.
As far back as Socrates and Plato it, was recognized that knowledge is superior to
opinion, even right opinion. There is simply no substitute for knowing. Now, if a sensible
strategic guess gets us where we’re going, fine. But let’s remember that the guess is
made, or should be made, in the attempt to gain knowledge, that is: in the pursuit of
knowledge. Knowledge will never be merely a support for a guess.
Is Ottawa actually the capital of Canada? Maybe someone, somewhere will guess that the
capital is Winnipeg. Well, what the hell – let’s change the capital to Winnipeg. If I’ve
gone on a bit longer here than I originally intended, it’s because the kind of claptrap
espoused by Dr. Bruner and so-called thinkers like him is ruining the minds of the
children of America, and it isn’t doing us adults a helluva lot of good, either. (Education
reformer, indeed!)
Finally, I’d like to emphasize the extreme difference between a guess in the sense of a
fertile hypothesis that can lead to knowledge, in that all true science puts forth hypotheses
to be disproved, and a guess made for the purpose of settling for a guess, with knowing
playing no part at all. If I could, I would introduce the good doctor to Ayn Rand’s
treatment of concept formation in her „Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology.’
Arthur Koestler, n. Hungarian-born British novelist, and ex-communist. His novel
„Darkness at Noon, published in 1940, tells the story of an old Communist who, after a
series of tribulations, saw the light and changed his ways. This novel will certainly outlast
this or any epoch to come.
Kolyma, n. Site of the gold mines in northwestern Siberia in which the Soviet Gulag
literally worked millions of prisoners (zeks) to death. Someone please tell me what was
so heroic and good about the Soviet Union. Where, or where, are Walter Duranty, Alger
Hiss, Lillian Hellman, or Eleanor Roosevelt when you need them?
Dean Koontz, n. Probably the world’s most popular author of thriller/suspense novels,
with, per a recent tally, over 300 million copies sold to date. I’ve read every one of his
more than fifty novels, and would like especially to recommend three of them to the
gentle reader, my advice being to read them in the order written. Thus: „False Memory;’
From the Corner of His Eye;’ and „One Door Away from Heaven.’
Koontz gets rather deeply into current social issues, particularly in the third book
mentioned. In it, he takes the entire bio-ethics movement to task for its denigration of
human life. If I had to guess, I would bet he’s no fan of the Obama Administration. And
by the way, he is impossible to classify within any specific genre.
Mary Jo Kopechne, n. Took the wrong picnic, then took a wrong drive with the wrong
guy at the wrong time. Would have been better for her had she chosen a companion with
the least little bit of morality.
Irving Kristol, n. Godfather of the neoconservative movement in America. He would
have us believe that a conservative is a liberal who has been mugged by reality. He’s
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