Thursday, March 21, 2019

#2161: Robert Ringer

Robert Ringer is a motivational and political speaker, as well as author of several best-selling personal-development and political books. Ostensibly a libertarian, Ringer has over the years moved toward more and more feverishly deranged conspiracy theories. Currently an ardent defender of what he calls rational living, Ringer has his own, personal understanding of ‘rational’, which unfortunately has few points of contact with rationality

Ringer is also a relatively frequent columnist for the WND, under the signature “A Voice of Sanity” (an instance of a corollary of Badger’s Law). This is for instance where Ringer, over several columns, warned us that Obama was going to cancel the 2012 election and declare himself dictator – one suggestion for instance being that Obama would use the violence in the Middle East to declare a state of emergency and cancel the election (that Obama, at the time the column was written, looked exceedingly likely to win), in accordance with the wishes of his nebulous allies on the far left: “[t]he far left, of course, would love a state of emergency and suspension,” said Ringer, because they disagree with his political views and are therefore evil and just trying to destroy things. Of course, this was Obama’s plan from the start; Obama was, according to Ringer already from the outset “well aware that the continuation of his policies will destroy the U.S. economy beyond repair. I believe his strategy from the outset has been to follow the Saul Alinsky model [the understanding of which seems closer to the strategies described in Ringer’s own 1974 book Winning Through Intimidation, in fact]: Win the presidency through a semi-legitimate election [not completely legitimate because Ringer disagreed with the outcome], then tighten your grip over everything and everybody, move swiftly to create economic chaos, and use the chaos you’ve created to establish a dictatorship.” Ringer also repeatedly warned about Obama’s continuing efforts to “grab your guns” (always in the immediate future); and gun control, warned Ringer, is merely a first step: “gulags, gas chambers and firing squads are easily put into place,” and the president will thus ultimately be able to accomplish his life mission: “the complete destruction of Western civilization.” Evidence that these are Obama’s intentions? Ringer disagrees with Obama on economic policy, and if you disagree with Ringer on fiscal policies, well, this is just the natural conclusion to draw about your ultimate life goals according to Ringer’s idiosyncratic understanding of “rationality”. Moreover, Obama is angry, like the “other angry people” who influenced him, “from Frank Marshall Davis to Jeremiah Wright, from Bernardine Dohrn to Michelle Robinson.” Black people apparently tend to seem angry to Ringer. He is of course also a birther, who “knew the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth about Obama before he ever took office. We knew he would never make the original of his birth certificate available to any independent authority.”

Ringer’s silliness is not limited to politics and political forecasts, however. Ringer is also for instance a creationist, having, according to himself, discovered – when he ostensibly read up on the topic – that “evolution sounded like something out of ‘Aesop’s Fables.’ Inanimate matter ‘evolving’ into an animal, and an animal evolving into a human being? It seemed to me to be an idea that required a size extra-large imagination.” Ah, yes – the argument from incredulity. Why the incredulity? Well, you see, according to Ringer it is completely impossible for purely random processes to have created anything as complex as living organisms. Which, as an argument (a common one among creationists), at least shows that Ringer hasn’t even tried to understand evolution (hint: the processes are exactly not random; that’s sort of the whole significance of Darwin’s discovery). Incredulity is natural when you don’t have the faintest idea what you are talking about. (Nor does he, for that matter, understand what “random” means, as shown by possibly the most feeble attempt on the Internet to prove the existence of God  – “How can infinity be explained away by simply saying that everything is random?” asks Ringer rhetorically; how, indeed). Apparently, part of the problem is evolutionists’ overreliance on science: science is limited, according to Ringer: “science can explain how gravity works, but it cannot explain why it works the way it does;” Ringer calls this the “Why Wall” (it’s more commonly known as appeal to mystery): “You can offer endless scientific explanations for a natural disaster like a hurricane – high pressure systems, low-pressure systems, unusually warm ocean water, etc. – but eventually you come to what I call the ‘Why Wall.’ Whydo these phenomena occur?” (Might he have tried – and miserably failed – to read Dilthey?). Bill O’Reilly famously tried a similar gambit concerning the tides.

And then we’re off down the rabbit hole. Since the complexity of life cannot be random, there must be a Conscious Universal Power Source behind it all. And therefore, thinks Ringer, we have evidence for the Law of Attraction, the nonsense familiar from The Secret: “Since every negative has an offsetting positive built into it, and vice versa, you always have a choice as to whether to focus on the abundance or the scarcity in your life […] if you want more positives in your life, you’d be wise to focus on the positives you already have. You’ll be amazed at the number of new positives that will almost magically make their appearance into your life as a result of this mindset,” says Ringer, and before you conclude that this is just standard, metaphorical, fluffy, motivational newspeak hogwash, Ringer assures us: “Let me make it clear that there that is nothing magical about this phenomenon. On the contrary, it’s quite scientific. What makes it possible is the fact that 1) all atoms are connected, and 2) atoms vibrate at tremendous rates of speed.” It is not scientific. Continues Ringer: “That’s why, when your thoughts are positive, science works its wonders and causes those vibrating atoms in your brain to draw positive people, things and circumstances into your life. Because you are connected to the Conscious Universal Power Source, you always have infinite power at your disposal.” Then he invokes quantum physics. No, really.

Diagnosis: Ringer is clearly aware that “reason” and “sanity” are concepts that denote something we should aspire to. Unfortunately, he has no idea what it is, and the results are predictably pitiful and feeble. That he is also a best-selling author on political topics is rather scary, however. 

No comments:

Post a Comment