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The Death of Critical Thinking

Posted By: Randy GageDecember 28, 2009

Of all the challenges we face today, there may be none more pressing than people losing their ability for critical thinking.  We have an entire education system from kindergarten to graduate school designed to tell people what to think and how to memorize data.  Teaching HOW to think has fallen by the wayside.

Yes you really do have to teach people how to think.  Or at least you do when the rest of the education system is designed to stifle independent thought.  As usual, the worst examples come from the government, and this week, from the TSA here in the U.S.

Of course by now you’ve heard about the attempt to blow up the Delta jet flying from Amsterdam to Detroit over the holiday.  But the TSA reaction to the event is the perfect example of what happens when you give dim-witted government bureaucrats control over our lives.

The measures they have taken since the incident are ridiculous, and do absolutely nothing to make air travel safer.  In fact, you can easily argue that they will make it more dangerous, because they create complacency; with people believing the agency has actually strengthened security.   And the mainstream media will perpetuate this travesty with more vacuous coverage, interviewing people standing in security lines quoting another moron saying something to the effect of, “Well it’s an inconvenience, but as long as it keeps us safe is the main thing.”

Sorry, but no rational, thinking person could believe such a thing…

We are only marginally safer for air travel today than we were on the day of the 9/11 attacks.   And the reason for that is pilots will no longer allow hijackers in the cockpits, the door have been fortified, and President Bush is out of office.  As far as the TSA, you would be hard pressed to find a bigger waste of billions of dollars of tax money.  (And that is a very tough category to win!)

Let’s dial down the hysteria and use some logical, rational thought on this; actually do some critical thinking…

The TSA here in the States (and similar agencies in many other countries) have spent tens of billions of dollars, created tens of billions of hours of delays and hassled and inconvenienced billions of people for what?

There really hasn’t been an increase in the safety of air travel.  Yes there hasn’t been another attack like 9/11, but that’s simply because no terrorists have attempted one.  The air travel system is still wide open for a catastrophic attack if someone wanted to stage one.

Remember Richard Reid, the infamous shoe bomber?  You know why that plot didn’t work?  Because he was an idiot and couldn't figure out how to operate his BIC lighter.

Now since then more than four billion (that is billion with a ‘B’) people have flown on planes here without another case of an attempted shoe bombing.  But that doesn’t stop the TSA from requiring everyone to remove their shows each time they go through security.

Does this really prevent shoe bombs?  No.  And what’s the real issue?

We still don’t check most of the luggage and cargo that is checked on planes for explosives.  So if anyone wants to take down a jetliner, the easiest way is to put your device in your checked bag.  Then you can sit back, relax, and enjoy the flight.  One minute you’re watching “The Taking of Pellham 123,” the next, you wind up in the waiting arms of Allah for killing the infidels.

Even better, if you don’t completely buy into that give up the ghost for bin Laden stuff, you can send the explosives as cargo and enjoy the carnage from the safety of your cave in Afghanistan.

The truth is lots more people are killed by terrorism on trains than planes, yet that area of transportation is woefully unguarded.  Suppose someone hijacks a Greyhound bus with slingshot made out of a tree branch and drives it into city hall.  Do we outlaw trees? What about if someone gets on a cruise ship and goes down to the engine room and sets it on fire? Suppose someone rents a boat and drives it onto a crowded beach and blows it up? Drives their car into a crowded shopping mall?  If someone is willing to give up their life to hurt others, you simply can’t legislate and protect against everything.  You have to use some critical thinking ability here.

Now take this latest incident in Detroit.  Homeland security Secretary Janet Napolitano said yesterday that flying is “very, very safe” and the terrorist in Friday’s attack “was stopped before any damage could be done.  I think the important thing to recognize here is that once the incident occurred, everything happened that should have.”

You’re fucking kidding me right?

Pretty much every possible safeguard in place failed miserably here.  The reason the plane landed safely was the smart thinking and heroic response of a passenger, and because al-Qaida sent another nitwit who was pretty much only able to give himself third degree burns.  (Although in al-Qaida’s defense, finding people willing to blow themselves up does restrict the intellectual gene pool you are drawing from.)

The fact is, everything that could possibly break down in the current system broke down.  Those airport “puffer” machines you’ve seen would detect the PETN that the terrorist was traveling with.  But most airports don’t have them.  Even a bomb sniffing dog would likely have discovered this.  But most airports don’t have them either.

Abdulmutallab was on a watch list, but he wasn’t flagged for any extra search or questioning.  Of course this is probably the case because this watch list is pretty unmanageable with more than 500,000 people on it.  Pretty much if you have a Mohamed in your name, you’re on the list.

But there is a more manageable list of about 18,000 who are designated for additional security searches or denied to travel completely.  Abdulmutallab was not on this – even though his own father called the US embassy in Nigeria about his extremist views.  Hello?

So now, what has the TSA done to make travel safer in light of this latest threat?  Well of course they’re stonewalling everyone and not telling travelers anything that would make it less inconvenient or allow them to prepare for travel better.  But Joe Brancatelli was able to get a copy of the directive sent out to airlines by Gale Rossides, the acting administrator.  They include:

1. Passengers must remain in seats beginning 1 hour prior to arrival at destination.
2. Passenger access to carry-on baggage is prohibited beginning 1 hour prior to arrival at destination.
3. Disable aircraft-integrated passenger communications systems and services (phone, internet access services, live television programming, global positioning systems) prior to boarding and during all phases of flight.
4. While over U.S. airspace, flight crew may not make any announcement to passengers concerning flight path or position over cities or landmarks.
5. Passengers may not have any blankets, pillows, or personal belongings on the lap beginning 1 hour prior to arrival at destination.

Now let’s use our critical thinking skills and evaluate how these new rules will keep the traveling public safe…

You can’t even go to the bathroom the last hour of the flight.  The millions of dollars the airlines have invested to offer Wi-Fi so you can work on the flight are useless.   You can’t work on your laptop the last hour of your flight.  If you’re sleeping peacefully, the flight attendants will be waking you up an hour before to grab your blanket and pillow from you.  If you read these regulations literally, you won’t even be allowed a book.

And how exactly does all this keep you safer?

Assuming everything breaks down another time, and once again someone smuggles explosives on a flight, all they have to do is use them one hour before landing.

Does this make any sense at all?

Now I know what you’re thinking:  You’re saying, “Hey, if I get blown out of the sky, better to do it an hour offshore, making the clean up much easier!”

I guess what they are really thinking is that getting blown up over water minimizes the collateral damage on the ground.  But realistically this isn’t the case, since many of the international hubs such as Detroit, Denver, Minneapolis, and Chicago are inland.

So really these are yet more toothless measures that do nothing to increase security, but seriously racket up the hassles, inconvenience, and harassment for passengers.

And the government isn’t alone.  The airlines are doing their part to make travel safer…

At least four of them have now instituted a policy of only allowing one carry on bag.  Well I don’t know about you, but that certainly makes me feel safer.  I’m sure any terrorist wanting to blow up my plane will give up the effort since he can’t bring along his PRADA toiletry kit.  And I’m sure the fact that these airlines charge anywhere from $25 to $50 for another checked bag had nothing to do with this…

I travel a lot.  I’m all for better security.  But let’s be rational here.  Let’s get back to critical thinking…

Hassling passengers, longer lines and billions of wasted tax dollars isn’t making things safer.   In fact, a team at the Harvard School of Public Health has concluded that here is no evidence that x-raying carry-on luggage makes us safer, that requiring us to take off our shoes does anything, or making us forfeit liquids has improved airline security.  You can see the study here:

If you want to really protect passengers, stop with all the melodramatic efforts to seize skin moisturizers and do the practical stuff:

•    Install explosive detectors.
•    X-ray the checked luggage and cargo.
•    When someone’s parent reports them to the embassy, give them an extra pat down.
•    Use common sense!

So for your government officials reading this, here’s my challenge to you:

Congress, it’s silly to hassle us all for what we carry on if you don’t create the budget to examine the checked luggage.  So either do that or let’s stop this pandering that looks good to the media but is really just eyewash.

And TSA, real measures like puffer machines, air marshals, and working the watch list rationally would all be great.  Stupid hassles like restricting the last hour of flight are simply insulting.   Which leads us to the ultimate question…

Is there anyone left in government with any critical thinking ability?

-RG

84 comments on “The Death of Critical Thinking”

  1. This was a great read Mr. Gage. Unfortunately, you are right that this country is led by morons and that's not going to change because they get put into office by more morons that don't know what they are voting for. These "security measures" are a waste of resources, as you so well pointed out. Then look at all the extra fees that are added into our ticket prices for security. Somewhere between 25%-35% of the ticket price is fees and taxes. How does this help the airline industry? It doesn't! Thanks for pointing out the fact that many people simply don't think for themselves and that it is damaging every part of this country's industries.

  2. Randy, you are right on. Unfortunately, in this day and age, you are considered unpatriotic or unamerican if you don't agree with the government line.

  3. Randy, very well written!

    At the begining of every school year my daughter has to go through this process with each new teacher. The teacher will ask a question and my daughter being my daughter will voice her out of box opinion (very respectfully, of course!) but the teachers can't deal with a child knowing how to think. They knock her, knock her, knock her, and only when i get onto the phone and point out to the teacher-"Ma'am do you realize you are arguing with a nine year old? Why do her opinions bother you? It's not like she is misbehaving" Only after that phone call do they back off-somewhat.

    Then, the same teachers go around saying, oh, there is no creativity left. Children don't know how to think. Um, have you looked in the mirror? Do you let children think? Teach them that thinking out of the box is ok?

    Don't get me wrong. I myself am a school teacher and have won several awards (pat, pat) for my outstanding methods. But quite frankly, all i do is challenge my students to think and be responsible for their own actions-as my Rabbi Randy has taught me, no victims!

  4. Awesome! I love you!

    You know - it feels like they're putting up cotton wool balls around people that get in the way rather than have anything effective to contribute.

    Many years ago I attended a school in the US for a day. I was horrified - metal detectors???? For WHAT???? In South Africa and the rough East End of London where I worked in schools I'd never seen anything like it. Yet what I found was so funny/shocking is that I saw I boy in front of me getting a friend to distract the guard so he could throw his bag with a weapon in it AROUND the metal detector!!!! So he STILL got his gun/knife into the school! If people REALLY want to do something, they will find a way.

    The government and TSA's new rules are like my teacher when I was 11: if one person didn't do their homework EVERYONE in the class got hit or punished in some way. It was abusive, and heavy handed, and completely unneccessary. I went to him and told him that hitting me wouldn't get someone else to do their homework. That if he couldn't think of creative strategies to get someone to do their homework it was HIS problem, and he shouldn't make it mine.

    I so hope they admit their mistake... and wake up to their over-parenting. Just because they were under-aware in detecting and preventing this... does mean now that they should lead to the otherside of the fence and be over-zealous with their controls that are ridiculous.

  5. The airlines must have gotten more planes in the air the last year. This will further reduce the passenger load and number of flights so no new airports will be needed in the next century. Everyone knows global warming will also benefit from fewer planes in the air. I think you are too nice comparing the TSA as somehow equivalent to other similar agencies around the world. While I do not fly as often as you I have enough air time in and out of the USA to say TSA is the worst run organization of people who couldn't be hired at McDonald's. They must pass a personality profile designed to insure they are the most unfriendly dimwitted people on earth. If the usual career path is used, where the most incompetent are advanced to where they can do the most damage I see no reason for any improvement in the next decade regardless who is the pretender in chief of the USA. A country deserves who they vote for.

    This is the same group who is going to take over US health care too. You think flying has gotten bad...

  6. Lets not forget in this latest attempt the terrorist purchased his ticket with cash and was flying internationally without any luggage ... and now the government is poised to takeover our health care system in America.

  7. Amen! As someone who travels LOTS (although, mercifully, less than Randy) I can tell you that the TSA is all but worthless. Trying to make us FEEL safe, without actually making us safe. Treating us like morons is not the answer.

  8. All the more reason my son is in a small Christian school where independent thought is valued and encouraged. His teacher encourages the kids to think, not just to memorize. I thank God every day I have the means to send him there. Our public education system is failing miserably thanks to the machine that is the NEA. God bless you for spreading the word and seeing the idiocy we are surrounded with in the name of big brother taking care of us!!!

  9. Hey Randy, great article. I have been saying this for years since I was in the building business. Common sense has left almost every office of government. Nothing can get done and then when something happens, guys like us get all of the crap and the real criminals and terrorists still get by. Somehow we as Americans have to come together and take control again and minimize government to the point of where our forefathers meant for government to be. Common Sense and critical thinking have to become a part of culture again. Thanks again Randy for being right on.

  10. Well stated RG.

    Critical thinking has left the building. It was the action not of a bureaucratic maze that stopped the latest attack. It was the decisive action of some brave souls that dare to attack him and and stop is cowardly attempt. American rugged individualism once more served the greater good -- NOT THE GOVERNMENT.

    Unfortunately, posting here you are likely preaching to the choir -- I'm sure everyone of your readers would have mopped the plane floor with the loser.

  11. GREAT post!

    Excellent book to read is "How to Think Like Einstein," it's entertaining and teaches thinking creatively and critically. The author has the right idea in making the book workable for folks who are typically strong left-brained thinkers.

    Sorry, that's me once again with my left brain/right brain fascination.

    The author is Thorpe, if I recall correctly.

  12. Common sense dictates that curling up into a ball and throwing up defenses (whether for show or for real) is no way to deal with a threat to our safety. There's a reason why siege warfare is so effective - defenses eventually and inevitably fail. And, of course, the "stronger" the defenses, the greater the psychological blow when those defenses give way.

    We cannot ensure the safety of our people by withdrawing into ourselves. We cannot protect ourselves with metal detectors and x-ray machines. We protect ourselves by honestly identifying the threat, then neutralizing it - not by waging a misguided war that merely results in needlessly lost lives on both sides.

    Fighting terrorism is not a war of technology; it is a war of ideology. Our beliefs either allow us to fight and win the war, or they doom us to hide and lose.

  13. if the TSA and Homeland Secruity are doing such a great job at our borders and keeping our country safer than why has there not been a decrease in the amount of drugs getting into this country. What a waste of money.

  14. Great work Randy and of course your loyal followers will rejoice in the preciseness of your words.
    question: so how are you going to get this in front of those who 'will' actually do something about it?

  15. Great read! Unfortunately it is too true that critical thinking skills are becoming a lost art. I found it amazing that I did not have a critical thinking course until I was in graduate school, and even then it was not mandatory. It goes well beyond government officials and is evident throughout our society. The garbage and straight out fallacies that are on cable news, blogs, op-ed pieces is amazing, and even more amazing is how many people take it as factual.

  16. >>American rugged individualism once more served the greater good

    Except the hero was European. And they're supposed to be the girly men. Not this time

  17. Great article, Randy! And apparently it's not enough that everyone has to be inconvenienced for no reason. They can't even be pleasant about it. On my last trip (Orlando to LA), I was selected in Orlando for additional screening. No idea why. While the TSA agent started looking through my bag, I went to a bench about 20 ft away to put my shoes back on. When I looked up, the agent said, "Can I search your bag or not?" I said, "Sure, go ahead." (Was I going to stop him?) He says, "You have to stand here and watch." Uh, OK. So I stand there. He didn't like my expression so he starts threatening to get the supervisor, move out of the security area to some back room, etc. He confiscated a small bottle of shampoo and tube of toothpaste. And now the world is a much safer place.

  18. Great post Randy! As stated by several others; the lack of critical thinking effects most aspects of all of our lives. I was just watching the news (something that I rarely do) and was expressing many of the same concerns that you so clearly brought up. I almost shut that damn TV off when a clip showed Janet Napolitano saying that everything worked like it should (or something to that effect), I just hate it when people talk out of both sides of their mouths!

    My question is; what is stopping people from taking meaningful action? For me, I wouldn't know where to start! We live in a world that is very misguided. I recall that our forefathers left their homeland because it was all [email protected]#$d up, but we have no undiscovered country to conquer. So someone help me here...where do you start?

    I know I'm rambling on and probably not making a whole lot of sense...but I am frustrated, afraid for my children, and worried about the future.

  19. LOVE IT!!!! Right on point... I could not agree more! Randy you need to take over! Put some critical thinking back in the system. If you took over, I would feel safer. Just let me keep my blanket and pillow, and if I have to potty please let me do that too...

    😉 Jamie

  20. Wow Randy, you have enough material here for at least 3 more Die Hard movies! Better not let the TSA see this or you might get flagged, lol. Very good points though, I agree completely.

  21. Randy,

    I am not against education, merely the farce that it has become.

    I have noticed that many academics do not think outside the box and are a different kind of stupid from your average Jerry Springer fan.

    Melissa,

    I am so happy you have the balls to be a real teacher. We need more of you.

    As for security- it's all a farce to make people feel safe and vote for candidate X in the next election.

    The best way to take away someone's rights is to claim they are protecting their freedom while destroying it.

    As for corporations... corporations, when used effectively can be tools that can benefit mankind.

    I have had the pleasure of knowing many different kinds of people in my life- rich, middle class and poor, and I do not understand why people think "rich people are evil" and are going out of their way to exploit everyone.

    I know some of them are crooked, but crookedness knows no boundaries.

    -TE

  22. Randy, great read..My question is how do we get through the line of bull that we are bombarded with to actually make a correct decision when electing our government officials. I know alot are appointed but those making the appointments aren't helping.. I heard a older gentleman make a comment just a few weeks ago and he said that its time to replace all of those who are serving in elected positions ( i know there are some who do great things) and start over maybe its time that we all look really hard at the upcoming elections and get involved and elect people who will serve the people ( all people) and get us back on the right path...

  23. Well I don't believe that everyone in the government is a moron. I also don't believe that you can rationalize or sign peace treaties with people (terriorists) that are below integrity. You also can't stoop down to their level and blow them and/or their countries up. So what's left? My guess is stenthening your country's protection. I'm not saying that this is the answer, only that I understand what the government is up against.

  24. I wish I had a teacher in school that gave a damn.

    That is AWESOME!!!!

    One thing though, that agrivates me... Something that came to mind a month back... is that my boss, the Store Manage (who does the least he possibly can in the store) makes $62,000 a year + bonuses... It made me sick to think that he, who basically has little to nothing that he contributes to the company.. makes almost double if not more than double the anual income of the most important people in our society (in my opinion) our school teachers.

    Just a thought....

    Keep up the good work. It is really refreshing to hear hear your story.

    😉 Jamie

  25. If you are expecting even an ounce of critical thinking from
    Washington, you will be sadly disappointed. I don't usually fly and with all this security I will stick to other methods of travel.

  26. Randy, your blog is dead on correct. Thanks for posting common sense. Its seems there is none in Washington D.C. and I'm quite sure there will be some real suprises coming for Democrats and Republicans alike starting in 2010.

  27. One thing that has not been mentioned yet is that this Terrorist originated from the Lagos, Nigeria airport onto a KLM flight. Lagos is known to have scant security measures in the first place. So Lagos is an easy way to enter the international air travel system. Once you land in Schipol-Amsterstam you could continue on your itinerary on a NWA-Delta codeshare flight on the ticket your purchased in Lagos without the security hassels you'd experience from trying to board the same flight in either Detroit or Amsterdam. If an airport like Lagos is found to be so deficient in security then all passengers and their luggage originating from Lagos should be rechecked by security upon arrival to the the next airport. This would motivate Lagos to stop being so permissive when it comes to security.

  28. Yes indeed Randy,

    As a parent of two small boys (age 2 & 4), my wife and I are constantly allowing our boys the opportunity to "Think" on their own. If more parents gave this opportunity to their children we would have a world of thinkers in a couple decades. Better to start NOW then never.

    The Accelerator for Success system using the Dream Bar Cafe Principles teaches people the critical ways to think - just like Ayn Rand did in her writings. It is one system that people can model using this framework to teach critical thinking.

    Here's to an empowered 2010!

    Bill Covert

  29. i can't help wondering why people even need this post, randy. it is spot on, obviously, and kudoes for saying it, but how come it needs to be said? can this really be news to anyone?

    i must admit it's sick, but the first thought that flashed through my mind when i heard about this nigerian bomber, was that he was probably paid by some US institute cos there hasn't been a fright lately and people need to be brought back in line lest they stop being afraid. the twin towers were demolished from the inside out. ever seen the way the buildings fold? once you have, you can't doubt it. but it is just too horrible to acknowledge that people in our own governments and in high up places where responsible for the deaths of so many people. so it's easier to pretend it was a foreign country nobody can remember the name of, and build an entire war around it to keep people looking the other way.

    ah, but of course, no government would ever do that, would they?

    the moment you can conceive in your mind the unthinkable, (this being: the existence of a single individual who is both willing and able to make a small group of people get on board of a plane in order to wipe out various buildings with, inside of them, thousands of people,) is it really such a leap of imagination to think said person was an american?

    D.B.

  30. There are some interesting notions here. They'd have more impact if they'd been proofread and edited before posting. There are punctuation problems -- missing commas, incorrect use of the semicolon -- that detract from your message. Also, when you wrote "Remember Richard Reid, the infamous shoe bomber? You know why that plot didn’t work? Because he was an idiot and could figure out how to operate his BIC lighter," did you mean he could not figure out how to operate his BIC lighter, or that he could figure out how to operate his BIC lighter despite being an idiot?

  31. Unfortunately, when a politician hits a certain level of government, they are required to sell their soul, and brains.

    I'm not a teacher, in the traditional sense of the word, but I am, most likely, my children's most influential teacher.

    I take it upon myself to teach my children how to think critically and either fortify their brains against or take the time to undo the pablum teachings of the common public school teacher. (Now, not ALL teachers are about conforming children, but the good majority).

    With my oldest still only in 1st grade, I have already been witness to the dummy them down, squelch their creativity, and what do you mean your child isn't on ADD drugs yet mentality of the public school system.

    Needless to say, it's horrifying at best.

    The pressure to conform to the joe six pack thought process is overwhelming and only the strong survive.

    Luckily, we can come together in such an arena and be reminded that there are others who are awake, and there is hope.

    Thanks, RG...

    In Gratitude,

    Jhanna Dawson

  32. OMG - so freakin' true it hurts. Thanks Randy for being the voice of reason. I would add that in order to be safer in the air - we will have to put up with being inconvenienced on the ground. Long waits to board each and every plane. Follow the lead of the Israelis. Every bag - searched by hand. I am sure they don't allow cargo or anything they can't search on passenger flights. They take security very seriously - and with good reason.

    You are right - we have been numbed into thinking we're safe - when all we are doing is putting a band aid on a gaping wound. And wasted millions (billions) of dollars in the meantime. We are paying for a dog and pony show instead of the main attraction.

    But, making people wait for the hours it would take to hand search all the luggage for each and every plane would be out of the scope of what people are willing to tolerate. Also, there are less flights in and out of Israel every day than operate in our country - so logistically it is easier for them to implement that strategy.

    And, how do you xray cargo for plastic explosives? Wouldn't it be simpler to fly cargo on different planes - not allow it to be sent on passenger planes?

    And, with more people like you saying
    What the fuck? when our government puts out boneheaded measures like this - may create a groundswell of people who might actually get involved in creating a change and also writing our elected officials and telling them to get off their asses and initiate real measures of the TSA to keep us safer in the air.

    But, sadly, it may not ever reach that tipping point of anger until another terrorist "gets it right" and succeeds in blowing another plane out of the sky...

    As for thinking - that is one of the main reasons I am so jaded on our school system. Kids are discouraged from thinking - that would be a problem for the teachers who are trying to teach subjects to a standardized curriculum. Much easier to just fill their heads with memorized facts and spare the teachers the inconvenience of having to deal with a room full of kids who may ask questions the teacher can't address because it's not part of the "curriculum".

    Thanks for ranting and keepin' it real for me.

    Lee Ann Price

  33. It's sad and true... there are rooms full of people in Washington, D.C. making up rules fast enough to make your head spin... and their heads are in such a dark spot ( Way up there...) that they'll not likely see the light of day even in the coming year! And those suckers are in charge? Unfortunately...

    I belong to a group of retirees and we constantly write to our elected officials regarding challenges facing us... and a comment I hear ALL the time is this... If you don't tell Congress what's wrong... they're gonna think it's all OK.

    Obviously this situation of inconveniencing airline passengers in the name of security needs to stop. Doing something that will actually result in detecting problems before they cause injury, death or property damage would be a better choice... in my opinion.

    Something EVERYONE can and should do is take a quick minute to drop an email to their congressman/woman and senators asking them to rattle some cages at TSA and encourage some actual "Critical Thinking" instead of "knee jerk" reactions.

    If you don't know how to reach your elected officials... you can enter your ZIP code in the form on this page http://capwiz.com/moaa/dbq/officials/ and you will be presented links to your reps. Now... get busy and "Get 'er Done!"

  34. Randy,

    In reading I had one thought. Who in government cares? The truth is they want us to think they care and are doing all they can to make us safe when in fact they are making us more vulverable. When we focus all our security on one means of travel that leaves all the over means wide open. So the true question is what is next. Maybe he to prove that we are not as secure as the government led us to believe. Then again they are so busy putting blame instead of really addressing the problem and finding a solution that makes true sense of the situation. Good view of the real aspect of flying and the hassles anyone who used the plane will have to face. Maybe if we all ban together and say that we want things this way and no more fees and to strike the airlines they will then use common sense and do the smart thing, provided they know what that is.

    Becky

  35. This is why I love you Randy, despite everything... 😉

    "As you have all heard by now, a Delta/ NWA plane was the target of an attempted bombing on board by a Nigerian man whose father warned the US Embassy in Lagos. The US did nothing to stop him.

    The 23-year-old claimed to be a member of Al Qaeda and trained in a camp in Yemen. He waited until the plane was already descending to land before setting off an incendiary device that should have been detected by security in Amsterdam where the plane originated.

    After the man set himself on fire, he was catatonic and did not react to the severe burns on his body. This is evidence of deep mind-control and going into a deep altered state.

    This was once again a set-up to control air traffic, enforce more restrictions and possibly target more countries as needing "cleansing" from fundamentalist Islamic ideas."

  36. RG - Great critical thinking skills in writing this piece. I have had many of the same thoughts and wondered why others have not discussed this stuff!

    Totally reactive security measures . . . it's crazy!

    I totally agree - put in place the practical measures and quit all this silly stuff. It's only a show for people to think they're safe, but with doing the practical things you listed we truly would be safer.

    ~ Dorene Pierceall

    p.s. Have you ever thought of running for office? We need some practical, critical thinkers.

  37. Great piece Randy....No 1 priority ...get people thinking for themselves....critically and laterally.....
    Thanks will share your blog.
    love Angie :))

  38. Love it, glad to see someone was thinking like I have been...I have been 'ranting' to all my clients on how silly the system is! Hmm, no passport and his dad called to report him...let's let him on the plane anyway...morons!

  39. Why do we assume he had the explosives on him when he went through security? Has anyone considered that the explosives could have been planted on the plane by someone at the airport and picked up by him?

    Why did the media initially automatically assume that there was a passenger with a bomb on the second flight the next day when all it was a passenger who was ill in the toilet?

    Why? Who? What? Where? When? How? The answer is in the questions!

  40. Reminds me of the horror book I could not bear to read: The Dumbing Down of America, by a real teacher. I downloaded the book, and tried to read it, but I could not move past a few paragraphs, much less a chapter, because the thought of those poor kids growing up brainwashed into non-thinking gave me nightmares and I stopped.
    I hated communists and socialists. I found this book by a professor, he wrote about each evil book and how they caused untold horrors on this planet. He wrote about the real people behind the evil books and why they wrote them. It helps me understand the evil books, and how those books twisted people inside-out, like Hubble did with his silly scientology, I found some texts that proves Hubble took from brainwashing stuff and black magic stuff and twisted it all into scientology, a device to make money for him, by changing people into something bad. Real sick stuff. So I tracked down and find a few books, the best is Harry Browne, wonderful, and I embraced Libertarianism and prosperity thinking, Randy's influence, from his book, Why You're Dumb, Sick and Broke, this was great, causes me to get up off my arse and work on my Starscapes Starbiz, it's a long way from being saleable but I am getting there, just a matter of getting the right technique in painting the stars, practice practice practice... I found Sandy Forter's How to be Wildly Wealthy and her book is amazing as well, so many technqiues to practice prosperity thinking, it's great. I love all this prosperity thinking, anyway...
    Like the beautiful sci-fi short story, The Marching Morons just keeps on marching. The only way to stop breeding more morons is to teach and teach and teach, no matter what. Teach our children, teach their friends if they're interested, and reminds them that the horror of being dumb is the fact that dumbness actually decrease enjoyment of life, happiness and wealth. So thinking is very important to live better, prosper better, and of course, have better health than the bandage solution that the government/s thinks they can provide.
    Morons thinks they're heroes, the problem is, they can only see their own imaginary heroism inside their own heads, they just don't realised that no one can see their so-called heroism. What a bunch of morons!
    I see it in action here. I pity these poor deluded fools, but they are to be treated most carefully. Like the Bolsheviks morons who murdered my grandfather's family at his Belarus family estate when he was ten, they too thought they was trying to create a better world. Poor deluded fools, they was lied to, too. There is no such thing as better world or utopia. No such thing at all. It's all a figment of delusion conjured up by some sick brains. And yet these morons still insists there must be a way to make this planet better. There is no way it can be done, ever. Pol Pot didn't work. Hitler didn't work. Stalin didn't work. So many other dicators, et al, didn't work.
    To make a better world, each of us must make a choice, to be selfish, and that is the only choice, a great better choice, look after ourselve, and when we can afford it we can help anyone who asks for it, not force ourselves on those who don't want it. This is pure common sense. I would like to ask for help only when I need it, not by force. I would rather fight and die than live in slavery in some so-called "safe" place that they deign to put me into. I will make my own decisions based on my needs, my wants, my desires, nothing else.
    I am deaf, and I think for myself. Live Long and Prosper, Libertarian forever!

  41. Where does Socialism lead to? Just look at Venezuela's dictator Hugo Chávez. An oil rich country should be doing well however Chavez is moving even further to control all industry.

  42. Lagos is in Africa and Africa is a problem...common sense does not prevail there...could education (or the lack thereof) be the cause? They are so used to destroy what was built up over hundreds of years, why would they worry about "security" at the airports.....

  43. I should add that there's the health bit that is missing from most foods, and I believed that people are what they eat. Get it?
    Most foods are devoid of the right mineral make-up. If any of you know of Dr Maynard Murray, then you'd know that most foods that the industrial farming created are devoid of minerals, barely any there, looks good on the outside but empty of about 95% of minerals that are absent from the soils. This in turn created such a hidden hunger in a great mass of people that they developed diseases that have not been seen before a hundred or so years ago, before the industrial age. I firmly believed that empty foods causes so much unneccessary suffering on billions of people and the worse of it is that dumb people are actually thinking that these foods are normal.
    In my eight-years of private research, I came across Alternative Health all the way from Natural Hygiene to the best solution I ever found for healing the body and giving it what it wanted all along, Organic minerals that the body can actually use. Inorganic minerals are a waste of time. The body cannot use Inorganic minerals. The minerals need carbon to make it useable by our bodies. So most foods are useless. My plan involves using Dr Maynard Murray's method. Ocean minerals, put into the soils, grow your own vegies, and those vegies, you take their seeds and do the same, as many generations as possible, to get the best, strongest, healthiest seeds there is, and after a few generations you'll get some vegies that are so full of minerals, just like the ones our grandparents ate that makes them strong and healthy. Here's a titbit: eat them mixed and chunky, like Roger Haeske's Savory Vegie Stews, which I always do every day, and in a week or so, your body will be less hungry for minerals, you'll be eating smaller meals and spaced about six meals per day, and your body will heal any mineral-deficiencies it created from years of variable empty foods that you body was trying to tell you it wants simple foods packed full of minerals that the dumb farmers were too lazy to put pack into their soils...
    So my plan is to get rich with my Starscapes Starbiz, get my own place, grow my own foods, and I'll never eat crap every again. I'm so hungry for real foods and as no one cared a damn, so I am selfish about my own life, health and wellbeing, so I am doing this, as I have been doing this for a long time. I never bothered to listen to anyone who says this cannot be done. Rubbish. How do they know it cannot be done? Have they tested it? Have they TRIED? I doubt it. They just do not have enouch capacity in their heads to think it through, as I have all these years. I find a problem, I turn around and find a solution, no matter how long it takes, how much it costs, or whether it works. Who cares? All I need to know is, has anyone done it? If so, can I find the info about it? IF not, then I'll do it. No one will, so I might as well try it. No worries.
    When I can give my body what it wanted all along, the real organic minerals, then I can use the StemEnhance to help my body heal even more than before. All I want is to try this method. No one will help me do this. So I do it. I can do this. It's my life. I never bother with doctors and dentists, they won't support my ideas, so they can bugger off. I look after myself. To hell with them. Crom! This is all I want. No one can stop me from achieving my goals. No one. Ever. This I promise.
    And I believed that the morons, they're eating empty foods and thinks they're healthy and well. Hah! It's so easy to see, the way they talk and acts, very moronic, by their actions, they speak louder, proclaiming that they're MORONS, living very moronic lives, and trying to make everyone the same like them. No wonder Macdonalds are alive and well and turning everyone into morons. No wonder they're protected. I believe it is a crime to give empty foods full of nothing but poisons and toxins and who-knows-what. I never touch those stuff in years, not since I vomits up the ugly burger after a bite when I was 19, and that was in 1989, a long time ago. Ug, I can remember the taste. Yuk!
    And I believed that the morons are created by empty foods. That's what they are, empty people eating empty foods with empty heads and empty hearts. What a bunch of morons! Poor saps! Poor deluded effwits!
    And my deaf people actually thinks these hearings are s-m-a-r-t! Makes me laugh fit to bust. I could not disabuse them of this notion. Weird. I'm the only deaf who read all my life, and these deafs would not believe me when I say hearings are all different, with different levels of intelligent, not just IQ or whatever those are. Crazy. Oh man. It blows my mind, just thinking of that, remembering what they say. They would say it in a hush voice, (in signs), believing with all their heart, that ALL hearings are so s-m-a-r-t! Oh Christ, what could I say? I had to walk away. I could no more scream and yell and get through than whisper, oh well, there was nothing else I could do. They was brainwashed. I don't know who started all that "hearings people are so s-m-a-r-t!" crap. I think maybe several generations long, since the first deafs started signing, I'd think. Oh well. Never mind all that. The point is, I don't believed all hearings are smart, I believed all are different, different levels of smartness, intelligence, and so on, and all are impossible to grade, and put on some kind of silly chart like those IQ crap. Each of us are smart in our own way and that's all there is to it. Morons wastes time trying to classify everything and keep everything just so, and that doesn't work in real life. Crazy morons. Stupid bunch of control freaks. As if they got real control in their own lives they have to turn around and try to control us all. Morons are real boring anyway. I got better things to do. I just know that morons are mineral-deficient in some way, to explain their crazy control-freak need, real sick bunch of people. Poor saps!

  44. I haven't flown since May of 2000 and bought my passport a couple years ago. I live in the U.S. by the way! I have always had very limited assurance from anything the U.S. Government decides to do for the benefit of it's citizens. After reading this blog, I'm not so sure I want to take a trip. I would like to think there is still some intelligent life out there. Yes, critical thinking is essential for everyone's well being, maybe they should put signs up at the Airports that say just that!

  45. Randy:

    I reference to you blog “Death of critical thinking”. Bravo, I am glad to see someone out there is getting it. I am an antiterrorism specialist for the government. I can tell you that no one listens to us. There are numerous ways to counter terrorism but the government doesn’t really want to counter it. Why? There too many political buddies making too much money. The entire TSA thing is eye wash set up to make the ding dongs feel “safe”. I used to be on an assessment team that traveled around the world assisting government entities improve there security posture. You would think that in today’s world they would be somewhat squared away, wrong. And what is even more frustrating is that when we would comeback three or four years later nothing had changed, even though we are spending billions to “improve” security. Humm, wonder why???

  46. Hey guys.

    I am all for security and keeping everyone safe, but I have been a strong opponent of the TSA system as it is. All the TSA has done is create a false sense of security. I feel that people have settled into their comfort zone. If it doesn't drastically effect someone's personal life then people seem to accept without questioning and say "that's just the way it is."

    While the TSA may have taken most of Randy's post, I feel it was just the example and the main topic we should be discussing is our critical, rational thinking.

    Take for example the business we are in..... Network Marketing. We know that this business is the fairest way for anybody to attain true wealth. Rationally it all makes sense, but why are so many people so closed minded when it comes to listening to an amazing opportunity presented to them?

    I saw the movie "Up in the Air" this past weekend, and one line that George Clooney's character said made the entire movie for me.

    "HOW MUCH DID YOU JOB OFFER YOU TO FORGET YOU DREAMS?"

  47. Thinking, for ourselves, not just critically, but at all, is not quite dead, but it certainly does seem to be discouraged - especially regarding "security". Few, if any, "security" measures result in ANY increased "safety". They mainly just create inconvenience - and greater control by a few over the majority who were never a "threat" to begin with. Few REAL "threats" by the determined are "stopped" or "deterred". The average person and "system" is in many respects probably more, rather than less, vulnerable and "at risk" than ever before - despite what many may "think".

    Emphasizing WHAT to think rather than HOW seems especially ironic (and potentially dangerous) when those we are being told and taught to fear do NOT think at all like those who seek to "think" for the rest of us - if we allow them to. It is not only WHAT and HOW people think that differs, but WHY, WHEN and WHERE. Context and perspective need to be considered (as do most assumptions and expectations) for things to make sense.

    As emotions increase, the ability to think (clearly) inevitably tends to decrease. The primary characteristic of "terrorism" is FEAR rather than actual attacks or other acts resulting in death and destruction. Far more disruptive and harmful than taking direct action is simply manipulating others' imaginations - and allowing them to scare themselves (and those around them) as our government agencies (and their policies and procedures) so often do. "Theirs is not to reason why, but to do and die."

    Don't blame the TSA, the President (current or former), or any "terrorists" (foreign or domestic) for what happens at airports (or anywhere else). Check your premise. Passenger acceptance and compliance allow and perpetuate much of the thinking and behavior associated with air travel - and "homeland security".

  48. The one thing that you failed to mention in this whole situation is that the plane did not originate in the US and the person got the PETN at an Amsterdam airport. Where was the airport security in Amsterdam in order to prevent this from happening where it took the inability of the terrorist of using PETN and two passengers to subdue him? That's real critical thinking.

  49. Dumbness is not an american prived issue.
    Here in Brazil some security measures have been taken; and many simply are not considered.
    Can you immagine the air security staff take your 1 inch blade Swiss Folding knife (that one which has a little scissor) and allow you to use a 7 inch extremely sharp knife to cut meat inside the VIP rooms AFTER check in?
    So.
    Welcome to rain critical thinkingless world.

  50. If we see some bad things happen, the most important is to do good things to counterbalance it. More good you spread, more people become better, smarter and more will resist such things and create a new atmosphere of the prosperity which will change lives. So we need to change ourselves to be good, smart, prosperous to be able spreading all the best we can to other people to help them change themselves, and together we can do the world better. But we always need to develop ourselves and to communicate to create powerful society of free-thinking, prosperous people. Let's do it!

    Klym Nikiforov.

  51. Well that last question "Is there anyone left in government with any critical thinking ability?" has been easy to answer for some time. NO!!!
    The problem is the government is no longer run by people but politicians. Most of them have been in politics since dinosaurs wandered the earth. When I hear politicians say, "Hey, that guy can't run for office he doesn't have any experience." I say that's the kind of guy we need. The country does not need to be run by experienced politicians with hands in so many pockets it ain't funny. This country needs to be run by real thinking business people and it needs to be run like the real business it is. Just a not for profit business. Can anyone say TERM LIMITS? Do your service for your state or country and then get back in the real world and work like real people again. The thinking people who actually have uncommon sense.

  52. Do you really think that terrorism is a real thing? There are no terrorists in your country, as in mine. (I'm from Russia). Think about why, when there are terrorist attacks in your country, your government immediately finds out that threat comes from countries with no stable economic situation, but in this country has oil and gas. When the enemy 'selected' Your president says beautiful speech (I mean Bush) .... We are the greatest country, and we will not allow us to do so .... We must put an end to terrorism. After that, the U.S. Army does with Afghanistan, I think your country is a threat to all people living in it, and people around the world.
    In Russia, just as bad, just the people starts complaining about the fact that stifle free speech as there is something that will explode under the pretext of terrorism, banned express their thoughts in hearing (an exaggerated example, but the essence of hope is clear) (Sorry for my English, translated all in Google)

  53. Great article Randy and you are absolutely correct on the lack of critical thinking issue. Interestingly, I recently watched a presentation by Sir Ken Robinson on the TED.com website about schools killing creativity in children (well worth a watch) which endorses and possibly partly explains the dire situation we are in these days. With reference to the security issue, until the US and other western administrations (especially the UK) apply some real radical thinking, you can only see the situation getting worse. After 9/11 George Bush and Tony Blair had the opportunity to become two of the greatest human beings on this earth by opening dialogue and at least start trying to understand the thinking of the muslim world. Instead they demonstrated that they were warmongers of the worst kind and no better than the people they were codemning. Everyone knows that an eye for eye mentality means that we all finish up blind. I realise that it is not that simplistic but we do have some great role models to follow. The examples of Ghandi and more recently Mandela show that violence does not achieve the longer term good that we should all be striving for.

    As you say in your article nothing has radically changed since 9/11 except that politicians through stupid knee jerk reactions to certain events have made things worse, and they they have the gall to call this progress !!!!

    John Leach

  54. I just traveled from Sydney to Wellington las week. The security lady took my tooth paste and hair gel and threw them into the bin. (I forgot to put them in my check-in). But still it's freakin crazy what am I going to do with tooth paste???? "Everybody get down! I got tooth paste!! and I aint afraid to use it!" It's all money down the toilet and a waste of time if you ask me.

  55. Hats off to you Randy for standing up and saying it like it really is. I pay for my son to go to a private school where they are taught to think thier way through problems in every area. This is one financial struggle we will continue to take on because it is so important to teach our kids how to think.

    I also beleive we should take all the video games and throw them out too. My son does not have a DS, WII, PS3, XBOX, and I don't see him having one until he can afford to buy is own, and I ppray he won't want one by then. I see him being able to take paper and tape and create things that other children just can't begin to imagine let alone think of how to do it. Those games just keep putting things in front of the kids where they don't have to imagine, create, or think. Yes I do realize they have to think of pushing button A ore B, but it is not critial think, these kids can not think thier way of paper bags.

    I have some much respect for those teachers out there who are going against the norm and teaching kids to think. I thank you for your efforts I wish there were more of you. I was checking out schools and was so disappointed to see that no child could see it differently than the teacher told them to. What a sad state we have let our country go to. Yes we have let it go there, if you decide to run for office Randy you have our votes!

    Thanks for not being afraid to speak up!
    Shari

  56. BRAVO !!! BRAVO !!!
    Excellent post, Randy! As I was reading your post and your readers responses, I kept wondering, Why??? How did the most powerful country on the planet end up in such a HUGE mess?? It appears that most of your followers/readers ARE critical thinkers, so I'm certain there are MANY more of us out there. Yet, where are the critical thinkers in Washington, DC ?? We elect or re-elect career politicians...pretty "plum" job, if you have enough campaign $$$ to get there. And the benefits, WOE, are outrageous. Who is responsible??
    Are we?? Look at the voting records from the last decade or two!!

    Critical thinking in schools is almost laughable! There are a few exceptions, however, we don't generally hear about those. It is a "dumbing down of America!" Teachers need passing test scores from the children, period!! It's SUPER critical for their job, for Federal dollars, etc. Our children deserve BETTER and so does our country.

    Great comments on this post!! Should you decide to start a "Critical Thinking Movement"....count me in!!
    Now, if we could just get the rest of America to read this post.....

  57. Country is not led by morons. You have to understand their job is to lead the majority! Randy your point is taken; however, always going against the grain will bring the minority not the "Rock Stars". Going with the flow will bring the majority! Unfortunately!

    still a Fan

    Matt and Court

  58. Randy, consider the motivation for NOT admitting the truth and for NOT being competent at ending terrorism. Cowards, enablers and fools crave to cave in to the monsters in the baseless hope that the toe-licking will prevent personal attacks ("let some other jerk too stupid to toe-lick die instead of me").

    Yes it is blatantly clear that ONLY muslimomaniacs, not feeble grandmothers, not kids hopping on 1 leg cuz they need the toilet, not chilly or nursing moms under modest blankets, want to kill millions of defenseless innocents at random. But THE DEFENSELESS INNOCENTS are easy to manipulate whereas psychopaths are not. So, the cowards, enablers and fools corral mommies, grammas and kids to let the blow-my-butt-off bombers fly without much fuss, hoping to ingratiate themselves with the power-brokers setting mass murderers on public pathways.

    See http://blog.cagle.com/2010/01/01/underwear-bombers/, laugh, then sigh and weep for the masses who desperately need competent leadership capable of ending air piracy. Think of Somali ship pirates in the skies and you get the picture. Law-abiding people are being abused before they ever book a ticket to fly. So is everyone on the ground, in the air and wherever terrorists care to strike next.

    Mass murderers deserve no second chances. Herd them out of civilized areas, never permit their entry for any reason (they lie a lot to facilitate mass murder) and let them kill each other in Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, UAE, Pakistan, wherever they come from. NOT HERE!

  59. Actually - more important than better screening of luggage and such is PROFILING FOR INTENT. Pay attention to:
    1) the person
    2) the person's face and body language generally
    3) the person's face and body language when asked the usual questions

    I've been stopped and patted down at a small US airport twice only because I am a single woman traveling alone to the Middle East... they profiled me (wrongly, I might add) but let Middle Eastern-looking men & women in all sorts of garb with briefcases and such waltz passed without so much as a second glance!

    I realized quickly that the TSA people doing the checking had no clue what they were doing, and said so loudly while being patted down publicly at the gate - I would NOT allow them to take me into a small room for this...

    When TSA agents harass old women and children and let obviously potential terrorists go passed, there is more than the problem of not thinking going on. The entire US mindset is screwed up royally these days - primarily by that idiot in the WH and those who insist on following him.

  60. By the way - what we have to remember is this:

    It's not the stuff that blows up the aircraft - it's the person (or people) handling the stuff that does it.

    Which is why PROFILING FOR INTENT is more important than checking shoes and cosmetics....

  61. "zeek hile"?????? Your obvious knowledge of the German language most likely matches your acute depth and insights into the National Socialist party and their doctrine. It’s such a cope out to call whatever you disagree with fascism or Nazi – no matter what your political bent. It is a particular group in history that has nothing to do with people agreeing or not agreeing with your rant about Critical Thinking. By the way, if you stuck to Critical Thinking components would take your message more seriously.

  62. In what some in the White House are calling a “win/win” solution to the nation’s airport security and health care reform problems, starting next month U. S. airports will begin conducting full body scans that will double as annual physical checkups.

    President Obama announced the breakthrough solution, telling reporters, “With this all-purpose exam, we will be able to find everything from a hidden weapon to a spot on your lung.”

    After scanning a passenger, Mr. Obama said, “We will either give you a clean bill of health or wrestle you to the ground.”

    The President added that instituting the body scan/checkup could ward off some terrorists right from the start, “because a lot of them will balk at the $25 co-pay.”

    But according to Davis Logsdon, who studies terrorism and health care reform at the University of Minnesota, the body scans may attract more terrorists than they deter: “If there’s one complaint that terrorists have about al-Qaeda it’s that they have lousy benefits.”

    ~ Andy Borowitz (The Borowitz Report)

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  • 84 comments on “The Death of Critical Thinking”

    1. This was a great read Mr. Gage. Unfortunately, you are right that this country is led by morons and that's not going to change because they get put into office by more morons that don't know what they are voting for. These "security measures" are a waste of resources, as you so well pointed out. Then look at all the extra fees that are added into our ticket prices for security. Somewhere between 25%-35% of the ticket price is fees and taxes. How does this help the airline industry? It doesn't! Thanks for pointing out the fact that many people simply don't think for themselves and that it is damaging every part of this country's industries.

    2. Randy, you are right on. Unfortunately, in this day and age, you are considered unpatriotic or unamerican if you don't agree with the government line.

    3. Randy, very well written!

      At the begining of every school year my daughter has to go through this process with each new teacher. The teacher will ask a question and my daughter being my daughter will voice her out of box opinion (very respectfully, of course!) but the teachers can't deal with a child knowing how to think. They knock her, knock her, knock her, and only when i get onto the phone and point out to the teacher-"Ma'am do you realize you are arguing with a nine year old? Why do her opinions bother you? It's not like she is misbehaving" Only after that phone call do they back off-somewhat.

      Then, the same teachers go around saying, oh, there is no creativity left. Children don't know how to think. Um, have you looked in the mirror? Do you let children think? Teach them that thinking out of the box is ok?

      Don't get me wrong. I myself am a school teacher and have won several awards (pat, pat) for my outstanding methods. But quite frankly, all i do is challenge my students to think and be responsible for their own actions-as my Rabbi Randy has taught me, no victims!

    4. Awesome! I love you!

      You know - it feels like they're putting up cotton wool balls around people that get in the way rather than have anything effective to contribute.

      Many years ago I attended a school in the US for a day. I was horrified - metal detectors???? For WHAT???? In South Africa and the rough East End of London where I worked in schools I'd never seen anything like it. Yet what I found was so funny/shocking is that I saw I boy in front of me getting a friend to distract the guard so he could throw his bag with a weapon in it AROUND the metal detector!!!! So he STILL got his gun/knife into the school! If people REALLY want to do something, they will find a way.

      The government and TSA's new rules are like my teacher when I was 11: if one person didn't do their homework EVERYONE in the class got hit or punished in some way. It was abusive, and heavy handed, and completely unneccessary. I went to him and told him that hitting me wouldn't get someone else to do their homework. That if he couldn't think of creative strategies to get someone to do their homework it was HIS problem, and he shouldn't make it mine.

      I so hope they admit their mistake... and wake up to their over-parenting. Just because they were under-aware in detecting and preventing this... does mean now that they should lead to the otherside of the fence and be over-zealous with their controls that are ridiculous.

    5. The airlines must have gotten more planes in the air the last year. This will further reduce the passenger load and number of flights so no new airports will be needed in the next century. Everyone knows global warming will also benefit from fewer planes in the air. I think you are too nice comparing the TSA as somehow equivalent to other similar agencies around the world. While I do not fly as often as you I have enough air time in and out of the USA to say TSA is the worst run organization of people who couldn't be hired at McDonald's. They must pass a personality profile designed to insure they are the most unfriendly dimwitted people on earth. If the usual career path is used, where the most incompetent are advanced to where they can do the most damage I see no reason for any improvement in the next decade regardless who is the pretender in chief of the USA. A country deserves who they vote for.

      This is the same group who is going to take over US health care too. You think flying has gotten bad...

    6. Lets not forget in this latest attempt the terrorist purchased his ticket with cash and was flying internationally without any luggage ... and now the government is poised to takeover our health care system in America.

    7. Amen! As someone who travels LOTS (although, mercifully, less than Randy) I can tell you that the TSA is all but worthless. Trying to make us FEEL safe, without actually making us safe. Treating us like morons is not the answer.

    8. All the more reason my son is in a small Christian school where independent thought is valued and encouraged. His teacher encourages the kids to think, not just to memorize. I thank God every day I have the means to send him there. Our public education system is failing miserably thanks to the machine that is the NEA. God bless you for spreading the word and seeing the idiocy we are surrounded with in the name of big brother taking care of us!!!

    9. Hey Randy, great article. I have been saying this for years since I was in the building business. Common sense has left almost every office of government. Nothing can get done and then when something happens, guys like us get all of the crap and the real criminals and terrorists still get by. Somehow we as Americans have to come together and take control again and minimize government to the point of where our forefathers meant for government to be. Common Sense and critical thinking have to become a part of culture again. Thanks again Randy for being right on.

    10. Well stated RG.

      Critical thinking has left the building. It was the action not of a bureaucratic maze that stopped the latest attack. It was the decisive action of some brave souls that dare to attack him and and stop is cowardly attempt. American rugged individualism once more served the greater good -- NOT THE GOVERNMENT.

      Unfortunately, posting here you are likely preaching to the choir -- I'm sure everyone of your readers would have mopped the plane floor with the loser.

    11. GREAT post!

      Excellent book to read is "How to Think Like Einstein," it's entertaining and teaches thinking creatively and critically. The author has the right idea in making the book workable for folks who are typically strong left-brained thinkers.

      Sorry, that's me once again with my left brain/right brain fascination.

      The author is Thorpe, if I recall correctly.

    12. Common sense dictates that curling up into a ball and throwing up defenses (whether for show or for real) is no way to deal with a threat to our safety. There's a reason why siege warfare is so effective - defenses eventually and inevitably fail. And, of course, the "stronger" the defenses, the greater the psychological blow when those defenses give way.

      We cannot ensure the safety of our people by withdrawing into ourselves. We cannot protect ourselves with metal detectors and x-ray machines. We protect ourselves by honestly identifying the threat, then neutralizing it - not by waging a misguided war that merely results in needlessly lost lives on both sides.

      Fighting terrorism is not a war of technology; it is a war of ideology. Our beliefs either allow us to fight and win the war, or they doom us to hide and lose.

    13. if the TSA and Homeland Secruity are doing such a great job at our borders and keeping our country safer than why has there not been a decrease in the amount of drugs getting into this country. What a waste of money.

    14. Great work Randy and of course your loyal followers will rejoice in the preciseness of your words.
      question: so how are you going to get this in front of those who 'will' actually do something about it?

    15. Great read! Unfortunately it is too true that critical thinking skills are becoming a lost art. I found it amazing that I did not have a critical thinking course until I was in graduate school, and even then it was not mandatory. It goes well beyond government officials and is evident throughout our society. The garbage and straight out fallacies that are on cable news, blogs, op-ed pieces is amazing, and even more amazing is how many people take it as factual.

    16. >>American rugged individualism once more served the greater good

      Except the hero was European. And they're supposed to be the girly men. Not this time

    17. Great article, Randy! And apparently it's not enough that everyone has to be inconvenienced for no reason. They can't even be pleasant about it. On my last trip (Orlando to LA), I was selected in Orlando for additional screening. No idea why. While the TSA agent started looking through my bag, I went to a bench about 20 ft away to put my shoes back on. When I looked up, the agent said, "Can I search your bag or not?" I said, "Sure, go ahead." (Was I going to stop him?) He says, "You have to stand here and watch." Uh, OK. So I stand there. He didn't like my expression so he starts threatening to get the supervisor, move out of the security area to some back room, etc. He confiscated a small bottle of shampoo and tube of toothpaste. And now the world is a much safer place.

    18. Great post Randy! As stated by several others; the lack of critical thinking effects most aspects of all of our lives. I was just watching the news (something that I rarely do) and was expressing many of the same concerns that you so clearly brought up. I almost shut that damn TV off when a clip showed Janet Napolitano saying that everything worked like it should (or something to that effect), I just hate it when people talk out of both sides of their mouths!

      My question is; what is stopping people from taking meaningful action? For me, I wouldn't know where to start! We live in a world that is very misguided. I recall that our forefathers left their homeland because it was all [email protected]#$d up, but we have no undiscovered country to conquer. So someone help me here...where do you start?

      I know I'm rambling on and probably not making a whole lot of sense...but I am frustrated, afraid for my children, and worried about the future.

    19. LOVE IT!!!! Right on point... I could not agree more! Randy you need to take over! Put some critical thinking back in the system. If you took over, I would feel safer. Just let me keep my blanket and pillow, and if I have to potty please let me do that too...

      😉 Jamie

    20. Wow Randy, you have enough material here for at least 3 more Die Hard movies! Better not let the TSA see this or you might get flagged, lol. Very good points though, I agree completely.

    21. Randy,

      I am not against education, merely the farce that it has become.

      I have noticed that many academics do not think outside the box and are a different kind of stupid from your average Jerry Springer fan.

      Melissa,

      I am so happy you have the balls to be a real teacher. We need more of you.

      As for security- it's all a farce to make people feel safe and vote for candidate X in the next election.

      The best way to take away someone's rights is to claim they are protecting their freedom while destroying it.

      As for corporations... corporations, when used effectively can be tools that can benefit mankind.

      I have had the pleasure of knowing many different kinds of people in my life- rich, middle class and poor, and I do not understand why people think "rich people are evil" and are going out of their way to exploit everyone.

      I know some of them are crooked, but crookedness knows no boundaries.

      -TE

    22. Randy, great read..My question is how do we get through the line of bull that we are bombarded with to actually make a correct decision when electing our government officials. I know alot are appointed but those making the appointments aren't helping.. I heard a older gentleman make a comment just a few weeks ago and he said that its time to replace all of those who are serving in elected positions ( i know there are some who do great things) and start over maybe its time that we all look really hard at the upcoming elections and get involved and elect people who will serve the people ( all people) and get us back on the right path...

    23. Well I don't believe that everyone in the government is a moron. I also don't believe that you can rationalize or sign peace treaties with people (terriorists) that are below integrity. You also can't stoop down to their level and blow them and/or their countries up. So what's left? My guess is stenthening your country's protection. I'm not saying that this is the answer, only that I understand what the government is up against.

    24. I wish I had a teacher in school that gave a damn.

      That is AWESOME!!!!

      One thing though, that agrivates me... Something that came to mind a month back... is that my boss, the Store Manage (who does the least he possibly can in the store) makes $62,000 a year + bonuses... It made me sick to think that he, who basically has little to nothing that he contributes to the company.. makes almost double if not more than double the anual income of the most important people in our society (in my opinion) our school teachers.

      Just a thought....

      Keep up the good work. It is really refreshing to hear hear your story.

      😉 Jamie

    25. If you are expecting even an ounce of critical thinking from
      Washington, you will be sadly disappointed. I don't usually fly and with all this security I will stick to other methods of travel.

    26. Randy, your blog is dead on correct. Thanks for posting common sense. Its seems there is none in Washington D.C. and I'm quite sure there will be some real suprises coming for Democrats and Republicans alike starting in 2010.

    27. One thing that has not been mentioned yet is that this Terrorist originated from the Lagos, Nigeria airport onto a KLM flight. Lagos is known to have scant security measures in the first place. So Lagos is an easy way to enter the international air travel system. Once you land in Schipol-Amsterstam you could continue on your itinerary on a NWA-Delta codeshare flight on the ticket your purchased in Lagos without the security hassels you'd experience from trying to board the same flight in either Detroit or Amsterdam. If an airport like Lagos is found to be so deficient in security then all passengers and their luggage originating from Lagos should be rechecked by security upon arrival to the the next airport. This would motivate Lagos to stop being so permissive when it comes to security.

    28. Yes indeed Randy,

      As a parent of two small boys (age 2 & 4), my wife and I are constantly allowing our boys the opportunity to "Think" on their own. If more parents gave this opportunity to their children we would have a world of thinkers in a couple decades. Better to start NOW then never.

      The Accelerator for Success system using the Dream Bar Cafe Principles teaches people the critical ways to think - just like Ayn Rand did in her writings. It is one system that people can model using this framework to teach critical thinking.

      Here's to an empowered 2010!

      Bill Covert

    29. i can't help wondering why people even need this post, randy. it is spot on, obviously, and kudoes for saying it, but how come it needs to be said? can this really be news to anyone?

      i must admit it's sick, but the first thought that flashed through my mind when i heard about this nigerian bomber, was that he was probably paid by some US institute cos there hasn't been a fright lately and people need to be brought back in line lest they stop being afraid. the twin towers were demolished from the inside out. ever seen the way the buildings fold? once you have, you can't doubt it. but it is just too horrible to acknowledge that people in our own governments and in high up places where responsible for the deaths of so many people. so it's easier to pretend it was a foreign country nobody can remember the name of, and build an entire war around it to keep people looking the other way.

      ah, but of course, no government would ever do that, would they?

      the moment you can conceive in your mind the unthinkable, (this being: the existence of a single individual who is both willing and able to make a small group of people get on board of a plane in order to wipe out various buildings with, inside of them, thousands of people,) is it really such a leap of imagination to think said person was an american?

      D.B.

    30. There are some interesting notions here. They'd have more impact if they'd been proofread and edited before posting. There are punctuation problems -- missing commas, incorrect use of the semicolon -- that detract from your message. Also, when you wrote "Remember Richard Reid, the infamous shoe bomber? You know why that plot didn’t work? Because he was an idiot and could figure out how to operate his BIC lighter," did you mean he could not figure out how to operate his BIC lighter, or that he could figure out how to operate his BIC lighter despite being an idiot?

    31. Unfortunately, when a politician hits a certain level of government, they are required to sell their soul, and brains.

      I'm not a teacher, in the traditional sense of the word, but I am, most likely, my children's most influential teacher.

      I take it upon myself to teach my children how to think critically and either fortify their brains against or take the time to undo the pablum teachings of the common public school teacher. (Now, not ALL teachers are about conforming children, but the good majority).

      With my oldest still only in 1st grade, I have already been witness to the dummy them down, squelch their creativity, and what do you mean your child isn't on ADD drugs yet mentality of the public school system.

      Needless to say, it's horrifying at best.

      The pressure to conform to the joe six pack thought process is overwhelming and only the strong survive.

      Luckily, we can come together in such an arena and be reminded that there are others who are awake, and there is hope.

      Thanks, RG...

      In Gratitude,

      Jhanna Dawson

    32. OMG - so freakin' true it hurts. Thanks Randy for being the voice of reason. I would add that in order to be safer in the air - we will have to put up with being inconvenienced on the ground. Long waits to board each and every plane. Follow the lead of the Israelis. Every bag - searched by hand. I am sure they don't allow cargo or anything they can't search on passenger flights. They take security very seriously - and with good reason.

      You are right - we have been numbed into thinking we're safe - when all we are doing is putting a band aid on a gaping wound. And wasted millions (billions) of dollars in the meantime. We are paying for a dog and pony show instead of the main attraction.

      But, making people wait for the hours it would take to hand search all the luggage for each and every plane would be out of the scope of what people are willing to tolerate. Also, there are less flights in and out of Israel every day than operate in our country - so logistically it is easier for them to implement that strategy.

      And, how do you xray cargo for plastic explosives? Wouldn't it be simpler to fly cargo on different planes - not allow it to be sent on passenger planes?

      And, with more people like you saying
      What the fuck? when our government puts out boneheaded measures like this - may create a groundswell of people who might actually get involved in creating a change and also writing our elected officials and telling them to get off their asses and initiate real measures of the TSA to keep us safer in the air.

      But, sadly, it may not ever reach that tipping point of anger until another terrorist "gets it right" and succeeds in blowing another plane out of the sky...

      As for thinking - that is one of the main reasons I am so jaded on our school system. Kids are discouraged from thinking - that would be a problem for the teachers who are trying to teach subjects to a standardized curriculum. Much easier to just fill their heads with memorized facts and spare the teachers the inconvenience of having to deal with a room full of kids who may ask questions the teacher can't address because it's not part of the "curriculum".

      Thanks for ranting and keepin' it real for me.

      Lee Ann Price

    33. It's sad and true... there are rooms full of people in Washington, D.C. making up rules fast enough to make your head spin... and their heads are in such a dark spot ( Way up there...) that they'll not likely see the light of day even in the coming year! And those suckers are in charge? Unfortunately...

      I belong to a group of retirees and we constantly write to our elected officials regarding challenges facing us... and a comment I hear ALL the time is this... If you don't tell Congress what's wrong... they're gonna think it's all OK.

      Obviously this situation of inconveniencing airline passengers in the name of security needs to stop. Doing something that will actually result in detecting problems before they cause injury, death or property damage would be a better choice... in my opinion.

      Something EVERYONE can and should do is take a quick minute to drop an email to their congressman/woman and senators asking them to rattle some cages at TSA and encourage some actual "Critical Thinking" instead of "knee jerk" reactions.

      If you don't know how to reach your elected officials... you can enter your ZIP code in the form on this page http://capwiz.com/moaa/dbq/officials/ and you will be presented links to your reps. Now... get busy and "Get 'er Done!"

    34. Randy,

      In reading I had one thought. Who in government cares? The truth is they want us to think they care and are doing all they can to make us safe when in fact they are making us more vulverable. When we focus all our security on one means of travel that leaves all the over means wide open. So the true question is what is next. Maybe he to prove that we are not as secure as the government led us to believe. Then again they are so busy putting blame instead of really addressing the problem and finding a solution that makes true sense of the situation. Good view of the real aspect of flying and the hassles anyone who used the plane will have to face. Maybe if we all ban together and say that we want things this way and no more fees and to strike the airlines they will then use common sense and do the smart thing, provided they know what that is.

      Becky

    35. This is why I love you Randy, despite everything... 😉

      "As you have all heard by now, a Delta/ NWA plane was the target of an attempted bombing on board by a Nigerian man whose father warned the US Embassy in Lagos. The US did nothing to stop him.

      The 23-year-old claimed to be a member of Al Qaeda and trained in a camp in Yemen. He waited until the plane was already descending to land before setting off an incendiary device that should have been detected by security in Amsterdam where the plane originated.

      After the man set himself on fire, he was catatonic and did not react to the severe burns on his body. This is evidence of deep mind-control and going into a deep altered state.

      This was once again a set-up to control air traffic, enforce more restrictions and possibly target more countries as needing "cleansing" from fundamentalist Islamic ideas."

    36. RG - Great critical thinking skills in writing this piece. I have had many of the same thoughts and wondered why others have not discussed this stuff!

      Totally reactive security measures . . . it's crazy!

      I totally agree - put in place the practical measures and quit all this silly stuff. It's only a show for people to think they're safe, but with doing the practical things you listed we truly would be safer.

      ~ Dorene Pierceall

      p.s. Have you ever thought of running for office? We need some practical, critical thinkers.

    37. Great piece Randy....No 1 priority ...get people thinking for themselves....critically and laterally.....
      Thanks will share your blog.
      love Angie :))

    38. Love it, glad to see someone was thinking like I have been...I have been 'ranting' to all my clients on how silly the system is! Hmm, no passport and his dad called to report him...let's let him on the plane anyway...morons!

    39. Why do we assume he had the explosives on him when he went through security? Has anyone considered that the explosives could have been planted on the plane by someone at the airport and picked up by him?

      Why did the media initially automatically assume that there was a passenger with a bomb on the second flight the next day when all it was a passenger who was ill in the toilet?

      Why? Who? What? Where? When? How? The answer is in the questions!

    40. Reminds me of the horror book I could not bear to read: The Dumbing Down of America, by a real teacher. I downloaded the book, and tried to read it, but I could not move past a few paragraphs, much less a chapter, because the thought of those poor kids growing up brainwashed into non-thinking gave me nightmares and I stopped.
      I hated communists and socialists. I found this book by a professor, he wrote about each evil book and how they caused untold horrors on this planet. He wrote about the real people behind the evil books and why they wrote them. It helps me understand the evil books, and how those books twisted people inside-out, like Hubble did with his silly scientology, I found some texts that proves Hubble took from brainwashing stuff and black magic stuff and twisted it all into scientology, a device to make money for him, by changing people into something bad. Real sick stuff. So I tracked down and find a few books, the best is Harry Browne, wonderful, and I embraced Libertarianism and prosperity thinking, Randy's influence, from his book, Why You're Dumb, Sick and Broke, this was great, causes me to get up off my arse and work on my Starscapes Starbiz, it's a long way from being saleable but I am getting there, just a matter of getting the right technique in painting the stars, practice practice practice... I found Sandy Forter's How to be Wildly Wealthy and her book is amazing as well, so many technqiues to practice prosperity thinking, it's great. I love all this prosperity thinking, anyway...
      Like the beautiful sci-fi short story, The Marching Morons just keeps on marching. The only way to stop breeding more morons is to teach and teach and teach, no matter what. Teach our children, teach their friends if they're interested, and reminds them that the horror of being dumb is the fact that dumbness actually decrease enjoyment of life, happiness and wealth. So thinking is very important to live better, prosper better, and of course, have better health than the bandage solution that the government/s thinks they can provide.
      Morons thinks they're heroes, the problem is, they can only see their own imaginary heroism inside their own heads, they just don't realised that no one can see their so-called heroism. What a bunch of morons!
      I see it in action here. I pity these poor deluded fools, but they are to be treated most carefully. Like the Bolsheviks morons who murdered my grandfather's family at his Belarus family estate when he was ten, they too thought they was trying to create a better world. Poor deluded fools, they was lied to, too. There is no such thing as better world or utopia. No such thing at all. It's all a figment of delusion conjured up by some sick brains. And yet these morons still insists there must be a way to make this planet better. There is no way it can be done, ever. Pol Pot didn't work. Hitler didn't work. Stalin didn't work. So many other dicators, et al, didn't work.
      To make a better world, each of us must make a choice, to be selfish, and that is the only choice, a great better choice, look after ourselve, and when we can afford it we can help anyone who asks for it, not force ourselves on those who don't want it. This is pure common sense. I would like to ask for help only when I need it, not by force. I would rather fight and die than live in slavery in some so-called "safe" place that they deign to put me into. I will make my own decisions based on my needs, my wants, my desires, nothing else.
      I am deaf, and I think for myself. Live Long and Prosper, Libertarian forever!

    41. Where does Socialism lead to? Just look at Venezuela's dictator Hugo Chávez. An oil rich country should be doing well however Chavez is moving even further to control all industry.

    42. Lagos is in Africa and Africa is a problem...common sense does not prevail there...could education (or the lack thereof) be the cause? They are so used to destroy what was built up over hundreds of years, why would they worry about "security" at the airports.....

    43. I should add that there's the health bit that is missing from most foods, and I believed that people are what they eat. Get it?
      Most foods are devoid of the right mineral make-up. If any of you know of Dr Maynard Murray, then you'd know that most foods that the industrial farming created are devoid of minerals, barely any there, looks good on the outside but empty of about 95% of minerals that are absent from the soils. This in turn created such a hidden hunger in a great mass of people that they developed diseases that have not been seen before a hundred or so years ago, before the industrial age. I firmly believed that empty foods causes so much unneccessary suffering on billions of people and the worse of it is that dumb people are actually thinking that these foods are normal.
      In my eight-years of private research, I came across Alternative Health all the way from Natural Hygiene to the best solution I ever found for healing the body and giving it what it wanted all along, Organic minerals that the body can actually use. Inorganic minerals are a waste of time. The body cannot use Inorganic minerals. The minerals need carbon to make it useable by our bodies. So most foods are useless. My plan involves using Dr Maynard Murray's method. Ocean minerals, put into the soils, grow your own vegies, and those vegies, you take their seeds and do the same, as many generations as possible, to get the best, strongest, healthiest seeds there is, and after a few generations you'll get some vegies that are so full of minerals, just like the ones our grandparents ate that makes them strong and healthy. Here's a titbit: eat them mixed and chunky, like Roger Haeske's Savory Vegie Stews, which I always do every day, and in a week or so, your body will be less hungry for minerals, you'll be eating smaller meals and spaced about six meals per day, and your body will heal any mineral-deficiencies it created from years of variable empty foods that you body was trying to tell you it wants simple foods packed full of minerals that the dumb farmers were too lazy to put pack into their soils...
      So my plan is to get rich with my Starscapes Starbiz, get my own place, grow my own foods, and I'll never eat crap every again. I'm so hungry for real foods and as no one cared a damn, so I am selfish about my own life, health and wellbeing, so I am doing this, as I have been doing this for a long time. I never bothered to listen to anyone who says this cannot be done. Rubbish. How do they know it cannot be done? Have they tested it? Have they TRIED? I doubt it. They just do not have enouch capacity in their heads to think it through, as I have all these years. I find a problem, I turn around and find a solution, no matter how long it takes, how much it costs, or whether it works. Who cares? All I need to know is, has anyone done it? If so, can I find the info about it? IF not, then I'll do it. No one will, so I might as well try it. No worries.
      When I can give my body what it wanted all along, the real organic minerals, then I can use the StemEnhance to help my body heal even more than before. All I want is to try this method. No one will help me do this. So I do it. I can do this. It's my life. I never bother with doctors and dentists, they won't support my ideas, so they can bugger off. I look after myself. To hell with them. Crom! This is all I want. No one can stop me from achieving my goals. No one. Ever. This I promise.
      And I believed that the morons, they're eating empty foods and thinks they're healthy and well. Hah! It's so easy to see, the way they talk and acts, very moronic, by their actions, they speak louder, proclaiming that they're MORONS, living very moronic lives, and trying to make everyone the same like them. No wonder Macdonalds are alive and well and turning everyone into morons. No wonder they're protected. I believe it is a crime to give empty foods full of nothing but poisons and toxins and who-knows-what. I never touch those stuff in years, not since I vomits up the ugly burger after a bite when I was 19, and that was in 1989, a long time ago. Ug, I can remember the taste. Yuk!
      And I believed that the morons are created by empty foods. That's what they are, empty people eating empty foods with empty heads and empty hearts. What a bunch of morons! Poor saps! Poor deluded effwits!
      And my deaf people actually thinks these hearings are s-m-a-r-t! Makes me laugh fit to bust. I could not disabuse them of this notion. Weird. I'm the only deaf who read all my life, and these deafs would not believe me when I say hearings are all different, with different levels of intelligent, not just IQ or whatever those are. Crazy. Oh man. It blows my mind, just thinking of that, remembering what they say. They would say it in a hush voice, (in signs), believing with all their heart, that ALL hearings are so s-m-a-r-t! Oh Christ, what could I say? I had to walk away. I could no more scream and yell and get through than whisper, oh well, there was nothing else I could do. They was brainwashed. I don't know who started all that "hearings people are so s-m-a-r-t!" crap. I think maybe several generations long, since the first deafs started signing, I'd think. Oh well. Never mind all that. The point is, I don't believed all hearings are smart, I believed all are different, different levels of smartness, intelligence, and so on, and all are impossible to grade, and put on some kind of silly chart like those IQ crap. Each of us are smart in our own way and that's all there is to it. Morons wastes time trying to classify everything and keep everything just so, and that doesn't work in real life. Crazy morons. Stupid bunch of control freaks. As if they got real control in their own lives they have to turn around and try to control us all. Morons are real boring anyway. I got better things to do. I just know that morons are mineral-deficient in some way, to explain their crazy control-freak need, real sick bunch of people. Poor saps!

    44. I haven't flown since May of 2000 and bought my passport a couple years ago. I live in the U.S. by the way! I have always had very limited assurance from anything the U.S. Government decides to do for the benefit of it's citizens. After reading this blog, I'm not so sure I want to take a trip. I would like to think there is still some intelligent life out there. Yes, critical thinking is essential for everyone's well being, maybe they should put signs up at the Airports that say just that!

    45. Randy:

      I reference to you blog “Death of critical thinking”. Bravo, I am glad to see someone out there is getting it. I am an antiterrorism specialist for the government. I can tell you that no one listens to us. There are numerous ways to counter terrorism but the government doesn’t really want to counter it. Why? There too many political buddies making too much money. The entire TSA thing is eye wash set up to make the ding dongs feel “safe”. I used to be on an assessment team that traveled around the world assisting government entities improve there security posture. You would think that in today’s world they would be somewhat squared away, wrong. And what is even more frustrating is that when we would comeback three or four years later nothing had changed, even though we are spending billions to “improve” security. Humm, wonder why???

    46. Hey guys.

      I am all for security and keeping everyone safe, but I have been a strong opponent of the TSA system as it is. All the TSA has done is create a false sense of security. I feel that people have settled into their comfort zone. If it doesn't drastically effect someone's personal life then people seem to accept without questioning and say "that's just the way it is."

      While the TSA may have taken most of Randy's post, I feel it was just the example and the main topic we should be discussing is our critical, rational thinking.

      Take for example the business we are in..... Network Marketing. We know that this business is the fairest way for anybody to attain true wealth. Rationally it all makes sense, but why are so many people so closed minded when it comes to listening to an amazing opportunity presented to them?

      I saw the movie "Up in the Air" this past weekend, and one line that George Clooney's character said made the entire movie for me.

      "HOW MUCH DID YOU JOB OFFER YOU TO FORGET YOU DREAMS?"

    47. Thinking, for ourselves, not just critically, but at all, is not quite dead, but it certainly does seem to be discouraged - especially regarding "security". Few, if any, "security" measures result in ANY increased "safety". They mainly just create inconvenience - and greater control by a few over the majority who were never a "threat" to begin with. Few REAL "threats" by the determined are "stopped" or "deterred". The average person and "system" is in many respects probably more, rather than less, vulnerable and "at risk" than ever before - despite what many may "think".

      Emphasizing WHAT to think rather than HOW seems especially ironic (and potentially dangerous) when those we are being told and taught to fear do NOT think at all like those who seek to "think" for the rest of us - if we allow them to. It is not only WHAT and HOW people think that differs, but WHY, WHEN and WHERE. Context and perspective need to be considered (as do most assumptions and expectations) for things to make sense.

      As emotions increase, the ability to think (clearly) inevitably tends to decrease. The primary characteristic of "terrorism" is FEAR rather than actual attacks or other acts resulting in death and destruction. Far more disruptive and harmful than taking direct action is simply manipulating others' imaginations - and allowing them to scare themselves (and those around them) as our government agencies (and their policies and procedures) so often do. "Theirs is not to reason why, but to do and die."

      Don't blame the TSA, the President (current or former), or any "terrorists" (foreign or domestic) for what happens at airports (or anywhere else). Check your premise. Passenger acceptance and compliance allow and perpetuate much of the thinking and behavior associated with air travel - and "homeland security".

    48. The one thing that you failed to mention in this whole situation is that the plane did not originate in the US and the person got the PETN at an Amsterdam airport. Where was the airport security in Amsterdam in order to prevent this from happening where it took the inability of the terrorist of using PETN and two passengers to subdue him? That's real critical thinking.

    49. Dumbness is not an american prived issue.
      Here in Brazil some security measures have been taken; and many simply are not considered.
      Can you immagine the air security staff take your 1 inch blade Swiss Folding knife (that one which has a little scissor) and allow you to use a 7 inch extremely sharp knife to cut meat inside the VIP rooms AFTER check in?
      So.
      Welcome to rain critical thinkingless world.

    50. If we see some bad things happen, the most important is to do good things to counterbalance it. More good you spread, more people become better, smarter and more will resist such things and create a new atmosphere of the prosperity which will change lives. So we need to change ourselves to be good, smart, prosperous to be able spreading all the best we can to other people to help them change themselves, and together we can do the world better. But we always need to develop ourselves and to communicate to create powerful society of free-thinking, prosperous people. Let's do it!

      Klym Nikiforov.

    51. Well that last question "Is there anyone left in government with any critical thinking ability?" has been easy to answer for some time. NO!!!
      The problem is the government is no longer run by people but politicians. Most of them have been in politics since dinosaurs wandered the earth. When I hear politicians say, "Hey, that guy can't run for office he doesn't have any experience." I say that's the kind of guy we need. The country does not need to be run by experienced politicians with hands in so many pockets it ain't funny. This country needs to be run by real thinking business people and it needs to be run like the real business it is. Just a not for profit business. Can anyone say TERM LIMITS? Do your service for your state or country and then get back in the real world and work like real people again. The thinking people who actually have uncommon sense.

    52. Do you really think that terrorism is a real thing? There are no terrorists in your country, as in mine. (I'm from Russia). Think about why, when there are terrorist attacks in your country, your government immediately finds out that threat comes from countries with no stable economic situation, but in this country has oil and gas. When the enemy 'selected' Your president says beautiful speech (I mean Bush) .... We are the greatest country, and we will not allow us to do so .... We must put an end to terrorism. After that, the U.S. Army does with Afghanistan, I think your country is a threat to all people living in it, and people around the world.
      In Russia, just as bad, just the people starts complaining about the fact that stifle free speech as there is something that will explode under the pretext of terrorism, banned express their thoughts in hearing (an exaggerated example, but the essence of hope is clear) (Sorry for my English, translated all in Google)

    53. Great article Randy and you are absolutely correct on the lack of critical thinking issue. Interestingly, I recently watched a presentation by Sir Ken Robinson on the TED.com website about schools killing creativity in children (well worth a watch) which endorses and possibly partly explains the dire situation we are in these days. With reference to the security issue, until the US and other western administrations (especially the UK) apply some real radical thinking, you can only see the situation getting worse. After 9/11 George Bush and Tony Blair had the opportunity to become two of the greatest human beings on this earth by opening dialogue and at least start trying to understand the thinking of the muslim world. Instead they demonstrated that they were warmongers of the worst kind and no better than the people they were codemning. Everyone knows that an eye for eye mentality means that we all finish up blind. I realise that it is not that simplistic but we do have some great role models to follow. The examples of Ghandi and more recently Mandela show that violence does not achieve the longer term good that we should all be striving for.

      As you say in your article nothing has radically changed since 9/11 except that politicians through stupid knee jerk reactions to certain events have made things worse, and they they have the gall to call this progress !!!!

      John Leach

    54. I just traveled from Sydney to Wellington las week. The security lady took my tooth paste and hair gel and threw them into the bin. (I forgot to put them in my check-in). But still it's freakin crazy what am I going to do with tooth paste???? "Everybody get down! I got tooth paste!! and I aint afraid to use it!" It's all money down the toilet and a waste of time if you ask me.

    55. Hats off to you Randy for standing up and saying it like it really is. I pay for my son to go to a private school where they are taught to think thier way through problems in every area. This is one financial struggle we will continue to take on because it is so important to teach our kids how to think.

      I also beleive we should take all the video games and throw them out too. My son does not have a DS, WII, PS3, XBOX, and I don't see him having one until he can afford to buy is own, and I ppray he won't want one by then. I see him being able to take paper and tape and create things that other children just can't begin to imagine let alone think of how to do it. Those games just keep putting things in front of the kids where they don't have to imagine, create, or think. Yes I do realize they have to think of pushing button A ore B, but it is not critial think, these kids can not think thier way of paper bags.

      I have some much respect for those teachers out there who are going against the norm and teaching kids to think. I thank you for your efforts I wish there were more of you. I was checking out schools and was so disappointed to see that no child could see it differently than the teacher told them to. What a sad state we have let our country go to. Yes we have let it go there, if you decide to run for office Randy you have our votes!

      Thanks for not being afraid to speak up!
      Shari

    56. BRAVO !!! BRAVO !!!
      Excellent post, Randy! As I was reading your post and your readers responses, I kept wondering, Why??? How did the most powerful country on the planet end up in such a HUGE mess?? It appears that most of your followers/readers ARE critical thinkers, so I'm certain there are MANY more of us out there. Yet, where are the critical thinkers in Washington, DC ?? We elect or re-elect career politicians...pretty "plum" job, if you have enough campaign $$$ to get there. And the benefits, WOE, are outrageous. Who is responsible??
      Are we?? Look at the voting records from the last decade or two!!

      Critical thinking in schools is almost laughable! There are a few exceptions, however, we don't generally hear about those. It is a "dumbing down of America!" Teachers need passing test scores from the children, period!! It's SUPER critical for their job, for Federal dollars, etc. Our children deserve BETTER and so does our country.

      Great comments on this post!! Should you decide to start a "Critical Thinking Movement"....count me in!!
      Now, if we could just get the rest of America to read this post.....

    57. Country is not led by morons. You have to understand their job is to lead the majority! Randy your point is taken; however, always going against the grain will bring the minority not the "Rock Stars". Going with the flow will bring the majority! Unfortunately!

      still a Fan

      Matt and Court

    58. Randy, consider the motivation for NOT admitting the truth and for NOT being competent at ending terrorism. Cowards, enablers and fools crave to cave in to the monsters in the baseless hope that the toe-licking will prevent personal attacks ("let some other jerk too stupid to toe-lick die instead of me").

      Yes it is blatantly clear that ONLY muslimomaniacs, not feeble grandmothers, not kids hopping on 1 leg cuz they need the toilet, not chilly or nursing moms under modest blankets, want to kill millions of defenseless innocents at random. But THE DEFENSELESS INNOCENTS are easy to manipulate whereas psychopaths are not. So, the cowards, enablers and fools corral mommies, grammas and kids to let the blow-my-butt-off bombers fly without much fuss, hoping to ingratiate themselves with the power-brokers setting mass murderers on public pathways.

      See http://blog.cagle.com/2010/01/01/underwear-bombers/, laugh, then sigh and weep for the masses who desperately need competent leadership capable of ending air piracy. Think of Somali ship pirates in the skies and you get the picture. Law-abiding people are being abused before they ever book a ticket to fly. So is everyone on the ground, in the air and wherever terrorists care to strike next.

      Mass murderers deserve no second chances. Herd them out of civilized areas, never permit their entry for any reason (they lie a lot to facilitate mass murder) and let them kill each other in Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, UAE, Pakistan, wherever they come from. NOT HERE!

    59. Actually - more important than better screening of luggage and such is PROFILING FOR INTENT. Pay attention to:
      1) the person
      2) the person's face and body language generally
      3) the person's face and body language when asked the usual questions

      I've been stopped and patted down at a small US airport twice only because I am a single woman traveling alone to the Middle East... they profiled me (wrongly, I might add) but let Middle Eastern-looking men & women in all sorts of garb with briefcases and such waltz passed without so much as a second glance!

      I realized quickly that the TSA people doing the checking had no clue what they were doing, and said so loudly while being patted down publicly at the gate - I would NOT allow them to take me into a small room for this...

      When TSA agents harass old women and children and let obviously potential terrorists go passed, there is more than the problem of not thinking going on. The entire US mindset is screwed up royally these days - primarily by that idiot in the WH and those who insist on following him.

    60. By the way - what we have to remember is this:

      It's not the stuff that blows up the aircraft - it's the person (or people) handling the stuff that does it.

      Which is why PROFILING FOR INTENT is more important than checking shoes and cosmetics....

    61. "zeek hile"?????? Your obvious knowledge of the German language most likely matches your acute depth and insights into the National Socialist party and their doctrine. It’s such a cope out to call whatever you disagree with fascism or Nazi – no matter what your political bent. It is a particular group in history that has nothing to do with people agreeing or not agreeing with your rant about Critical Thinking. By the way, if you stuck to Critical Thinking components would take your message more seriously.

    62. In what some in the White House are calling a “win/win” solution to the nation’s airport security and health care reform problems, starting next month U. S. airports will begin conducting full body scans that will double as annual physical checkups.

      President Obama announced the breakthrough solution, telling reporters, “With this all-purpose exam, we will be able to find everything from a hidden weapon to a spot on your lung.”

      After scanning a passenger, Mr. Obama said, “We will either give you a clean bill of health or wrestle you to the ground.”

      The President added that instituting the body scan/checkup could ward off some terrorists right from the start, “because a lot of them will balk at the $25 co-pay.”

      But according to Davis Logsdon, who studies terrorism and health care reform at the University of Minnesota, the body scans may attract more terrorists than they deter: “If there’s one complaint that terrorists have about al-Qaeda it’s that they have lousy benefits.”

      ~ Andy Borowitz (The Borowitz Report)

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