Lots of chaff on the nation’s threshing room floor

By Craige McMillan

“The most essential gift for a good writer is a built-in, shockproof, s–t detector. This is the writer’s radar, and all great writers have had it.” – Ernest Hemingway, The Paris Review Interviews, Vol. I

You may not have been aware of that quote, because great writers have been systematically filtered out of the educational system in America. I remember it because I read the interview one sunny fall day, sitting under a tree on the college campus, wondering how one became a writer.

During that era, when Vietnam was blowing up and campus administration buildings were being occupied by students, a shrinking majority of Americans could still discern truth from lies. They continued going to work, getting married and having children. In due course, the war ended, and the soldiers returned home and picked up where they had left off in life before the war began.

Governing a nation that can’t sift the wheat (truth) from the chaff (lies) is difficult. America had public education, and people who graduated rarely grew up stupid. At some point the proponents of “stupid” figured out that if they could take over the educational establishment, then they could remake everyone else in their own image. Oddly enough, they achieved that by taking over the colleges and universities first. Make of that what you will.

Higher education began to issue degrees in stupid. They didn’t call it that, of course. They came up with innovative new degrees and built entire departments that specialized in gender confusion and applied racism. They were not the kind of degrees that would ever repay your student loan. After four to six years of college, the students returned home and lived with their parents. They felt guilty and used, and applied the manipulation techniques they had learned in place of a liberal arts education to turn their problems into society’s problems.

The Democratic Party loves problems, the bigger the better. Without problems there is little need for government (beyond the essentials, which Democrats now disavow). The other institution that loves big government is big media. If you are lazy and don’t like to look into things, the government beat is the place for you. Reword the press release, make up a few anonymous sources, list the official government url, and you’re done.

Hemingway (like many other literary greats) was a news reporter before his books made him famous. He would not have approved. It was the basic, grueling work of digging out the truth, separating it from the lies and crafting it into a straightforward narrative that made him a great writer.

Contrast that with today’s environment, where CNN has no problem hiring one of the Cuomo boys to cover for his political hack brother. Media and government is a revolving door; just stick to the party line, and you will go far.

Big media are trying “all lies all the time” with Trump’s reelection. “Don’t believe all those conspiracy theories about how the election was stolen. Didn’t we just tell you that Biden won? What’s wrong with you? Of course the guy who campaigned from his basement to his media audience won! Ignore the tens of thousands of people at Trump rallies; all the votes that came in were for Biden.

“Sure we had to lock out the Republican poll observers; we had a lot of ballots to count, and they kept objecting that they were all for Biden! Sure there were a few glitches with those shiny new voting machines you bought for us, but it takes time to learn to cheat with new equipment.”

A lot of chaff has accumulated on the nation’s threshing room floor during the past half-century of sifting. Today the news harvest reveals precious little wheat. We are wallowing in the lies. If ever there were a time and a place where each of us needed Hemingway’s essential piece of equipment, it is here and now.


Reconnaissance, the first volume in the Armageddon Story series.

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