It no longer seeks to educate & inform, but to influence & promote.
While a minority of writers still focus on providing solid information using their most compelling writing, many insert their agendas into their books, causing the lop-sided bias to infiltrate under the guise of objectively informing the reader.
Since both agents & editors hatch from the notorious liberalism of American university class (a liberalism that gushes into extremism in the literature & creative writing courses popular among future editors & literary agents), they see nothing wrong with this bias and even support it.
This is why nearly every best-selling non-fiction book tends to promote liberal views & distorted history.
Expected a Book on Writing & Received an Obama Fangirl Instead
While the book contained genuinely effective advice, she peppered the book with references to Obama's supposed superiority & the inferiority of anyone who disliked him or his policies.
She clearly considered her actions "cute," but not only did she overdo these political references (with no connection to the book's topic), I quickly grew disdainful of her ditzy adoration of a man who proved himself useless at best & harmful at worst in one of the most powerful positions in the world.
Had the book promoted constant cutesy references critical of Obama, that would also irritate me.
Politics hold no place in a book meant to help with writing—especially such a bloated amount of such self-indulgent political comments.
I deleted the book without finishing it—an act which wouldn't bother her in the least (if she ever found out about it) because she obviously feels too enchanted with her own humor & opinions, and too contemptuous of people like me, to care.
However, as a non-fiction authority, her opinions carry influence, even if only unconsciously.
Constantly promoting a political stance as self-evident influences readers, especially because so many other people do it, it seems normal.
This same insistence on the repetitive promotion of bad ideas, plus the refusal to examine the ideas in the first place, also assisted in the popular embrace of Nazism & Communism.
The Lady Lighthouse-Keeper: Carving Out the Real Story from the Modern Liberal Bias
The author, a popular expert in everything nautical, described the life of Abbie Burgess, an American woman born into a lighthouse-keeping family, who eventually married a lighthouse-keeper, and lived the lighthouse-keeping life until her death in 1892.
He described it as follows (I'm summarizing his words):
- At age 14, Abbie Burgess started helping her father tend two lighthouses in Maine in the 1850s.
- She soon developed such proficiency, she enabled her father to bring in extra money via lobster-catching while she tended the lights.
- Due to a violent storm that prevented her lighthouse-keeping father from returning home, 16-year-old Abbie Burgess successfully tended the two lighthouses throughout the storm, while also caring for her ill mother, her frightened sisters, and a flock of chickens.
(So far, so good.)
- The Republicans came to power in 1860 under Abraham Lincoln.
Okay, so here, the author emphasizes a Republican rise in a foreboding manner, and makes sure to mention it occurred with Lincoln's election.
Could the implied threat of a Republican rise be a slam on Lincoln? Not sure.
Many modern Americans consider him a hero. But many are also aware of his personal condescension toward black people, and also how he fought the Civil War not to free enslaved black Americans, but for the sake of economics & federal power.
- Because lighthouse appointments depended on political connections, Abbie's father lost his job to a "staunch Republican" lighthouse-keeper.
(Again, note the emphasis on not just losing the job to a Republican, but a STAUNCH Republican. Cue the scary music here...)
However, if lighthouse appointments truly depended on political connections, then how did Abbie's dad gain his lighthouse appointment in 1853?
Meaning, wouldn't it work both ways?
Apparently, Abbie's dad gained his appointment the same way the "staunch Republican" gained his.
In 1853, the Democrat President Franklin Pierce came to power—which is exactly when the Democrat keeper Burgess won his lighthouse position.
So the lighthouse appointment worked the same for Democrats as for Republicans...only you'd never guess that according to the way this author described it.
The way he described it, it looked like davka a Republican power grab, rather than the routine ebb & flow of political appointments of that time.
Let's go on with the author's description of what happened next:
- Abbie was temporarily "allowed" to remain to show the new lighthouse-keeper and his son, the assistant, the ropes.
Oh, the staunch usurping Republican ALLOWED her to remain? But wait a minute...wouldn't such a stay be expected?
After all, it makes sense for the new lighthouse-keeper to receive brief training from the old lighthouse-keeper to understand the workings of that particular lighthouse and the necessary routines.
Furthermore, flawless lighthouse maintenance was considered a matter of life-and-death.
In the times when seafaring transportation dominated, a lighthouse needed to maintain flawless function at all times.
An unusually dedicated bunch, records show how American & British lighthouse-keepers performed astounding feats of dedication to keep the lights burning.
So why wouldn't Abbie—or her dad—not just be allowed, but even expected to stay on until the new keeper learned the ropes?
Also, the use of the term "allow" implies that Abbie was forced out of her lighthouse duties after the initial training period. As if, initially, the "staunch Republican" usurper "allowed" her to remain, but then...
However, the basic biographical facts prevent the author from imposing too much of his bias because:
- Dazzled by Abbie's impressive skill in maintaining the lighthouse, the staunch Republican's son, Isaac, proposed marriage only a few weeks after meeting our heroine—a proposal which the now 22-year-old Abbie accepted. They married a year later.
So apparently, the whole Republican usurpation wasn't as big a deal as implied by the writer. After all, Abbie married the assistant usurper. (And as we see from the above description of how Abbie's father won his appointment. It was all par for the course.)
- With her marriage, Abbie was appointed "second assistant keeper."
This shows the respect on the part of Isaac and his father. Many times, the wife & children of the head lighthouse-keeper received no official title—no matter how much they participated in the lighthouse-keeping.
Except for sometimes, as in Isaac's case, an older son became the official assistant.
But despite Abbie's skill and her family's appreciation, I found no indication that Abbie's father appointed her as his official assistant. Maybe he did. But I don't see it.
Her family clearly appreciated her skill & dedication, whether she worked under an official title or not.
Yet the writer muses that:
- Abbie must have resented being cast as "second assistant." After all, she already proved her proficiency in lighthouse-keeping. So she must have "felt the injustice" of being only a second assistant, rather than a first assistant or the main lighthouse-keeper.
This unfounded imposition of the author shows poor history writing.
Reader reviews of historical non-fiction tend to remark with resentment on unfounded presumptions like "she must have thought" or "she likely felt" and so on.
Who is the author to impose his or her emotions or thoughts on someone they never even met?
What's more, we have records written by Abbie herself.
So we don't need the author's insertion.
Abbie recorded in detail her rescue of the family's chickens during that historic storm—a rescue that ended up saving her family from starvation during the storm; they ate the eggs laid during that event.
Her records also show that while she found the storm-imposed duties exhausting, she was able to perform the lighthouse duties as well as her father—a success she attributed to God.
Abbie also recorded her feelings of dedication toward lighthouse-keeping, especially after her husband died in 1875, prompting Abbie to take over as head keeper until her own death in 1892.
Yet the writer offers nothing from Abbie herself to back up his presumption of resentment.
Based on the way he phrased his presumption ("she must have felt") and based also on the absence of any quotes from Abbie herself for this presumed resentment (though he quoted her in other passages), likely no such expression of resentment exists.
The author also shows limited awareness of the demands on married women of that time.
Basic housekeeping demanded laundry washed by hand, dishes washed in a tub with a rag, water drawn from a well, and ovens & stoves that needed to be coaxed into starting every morning.
Hand-sewn clothing (or if not hand-sewn, hand-repaired when needed), and basic dinners worked up from scratch: eggs must be collected from under chickens, potatoes needed to be dug up from the ground & chickens must be slaughtered and dressed before the cooking even started.
Pregnancy & nursing added extra difficulty to these labors. (Abbie ended up having 4 children.) In addition, the physically demanding work of the lights (including running up & down the stairs leading to the lights) could cause problems if performed while pregnant.
Nursing babies & busy toddlers also don't leave a mother with much time or endurance to safely tend the lights.
Abbie's step down from lighthouse-keeping was probably not seen as a demotion, but as a natural necessity.
(And like I said, I think it was nice that her father-in-law gave her a title at all because I don't think that was the norm.)
So the reality holds significant differences in contrast to the author's portrayal.
The Nature of Women Changed—But Modern Researchers Fail to Understand That
Sure, there are ambitious honor-seeking competitive women too.
But to assume that a religious 19-Century woman felt resentful of being relegated to second assistant, just because her modern secular liberal male researcher would feel that way?
This shows a poor grasp of the people about whom he's writing.
Furthermore, many 19-Century women expressed a strong sense of duty toward their husbands.
If they felt any pride, it was in their supporting role.
The writer of Abbie Burgess's heroics knows this because he quotes these demurring women in his own work!
For example, when her husband's sudden & debilitating illness in 1856 forced 19-year-old pregnant Mary Patten to take charge of his ship, she did so with great success—despite a mutinous first mate, sailing through ice, and nursing her ill husband back to health.
After successfully making it to their destination, Mary focused fully on her husband & his recovery in a local hotel.
The media led the entire nation into adulation for Mary's competence, integrity, and heroism, but Mary politely brushed off reporters in order to give her husband the rest & care he needed.
The ship's company sent Mary $1000 (approx. $33,000 in today's money) in appreciation for saving their vessel.
(In today's money, the vessel and its cargo equaled around 10 million dollars. So yeah, they were pretty darn grateful to Mary. Also, you see why she felt so determined to bring the ship and its cargo to their rightful destination—and to arrive on time.)
In response, Mary sent them a thank-you note, insisting that she had merely carried out the basic duty of a wife toward a husband stricken with severe illness.
She also credited the cooperation of the crew (minus the mutinous first mate), specially emphasizing the services of the second officer on board.
Furthermore, Mary disliked speaking about the voyage because the memories pained her. She viewed that time as one of suffering, not heroism.
This demonstrates another massive difference between traditional American mentality and modern American mentality: People behaved with more stoicism & pragmatism than they do now.
Many people disliked speaking about traumatic experiences, so they didn't. They also viewed them as part of life and not something deserving of special attention.
Whether you think that's positive or negative, please just understand that this is simply how your average American behaved at that time.
Other donations of appreciation arrived to Mary, including $1400 from the ladies of her hometown of Boston.
Her unwanted celebrity spread to the UK, where a blind London gentleman sent her a check of $100.
Yet Mary only ever saw her heroics as part of her wifely duties!
There was no "I hope every little girl reading this today sees that this is a country of possibilities where she too can captain her own ship" or "Girls, never doubt that you are valuable and powerful. My example shows you the way."
Again, whether you agree or not that successful women should laud themselves with those sentiments, the plain fact remains that Mary did NOT think that way.
Not one little bit.
And she wasn't an exception.
If you read the writing of or about American women in the 1800s, they displayed impressive modesty.
And a strong sense of duty toward their husbands & children & parents.
In fact, reading the words of women of that time, their strong sense of duty pops up repeatedly in their writings.
They experienced tremendous gratification in their supportive roles, and their sense of duty & a job well-done endowed them with profound self-worth & fortitude.
Both Abbie & Mary felt a profound devotion to what they saw as their duties. Their heroism (and the heroism of other women of that time) emanated from a feeling of duty & moral obligation, and not a desire to prove themselves or produce a really cool selfie.
They often expressed feeling they had no other choice.
Remember, at that time, nearly every American home both owned & read a bible.
Remembering verses & sermons was an important goal for many from childhood.
And Americans LOVED Mishlei (Proverbs) & Kohelet (Ecclesiastes).
Church-going people still love these books.
And why not? They are some of the best books ever written!
And they influenced Americans with the values of patience, modesty, charity, humility, honesty, faith, duty, and so on.
In fact, colonial Americans even named their daughters Patience, Modesty, Obedience, and Chastity.
Can you imagine parents doing that today?
A modern parent might name a daughter Scarlet, but have you ever met someone named Modesty or Obedience?
I bet you haven't.
(Please also note that Shlomo Hamelech's books influenced Americans, but did not prevent Americans from behaving in opposition to the values he expressed.)
But the point is that your average American behaved with a stoicism and pragmatism to which we not only find it difficult to relate, but that the modern mentality even considers negative.
What's more, duty & loyalty are values that have been cast out the window in modern society.
While the women here describe feeling a strong sense of duty, men of that time also expressed a sense of duty.
A person felt committed to the duties of their job, mission, family, society, spouse, and so on.
Again, these values prove very difficult for a modern American to appreciate because many simply do not feel such things.
Look at our society's popular phrases:
- Follow your heart.
- Follow your dream.
- Just do it.
- Be yourself.
- Be true to yourself.
- You owe it to yourself.
- All's fair in love & war.
- Reach for the stars.
None of these ideas emphasize duty or loyalty to others.
On the contrary, some of the above ideas lead one away from duty.
For example, if your heart turns to something other than your spouse or your concern for your company's finances, then following your heart causes you to abandon others, regardless of the consequences (as we've seen more & more in today's world).
Newsflash: People Used to Think VERY Differently than We Do Now. In Fact, Life was Very Different.
He could if he worked at it, but as mentioned throughout the post, that goal is beyond the reach of many modern minds.
As stated above, part of the reason why Abbie gave no indication of resentment toward her designation as "second assistant" is because the routine duties of a wife & mother consisted of morning-to-night duties.
Lighting the morning stove, drawing water, laundering by hand, making dinner from scratch (which back then including slaughtering & dressing the meat), washing dishes & pots with a rag & a tub of water—these did not leave time or energy for lighthouse-keeping.
Yes, she managed to run a home & two lights during a storm. But to keep that up permanently?
Furthermore, the lighthouse-keeping demanded using stairs & lots of physical labor—how is a nursing or pregnant woman supposed to keep up without harming herself or her child?
Abbie's dedication & heroics aside, Isaac and his father likely tended to the lighthouse better than she could simply because of their greater physical strength and their ability to dedicate all the necessary time & energy.
Why on earth would she resent the designation of "second assistant"? Especially since, as noted above, lighthouse wives often received no official title at all.
She only took over much later, long after her child-bearing & intensive housekeeping years and her husband's death.
Having said that, many modern liberal women also flub up on this bias.
Of course, modern liberal men & women COULD get into the mentality of historical figures, but it seems like they don't WANT to.
And this remains a massive flaw in modern history books, especially those written for the mainstream.
Reason #1: Agendas & Thought-Programming Take Precedence over Integrity & Trustworthiness
And that does partly explains the wall of bias found in much of today's non-fiction.
With so many editors, literary agents, and writers continue to hatch from secular, liberal, biased university programs, it makes sense that they all think the same way—that's how the universities program them to think.
And they honestly feel they benefit society by a constant drip of "Republicans are racist, uncaring, corrupt, and stupid...while Democrats are open-minded, caring, ethical, and smart."
Or the continuous presentation of religious people as hypocritical, judgmental, & stupid while portraying secular people as sincere, accepting, and intelligent.
Or portraying same-gender relationships as a totally normal lifestyle choice (despite copious evidence to the contrary), including showing them in fully committed long-term monogamous relationships (as portrayed in many novels & movies)—even though such monogamy almost never occurs among men who act on their attraction to their own gender.
Or that the California wildfires result from "global warming," rather than from really bad "conservation" policies in force for the past 40 years.
For those controlling what we read, pushing such agendas is a huge mitzvah in their own minds.
While concepts like giving credit where credit is due & striving to offer the most unbiased information possible boosts a reader's trust in the author, trustworthiness has lost its luster in today's society.
Trustworthiness requires a sense of duty & loyalty.
But how can you be dutiful or loyal if your main priority is to follow your own heart, your own dreams, and be true to your own self?
Furthermore, a God-fearing person realizes that he or she will one day face God & that God will demand of them crystalline honesty & payment for any lack of integrity in This World.
And so, the modern liberal secular mind cannot place integrity & trustworthy narration above its lovely-sounding agendas.
Secular liberals honestly believe that if everyone thinks like them, the world will be a much better place.
Therefore, they do all they can to push their agendas.
Reason #2: Values Changed So Much, They are No Longer Recognizable.
Yes, they definitely promote an agenda.
But maybe their choices led them to such a narrow place, that now, very little choice remains?
With the indoctrination of the universities and the mainstream media, plus the rising inculcation of narcissism, perhaps a history researcher simply cannot entertain any mentality other than his or her own.
Yet they read the words of the people about whom they write.
So how are the above author and his colleagues able to quote Mary Patten & Abbie Burgess, but unable to make rational assumptions about their thoughts & feelings?
Then I realized: These modern researchers simply view people like Mary as an exception.
Meaning, they see her as exceptional in her modesty & sense of duty, rather than typical of the women of their time.
(Mary's situation was exceptional, but her attitude was not.)
So yes, the researchers read tons of accounts, but rather than striving to understand what the long-gone diarist is actually saying, they put the words through an automated "translation program" in their mind.
Despite the fact that Mary Patten was not the only captain's wife to take charge of a ship when her husband fell ill, and despite the fact that many women stated reasons of duty & devotion to explain their insistence on accompanying their husbands on long voyages...the author chalks this up to the mentality of captains' wives or whalers' wives, rather than seeing it as it actually was: a mentality common among women of that time.
Most Americans felt religious at that time. They felt proud of their belief in God, their insistence on crediting God made them feel good, and they admired people who upheld values like morality & virtue.
Likewise, many men also acted out of duty to their wives, parents, children, communities, and country.
Who is Truly Free in Today's World?
But these issues apply to any non-fiction published today.
Again, the 2 factors preventing truly informative & trustworthy non-fiction today are:
- the insistence on presenting information with an agenda to influence thought & opinion in the author's chosen direction
- the inability to grasp any thoughts or feeling different from the author's
Needless to say, the above 2 factors also affect modern education because educators concern themselves so much with the thought-programming agenda that they too cannot grasp alternative thinking.
This is a big frustration, especially for inquisitive people (like me), who like to peer into an interesting neutral topic, but keep getting slammed in the face with distorted agenda-driven information and the author's inability to think outside his or her narrow little box.
Yet to fight back against the liberal agenda, right-wing conservatives feel they need to insert their agenda into information—also without giving credit where credit is due when it doesn't suit their agenda.
Likewise, many conservatives, affected by generations of the corrupt values expressed in Hollywood movies (yes, even the black 'n' white movies of the 1920s promoted bad values) struggle to understand other mentalities (though they succeed more than the secular liberals do).
In fact, conservatives aren't even so conservative anymore, what with the female pundits dressing like cocktail waitresses and hardly any promotion of premarital-abstinence, and other values essential for a morally robust society.
And who promotes innately feminine qualities anymore—like nurturing, gentleness, gentility, civility, and devotion?
People laugh at such virtues.
But these virtues are essential for a psychologically healthy society.
Anyway, it's becoming increasingly impossible to access accurate information on even the most basic topics.
Even a tiny newspaper column gets the facts wrong.
Altogether, the above makes it increasingly difficult to cultivate independent thought.
When Shlomo Hamelech (King Solomon) arrived at the correct conclusion in the historic court case of the 2 women fighting over 1 baby, his ministers praised him as a "free man."
"Happy are you, O Land, whose king is a free man!"
Why does his profound wisdom & insight define him as "free"?
The Me'am Lo'ez on Kings I:3:28 explains 1 reason:
...as the Rabbis said, "No one is free but he who studies the Torah."
Only one studies the Torah is able to avoid the crooked ways of the other nations.
He alone is free from their foolish mistakes.
So anything you do in that direction is very precious—more than you realize.
Just the fact that you realize that most of what you watch or read seeks to make you smarter or honestly informed—that alone sets you apart in a really good way.
May Hashem please lead us on the path of Truth—and may it be a happy path!