Echo chambers, “fake news,” & “alternative facts” are defaming, and defrauding in epic numbers, ultimately derailing democracy–and, Americans, we are to blame.
(Part 1 of a two-part article. Read Part 2 here.)
Sigh . . .
Are you tired yet? Because, Lord knows, I am.
Let’s talk. Straight talk. Because we know our country could use a little of that right now.
Derailing democracy: Fool me twice, shame on me.
Some Russian teenage computer geeks working for the Kremlin and flooding your feed with fiction aren’t the only ones derailing democracy. We have our own in-house actors selling snake-venom potions to an American public. And we have too many Americans ready and waiting to throw away their reason, like money, on “magic” cures they good and well know aren’t curing anything.
America, come on. Remember how you went to your doctor asking for a magic pill to fix your obesity? Remember how the doctor said you had to do it the “old-fashioned way,” cut your gluttonous calories and exercise more? Mmm hmm. Then you still spent hundreds of dollars on Metabolite pills at some kiosk in the middle of the mall just to prove sound science wrong. And . . .
The pills didn’t work. You were had.
You swore you wouldn’t fall for that again. Then, you did. Pyramid schemes. Timeshares. Phone scams. “As Seen on TV” infomercials. “Low interest” credit cards. Variable interest rates. You fell for it again and again.
It’s because we all want to believe in too good to be true. We’ll throw away our money, good sense, and, apparently, our moral, religious, and democratic values, to purchase a morsel of anything that will support what we want to believe. The problem is, something that’s “too good to be true” usually isn’t true.
“Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”
We don’t value truth–we value the confirmation of presumptions, even if those presumptions are false.
Living is easy with eyes closed, misunderstanding all you see.
It’s getting hard to be someone but it all works out, it doesn’t matter much to me.
Let me take you down, ’cause I’m going to Strawberry Fields.
Nothing is real and nothing to get hungabout.
Strawberry Fields forever.
–John Lennon, “Strawberry Fields”
Humans like certainty. Assurance, the confirmation of what we think we know, keeps us stable, orderly. Information that doesn’t harmonize with our preconceived notions throws us into chaos. So, it’s only natural that, as John Lennon said in the nostalgic “Strawberry Fields,” we would prefer living an easier life with “eyes closed.”
The trouble is, when we refuse to leave our childhood gardens, as simple as they are, and as comfortable as they make us feel, we’re “misunderstanding all [we] see.” We live with skewed perceptions that distort reality.
Naivety might be “cute” in children. It’s dangerous in adults.
When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
I Corinthians 13:11
Click to read Fool Me Twice, Part 2.