Wednesday, December 23, 2015
Most people get along quite nicely in life without ever questioning their assumptions, or believing utter lies. Unless reality deigns to smack them over their heads, they'll get on just fine. Truth doesn't just jump out and say, "Here I am!" It's usually buried in lies and half-truths, or maybe you don't have enough information or experience to know it when you see it. It takes patience, wisdom, discernment and a little luck to find the truth of anything. You can't even pick up a Bible and expect for Truth to jump out at you if you don't do a little preparation first. There's a reason that Book warns of casting seed on unprepared ground.
For most people, information arrives on the television. It is not an unbiased source. As often as not, truth is buried in spin or, worse, bludgeoned to death with lies. Unfortunately, if we were to stop watching and listening to corporate (including the Corporation for Public Broadcasting) news media, 90% of Americans would know nothing about anything. Also unfortunately, there is no good alternative that reaches a mass audience.
The corporate media have a narrative. Turn on the local news and flip through the channels. The same stories. In the same blocks. Even the "features" are the same, sometimes a day or two behind or ahead but if you see it on channel 8 you'll almost assuredly see the same story on channel 13. The same applies to the national news whether it's ABC, NBC, or CBS. The "narrative" favored by the masters of information is all you're likely to be exposed to. Other sources have the same problem, of course. How does one then try to make sense of the information that bombards them everyday?
First, you must learn to control your immediate reaction and sift for facts, something the vast majority of Americans are either incapable of or don't have time to do. Information just comes in too fast, so for a shortcut, we resort to filters. From the first report you can watch the responses line up perfectly, especially in internet comboxes and message boards. The nutters scream, "False Flag!" The Progs foam at the mouth and trot out every Prog meme they've been fed from their "trusted sources" that might possibly relate and the knee-jerk Right does the same.
Our politicians cloud the issue still further. Even after the fact, so many are caught out lying or are found to be so agenda driven on all sides as to be untrustworthy, further making truth harder to apprehend.
This is not new. The media and politicians have been stampeding the herd from the inception of the Republic. It is difficult to tease out facts from spin; it always has been. Now our electorate is so fragmented that there may be no way to do so.
Who's lying or spinning? The cynic in me says, "All of them."
Who to trust? "None of them."
What to do about it?
If you're trying to catch a specific fish in a lake, you have to cast your net wide and sift through a bunch of fish you don't want. Read from several sources and not just sources you may superficially agree with. Read history and lots of it - primary sources as much as you can. Read non-contemporary writers. Ninety-nine percent of what is happening has happened before. For instance I find Chesterton to be a veritable goldmine of useful anecdotes and opinions on everything from Mormonism to Islam to Socialism and Evolution. There truly is nothing new under the sun. Everything we do has been done, at least in kind, before.
It's an individual quest though. Only you can do it. You can holler and shout and point at the elephant in the room and if nobody else can see it, you may as well save your breath. The best you can usually do is point at the parts of the pachyderm. "Look! There's a trunk, don't you think it might be attached to an elephant?"
Other than that? Teach your children well; more important, teach then to think, Teach them to challenge authority. Dump as much reading on them as you think they can stand, and then dump some more - but make sure you understand the material and can guide them through it. It doesn't do any good to get them to read Karl Marx or Adam Smith if they don't have the skill to properly critique it. Most of all teach them to question their own assumptions. Question yours. Pray for guidance and hope for the best.
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