Fake news and the role of social media outlets.

December 21st, 2016

First let me say this. And this is the most important part of what I’m about to say…
If you are getting your information (news of a serious manner) from Facebook or off of some social media site that you’re subscribed to, you’re an idiot. STOP!

That should be all that needs to be said. And it’s sad that it NEEDS to be said. Unfortunately it does, and will need to be said repeatedly.

Now on to the second point; Why social media shouldn’t be, “keepers of the truth.”

I don’t think any of us should be under the illusion that Facebook or other social media outlets are by-in-large, open havens for free speech. There are always limits and restrictions to what an individual can say. And this is usually a policy that is community driven, although ultimately the singular entity has power over everything.

But what happens when that entity tightens its filters to present solely what it believes its majority of users/community wants to see and hear? What happens when a singular entity decides what text, wording, images,  or thoughts can be expressed…  or consumed?  What happens when a community relies on that entity to supply “truth”?

The inability of a community of users to discern fact from fiction, isn’t a social media problem, it’s a critical thinking problem. And when that community turns to an entity, which should be nothing more than a sounding board, to filter out what they refuse to use their own minds to interpret or figure out… Is simply a recipe for disaster.

When allowing a social media network to decide what millions of users should accept as truth, people are turning over essential and pivotal points of power to an unknown and fixed perspective. And while they might agree with the information they’re being fed, at first, there’s no guarantee that the information isn’t pushing an alternate agenda. By removing all critical thought to the process of what they are consuming, people are at the mercy of whatever entity is feeding them. Good or bad.

To end:
No. No, I don’t believe that social media companies should be taking on the role of “Truth Police”. What I believe is that, when you are on the internet, you the consumer, needs to be aware that there is a LOT of bullshit out there. The responsibility should ALWAYS fall on those that consume the information, because ultimately, it does.  I understand that means asking people to use their minds, and how hard that is sometimes. I understand that for some, it’s impossible. But for the rest of you… do your research. Ask questions. LOOK FOR ANSWERS, and throw blind trust out the window. Keep an open mind, learn to be a responsible consumer, take in all points of view, because it takes all points of view to come up with the truth. And it’s not a crime to change your mind.  Be your own Truth Police.

Divisiveness

December 16th, 2016

Due in part to the recent election, we’ve seen the divide between ideals and beliefs grow wider. But beyond that, the divide has grown deeper.  Deeper, in the sense that the middle ground can no longer be seen, almost to the point of nonexistence.

More importantly…  I’m glad.

As everyone keeps saying, “It’s time now to come together. This division among us, only hurts us.” And I’m not going to dispute that.  We as a nation are indeed stronger when we’re not divided. There is one problem with this, though. That chasm is there for a reason. In order to come together, I’d have to see things as the other side sees them, and I simply cannot do that when they are so unwilling to budge or even bend on their viewpoints, viewpoints I consider extreme.  Just as extreme as they see my viewpoints. So we are essentially at an impasse.

The other issue is this; The more extreme stance one side takes, leads the other side to take an equal and opposite (reactive) stance. So the stalemate continues.  It is completely unfair to ask one side or the other to compromise, because when we’ve reached such extremes, even a slight compromise seems like a complete abandonment of ideology. To make matters worse, attempting to bridge the divide is seen as a weakness, BY BOTH SIDES, and is quickly jeered and pounced upon by detractors.  The role of “moderate” is dead.

Right now is when I should be saying something like, “This can be fixed, if we all just lower our extreme views and try to see eye to eye, for the good of the country.”  But that would be overly simplistic, and a lie. Instead I’m going to tell you that any hope you had of these two sides coming together, is a pipe dream. This chasm has grown too wide and WAY too deep.  And I’m fine with that. Oh, it’s not how I’d prefer it by any means…  But I’m not going to lie to myself just so I can bridge gaps with people I couldn’t possibly agree with.  And nobody should.

Yes. Nobody should be selling their soul just to get a little bit of work done. I think that’s the sum of the point I’m trying to make here.  I’m tired of my side (yes I said “MY SIDE”) compromising our lives away, just so the other side can steamroll a piece of crap legislation through congress.  I’m tired of being on the side that constantly tries to work with and bend to the other sides will… just to keep the peace. I’m tired of being told that we should put our differences aside and come together…  Fine, I’ll come to the table, as soon as they drop those pitchforks and torches.  But that’s never going to happen, and I see no reason why I should pick up a torch and follow them into the abyss.

To end, I’m sure the other side feels the same way. In fact, I know they do, as they have proven it to us over the past 8 years. And that’s fine. Perhaps now we can have a proper civil war. Unfortunately, I think that’s the only way we’ll be able to understand where our divisive ways can lead us. And YES, I totally understand the irony of what I’m saying.  “Division is bad.” Yet I’m being divisive.  But it is divisiveness with purpose.  (now I just sound like a madman.)

The new narrative

December 14th, 2016

The War on Intellect and The War on Science

Yeah, I said it. I’m sure I’m not the first. But let’s just clear the air and get it out of the way. As the Republicans love to give us wars…  “The War on Christmas”, “The War on Religion (Christianity)”, “The War on Guns”, “The War on Fetuses”, “The War on ‘Southern Heritage’”… etc, etc.  Wars that only made sense to them, btw.  So now, I’m going to feel VERY free to throw a couple of these WARS back at them.

Welcome to the new Trump narrative… The Dark Ages 2.0

I give you…

The War on Intellect.
And,
The War on Science.

There isn’t a single person here who hasn’t heard the right wing throw out the term, very loosely I may add, “The intellectual Elite” in a very derogatory.  Adding a touch of distaste and even contempt in their voices, as though they were casually discussing an incurable STD.  The right has made intellect and people with intellect, into a narrative of disease and disgust.  Something you might find two schoolyard bullies doing on the playground during recess.  As if being smart IS the problem with the world today.

Make no mistake though; we are entering into a new age of suppression. A Dark Ages 2.0, if you will. A backlash by millions of people who have simply grown tired of NOT UNDERSTANDING the expanding world around them. Like nature intended…  they feared what they did not understand, and were forced to devolve to their most primal instinct, attack. Attacking what makes you uncomfortable or things that are difficult to handle, is a natural and common response.  These fears are why we are currently seeing such an upswing in anti-science, anti-facts, and anti-intellegence types of rhetoric among our current populous.  Too much of a good thing can be frightening, if you’re not part of the good thing. And so they move to suppress.

The War on Intellect; Meh, it’s not much of a war.  Not yet anyway.
But, The War on Science…  Well, that’s real and we are currently witnessing the lengths this country is willing to go to, to ignore, debunk, and completely alter facts and the scientific community.