Monday, May 10, 2010

Facts and the Public Arena

I just read an editorial by Cynthia Tucker entitled “Wild Assertions in Public Arena Trump Demonstrable Facts.”

My question to Cynthia is “You just noticed this?”

With Fox News, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter and Sarah Palin continually given highly visible platforms from which to spew their nonsense, how could it be any different?

I’m not talking about censorship here; I’m talking about the difference between facts and opinion. Feel free to express your opinion but please don’t back it up with made up facts, wishful thinking and nonsense assertions.

The eye opening example that Tucker gives is a question to Tea Party founder Judson Phillips as to whether he would admit that taxes have actually gone down for the vast majority of Americans under the Obama administration. He answer was “No,” we would not.

I had a similar conversation with a right winger and told him to check the math. His response was that mathematics, like statistics, can be made to lie.

I beg to differ. Mathematics cannot lie. It is the one guaranteed absolute truth. It is the only domain in which something can be proven beyond all doubt. This is not opinion; this is simple fact.

How can you reason with people who simply want to believe what they want to believe and are going to ignore all evidence to the contrary?

Taking a quick look at some of the comments associated with Tucker’s editorial simply further demonstrates her point. There are far too many people who are simply going to ignore any and all arguments which contradict what they have decided to believe. Their minds are closed and can’t be opened.

To make matters worse, more often than not they have been convinced by unfounded rhetoric which has simply been repeated loudly and often. The electorate is no longer making decisions based upon knowledge but upon nonsense.

Democracy ceases to function when the electorate is no longer capable of deciding issues based upon reality. I’m watching American Democracy fail. We are absolutely screwed.

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