Don’t Be Bamboozled!
Be a member of an INFORMED ELECTORATE! If you aren’t, then it may cause the destruction of our Constitutional Republic.
The solution? You must make sure your thinking process is valid—i.e., that the process by which you draw conclusions isn’t backwards. It’s a process called “critical thinking” and it proceeds from a hypothesis that is based on fact, to findings about what those facts mean, to conclusions.
If (and ONLY IF) your facts are TRUE, then you can draw conclusions that you can rely on being true and valid.
If your facts are NOT TRUE, then you can draw whatever conclusions you might want and they will be either true or false—you won’t be able to tell the difference.
A constitutional republic is a delicate thing—but ours has stood the test of time ever since the adoption of the Constitution of the United States.
At the close of the Constitutional Convention of 1787, Dr. Benjamin Franklin was queried as he left Independence Hall on the final day of deliberation. In the notes of Dr. James McHenry, one of Maryland’s delegates to the Convention, a lady asked Dr. Franklin “Well Doctor what have we got, a republic or a monarchy.” Franklin replied, “A republic . . . if you can keep it.”
Our Constitution created a limited representative republic. A republic is different from a democracy. In a democracy, the majority can directly make laws, while in a republic, elected representatives make laws. Basically, in a pure democracy, the majority has unlimited power, whereas in a republic, a written constitution limits the majority and provides safeguards for the individual and minorities.
A constitutional republic requires an informed electorate and an accurate view of reality. Approximately 70 years ago, Republicans hit upon a winning formula: if the data disagree with your worldview, kill the data. Then, with no problematic data, claim that there is no definitive proof of reality and, in the words of Karl Rove, create your own reality.
In this politically charged and bipolar world, you see many of what one person called, “alternative facts”—facts that are simply made up. These “alternative facts” are generally made up to support conclusions that weren’t derived from real facts—but were actually the starting point. Given that a conclusion is nonsense by itself, people can make up “alternative facts” which, if they were true (which they’re not), would lead that the nonsensical conclusion.
Bear in mind that the use of “alternative facts” (or “lies,” as some would call them), is not new. In Mein Kampf, Adolph Hitler wrote that “The bigger the lie, the more likely people will believe it.” And his propaganda minister, Josef Goebbels, wrote that, “The more times you tell the lie, the greater the chance people will believe it.”
Watch what is going on now. You hear one news organization and some members of congress saying over and over that the Mueller investigation is corrupt. Often they base this allegation on weak evidence—if at all. But over time, this will enable them to support a conclusion that the Mueller investigation IS corrupt—not because it is, but because they’ve told the lie so many times.
There are some people who, I think, actually believe that Trump’s inaugural crowd was larger than Obama’s. This conclusion is drawn not because any fool can look at photos of the two crowds, but because they have been told the lie so many times.
Remember this if you remember anything and if your political leanings are either left OR right.
A VALID conclusion can be true ONLY if the facts and findings that lead to that conclusion are TRUE. If someone is feeding you “alternative facts” (or lies) from which you base your thinking process, then whatever conclusion you draw is invalid.
Or, when you listen to cable news talking heads, if they start with their conclusions and then seem to cherry pick facts to support that conclusion (Sean Hannity on the far right and Lawrence O’Donnell on the far left are famous for doing this), then you can generally ignore the conclusion that is offered.