If the article to which I have provided a link below doesn’t worry you . . . . it should.
This article focuses on the negative effect of social media on our democratic republic. In essence, during the past ten to twelve years, social media has made America stupid. And there is no end in sight.
As an adult, you can argue, “That hasn’t happened to me.”
But it has. If you use social media and/or you are fixated on a couple of cable news channels, you are getting very shallow tidbits – selected tidbits depending on the political slant of the source – from which you draw your conclusions and form your opinions. What you take in – from whatever source – is generally not validated for truth, and consequently, any conclusions you might draw are purely random at best. They may be true – or untrue. That’s how logic and the thinking process works.
But “critical thinking” goes a step further. It demands that you test and verify the information you are receiving for truth. The reasons you must do this is, my friends, because with true information or verified facts, you can draw valid conclusions; with “alternative facts” or information that is not true, you can draw whatever conclusion you want.
As adults, you have had an additional benefit – not so widely available nowadays to our young children and early teenagers. You had actual social experiences – experiences in person. The younger people these days don’t have that if they are addicted to their computers, iPhones, and social media. Their experiences are one-liners that may or may not have some connection with reality.
Is this a problem?
You bet it is. This country was founded on a delicate foundation – a balanced approach to democracy called a democratic republic. The founding fathers recognized that pure democracy would lead to total chaos, autocratic rule by a majority, and suppression of minorities. But what they designed required an educated public that could listen for real facts, do their analytical thinking based on those facts, and debate their conclusions and recommendations with others who had gone thought the same process but may have arrived at different conclusions or advocated a different solution. That’s healthy debate and the way the government should work.
Unfortunately, the government and politicians just don’t work that way anymore.
Strong and unyielding positions are established – often based on rumor, crazy theory or just something made up – and there is a refusal not only to debate an issue, but even to talk to someone with an opposite point of view.
If you are able to read more than just a couple of bullet points or a few characters on Twitter, I suggest you read the article in the recent issue of the Atlantic – “Why the Past 10 Years of American Life Have Been Uniquely Stupid” by Jonathan Haidt.
Think about it – and then DO SOMETHING POSITVE.