It would be nice if everything was either-or, black or white; if the laws of physics only allowed one cause for every observed effect. It would be useful if history books reflected the true nature of what occurred in the past, and all our problems would be solved if everyone always told the truth.
This is all wishful thinking, of course. It’s like unicorns and colonies on Mars. It’s like the past we think we can recapture.
Language is what separates mankind from the lower animals, that and an opposable thumb, of course.
We revere people who have used language well. From Shakespeare to Dickens to Hemingway, we admire good writing. We spend millions on the writing of people like Steven King and JK Rowling. Our children still memorize the words of Abraham Lincoln, written on an envelope at Gettysburg. Continue reading →
Almost two years ago now I wrote a piece entitled “Back to Square One.” (1) The election was getting interesting. Lots of charges were flying back and forth. Liberals were calling conservatives stupid for not understanding that climate change was a huge issue and conservatives were calling liberals stupid for thinking that it was. Fake news was a thing, but no one knew that fake news was a thing yet, and the biggest joke out there was that Donald Trump was running for president. Continue reading →
Back in 2014, a study by Princeton University Prof Martin Gilens and Northwestern University Prof Benjamin I Page concluded that America was no longer a democracy, it was an oligarchy. The government, they claimed, had been hijacked by the very wealthy and corporate interests through lobbying and funding of political candidates. (1) Continue reading →
I understand that it takes a great deal of time to work through all of the available data, all of the available information on the big issues of our time. I understand that. I also understand that many people simply don’t have that kind of time. They are busy earning a living, raising kids, clipping coupons, caring for their elderly mother, or all of the above.
These people have limited time to get their information, and they invariably go to some source that, for whatever reason, they have come to trust.
Unfortunately, those people paid to sway public sentiment understand that as well. That’s why they know they can put out purposely false and misleading information and get away with it. Continue reading →