I have been watching politicians for 50 years and it amazes me how badly they lie and the American voter allows it to continue unabated…..makes one ask….do the American people want to be lied to?
Actually it appears they do.
Two recent controversies have revealed an unsettling reality about American education: the ruling members of both the nation’s major political parties do not want an informed citizenry. With the right wing riled up about critical race theory in schools and both sides of the political aisle in an uproar over Ilhan Omar’s comments on the United States and the International Criminal Court, it’s difficult to come to any conclusion other than American politicians do not believe Americans should hear difficult truths about their own country.
The debate over critical race theory shows that plenty of politicians do not want the topic of racial inequities discussed in classrooms despite the fact that it’s a part of American history and leaving it out is tantamount to teaching science fiction instead. Red states have been moving to ban critical race theory from the classrooms, most recently Texas and Florida. Comments from Florida’s Republican Gov. Rick DeSantis and other elected officials do not give me confidence that they even know what critical race theory is. DeSantis believes teaching critical race theory, which is an academic form of study that investigates the way racism is woven into institutions and governments, is indoctrination. Yet, in the bill DeSantis hawks, it states “… [instruction] may not define American history as something other than the creation of a new nation based largely on universal principles stated in the Declaration of Independence.” Is this not also a form of indoctrination, stating there is only one interpretation of the nation? If not, why not?
Since most conspiracies are lies believed…..the question is how do they become so believable?
Think of a conspiracy theorist. How do they see the world? What stands out to them? What fades into the background? Now think of yourself. How does the way you see things differ? What is it about the way you think that has stopped you from falling down a rabbit hole?
Conspiracy theories have long been part of American life, but they feel more urgent than ever. Innocuous notions like whether the moon landing was a hoax feel like child’s play compared to more impactful beliefs like whether vaccines are safe (they are) or the 2020 election was stolen (it wasn’t). It can be easy to write off our conspiracy theorist friends and relatives as crackpots, but science shows things are far more nuanced than that. There are traits that likely prime people to be more prone to holding these beliefs, and you may find that when you take stock of these traits, you aren’t far removed from your cousin who is convinced the world is run by lizard people.
Since the internet and social media drives the lies and conspiracies…..can we build a more honest internet?
The dominant narrative for the growth of the World Wide Web, the graphical, user-friendly version of the internet created by Tim Berners-Lee in 1989, is that its success has been propelled by Silicon Valley venture capitalism at its most rapacious. The idea that currently prevails is that the internet is best built by venture-backed startups competing to offer services globally through category monopolies: Amazon for shopping, Google for search, Facebook for social media. These companies have generated enormous profits for their creators and early investors, but their “surveillance capitalism” business model has brought unanticipated harms. Our national discussions about whether YouTube is radicalizing viewers, whether Facebook is spreading disinformation, and whether Twitter is trivializing political dialogue need to also consider whether we’re using the right business model to build the contemporary internet.
My thought on this is that it may be too damn late to try and reform the disinformation available on the internet.
Education would help….but in recent decades that is a term that brings scorn….so sad.
Turn The Page!
I Read, I Write, You Know
“lego ergo scribo”