February 26, 2023

Liberal Absolutism and Misinformation

Michael Smith

My wife and I were talking about politics last night and she mentioned how afraid the Democrats were to release the rest of the J6 videos. We began to talk about the various Twitter drops demonstrating just how hard the Democrats worked to shut down any opposing points. I began to think about how close our times have come to Ray Bradbury’s 1953 novel, Fahrenheit 451.

From Bradbury’s novel comes this:

"If you don’t want a house built, hide the nails and wood. If you don’t want a man unhappy politically, don’t give him two sides to a question to worry him; give him one. Better yet, give him none.”

Being an introvert, I don’t consider myself much of a conversationali st. In one on one situations, I do fairly well – still not good making small talk – and since I’m seasoned by life, that is unlikely to change. It is sort of weird, because while I’m, not completely comfortable in larger groups, I can deliver an address or speak to a large group without an issue.

But I do listen extremely well. As a matter of fact, I probably spend 80% of the time in and around people just listening.

A few weeks ago, I was included in a larger, diverse group of people who gathered over a common interest, the support of one of our local children’s hospitals and me being me, I began to watch people and listen (eavesdrop, actually). I watched as people congregated according to common acquaintance and inevitably along philosophical an ideological line. What I found interesting, and please understand that this is not a scientific statement, merely one of anecdotal observation, is that the conversations I overheard were distinctly different. When the conversation turned to ideology, it seemed a significant component was the expression of distrust for any news that didn’t originate from a source they deemed "approved”. The second sets of conversations inevitably included some of that, but they also mentioned alternative sources of information as a way to validate the first source.

Again, not scientific, but the former groups were of people I know to be leaning left, the latter of people I know to be right leaning.

The only deduction I can legitimately make is that the first groups were more likely to believe something was true or false based on the source where the second group considered more than one source before deciding, even if they still agreed with the initial batch of information.

One might say that it tells us nothing about these groups because the right leaning group always believes Fox News anyway, but I would tell you that I heard quite a bit of skepticism about Fox’s reporting from the right leaning conversation groups, especially when it came to the prime-time opinion hosts.

I also noticed that the two groups seemed to strongly differ in their ability to discern between opinion and fact. While the right-leaning groups were clear which was which, the left leaning ones seemed more likely to accept an opinion or statement (something offered without supporting evidence) as fact due to the source.

In other words, the left leaners put more stock in who said it rather than whether there was objective proof it was true. They were far more willing to accept a statement from CNN or MSNBC as fact than the right leaners were to accept something as true just because somebody on Fox said it.

It is also why people on the left will never accept any information that counters their position because it came from you or a source you provided (even if that source is independent, a matter of law or publicly available). They simply reject it because it came from you, a logical fallacy called the genetic fallacy in which information is dismissed or validated based solely on their source of origin rather than its content.

The best example of this is the pundits (black and white) on CNN and MSNBC who are stating, without equivocation, that Ron DeSantis has made it illegal to teach black history in the public schools. There have been people from Andrea Mitchell, Don Lemon, Joy Reid and Stephanie Ruhle pontificating that the banning of CRT means that blacks are being erased from history and any book that contains any mention of discrimination has been pulled from the shelves. They way the make it sound, DeSantis has formed a Fahrenheit 451 level group of firemen who roam the streets looking for people to arrest and banned books to burn.

Never mind that the facts are easily locatable.

On the Florida Department of Education’s website, under the Social Studies / African American History section and listed as Benchmark # SS.912.A.7.6, Description: "Assess key figures and organizations in shaping the Civil Rights Movement and Black Power Movement”, one finds this:

"Examples may include, but are not limited to, the NAACP, National Urban League, SNCC, CORE, James Farmer, Charles Houston, Thurgood Marshall, Rosa Parks, Constance Baker Motley, the Little Rock Nine, Roy Wilkins, Whitney M. Young, A. Philip Randolph, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Robert F. Williams, Fannie Lou Hamer, Malcolm X [El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz], Stokely Carmichael [Kwame Ture], H. Rap Brown [Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin], the Black Panther Party [e.g., Huey P. Newton, Bobby Seale].”

Certainly not a comprehensive list, but if that isn’t enough, plenty of books are available at any local library for the price of getting a free library card. Parents also can certainly purchase any book they wish their children to read as well.

It is a difficult task to have a conversation or debate with any person who dismisses your points simply because they are your points, but that is where we find ourselves.

This is endemic in our government as well, it is where the quest to eliminate "disinformation ” arises – but it isn’t "disinformation ” they seek to eliminate, it is the genetic fallacy on steroids, they just want to set fire to the source from which it emanates.



Tim adds:

The left is monolithic in many ways, and that stems from a deep-seated distrust of human reason. They do not even trust their own minds, much less ours. They base everything on "experts" and "expertise" and always accept the word of authority, even if the authority is the leader of a counter-cultural movement. I believe it was Thomas Sowell who observed this. The Left makes what self-styled experts say as Gospel. They all believe in the Platonic idea of the philosopher king, and so they take the word of mainstream journalists simply because these are the "authoritative" outlets. And once spoken, it may not be unspoken. No amount of evidence will sway them. There are no doubt still a majority of Liberals who think Mike Brown said "handsup! Don't shoot!" or that Ronald Reagan cut funding for AIDS or that Alger Hiss was railroaded. Nothing will shake them because in essence they do not think but rather use their feelings. They are anti-rationalists, emotionalists, and need Big Brother to tell them what they should think.

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