Fake News and Complacent Opinions

Tired of all the finger-pointing and accusations regarding fake news? Tired of having to sift through so much garbage just to try to figure out what is truth? Just plain tired of it all? I feel your pain. I came across a quote today that I found particularly interesting. Thought I would pass it along. My advice? Read it closely. The main point really has nothing to do with the media per se; so, don’t let that aspect of the quote sidetrack you
A free press, therefore, does not induce people to live by rational convictions or by truth. Claims made today for the press that people have a right to know are too lofty. Most people do not live on the basis of knowledge but of complacent opinion. They are skeptical: ‘You can’t believe what you read!’ And we say today that the media always get it wrong. Consequently, we believe that we are right, there being no authority above us to say we are wrong. [We] like to pride [ourselves] on independence of thought, which is just the kind of independence [we] display the least.” ~ Harvey C. Mansfield, writing in 2010 about Tocqueville’s “Democracy in America”
Complacent opinion… Skepticism… No authority to tell us we are (or might be) wrong…
The truth is that most of us come to the issues having already formed our own predispositions and prejudices. In a world plagued by doubt and uncertainty, we unknowingly elevate our own thinking because we have convinced ourselves that we have the answers and that anyone who disagrees in the slightest is wrong. The outcome? Discourse, debate, and deliberation become forfeit. Ideological entrenchment becomes the norm. And rather than finding real consensus, we only widen the divide between us and others. The issue is NOT that I am right and that they are wrong (or vice versa for that matter). The issue is that we are better “together.” But as long as I seek to shout down others and change the channel unless it supports my opinion, we will never get better. Not in the long-run. We must work together. And that begins with a willingness to listen first and speak second. Only then can we honestly say that we have “independence of thought.”

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