When folks farm out their thinking
“Perhaps you notice how the denial is so often the preface to the justification.”— Christopher Hitchens
There are a number of very strange things afoot in this country these days, but one of the more frustrating I find to be what appears to be the alarmingly increasing practice among those of a certain political persuasion to cease thinking for themselves and instead farm out that critically important human function to others.
And I get it. Thinking hurts. And truth is, it is just a whole lot easier to listen to the thoughts of somebody else and then regurgitate them as if they were your own. The social media site Facebook is the poster child for that practice.
And that is all right, I suppose, when it comes to matters of puppies and kittens and recipes and pop culture references, but it becomes not only a more serious but potentially a downright dangerously ignorant and damaging business when it comes to matters of more significant import.
Like politics, as example.
If you listen extensively and exclusively to the voices of people who do not mind playing fast and loose with the truth and to whom the reality du jours is merely that which they can help frame, then the odds are considerably better than passingly good that not only will your perceptions be skewed, but within the human tendency to socialize, you are then also subsequently apt to contribute to the ever growing body of ignorance that so hampers meaningful discussion in contemporary America.
In other words, once you consciously or subconsciously make the decision to quit thinking for yourself, then when the makers of mischief pass along their faulty products, you and your fellow non-thinkers increase the original mischief to exponential levels, via mouths, thumbs and keyboards.
Which explains quite a lot, actually.
Let’s take the whole business about Ukraine, the shenanigans thereabout and the impeachment investigation which is being fueled to no small degree by the fact that both the president and his play-one-on-TV lawyer have admitted to the salient facts in question.
Oh, yeah, and there is a sorta, kinda, maybe abbreviated transcript of the unfortunate phone call at the heart of the matter which tends to affirm that the president, at best acted very unpresidential, and at worst, abused the power of his office.
So, we have two de facto confessions and a document on one side, and on the other we have what a certain White House aide once described as “alternative facts,” being offered up by some of the more ardent purveyors of such, for those who have found the burden of thinking too heavy to bear:
• Per Rush Limbaugh: “You’re going to know everything you need to know about this latest faux scandal. Everything you’re seeing is deception.”
• Per Mark Levin: “There’s a lot of disinformation and misinformation. I’m here to help walk through this and defend this nation against a tyranny in our midst.”
• Per Michael Savage: “There is a war going on right now. They haven’t given up trying to destroy us.”
Such nice men. Such helpful men. And as Jeremy Peters of The New York Times pointed out last weekend, among them and Sean Hannity (who opens his broadcasts every day by saying “fighting the Trump-hating liberal media”) they have some 42 million weekly listeners to their respective radio programs, during which truths become lies, lies become truths and reality is turned upside down.
Don’t want to think? No worries. These splendid chaps will be more than happy to do it and you can just take to Facebook and proliferate the profundity.
It is Trump World. It is strictly a true believer echo chamber in which propaganda sermons are delivered to the faithful every day with the fervor of a tent revival and the “you are someone special” allure of a cult in which one’s lying eyes and ears are not to be trusted and all that matters are the messages intensively ingrained by the bringers of “truth.”
It is a world in which Donald J. Trump, 45th President of the United States is alpha and omega, omnipotent and omniscient, a god-like figure whose apostles sing his praises on the radio waves and nighttime talk shows on Fox News.
It isn’t real but it doesn’t matter because people react to perceived reality, not actual. Believe a snake is at your feet and you will jump as high as you would if one actually were.
And besides, life’s just so much simpler absent the labor of discerning one from the other.
Ray Mosby is editor and publisher of the Deer Creek Pilot in Rolling Fork
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