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Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Stop the stupidity

Recently over at Dan’s fine blog, I posted in response to the more political beginning of this week’s topic. And I thought that perhaps the subject deserved to be a topic of its own here. 

Despite Joe Biden’s pleas for unity, there is little doubt to even the least politically savvy observer that we are a divided nation. And while for some reason that feels unique to our times, it objectively isn’t. We have always been a divided nation to differing degrees over different issues. I was a kid in the 60’s. One quick view of the evening news quickly told you how divided we were then. 

Vietnam protesters and police. 

But there is something unique about this current division. It’s kind of fake.

When southern states declared their desire to secede they did so because they had a reason. They felt that their entire economic well-being could be threatened with the abolishing of slavery. And they weren’t wrong. The degree of the impact could be argued since the south seems to be doing pretty nicely without it now, but to say it would have had no effect on them then would also be incorrect to a degree. So, when you get down to it, it might have been exaggerated, and it might be rooted in something that even desired was morally wrong, but at the center of their reasoning was something real.

In the 60’s we were divided again over civil rights, but we were also bitterly divided over the Vietnam War. Proponents of the war maintained that to let Vietnam become a communist country would result in the famed “domino effect” in southeast Asia. Opponents of it cited the corruption of the government we were backing in the south in comparison to the reformist (though communist) movement of Ho Chi Minh in the north. Some felt pulling out would be a disaster, others felt remaining in was a disaster. But the one thing you could say about either argument was that they were both real possibilities. While someone was right and someone was wrong, you could say the ‘wrong side’ still had their reasons.

What are the reasons for some of our current division? Just listen to interviews or even just the chants of the insurrectionists at the Capitol: “the election was stolen”, “I’m fighting for my freedom because otherwise we will become a socialist regime”, “Democrats and others in a national inner circle are engaged in a  Satanic conspiracy of child abduction and only Donald Trump is keeping them at bay”. What are the bases for these assertions? Where did they come from?

Well we kind of know the answer to that. “The election was stolen” came from Trump and his backers even before a single vote was cast. Based on what? Well, objectively it seems more from a desire to frame the election in a way where only a win for him would be a legitimate one. Objectively there was no evidence for this claim to be even remotely true. Republican-appointed, conservative election officials maintained the integrity of this election…..even beyond others due to the non-reliance on technology and a lot of manual counting of written ballots. Republican-appointed conservative judges threw out countless court challenges, sometimes with stern admonishments over the frivolous nature of the suit. In essence, “the election was stolen” because people who had reason to want to cast doubt, did.


What about us becoming a socialist government by mere governing from Democrats? How exactly is this going to happen? Are they going to rewrite the Constitution …...with an evenly-split Senate? Are they going to do it by force? And what does a ‘socialist government’ even mean to the people chanting?

The last gem is pure Q-Anon. But that doesn’t make it any less believable to those who believe it. Is it factual though?

Why not ask the Shaman? He'll tell you.

So when you look at some of the main points of division, do they share any sense of real-world validity the way division over slavery or fears of advancing Communism did? The sad answer is “no”. We find ourselves at each other’s throat over issues that aren’t even real. They are the products of misinformation.

What I do find encouraging is that the issue of misinformation is being given serious attention. People in positions that count are recognizing it as a root problem and looking at solutions. People in general are talking about it more. Even victims of it are starting to question how they were lured into conspiracies they now find absurd. Not all of them, but some.

So what to do, what to do? Well I don’t pretend to be an expert, but I like to think I tend to look at things logically. I have an idea, and it’s what I posted on Dan’s blog:

“What I would like to see happen immediately is a government requirement for two mandatory classes to be taught in every accredited school. Just like a certain number of years of math and English are required, these two topics should be required as well:

Starting with a basic introduction in Grammar school and developed through high school with more advanced levels, we should immediately require the teaching of the same level of American civics and politics as is required by any person seeking citizenship. My Rosa, who is now a citizen but who came from Peru, knows more about how Congress functions than most of my "born here" friends.

Secondly, certain schools do already teach the following, but it needs to be mandated nationwide: critical thinking, logic, and how to evaluate source material and information.”

Now you might ask, “who the hell are you to assume this would fix anything?” And you’d have a point. I can’t say for sure it would, but I do have some folks who would agree with me. Care to hear from them?

“A well-instructed  people alone can be permanently a free people.”- James Madison

“A primary object should be the education of our youth in the science of government. In a republic, what species of knowledge can be equally important? And what duty more pressing than communicating it to those who are to be the future guardians of the liberties of the country?”----George Washington

“Say whether peace is best preserved by giving energy to the government, or information to the people. This last is the most certain and the most legitimate engine of government. Educate and inform the whole mass of the people. Enable them to see that it is in their interest to preserve peace and order, and they will preserve them. And it requires no very high degree of education to convince them of this. They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty.” ---Thomas Jefferson

I rest my case. In conclusion, if we insist on being a divided nation, and perhaps that is inevitable, maybe even good to a degree........can we at least debate things that are real?


37 comments:

  1. The education issue is interesting historically. In the founders' era, it was assumed that to the extent democracy was workable at all, it was only in very small and homogeneous groups, like Athens. The whole American experiment was whether democracy could be extended to a populace of much greater size and diversity. And, because they knew most people were NOT well educated and might never be, a big part of the original Constitution was a structure that drastically limited popular participation, through mechanisms like appointment of senators by state legislatures.

    One point I disagree with is that the divisions today aren't "real world" in the way they were in the 60's. I think the depressing truth is that a huge part of the current division is driven by the exact same problem that led to the Civil Rights movement, which was the exact same issue that led to the Civil War and Jim Crow, namely the problem of race and its impact on politics and economics. For the establishment, at the end of the day, the Big Lie in this election resulted not from legitimate concerns about voter fraud but, rather, concerns that mail-in voting would result in more people voting; that more people voting; and that more minorities voting, particularly Blacks, means more Democratic election wins. You have one party whose entire strategy for winning elections has been reduced to voter suppression, so they have to try to cast doubt on the integrity of any process that increases voter participation, particularly in minority communities. Among the crazy contingent, while Qanon and other issues may be motivating some, it's becoming increasingly clear that the actual storming of the Capitol was coordinated by various right wing groups that share roots in White nationalism.

    So, what is depressing to me is we fought a Civil War, had Reconstruction, saw Reconstruction undone and the rise of the KKK and Southern terrorism aimed at keeping Blacks from voting, then the Civil Rights movement that led to some progress, then Nixon's Southern Strategy and years of undermining voting rights . . . and on and on and on, culminating in baseless claims of election fraud aimed at undermining expanded voting rights and ultimately a bunch of old white guys storming the Capitol carrying confederate flags and Nazi symbology. The more things change . . .

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    1. I was wondering if I should have addressed this in my post. Believe me, it weighed heavily on me, and I think my decision to focus on the "declared specifics" rather than the real issue that is likely motivating at least one of them, possibly more, was to target those who might be focused on those specifics and identify with them.

      Is racism a real issue of division? You betcha! But education is unlikely to change that. And that is sad in its own way. Racism transcends logical thought because even someone capable of employing logic seems very much at ease to abandon it when it comes to something emanating from their gut.

      And the other reason I chose to leave out the racism correlation was my feeling of taking a presented argument at face value. While many of those interviewed expressed views that reeked of racism, none that I heard directly said that. Instead they CLAIMED their reasons for being there fell into the assertions I did list.

      Maybe that's something to be further explored? How do you address a disingenuous argument? "I can't just come out and SAY, 'make America White again' so instead I'll say......'stop the steal'."

      Still, at the end of the day, the ease at which a significant portion of the population swallows misinformation without even a wince, makes me think a class in analyzing source material would not be bad.

      On the same issue in an entirely different arena, consider our circle of blogs and others. How many times have you seen some reposted meme with either a sexual theme or humorous one, or whatever, where the reaction is "Wow! Can you believe someone DID that?" and you look at it and know it's fake. You right-click it, you Google search it. And within seconds, maybe not every time, but often enough, and there's the REAL undoctored image. And yet? how many repost those phony shots believing them to be real? I don't mind some doctoring that's fun and meant to be phony for effect......but it genuinely scares me when I read reactions to fake shots that clearly indicate the viewer thinks it's real. Misinformation is just too dangerous to not mentally arm people against it. I am way more comfortable to teach people how not to be fooled than ban the foolishness itself because we can't trust people to be able to tell the difference.

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  2. I rarely - if ever - comment on the politics of another country. Mainly because I firmly believe in the 'who is without sin should cast the first stone'

    BUT you brought education into the discussion - and I do know something about education (having taught for 20+ years)

    Children learn more from their families - from the cradle - than we can teach them in school. We try to teach logical thinking - critical thinking BUT how do we refute family belief systems? From misognistic beliefs.. racism.. entitlement... if these beliefs are imprinted on a child's heart - how is a teacher supposed to change that? ask them to go against their mother and father and family?!

    Unfortunately this jaded teacher has come to believe that there is little general interest in truth in learning..... we pay lip service to women's rights.. to black lives matter...everything gets sugar coated because god forbid we rock the boat of outdated belief systems.

    I totally lost hope when I read about the QAnon group -- my god!! when I read their beliefs I could not believe that there are actual people who BELIEVE that sh*t... but there are - both in the States and in Canada!

    It makes me despondent and wonder what in god's name is the world coming to.............

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    1. Please always remember when you come here, your opinion is always welcome. All opinions are. Never hold back if you something to say.

      Now as to the content of your comment. Like with Dan's observation, I too wrestled a bit with the issue you brought up. I may not have been a teacher but I have held a similar view ever since I had kids of my own. (I am sure many of the casual acquaintances who engaged with me in discussions of school education in backyard barbecues went away wishing they hadn't.)

      Should teaching be the responsibility of parents with formal school teachers as assistants? Absolutely. Do kids with parents who promote education and take an active interest in their kids' education fare better than those with parents who don't give a damn? Absolutely. But consider this: even the widest net won't catch all of the fish, but no net catches none. What I mean by that is that your points are accurate as can be......and certainly active parents who live by an active interest in logic, scientific method, and general clear thinking are going to be better teachers than anyone. But in absence of it, a class can't hurt.

      The civics class certainly would be a benefit. We teach driver's ed. why not American civics?

      And I completely believe that parents can just as easily negatively influence their children as positively. But even in the herd, some sheep do go their own way. I can help but hope, teaching them to evaluate information.....even that coming from their parents......might get through and penetrate the wall of racism, misogyny, etc.

      My own story is interesting in this regard. On one hand my parents taught me from early on to question everything. I went to a Polish Catholic school in the 60's where for most kids "Sister's" word was law. My parents taught me that as an adult and my teacher, that "Sister" was always owed respect....BUT she was still human and could be wrong about things. I know of few other fellow students whose parents imbued that freedom to question. Conversely, my parents were also very religious and taught me that as well. However, one of their teachings....that of questioning everything....led me to eventually become an atheist, which went contrary to their own beliefs. Which leads to a concluding thought: Better to teach someone how to think than tell them what to believe.

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    2. One of the reasons I took early retirement was because I lost hope..... mind you it took 20+ years to lose it so I guess that is something right?

      I think what got to me the most was for every kiddie I reached there were 50 more slipping through the cracks.

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    3. Losing hope is tough. It's ironic that because of how I go after so many things that bother me, that some people assume I'm a pessimist. And while my personal goal is actually to be a realist, I sometimes worry if instead of being too pessimistic, I inaccurately color some of my views with too much rose-tinted optimism? Still, being critical is important, but maybe being too devoid of hope, (while maybe being more realistic) comes at too great a cost to our well-being?

      I could be wrong but I assume from some things you've said that you are, if not religious, at least a believer in a deity. That is something that despite your possibly dimmer view of where we are headed as a society or even as a species, you have to buoy you up that I don't. And I think we all need something to get through. Maybe because I can't rely on a deity, all I CAN do is exercise a bit of hope in these other areas?

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    4. couple of misconceptions.....
      1) I am an atheist
      2) I wear rose coloured glasses all the time and am often teased about the 'world through morningstar's eyes'

      I did not lose hope in the children -- there is always hope when you have children :) I just don't have the patience to deal with the adults in the children's lives.. or the administrators in the education field. Things changed a lot in my 20 years.

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    5. Wow! Thanks for that. You are right.....misconceptions galore.

      I can believe you about parents and administrators. That's why I'd end up in those backyard arguments with fellow parents. One very un-left view of mine is a strong emphasis on personal responsibility. Something sadly lacking in adults these days. If you scroll back you might find a few posts I did on the juvenilization of society where adults wish to remain children forever....with childish distractions and a child's understanding of adult concepts. How can a child parent another child?

      And hey.....fellow atheist. Talk about members of a minority and a despised one at that! I hope you liked my Gods of Humor post then. And again I think I did a few others.

      (So refreshing to have you join our gang here!)

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  3. You cherry-pick and/or misrepresent things into fringe views that the left wishes to associate with all conservatives for propaganda purposes.

    The fear of a slide towards fascistic socialism, censorship, and against civil rights and a reasonably regulated capitalist economy is a real fear from the right. Go read about the experience of Venezuelans who heard the same rhetoric "you're exaggerating, it could never happen here".

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    1. Even if I cherry pick, the cherries I get are still cherries I found on the "Far Right Tree".... they are not imagined cherries but openly professed.

      Also you continue to associate me with the left. Constantly. Stubbornly. Almost blindly to all of the other 'very-not-left' views I have expressed here over the years. I believe they call that "straw man". Just stop, already with the inaccurate labels. All they do is try to demonize a view. And in my case my views are not tribal but ones I thought through on my own.

      The fears you mention might well be real. In fact they most certainly are the motivations for the division we have. But it's like a kid who is afraid of the monster under his bed. The fear is real enough, but the monster? Not so much.

      Are there aspects that are true? Certainly. PC culture is absurd. But socialism? like I asked in my post, just HOW is that going to happen? And America without a capitalist economy? Just how is THAT going to happen?

      I believe you far right folks might be afraid of these things, but go home, take a broomstick and poke it under your bed. You won't find a monster.....and maybe you will sleep better when you realize that the people telling you are right to believe it's really there are lying to you for their own benefit.

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    2. I find you lack self-awareness. My views as well are not tribal ones and are thought through on their own. I do think major elements of the election were suspicious. I don't think conservatives have much truck with Qanon conspiracy theories. You lump it all together, which was my point.

      And as far as poking a stick under the bed - I did and found Venezuela.

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    3. Must be a big bed.

      So, we are having a discussion and you decide an insult is in order. But your remark is a good indicator of why you love Trump so much. You're just like him! LOL How many times has he accused an opponent of precisely the same issue he reeks of?

      As for Qanon not having stock with conservatives? Um....... so it's the far left who are their typical constituency?

      I lumped together what I personally heard come out of the mouths of the people who stormed the capitol. Their words, not mine. Their collective conspiracies, not mine. It's not hard to lump things together that were together right in front of me.

      But I lack self-awareness. LOL. Look in the mirror, dear.

      Now, I don't know if you intend to continue this or just head back to your own blog where your sycophants are slipping in their own jizz to scramble to kiss your ass, but if you do intend on replying, there will be rules:

      If I make a point you address it. If you make one I address it. No skipping over inconvenient points. If you notice this post addresses each statement you made in some way. You will do the same or I won't reply. Consider actually doing a cut-and-paste of my comment and then go point by point. Do that and I'll reply. Skip around to just what you feel like while ignoring the rest? Well, I'll probably let your comment remain......but I won't respond to it. However, since this last reply was just a lot of "I thinks" without much to back them up, I don't we're off to a good start.

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    4. Nobody is arguing that Qanon is a not thing believed by those on the right. However, the vast majority of conservatives do not believe it, and the vast majority of conservatives condemn the violence at the capital, including every single conservative politician and commentator I listen to, and me personally.

      Unfortunately it seems those on the left made pains not to condemn the violence we saw over the past 9 months and in fact implicitly egged it on ("fiery but peaceful protests")

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    5. OK, so what does that mean in terms of the point behind my post? Even if only a small percentage of people believe in Qanon, they are still believing in something essentially fake, and my proposal to mitigate that are the classes I suggested. That was the point of the post. Your comments don't seem to be focused on what the conversation is about the way Dan's and Morningstar's are.......even as they point out aspects and issues they felt I did not address. You know, a discussion about the topic at hand?

      And as further evidenced by: "Unfortunately it seems those on the left made pains not to condemn the violence we saw over the past 9 months and in fact implicitly egged it on ("fiery but peaceful protests")" First off, I have heard plenty of condemnation of the violent rioting committed by people who had no interest in protest but were acting as opportunists. I too condemn it. Second, again.....stop with the left thing. I am not "left" on everything. But thirdly and most importantly: what the fuck does this have to do with the post topic?

      Are you here to discuss topics as presented or to spout your views indiscriminately? One is welcome the other? Not so much.

      So here is an opportunity. You admit Qanon IS believed by some on the right. You add that a 'vast majority' know it's fake. So my question to you is: what do we do to get the type of person who gravitates towards things like Qanon to see things more logically?

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    6. It's called a "conversation" - I was responding to a point you made in your reply to me. I use the term "left" and "right" as shorthand for clusters of views that predominately are associated with one side or the other of the divide between the major voting blocks. I am not personally referring to any individual, including you. Traditionally that has been Democrats and Republicans, however with so many "Republicans In Name Only" and establishment Republicans who act two-faced, those terms no longer apply as exactly as they once did.

      What would I do re people who choose to believe dumbass things? I agree that good education is always a good thing, and I would endorse the type of education you write about completely. My fear is that it seems to be a strategy (from the left - see above) to mix into educating against truly dumb things, or censoring truly dumb things (e.g. Qanon), with propaganda against indiscriminate views they disagree with. Eg climate change, BLM, Trump, anti-white sentiment, anti-male sentiment, unduly broad censorship of hate speech, and so on. You personally did a bit of that mixing in in your post, in my opinion.

      The best defence against speech you don't like, or speech you believe to be untrue, is more speech. In today's day and age the speech of right is being censored under the guise of "racism", and "fake facts", and other things. As a professional woman in a managerial position I have to listen to a barrage of leftists views from colleagues and not respond in the least for legitimate fear of the mob. With 20 years left until I can even think of retirement, that is unlikely to change if I expect to make a living.

      It's reached the stage where I'm literally more afraid to be outed for my dissenting views on climate change, or on President Trumps accomplishments, then I am for 10 years of filthy pornography with my writings, image and movies!

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    7. >>>>>It's called a "conversation" -<<<<<

      It can be but that's not the way it was going initially. But....progress.

      >>>>>>>>>I use the term "left" and "right" as shorthand for clusters of views that predominately are associated with one side or the other of the divide between the major voting blocks. I am not personally referring to any individual, including you. Traditionally that has been Democrats and Republicans,<<<<<<<<<<<

      Fair enough. I accept your explanation.

      >>>>>>>>What would I do re people who choose to believe dumbass things? I agree that good education is always a good thing, and I would endorse the type of education you write about completely. <<<<<<<<

      Ok so we have some agreement here.

      >>>>>>My fear is that it seems to be a strategy (from the left - see above) to mix into educating against truly dumb things, or censoring truly dumb things (e.g. Qanon), with propaganda against indiscriminate views they disagree with. Eg climate change, BLM, Trump, anti-white sentiment, anti-male sentiment, unduly broad censorship of hate speech, and so on. You personally did a bit of that mixing in in your post, in my opinion.<<<<<<<<<<<

      Wow, two agreements in a row! I have the same fear when certain things are censored for whatever reason, even within a legal right to do so (Twitter). I too would rather educate people to not be sucked into a lie than to ban the lie. Because where does that end? Who draws those lines. I trust neither side to make those decisions for me. (See Jefferson's quote)

      >>>>>The best defence against speech you don't like, or speech you believe to be untrue, is more speech. In today's day and age the speech of right is being censored under the guise of "racism", and "fake facts", and other things. <<<<<<

      Agree again. With the exception of flagrant incitement, I don't like collegiate "safe zones" and all this PC crap, and lots of other things. But it cuts both ways and neither side is immune to spin. Hence.......a middle/moderate case-by-case philosophy.

      >>>>>As a professional woman in a managerial position I have to listen to a barrage of leftists views from colleagues and not respond in the least for legitimate fear of the mob. With 20 years left until I can even think of retirement, that is unlikely to change if I expect to make a living. It's reached the stage where I'm literally more afraid to be outed for my dissenting views on climate change, or on President Trumps accomplishments, then I am for 10 years of filthy pornography with my writings, image and movies!<<<<<<<<

      Have you considered it may be more about how you say it than what you are saying? I don't mean to be critical, especially in light of the recent tone of this real 'conversation' we are having, but your initial approach, at least online is more akin to soapbox preaching and if you do that at work among a majority of people with a differing view you do take chances. As an atheist not ashamed to admit it, welcome to my world. We are despised, threatened, and regarded as equivalent to child-molesters (true stat). If you're going to take an unpopular view, sometimes you have to make strategic decisions on what you say,,,,,even as you know that legally you have every right to say it.

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    8. A lot of agreement! Cool. I think we both agree that for fringe views, who cares, but defining where the "fringe" is is some scary censorship territory.

      In real life I know how to put an argument diplomatically. I have to do it all the time (not about politics - I steer clear).

      When I write a blog article, I just say what's on my mind (remind you of anybody?). I guess I don't know any other way of saying things in that forum. I have this naive expectation that people will assume good motivations and are welcome to disagree.

      Also, I have a bit of a combative personality (remind you of anybody?) and will hit back when hit, and will back down only as a last resort when I am definitively proven wrong (though I do think about the things critics say and will often modify my views... a gentle drift as it were).

      I think we are more alike than different...

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    9. Our personalities may have some overlap, but while we may also have some socio-political overlap. I have read enough of your views to know we differ more than we align.

      That doesn't have to be a bad thing though, right?

      As for any future conversations here, please remember one of my only two primary rules: comments need to pertain to the blog topic.

      The topic this time was about solving the issue of people who accept misinformation as truth and when we addressed THAT directly, we were in agreement that teaching how to think rather than telling people what to believe is the best solution.....if to Morningstar's point, the parents, who should be doing this, aren't......and to Dan's point that the stated issue is the actual issue and not a "front" for something the person would be hesitant to admit.

      So while you don't have to agree with me to comment, I will not tolerate using my blog as a borrowed soapbox just to air views that are not pertinent to the point of the post.

      Otherwise? We're good.

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    10. I understood the main thrust of your argument, and did not disagree, but I thought a number of your premises were off and illustrated the danger of the approach that it turns out, after some discussion, we agree upon.

      For example, if certain people (myself included) feel that things point more to "the election was stolen" than not (for a wide variety of reasons that evolved over a 4-year period), then it is not a good example of something that teaching people good thought processes would change.

      This, in my opinion, demonstrated a flaw that you espoused approach might lead to: that these classes would use such examples, and push views rather than thinking processes (this is happening in the schools now as the teacher cadre is heavily left-wing). (I used socialism and what happened in Venezuella as my original example)

      The left believed the election was stolen in 2016 by Russian conspiracies with Trump, and that was allowed to widely circulate even amongst previously legitimate news organization, and it turned out to be nothing more than a conspiracy theory. Would have been great had you chosen that as the example: something that was thoroughly investigated and proven false, rather than something that has not been investigated with the same degree of thoroughness, and now likely will never be.

      My larger point is that unexpected progress flows through debate and discussion, your scolding about "stick to the topic" notwithstanding.

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    11. >>>>>For example, if certain people (myself included) feel that things point more to "the election was stolen" than not (for a wide variety of reasons that evolved over a 4-year period), then it is not a good example of something that teaching people good thought processes would change.<<<<<

      Well it could because teaching critical thinking would lead people to make their decisions on this issue based on logic and facts rather than feelings that something was off. Feelings are great, but then one needs to back them up. In this case, there is so much evidence to the contrary, including mere logic (e.g: if the election was fraudulent and this fraud was conducted by Democrats, why were Republicans elected on the same ballots Trump and Biden were on? When these Republicans kept saying the election was fraudulent my first question was "well, if you believe that, when are you stepping down?" Logic, not emotion, Facts not feelings. Courts decisions not accusations. Assurances from sources with nothing to gain from lying (Republican officials assuring the results were tallied properly.) All of these things outweigh the accusations without proof coming from ....well since some won on the same ballot Trump lost, you can't call them "sore losers" so how about "Trump Toadies"?

      >>>>>>This, in my opinion, demonstrated a flaw that you espoused approach might lead to: that these classes would use such examples, and push views rather than thinking processes (this is happening in the schools now as the teacher cadre is heavily left-wing). (I used socialism and what happened in Venezuella as my original example)<<<<<<<

      It depends on the course. A course in thought would not include the views you mention. It would be like espousing BLM or Stop the Steal in an algebra class. Does conditioning occur in schools? Hell yeah, both sides too. For every vocal proBLM there is a creationist in Kentucky. But to teach how to analyze all of it does not mean indoctrination into any of it. The only area I agree is in censorship.

      As for the left believing what they did in 2016? Read the pertinent parts of the Mueller report. Whether there is sufficient proof of COLLUSION in that case does not mean the Russians didn't influence that election which was roundly proven true.

      So are we back now to you spouting unproven theories again? Misrepresenting issues like the Mueller report? You sound like Jim Jordan.

      Again, if you want this to continue you better back up your shit with more than something from Carlson or Hannity.

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    12. So you believe that the outcome of the 2016 election was changed by the Russian interference as you imply? Really?

      But not germane, I was specifically referring to all of mainstream media pushing the conspiracy theory (proven utterly untrue) that Trump colluded with Russia to affect the election. Did I misunderstand the conclusion of part 1 of the report? Am I misrepresenting that? And was it not true that mainstream media ran with that for 2 solid years of conspiracy theory bullshit? Were you critical of that at the time?

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    13. On Russia, I think there is a third option that has the benefit of being true to the facts, namely that the Trump team was very open to colluding with Russia--and did so through Roger Stone's collusion with Wikileaks and "Guccifer," who no one denies was a Russian agent, and made attempts at it through things like the Trump Tower meeting--but that it probably didn't have much influence on the outcome. And, of course, one wonders(or should) what tales Stone would tell had he not known that he could get away with lies and silence because Trump would pardon him. But, this is another area where your moral equivalence arguments fall apart. I have never heard a single one of my Democratic friends or contacts voice the opinion that Donald Trump won because of Russian interference, despite uncontested evidence that the Russians tried mightily to interfere. Their concerns are much more centered on why did a huge part of the country vote for someone who is so evidently a con man and a generally terrible person. On the other hand, 70% of Republican party claims this election was stolen, i.e. that there was cheating and that it DID determine the outcome, even though there is not the slightest big of evidence supporting the latter part of that equation and very slim evidence of the first part.

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    14. Julie: OK my bad, I just reread my comment and it was SUPPOSED to say: "while there is NOT sufficient proof of COLLUSION in that case does not mean the Russians didn't influence that election which was roundly proven true."

      And for the record, I am in agreement with Dan. However, I made clear my rules for continuing and since they are not being respected, you and Dan can continue this. I'm frankly done. Arguing with you is as productive as banging my head against a wall......but probably less fun. You can continue to post pertinent comments that unless there is something GLARINGLY offensive, I will not delete, but I most likely will not reply either.

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    15. Dan: the hypocrisy is that the mainstream media and the Democrats went after Trump for 3 years on what proved to be a complete fabrication. It was a conspiracy theory and a very damaging one for the country. Specifically Trump colluding with Russia, which was the charge. Can we at least get a, "I agree, Julie, that WAS pretty bad". Else you have no right to criticize folks believing what you call conspiracies from the right.

      kdp: Fair enough!

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  4. I'm similar to Morningstar as I don't believe I should comment on another country's politics in any real depth. It is an interesting character study but one done mostly through the media ( I'm old enough not to choose social media as my source. Lol).

    I suppose my reasoning for not commenting is due to the fact I don't understand how so many are 'born' into a political party. Years ago I read a study where they compared Canadian political parties and their beliefs with American Parties. Our Conservatives were still much closer to your Democrats. I personally vote differently depending on the previous party in power, how they did, whether it's a federal or provincial election. The list goes on and on.

    I could go on and on about the education system here what needs to be taught or not- Civics is mandatory here in highschool but as the mother of 3 boys just out if highschool its worth is dependant on its teacher. Though I suppose that is true with most courses. Our current education system here is brutal due to the pandemic.

    I will add two small details though strongly believe that education starts at home even if your parents' starting off points differ from your own. My parents were both Catholic ( like church every day of Lent Catholic) I went to a Catholic school, right to the end. But...they didn't use their religion to suppress or exclude. I grew up during the Aids epidemic. I had gay friends, who were accepted not feared. My parents have since accepted gay marriage, and marriages outside of the Church, or common law. They believed what they did until they saw otherwise. They were bendable and still saw the world with critical eyes.

    My point is I suppose is that they never stopped learning but also more importantly they showed me that empathy ( through their examples) should be extended to all. I'm not sure many parents and kids spend that much time together these days without distractions to pick up on nuances like that. I once read for parenting its success lays in quantity of time together not necessarily quality. I believe the example was every day activities every day vs a big vacation once and a while. Trouble is even with every day activities there is still so much distraction in them now.

    Of course this doesn't explain Viking Dude. He looks old enough that he didn't grow up with a cell phone in his hand at 10.

    Willie

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    1. Hi Willie and welcome! I feel I've "known" you for a while from overlap of the "butt-whacking" blog circuit. LOL My sincere wish is that you consider making Collected Submissions a regular part of your online visits. That said, your comment is so rich in material that I am going to use some cut&paste to address it all.

      >>>>>>>>>I'm similar to Morningstar as I don't believe I should comment on another country's politics in any real depth. It is an interesting character study but one done mostly through the media ( I'm old enough not to choose social media as my source. Lol).<<<<<<<<<<<
      As I said to morningstar, while I fully understand that position, ( I feel I know little about Canada and have no opinions I would vent) opinions are always welcome here.....even opposing ones. And I agree about social media as one's news source.

      >>>>>>>>I suppose my reasoning for not commenting is due to the fact I don't understand how so many are 'born' into a political party. <<<<<<

      Americans are both lazy and also have this tribal identity issue where being born into a side demands loyalty rather than analysis.

      >>>>>>>Years ago I read a study where they compared Canadian political parties and their beliefs with American Parties. Our Conservatives were still much closer to your Democrats. I personally vote differently depending on the previous party in power, how they did, whether it's a federal or provincial election. The list goes on and on.<<<<<<<<<

      This is interesting. I always tell people to watch the famed Nixon/Kennedy debate. It is amazing how subtle the differences were. You sound like me. I am pretty much a "third party moderate" as such I don't have a tribe and make my decisions on a case-by-case basis.

      >>>>>>>>Civics is mandatory here in highschool but as the mother of 3 boys just out if highschool its worth is dependant on its teacher. Though I suppose that is true with most courses.<<<<<<<<<<

      Well again as I said to Morningstar, even the widest net doesn't catch all of the fish but no net catches none. So many factors go into what a person learns and retains, but to not even make it a requirement here, achieves nothing.

      >>>>>>>>I will add two small details though strongly believe that education starts at home even if your parents' starting off points differ from your own...........They believed what they did until they saw otherwise. They were bendable and still saw the world with critical eyes.<<<<<<<<<

      I could not agree more and your parents sound like mine even though mine might have needed a little extra time to get to that next level. But with education? That emphasis started right away. And me? Well let's just say my Michelle could read before she set a foot in pre-school.

      (to be continued)

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    2. >>>>>>My point is I suppose is that they never stopped learning but also more importantly they showed me that empathy ( through their examples) should be extended to all. I'm not sure many parents and kids spend that much time together these days without distractions to pick up on nuances like that. I once read for parenting its success lays in quantity of time together not necessarily quality. I believe the example was every day activities every day vs a big vacation once and a while. Trouble is even with every day activities there is still so much distraction in them now.<<<<<<<<

      I never heard that association of length of time. There might well be something to it. In the 60's my mother stayed at home and did not enter the workforce until I was in high school. But frankly I can't see how this would be even possible nowadays. And like I said my ex and I both worked but you'd be surprised how much education can be imbued during car rides! LOL I basically taught both of my kids how to think with Q&A games we played routinely while driving. They remember that to this day and my daughter is now an engineer who ensures that our aircraft carriers are structurally sound......so I think I also did a decent job of making her feel empowered to succeed in male-dominated environments.

      >>>>>>>Of course this doesn't explain Viking Dude. He looks old enough that he didn't grow up with a cell phone in his hand at 10.<<<<<<

      Well I have heard assertions that he has mental issues, but I don't know if that's true or just his lawyer's strategy to keep him from a long prison term.

      Thanks again for visiting and commenting with such clarity and sincerity.

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  5. Oh and one other thing, if we could start small with the education system...like the world is BEcause, not cause, I'd be sooooooo grateful. I'm dyslexic so most things don't stand out to me, but that does!!! Lol

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    1. LOL don't get me started on grammar! ;-) It would take three posts to cover all of my peeves!

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  6. kd,
    I strongly endorse your notions about both increasing/improving civic education and finding ways to improve critical thinking. The case for both is compelling. But neither will stop or reverse the virtual civil war that has erupted in our politics. It is not a causeless conflict. As many as one third of Americans is at war with the multiplicity of rapid changes engulfing society - a rate of change probably higher than any we have experienced as a nation. These include:
    1. Cultural change which has brought deep resistance from people wedded to traditional values about race, gender and sexuality;
    2. Economic change which is intensifying and exacerbating the extreme economic inequality we have in America. Historically revolutions have been triggered by the levels of inequality we are approaching
    3. Technological change which is threatening both traditional lifestyles and economic security;
    4. Social change which is reordering traditional roles and power relationships
    5. Religious change which is driving America warp- speed toward the secularism already existing in most first world countries.
    The pace of these changes both individually and collectively are accelerating beyond the capacity of many to accommodate and adjust to them. They are extremely threatening to many, leading some to their “radicalization” a phenomena exploding under Trump - who cynically manipulated our societal unrest.
    But Trump, nasty as he was, did not cause either the alienation or radicalization. He merely exploited it for his personal gain. And Trump exiting is not going to alter these underlying issues. They will continue to fester and provide fertile ground for another Trump like demagogue to exploit them. Having offered a diagnosis for all this I should also offer a solution. But I really don’t have one. Like many medical ailments some of our political problems will just “clear up” with time. The aging out of the Trump base will resolve some of it as younger, better educated, more racially diverse and culturally diverse voters replace the aging. But our stubborn economic inequalities will not be solved that way and they urgently need to be addressed. Resolving them while maintaining a capitalist economy may be “the” challenge of the 21st century. But we must do it
    Alan

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    1. I would agree with a lot of this. Change does scare people, and there is this weird opposition to anything not white, Christian, heterosexual, and established. One of the reasons I often prefer to use left and right versus liberal/conservative is that the past defining aspects of the latter pair have been twisted and swapped, and almost perverted into things that make no sense in terms of what could be precise labelling of conservative or liberal. Left and right are vague without an actual philosophy as defining points. Are certain things implied? Yes, but any objective look at the what a conservative is willing to accept and what a liberal is willing to accept tells me that these people are not rooted in any real political philosophy but are merely tribes with labels that don't always align.

      The other thing is the venom. If I had to pinpoint an origin I would have to say it really became a "thing" when Rush Limbaugh began his career. Others followed. Then Newt Gingrich took that animosity into Congress where it has grown more normal and infiltrated all sides in different ways.

      I always felt that there has always been a place for arch liberals and conservatives with viewpoints that truly align with those labels. They present extreme ideas that challenge the status quo, but those ideas can then either be dismissed by a moderate middle or be used as inspiration for a compromised piece of legislation. The idea being that extremes put out challenging notions but the day-to-day solutions are settled by the moderates from both sides. That just doesn't happen anymore because the extremes have demonized "the other side" to a point where working with them is anathema.

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    2. I agree in the sources yu trace the venom to -- Limbaugh and Gingrich. I know you are an atheist, but I think there should be a special place in hell for Newt Gingrich.

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    3. Thanks. I have been giving this a lot of thought lately and in retracing the steps, that's where I ended up. LOL of course others might accuse me of merely spouting the "left line" instead of carefully recalling what I lived through in my own experience. (Like who does THAT anymore? LOL)

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    4. “…these people are not rooted in any real political philosophy but are merely tribes with labels that don't always align.” This, alas, is profound in explaining today’s politics. The real purpose of (almost) all politicians is the acquisition and retention of power. Most recently it has been Republicans demonstrating this with Lindsay Graham becoming a virtual poster child for ethics free political ruthlessness when he so publicly reversed his position on the timing of SC confirmations. Not to worry Democrats will have their opportunity to show how meaningless enunciated principles are to them as well if they come to threaten their political power. American politics is all about power and that is why labels are both meaningless and dangerous: people take them seriously when they aren’t (again for most politicians) much more than the uniform they wear to work
      Alan

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    5. Not much to argue with there, Alan. It's why I take the approach I do.

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