Since I’ve been at home for the last month, I’ve wasted way too much time on the net. Do this too long and you get overloaded with information, so that you wouldn’t know a good idea if it bit you on the ankle. But one thing I can tell you without any fear of being contradicted- there are a lot of foolish, foolish people out there, who, in our age of “If I say it, it must be so!”, distrust of reality, 24/7 vomit of opinion think that whatever they have to say is, um…relevant. Before the internet and cable news these people were confined to the fringes of society- a sort of Hazel Motes you might say. No more.
To change the beliefs of an entire community, only 10 percent of the population needs to become convinced of a new or different opinion, suggests a new study. At that tipping point, the idea can spread through social networks and alter behaviors on a large scale.
That’s scary stuff. Combine that with the never-ending barrage of propaganda from cable news being pumped everywhere, you can see how the most idiotic of notions gets a foothold in our national discourse- particularly if there’s money to be made. Now, I could devote a full, thoughtful piece to each of the following, but really, I think I’ll cut to the chase.
If you’re attempting to teach “creationism”, deny climate change, or think that homosexuals “choose” who they’re attracted to (but some how you didn’t pick yours, imagine that), oh, shut up. There’s a nifty fact about science- it has a self-correcting aspect build in it. It’s called testing. If one scientist decides to make the claim that huffing Marlboro’s doesn’t cause cancer, then a score of other scientists will test it, find that in fact, smoking kills you, and move on. No matter how great your faith is (which must again be noted, is defined as “believe in things not seen”), no matter how many episodes of PTL club you preach it on, science will always “win”. The Dali Lama once said “If science proves some belief of Buddhism wrong, then Buddhism will have to change.” Buddhism gets it, wonder when the rest of the world will accept it? Until then, please shut up.
One of the greatest things about how our country was setup is the notion of “one man, one vote”. A great amount of bloodshed and struggle led to it, and it’s a cornerstone of our democracy. Everyone gets to do it, even blacks. Or women. Or poor people. So Matthew Vadum, “Registering them to vote is like handing out burglary tools to criminals,” , please shut up. Go find a island and you can be a king and let anyone vote or not, but here in America, your idea is repugnant. Then again, look at what network let him say it.
The only people who want you to be concerned- and give up your rights and tax dollars for “national security” about Muslims and “Sharia” are people who stand to profit from your misconceptions. If we haven’t made this a Christian nation in 222 years or so, despite the majority of people who proclaim themselves as such, how would you think that Muslims, who only account for 2% of our population, would do it? So Frank Gaffney, Alan West and all the other “Sharia scaremongers”, please shut up. Your continued employment may well rest on feeding disinformation to the fearful rabble, but it doesn’t make it accurate- or any less vile.
This is only the tip of the iceberg. You could fill a dozen columns like this, but frankly, who’s has the time- or the stomach? There are far more pressing things in the world that we could be doing instead of this- go find them. Turn off the internet, read a book. Take a walk. Volunteer. But if you want to fill the world with disinformation, bigotry and hatred, please shut up. We’ve certainly had enough.