25 July 2007
The Major made a comment on the Great Divide post about the uneducated and uninformed being undesirable voters. To a point, I would agree with him. However, it is not simply at the ballot box where the U2s ,aka their impact felt. They exist all over the world and influence policy, marketing and society in ways which range from the inconsequential to the severe. In the most horrendous examples, we have genocidal events as we did in Europe, Russia, China, Cambodia, Bosnia, Rwanda, Darfur and other places.
To my mind the epitome of the modern example is what I call the headline philosopher. This is an individual who reads a "headline" and accepts it as it is for gospel. No effort is made to understand the information or determine the veracity of the statements made. All manner of people fall into this category (including myself on occasion). We hear what we want to hear and discard any contravening data. Worse, we may take a single point in time and consider that as static. The individuals who harp on "ill-equipped" troops in Iraq (for example) have not kept up with the progress made in this area.
How do you engage an individual who takes this position and understand their view while challenging their belief? In the realm of New Wage Hustledorks (a phrase coined by the VERY funny Connie Schmidt of Cosmic Connie there is actually a webpage which will search other web sites for phrases which help classify a site as using questionable thinking. A pity we do not have a sufficient BS detector to apply to all the information we encounter. Sometimes our instinct serves us well;
1) Lindsay Lohan has a chemical dependency problem
2) Michael Vick had been involved in dog fighting for a long time
3) No one cares what's on network TV
The web is a pretty good substitute and improving in this regard, but as the YouTube debate showed us, there are still gatekeepers and obfuscators.
Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt.