Donald Trump isn’t the only one to lie with exoneration. Logic, facts and intelligence are the losers in this election
Back in 2008 only weeks away from the election of Barack Obama as president, British journalist George Monbiot considered how U.S. politics had turned out to be “dominated by people who make a virtue out of ignorance.” Skimming on the surge of ex – vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin and highlighting on the endorsement of morons like ex – vice president Dan Quayle, Monbiot considered how it was that we had permitted our political landscape to be completely outclassed by “screaming ignoramuses.”
8 years later it appears obvious that we were only just getting started.
If there may be one constant this election it is that our collective political decision-making method is afflicted with profound ignorance. And while the prize for stupidity goes specifically to the campaign of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and his supporters, it’s crucial to observe that there is a great deal of stupid to go around.
Back in November 2015 as the primaries were smacking into gear, Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone, published a item entitled “America Is Too Dumb for TV News.” Taibbi centered on how this election had brought in in the era of lies without consequences. He discussed Trump’s lie that he had witnessed thousands of folks cheering after 9/11, Carly Fiorina’s proclaiming that she had observed the harvesting of fetal brains and Ben Carson’s making up courses that didn’t exist at Yale.
“In all of these cases, the candidates doubled or tripled down when pestered by reporters and fact-checkers and insisted they’d been victimized by biased media,” Taibbi published.
Political satirist Lee Camp honed in on the stupidity of this election initially. His show, “Redacted Tonight,” has utilized the razor-sharp paradox of satire to attempt to challenge the problematic thinking that has completely outclassed the political conversation. In one segment appropriately termed “This Election Is an Insult to Our Intelligence,” he called on followers to avoid the narratives they are being provided with and think for themselves.
Camp may be joined by a chorus of political satirists – Samantha Bee, John Oliver, Larry Wilmore, Stephen Colbert, and others – that has geared towards utilizing smart comedy to reverse stupid politics. The unfortunate thing is that when politics is actually a joke, it is really hard to joke about it.
While the GOP clown car made hay of the lie-driven campaign this cycle, it is crucial to observe that we witnessed our own share of lies from the Democrats, as well. The Democratic National Committee didn’t play it straight with the U.S. public – and it required a leak of internal documents to get its chairwoman, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, to step down.
The #BernieOrBust and #DemExit movements were a indicator that supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders’ presidential run were fed up of what felt like continuous lies and deceptions. Their intensity then resulted in backlash against Bernie himself over his inevitable endorsement of Hillary Clinton and then over his choice to kick off his own 501(c) party. Had Sanders lied to his supporters or was he making significant compromises?
We hear a lot about how savvy Hillary Clinton is, but it’s important to explain that she continues to be ensnared in plenty of lies, as well. Blaming the fact that we understand about these lies on Russia is yet another indication of flawed thinking. It’s a typical instance of a “red herring,” where you steer clear of dealing with a problem by producing a distraction. Since Clinton had to handle a lot of incorrect accusations, she utilized those unwarranted attacks to steer clear of talking about any of the legitimate issues the public had.
Never in our history have we received such a low bar for falsehoods as component to the everyday business of politics. But here’s the true issue. Its not just that we don’t have our information straight. It’s that we have jointly sacrificed our capability to process information and make good judgments. To be genuinely stupid, you need to have inferior reasoning skills. So our issue isn’t just that we have lies replaced for facts; it is that we don’t even understand how to process information any longer.
To date we have maintained to target the lying and on the truth that these lies are making us all dumb. We understand, for example, that once Fox News was presented under the flag of “fair and balanced” and with the objective of reporting news in a biased and inflammatory way, the intelligence of the U.S. public fell.
Politifact has reported that only 10 % of what Fox News reports is true. Its viewers have endured as a consequence and we have multiple reports that confirm that Fox News viewers are less knowledgeable than those who take in other news outlets. One study demonstrated that Fox News audiences understand less than those who check out no news at all. Another study by Bruce Bartlett exhibited that Fox News offers viewers misinformation and propaganda disguised as “news.”
We also understand that the George W. Bush administration regularly replaced lies for facts. It put forth no less than 935 lies in the lead-up to the war in Iraq.
After taking in these lies, a Gallup poll demonstrated, the U.S. public continued to be entirely clueless about the war.
So lying has become a popular part of our political life. Today some 15 years into the era of persistent political lying, it is time to understand that we don’t only have a war on truth; we have a war on logic. If we center only on the lies and miss the faulty logic, we get only part of the image of why we have gotten so stupid. To be genuinely stupid, you have to have no understanding of what legitimate proof seems to resemble and no capability to process the information you do have.
If you desire to have some fun, check out this list of the most prevalent kinds of logical fallacies. You’ll notice that we have had a great deal of examples of precisely these sorts of errors in reasoning throughout the 2016 campaign.
It’s not just that Trump gabs at a fourth-grade level; it’s that he does not have fundamental reasoning skills. This is a man who has frequently stated that the best way to cope with undocumented immigration is to build a wall. It’s an almost laughably bare-bones answer to a serious issue. The fact that a substantial amount of U.S. citizens bought into the wall as a logical strategy should frighten us all.
The Trump campaign is pretty much a lesson in stupidity and poor logic. Besides not having the capacity to remember his own stance on the war in Iraq, Trump has held responsible Clinton for starting wars in the Middle East, even though she wasn’t the one for making those choices. Better yet, when questioned about his own poor choices and sexist conduct, he reacted by presenting a red herring and speaking about ISIS. Then there is the case that China has designed the climate change “hoax” so that it can defeat us in manufacturing. Again and again we observe that Trump doesn’t just have his details wrong; he can’t make sense of them either.
So if you tune in to Trump lengthy enough – and you assume what he is stating makes sense – you will quickly experience a crippled brain that has come to recognize faulty logic as commonsense.
Weaknesses in logic are happening outside of the Trump camp as well. The corporate media kept treating him like a legit candidate – a move that exhibits the poor logic of a false equivalency.
We also had Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson confess stupidity when he couldn’t discern Aleppo. But that mistake morphed into catastrophically inadequate logic when he stated that it was a good thing that he couldn’t recognize any world leaders because that would imply he wouldn’t go to war with them. His claim was that if he couldn’t locate a place on a map, then he couldn’t launch a war there.
It was not just that he had no specifics; it was that he had appallingly stupid judgement capabilities. Obviously, he also has no sense of history either since our ex – president George W. Bush failed a foreign affairs quiz on international hotspots and had no problems starting wars.
We have an break out of stupid logic and it is influencing all political quarters. For example, numerous Clinton supporters have swallowed the slippery logic that since some of Clinton’s pundits are misogynists, as a result all her pundits are misogynists. Or there’s the concept that if someone is critical of Clinton, then he or she ipso facto supports Trump. Better yet is the poor logic that believes that if you are critical of the two-party system, then you lack political pragmatism.
Our political discussions have become completely outclassed by either/or thinking, false binaries, hasty generalizations, slippery slopes, circular arguments, straw men and red herrings.
But it’s rather more serious. As Monbiot mentioned, for some time the U.S. public has become skeptical of intelligence. As we have shifted towards greater fundamentalism – market fundamentalism, political fundamentalism and religious fundamentalism – we have sacrificed the ability to practice critical reasoning. Everything we believe currently is a belief rather than a reasoned judgment. Concepts can’t be questioned, critiqued or debated because to do so would be to shake the foundations of our mind structure.
If you want to test my position, attempt to talk about sensible gun legislation with a Second Amendment fundamentalist. This is a spot of political debate that has sacrificed all accessibility to critical reason. But you can also flip this and notice no room for reasoned debate on the left side of the spectrum, as well. Attempt raising any issues over Clinton’s record with a Clinton supporter and you aren’t in all likelihood to get much rational thinking there either. As I’ve stated, this is no longer a partisan issue; it’s a national epidemic.
In our present political climate, any correcting facts is regarded as suspicious and threatening. Facts are no longer to be trusted. We live in echo chambers where our biases become truth claims. Any attempt to point them out appears like an affront and results in conflict rather than conversation. Instead of hone our skills of debate, we sharpen our spears to battle our challengers.
How many “friends” have you blocked on Facebook due to the fact you can’t put up with another second of their stupidity? How many times do you consider one of your “friends” has done it to you? Rather than develop a rational conversation, we block and delete and ignore. And it’s all helping to make us stupider.
Here’s the point: The election is rapidly nearing and the outcome is looking significantly obvious. While we might steer clear of Armageddon, we aren’t going to prevent the chaos produced by an election cycle that has been an insult to our intelligence.
We are going to have to begin inquiring ourselves if we want a nation of extremist thinkers unable of critical reflection or we want to begin recovering our collective brainpower. As Monbiot said, “Ignorant politicians are elected by ignorant people.” Democracies are only as intelligent as the folks in them. So the true question we have to deal with is: Are we with stupid or not?
These People Are A Danger To Themselves And Others! Wake Up!!!!!!
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