Wednesday, June 21, 2017

All the Lies

American thinking is being dulled by the flood of false statements from the media, politicians, and disappointingly, even by the oval office.  Not every president has been honest and open with the citizens.  Some have made inaccurate statements along the way and some have lied to us, but today is perhaps different.

False facts abound. Insulting responses to critics are reminiscent of sibling insults when mom and dad weren't around. 

Most of us are at a loss to know how we should react to such behavior.  If it were in our family, our options would range from serious to severe.  Chronic untruth would not be left unaddressed in our children or tolerated in our primary relationships.  What are our options in the public arena?

There's a problem with false statements being left unchallenged, of course.  

When we are overwhelmed with false, or potentially false, statements, our brains pretty quickly become so overworked that we stop trying to sift through everything.
Our brain responds to lies in two steps.
     We (1) accept and visualize the content as valid before (2) reviewing the facts and considering whether we should unaccept it or not.  The first step is automatic and effortless while the second requires conscious thought and a detailed relabeling of the lie's content in our mental file system.  A flood of lies and misrepresentations can overburden our already demanding mental tasking, and it can distort our understanding, our view of things.  Unless we're exceptionally careful, the flood can change our worldview based on falsehood.

Manufactured misinformation is not a new problem.  Over the years ...
Referring to Jews or non-whites as an 'inferior race' is one example.
Insisting nicotine is not addictive and smoking is not a health problem is another.
Referring to abortion as 'reproductive health care' and an unborn child as a 'fetus' is another.
Referring to climate science as a 'liberal hoax' is another.
Suggesting Mexico sends us their 'rapists and criminals', etc., is another.
Categorizing Muslims in general as 'terrorists' is another.
Describing folks receiving assistance as 'leeches' is another.

Whether it is from an office holder, the news media, or some extremist, we face a deluge of conflicting information, much of which is demonstrably false.  These are indeed interesting times, especially for those concerned with traditional values and national integrity.

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