Experts? Everyone Can Be One!
Jim made a comment that I started replying to, and thought it could become a new post.
People still believe the talking heads. They watch the same news. All over the country people are getting together having the same conversations. Our dialogue is shaped and built around tidbits given to us on television and radio.
I've found that I can often tell what shows that people listen to or watch from their views on politics and the economy. Especially if they follow Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity or Bill O'Reilly. Their talking points and logic are so knee jerk and illogical, that they can only come from hours of having them drilled in by the sermons, of those circle jerks.
But even in more mainstream society, when the talking heads are saying deflation, people in the checkout line are saying deflation. It's as though we're all parrots, mimicking what we hear on the media. I guess we are.
Those of us that are driven to pursue personal lines of inquiry and delve deeper into a story, find that there's very little we can we relate to when talking to people that skim the news and watch reality TV. When I step outside the bounds approved by the media, I get blank stares or I'm told I'm wrong. When I ask how I'm wrong, I get no explanation, just that this is what people say. If it's a Limbaugh fan, I might get a diatribe about how Democrats are terrorists that eat their own children, after I make a comment about the bailout.
On one prominent blog, there's a long time member that prides himself on his ability to make people think in new ways. Over and over again, he repeats the media line and exhorts us to obey and trust our leaders, for they are wise. When I use simple math and concepts to clarify points, we get back to the idea that I must trust Paulson, because if he wasn't wise and caring, we wouldn't trust him with all that money. I'm called a nutter, because I argue that there's no reason to trust anyone that hasn't earned it.
Now he's an extreme case. But he finds comfort in trust, because he knows he's uneducated on many topics. Still he makes the mistake in believing that that Paulson and friends must be smarter, wiser and more educated, because he doesn't understand them. Now I might give Lewis Carroll the nod on this, but not an economist. He's an excellent example of a person well molded by the public education system. I still remember when I thought that adults were smart and wise, simply because I was a child. If our public education system does it's job properly, most of the graduates have such a low sense of self empowerment, that they never outgrow this.
I'm in the process of reading 'The Federalist' for the first time. I skipped the gigantic intro and went straight to the papers. The pompous style that John Jays writes in, is tough to get past at first. Soon though, between him and Hamilton, I'm getting a very real sense of just how much we have in common people of that time.
I'm seeing the same personalities, same rationalizations, and many of the same arguments echoed in today's dialogue as is discussed in the papers. I think that I thought that I was going to be transported into a different world when reading them, but I wasn't. It was just a slight shift in culture. Any free thinker or bigot in today's culture would settle in just fine in their social life.
From this line of thought, I'm struck by just how ignorant the arguments are that the framers didn't foresee times like these, and so the Constitution is no longer relevant. The times aren't so much different as our romanticizing makes them out to be. If anything, I think we'd all agree that we have it easier now.
And even then, much of the public dialogue was centered around news and opinions presented by the press. John Jays and Alexander Hamilton were evidently knew this. Where as writers, both of them were exploring new ideas and new thoughts, they were aware that people would read what they wrote, and their words would frame the thoughts and conversations of others.
Now I was taught all of this stuff at one time. I know teachers in school had explained it to me. It's only been the last few years though that it's really been soaking in, what all of the ramifications are.
Now I think my subconscious has been ahead of me. For years I've been dismissing the idea that Americans will rise up and fight off tyranny if it crosses one more line. But only now am I coming to understand the absolute control the media has over our culture, our thoughts and our conversations. Even as we slip into a Greater Depression, the public is still by large, buying the media stories and accepting them as the greater truth.
Those of us that read, listen, learn, write and speak are a small community. We're no threat to the apple cart. Anyone who can keep predicting events and economic trends is after all tinfoil hat conspiracist. After all, we don't parrot the media talking points.
These days, when I try to discuss anything past the surface on economics, energy politics, etc..., with anyone outside this community, I feel like I'm in a Monty Python skit. I can explain what parallels we're facing, what this likely means, and be right over and over again, and people will still tell me that I don't understand the topic, because on Channel 11 news, the anchor said something different. He after all is on television so he must be wise.
Following is a Monty Python skit from the Meaning of Life. It was the best I could find of this scene. The person who clipped it, left out the lead in. In the lead in, the couple sits down, and the waiter asks them if they would like to start out the evening with a nice conversation. He then gives them a choice of topics to talk about and they choose philosophy.