Columnist John Moore: Wake up, America

 

"The choice for mankind lies between freedom and happiness and for the great bulk of mankind, happiness is better." ― George Orwell, 1984

We trust way too much of what we see, hear, and read. We do it because it's convenient, and we do it because it's comfortable.

As a child, I was frequently admonished by my parents, teachers and other adults to "think for myself." If I was repeating something that I had heard another kid pass off as gospel, I was told to make sure that I had my facts straight.

I question whether many children are encouraged to do the same today. From what I observe, few adults still practice this sensible advice. I frequently hear individuals parroting the same talking points of their respective political parties that I first heard hours earlier from some talking head on the news.

Most of us, especially young people, have been spoon fed sound bites for so long, that there is no perceived incentive to verify what appears in front of us each time we open our smartphones or tablets, or what repeatedly flies by our eyes during ever-shrinking television news segments.

Most news channels now are more focused on refereeing fights between alleged experts than reporting real news.

This is dangerous and concerning. Especially considering recent revelations that Google, Facebook, Yahoo, and other major sources of information are accused (some with pretty convincing evidence) of everything from censoring what we see to deleting or limiting access to web posts that don't align with their management's political views. Yahoo is now accused of allowing the government to search the email accounts of their customers.

The journalists for national news outlets used to pride themselves on vetting their sources and reporting facts. There were certain national news outlets that could be trusted. It would seem to a great extent, those days are gone. That means the responsibility for finding the truth is now on each of us more than ever before.

As individuals, we are responsible for what goes in our brains and out of our mouths. No one else is responsible for that.

Keep in mind when you watch or read the national news that the focus now is almost exclusively on the negative. This 24/7 repetitious bombardment of all things bad divides and frightens. And that's exactly what it's designed to do.

We all have far more in common than we do not. We all want to feel safe. We all want our children to be healthy and smart. We all want to feel appreciated at work. We all want to have a little fun every now and then.

Politicians want us to think things are worse than they are because that's how they get power.

The national media wants us all to think things are worse than they are because that's how they get ratings.

Study ancient history, or even the Old and New Testaments. Man has always worried about his current state of affairs.

Our biggest problem today is that we allow a handful of people we've never met to plant their ideology in our heads, and then we feed that ideology by allowing them in every day to water and grow it. When it's harvest time, they don't harvest it, we do.

People in power know that it's easier to adopt someone else's ideas than to formulate your own. They count on that.

We owe it to each other to gather our own facts from multiple sources and grow our own informed opinions.

We are not sheep, and we're all a helluva lot smarter than they want us to be.

 

©2016 John Moore

For more of John's musings, visit johnmoore.net/blog

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