So I’m telling you this, and I insist on it in the Lord: you shouldn’t live your life like the Gentiles anymore. They base their lives on pointless thinking, and they are in the dark in their reasoning. They are disconnected from God’s life because of their ignorance and their closed hearts. – Ephesians 4:17-18
WARNING: Mild rant alert!
Demagoguery: political activity or practices that seek support by appealing to the desires and prejudices of uneducated people rather than by using rational argument.
Fascism: authoritarian ultranationalism, characterized by dictatorial power, anti-intellectualism, forcible suppression of opposition, the propagation of false news, and suppression of the press.
Dear Internet: as a former newspaper columnist who writes with care, listens to a wide variety of opinions, and tries to present challenging but reasonable commentary, I can’t begin to tell you how disappointed and how offended I am at how readily you choose to like, share, re-tweet, forward, and re-post articles from the proudly uneducated, traders in false outrage, flat-out nimrods, and Russian bots.
- It has said that we get the government we deserve, well maybe we have finally managed to achieve the Internet we deserve too?
Are literacy, history, logic, exposure to the classics, the ability to think critically, an interest in the truth, the basics of research, a sense of humor, and a working knowledge of the Bible that far beyond the average American that we are no longer equipped to engage in productive dialogue, an informed exchange of ideas, and respectful debate?
The more people are unwilling to think for themselves, characterize education as elitism, attack the press, and rely on parroting what they are told, the farther away from democracy we find ourselves and the closer we move to a modified but dangerous form of fascism.
It is not just the soul of America that is at risk but the intellect, the emotional intelligence, and the liberty too.
We have a political power culture today that happily cultivates and then leverages the fear and prejudice that surround fake news and unthinking uniformity.
Education is still the best defender of liberty, and respectful dialogue is the only way to invite people to think beyond the narrow strictures of the propaganda they have been fed.
Additionally, and I believe this is critically important for our country, one of the most dangerous lies being propagated by those who fear truth is that, “The press/media is the enemy of the people.” It is not, and news organizations work hard to weed out those who abuse the platform. Like every other professional discipline, journalism is committed to policing itself against corruption and the loss of credibility. We need “The Fourth Estate,” and we need it now more than ever.
So here is my challenge. Does your online behavior promote the dissemination of reasonable, positive conversation? Or do you add the weight of your vote/share/retweet/like/forward to what is forcing reason into the margins and bringing demagoguery front and center?
I guess I will find out!
Peace – DEREK