Keep Your Right-Wing Nuttery To Yourself

Last week in Sunday School, I had another one of those shake-your-head-and-sigh-out-loud moments.

We were discussing… uhh.. God… and related subject matter (in other words I have no clue what the context of the discussion was) when this lady – out of the blue – raises her hand and reminds us that the ‘real battle’ is having accurate information as to what is really going on in the world, and that the wickedly-liberal-Satanically-run-news-media is always just trying to lead the world into a moral black hole.  Then, in the same breath, she admonished us to rely on her favorite conservative ‘news website’.  (Turns out, the website is just a political action website, using cherry-picked propaganda from past church leaders.  So instead of even talking about current events, she was really just pushing her political agenda at church…. UGGGGG…)

Well, she had me at the first part.  Yes, we should be distrust the media!  We should approach each story asking ourselves what editorial position the reporter is taking, considering what content they have exaggerated or maybe even omitted.

The second part of her comment is what revealed her narrow-mindedness.  She stated categorically that we should distrust the media, but then encouraged us to trust ONE PARTICULAR media outlet.  Umm… isn’t that something like telling someone all drugs are bad but then going and lighting up a joint, telling them that it’s OK because it’s the ‘good stuff’?  It reeks of hypocrisy.

Just because a particular new outlet jibes better with your thinking doesn’t automatically make it correct, making all others errant.  I mean, what if you’re thinking is wrong? (Perish the thought!)

Let me suggest an alternative.  How about consuming media from many different outlets, from many different perspectives? Doing this, you can gain a broader perspective of the problem, synthesize what you’ve heard, and come to YOUR OWN conclusion as to the truth (or your opinion) on the matter.  Yeah, it’s more work.  It requires you to think for yourself rather than simply accept someone else’s shrink-wrapped, sound-bited perspective on the issue.  But isn’t it worth the work to have your own informed opinion?

The real question is: where is the truth?  Well, honestly, you won’t ever find the truth of anything by just reading one person’s viewpoint.  The real truth lies between the written lines.  You can’t trust a single human source to tell you the uneditorialized, unspun, uncommentaried truth on any matter.  Consider how often you tell someone a story without putting your own perspective or opinion into it; never. (Ever seen the movie Big Fish?) We automatically edit out details or glaze over parts that aren’t compatible with our telling.  That is just how we work.

So, expand your horizon.  Read The Huffington and The National Review.  Read the Times as well as the Journal.  Watch CNN and Fox News.  As I’ve stated before, become a connoisseur of media, just as you are of fine foods.  Taste of a wide range, judge each according to its merits, and abandon the unworthy.

7 thoughts on “Keep Your Right-Wing Nuttery To Yourself”

  1. Just because it is typewritten rather than handwritten doesn’t mean that it isn’t just one person’s nut-ball opinion. And it DOESN’T MEAN IT’S TRUE. THIS INCLUDES EMAILS. Believe it or not world, Obama is a US citizen and just because someone passed around an email AD NAUSEUM saying he wasn’t doesn’t mean it’s true. Same with 90% of email passalongs. Just because it’s typewritten doesn’t mean it’s true. Thanks W.E. for letting me get that off my chest.

  2. 3 problems:
    1. There is a huge difference between “getting all available information” and “knowing the truth”. Getting all information will only give you the opportunity to pick the parts of the information that agrees with what you already think!!! I have never found any truth as a sum total of information. Almost all truth comes from some independent clear thinker that is totally ridiculed by all of the other “sources of truth”.

    2. The Sunday School Commentater’s truth comes from her ‘perfectly truthful’ source which is either true or not. Whereas your truth comes from a sum total (or picking your idea of truth) of what other people think which has almost no possiblity of being completely correct. One possible problem is that you only know how to find one side of the problem or that all of the data is on one side of the truth. I had a BOM teacher that told all his students that the problem with the John Birch Society (hope you all remember them) is the they are way too far to the left of center. (In other words the Republicans are just way too far left wing to even consider.)

    3. The only way to really find truth is to take the postulates you have accepted and theorems you have already proven and then apply them to the problem under consideration. If you do that and actually get a new theorem then that new theorem has to be correct in your realm of reality, and your conclusion (through the real test of logical integration of thinking) has a real chance of actually being true. This does not, however, actually give you any real truth unless your postulates are also true.

    As a real example of this reasoning was whether the world was round or flat in Galileo’s time. If anyone read all of the information available at the time he would have 99% flat data and 1% round data (Galileo) and therefore the world must be mostly flat with just a little bit of round in it.

    The real truth comes not from between the written lines, but from looking at things that have a chance to be true and then applying them to what you know to be true and then you have a chance of actually adding truth to what you already know.

    Hummmm–Does this make any sense?

  3. Independent, educated, personal opinion and thought?!? What radical idea will you introduce next, W.E.? Moral agency and accountability? Who knows where this could end…(said in a dramatically faint voice)

  4. Well I think any excuse to talk politics in Sunday School is a good one…primarily because that’s the appropriate forum to
    get that stuff out there, right?

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