I decided a few months ago I was not going to write about politics any longer, preferring to concentrate on my historical fiction writing and living in the world of the past rather than the muck that seems to be the present. I certainly have my thoughts however, and these days, who doesn’t. I’ve always tried to be non-partisan in my analysis but now I feel compelled to at least speak up.
All too often, when facts don’t match a given narrative, the person telling the facts is seen as politically one-sided rather than being objective. I’m constantly amazed at some of the very intelligent people I know who fall into this partisan trap, willingly and despite evidence to the contrary all because, well, party. It is simply illogical, but it’s true.
The misinformation that is seen as fact, accepted as gospel, and ingested into our political bellies is almost beyond comprehension. It’s as though people who follow politics simply lose their reason to the narrative that’s spun, as long as that narrative comes from their party or their perspective. Many of you reading this now, are trying to determine the perspective I’m writing from, proving my point. I’m beginning to think the most dangerous thing facing our country is confirmation bias. As Shakespeare wrote for Mark Antony as the latter was addressing the assembled crowd at Caesar’s funeral, “Oh, judgement! Thou has fled to brutish beasts and men have lost their reason.”
We have, it seems, lost our ability to reason be that reasoning with Covid (masks, vaccines), climate change, our government and its true function, or any of the controversies that inundate us daily on our televisions, radios, or social media sites. Influencers have become the norm with frightening consequences. Imagine taking your climate advice from a Swedish girl with no background in science who claims the earth is almost at the point of no return. She is hailed publicly (her net worth, by the way, in the arena of a million dollars) while people in the field, those that study it have actual evidence that it’s not happening at all, but are shunned, banned, and ostracized for their thoughts. This is just one example. See? You’re doing it now, to me, regarding climate change and the previous sentence.
It’s not a coincidence. Nicholas Copernicus was similarly shunned as was Galileo…imprisoned actually, for his (Galileo’s) belief the Earth actually moved in the heavens and the sun did not. Copernicus’s defense was he wrote for others to contemplate his ideas, not to directly confront the Church…to do so would mean pain of death. Galileo was forced to recant by a papal council his wonderful work Dialogue Concerning Two Chief World Systems in which he lays out his argument on earth movement as well and was proven to be correct, at least as correct as they could be in the 17th century.
The Church went on to produce The Index of Prohibited Books, a comprehensive list of books that went against church teaching and morality and were forbidden to be read. How is that not the same as divining a single narrative by either political side to win the hearts and minds of those in the public arena? The sad fact, and it is a fact, is that those with left leaning tendencies are more likely to silence the other side than vice-versa. This is not to say the right leaning side doesn’t, but to suggest this doesn’t happen more on the left today is to simply deny reality…or prove my point regarding confirmation bias and the dangers inherent in our political fracturing.
It seems a good number of us have lost our reason, and willingly accept any narrative that is thrown our way. We bathe in the words that bring us comfort as confirmation bias washes over us, validating what we believe even if the facts don’t bear it out. We ingest partial truths as absolutes, casting aside the portion that invalidates the entirety of the idea because it fits rather than instructs. We jettison friends now, sometimes sitting alone in our silo content to be with no one who disagrees thereby atrophying our ability to discern political reality from political fiction. We willingly accept the dogma we’re fed, sitting in our ideological cages waiting to be fed the next narrative that keeps us dependent on those that feed us, gulping it down and gnashing our teeth at anyone who might disagree, protecting our morsel. This is not healthy, it is not right, and it certainly is not American. Uh, oh, now I did it. Uttered the “A” word. I hope I’m not cancelled.