From where I sit, we owe all those who came before us who had to fight in ways we’ll never have to. They handed us so much to build on — and this is how we honor their sacrifice:
Land of the Free and Home of the Brave
- Rather than read and digest, people scan and dismiss — frantically seeking any fragment they can frame in their favor.
- Sensible arguments are snubbed with meaningless replies that are utterly absent of thought — mercilessly torturing reason with trite talking points.
- Even against overwhelming evidence served on a silver platter, they will swat it away in disdain without so much as glancing at the goods.
- Any sound bite that can be manipulated to their liking will be repeated in endless cycles of certitude.
- Always at the ready — they’ll gleefully “inform” you with 60 seconds of “research” — compiled by copying & pasting material disseminated by the equally uninformed.
- They’ll look away from a mountain of evidence against their side — while nitpicking over pebbles to pounce on the other.
- Their civility is a charade in their immovable contempt for correction — playing childish games that fit a formula designed to infuriate you (at which point they’ll pull the innocence card and haughtily condemn your tone).
- They want a presence without having to exert any effort to legitimately participate
- They peddle their opinions while shirking any responsibility to validate them
- They launch volleys of vitriol as fireworks for freedom
- They see themselves as conveyors of truth while dripping in duplicity
- They want respect without having to earn it
- Their hypocrisy knows no bounds
- You can “agree can disagree” about subject matter you know absolutely nothing about
- You can have a “line of thinking” — without doing any thinking (“I’M OK, YOU’RE OK”)
- You can act like a child and want respect as an adult
- You can be hailed as a hero for “following the facts” — never mind that the trail always seems to lead in the direction you desire
- You can cite the word of the opposition as gospel — then get right back to assailing them as the liars you love to hate
- “All opinions are equal” — whenever it’s your baseless beliefs on the line
Letter to Abigail — 26th April 1777:
The United States is now a country obsessed with the worship of its own ignorance. . . . we’re proud of not knowing things. Americans have reached a point where ignorance, especially of anything related to public policy, is an actual virtue. To reject the advice of experts is to assert autonomy, a way for Americans to insulate their increasingly fragile egos from ever being told they’re wrong about anything.
It is a new Declaration of Independence: no longer do we hold these truths to be self-evident, we hold all truths to be self-evident, even the ones that aren’t true. All things are knowable and every opinion on any subject is as good as any other.
We no longer have those principled and informed arguments. The foundational knowledge of the average American is now so low that it has crashed through the floor of “uninformed,” passed “misinformed” on the way down, and is now plummeting to “aggressively wrong.” People don’t just believe dumb things; they actively resist further learning rather than let go of those beliefs.
I was not alive in the Middle Ages, so I cannot say it is unprecedented, but within my living memory I’ve never seen anything like it.
And in the naked light I saw
Ten thousand people, maybe more
People talking without speaking
People hearing without listening
People writing songs that voices never share
And no one dared
Disturb the sound of silence
Fools, said I, you do not know
Silence like a cancer grows
Hear my words that I might teach you
Take my arms that I might reach you
But my words, like silent raindrops fell
And echoed in the wells of silence