There’s a real problem in this country and it’s the fact that everything you say, think, and feel is wrong… unless your thoughts, feelings and words echo mine. Then we’re alright.
This is what the news tells you. This is what your professors tell you. This is what a lot of families tell you. This is what a lot of friends tell you. This election season has been particularly rough because of this idea, heavily pushed by the mainstream media and the left, that if you don’t agree with what they say, then you are wrong and also some kind of villain. You are some redneck, backwoods, uneducated imbecile who is also probably racist, sexist, vile, deplorable, etc etc etc etc add your own adjectives etc. This isn’t a one-reason issue either. There are a lot of things at fault for the failure of compassion, empathy, understanding, and basic conversation that have been brought to the surface over the last year. Here are some things to think about:
People Don’t Understand the Difference Between Fact and Opinion
It’s no secret that mainstream media channels are propaganda arms of the government. However, a lot of people still aren’t privy to just how much lying universities, and the education system in general, are doing to their children. I’m lucky to have gotten out when I did because I think if I continued in the university system as a student much longer, I was going to start getting in trouble for calling out bullshit. Our system is designed not to educate people or cause them to question, but it’s meant to create compliance and confusion. I’ve met PhDs who didn’t believe in the truth and I will never forget this moment from my last residency in a Master’s program.
We were talking about a ‘nonfiction’ book and reasons we liked it or didn’t like it. Like most books we read, the people who normally responded always gushed over whatever garbage we were told was mandatory. No surprise to me, a majority of the ‘required reading,’ whether poetry, fiction, or nonfiction, was about identity. My first term I looked at the cover of the poetry book and said, “I bet this is angry vagina poetry.” Open it, still get those vibes. Of course the speaker came to the school, she was one of the guests, and then when introducing pieces from the book we read, she said she was an angry feminist when she wrote it. We had lots of feminist garbage. We had lots of books focused on being black, the black identity, and a book on the damages of white people. I say lots of books, but my program was 5 terms with 3 required reading books every term. The fiction books in my first and second term were not focused on identity politics, but they were also chosen under a different director, whatever that might tell you and that’s not to say I liked or disliked either program director more or less than the other. Obviously the first program director stilled picked things like angry vagina poetry that I was paying for to listen to apparently.
Anyway–in my final term the nonfiction book was actually NOT about identity (but the poetry and fiction book both were). Instead it was supposedly a book written from observations after working at a specific zoo and completed with interviews done with people who also worked there. I had my assumptions about how this book would go based on the other books I’d read through the program and it was pretty much what I expected. Zoos are bad blah blah blah.
The problem I had with this book was not the content I disagreed with, but the sneaky tricks the author used to write it. The book was presented as ‘nonfiction’ which means it’s as close to fact as possible within minor errors of mild human error. However, there were parts of this book that couldn’t possibly be the truth because the author took the opportunity to humanize animals within the content. It wasn’t like as himself as the character he said, “I looked at the cheetah and it looked sad to me.” No, he projected his thoughts onto the animals and MADE them say things by writing, “It thought this. I bet it thought this other thing too.” These thoughts weren’t about food, or hunting, or other animal things, they were about political and social stances that an animal would never have.
It was a cheap trick and in fiction I wouldn’t have cared, but there’s a very serious crime being committed when you add information like that to nonfiction. What you’re doing is blurring the lines between fiction and nonfiction. You’re saying you can add any little thing to nonfiction, small details can change, things that didn’t actually happen can be added and still called true as long as the major body / the rest of the text is mostly accurate, but my question is, if you added these lies, what other lies did you add to the text? This wasn’t the first time we had someone do this. Just one term before we had a guest reader whose book was a mixture of fictional characters and her own nonfiction stuff. I have less issue with this because it was marked fiction, but I had issue with her philosophy that she spouted for an hour and a half+. She went on about there being little to no difference between fiction and nonfiction. She was all about blurring the lines and making the two separate genres into one. Mixing truth with untruth, but still calling it whatever you want to call it. This is disgusting.
The proof of mental destruction and the erosion of integrity came when we discussed the books and people were all about praising it. Then I rose my hand and spoke about the dangers of mixing fiction into nonfiction then still calling it the truth. I asked them at what point was there too much made-up information mixed into the mostly true narrative that would then FORCE something to be classified as fiction? I said if anyone is claiming to tell the truth, something as it happened, but they can make up whatever little details they want, then what standard can we hold journalists and reporters to? This person who wrote The Zoo Story said that he was reporting on actual events and then added information as he wanted to those reported events. There was no way to trust the integrity of the rest of the piece because he’d already proven he deviates from fact. We need to hold people accountable for fabrication in truth.
The overwhelming response I got was people telling me I was wrong. More disturbing, many of my cohorts expressed very plainly that it was okay to add falsehoods or fabricate information if it supported the ideas the author was pushing. Yeah, this was one of the excuses they used to support the author of The Zoo Story. Because what he made up supported his propaganda, it was okay to make up.
Our education system and our society are sucking integrity out of people. They are trying their hardest to blur the lines between reality and not reality and that thoughts are as real as action. We see the news and media rewriting history rapidly as it’s unfolding. They attempted to rewrite Fidel Castro as a loving, strong, wonderful leader after he died rather than report on his honest, horrible legacy. We live in a society that teaches people there is no absolute truth, but there is a truth on individual basis. What’s true for you might not be true for your brother. After blurring the lines of what’s fact and what’s fiction, people don’t have to worry about learning anything or finding supporting evidence for their claims. If they think it, it must be true. Then they apply this idea of, “Opinions can’t be wrong. My opinion is fact. Therefore I am not wrong.”
People have no concept of what the truth is anymore, they don’t know how to question, and they don’t care.
It’s All About “The Win”
And tribe mentality is encouraged. It seems a majority of the loud voices don’t actually care on what is right or what is the truth, but they care about being right. In post-election, I’ve seen so many interviews, social media posts, and website articles that are all about calling the doom of the US ahead of time. There are people who legitimately want to see the US fail under president-elect Trump for the sole reason that they want to be able to laugh and say, “See? I told you so!”
It seems that debate and information sharing has becoming just another contact sport when talking politics turns to a chair to the head when someone doesn’t hold the same political beliefs as someone else. How long until CNN, MSNBC, and other MSM channels just become subcategories of the WWE? When will the presidential debates feature a red corner, a blue corner, a ref, and fans hanging chairs, tables, and pipes to the people fighting inside of a ring?
We have to get back to what discussion is truly about: insight, empathy, and understanding. As the focus instead turns on winning, the focus of the individual turns away from listening. It doesn’t matter what your opponent says because the most important thing in these situations is to beat your opponent; get them to shut up; get them to walk away; get them to be offended; make them surrender by any means necessary; by the end of the ‘conversation,’ you must be the winner. “You’re on the wrong side of history,” is also a tell for the reason behind someone’s argument. This sentence implies, “I am the winner.”
One of the worst ways to solve problems is to never discuss them. This has drained intelligent conversation and thus, drained empathy for one another. Even if you disagree on something, it’s better to have an open discussion because at least the issue is being talked about. By earnestly listening to opposing ideas, you also strengthen your ability to empathize. When you close yourself off to other ideas, you may find it harder to identify with other people. You will become isolated. You will see anyone who doesn’t think like you as an enemy who needs to be destroyed.
People Are Hesitant Because The “Consequences” Are Often Disproportionate
The fascist left has cognitive dissonance down to a T. This isn’t to say the right doesn’t have its issues or that they won’t be the next fascist regime in a decade, however, the left touts being tolerant and accepting, yet the moment anyone mentions a different opinion than what’s popular on the left, they kick out ‘their own’ or they seek to penalize the enemy by contacting employers to relieve people of their duties. New pastimes among college students seem to be crying, napping, and complaining to administration if a professor is not liberal and picketing to get them fired. Super tolerant environment you got there.
The left has become an echo of totalitarianism and this has caused most conservatives, libertarians, and classical liberals to become quiet so they don’t induce the anger of the left. The problem with this is that it has caused so many people to think there is no opposition to their ideas. Foolish teens and adults have grown into this idea that no one disagrees with them so when they are met with disagreement or anyone challenges their ideas, they don’t know how to respond they start to cry, scream, throw things, have melt downs. By not challenging the ideas of people and allowing them to think without proof, evidence, or thought, you’re not doing them any favors. You’re not making them ‘safe,’ you’re making them incapable so that when the majority of disagreement finally speaks, they turn into violent riots, suicide threats or attempts, and completely irrational overreactions.
So you’re wrong about everything, but you don’t even know it because people are afraid to tell you. People are afraid of conversations. People are afraid of each other. We need to end this idea that, “You must agree or die.” We must end this idea that to be friends, family, etc. have to agree on everything in order to coexist or like each other. We have to get back to a world that’s viewed for how it is, not through your shoddily spray painted rose-colored glasses.