News+and+politics religion philosophy the cynic librarian: Speaking Common-sense to the Hoi Polloi

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Speaking Common-sense to the Hoi Polloi

That people are unwilling to give up their preconceptions and most cherished beliefs is understandable and perhaps uniquely human. If people were always changing their minds, heck, they'd be in constant upheaval, probably psychologically unstable. You have to believe in something that does not change all the time to get along in life. ...

The Bushites have put their--understandable--faith and trust in GW. That's understandable for all kinds of reasons. Bush represents a worldview that brings order to the chaos of the modern world. He appeals to a higher authority for his actions, something many in their most dire moments find themselves doing.

As polls show, a huge majority of people in the US would not even give an atheist who runs for office the time of day. So, the notion that many voted for Bush because he is a man of faith is also quite normal and reasonable. People want a leader who just doesn't pull his/her principles out of their rear ends. They hope/want to believe that the leader understands that there is a higher law, a higher power than base human self-interest.

S'alls good so far. With 911, the majority of the public rallied around the flag and by implication the commander-in-chief. To do otherwise would be unreasonable--perhaps even anti-social, if not treasonous, given the nature of the attack and its consequences.

In his role of (supposed) commander-in-chief, the majority of the people were willing to give the President a lot of leeway in deciding what is or is not in the country's interests. He has the info, after all, that we the public cannot and probably should not know or have access to.

There was very little criticism of the President's military operation in Afghanistan. Any criticism that there was was looked upon as either eccentric at best, misplaced at worst. Most people could live with that--we are a nation proud of its tradition of freedom of expression.

The war in Iraq seemed absolutely reasonable to a majority of people, especially given the "evidence" evinced by the Knower-in-chief and his knower insiders. Who could argue with the possibility of germ letters, mushroom cluds on the horizon, and the crazy Arab/Moslems who all look alike and whom people can hardly tell part anyway?

The breaking point to this wholly reasonable and common-sense view of the public came with the fact that no WMDs were found. Then there's the fact that many Iraqis just didn't lie down and accept us as liberators. If there's one thing that the public can't stand it is being lied to by the knower-in-chief or anyone else. People generally don't like to be seen by others as rubes or self-deluded fools who'll believe in falshood.

But there're those who see the world differently than most people who believe in comon-sense. These people see common-sense just as a form of PCness and therefore self-delusion. These true believers are the ones who see reality, see the truth, see the REAL threat.

The fact that facts do not turn out in the way they were reported is simply a matter of interpretation and open to an infinite number of interpretations. Here, big picture view overrides petty facts. The point is that these "facts" are just details that only the petty-minded enemies use to attack and undermine the greater reality.

This greater reality is that 1) western/American values are under attack from inside by the secularist/relativists, 2) under attack from outside by medievalist mind-sets, 3) Moslems/Arabs are procreating like rats and, given the nature of their ideology, are all born to be terrorists who mindlessly wish to kill us and our cherished way of life, and 4) the nature of reality is struggle and the winners in this struggle are those who will go to any lengths to protect themselves.

Of course, fewer and fewer of the majority public are willing to accept much of this. To the true believers, they are caught in the snares of illusion and self-deception. Depending on the filter you want to use, they are either those who will be Left Behind or duped masses who will follow any lie just as long as the facade of truth can be ginned up in the form of threat to their private worlds and consumerist fantasies.

We must assume some things about this "gullible" majority. We must assume that they have the ethical disposition to common-sense judgement to weed out fact from fiction. I still believe that most people are disposed to acknowledging a more reasonable, common-sense argument such as several coming from the Left and elsewhere.

At heart, this argument will be more credible to the public the more it appeals to them as ethical beings who do indeed think that the truth in the form of evidential and forensic facts matter.

In a world of change and variability, all truth is probabilistic. In most cases, people in general are willing to believe the better argument which can prove its case inductively. Truth in this case is the more probable.

Given all the potential for manipulation and spin that the political insiders give to the facts, there are just some things that you can't deny. In the argument presented by some on the Left and elsewhere, the things that people can't and won't deny is something that relates to an inherent immorality that inspires the grand gestures perpetrated by this admin.

No comments: