I am perpetually bothered by the willingness of people to speak on things they know absolutely nothing about. This is quite common on internet comments and even internet articles full of pejoratives and baseless assertions of emotion masquerading as reason. Discussion is important, and serves a very useful function in all of our intellectual developments. Given this, reasoning aloud is of course acceptable, as is questioning many beliefs. But it is all too common that people decide to believe in things with no adequate foundation to do so. The most pertinent example that comes to mind is the outright rejection and labeling of talk show hosts like Rush Limbaugh. When many of my peers hear the name, they automatically reject that which is associated with it. “What do you disagree with Limbaugh about?” I always ask. And I have rarely, if ever received a material answer that rejects Limbaugh’s substantive views. I don’t agree with Limbaugh on many things. But that doesn’t mean nothing the guy says is worthwhile. Attacking things you know nothing about is a refusal to think, and it is a dangerously common practice of today’s political activists. It is even more common to attack prominent sources as a whole. I disagree with that line of thinking immensely, because it spawns intellectual laziness and furthers confirmation biases that fester ignorance. What do I think of Harry Reid? I don’t know anything about what Harry Reid believes or does with his votes. I could read up on it and find out, but for me to comment on Harry Reid with my current level of understanding of his actions would be simply irresponsible and intellectually putting myself where I do not belong. I have said before that I don’t like Glen Beck. I stand by that. But it isn’t because of the things he says. It is the way he says them and the way he argues. And I know something about that. But attacking him as a source on his substantive reporting (not the way he goes about conveying the information) discounts the dynamic nature of human beings. There is at least one thing I agree with Glen Beck on. I am sure there is one for you too, even if you are the most far left or right individual alive. I simply don’t like seeing grown men cry on tv and the way he conveys information leaves a bad taste in my mouth. But that doesn’t make him as a source of substantive news completely wrong on every word he utters…
I love the old adage, and it applies so well in today’s mass-media world – “Better to keep your mouth closed and be thought a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.”
Underlying this whole rant are two pieces of advice (which I rarely give):
- Reserve your speaking on topics to those which you know something about.
- Don’t attack sources in the totality of their views by dismissing them outright because very few people are complete idiots – especially those with significant amounts of popular credibility.
Two other thoughts for today:
- As you can tell, my sources lately have not been far-reaching in their diversity of internet locales. But when there is gold to be dug in your own back yard, you might as well take care of that first before you search elsewhere…
- Insecurity is no reason not to like someone, unless that insecurity is manifested as egoism or apathy. I still fail to understand why insecure people can be total jerks, because if you are insecure and want me to like you, what motivates you to push me away? Knock it off, self-conscious prigs!
That’s all for today – 3 posts and a little rant are enough.