Idiocy

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I hate to say it, but America (the land that I love and still think is better than anywhere else in the world) has become the land of idiocy. Yesterday, as well as the events of the last…well, pick a time frame…either way, this stupidity has been going on for a long while. A LONG while. Yesterday, and many events over the last year, are just coming to a head of ultimate stupidity.

Let’s be clear, the events of yesterday and storming the Capitol building are unacceptable. It should have never happened and I hope that it never happens again.

History has shown us (our own history) that displeasure with the government isn’t all that unusual and leads people to do things they would not normally do. Our Founding Fathers led a rebellion against a king and a government they found to be unjust. Those who supported the king and did extreme things in their support of the king likely found some actions despicable when the “other side” did them. Those who supported the colonies and eventually a free nation likely found the “other side” despicable when they did some of the same extreme things. Heck, even during our Civil War, both sides did despicable things to each other. Vietnam era protests? Yep, still some ugly things happening even then.

The difference between now and then?

Increased, instantaneous communication. It exists now, it didn’t at any time in the past.

How does that play a part in all this? Well, it literally takes no time for a rumor, opinion, or thought to spread far and wide. In an instant “information” can be disseminated to any number of people at one time. That’s a problem. It could be a good thing, but for the most part I think we see more problems with it than we see positives for it. Why?

It eliminates the possibility for someone to evaluate information and immediately creates an emotional response. There is little time for an individual to consider the information, process it, and then evaluate a response. Instead, people have devolved into an instantaneous, emotional response. They don’t think. They let their idiocy take over.

Instead of thoughtfully considering a response, or thinking clearly about their actions, they just respond. No forethought. No consideration. No evaluation. No wait. No weighing of consequences. No evidence. No proof. No nothing. Just response.

That, folks, is a terrible thing.

Social media has killed our ability to thoughtfully consider, to evaluate response, and restrict our own actions. Instead, we feed our need of immediacy, our need of instant gratification, with regrettable words and actions. We don’t wait for facts. We don’t consider another’s point of view. We don’t tolerate those who are different from us, think different from us, or believe different than us. We just don’t. We are not better off because of this.

We are actually becoming unrecognizable.

We are no longer a bastion of freedom, tolerance, and opportunity.

We have divided ourselves into camps of this or that. We have let ourselves be divided into those camps. We are not what our Founding Fathers believed we could become. And the direction we are currently headed won’t get us there either.

This idiocy can’t continue. We are in trouble if we continue to let it happen.

Like sheep

focus photo of brown sheep under blue sky

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I was reading a little this morning and I couldn’t help but agree entirely with a paragraph in a book that was published in 2004. The commentary is just as relevant today as it was back then. Maybe even more so today.

…people [are like] sheep because we humans have a tendency to follow. “The crowd” has a very powerful effect on us, and popular opinion is far too effective in shaping our thoughts and behavior. We prefer consensus to conviction, tolerance to truth. We can even be persuaded to be critical of some of the most impressive things on earth.

How true it is that people tend to go along with the crowd rather than stand out and stand up for something they feel/believe strongly about/in. And even more true, people and society don’t want “truth” any longer. Instead, they avoid conflict at all cost and call it tolerance. We often hear people say, “It is MY truth.” Sorry, peeps, there is no such thing.

The paragraph caused me to ponder for a bit. Where do I fall? Am I a follower, just another sheep in the flock, or am I standing up for what I believe in? That can be a hard question to evaluate myself against. Sometimes, I don’t think I like the truth. But, the truth is what is most important.

In the context of the quote above, where are you? How do you see yourself?