More Bad Examples
Years ago, I pointed out – politely – a factual error on a popular independent left-wing “news” site. It wasn’t a big deal, it was just that the story made assertions that were, demonstrably and factually, just not true. So I pointed it out, and provided the information that would have allowed the owner of the site (who was also the author of the story in this case) to publish a correction.
Instead of doing the simple, honorable, ethical, and decent thing, this simpering buffoon went postal. Accused me of being a “stealth Republican,” deleted my posts, tried to block my IP address from even being able to SEE his site, deleted and banned followups from several of my friends asking why he didn’t just admit he made a mistake and correct it, read though the list of people who “liked” my page on Facebook (which was visible to the public at the time) and contacted them personally telling them what a jerk I was (not stopping to think that many of them were personal friends and even family and would of course tell me about it).
That was in 2011, and to this day this idiot and the little army of simpering lickspittles who suck up to him because he controls several high-volume Facebook pages that generate income from him are still trying to run me down. I’m blacklisted from all but a very thin segment of left-wing pages on FB because they’re all afraid that if they share my work, they won’t get *their* work shared by the Big Boys.
Worse, the ongoing failure of the general public to see through the cheap tricks of the clickbaiters and ad farmers has enabled their distortions to negatively impact the entire process of political discourse in this country. When Donald Trump talks about “fake news,” these kinds of folks are the ones who validate him. This lack of even understanding why the diligent application of ethics is critical to pursuit of truth is what ultimately put him in the White House.
Limitations Of Imagination
These people – these people who live outside the scope of reality and truth – can’t figure me out, because they’re literally not capable of grasping the concept of a guy who is what he says he is, does what he says he’s going to do, doesn’t have some hidden agenda, isn’t driven by some ulterior motive, doesn’t care about getting rich and famous, doesn’t want the approval of a bunch of losers making dirty money by ripping people off by an elaborate pretense to social conscience.
See, that’s one of the other problems with refusing to face reality and truth – you convince yourself that everybody else refuses to face it, too.
You convince yourself that if you can just oppress and stifle any criticism of your mistakes and lies, that they will no longer be mistakes or lies.
And that’s the biggest mistake, and the biggest lie, of them all, and it’s the one we tell ourselves most frequently and believe in most passionately, unless we’re fortunate enough to have had that privilege revoked by an experience like addiction.
Because any recovering drunk or junkie will tell you: self-deceit is a luxury that we simply cannot afford. It won’t just embarrass us or cost us a few bucks, it’ll kill us.
The reward for respecting reality and truth isn’t moral high ground or self-aggrandizing pats on the back.
Why It Matters
If we as a nation – as a species – are going to survive, we have to embrace brutal and unflinching self-examination and review. We must always first question our own motives and motivations to ensure that what we do isn’t polluted by conflicts of interest.
This isn’t to say, for instance, that it’s evil and bad to try to make money by creating content about politics and social issues. I run ads on this site and happily accept donations. The key is not to allow those potential conflicts of interest to become motivators. The minute I change what I do for the sake of making money – whether that’s playing fast and loose with facts to create effective clickbait headlines, or tempering my opinions to make them more palatable and comfortable for readers – I’ve allowed greed to overtake principle as my motive, and my work immediately must become suspect.
That’s why I don’t. Because if I try to BS myself about it, it’ll kill me.
Just like if we keep trying to BS ourselves about what’s going on in the world around us, from environmental sustainability issues to abuses of political power around the world, it’ll kill us.
It all has to start with us, individually, reaching inside and finding our truth and facing it. To do that we have to understand critical thinking skills and psychology and political science and sociology and principles of persuasion and influence and how biases work and why the most important bias of all is our individual belief that we, personally, have our biases in check.