The problem with the country: people believing that 2 + 2 = 5

No one is an island unto themselves. We all live our lives together within a society that’s held together by tenuous threads which interconnect us. One of the most cherished and claimed values of western societies is freedom of thought, and a belief the public is entitled to their own opinions and can believe whatever they want to believe. But it’s only true with regards to the personal. Once we start talking about policy, we all have to have a common framework on the extent of what’s inside the box called life. We first have to agree there is a box and it has six sides.

The only way the world can work is if people with differences can agree on certain fundamental truths. If we all look up at the sky, we at least have to agree the sky is blue. A belief the sky is red isn’t an “alternate fact” to tolerate and placate. It’s just fucking wrong. 

Because if we can’t agree on what the nature of reality is, then we can’t really have a conversation which goes anywhere. And the inability to have a reasonable discussion impacts important public policies, because one can’t debate issues if some people believe two and two equaling four is fake news. We might as well be debating how many angels can dance on the head of a pin with fucking martians, since that might be more productive than trying to reason with someone who uses the words of Kellyanne Conway, Sean Spicer, Alex Jones or the dipshit-in-chief as indisputable truth. To paraphrase something Voltaire once wrote, those that can make people believe nonsense, can use people to facilitate atrocities.

In modern politics, the very nature of trying to debate objective reality has become a multiple-choice game between differing ideologies, wherein facts are suspect and the patently absurd is given equal-time. Rationalizing deceit has given way to prettier terms like “spin.” In the middle of it all is a news media too afraid to call a lie a lie, and puppets every word spoken without analysis or commentary in a bold headline.

If no one can accept reality, there can’t be any growth. People are supposed to learn from their mistakes. But in a world where existence is a multiple-choice option, there are no mistakes. There’s just a bunch of people screaming at one another about how the other side is wrong or fake.

—Doctor RJ, Daily Kos

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