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Credulity and Delusion

Discussion in 'Politics Discussion' started by Aspychata, Jan 8, 2020.

  1. Aspychata

    Aspychata Serenity waves, beachy vibes

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    "America was created by true believers and passionate dreamers, and by hucksters and their suckers, which made America successful-but also by a people uniquely susceptible to fantasy; Salem's witch hunting, Joseph Smith creating Mormonism, from PT Barnum, to speaking in tongues, from Hollywood to Scientology, to conspiracy theories, from Walt Disney to Billy Graham to Ronald Regan to Oprah Winfrey to current President.

    In other words, mix epic individualism with extreme religion; mix show business with everything else, let all that ferment for a few centuries; then run it through the anything goes '60s and the internet age.
    The result is the America we inhabit today, with reality and fantasy comingled and the lines becoming blurred.

    My mind questions where we are as a society and where fake news and reality-based reporting stepped in when l wasn't paying attention. What is your take on fake news?
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2020
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  2. Mia

    Mia Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    That's it's for people who don't question, who are not curious enough to do the background work to discover things. I've fallen for a few satire sites myself.
     
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  3. mw2530

    mw2530 Well-Known Member

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    Is it safe to say that America is the most diverse large country? I mean, the population exists entirely of immigrants from all over the world. That creates both enormous advantages, but also comes with great challenges. I would disagree with your comment that America was populated in part by people uniquely susceptible to fantasy. People all over the world are susceptible to fantasy and propaganda - that is certainly not unique to America. It is a human condition. Also, what exactly do you mean by extreme religion?

    To answer your question regarding fake news, I think that term is usually thrown around in describing news that is very one sided or biased. Is biased news fake (as in made up)? Not typically. Is it misleading? Yes. But it does have the potential to create a distorted reality for people who only listen to one side. Perhaps you could say it can create a fake reality for individual people. Especially with our 24/7 information feed.
     
  4. Aspychata

    Aspychata Serenity waves, beachy vibes

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    Crackpots now have access to the internet and their devoutly believed opinions are everywhere like actual news. Which makes the lines between actual and fictional blur and disappear completely. Truth in general has now becomes flexible, personal, subjective.
    Think about this: media, academia, government, corporate America have enabled and encouraged this.
    The rulers of any tribe or society do not just dictate customs and laws; they are master's of everyone's perceptions, defining reality itself with the internet as the messenger.
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2020
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  5. Crossbreed

    Crossbreed Neur-D Missionary ☝

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    It is just the small-town rumor mill that has access to the internet and Photoshop, especially with a political agenda.

    I like clever satire when it is identified as such. I don't consider that to be fake news. Parody, by definition, mimics otherwise serious events.
     
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  6. Mia

    Mia Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    It's more than a bit of passive-aggressive behavior and has a long history in newspapers and cartoons. It seems to accomplish very little in retrospect, ridiculing someone or something seems much like adult bullying.
     
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  7. Judge

    Judge Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Good point. The Tabloid Press has been around for some time. Media with armies of lawyers to routinely combat and delay litigation against them over blatant personal injury. Libel is their business!

    Compounded by landmark freedom of speech and press legal decisions allowing one to assail anyone in the public eye under a guise of political satire.

    Hustler Magazine, Inc. v. Falwell | US Law | LII / Legal Information Institute
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2020
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  8. Dr. Eh Hol

    Dr. Eh Hol not a real doctor

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    Propaganda can be used for good or evil, and both sides of the aisle are guilty when it comes to misleading their own constituents. From what I've been exposed to, the Left prefers propaganda to influence their groups while the Right prefers a common-sense belligerence.

    The Atlantic article linked to is a mediocre attempt at propaganda, a weaving of facts and perspective into a fictionalized view of the past to explain the present. It's not an outright lie, instead it proffers a new way to remember the past - a past young Progressives have no memories of in the first place - and seems specifically designed to take back accusations that Progressives have evolved from Post-Modern to Post-Truth, and place this label on the backs of Conservatives. Just another piece of the back and forth.

    So, how did we get here as a society? Well, I'm glad you asked.

    The word propaganda was adapted from the name of a Catholic sect meant to propagate the faith, and didn't take on a derogatory meaning until it was used by certain governments to manipulate public opinion via mass media around 1915. After WW1, attempts were made to reclaim propaganda as a new science on equal standing with Freud's Psychoanalysis and Taylor's Scientific Management, just to name a few. These sciences, as well as modern (Western) medicine, grew up alongside the Second Industrial Revolution aka the Technological Revolution. But, the science of Propaganda was different - it's effects were immediate and incredible, and hardly noticed by the public at large.

    In the short span of time between the Technological Revolution and the Digital Revolution (between the beginning of WW1 and the end of WW2), the science of Propaganda can be credited with creating targeted news media through organizing print and radio toward the interest of those who can bid the highest, normalizing divisive politics by making partisanship widely available and reasonable to the masses, and - this is the one I find most interesting - creating the consumer hierarchy, that today we find intuitive and not external to our understanding of the natural world. Undoubtedly, the memories of WW1, the constant threat of WW2, and the Great Depression made the public mind much more malleable, as even malicious lies were a welcome distraction from a very scary reality (sound familiar?)

    After WW2, the need to forget and the relatively new consumer hierarchy helped set the stage for the biggest boost in the standard of living any group of humans have ever seen, but no one had left reality yet. It would take generations of privileged, first-world kids to produce what we have today: a generation that has so little need for concern of their physical well-being that social survival is their only concern.

    All this affects our perception of the way things should be and prevents our brains from seeking the larger consequences of our actions...today, quite literally, the two main parties define each other by simply opposing anything the other does. Whatever one side does, the other side advocates the opposite. This simplicity masks the incredibly complex history of how we got where we are today and, criminally, makes knowing the history and the genealogy of social and political movements unnecessary - a burden only freaks take on.

    All of the trendsetters and influencers are lying sacks, using the most trendy outrage to influence popular sentiment toward what profits themselves and their peers. Well meaning parts of the populace will always be deceived. Fake news is just one tactic in a society-wide advertising campaign, with both sides bartering morality for a timeshare in a utopia that can never exist.

    Further reading (in no particular order):
    Anything by Edward Bernays
    The Technological Society by Jacques Ellul
    The Unabomber Manifesto
    A Critique of Pure Tolerance by Marcuse, Moore, and Wolff
    The True Believer by Eric Hoffer
    Culture, Class, and Critical Theory by David Gartman
     
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  9. Judge

    Judge Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    It's nothing really new. Humans for the most part are all seeking something in life. Some material gain, others seek power, ideological or spiritual enlightenment. Forms of personal gain. Nothing unexpected about this in the most basic sense. However perhaps what's most notable is how they seek to better themselves through either ethical or unethical ways.

    Various forms of subterfuge are a common methodology to achieve a goal or fulfill some kind of agenda. The deliberate injection of deceit into an equation. A means in which to leverage and effect an end. In this instance, "fake news" is just another form of subterfuge. One that has been around for a very long time.

    Some very well known examples:

    "All this was inspired by the principle - which is quite true in itself - that in the big lie there is always a certain force of credibility; because the broad masses of a nation are always more easily corrupted in the deeper strata of their emotional nature than consciously or voluntarily; and thus in the primitive simplicity of their minds they more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie, since they themselves often tell small lies in little matters but would be ashamed to resort to large-scale falsehoods. It would never come into their heads to fabricate colossal untruths, and they would not believe that others could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously. Even though the facts which prove this to be so may be brought clearly to their minds, they will still doubt and waver and will continue to think that there may be some other explanation."

    - Adolf Hitler, "Mein Kampf"

    "Occasionally words must serve to veil the facts. But let this happen in such a way that no one become aware of it; or, if it should be noticed, excuses must be at hand to be produced immediately."

    - Niccolo Machiavelli, "The Prince and the Discourses"

    What makes fake news so prominent at the present is the technological means we have to achieve it. And that virtually anyone can utilize the power of the Internet to make it happen. On a scale that neither Machiavelli nor Hitler could have ever imagined. And over several hundred years gullibility of the masses has never waned. Big lies aren't for just philosophers and megalomaniacs any more. Anyone can tell them and everyone can hear them. :oops:
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2020
  10. tducey

    tducey Well-Known Member

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    If you're talking about the media I think you should take things you hear with a grain of salt and make your own conclusions based upon that.
     
  11. Kalinychta

    Kalinychta Well-Known Member

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    All news is fake news in a way. The media are completely biased and don’t bother to hide it. They tell their readers what they want to hear, and people not only don’t question or challenge this, they actually love it.
     
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  12. Crossbreed

    Crossbreed Neur-D Missionary ☝

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    [​IMG]
    Lincoln, re: Internet
     
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  13. Aspychata

    Aspychata Serenity waves, beachy vibes

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    Don't believe donuts are calorie free.
     
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  14. Kalinychta

    Kalinychta Well-Known Member

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    Apocryphal slander spread by the fruit and vegetable mafia. Shame on you for repeating it here.
     
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