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It's our own guys we ought tto be most skeptical about. It's our own guys we ought tto be most skeptical about.

Letters From Home

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One of the most important ways to take a stand against ignorance is to never accept secondhand information. Especially when it comes from someone with an axe to grind, and most especially when it comes from someone with whom we agree.

That seems counterintuitive. But think about it. It’s “the other guy” about whom we are naturally skeptical. If he says something, we say “Prove it.” Our own guy, well, what he says is true, isn’t it? And thus our-own-guy can slip us total hogwash again and again and again, and we never bat an eyelash, never check it out. That’s where ignorance begins.

If your favorite commentator Warren Windbag tells you that his arch-rival Barton Blowhard eats dog food for breakfast, don’t take Warren’s word for it. It’s a certainty that Barton has a web site, and if you take time to check it out, what he actually said was “My girlfriend is on a health food kick, and she gave me this new hippie cereal, and now I know what Dog Chow tastes like.”

If Barton Blowhard says that Warren Windbag buys his underwear at Victoria’s Secret, you can bet Warren’s told a tale about taking his wife on a shopping expedition. Commentators who are opinionated enough, and polarized enough to have polar opposites, are going to be the least reliable sources of information about their arch rivals. And consider–if they’re willing to make stuff up when the other guy’s real story is so easily checked, what might they be handing us out of thin air on other issues of the day?

Skepticism shouldn’t just apply to the claims of people we don’t agree with. We should question the people on our own side just as vigorously. It’s amazing what one can learn by saying “Hey, wait a minute” now and again.

Tomorrow I’ll talk more about the ways we can take a stand against ignorance that is spread by “the media.” (Oh, and here’s a factoid that a lot of people don’t know: “Media” is a plural noun. Media are, not is. And people in “the media” are among the worst offenders when it comes to being grammatically correct.)

Hope you'll recommend my posts via your favorite social media. Just don't copy the material as your own.

Author: infmom

Otherwise known as Infamous Mom.

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