The Fundmantals

The Fundamentals

This blog recently received a comment reacting to my posting that criticized the right media, from someone named Sheila Brown. I paste it below:

After reading your article summarizing your opinion of the conservative publics reasons for following people like Mark Levin, I am even more grounded in my beliefs that the media is completely controlled in “their reality " ideologies.

How can you make a statement the generalizes the followers of conservative public radio as being in a fantasy world? You basically came out with your non believing " worldly attitude and proclaim that anyone who believe in the super natural is living in a Fantasy world? One example of controlled media through liberals agenda is the news conference that will be given today on gun regulations by the imperial president. He will have children around him while he presents his proposed new laws. How liberal of a tactic can this be? Also, how come mainstream media only gave small coverage to the Benghazi tragedy. There hasn’t been an ambassador killed in 30yrs.! Is it because there was a cover up…of course. Listen the mainstream media is not going to bite the Hand that feeds them.

I do not know this person. We all make grammatical mistakes, myself included certainly, but I am trying to get a sense of who this person is, and their background. The comment has several grammatical mistakes. This is but a scintilla of evidence toward the commenter’s education, though it is reaching, I fully admit. Ms. Brown seems to me, more emotional than intellectual. And that is a key point worth making: each of us uses the evidence we find as input, it passes through our emotional “filter,” and then we make our judgment. My reaction is to recognize this person as some sort of ignorant. The comments she makes seem like they are parroted from the feeding that people like Mark Levin and Sean Hannity deal out. She believes what she wants to believe because it fits her fundamental point of view, and that is the way that each of us works. This is a pitting of one worldview versus another.

I maintain that truth passes a test of real-world observable facts. I see hers as based on the information that comes from the right media. It needs to utilize a cover-up, and outrage. Evidently having children at a news conference is a liberal tactic. This writer has forgotten the Republicans who set up photo ops around children? Where was George W Bush at 9 AM September 11? No ambassador killed in 30 years? How many other things have not happened in 30 years? Why should I be concerned at this any more than some other news? Ms. Brown refers to Obama as “the imperial president.” This president’s record is quite non-imperial. His record has been much more of restraint in international efforts, ending two wars, limited involvement in the Arab spring, and tempering comments that would imply any American aggression on the world stage. Someone has provided Ms. Brown with lingo.

Falsehoods can only be maintained through a series over ever more complex layers, convoluting and spinning. The best test of truth is its proximity to observations. I don’t trust a media based on provocation and the pursuit of profits, one that filters input, and spends a great deal of energy vilifying the public at large. In short, the right media has created its market, and is in business to preserve and grow itself. It is based more on emotion, outrage and money than on what anyone can plainly see. Don’t trust anyone but me! Join me in my crusade against whatever I don’t approve! This sort of emotional rallying is the same technique used by cult leaders.

And I think, fundamentally that analogy is not so reaching. Social scientists have demonstrated a correlation between religious affiliation and conservative political beliefs. Somehow, the right wants their point of view to be true. Someone – a parent, a religious friend, a pastor, or an environment – a church, or religious community, is often the source for many people’s initiation to believing that a theology should overrule the “secular” view. We are taught a sense of skepticism about the other side. The word secular is a fine example. It simply means not connected to or based on religion. Therefore, secular refers to the empirical, the sensory; the observable. Secular observations – say, the color red, the number 5, a pencil – are things anyone can agree on, with no emotional premise, and form the basis of our collective knowledge. The process of science employs only secular observations and logic. Religion is based on the supernatural, and by definition, supersedes observed data.

Can religion and science get along? Certainly. But there are many instances where they collide, and for many people, one must trump the other. To favor the scientific view often carries the burden of guilt. Of course we might synthesize the two views, but the conflicts may still exist in subtle ways.

So, wherever one gets their media, whomever one decides to trust, let it be based on what we can observe in the real world. Believe what you want, but follow the evidence.


About Jim

I've been leading outdoor environmental education in the YMCA since the 1970s. I love teaching nature, history, current events, being a dad, fixing stuff, groups, and general thinking.
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3 Responses to The Fundmantals

  1. JP says:

    The commenter is clearly a true believer. I saw a video clip yesterday of George W Bush in 2004 profusely supporting background checks for everyone who buys a gun and supporting the assault weapons ban. So I guess in 2012 George W Bush has joined the liberal media or something. It just illustrates how far to the right the Republican party (and its followers, like the commenter) have moved. And of course the troubling thing is that the “liberal media” always talks about the NRA and its influence and cites it’s 4 million or whatever members as being why it is hard to pass gun control. And of course that is not true. Something like 80% of the NRA members support background checks and limits to the size of the clips one can buy. It is not the NRA members that keep such things from becoming law, it is those who fund the NRA. It is largely funded by gun manufacturers and sellers. And the laws it supports that allow assault weapons, allow large clips, allow stand your ground—laws that have passed in many states; those laws were written by ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council. If the media were actually liberal, they would be pointing this out in every story about guns.
    Calling Obama an imperial president, particularly compared to W, is so outside any empirical reality that it is clear there is nothing that could be said that would get through to the true believer.
    Having faith in God is one thing, one kind of faith in the super natural. Having the same kind of faith in Mark Levin or Rush Limbaugh is a different thing altogether.

  2. JP says:

    And of course the great irony is that those on the right had such faith in George W that they followed him blindly and thought whatever he did was right and good and could not be questioned simply because George W did it. And now that Obama wants to do those same things that W supported–banning assault weapons, limiting clip size, having background checks–and the right has risen up and called for Obama to be impeached! Oh, the irony!

    • Jim says:

      You are making the right into a monolith. The gun lobby was always against any infringements – W, Clinton, Obama… Gun sales are way high lately, as you well know, like they were right after Obama’s first election.

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