Cultural critic Neil Postman in his book “Crazy Talk, Stupid Talk,” suggests the word “propaganda” be used “to refer not to the goodness or badness of causes but exclusively to a use of language designed to evoke a particular kind of response. We might say, for example, that propaganda is language that invites us to respond emotionally, emphatically, more or less immediately, and in an either-or manner. It is distinct from language which stimulates curiosity, reveals its assumptions, causes us to ask questions, invites us to seek further information and to search for error.” This last sentence is key. Each election season our televisions and newspapers and magazines are replete with promotional material telling us who to vote for and, perhaps more importantly, who not to vote for. This is propaganda. It is made to evoke a reaction in us and not to encourage critical thinking. Its purpose is not to spark curiosity, or to invite us to ask questions and further investigate the object and or subject of the promotional piece (AD), but rather to arouse emotion. Forget rationality. Pure and simple.
It is up to us to do our own homework. We must be honest enough to look openly at all sides of an issue, and follow the evidence wherever it leads. It is difficult, but if we really care about people we will leave ideology at home when we head out to the voting booth.
Posted in Uncategorized
Tagged cnn, congress, culture, democrats, fox news, ideology, media, msnbc, neil postman, news, politics, propaganda, republicans, voting
Philosopher J.P. Moreland answers.
July 19, 2013
Tagged atheism, calvinism, compatibilism, determinism, free will, God, J.p. Moreland, Philosophy, philosophy of mind, science
It may be taken that in politics truth is what you want it to be. Time and time again we have seen common public view inform policy. What seemed to be the popular view is how congress and our courts decided. One can say that that is the purpose of our Government — namely, to represent the people and the people’s ideas for how their lives should be governed. The only problem with this is what is popular may not be right. What then of those who think differently? If 58% of the people want X to be legislated and our officials know they will keep their jobs if they give those 58% what they want, then what are we to do with the other 42%? Do they not matter? Perhaps the most important part of our elected officials job is to stand for the truth no matter what. If all they care about is keeping their job, how can we ever depend on their carrying out what is truly best for us? Even in the case of the Supreme Court. The President selects a Judge. If the President wants to get elected and he or she knows they have an increased chance at being elected if they select a Judge that leans to the side of the majority of his or her base; then the President will be inclined to select a particular Judge for strategic reasons and not for reasons concerning the people’s interests. And this is why it is up to “we the people” to determine the truth and force our officials to legislate accordingly. All they are going to do is what the majority of us want them to which, if history has anything to say on the matter, tends to be the wrong thing. Let us then not be concerned with what is popular, but rather what is right. And this is only done with honesty, integrity, and critical thinking.
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Tagged America, conservative, democrats, election, government, judges, liberal, Philosophy, politics, popular, president, progressive, republicans, sociology, supreme court, voting, war
Noted philosopher Richard Swinburne answers the question: is the brain and mind the same thing?