Don’t be afraid to think for yourself

I find man-on-the-street interviews to be most interesting. When Jay Leno was host of the Tonight Show he would often go to the streets and ask people questions about current or historical events. He might ask basic questions about our nation’s founding or other questions that the average person should know. It was amazing how uninformed people were.

Today you occasionally find reporters questioning protesters about what they are protesting or asking people their opinions on various actions the government has taken. In many cases, the protesters really don’t know why they are there which leads one to wonder if they are being paid to protest. Some of the most entertaining things that happen is when people who identify as liberals are asked their opinion on something former President Obama or Hillary Clinton said. The are usually highly favorable of the statement. Then the interviewer explains that it was President Trump who actually said that. The expression on their faces is quite the sight.

This is not to pick on liberals or to voice support for Trump. My purpose in this post is to point out that many people today have lost the ability to think for themselves. It seems all we can do is repeat what our favorite news person tells us to believe. This is true whether you watch NBC, CBS, ABC, MSNBC, CNN or Fox. People tend to watch the news that most aligns with their core beliefs and then parrot whatever is said on that channel.

Furthermore, we are a very divided country. That division may be Democrat vs Republican, it may be Trump-supporter vs Trump-hater, it may be straight vs gay, socialist vs capitalist or the division may be due to many things various people hold to be important. Quite often, if someone with whom we agree says anything about the other side we automatically assume it’s true. Social media is full of false information that no one bothered to check out before passing it on to everyone on their friend’s list.

At the same time, if someone from the opposing side makes a comment, it’s automatically assumed to be wrong. We go on social media and tell everyone that so-and-so is an idiot because he said __________, and everyone who agrees with him/her is an idiot, too. Seldom is the comment checked to verify if it’s true or not.

The upcoming election is going to be rough. The candidates on both sides have a lot of flaws which will be highlighted throughout the election. Claims will be made, with no evidence, to present the candidates in the worst possible light. Like bobbleheads, many people will go around nodding their heads in agreement with whatever is being said of the person they don’t support and never spend one moment reflecting whether or not the statement was true.

Many of the problems we face as a nation and as individuals is because we let other people think for us. It’s easier to assume the “experts” are always right which relieves us of the responsibility to form our opinions on the actual facts. If we don’t learn to think for ourselves rather than letting others do our thinking for us, our problems are never going to improve.

You can let talking heads tell you what to think or you can think for yourself. The choice is yours.

 

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