O.J. Simpson was the first running back in NFL history to rush for over 2,000 yards. He accomplished this feat in 1973. Emmitt Smith gained 16,728 yards to become the NFL’s all time leading rusher in 2002 (he retired after gaining 18,355 yards), and Bob Hayes won the Olympic gold medal in the 100-meter dash at the 1964 Tokyo games. I trust you can verify these statistics are in fact true. Should you choose not to believe me, you can easily do your own research and verify my accuracy. That is the true purpose of research isn’t it? Facts are easily verified in this age of fingertip technology. Smartphones, tablets and computers make gathering data really easy. That being said, if technology really is just a mouse and keystroke away, then why would you believe anything comes into your purview without first verifying it?
America is a country of arrogance and of ignorance. She is arrogant in the sense that she does not truly realize her place in the global community, and too ignorant to care. This isolationist stance stretches beyond politics into every aspect of our lives. America’s ignorance is its arrogance. For years we have thought that we were the dominant nation. We believed ourselves to have more influence on the global community than the Soviets and the Chinese. The Cold War was precipitated on this notion. We set out to out-spend China and Russia, hoping that this would bankrupt their governments into submission. We broke Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union in the 1980s, yet China stood steadfast and began to invest in America, not because it believed that trade with the U.S. was a good thing, but because it wanted our debt. Yes, if you can’t beat them, own them. Case in point: The following companies who are hallmarks of American industry are owned by foreigners: Anheuser-Busch (Brazilian/Belgium giant InBev), 7-Eleven (Japan’s Seven & I Holdings), and Frigidaire (Swedish home appliance company Electrolux), just to name a few. America’s arrogance allowed these companies to be sold, and its ignorance has caused it to be asleep at the wheel.
Yet as Americans, we continue to digest information from unverified sources as if we were standing in line at a Jim Jones cookout. Our ignorance has spread at a pandemic rate. We repeat what we saw on the news, or what we have heard from “somebody.” We forward outlandish emails with reckless abandon, yet all the while we think that we have all the facts necessary to make intelligent decisions. Imagine having to make the decision to commit troops to war based solely on the information you receive via the Internet? Or based on the rhetoric of a country led by a crazy dictator? (I’m still waiting to see the weapons of mass destruction). The side effects of stupidity are just as dangerous as the side effects of the hottest drug on the market. It can cause severe brain constipation, it can make you delirious, and it can cause you to repeat lies that would make the most severe Tourette syndrome patient pause. And I am not just speaking of politics. Consider this:
Has every diagnosis/prognosis you have received from a medical professional been accurate? If you are one of the few to whom this has happened to, then good for you. If not, my suggestion would be to seek a second and even a third opinion. If they were as accurate as they would like to think they were, holistic therapy would be just a fad. Chiropractic care would be outlawed, and pharmaceutical reps would be in the unemployment line. Educate yourself.
How many times have you received an email making some outlandish claim? Lies so far fetched, you would have to have been a complete idiot to believe them? Elvis and Tupac are still alive and living in Europe. Whitney and Michael are not only alive; they are working on an album together. These are the same stories found in the supermarket tabloids. At least with these publications, they make no claims of accuracy. Question: when you received these bogus emails, what did you do? Did you delete it? If you did, then you receive a gold star. But if you forwarded it, did you verify its contents before you did, or did you just send it on to your friends and colleagues to further spread the lie? Now you become complicit, and just as culpable as the originator of the email. Fact-check and educate yourself.
Network news for the most part has not changed since the days of John Chancellor (NBC), Harry Reasoner (ABC), and Walter Cronkite (CBS). Their broadcasts were balanced in their approached and not designed to steer your opinion one way or another. It was what it was. Then along came the cable networks and their alphabet soup of news channels: CNN, FOX, MSNBC, FOX Business, etc. The balance in their reporting disappeared and was replaced by partisan broadcasts. They hired hacks to bring you a daily dose of fear from everything from the direction the country is headed in to how one shipment of Tylenol was going to kill all Americans. At the end of these broadcasts, I am not sure of whether to take a shower or to grab my gun and defend my home. I implore you to watch all broadcasts, especially the ones with which you obviously disagree. You certainly need to see how those with differing views see this world. Again, educate yourself.
Lastly, don’t take anything you read at face value. Media outlets, politicians and advertisers all have one objective – and that is to get you to believe what it is that they are saying, vote the way they want you to and to buy whatever it is they are selling. To not do your due diligence is tantamount to being blind and trying to cross a busy intersection – you are relying on others to provide you with safe passage. Without educating yourself on the issues that affect both you and your community, how can you make effective decisions that best benefit you and your family? Education is the inoculation against ignorance.
The Intellective (C) 2012