Summary: The first news I see after my migration from San Francisco is wonderful, even inspiring. We have taken what I have long said is the first step on the road to political reform in America. It is the easiest step. Those that follow are more difficult.
For about a quarter century, Gallup has asked Americans what is the most important problem facing the nation. It is a crude but enlightening window into American’s concerns. Gallup has given us news of the best kind. Every year Gallup asks a sample of American’s the following question.
“What do you think is the most important problem facing the country today?”
Two of the largest propaganda barrages in US history have been those promoting action on climate change (began in 1988) and to start a new Cold War (began roughly in 2017). Both are been gross — often ludicrous — exaggerations of real threats, designed to build political support for special interests. Many of us have been concerned about our fellow Americans’ willingness to believe what they are told — despite the long history of our elites lying to us about vital matters.
How successful have they been at molding public opinion? Gallup’s June 2018 survey returns the following news. The results are amazing.
- Poor government or bad national leadership: 10%.
- Economic issues: 15%.
- Immigration/Illegal aliens: 14%.
- Race relations/Racism: 7%.
- Healthcare: 4%
- Lack of respect for each other: 4%.
- Unifying the country: 4%.
- Guns and gun control: 4%
- Ethics/moral/religious/family decline: 4%.
- Poverty/Hunger/Homelessness: 3%.
- National security: 2%.
- International issues: 2%.
- Environment/Pollution: 2%.
- Crime/violence: 2%.
- The media: 2%.
- Education 2%.
- Ten more issues at 1%.
- Nine more issues at 0.5% to 1%.
- Other non-economic issues: 5%.
No direct mention of Russia or RussiaGate. No direct mention of global warming or climate change. This is good news! Both campaigns have earned their just reward. Perhaps we will be able to rationally evaluate and respond to these challenges.
I am surprised. I am astonished. These were lavishly funded and skillfully executed propaganda campaigns. I would have bet big that at least one of these would have succeeded and produced hysteria in the public. Fortunately I did not make a formal prediction, so this won’t go on the Fails & Smackdowns page.
“Thus, an extraordinary claim requires “extraordinary” (meaning stronger than usual) proof.”
— Marcello Truzzi in Zetetic Scholar, August 1987.
I have written 15 posts urging Americans to become more skeptical. The leaders of our institutions lie to us often and casually, including the leaders of our government. We should not credulous believe them, just because their lies happen to flatter our political beliefs. It makes us easy to manipulate. Skepticism is first step to political reform for America.
Now for the bad news
“A cynic is not merely one who reads bitter lessons from the past; he is one who is prematurely disappointed in the future.”
— Sydney J. Harris (American journalist) on channel 7’s “On the Contrary” (1962).
Skepticism can be a powerful tool for citizens — helping us more clearly see the world through the fog of propaganda. It can encourage us to act, and help us find the best path to the future. But cynicism is a cheap excuse for apathy. It best befits peasants.
Which will we choose to be?