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Episode 152 Flat-Earthers: Trying to Stay Informed

 

Some thought that Gods lived on Mt Olympus. Then someone went to Mr. Olympus and looked. They didn't find any gods. What was a person to think? Use to be that the world was flat. Then someone thought the world might be round. Someone sailed to see. Came back and said it was round. Claimed it was a fact. Some said it was fiction. Who was a person to believe? How do we determining truth from fiction . We still have some people among us who are "Flat-Earthers". When it comes to politics, well, we have people telling us everything. Who are you suppose to believe?

This is Retirement Talk. I’m Del Lowery.

I have some friends that wake every morning to Amy Goodman and her one hour radio show, “Democracy Now”. I don’t know how they do it. After listening to one of her shows I am incapacitated with disappointment for hours. I never listen to it any more. When I start the day I like to think something good might occur.

“News junkies”, are popular among retired people. These people like to know what is happening in the world, especially the political arena. It's hard to fault someone for wanting to stay informed.

Staying informed isn't easy. Our forefathers had to rely on word of mouth or the slim pamphlet that might circulate among the masses at the speed of a slow horse. Weeks and months might go by before news would get to remote parts of our country.  

Today it’s instantaneous. Electronics flash news across the screen as it is happening. Even events from the most distant backwater are available at the same speed. We are over whelmed with information, and misinformation. What is a person to do?

How do we know who to believe? How do we decide if we are getting the true story from NPR, CNN, Fox or the New York Times? I often wonder why it is that I ended up on this end of the political spectrum rather than the other. What shaped or made me have this political inclination rather than something else?

College certainly played a major role. Of course it started long before college, but college is where acceptance of common assumptions and sources were tested. Who said what; where, and when became very important. A method of establishing validity had to be generally accepted.

Professors demanded that sources of information be documented for reliability. I have vivid memories of Dr. Fox in my freshman Western Civilization class ripping our minds out by the roots. Public humiliation followed quickly if you claimed something as true and had no way of establishing its validity. It wasn’t a comfortable position in which to be placed but it certainly was a wakeup call to understanding the world.

This seems to be the main problem today in politics. There seems to be no common acceptance of how one should arrive at the truth or reality. Democratic belief in government  has invaded the common dialogue; everyone’s claim or opinion is given equal weight as anyone else's. How absurd. I can’t imagine telling one of my professors of history that my opinion as to the facts of history was of equal value to his or her's. This same absurd thinking leads many of my fellow citizens into valuing what goes by the name of Fox News. Because they have an opinion or because they present themselves as delivering the news they are accepted as of having equal value as a real news organization. How silly. Not silly. Tragic would be the more appropriate word.

People have different life experiences and thus different ways of viewing the world. Are some ways of viewing the world better than others? I think so. How do we rectify the problem? I don't know. That's the question. Flat-Earthers drive me crazy.

 

This is Retirement Talk.