It was contrary to Athenian customs to eat within the marketplace, and still he would eat, for, as he explained when rebuked, it was during the time he was in the marketplace that he felt hungry. He used to stroll about in full daylight with a lamp; when asked what he was doing, he would answer, "I am just looking for an honest man." Diogenes looked for a human being but reputedly found nothing but rascals and scoundrels.
This is not a new phenomenon, but rather one that has perplexed me for years now. Bias.
Bias isn't inherently bad, but most people seem to use it like Linus's security blanket, to avoid having to challenge their preconceived notions about politics, and everything that they view through a political lens [which seems to be nearly everything]. Perhaps I've become more sensitive to it because I try to avoid using it as a crutch. Bias is natural and normal. Using one's bias to filter relevant facts from contentious issues and insert falsehoods, isn't. The manner in which many people will defend their chosen political party would make one wonder if they were on the payroll as a PR consultant.
This occurs in two distinct but inextricable approaches.
- The first involves substituting emotional reaction for facts....but framing that reaction as if it were factual. People's Exhibit A: "Obama hates America and wants to destroy it."
In the past, we would call a disagreement in public policy for what it was...a disagreement. In today's culture of sensationalism and contrived drama [ironically the "reality show" culture that this society has become], simple political disagreement isn't enough for the attention deficit, intellectual midgets among us. It simply has to be a paradigm changing, anti-American [and often anti-Christian] foreboding trait that separates "US
" [the good political party
] and "THEM
" [the bad political party
]. This is but one example of a stock, yet throwaway, remark towards one's political opponent.....to impugn their character in such a manner as to explicitly proffer that only your
political party is the true defender of patriotism and the American way.
Truths and factual foundations can stand on their own, can stand scrutiny, and stand for principle. So many recent political arguments are defined by one's emotional reaction that is immeasurable to any but the beholder of the bias. We are treated to lists of why the current Administration is so dangerous to the tenets of liberty......but these lists contain these emotional reactions that often outnumber the facts presented. There is no shortage of factual arguments to make, to present this Administration as detrimental to liberty. Is this because the promulgator is simply lazy.....or is it because there would have to be an acknowledgment that one's own party engages in a similar
vein of policies oppressive to liberty? Add to this mix, the inherent hypocrisy given that the roles reverse when each party rotates in an out of Congress and the White House. Those who squealed loudest about the paradigm of "Bush Derangement Syndrome
" a few years ago....are ignorant [willing or otherwise] that an "Obama Derangement Syndrome
" now exists.
If you're argument is sound in principle, it will stand on it's own. There is simply no need to invent realities, utilize pejoratives, or discard logic and reason....to make your point.
- The second approach is to label and frame one's political opponent. This is my favorite, since as a Libertarian, I get accused by both major parties, of belonging to the other major party, dependent on the issue at hand. It's both entertaining and frustrating at once. This approach is fratricidal as well. If one of your own party fails to toe the line, they become a RINO
. I suppose their could be a LINO
as well.....Glenn Beck and the tea party would be my personal applications of such a label.
Again bias comes into play, but unlike snowflakes, they tend to follow two distinct streams of thought. If we ever did, we no longer base an assessment on what somebody actual states their position to be on the merits, we base the assessment on what left/right ideology they belong to....or worse we simply assign an ideology to them. Because I consider civil liberties to be fundamentally Conservative, I don't view most Republicans or the platforms as Conservative....hence....I become a Democrat to many on the right. Because I consider the right to own firearms and take the responsibility to defend myself to be a fundamental civil liberty, I become a Republican to many on the left.
People, by and large, have assigned a political ideology or party affiliation to nearly every issue facing society, even those that have virtually no tie in with political theory. They then argue these issues, not on the facts or the merits of the issue, but on the affiliation of ideology that they have assigned to it.
It's lazy....and it's a distraction.
And for the icing on this flat, sour cake, is the media. The "news" media that has decided to frame nearly every issue as residing in a Left/Right paradigm. The "news" media that profits from this contrived and rhetorical divide....and spawns yet another arena of useless debate....media bias.
In the end, it all comes down to what team you root for. Logic is lost in the crowd....if it ever even makes it to the game. Reason is discarded like a sweaty jock strap, in favor of colorful pom-poms. It doesn't even matter how well these teams play the game [though there are clearly no winners here...only losers...us], all that matters is the cheerleading.
If poor Diogenes were around today, he would give up his fruitless search, and download porn....since ironically, it contains more honesty in it's scripted fantasy, than our political landscape does.