Americans Disdain for Facts
Robert A. Levine July 5, 2023
Is it our school systems? Is it our water? Is it our concept of equality, that every man’s knowledge
and store of information is the same and worthy of attention? Such a large proportion of our citizens refuse to believe experts and look down on scientists. Conspiracy theories and bald-faced lies flourish and the facts languish. And this disdain for what is true and scientifically proven is just as prevalent on the left as it is on the right. Disregard the facts. Don’t believe accepted data in science and medicine, but what Tom so and so says. He has two million followers on Facebook so he must know what he’s talking about. Don’t people think for themselves any more, or do they merely mirror popular trends and influencers who tell that what to think. Even bizarre conspiracy theories like Qanon have millions of people believing.
Initially, the disregard for the truth and the facts seemed to be typical of conservatives and the right, Americans who idolized Donald Trump and his coterie, took their words as gospel, no matter how far out they might seem. Democrats as pedophiles. Cannibalism. Soros’ space lasers causing forest fires. Stolen elections. And Trump’s missteps ignored. Paying off a call girl. Grabbing attractive women by the pussy. Paying homage to Putin. Running his businesses from the White House. And hundreds more noxious actions. So what. He got conservative justices on the Supreme Court. Character doesn’t matter.
But now, some of the left is following in Trump’s footsteps, willing to accept lies as truth, disregarding facts and buying in to conspiracy theories. Robert Kennedy Jr has become the leader of this portion of the Democratic Party, and doing surprising well in the polls for president. At one point he had around 20 percent of voters, though apparently he has fallen back somewhat. But his lies and conspiracy theories and his dislike for standard medicine and scientific facts has resonated with many on the left. Kennedy refuses to accept facts about vaccines preventing diseases and that medications to treat various illnesses are a necessity. He thinks all pharmaceutical companies are promoting their medications just for profit and that they really don’t help against illnesses. Kennedy also believes that the government conspired in the assassinations of his uncle John Kennedy, his father Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King. He spouts all these lies and conspiracy theories without any evidence to back him up.
But people believe what he says because he’s a Kennedy and would seem to have no reason to lie. However, it appears that Kennedy doesn’t think he’s lying, accepting his own doctrines on faith. And the people who believe him also accept his words on faith, because they are misinformed and don’t like taking advice from experts and the “elites.” The vaccine skeptics and those who won’t acknowledge conventional medicine are doing harm to themselves, their families and their communities. And they weaken rather than strengthen America.
When confronted with contradictions in terms of what are considered facts and the truth about issues, people have to seek information themselves and not depend on the words of politicians and conspiracy theorists. It may be easier not to do the research and just follow the leader, but that path is not good for America and democracy. It’s bad on both the left and the right.
P.S- Investigate the Dunning Krueger effect, a cognitive bias where people with little knowledge, expertise or ability regarding an issue, tend to overestimate their knowledge or expertise. Many of the followers of Trump, DeSantis and Kennedy ably demonstrate the Dunning-Krueger effect in their views and actions.
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