What are we willing to believe

I do not have a bullshit detector. I used to have one, but I don’t even know where it is anymore–maybe out in the garage. It was an awkward thing, like one of those little roll-aboard briefcases, but made of bright orange high-impact plastic, and it didn’t work very well.–Ian Frazier in The New Yorker

The values to which people cling most stubbornly under inappropriate conditions are those values that were previously the source of their greatest triumphs over adversity.–Jared Diamond

Is it that we don’t know what to believe until a favored politician tells us what he or she wishes us to believe, that we like to have our cherished beliefs reinforced, or both? Politicians often tell us what to believe; here are some examples:

  • Americans are concerned about crime in the streets and inflation stealing their savings.
  • Joe Biden and House Democrats created this 40-year high inflation and these historic gas prices.
  • Biden keeps finding new and unprecedented ways to be totally incompetent.
  • Nancy Pelosi’s partisan Select Committee is not about discovering the truth or preventing future incidents.
  • House Democrats chose to advance poorly crafted legislation focused on firearm confiscation and which further undermines the Constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens. 
  • Joe Biden’s economy keeps putting Americans last.
  • Instead of securing our southern border, DHS is focusing on creating a ‘Ministry of Truth’ to go after free speech.
  • As our key ally Israel continues to face attacks from terrorist orgs. including Hamas, the U.S. must step up to hold these groups and their enablers accountable.

I think I know cant when I read it. I bridle when told what I believe and when those who are not Democrats claim to know what Democrats believe. Yet here are some other examples:

  • The committee established that there was no fraud in the 2020 election which would have changed the results of the election.
  • We cannot subsidize Putin’s unjustified, unprovoked war against Ukraine.
  • Mitch doesn’t care about your family budget.
  • Republicans are shameless about their efforts to roll back our rights.

When I read these, I recognize my own beliefs, so I don’t feel that I am being led. That may explain why others feel the same way about the first list. Political talk like that listed above seldom is accompanied by supporting evidence. We are often reluctant to accept evidence that is bad news for us. Before accepting political claims, we ought to thoughtfully consider the basis of our belief.

But just remember that if you think you can save a few bucks by going without a bullshit detector, your cheapness will catch up with you eventually.–Ian Frazier in The New Yorker

About whungerford

* Contributor at NewNY23rd.com where we discuss the politics, economics, and events of the New New York 23rd Congressional District (Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Chemung, (Eastern) Ontario, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben,Tioga, Tompkins, and Yates Counties) Please visit and comment on whatever strikes your fancy.
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