Are we free to choose our own “facts” to support what we want to believe?
What can you believe in these days?
Apparently whatever you want. Some of the topics people think the exact opposite is about include UFOs, the vaccine, election results, the Capitol uprising, the origin of COVID-19, and more. The list goes on and on.
On these issues, we are now free to choose our set of “facts” to support which side of the problem we want to believe.
Either the vaccine works or it magnetizes people (real testimony from a doctor to the Ohio legislature).
Either the 2020 presidential election was fair and secure, or it was stolen by massive and never-before-seen levels of voter fraud that left no trace (actual speeches from a former president).
Either UFOs are unexplained natural and terrestrial phenomena, or they are little green men in fancy spaceships roaming around (true general rants)
Among vaccine magnetism, voter fraud, and little green men, the most likely to be real is the little green men theory.
And even then, it’s a stretch. What are the chances that alien life forms have crossed the galaxy to Earth and not even stop at Dunkin ‘? Humans can’t spend an afternoon shopping without stopping for coffee.
On the positive side, this new trend actually means that we no longer have to worry about boring things like facts or getting it wrong when we have an opinion. How can you go wrong when choosing your own truths?
Of course, society should try to agree on basic and provable facts, and then form our opinions and arguments from there. Imagine when the New England Patriots face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this fall, what would happen if the two teams couldn’t agree on basic things like pitch length, number of runs for a touchdown or who gets Tom Brady.
Basically that’s what it’s like to try to do anything in Congress these days.
Different political philosophies have been displaced by different realities. It is terrifying and dangerous when the elect meddle in this act.
It would be like a debate club allowing debaters to do all the statistics they want to defend their cause. Imagine if the Jeopardy game show followed the same idea:
“For 200, the bard who wrote ‘Romeo and Juliet’.”
“What are mitochondria, Alex?” “
“No, we were looking for Who is William Shakespeare?” But we will accept your answer because the facts don’t mean anything anymore. And, by the way, I’m not Alex. I’m the temporary featured guest.
This idea that we can live our lives making decisions based on lies will not end well. We already have elected officials passing laws based on lies and conspiracy theories.
So-called electoral integrity laws are passed despite the absence of widespread electoral fraud. But it’s a convenient way for them to suppress votes from citizens who tend not to support them (i.e. minority voters).
Gone are the days when Joe Friday from the old show “Dragnet” didn’t want a witness’s opinion. Instead, he would say with serious deadpan, “All we want are the facts, ma’am.
Lee lives in Medway. Email Lee at [email protected]