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In response to "Truth, lies, and politics: how smart are voters?" (Urban Journal, December 28, 2016) At the ripe old age of 69, I have realized that intelligence has very little to do with much of anything. Nor does education.
As Saul Bellow said: "A great deal of intelligence can be invested in ignorance when the need for delusion is great."
Combine that with Lewis Carroll's Hunting of the Snark:
"Just the place for a Snark! I have said it twice: That alone should encourage the crew. Just the place for a Snark! I have said it thrice: What I tell you three times is true."
and we have the very accurate description of American culture today.
Since academia shifted from being a longstanding bulwark of conservatism to a tendency toward liberalism in the 60's, the think tanks and commentators on the Right have been on a mission.
They have managed to discredit expertise and any voice of legitimate intellectual authority so that now, the opinion of a six-figure-salaried Fox commentator with no background in any particular field is given as much credence as an expert from a major university who has studied an issue for decades.
Politics and worldview are sadly more a matter of temperament and deepest values than intelligence and education. As the fears that arise from the loss of cultural supremacy, economic stability, and general sense of certainty grow, intelligence and education matter less and less.
That so called "smart" and educated" people believe what, in a different time, would be considered tabloid baloney is not a surprise, but sadly to be understood for what it is: a temporary salve to fear and its bedfellow, hate, and the "need for delusion."
Whatever happened to truth in advertising and laws to protect us from slander? Is no one taking advantage of these? I have become a fact-check junkie and am not afraid to tell people that they are speaking or posting falsehoods online.
Americans are, in general, lazy when it comes to social media. They will post any ridiculous thing they see. It needs to stop. The people who spawn this false news in the first place need to be held accountable for their actions. If we let it happen without trying to correct the problem, we are all to blame.
Readers reacted to an update on the Whole Foods project proposed for Monroe Avenue in Brighton ("Daniele blames Wegmans for Whole Foods delay," January 4):
I live less than a mile from the proposed WF. I drive that stretch of Monroe all the time. I don't need an expensive traffic study to know it can't possibly accommodate the extra traffic without gridlock.
I doubt that Wegmans has much to fear from Whole Foods. It sounds more like sour grapes on the part of the Daniele family.