In an op-ed today, Rex Huppke discusses a problem any thinking person knows about and discusses, nearly as often as they shrug off any notion that there could be a solution for it. A frequent subtext of many things I write about in this blog is that finding answers to problems like these must become a national—even an international—priority, or humanity is in for a world of hurt.
“It’s very depressing,” said Mary Poovey, a professor of English at New York University and author of A History of the Modern Fact. “I think the thing Americans ought to miss most about facts is the lack of agreement that there are facts.
Thanks to a deliberately promoted anti-intellectualism, which generously serves the interests of the plutocracy at large, America and the world are both in grave crisis on a dozen levels. We need many more articles like Huppke's before we will even begin to redress the damage done by 35+ years of radical conservatism and its many propaganda proxies like Fox News, which have both nutured and exploited this ecosystem of rabid dumbshittery. Together they have been alarmingly effective at obliterating any operational respect for science and all those pesky and often politically inconventient things called facts.
But these agents of assholery have merely been the high priests of this Church of Stupid with its anti-englightenment agenda. They have been all too enabled and supported by the mainstream meda which has selfishly abrogated any sense of responsiblity to the common good by letting such issues roll over in the public's consciousness again and again without any effort whatever to propose a solution, or consistently voice a need for one.
Every day, another pundit like Huppke decries this mendacious mess, while cashing the checks of the increasingly conservative-owned and controlled newspaper and broadcasting industries which knowingly allow these toxins of falsehood to metastisize into a full-blown cancer on the body politik of humanity itself. It is a disease that has all but crippled our ability to respond to even the smallest of political issues, and anyone that doesn't see that is either not paying attention, or probably on the payroll of the larger pertetrators of this cultural homicide in progress. .
If we don't find a way to rebalance the scales and make thoughtful inquiry and dialog fashionable again, we are probably finished as culture, and perhaps even as a species. Greed, war, disease, social injustice, econonmic inequity, and countless other man-made issues may be solvable, despite our worst instincts. But global ecocide courtesy of preventable climate change may not be.
I have my own ideas about how we must reset global society by reinventing how we organize, process and share human knowledge and actionable intelligence on nearly everything known or knowable. If we can better account for what we know, and what we do—or have done—with what we know, we can establish more normative guidelines for agreeing on what is real, and what is mere polemical masturbation, propaganda, and agenda hawking.
Whatever it is that we do, we'd better do something… and fast. And that's a fact.