This series looks at the current lack of critical thinking in the patriot movement, evidenced by certain behaviors springing from a set of beliefs. In Part 1, I discussed the belief that if someone we like tells us something, we tend to take it as gospel — even if it’s factually inaccurate — and the inherent bias that we bring to the table if we have an emotional relationship of any kind with the person giving us the information.
Today in Part 2 I’ll go over the flip side of that belief, and its peripheral effects on both sides of the coin.
The other side of the “I like them so I will always believe them” is simply the opposite:
If someone I do not like or respect gives me information, I will immediately discount it, even if it may be factually accurate.
This is just as dangerous as the previous belief, and it might be obvious but it needs an article of its own because it has similar yet separate effects.
In fact, these twin ideas are so prevalent, so ingrained, that any real-life example I could use would immediately result in some readers throwing the whole article out the window because it would hit too close to home.
In every ‘big’ situation in the movement, groups spring up all over social media both in favor of, and opposing, whatever is going on and whoever is doing it. Pick a crisis, and you’ll find a group for it — and you’ll also find groups of detractors.
In the supporter camps, you’ll find a near-constant, three-fold refrain:
The people being supported are heroes.
Nothing that happens to them or their families is a result of their own actions; they are victims in all cases.
Anyone who does not believe the above, is a bad person, and may be a fed or informant.
In detractor camps, you find the opposite:
The people being supported are villains.
Everything that happens to them is their own fault; they are not victims and they should be mocked.
Anyone who does not agree with the above, is a shill, an idiot, and a suck-up.
These black/white paradigms close off any opportunity for additional facts; anything presented that does not fit the above ideas is immediately discarded.
Here’s the problem — both sides can be simultaneously right and wrong. How do you know which is which on any given topic? Critical thinking.
The Bundy situation is a classic example of the ideas above. If you take a stroll through the various Facebook groups, you find large pages dedicated to both vilifying the Bundy family and exalting them as near-deities. The only thing all sides seem to like as much as their chosen position is denigrating anyone on the other side. On any given day, you’ll find a plethora of insults flying — some of them not exactly “fit for mixed company,” as you might say.
For those interested in actual truth as opposed to joining one camp or the other, it can become difficult to wade through the vitriol to find what’s real. When Susie Supporter goes live on Facebook, you might be getting an update, or you might be signing on to watch a video in which Susie goes on and on about someone she doesn’t like. When Don Detractor posts in his group, you might get documents that disprove something the supporters think is gospel, or you might be suddenly presented with a rant in which a long list of names are deemed “whores,” attention-seeking and other. It’s quite the crapshoot.
How is anyone supposed to find actual facts? The supporters want people to get on board, but the subculture of cliques and refusal to question the narrative doesn’t appeal to people looking for truth. The detractors want to educate people on what they see as con men masquerading as heroes, but what information they do have gets lost in the chaos.
When you separate yourself from personal feelings, you put yourself in a position to see things as they are, uncolored by your emotions or bias. That ability is critical if you expect to find truth — which, more often than not, is somewhere in the middle between the two sides. No hero is without flaw, and not every detractor is motivated by evil. Sometimes the hero is a liar — not about everything, but about some things. Sometimes he’s not a liar, but his support leadership is. Sometimes the detractor is a questioner, and sometimes they’re drama queens looking to foment discord. Sometimes what we think is true, simply isn’t. You won’t ever know the difference unless you dig.
Unfortunately, far too many would rather place themselves squarely in one camp or the other — and quite frankly, they’re not interested in truth. They’re simply looking to be part of something, whether that be the ‘rah rah’ cheerleading squad or the ‘screw them all’ detractor camp.
So how is someone supposed to actually find truth in the chaos? That’s what we’ll talk about later in the series. First, we have another belief to attend to. That’s for tomorrow.