Letters to the Editor

Letter | ‘Core beliefs’ have replaced critical thinking in politics

The primaries are over and the months ahead will provide an ever increasing dissonance of rhetoric and half truths. Unfortunately, we are all a part of the cause of what, politically, is considered the new norm of public consciousness. None of us are immune from the need to find a way to accept the apparent reality around us.

Given a set of facts that are supposed to explain a certain reality and enlighten our understanding of that reality, we have been conditioned through eons of human development to expect the availability of such facts.

However, apparently a time comes when society does not present easy-to-understand facts. Either the facts aren't readily available or are hard to accept and therefore skewed to be made more acceptable.

Such a time is now present in our society.

Issues such as abortion, the economy, global warming, outsourcing, gay marriage, taxation and role of government, are but examples of areas no longer permitting an easy understanding of the facts.

When such occasions occur the default response is to fall back to "core beliefs." These beliefs are what are commonly referred to as ideology. Historically when a person was known to be an ideologist it was meant to convey that the person was a practitioner of a field of beliefs based on a life time of study of those beliefs.

In society today, the term has become universally used to describe what most of us now consider a de facto position of unassailable "truths" that are not studied, not challenged and certainly not arrived at through the rigorous process of critical thinking.

In other words, in lieu of facts, we resort to our "core beliefs" as a means of assimilating the world around us, particularly the political world around us. And that is no surprise, as the facts are, in fact, hard to ascertain and even harder yet to accept.

As a result, or maybe because of it, both political parties present half-truths. What is so ironic is that these half-truths are not only easy to detect as such, but are assumed to be detectable by both parties. The reason they are not concerned with such transparency is that the half-truths proclaimed by both sides are not meant to convince or persuade by reason.

Rather, the thrust of their monologues are to push people into their "core belief" mode by making sure we cannot, as it is, count on the facts to tell us the true story. By pushing us into ideological corners, we become entrapped in their belief systems. By definition these systems, as I said, are unassailable, unchallengeable, are "unchangeable.”

Is this how we will be defined as a country going into the future?

The writer lives in Myrtle Beach and describes himself politically as an independent.