A Beast Unchained
-ancient Chinese curse
Indeed. Have any times since the invention of agriculture or the printing press been as interesting as these?
The entire system of government that our country is founded on makes an assumption that, in the era of corporate owned media and super-partisan politics, may no longer hold. This assumption is that the people who are voting will be informed, and will be outraged when their government fails to live up to its responsibilities.
As we have seen, despite an almost continual string of scandals involving corruption, incompetence, malicious deception, and gross negligence, the electorate has failed to remove those responsible from power. A large part of this is the tendency of people to pick a side and stick with it, completely discounting any information that questions their chosen world view. Once a person's paradigm is crystallized, it becomes nearly unbreakable. This fundamental failure on the part of the citizenry to embrace their responsibility to truth over tribe is compounded by the unreliable channels of information available to them.
By breeding distrust of what has become known as the “mainstream media,” (but which would be better known as the “corporate media”), political operatives have closed down one of the vital branches of government: the press. In an era of information overload, where every person who wishes to stay informed must make decisions about where to get their data, it becomes easy to isolate oneself in a bubble of unreality, crafted by those who we agree with to match all of our preconceived notions and never call into question our fundamental assumptions.
This weakness has turned out to be the soft underbelly of democracy. This situation is compounded by the fact that many Americans are not properly taught critical thinking skills and lack intellectual curiosity, and thus do not have the ability to discern the differences between truth and the art of peddling half-truths, lies, and other deceptions known as “spin.”
Even those who feel confident in their ability to do so often get taken in by the spin. No single person has the time or resources to do the detailed research that would be required to fact check every news article they read.
This job, which should be performed by the media, is now often left to amateurs, such as bloggers and indymedia reporters. Unfortunately, most bloggers do not have the resources or time to focus on more than a few stories at a time.
And so we are left twisting in the wind, where those with the power to inform us choose instead to serve their own self interest, and those with the will to inform us do not have the power to do so. This leaves us with a government run amok, riddled with corruption, rotten to its very core, and little to no means to work for change within the system. The powerful and elite have taken away our peaceful means of keeping them in check, and believe that in so doing they have tamed the people. But those who try to domesticate wild animals know that it is only a matter of time before a beast, denied too long its food, air, and water, will turn on its handlers. And when that day comes, woe to those who stand against the fury of a wild creature unchained.