Summary: When Americans have learned the lesson shown in these cartoons, we will have taken a first step to reform — and becoming a great nation again (and not just a powerful one). Below the fold are links to posts about the methods and tactics of reform.
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(1) More information: Pouring water on a wet rock does not make it wetter
Citizens read news in order to become well-informed, and so able to help manage the Republic’s business, as well as their own. Why do subjects read the news? That is, why bother if we don’t act on what we learn? Entertainment! Scandals give us the thrill of righteous indignation. The excitement of a two minute hate at the designated bad guys. The thrill of submission before power, when we realize our Leaders pretend to care about our opinion, but in fact ignore us.
Then back to our lives, refreshed, glowing with the knowledge that reform is impossible — so we need do nothing but dream of the great day when we arise and smite our unworthy rulers.
What connects the news with our actions? A sense of responsibility, of citizenship. Otherwise the news provides insights of use for personal and business use, but little else. The news is a product, manufactured by professionals to meet our desires for fun mock-serious light entertainment, plus personally useful information. Journalists and editors are masters of constructing emotional narratives that feed our prejudices and excite our emotions.
When we change, journalists will change to accommodate our new needs. Their business is giving us what we want.
- What if Samuel Adams tried to start the Revolution by blogging?
- What if the Founders’ generation read the news as we do?
- Samuel Adams started the Revolution because he didn’t have Twitter.
(2) Seeing the world clearly makes us stronger
- Learning skepticism, an essential skill for citizenship in 21st century America.
- Remembering is the first step to learning. Living in the now is ignorance.
- Swear allegiance to the truth as a step to reforming America.
(3) About the reform of America
- Five steps to fixing America — Things you can do as an individual.
- The project to reform America: a matter for science or a matter of will?
- Realism about the prospects for reform in America.