Resolve to begin the reform of America in 2017!

Summary: Make 2017 a big year in American history, the year its engines of reform roared into action. Here are some suggestions about ways you can help.

“Nietzsche said the newspaper had replaced the prayer in the life of the modern bourgeois, meaning that the busy, the cheap, the ephemeral, had usurped all that remained of the eternal in his daily life.”
— Allan Bloom in Closing of the American Mind (1988).

During the past decade I’ve written over 300 articles describing the tide of propaganda rising over America, now called “fake news” (links to some of the best appear at the end of the post). But the attention to the issue is misdirection in both senses.

Whining about our elites’ lies misrepresents the guilty parties. We consume information as entertainment (watching rather than acting), and have become gullible (more interested in entertaining stories that flatter our beliefs than their accuracy). The combination makes us weak. Of course our elites exploit this. It’s the Great Circle of Life at work. We will be prey so long as we are weak. Our leaders treat us like dogs because we are like dogs. We are the weak link in America.

When we again become skeptical of what we’re told, when again we organize, when we again become strong — then our leaders again will respect us. Here are some easy first steps you can do in 2017.

(1) Spend less time acquiring information about politics and more time applying it. Life is short, and the sea of information is limitless. Be purposeful in what you read. Sharpening your axe is useless unless you use it. For details see Becoming better informed won’t help. Here’s a small easy step towards political change.

(2) Change your values. Instead of judging information by how well it supports’ your political tribe’s beliefs, evaluate it primarily by its accuracy. Join the reality-based community. For details see Swear allegiance to the truth as a step to reforming America.

(3) Don’t just react, remember. Both sides want to believe that we’ve always been at war with Eastasia. The Right says that billionaires can’t be corrupt, despite history (one of countless examples of their amnesia). The Left says that the election was illegitimate and we shouldn’t accept Trump as “our president” (exactly what they predicted Trump would do, and condemned him for). History is our anchor to reality, our first defense against propaganda. For details see Remembering is the first step to learning. Living in the now is ignorance.

(4) Choose some ways you can help start the reform of America. It is a project to which each of us can contribute. For ideas see this list of posts: Reforming America: Steps to a New Politics.

Let’s make 2017 a big year in American history. The clock is running. Time is no longer our friend.

Truth Will Make You Free

For More Information

Other ways to make 2017 count: This New Year, let’s resolve to face the future with care, not fear.  A New Year’s resolution for America.

If you liked this post, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. See all posts about information and disinformation, about fake news, and especially these…

  1. Important: Politics in modern America: A users’ guide for journalists and reformers.
  2. We live in an age of ignorance, but can decide to fix this – today.
  3. Finding insights in the seas of information & misinformation.
  4. Ways to deal with those guilty of causing the fake news epidemic.
  5. The secret source of fake news. Its discovery will change America.
  6. A new year’s gift: two tools to help discover truth in the news.
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4 thoughts on “Resolve to begin the reform of America in 2017!

  1. > Spend less time acquiring information about politics and more time applying it.

    It sounds good in theory but I wonder if it is actually sound advice. I think an important lesson of history is that on most levels of analysis — from the village to the planet — man has less control of his destiny than he imagines. If you take what a friend of mine dubs a “supervenientist” approach to large-scale historical developments (google the analytic philosophy concept of supervenience to get an idea of what he’s referring to), then politics is a fairly “high level” realm on which to think about the world. It’s thus a frame of reference more suited to observations that impute information about underlying states of the world, rather than a realm in which one could reasonably expect to “make a difference”.

    Here’s an example of what I’m thinking of. Fact: rising inequality seems to be a political concept of great and increasing political significance. How does one go about “applying” this information? Naively, the answer is to optimize your personal situation (depending on your goals) around the “expected” political response to this trend, e.g. policies that promote equality of outcomes. But if you instead delve more deeply into this topic, you might learn for example that measurement contexts are important to the observed trend, and if you replace “earnings” by “cost of employment” as a metric of inequality, then a surprisingly large fraction of the increase in inequality can be explained by the increase in healthcare costs coupled with the peculiarities of the post-Johnson American healthcare system (such as tax-subsidized employed-based insurance). This knowledge may in fact easily lead a person to a diametrically opposed political position in the easily-forseen [uh oh, I’m probably being overconfident!] upcoming debate about how to repeal and replace Obamacare.

    Theory A: people are pissed off about rising inequality, so as an aspiring politician I should support a redistributionist approach to health care reform.

    Theory B: people are pissed off about rising inequality, the underlying cause of which is not unrelated to a reallocation of GDP from other sectors to health care, which is related to the structure of how the government regulated and taxes the provision of health services, and suggests that the current basis of our health care funding has some wildly incorrect premises, and perhaps radical free-market reforms should be considered.

    Which theory, A or B, is more likely to be correct, and which requires more acquisition of political knowledge?

    Like

    1. slicht,

      “I think an important lesson of history is that on most levels of analysis — from the village to the planet — man has less control of his destiny than he imagines.”

      This year I’m going to install a clock to see the shortest time between posting something calling for American citizens to act like citizens — and the first comment with highly intellectual fancy-dancy reasons to people should sit on our butts and whine.

      Every single post about citizen action has gotten almost nothing but such responses — going back almost a decade. Tangible evidence for the cause of America’s dsyfunctional politics.

      “Which theory, A or B, is more likely to be correct, and which requires more acquisition of political knowledge?”

      You can spend you life in study, waiting to act for the magic moment when you understand the Cosmic All. Just don’t get in the way of people working to reform America.

      Like

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