Down With Ditto Heads

Rush Limbaugh booking photo from his arrest in...

I have been reading Ann Coulter’s book Treason. Eventually, I will do a full review of the book. I’m afraid that I’m going to have to give it five stars when I do. My fear is that I will receive that inspiring label “ditto head.” Yes, I know that refers to Limbaugh followers, but it’s the perfect knee-jerk label to anyone who actually believes the right wing blowhards might make some sense. And frankly, Ms. Coulter makes a lot of sense. I’m not saying that I have no bones to pick with her. It’s too early to tell. What I am saying is that, if I have any bones to pick, it will be from a philosophical standpoint and not a factual one.

I have deliberately tried to steer clear of Limbaugh, O’Reilly, Beck, Coulter, et al, in researching my positions on political subjects. This is, again, to avoid the often leveled accusation of being a mindless drone to the right wing propaganda machine. Whatever the strengths and weaknesses of these people, I am out to form my own opinion. Or at least I want to divorce my conclusions from any hint of collusion with the latest neo-conservative infatuation.

The problem remains, though, that everyone, from every era, in any discipline, speaks with bias. Even historians speak with bias. Histories are usually written by the winners, or written with the idea of twisting history so much that the losers eventually will become the winners. So, even in order to read history and have half a chance at extracting the truth, you have to be able to discover and unspin the bias of the writer.

In our present world of cultural relativism, in order for one to not be politically incorrect, it’s important not to attach lables to anything that might make someone look or feel inferior to another, especially as relates to culture. Culture, of course, used to mean something related to a nation or geographic division. Now, it includes things like the pop culture, the drug culture, the counterculture. In other words, anyone who might have a different lifestyle or ideology from yours is now classified as a culture, and you must not say anything negative about them. Because of this, it becomes impossible to nay-say just about anything that it written, since it stems from the writer’s “culture”.

So, if you can’t besmirch culture, and you can’t be critical of anyone’s bias, how are you ever going to have any idea of what the truth is? Well, you can’t. Every ideology will have some basis in fact, will sometimes hit on the truth. And every ideology will also seek to sugar-coat a lie if it reflects poorly upon itself. This is human nature—to trumpet when you are so right and to sweep the rest under the rug. A good journalist will seek to find both the truths and the lies, to bring them out in the open, so that everyone can see and make one’s own judgment. But there are not a lot of journalists out there who have enough guts to overcome their own biases.

It’s been said that if you speak a lie often enough and loudly enough, people will eventually take it as the truth. There is a way for us to get around this problem. It’s called the facts. Facts go a long way toward substantiating whether something is true. But hard evidence still cannot sway, it seems, if enough people want to scream the lie. Witnesses’ stories at one time had to match and be based upon evidence instead of hearsay. Sadly, that is not often true today.

I certainly have Ann Coulter’s take on the ongoing treasonous activities in the government. I’m not going to discount what she has said, because she backs it all up with facts; names, dates, documents and testimony. But, right or wrong, she has a bias. I need to read more, so that I can make my own conclusions on the basis of two or three witnesses. In the end, we might still agree. But, if we do, it won’t be because I am a mindless robot. I also will check the facts. You should check the facts. You should know the background of your sources. Lefty or Righty, do not be a ditto head.

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