Skip to comments.How Smart Are You?
Posted on 02/18/2009 8:36:06 AM PST by Mikey76
The answer to that question depends on a few things but arguably the most important is access to information. In order to make intelligent decisions in life, to consider viable options when contemplating a course of action, to evaluate reasonable solutions to a problem, information is crucial. Consider the difference between the majesty of the Roman Empire and the Dark Ages that followed. What was the difference? Access to information. Under the Pax Romana, information and technology traveled over Roman roads. With the fall of the empire people cloistered themselves in manors and small city states and such small entities did not have the resources to utilize Roman technology, they did not communicate readily, and skills and information were lost, awaiting the rise of the Enlightenment, the printing press, and eventually the Pax Britannia.
The people of the Enlightenment understood that the dissemination of information was not only necessary for progress but a critical component for mans political freedom. As products of the Enlightenment, the founders of our nation appreciated this and made sure the free dissemination of information was included in the Constitution. As we have seen, the founders were correct when they believed that even though the Constitution specifically limited the power of the government, if certain things werent spelled out (and even when they were), the government would expand its reach and ignore the rights of the governed. The first amendment to the constitution guaranteed the free dissemination of information. It promises freedom of conscience first for without the freedom for innovative thinking, there will be no information to disseminate. It protects freedom of speech and of the press, the two ways of presenting information in the eighteenth century. It insured the freedom of assembly so people could receive the information and process it freely among themselves. Finally, it recognized the right of the people to petition the government for a redress of grievances which means the aforementioned rights were specifically concerned with political speech. Just in case the government forgot this, the second amendment was added to guarantee the first.
Today, our access to information is unprecedented and comes to us in a myriad of ways. The spoken and printed word have been joined by radio, television and the Internet, satellite communication and cell phones. With all these options and the great variety not only of the information itself but commentary on its importance and meaning, we must rely as never before on our wisdom and values to properly evaluate all that bombards us. That is why John Adams stated that our form of government was for a moral and religious people and was inadequate for any other. If we do not have a template by which we evaluate information and commentary, we will not be able to properly utilize or even understand it.
Those who seek power understand this. Most obviously, those who seek absolute power seek to control the dissemination of information. They seize the press, restrict speech and free assembly. These are the first signs of a coup. But such an abrupt change is often met with resistance, something progressives and communists understand. If the government can control education in such a way that the populace accepts an aggressive government role, destroy the moral intuition of the people by marginalizing religion, and keep people too busy scraping by through burdensome taxes to pay close attention, that government can set itself up as the primary or sole arbiter of valuable information. For one hundred years, the United States Government has been implementing just such a plan.
Until the time of Reagan, the plan had been going well. Journalism, and by extension, the news, was controlled primarily by progressives who believed in big government, social welfare and the wisdom of the state, as long as it was controlled by like minded progressives. Then the talk radio format took off followed by the Internet explosion. The progressive stranglehold on the dissemination of information was broken. This, of course, was unacceptable because unfiltered information and opposition commentary were not conducive to the expansion of government power. The Republicans, who benefited more from this than the Democrats, had power in either the executive or legislative branch for all but two of the last twenty eight years and were not about to do anything to hinder this development even if it occasionally bit them as well.
After twenty years of constant abuse over the radio waves, and more recently Fox News and bloggers, the progressives have taken control of the machinery of government once again. They have only been in power for a month and they are already clamoring for a reinstatement of the fairness doctrine or some effective substitute. It is not enough that the major newspapers and broadcast networks support them. Like any good dictator, the progressives want to silence opposition. They couch it in the language of fairness, concern for the needs of the local audience and the desire for balance. What progressives dont understand is that media is a market driven phenomenon. People choose what newspapers to read, what newscasts to watch and what to listen to on the radio. Talk radio is successful because people want to listen to it, liberal radio does not have an audience and therefore does not make money. People making choices is not something progressives approve of however, because in their minds they often choose incorrectly, particularly at the ballot box. Only so many votes can be bought through welfare and pork, the rest have to be coerced through the control of information.
If we let this happen, if we let Nancy Pelosi and President Obama reinstate some form of the fairness doctrine and restrict or silence talk radio and other outlets for the opposition, including the Internet, their power will be secure for the near and distant future. Consider what has happened just over the last month. Several cabinet appointments have been withdrawn because, in plain language, they were crooks, tax cheats. Without the opposition media, there is no doubt in my mind they would have sailed through the confirmation process. Look at the way the stimulus bill was handled. The opposition party was shut out, the bill was crafted behind closed doors and voted on before anyone had read it. If this is the way things are handled in Washington with a loud opposition media, what will they try to put over on us without such scrutiny? Perhaps the fact that we have a tax cheat as Treasury Secretary and they pass bills without concern for the opposition (or common sense) demonstrates that a majority of Americans accept it or dont care. But shouldnt we have the option of choosing to care or not? Without scrutiny, what will they do next? Once the first amendment is legislated away, what about the second? Will we know the many examples of abusing the power of government to intimidate the opposition? Would the death of Randy Weavers family or the intimidation of Joe the Plumber by Ohio bureaucrats make the news under the new rules? The power of the media is not just what they print but what they dont. If they ignore corruption and abuses of power, how can the people become outraged? If all the stories remain local, a national movement to hold the government accountable will be impossible. The ultimate Check and Balance in our republic is We the People but we are only as effective as the information we have. Whether you agree with the opposition or not, its very existence is crucial in providing us the information necessary to guard our freedom. It would be a sad historical twist to see freedom loving people in America forced to listen to offshore radio broadcasts or risk visiting banned websites to get around the state run media. We are only as smart as the information we receive and if the fairness doctrine is reinstated, we all may end up Obama sycophants with heart palpitations and tingling sensations at the very mention of his name.
I’m waiting for the book burnings, I will make sure to have my own little bonfire fueled by marx and the like. I have a lot of marshmellows.
I could not be as smart as Joe Biden, you hear about HIS IQ?
I’m a genius, just ask me.
Nice blog on this site. Interesting read.
No. How smart you are depends far more on whether you base decisions on the information you have than on the amount of information. Dear Leader has almost unlimited information, but he ignores any facts that conflict with what he feels like he wants to do.
The people of the Enlightenment obama said I R 1 2
I’m smart enough to get by :o)
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