Why Facts No Longer Matter In The Media Discourse

birthHow should we understand this latest and most troubling insight into the reality of our media ecology?

In the aftermath of the resolution of the Great Birther bash-up, even as President Obama tried to lay the issue at rest by producing the document that showed, proved, verified, documented, and validated his birth in one of the great states of our disunion, it was said that its release would only fuel more debate, and convince no one.

In other words, in the end, this long debated fact didn’t matter.

Facts no longer seem to matter on other issues, too, as articulated in the now infamous memo issued by retiring Senator Jon Kyle whose office, when confronted with evidence that he misspoke on the matter of how much money Planned Parenthood spent on abortions—he claimed 90%, the truth was but 3%—issued an advisory that said, “The statement was not meant to be factual.”

Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert had a lot of fun with that but one thing that’s not funny is that even when media coverage discredits or exposes some canard, public opinion is not necessarily impacted.

It doesn’t change the minds of those whose minds are made up.

Once some people buy into a narrative or worldview they seem to be locked into a way of thinking. For some, efforts to discredit a conspiracy theory offer more evidence that the conspiracy is valid, because why else would THEY want to refute it.

If you don’t trust the President, don’t believe he is an American or do believe he is a socialist, nothing he or his supporters say will change your mind. After all, what would you expect them to say?

So even refutation can turn into reinforcement and trigger more stridency.

Dismissing critics as “silly,” as Obama has done, only annoys them and makes them more determined to cling to their ideas, attitudes and anger.

The values (and prejudices) people grew up with often shape their worldviews. Their parochialism limits what they are exposed to. Their schooling and narrow range of experience seem to have had little impact in broadening their views.

Political scientist Thomas Patterson describes this as  “The process by which individuals acquire their political opinions is called political socialization. This process begins in childhood, when, through family and school, Americans acquire many of their basic political values and beliefs. Socialization continues into adulthood, when peers, political institutions and leaders, and the news media are major influences.”

Writes Edward Song on Huffington Post,

“For example, people who believe in health care reform value helping the poor and needy. For progressives, it is moral to help the poor.

For conservatives, helping the poor is helping people who are irresponsible, and goes against their principle of individual responsibility. The conservative’s solution to poverty is called “Tough Love.” Whether you believe in helping the poor is a matter of values and not a matter of logic. Believing otherwise is the big progressive mistake over the last 40 years.”

Conservative columnists like John Hawkins seem to subscribe to this view too.  Writing on Townhall.com, he argues,

“The sad truth of the matter is that most Americans don’t pay much attention to politics and those that do often just parrot doctrine instead of investigating issues with an open mind. This allows lies, myths, and dubious assertions to live on long after they should have shriveled and died in the light of day.”

Surprisingly, he also quotes JFK: “No matter how big the lie; repeat it often enough and the masses will regard it as the truth.”

Media outlets play a role in fashioning a culture of repetition, producing armies of “ditto heads” who are exposed to message-point pseudo journalism that they in turn regurgitate to advance partisan agendas. This approach is built into the design of the new polarizing and politicized media system.

This leads in the words of Vietnam War chronicler Tim O’Brian to how “you lose your sense of the definite, hence your sense of truth itself.” He was writing about military wars abroad but his insight applies to political wars at home as well. We are all becoming casualties of a media war in which democracy is collateral damage.

No surprisingly, the dominance of conservative media produces more people who align themselves as conservatives and will only understand the world that way. The shortage of progressive media outlets limits the mass the circulation of progressive perspectives.  No wonder the media marketplace is so devoid of competing ideas.

Beyond that, media outlets legitimize virtually all controversies as valid, however contrived they may be, just to have something to talk about. This legitimates subjects with the noise of continuing blather and contentious discussion featuring superficial analysis by unqualified pundits.

One consequence, according to GOP political consultant Mark McKinnon is that voters cast ballots on attributes not issues. “They want to see the appearance of strength in leaders, and are less persuaded by what they say.”

That means, news programs ultimately trade in fostering impressions,  not conveying information. Viewers trust their feelings over facts.

Remember, one of the most profitable formats on cable TV is not news but wrestling driven by cartoonish characters and invented confrontations. Is it any wonder that ratings hungry news programs take a similar approach to political combat. They are in the business of producing numbers for advertisers more than explanations for viewers.

John Cory commented on the media role in legitimating the birther issue and turning it into a form of entertainment, calling it ” a sorry and sad day for America.”

“What does it say about our ‘media’ that they have spent so much time and so much effort promoting crazy over reality? That our ‘media’ relishes circus clowns jumping out of their clown-cars and spraying clown-seltzer everywhere and then giddily covers the wet and stained audience reaction while ignoring the burning of fact?”

So, it is the media system itself, not Donald Trump or some crazy, that is the real “carnival barker” in the President’s words, Their programs program the audience by constantly and continually framing issues in a trivial matter. Manipulating emotion is their modality, doubt their currency and cynicism their methodology, except, of course, on issues like the economy, Israel or US wars.

The shame of it is that they know what they are doing, know what the impact of what passes for “coverage” will be, but do it anyway.

Filmmaker and News Dissector Danny Schechter edits Mediachannel.org.
For more on his film Plunder: The Crime of Our Time and companion book The Crime Of Our Time: Why Wall Street Is Not Too Big To Jail, visit plunderthecrimeofourtime.com.

64 Comments on "Why Facts No Longer Matter In The Media Discourse"

  1. ZZZzzzzzzzzz | May 2, 2011 at 3:03 am |

    BEST article I have read in a while~!

  2. ZZZzzzzzzzzz | May 2, 2011 at 3:03 am |

    BEST article I have read in a while~!

  3. ZZZzzzzzzzzz | May 1, 2011 at 11:03 pm |

    BEST article I have read in a while~!

  4. Tchoutoye | May 2, 2011 at 3:38 am |

    This article merely reinforces the world view that I’m already locked into. But at least it does so in an articulate way.

  5. Simiantongue | May 2, 2011 at 3:38 am |

    Something I remembered reading four or five years ago.

    “Democrats and Republicans both adept at ignoring facts, study shows.”

    http://www.livescience.com/576-democrats-republicans-adept-ignoring-facts-study-finds.html

  6. Tchoutoye | May 1, 2011 at 11:38 pm |

    This article merely reinforces the world view that I’m already locked into. But at least it does so in an articulate way.

  7. Simiantongue | May 1, 2011 at 11:38 pm |

    Something I remembered reading four or five years ago.

    “Democrats and Republicans both adept at ignoring facts, study shows.”

    http://www.livescience.com/576-democrats-republicans-adept-ignoring-facts-study-finds.html

  8. I sometimes wonder if facts Ever mattered…

  9. I sometimes wonder if facts Ever mattered…

  10. ho hum, these are facts i know all too well….hurts to be reminded of this reality

  11. ho hum, these are facts i know all too well….hurts to be reminded of this reality

  12. Mamagriff50 | May 2, 2011 at 10:26 am |

    The Major news networks can not be trusted. They If fantasy [crap] brings them a bigger audience [$$], they will go with that rather than the truth, which can sometimes be boring and mundane. No $$ in that. They dont care that they are helping to create a nation of idiots. Money is more important than the truth…Isn’t it?$?$?

  13. Mamagriff50 | May 2, 2011 at 6:26 am |

    The Major news networks can not be trusted. They If fantasy [crap] brings them a bigger audience [$$], they will go with that rather than the truth, which can sometimes be boring and mundane. No $$ in that. They dont care that they are helping to create a nation of idiots. Money is more important than the truth…Isn’t it?$?$?

  14. Anonymous | May 2, 2011 at 12:23 pm |

    Facts are not as important as perception to those of low mentality. No matter how you cut the pie Obama is still a murderer. And we are all murderers thanks to the Bush Family and Little Dick and his CIA pet. We are all radioactive now face the facts.

  15. Facts are not as important as perception to those of low mentality. No matter how you cut the pie Obama is still a murderer. And we are all murderers thanks to the Bush Family and Little Dick and his CIA pet. We are all radioactive now face the facts.

  16. I suspect that when it comes to politics, you can go as far into recorded history as possible and demonstrate that facts have never mattered.

  17. I suspect that when it comes to politics, you can go as far into recorded history as possible and demonstrate that facts have never mattered.

  18. Liam_McGonagle | May 2, 2011 at 6:41 pm |

    I interpret the special vehemence of this trend to the alienation of individuals from society resulting from such an intense level of specialization in the economy. We effectively gate ourselves off from one another to such an extreme point where we no longer realize just how interdependant we are upon empiricism and consensus. Reality is widely believed to be an entitlement completely up for grabs.

    Pretty f*’n dangerous.

  19. Liam_McGonagle | May 2, 2011 at 2:41 pm |

    I interpret the special vehemence of this trend to the alienation of individuals from society resulting from such an intense level of specialization in the economy. We effectively gate ourselves off from one another to such an extreme point where we no longer realize just how interdependant we are upon empiricism and consensus. Reality is widely believed to be an entitlement completely up for grabs.

    Pretty f*’n dangerous.

    • superfluous | May 2, 2011 at 6:28 pm |

      i think there is a need to be right, to be #1, as well.
      combined with less time spent checking background information / more time spent honing the cleverness of the critique of a particular piece of minutiae in order to utterly (in-your-face style) disprove the entire world views of the ppl on the other side of the wedge issue, and in the process demonizing them because there’s no meme like right versus wrong… *gasp*

      yeah, petri dish of ideology

      • Liam_McGonagle | May 2, 2011 at 8:52 pm |

        Yeah, it’s such a winner-take-all game that no one is even allowed the opportunity to admit they’ve been wrong and change course accordingly.

        But f*ck it. I’ll take the opportunity when I deem it fit. Scr*w them.

  20. “he also quotes JFK: “No matter how big the lie; repeat it often enough and the masses will regard it as the truth.””

    I believe that Goebbels was the first who said that. Great article though.

  21. “he also quotes JFK: “No matter how big the lie; repeat it often enough and the masses will regard it as the truth.””

    I believe that Goebbels was the first who said that. Great article though.

    • What Goebbels said at Nuremberg was, “Tell the people they are being attacked. Then you (government) can do anything you want. It always works for any system of government.”

      Does that sound a bit like what we have been seeing with “terrorism”? Maybe GWB didn’t want Bin Laden found because, as long as he was a “threat” he could push through any freedom-stifling actions he wanted.

      That OBL was found now looks very suspiciously like an astute political move. Personally, I would have waited until next September or October, but I’m not a professional politician.

  22. OrangeRose | May 2, 2011 at 7:40 pm |

    Can some genius who is knows the laws of the USA please point out that it is rather a gray area, his momma is American. Thus it might have been a hot button during elections but he has been the President for some time now….DUH DUH DUH

  23. OrangeRose | May 2, 2011 at 3:40 pm |

    Can some genius who is knows the laws of the USA please point out that it is rather a gray area, his momma is American. Thus it might have been a hot button during elections but he has been the President for some time now….DUH DUH DUH

  24. Ricky Jazzercise | May 2, 2011 at 7:46 pm |

    How can you write an article about this without mentioning the deregulation of the media or the telecommunications act? The Media is supposed to inform the populace, but we gave up on that idea, and deregulated it in the 80’s and 90’s, let them monopolize, etc. The idea that telecommunications technology should be in the public’s hands was never even considered.

    So, whereas there used to be news, which was already very manipulated in the first place, what you get now is just corporate propaganda. They tell you what they think is going to make them the most money in the short term, and that’s it. Any facts that conflict with this agenda are eliminated. Without media deregulation, there would be no Bush administration (remember how he stole the 2000 election?), Iraq War, tax cuts for the wealthy, etc. The media quite literally let the people believe that Saddam Hussein was involved with 9/11. They knew this wasn’t true, but went way out of their way to not point it out, even though they knew that’s what people believed and wouldn’t have supported the war without that critical association. Did anyone bother to point out or explore the reasons the UN were against the war in Iraq i.e. they were the one country in the region that we knew for a fact didn’t have weapons of mass destruction because of the continued inspections we’d conducted since the first Iraq war? Nope. See what I mean.

  25. Ricky Jazzercise | May 2, 2011 at 3:46 pm |

    How can you write an article about this without mentioning the deregulation of the media or the telecommunications act? The Media is supposed to inform the populace, but we gave up on that idea, and deregulated it in the 80’s and 90’s, let them monopolize, etc. The idea that telecommunications technology should be in the public’s hands was never even considered.

    So, whereas there used to be news, which was already very manipulated in the first place, what you get now is just corporate propaganda. They tell you what they think is going to make them the most money in the short term, and that’s it. Any facts that conflict with this agenda are eliminated. Without media deregulation, there would be no Bush administration (remember how he stole the 2000 election?), Iraq War, tax cuts for the wealthy, etc. The media quite literally let the people believe that Saddam Hussein was involved with 9/11. They knew this wasn’t true, but went way out of their way to not point it out, even though they knew that’s what people believed and wouldn’t have supported the war without that critical association. Did anyone bother to point out or explore the reasons the UN were against the war in Iraq i.e. they were the one country in the region that we knew for a fact didn’t have weapons of mass destruction because of the continued inspections we’d conducted since the first Iraq war? Nope. See what I mean.

  26. So what do you think about the obvious manipulation of the document? There are a lot of explanations, but the one that most who patronize the doubters use is the “Adobe specifically cuts out the words in order to make the document searchable, yet they do not explain why the document is not searchable. I don’t hold the same opinion of those who hold he is not a US citizen by birth, but I do believe his team purposely mucked around with the document in order to keep the confusion and conspiracy alive. Its why they’ve spent millions on blocking anyone from viewing the original birth certificate.

  27. So what do you think about the obvious manipulation of the document? There are a lot of explanations, but the one that most who patronize the doubters use is the “Adobe specifically cuts out the words in order to make the document searchable, yet they do not explain why the document is not searchable. I don’t hold the same opinion of those who hold he is not a US citizen by birth, but I do believe his team purposely mucked around with the document in order to keep the confusion and conspiracy alive. Its why they’ve spent millions on blocking anyone from viewing the original birth certificate.

  28. To continue what I was saying… division and contrariness is what keeps the people from uniting against him for his real violations of our Liberty and Freedom… same thing happened with Clinton and Bush. They knowingly distract us with the right hand so we can’t see what the left hand is doing.

  29. To continue what I was saying… division and contrariness is what keeps the people from uniting against him for his real violations of our Liberty and Freedom… same thing happened with Clinton and Bush. They knowingly distract us with the right hand so we can’t see what the left hand is doing.

    • What are you saying? That no politician of either party can be trusted? That isn’t news, the goal of all government is to reduce freedom and increase control of the public. It’s about power and the arrogance of the elected.

  30. superfluous | May 2, 2011 at 10:28 pm |

    i think there is a need to be right, to be #1, as well.
    combined with less time spent checking background information / more time spent honing the cleverness of the critique of a particular piece of minutiae in order to utterly (in-your-face style) disprove the entire world views of the ppl on the other side of the wedge issue, and in the process demonizing them because there’s no meme like right versus wrong… *gasp*

    yeah, petri dish of ideology

  31. Liam_McGonagle | May 3, 2011 at 12:52 am |

    Yeah, it’s such a winner-take-all game that no one is even allowed the opportunity to admit they’ve been wrong and change course accordingly.

    But f*ck it. I’ll take the opportunity when I deem it fit. Scr*w them.

  32. Facts are just the hobgoblins of little minds.

  33. BuzzCoastin | May 2, 2011 at 11:22 pm |

    Facts are just the hobgoblins of little minds.

  34. Hadrian999 | May 3, 2011 at 4:05 am |

    this is the truth
    “remember the maine”

  35. Please watch this and shut up:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XcWQw2AAIho

    The videos of sane people doing REAL tests rather than assuming malice are VERY hard to find because of the spam of these videos claiming it is a fake. This is not the best one I’ve seen but I just cannot find the better one (just so much “its fake!” spam…)

    We need a crusade against Dittoheads (i’m going to start using that term a lot more we need people to realize what they are doing)

  36. Please watch this and shut up:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XcWQw2AAIho

    The videos of sane people doing REAL tests rather than assuming malice are VERY hard to find because of the spam of these videos claiming it is a fake. This is not the best one I’ve seen but I just cannot find the better one (just so much “its fake!” spam…)

  37. Perhaps if the media were not such semi-literate morons, they would have more credibility. Public opinion is “affected” not “impacted”. Until you start employing writers and editors that know something about English. DO not expect educated people to take you seriously.

  38. Perhaps if the media were not such semi-literate morons, they would have more credibility. Public opinion is “affected” not “impacted”. Until you start employing writers and editors that know something about English. DO not expect educated people to take you seriously.

  39. What are you saying? That no politician of either party can be trusted? That isn’t news, the goal of all government is to reduce freedom and increase control of the public. It’s about power and the arrogance of the elected.

  40. What Goebbels said at Nuremberg was, “Tell the people they are being attacked. Then you (government) can do anything you want. It always works for any system of government.”

    Does that sound a bit like what we have been seeing with “terrorism”? Maybe GWB didn’t want Bin Laden found because, as long as he was a “threat” he could push through any freedom-stifling actions he wanted.

    That OBL was found now looks very suspiciously like an astute political move. Personally, I would have waited until next September or October, but I’m not a professional politician.

  41. anti_supernaturalist | May 4, 2011 at 7:53 pm |

    **Facts aren’t the issue — the issues are ideology and prejudice embodied in conspiracy “theories”

    Sorry, but your views don’t square with the facts: Please do have…
    1. friends photograph your jumping from Half Dome without a parachute or
    2. the highway patrol follow you at 90 mph, crossing the median, and hitting a semi head-on or
    3. your state issue you your own ordinary valid birth certificate, with seal, and send to US govt for passport.

    In case 1 — the fact is you’ll not live to tell about it. In case 2 the fact is that you’ll not live to tell about it.

    In case 3, eventually Uncle Sam with send you an official passport, assuming you paid the fee, properly filled out the form, sent form to the right address, and used a valid certificate of birth.

    But, let’s say that I don’t like you for some reason (race, religion, sexual orientation, gender…) — can I use tactics to undermine your request for a passport? Sure, I can anonymously contact the Passport Agency or the FBI and arouse suspicion that you lied on your application or that your certificate of birth is fraudulent.

    Be glad you are probably a small fish — there’s nothing to be gained from screwing you and the attendant risk is too high. With Obama, if enough racists and right-wing fanatics raise enough stink the press will eventually smell it.

    So, of course, there are facts. But, *no matter of fact is ever certain* (in the sense that is necessarily true, or logically true, or mathematically true, or statistically certain (a contradiction in terms!).

    While the fact in cases 1 and 2 is that you’ll die with a high degree of probability attached to that event, it’s just possible but very, very improbable that you’ll live. That’s the way things are in the world — no empirical statement (a statement about nature, or evidence in a trial … is certain.

    In fact, conspiracy “theories” turn on a rabidly tenacious assumption — that what a few people want to disregard, they will. There is always an opening somewhere — and the fact that the US government routinely lies to the people and religious institutions always lie in matters of “faith” — leaves plenty of room for deniers of all kinds.

    “There are altogether no supernatural phenomena, only interpretations of phenomena” — and that’s a fact that billions of people would deny. But, the truth of a “factual claim” doesn’t reduce to belief, no matter how many people agree or disagree with the “factual claim”.

    Belief requires no evidence at all to be asserted. Determining “what claims are true” requires an entire set of procedures and methods to verify or falsify any claim.

    So, it’s much easier to believe than to know — since the nature of all ideology (including all religious ideology) is to provide an illegitimate path to “knowledge” — conspiracy fanatics (jesus rose from the dead, for example) have an easy time of it.

    Yes, there are facts. And birthers and christo-fascists in the US want you to follow their example. The American Empire will not survive in the absence of facts or the methods to establish them.

    the anti_supernaturalist

  42. rick_povero | May 4, 2011 at 3:53 pm |

    **Facts aren’t the issue — the issues are ideology and prejudice embodied in conspiracy “theories”

    Sorry, but your views don’t square with the facts: Please do have…
    1. friends photograph your jumping from Half Dome without a parachute or
    2. the highway patrol follow you at 90 mph, crossing the median, and hitting a semi head-on or
    3. your state issue you your own ordinary valid birth certificate, with seal, and send to US govt for passport.

    In case 1 — the fact is you’ll not live to tell about it. In case 2 the fact is that you’ll not live to tell about it.

    In case 3, eventually Uncle Sam with send you an official passport, assuming you paid the fee, properly filled out the form, sent form to the right address, and used a valid certificate of birth.

    But, let’s say that I don’t like you for some reason (race, religion, sexual orientation, gender…) — can I use tactics to undermine your request for a passport? Sure, I can anonymously contact the Passport Agency or the FBI and arouse suspicion that you lied on your application or that your certificate of birth is fraudulent.

    Be glad you are probably a small fish — there’s nothing to be gained from screwing you and the attendant risk is too high. With Obama, if enough racists and right-wing fanatics raise enough stink the press will eventually smell it.

    So, of course, there are facts. But, *no matter of fact is ever certain* (in the sense that is necessarily true, or logically true, or mathematically true, or statistically certain (a contradiction in terms!).

    While the fact in cases 1 and 2 is that you’ll die with a high degree of probability attached to that event, it’s just possible but very, very improbable that you’ll live. That’s the way things are in the world — no empirical statement (a statement about nature, or evidence in a trial … is certain.

    In fact, conspiracy “theories” turn on a rabidly tenacious assumption — that what a few people want to disregard, they will. There is always an opening somewhere — and the fact that the US government routinely lies to the people and religious institutions always lie in matters of “faith” — leaves plenty of room for deniers of all kinds.

    “There are altogether no supernatural phenomena, only interpretations of phenomena” — and that’s a fact that billions of people would deny. But, the truth of a “factual claim” doesn’t reduce to belief, no matter how many people agree or disagree with the “factual claim”.

    Belief requires no evidence at all to be asserted. Determining “what claims are true” requires an entire set of procedures and methods to verify or falsify any claim.

    So, it’s much easier to believe than to know — since the nature of all ideology (including all religious ideology) is to provide an illegitimate path to “knowledge” — conspiracy fanatics (jesus rose from the dead, for example) have an easy time of it.

    Yes, there are facts. And birthers and christo-fascists in the US want you to follow their example. The American Empire will not survive in the absence of facts or the methods to establish them.

    the anti_supernaturalist

  43. if you have a problem with the Birther theory, then you have a problem with Democrats. Hillary Clinton & Donald Trump – both Democrats – are the ones who spearheaded this movement.

  44. …did you just call Trump a Democrat?

  45. Chrysrosen | May 6, 2011 at 3:01 pm |

    It would be great to see this statement developed into practical application as you imply that if democrats understood this they would find alternative ways, not their typical logical approach, to communicate and appeal to the public to support.

  46. Chrysrosen | May 6, 2011 at 11:01 am |

    It would be great to see this statement developed into practical application as you imply that if democrats understood this they would find alternative ways, not their typical logical approach, to communicate and appeal to the public to support.

  47. Chrysrosen | May 6, 2011 at 3:03 pm |

    This statement : “W
    hether you believe in helping the poor is a matter of values and not a matter of logic. Believing otherwise is the big progressive mistake over the last 40 years.”

  48. Chrysrosen | May 6, 2011 at 11:03 am |

    This statement : “W
    hether you believe in helping the poor is a matter of values and not a matter of logic. Believing otherwise is the big progressive mistake over the last 40 years.”

  49. Does it really matter who said it? It’s true isn’t it?

  50. Ogunsola37 | May 20, 2011 at 5:33 pm |

    Ogunsola here: I read a couple of paragraphes of the article and because I have to go my comment is based on this.  The author states how some people once their minds are made up cannot be changed.  They seem to buy into a narrative or worldview which locks their way of thinking.  My question is can this be called thinking in any way which is serious with regard to thinking?  Rachel Maddow on a show last year pointed out 80% of people who identified themselves as Republican got their news information from Fox news and 20%  of these say they don’t care whether the news is the truth or not.  This is frightening and appalling, an interesting combinatioof emotions when one thinks(!) about it since we are supposed to live in a time of general education for the masses of people and in any case education is relatively speaking supposed to be easier to obtain then at any other time in our history.  It seems clear to me there are many illusions with regard to our so-called open society and this is one of them. 

  51. Ogunsola37 | May 20, 2011 at 1:33 pm |

    Ogunsola here: I read a couple of paragraphes of the article and because I have to go my comment is based on this.  The author states how some people once their minds are made up cannot be changed.  They seem to buy into a narrative or worldview which locks their way of thinking.  My question is can this be called thinking in any way which is serious with regard to thinking?  Rachel Maddow on a show last year pointed out 80% of people who identified themselves as Republican got their news information from Fox news and 20%  of these say they don’t care whether the news is the truth or not.  This is frightening and appalling, an interesting combinatioof emotions when one thinks(!) about it since we are supposed to live in a time of general education for the masses of people and in any case education is relatively speaking supposed to be easier to obtain then at any other time in our history.  It seems clear to me there are many illusions with regard to our so-called open society and this is one of them. 

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