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Critical Thinking

Critical Thinking LogoImagine a world where every person had complete access to the truth
AND
had sufficient education to separate it from propaganda.
A goal of this site is to provide unbiased access to the truth. This section, in particular, is devoted to helping readers recognize the truth, in the midst of all the propaganda.

Most People Today Want to be Propagandized

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  • Intellectually insecure and socially uprooted, many people are now desperate for some authority to cling to, someone who will give simple expression to the inklings of thoughts and instincts to which they can neither give adequate voice nor adequately live out. 
  • "We would rather be ruined than changed. We would rather die in our dread than climb the cross of the moment and let our illusions die." --WH Auden, English Poet
  • Related: 

     

    Will Americans Submit to Despotism in an Urge to 'Escape from Freedom'? 

     

     

Daniel Lattier, Intellectual Takeout 

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http://evergreenedigest.org/sites/evergreenedigest.org/files/Politics-%20Truth%20vs.%20Propaganda.jpg January 24, 2017 | There’s a principle in hypnotism that goes like this: A person cannot be hypnotized against his will. He must be a willing subject. He must be fully cooperative.

So it goes with propaganda. For propaganda to be effective, it requires submissive subjects. As Professor Nicholas O’Shaughnessy wrote, propaganda is a “co-production in which we are willing participants.”

Propaganda is typically defined as the dissemination of particularly biased information in support of a political or ideological cause. In his 1965 book Propaganda: The Formation of Men’s Attitudes, philosopher Jacques Ellul provided us with some of the basic characteristics of propaganda: it thwarts dialogue, it is geared toward the masses, it utilizes various media, it is continuous, it is not intended to make one think.

Daniel Lattier is the Vice President of Intellectual Takeout. He received his B.A. in Philosophy and Catholic Studies from the University of St. Thomas (MN), and his M.A. and Ph.D. in Systematic Theology from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

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Related:

Will Americans Submit to Despotism in an Urge to 'Escape from Freedom'? Conor LynchSalon / AlterNet

  • The pioneering psychologist explained the rise of Hitler with an analysis that seems way too relevant now.
  • Erich Fromm Saw It Coming.
  • Related: Most People Today Want to be Propagandized

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NPR Guest Warns Against Living Wages With Fantasies of $16 Apples

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  • It would be nice if (NPR's) Morning Edition could get someone to discuss Trump’s Homeland Security pick who didn’t believe exploiting immigrants was necessary for Americans to be able to afford food.
  • Related: From the Archives | Do You Know Where Your Tomatoes Come From?

Jim Naureckas, FAIR.org

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http://fair.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Apples.jpg December 13, 2017 | To comment on Donald Trump’s naming retired Marine Gen. John Kelly as his Department of Homeland Security secretary, NPR‘s Morning Edition (12/9/16) brought on George W. Bush’s Homeland Security chief, Michael Chertoff.

A more independent observer might have brought up Kelly’s oversight of the US’s Guantánamo internment camp, where he has defended the force-feeding of hunger-strikers, a procedure condemned by human rights groups as torture.

Jim Naureckas is the editor of FAIR.org

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Related: 

From the Archives | Do You Know Where Your Tomatoes Come From? Lauren Feeney, Moyers & Company 

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  • “Harvesting tomatoes and other produce from the nation’s agricultural fields is arguably the worst job in the country,” journalist Chris Hedges writes in his book Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt.
  • Related: Why Women Who Pick and Process Your Food Face Daily Threats of Rape, Harassment and Wage Theft
  • Related: 1960: "Harvest of Shame"

Series | Trump Nation, Part 8: Is the U.S. Becoming a Banana Republic?

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James Fallows, the Atlantic

http://evergreenedigest.org/sites/evergreenedigest.org/files/Atlantic%20%7C%20How%20Trump%20Could%20Build%20an%20Autocracy.jpgFebruary 21, 2017 | David Frum is worried it will happen under President Trump. “The fancy term is authoritarian kleptocracy,” Frum says in a long and enriching talk with Atlantic editor Scott Stossel last Thursday about the dangers of the Trump administration (starting at the 10:22 mark).

The SoundCloud audio version is here. And if you haven’t yet read David’s cover story on Trump, or want to read it again in light of this discussion, here’s the link. If you prefer to listen to it on the go or while doing chores around the house, here’s the audio version.

James Fallows is a national correspondent for the Atlantic  and has written for the magazine since the late 1970s. He has reported extensively from outside the United States and once worked as President Carter's chief speechwriter. His latest book is China Airborne.

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Previously in this Series:

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The Positive Effects of Sanctuary Policies on Crime and the Economy

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  • The Data Are Clear: Sanctuary Counties See Lower Crime Rates and Stronger Economies
  • Related: Special Project | Trump's Sanctuary Cities Plan is Straight Out of Breitbart, Radical Right Playbook

Tom K. Wong, Center for American Progress

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https://cdn.americanprogress.org/content/uploads/2017/01/25135822/AP_17658085064-PREPPED.jpgThe historic Treme section of New Orleans.

January 26, 2017 | As the Trump administration begins to implement its immigration policy agenda, the issue of local assistance with federal immigration enforcement officials is back in the spotlight. So-called sanctuary jurisdictions are one focus of that debate. The analyses in this report provide new insights about how sanctuary counties perform across a range of social and economic indicators when compared to nonsanctuary counties. 

The data are clear: Crime is statistically significantly lower in sanctuary counties compared to nonsanctuary counties. Moreover, economies are stronger in sanctuary counties—from higher median household income, less poverty, and less reliance on public assistance to higher labor force participation, higher employment-to-population ratios, and lower unemployment. 

Tom K. Wong is associate professor of political science at the University of California, San Diego. He is the author of The Politics of Immigration: Partisanship, Demographic Change, and American National Identity.

Full story … 

 

Related: 

Special Project | Trump's Sanctuary Cities Plan is Straight Out of Breitbart, Radical Right Playbook, Alex Amend, Southern Poverty Law Center

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Series | Trump Nation, Part 7: Dear Mr. Obama: You Are Still the President

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  • Trump Nation is an ongoing reader discussion led by James Fallows regarding Donald Trump’s rise to the presidency. (For a related series, see “Trump Time Capsule,” as well as “Will Trump Voters and Clinton Voters Ever Relate?”) To sound off in a substantive way, especially if you disagree with us, please send a note: hello@theatlantic.com.
  • Seventh in a series
  • Related: Trump’s lies are not the problem. It’s the millions who swallow them who really matter.

James Fallows, the Atlantic

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https://cdn.theatlantic.com/assets/media/img/posts/2016/12/presser/c0ebab929.jpg U.S. President Barack Obama holds a news conference in a packed White House press briefing room on November 14, 2016. (Jonathan Ernst / Reuters) 

December 6, 2016 | In the four weeks since the election, which seem like four centuries, Donald Trump has dominated the news and done real strategic and economic damage with his stream of intemperate tweets. For a reckoning of the chaos that his tweets about Taiwan and China have already induced, please see these Atlantic items: by Uri Friedman with Shen Dengli, by David Graham, by Chris Bodenner, and by Isaac Stone Fish, with links to many other analyses. The harm he petulantly inflicted today on Boeing, a company that is perennially the United States’s leading exporter and one of its most important high-tech manufacturing employers and standard-setters, is only the latest and most flagrant illustration.

This is not responsible behavior. This is not normal. This is not something the United States, or for that matter the world, can really withstand from a commander in chief. But this ungoverned, thin-skinned impetuosity is something the “responsible” GOP has decided, to its enduring shame, that it dare not criticize.

James Fallows is a national correspondent for the Atlantic> and has written for the magazine since the late 1970s. He has reported extensively from outside the United States and once worked as President Carter's chief speechwriter. His latest book is China Airborne.

Full story … 

Previously in this Series:

Related:

Trump’s lies are not the problem. It’s the millions who swallow them who really matter, Nick Cohen, the Guardian 

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  • As the alt-right continues to set the agenda in global politics at a frightening pace, has the world reverted to a 20th-century era of totalitarianism?
  • Related: The Issue is Not Trump. It is Us.

 

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