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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.

Thinking Dangerously In Age Of Normalized Ignorance

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  • Salmon Rushdie is right in viewing thinking dangerously as a type of political necessity whose purpose is to “push boundaries and take risks and so, at times, to change the way we see the world.” As Hannah Arendt noted, thoughtfulness, the ability to think reflectively and critically is fundamental to radical change and a necessity in a functioning democracy. Put differently, formative cultures that make such thinking possible along with the spaces in which dialogue, debate, and dissent can flourish are essential to producing critically literate and actively engaged citizens.
  • Related: I’m with stupid: The entire 2016 election has been an insult to our intelligence.

Henry Giroux, CounterPunch

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September 30, 2016 | What happens to a society when thinking is eviscerated and is disdained in favor of raw emotion? [1] What happens when political discourse functions as a bunker rather than a bridge? What happens when the spheres of morality and spirituality give way to the naked instrumentalism of a savage market rationality? What happens when time becomes a burden for most people and surviving becomes more crucial than trying to lead a life with dignity? What happens when domestic terrorism, disposability, and social death become the new signposts and defining features of a society? What happens to a social order ruled by an “economics of contempt” that blames the poor for their condition and wallows in a culture of shaming?[2] What happens when loneliness and isolation become the preferred modes of sociality? What happens to a polity when it retreats into private silos and is no longer able to connect personal suffering with larger social issues? What happens to thinking when a society is addicted to speed and over-stimulation? What happens to a country when the presiding principles of a society are violence and ignorance? What happens is that democracy withers not just as an ideal but also as a reality, and individual and social agency become weaponized as part of the larger spectacle and matrix of violence?[3]

The forces normalizing and contributing to such violence are too expansive to cite, but surely they would include: the absurdity of celebrity culture; the blight of rampant consumerism; state-legitimated pedagogies of repression that kill the imagination of students; a culture of immediacy in which accelerated time leaves no room for reflection; the reduction of education to training; the transformation of mainstream media into a mix of advertisements, propaganda, and entertainment; the emergence of an economic system which argues that only the market can provide remedies for the endless problems it produces, extending from massive poverty and unemployment to decaying schools and a war on poor minority youth; the expanding use of state secrecy and the fear-producing surveillance state; and a Hollywood fluff machine that rarely relies on anything but an endless spectacle of mind-numbing violence. Historical memory has been reduced to the likes of a Disney theme park and a culture of instant gratification has a lock on producing new levels of social amnesia.

Henry Giroux currently holds the McMaster University Chair for Scholarship in the Public Interest in the English and Cultural Studies Department and a Distinguished Visiting Professorship at Ryerson University. His most recent books are America’s Education Deficit and the War on Youth (Monthly Review Press, 2013) and Neoliberalism’s War on Higher Education (Haymarket Press, 2014).

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 I’m with stupid: The entire 2016 election has been an insult to our intelligence, Sophia A. McClennen, Salon 

  • We are going to have to start asking ourselves if we want a nation of extremist thinkers incapable of critical reflection or we want to start recovering our collective brainpower. As Monbiot put it, “Ignorant politicians are elected by ignorant people.” Democracies are only as smart as the people in them. So the real question we have to face is: Are we with stupid or not?
  • Related: The Arrogance of Ignorance

I’m with stupid: The entire 2016 election has been an insult to our intelligence.

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  • We are going to have to start asking ourselves if we want a nation of extremist thinkers incapable of critical reflection or we want to start recovering our collective brainpower. As Monbiot put it, “Ignorant politicians are elected by ignorant people.” Democracies are only as smart as the people in them. So the real question we have to face is: Are we with stupid or not?
  • Related: The Arrogance of Ignorance

Sophia A. McClennen, Salon

http://evergreenedigest.org/sites/evergreenedigest.org/files/Classical%20Statue%20Head%20in%20Hand.jpgSaturday, Oct 29, 2016 | Back in 2008 only weeks away from the election of Barack Obama as president, British journalist George Monbiot wondered how U.S. politics had come to be “dominated by people who make a virtue out of ignorance.” Riffing on the rise of former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin and reflecting on the acceptance of morons like former vice president Dan Quayle, Monbiot wondered how it was that we had allowed our political scene to be dominated by “screaming ignoramuses.”

Eight years later it seems clear that we were only just getting started.

If there has been one constant this election it is that our collective political decision-making process suffers from profound ignorance. And while the award for stupidity goes directly to the campaign of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and his supporters, it’s important to note that there is plenty of stupid to go around.

Sophia A. McClennen is Professor of International Affairs and Comparative Literature at the Pennsylvania State University. She writes on the intersections between culture, politics, and society. Her latest book, co-authored with Remy M. Maisel, is, Is Satire Saving Our Nation? Mockery and American Politics.

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The Arrogance of Ignorance, Sylvain Lamoureux, OpEdNews 

  • The year is 2016 and we are at war with everything, including ourselves; have we really "advanced" as a "civilization" or "society"? How can we when as a whole we are neither civil nor social.
  • Related: It’s Time to Stand Up for Truth and Intelligence

 

 

Propaganda Rules the News

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  • By constantly denying, deforming, and upending the truth, the Corporate Media are the main guardians of a global system of breathtaking hypocrisy and criminality, and the principal threat to the survival of all life on this planet. 
  • The Western Media “Presstitutes” Continue to LIE about the Ukraine and just about everything else.
  • Related: Nygaard Notes #584: Ten Concrete Tips for Media Propaganda Self-Defense

Paul Craig Roberts, the 4th Media News / the Greanville Post

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August 12, 2016 | Gerald Celente calls the Western media “presstitutes,” an ingenuous term that I often use. Presstitutes sell themselves to Washington for access and government sources and to keep their jobs. Ever since the corrupt Clinton regime permitted the (further) concentration of the US media, there has been no journalistic independence in the United States except for some Internet sites.

Glenn Greenwald points out the independence that RT, a Russian media organization, permits Abby Martin who denounced Russia’s alleged invasion of Ukraine, compared to the fates of Phil Donahue (MSNBC) and Peter Arnett (NBC), both of whom were fired for expressing opposition to the Bush regime’s illegal attack on Iraq. The fact that Donahue had NBC’s highest rated program did not give him journalistic independence. Anyone who speaks the truth in the American print or TV media or on NPR is immediately fired.

Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments. His internet columns have attracted a worldwide following. His latest books are, The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and How America Was Lost. 

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http://evergreenedigest.org/sites/evergreenedigest.org/files/Politics-%20Truth%20vs.%20Propaganda.jpgNygaard Notes #584: Ten Concrete Tips for Media Propaganda Self-Defense, Jeff Nygaard, Nygaard Notes

  • Read books; take a class; talk to informed people; read specialist and activist stuff; do a case study.  All of these things will provide nutrients that you can’t get from a diet composed of nothing but the daily news.  
  • That’s why I suggest that what we call “the media”—whether it be corporate or progressive/alternative—should be only a part of a well-balanced information diet.

 

 

Propaganda and the Fake Left Media; or, Shills for Clinton

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[Picture on masthead is by Tom Lin.]

Related: How liberal apologists torpedoed change, helped make the Democrats safe for Wall Street

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September, 2016 | Now Age Conversations: “Propaganda and Fake Left Media” with Joshua Frank 

Joshua Frank is Managing Editor at Counterpunch.

Full story (video) … 

Related: 

How liberal apologists torpedoed change, helped make the Democrats safe for Wall Street, Thomas Frank, Salon

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Center-left pundits have carried water for the president for six years. Their predictable excuses all ring hollow.

It’s not just Fox News.

Related: Stop Whining About 'False Balance'

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