Critical Thinking Required

We are in danger of losing a large group of people to non-critical thinking. It’s an epidemic. I encounter people who believe they have been well-informed by the same type of non-critical thinker pervasive everywhere. People often confuse critical thinking as a measure of intelligence. It has nothing to do with IQ or for that matter, formal education. Non-critical thinkers feed off each other, listening to broadcasted programs, reading social media and talking with their friends who all fall into the same dearth of unique ideas and opinion. Sure, they see or hear stories about the lunatic fringe and assume anyone thinking different from themselves must be part of that same group.

The Thinker (Le Penseur) by Auguste Rodin

The Thinker (Le Penseur) by Auguste Rodin. Originally named The Poet (Le Poète)

Here’s an example of what I’m suggesting which requires further examination. Forty-eight million Americans will have their food stamps benefits slashed starting Friday. Reaction from some people is this is awful. It’s furthered along by those who believe the official Whitehouse narrative that because the Republican controlled Congress passed a bill which includes agricultural and food-stamp program subsidies, they are to be blamed for this heartless and cruel reduction in aid.

Since 2000, the costs for the plan have increased more than 358 percent. Enrollment in the food-stamp benefits rose during 2007-2011. The program was promoted heavily during this period. The 13.6 percent cut is the first wide-scale change to the program. The food stamp program may sound like a government that cares for its citizens but that’s a misdirection on the real problem of focusing on the economy. Furthermore it appears to be a continuation of the political ruling class to retain power. It becomes a cycle of voting for those who will maintain or expand such programs without regard to the overall effect on the survival of all those who become dependent.

We have become a population of assumed expectation and outcome. We have routinely heard that each generation is better off than the previous. We measure such improvement through an accumulation of material things. We buy stuff despite it not being a necessity. The United States has become the land of expectations, symbolized by the big screen TV and public programs.

Proponents of these type of programs manipulate statistics to show the economy benefits by the dissemination of food stamps. In their thinking methodology, an increased level of spending through a government program actually improves the economy. This is totally absurd. In essence this creates a myth, if you take away from some people and distribute it to other people, then everyone benefits. Of course it also completely neglects the astronomical administrative costs which the government is all too happy to add. The thinking is, theft by proxy if performed by government is beneficial. Yes, it benefits those on the receiving end, just not those paying the bill. And those paying the bill are getting smaller in number.

The latest in this cycle was the promotion of health care for all, even if you can’t afford it. It was introduced at a time when the economy was at a low ebb making the idea more palatable because so many were out of work and many were without insurance. It was sold as another representation of how much our leadership cares for its citizens. Meanwhile the reality of the cost of these programs were disguised in the same manner as a lot of private citizens did with their own financial management. People bought on credit anticipating there would always be a way to pay and more over, expecting an increase in future income. Our government has done the same thing with its spending.

Reminding people the cost (deficit) will eventually become incredibly burdensome and damaging, doesn’t carry any weight. We still want what we want and demand that somehow things will always work out in spite of historical evidence to the contrary. Instead, we manage our belief in individuals or a group we favor, seeing them through our eyes and expect their party affiliation or racial makeup along with their compassionate speeches will correctly give us all that we want.

Facing reality on its terms rather than what our expectations or hopes might be, is a scary proposition for many of us. If we are not prepared to think for ourselves, and rely on the data produced from powerful media, entertainers and political powers we are in danger of becoming slaves to their ideas and values due to our own lack of critical thinking. We build a community brick by brick. That same community can be destroyed by hands removing the bricks. Don’t let your foundation be weakened by purveyors of promise over substance.