Hooked on a Feeling

I don’t plan on making this a long one, but there are some times when you see something where all you can think is Yes.  Yes. Yes, yes, and yes.  Yes.  Yes.  That’s the problem.  That is THEEEEE problem. Yes. We have lots of other problems, but we can’t start to solve those problems until we address this one.  It is not uniquely U.S., but we certainly have a lot of it here.  And it is not uniquely Republican, but they have made it a central theme to their party platform.  If you haven’t watched John Oliver’s piece from “This Week Tonight” on the RNC national convention you should.  For those with less time, I encourage you to start at about 3:39.  And for those with even less time I encourage you to watch when they start talking to Newt Gingrich.  I love that old Newt entirely gave the game away.  I am don’t like the fact that there are far too many in this nature who don’t see that.  For those with even less time I will give you the quotes of the night:

Newt: “The average American, I will bet you this morning does not think crime is down, does not think they are safer…”

Anchor: “But it is…we are safer…and it is down.”

Newt: “No that’s your view”.

Anchor: “Those are facts”

Newt: in articulate mumbling and then “…but what I said is also a fact”

John Oliver “NO IT ISN”T! No it isn’t! It’s only a fact, that that’s a feeling people have”

After John Oliver makes some great points they go back to Newt.

Newt: “The current view is that liberals have a whole set of statistics that theoretically may be right, but it’s not where human beings are.”

The reporter argues that his accusation of liberals using these numbers is partisan, but she explains that the numbers come from the FBI, and that’s not a partisan source.

Newt: “But what I said is equally true, people feel more threatened…”

Anchor: “Yes they FEEL it…but the facts don’t support it”

Newt: “As a political candidate, I’ll go with how people feel and I’ll let you go with the theoreticians”.

The fact that a major politician feels his feelings = facts is a problem.

The fact that politicians feel that their role is to appeal to feelings and not facts is a problem.

The fact that politicians intensify and exploit those feelings and manipulate us because of them is a problem.

And while this CNN anchor (sorry I don’t my anchors that well as I avoid the major news channels like the plague) is doing a tremendous job pointing out the flaws in Newt’s arguments, the media frequently also appeals to our feelings and not facts as well.  This is also a problem.

Imagine politicians and media if you presented us with actual information, and actual facts, and we determined our own feelings.  But then we’d be more powerful and government would actually have to answer to the people.  And the poor media would be relegated to actually watching over both us, making sure we remained informed and making sure the people making the decisions remained honest.

Drug users and petty thieves fill our jails, but this crime against humanity continues unabated.

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24 thoughts on “Hooked on a Feeling

  1. We have the best politicians money can buy here in the good ‘ol USA!

    Now please pardon me while I choke on sarcasm and bullshit. 😛

    This post hits the nail right on the head, and it’s sad that it does. The election is getting worse and worse every four years.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. And once again, perception is reality. It isn’t what’s really real, it’s what people really think or feel that is reality for them. I guess I’m probably guilty, too, but I’ve tried really hard not to let my feelings taint my perception of reality.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you. 🙂 It is funny, but beyond John Oliver’s excellent wit, perhaps not so much. If politicians are only in the business of feelings and not facts, it’s probably not going to end well. But…keeping fighting the good fight as they say. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I don’t think that everyone wants facts and information. Considering the unprecedented access to news that we now have, anyone that is interested in facts and information can find it with minimal to reasonable effort. Your idea that if people were presented with better information they would make better decisions is, I think, too charitable.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I disagree…I think back when the media actually did their job people were better informed and politicians had more meaningful discourse. The problem as demonstrated by Newt is that we are now equating feelings with facts. The fact that Newt blatantly said that aloud is unusual. How is one even supposed to know what a fact is when they work under the assumption that well educated politicians and supposedly objective journalists are giving them information when instead they are playing to people’s feelings? What good is their research on the internet if they simply find articles that also confuse feelings with facts? People literally can no longer tell the difference. And this is intentional because you can’t manipulate people so easily with facts than you can with feelings.

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      1. Previously, (when we were kids) you were limited to your local news outlets: newspaper, television, radio. At the very least there would have been a considerable geographic bias. Now I can gets news from the BBC or Al Jazeera if I want. I concede that there was a golden age of news that has passed; however, that is offset by the availability of multiple reputable sources.

        I agree that politicians and media outlets attempt to manipulate people; however, I think that people are willfully ignorant. When Newt Gingrich says that facts don’t matter, feelings are what matter (even when those feelings contradict facts), if that has no effect on voters, then he’s right. The people supporting him and his party do not care about facts.

        My sense is that the percentage of people who are unable to tell the difference between fact and feeling and genuinely desire to be well informed is quite small. (I have no facts to support this claim.)

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Okay, but ask yourself why you are compelled to seek out these sources? You are right that few are willing to go to such effort, but what was it about your education, values from your mother, teachers etc that leads you to this attitude? Can this attitude be instilled in others, and how?

          If it can’t, and there is just a range of effort people are willing to put into it, it means that it is even more important for the average person who is not going to put in more effort to be at least getting quality information from the few sources they do rely on.

          Then we have the issue of the internet, which is as much a source of information as there is misinformation. What makes someone choose aljazeera over foxnews.com? I can guarantee that the average climate denier spends as much time on the internet researching as anybody else. It’s where he or she goes for their information that is questionable. If feelings = facts then you are going to be just as trusting, if not more trusting about an outraged opinion piece with cherry picked arguments, than you are about a body of peer-reviewed scientific articles.

          My view is largely rooted in education and knowledge about how the brain develops and changes as a result of inputs. When you expose people to things like fear and outrage constantly this stimulates the limbic system in the brain and over time it reduces brain activity in the higher reasoning functions of the brain. So the “willfully ignorant” are really not so as a function of choice, but what they’ve been taught to accept as information. When the media and leaders emphasize feelings over facts you get a society that begins to believe that to be the case. It’s a form of brainwashing and indoctrination. There is actually a lot of research on this and would be happy to share articles with you. So then you mix this in with educational inequality, and decreased funding to public education, and a curriculum that focuses on rote memorization and testing over critical thinking…all of a sudden you have a society…well… where Donald Trump can become president.

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          1. I believe you that brain function can be altered by stimulus, i.e. Fox News makes you dumber. But, presumably you made the choice to start watching it before it affected your brain. It seems to me that the desire for sensational news was already there and companies like Fox News were more than happy to fill it.

            That being said, I would fully support some mechanism to hold news outlets to be more accountable, but there’s nothing I can think of that wouldn’t also make the press less free.

            Liked by 2 people

            1. Did you make the choice to watch Fox News, or did you think that because it was called “News” that you might be informed. Or is it because you are living in an increasingly sensationalist society and thus are getting confused about the line between feeling and fact? If Fox News was called “Fox opinions about world events”, at least it would be honest, and you’d know what you were getting yourself into. News has a definition that the current major “news” networks don’t seem all that interested in adhering to. lol

              Liked by 1 person

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