[THE THINGS WE NEED NOW]
…..We desperately need a citizenship equipped with critical thinking skills.
By this I mean the capacity to evaluate and factcheck information and sources, and to analyze them to decide what makes sense and who and what can be trusted.
Over and over, I run into statements from people who don’t understand that the conclusion they’re brandishing can’t be reached from the data they’ve glommed on to or that their information is itself corrupt or simply wrong.
I dream of a curriculum emphasizing research skills, analytical skills, practice in exercising judgment and using language with accuracy.
These things are vital for a functioning democracy and a society inoculated against conspiracy theories, hucksters and delusions.
The current pandemic has shown us how dangerous is this capacity to believe things that don’t make sense, but are ideologically convenient…
The most obvious corrective to lies are the facts that people can see with their own eyes.
Few people still insist Covid is a hoax when they or a loved one are in intensive care.
But the next best thing is verifiable information about your immediate community.
It’s no accident that the rise of conspiracy thinking and post-truth has coincided with the decline of local news……
Into that vacuum have rushed unverifiable, often abstract assertions about the state of the country or the world, spread by social media.
With no full account of the reality around you to check against, those assertions can take root.