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Your Lyin' Eyes ...

Your Lyin’ Eyes…

By Dennis Loo (7/23/18)

This is Part 2 of an ongoing series.

What both the Republicans and Democrats having been doing over the last almost forty years is trying to have spin win out over empirical fact: “are you going to believe your lyin’ eyes, or what I am telling you?” They do so as an inevitable consequence of the nature of neoliberal policies, since both of them are advancing that, where what they are doing is contrary to the interests of the vast majority so they must undermine the truth of what they are doing. The Democrats, since part of their social base is steeped longer and more thoroughly in science, must say somethings that Republicans would never do. For example, Obama claimed he would close Gitmo and he made speeches about that, including falsely blaming Congress for his failure to close Gitmo. But he never needed Congress’ approval to close Gitmo! He could have done it himself over any Congressional objections. By comparison, Congress subpoenaed the White House to tell it why they were killing thousands with drones, and Obama simply refused to explain himself and continued using drones anyway.

What neither side wants is for you to deduce from what they are doing, what is the truth. And so they want you NOT to use inference – where you are not told something directly, but conclude so based on everything else. This is how, by the way, we are finding so many solar systems that could support life now: by noticing that if a planet revolves around its sun, there must be a very slight diminution of that sun’s light and energy at regular intervals.

One way that this shows up in this generation of college students (not all of them, just most of them) is a tendency to need reassurance that what it says is black and white (e.g., the syllabus) it really says. For example, a few years ago I had a student email me and ask if the final exam was on the date and time that I had said it was in the syllabus. At first, I ignored the email and didn’t answer. So a few days later the student writes me again to say, “hey, you didn’t answer my question…:” So I wrote back finally and said “What makes you think I would hold the final on some other date?” I wanted to say (but didn’t) that “I just chose that date for the hell of it and I intend to keep when I am giving the final exam secret.”

I have further never had such a bifurcated class as I did last quarter. You either followed my advice on how to study and took me seriously and did well, or you didn’t take me seriously and did really poorly. They were very few people in between and this was a class of 174.

So you have this phenomenon where the president lies about almost everything, and he claims that “3 million” of his votes were lost to his opponent by fraud and by “illegals” and you have some of his believers buying it and repeating it. That the claim is absurd on its face never occurs to some gullible people.

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Elaine Brower 2

Elaine Brower of World Can't Wait speaking at the NYC Stop the War on Iran rally 2/4/12