The Power of Ideology over Empirical Information

Jonathan M. Gitlin of Ars Technica posted an article today explaining the fundamental reality of the modern information landscape. Ideology, Gitlin asserts, consistently trumps empirical facts as the form of information accepted by the general public. I feel it is important to note that the term “general public” unfortunately includes both working class and intellectuals alike. (For a link to the entire study, click here.)
So what is the implication? Why does it matter that more individuals will openly accept ideology over empirical information as the matter from which they will inform their decisions? What if politically charged ideologues are the moderators of public opinion? Why should individuals take the time and effort to become informed and check the validity of the claims themselves? Why question authority? Why questions misinformation, misdirection and ideology? And what does such studies say regarding the apathy of the public?
I am frustrated because of the hubris that in embedded in the subconscious of the entire North American population. We claim the rights (and I use the term “rights” lightly, because they are neither guaranteed nor inherent) of “freedom”, “democracy” and “justice” and then piss these glittering principles away due to our grandiose orgy of personal indulgence. We see this in the political arena. We witness it in religious intolerance. We feel the stank of apathy penetrate our conversations, movements and families. We are so surrounded by this apathy we no longer recognize it for what it is, and allow other aware individuals to decide for us. Enough is enough.

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~ by maffersalmon on September 25, 2008.

One Response to “The Power of Ideology over Empirical Information”

  1. This is an interesting topic. I saw a discussion, on a TV show that I won’t name for fear of you immediately dismissing its value, about whether or not there should be a proficiency test for voting eligibility. Is voting a no-strings-attached right? Should it be? Some are of the opinion that religious perspectives should have no influence in one’s voting decisions, where others disagree. Some feel that someone who can’t take care of their own finances should be eliminated from the process of deciding who controls the nation’s finances, while others disagree. Some would say that someone who doesn’t keep apprised of political issues should be excluded from choosing the leaders of the political system, and others would disagree.

    It’s a very interesting topic.

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