Tuesday, April 04, 2006

"Just the Facts, Ma'am."

Joe Friday (showing my age here) only wanted the facts. No embellishments, no story, just the bare facts. We could use that example these days as we see that facts are often the first bits of information to get thrown out in favor of preconceived notions. Thomas Sowell hits squarely on this phenomenon that envelopes politicians, the media and academia alike. Now many of us, in the blogosphere, have discussed this concept many times and in depth, but Thomas Sowell knows how to say it better than i am able!
"People who have made up their minds and don't want to be confused by the facts are a danger to the whole society. Since the votes of such people count just as much as the votes of people who know what they are talking about, politicians have every incentive to pass laws and create policies that pander to ignorant notions, if those notions are widespread.

Even institutions that are set up to pass on facts -- the media, schools, academia -- too often treat facts as expendable and use their strategic positions to filter out facts which go against their own preconceptions."
Having two teenagers, one of whom is close to going to college, I am especially concerned about the teachers and professors, especially on a college level, who seem to "teach" more opinion than fact. I know it happened, to a certain extent, when I was in school but it seems so much more widespread today.
"Those who are in the business of teaching the young, whether in the public schools or on college campuses, too often see this not as a responsibility to pass on what is known but as an opportunity to indoctrinate students with their own beliefs. Many "educators" and the gurus who indoctrinated them actively disparage "mere facts," which they say you can get from an almanac or encyclopedia.

The net result is a student population that does not even know enough to know what needs to be looked up, much less how to analyze facts, so as to test opposing beliefs -- as distinguished from how to gather information to support a preconceived notion that happens to be fashionable in the schools and colleges.

Yet people are considered to be "educated" after they have spent so many years in ivy-covered buildings, absorbing the preconceptions that prevail there."
Thomas Sowell brings up a topic that, if discussed by a white person, would have shouts of 'racism' echoing across the country. For the most part, though, they simply ignore Sowell as an eccentric and once again they ignore the facts that he puts forth.
"Facts that go against preconceived notions are likely to be ignored, even by many scholars. For example, slavery is an issue that is widely discussed as if it were something peculiar to Africans enslaved by Europeans, instead of something suffered and inflicted around the world by people of every race, color, and religion.

Two books about more European slaves brought to North Africa than there were African slaves brought to America have been published in recent years. They are "Christian Slaves, Muslim Masters" by Robert Davis and "White Gold" by Giles Milton. Both books have been largely ignored by the media and academia alike -- and the first went out of print, less than 6 months after being published.

Apparently scholars, as well as journalists, have made up their minds and don't want to be confused by the facts."
Having only ever learned about how evil our American ancestors were, I am curious to learn more about the actual facts on slavery. I am aware of the enslavement of the American Indians but, to many people, that doesn't really count because, well, we wanted their land. But, that's a whole other post!

My point, check your facts. Don't let people overwhelm you with their opinions. And even though there are so many people who will ignore the facts, put them out there anyway. We need to take back the truth and shout it out until others will finally open their ears and listen!

Tags: truth, facts, academia, opinion

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