Call us IdealisticSnark but the truth matters.
If the government isn’t telling us the truth then who can we trust? (Ironically of course, it’s the prevalence of distrust in the government that’s led to the political situation in America and the UK today – see this longread on statistics — warning, VERY longread — for insights.)
All that you have is your reputation.
Integrity is the currency of life. You know from your own experience that this is true in business and in personal affairs.
When you’re telling the MBA adcoms that “the network” is so important to you, well, the only way that there’s any merit to that claim — from their perspective — is if they can appreciate what you bring to the table. Someone who is only ever pursuing their own agenda with a disregard for silly things like facts is not someone you can count on as an advocate.
Just because someone is in a position of authority does not mean that everything they say is the truth. Just because they want you to believe something does not mean you should.
If you hear someone repeating something that you know to be untrue, say something. It doesn’t matter who that person is. You are entitled to say something.
You don’t have to start an argument. You can simply make a quiet assertion that you believe the truth is different from what’s been spoken.
Not so long ago, America was attacked on a bright September morning. In the aftermath of that event, a drumbeat to war began. At the time, based on the U.S. government’s assertions and what the media was propagating as the truth, many Americans were strongly in favor of going to war. We invaded another country (two, actually, though the first was perhaps more justified).
The premise for this invasion turned out to be faulty. It was a mistake. There was a momentary triumph as a dictator was run out, and then captured, and statues toppled. But then the real conflict began, and it never really ended. Lives were lost, many of them, on both sides and from countries all around the world. It was costly, on so many levels, and it continues to be as the reverberations of that action play out on the political stage and affect all of us.
America invaded another country on the basis of FALSE INFORMATION.
The majority of people believed that information to be true. Because the government said it was true.
Today, people are believing what they read on the Internet or what they hear from biased news reporting. The government is making statements that are categorically false, and that can be proven false in a heartbeat. Ridiculous claims about the size of crowds or totally unfounded assertions about voter fraud.
When the government pushed its false agenda in 2002 about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, millions of people believed it, and acted on it, and look what happened.
It may seem insignificant for an elected official to lie about how popular he is, but IT IS NOT.
If you hear someone say, “The President won the election by record numbers” or “More people came to the inauguration than they did in any previous year” then those statements are FALSE.
One of EssaySnark’s great regrets in life is that when we heard people talk in positive terms about their enthusiasm for going to war in 2002, that we said nothing.
It’s not like one ‘Snark speaking up would have changed the outcome. The momentum at the time was to war. However, it’s a moment that, looking back, we recognize that we committed a betrayal by staying silent. A self-betrayal.
Your voice matters.
You’re interested in changing your life. You want to improve your circumstances by getting an education. Based on these interests of yours, we have to assume that you are allies to facts. Intellectual integrity.
You don’t have to start a revolution. You don’t have to march on Washington. EssaySnark is not saying you need to have a particular set of political viewpoints. We try to keep politics out of the blahg. Heck, we’re not interested in becoming SJWs. But regardless of whether you consider yourself left-leaning and liberal or a conservative on the right, human decency and common respect means that we tell each other the truth. We should DEMAND this from our leaders.
What else can you do?
Read 1984 by George Orwell.
Doesn’t matter if you read it in high school. Read it again.
Or Animal Farm – a “National Day of Patriotic Devotion” sounds like it was lifted straight from those pages (if you have to choose one though, 1984 is probably better for the time).
Don’t watch the movie. Read the book.
It’s important to understand what propaganda is. We’re all influenced, all the time, but what goes on around us. Some forces out there are actively trying to make you think a certain way. Be independent in your thinking.
But don’t hide in the sand. Read the newspaper – yes, even the mainstream media has something to offer. The Guardian from the UK, or the Financial Times . A non-U.S. perspective can be especially helpful. Here in the U.S., you’ve got the LA Times , NY Times , Washington Post , Wall Street Journal . All of those papers employ journalists who do have ethics, who do try to be balanced in their reporting. Who value the truth. There are others too but those are a decent starting point – and yes, we know, most of them we’ve named are often accused of being liberal. Try to read from multiple viewpoints. (Tip: When you read an article on a news site, check to see if it’s listed as “editorial” or “opinion” – anything in those categories is going to be more subjective than a front-page article, which as a general rule should be reporting instead of pontificating on the issues. Consider the source. Don’t accept it as automatically true just because you read it in a newspaper – or on reddit.)
Being aware of what’s going on is important.
This stuff matters.