Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Of Image Macros and Naive Progressives

The internet is often heralded as the dawn of a true age of freedom and the promises of this age are shouted from the hilltops as the best gospel heard since Buddha. We are told that this age shall be called the information age and that it will result in Enlightenment 2.0. The widespread propagation of information will allow us to reach previously unknown levels of understanding and will allow us to all hold hands, solve the world's problems and do it while all singing Kumbaya!

Of course, none of this fruit from the internet has come to be harvested yet but we're told smart phones or some other smart shit will be the final ingredient needed for a hard take off towards the information rapture.

The irrelevance of the above image macro highlights the irrelevance of most image macros that support naive progressives in their sharing of statistics to further the progressive agenda. Alarming statistics about a progressive's favourite republican (or conservative or evangelical) combined with an alarming photo motivates progressives to share these image macros in an attempt to try to enlighten people. Validity of the statistics and the risk of spreading misinformation is never considered. 

"Oh look! A statistic saying that Stephen Harper will destroy all the forests by 2015 if he isn't stopped! I best  share this to enlighten others about this potential threat! Sharing this picture makes me more aware and it also makes me a good person! Of course I have no idea about the validity of these statistics but they support my world-view so I best share anyway!"

That's the thing. They have no idea if this is true or not. They didn't think that perhaps they should investigate the statistics to learn about the assumptions, controls and studies the statistics were stripped from. They simply accept the statistics as gospel because it fits their world-view  All matters to these progressives is that we are progressing morally towards a vaguely undefined goal and all those who oppose their vague goals are enemies of progress.

We are not becoming more aware. The internet is a vast landscape of information so complex that it is impossible for you to verify it all. Without training in the related areas you must take what you read as gospel and just accept it as true. You don't question what you can't understand and not only that the information establishment deems you a heretic if you question what you can't understand. Ask questions about evolution... you must be a creationist! Ask questions about global warming... you must be a denier! Ask questions about the holocaust... anti-semitist! Criticism of a paper on the above topics? Burn them at the stake!

The establishment ensures you that not only are you left in the dark but that you now feel proud about being left in the dark. You are a proud progressive... bashing bible thumping hicks who have little influence... ranting about rights for all animals without considering what those rights would entail and raving about the magic of multiculturalism while cities are divided into ethnic ghettos. The information age allows you to re-affirm those beliefs with the click of a button whilst a stream of reinforcing images marches down your screen.

The information floods in and short circuits the receivers. We can't know what it all means... but we best accept it. The clicking of the masses drowns out all discourse as the web site traffic counters rev their engines. Share the news the information age has come... make sure you blog, tweet or text it. Information is enlightenment. Questioning this truth is heresy. I best log into Facebook.

Disclaimer: Anything political in the above section has nothing to do with my political or scientific views. The examples are to prove a point. If you have a knee jerk reaction to this reread what I said and consider that you may be proving my point.