Recently, yet another debate popped up on the death penalty and all the regular suspects showed up. I expected it, which is why I stayed out of it for a long time, because I knew where it would invariably head. Of course, I as right, it was emotional response after emotional response after emotional response, people talking about their feelings and their wants and their desires and never taking a step back to evaluate the evidence on it’s own merits or to engage in intellectual arguments.
Now I don’t want to do a post on the death penalty, I’ve done that before, this is just one more place where people just can’t be rational. It could have happened in any number of threads on any number of topics. I started pointing out to people that they were acting in a wholly emotional, wholly un-intellectual manner and they just didn’t get it. At all. All they could talk about is how unhappy things made them, how uncomfortable things made them, how much they didn’t like things, but almost never about how they had looked at the data, examined the evidence, worked through the process and made a determination based on a purely dispassionate, unemotional, rational basis.
That just doesn’t happen and that’s a problem. I think it’s a huge issue in the modern world, where people rarely have to think outside of their own personal box. It’s all about them. It’s all about how it makes them feel. It’s all about how it affects them personally. If it gets outside their comfortable little bubble, it’s got to be horrible because their feelings are all that matter.
Yet that’s not really how things work in the real world. Sometimes, there are decisions that need to be made that aren’t going to make you happy. There are things that might have to be done that are uncomfortable. There are times when there are no good options and you have to pick the least bad option, or you have to make sacrifices for the good of all. I don’t think these people are at all intellectually qualified to deal with those kinds of decisions because they require clear, rational, intellectual thought processes and I don’t think these people are capable.
It’s really no different than what we see out of theist. All they care about is being happy about their beliefs in an imaginary father-figure in the sky. Whether it’s actually true or not is irrelevant, it’s all about feeling good. The same is true of the feminists and race-baiters. It’s all about emotional comfort, not at all about intelligence, reason or critical thinking.
So why do people have such a problem with this? I think in general, it’s because our liberalized educational system doesn’t teach people how to think or how to reason, it just shoves ideas down their uncritical gullets and expects them to regurgitate it on command. Most of the time, at least until you get to college, nobody is worried about how you come to conclusions, only that you come to the right conclusions and can fill in the right bubble on the test form. That’s not really a good way to do things in my opinion. Young children have an amazing capacity to soak up knowledge and what they learn is usually learned for life. The most important thing we can teach any young child is the ability to think rationally and critically and to evaluate evidence intellectually. Yes, I’m aware that the religious and other groups that seek to indoctrinate children will oppose this vigorously, it is a dangerous thing if the funnel they’re using to fill up a child’s brain with nonsense comes with a bullshit-filter, but that’s really what we need to install on every young mind. It keeps religion to a minimum, it keeps indefensible political nonsense at low levels and it makes them more likely to grow up into intelligent, rational and useful members of society. That’s exactly why it will never be done because there are too many powerful groups that benefit from keeping people stupid and those people in a position to make a difference are already too stupidified by the process to want to change the process for the better.
Still, for those few of us out there who can think and can separate our wishes and desires from our rational evaluation of the world, we’re left shaking our heads as the planet slips farther into chaos and the number of people who can think intelligently become fewer and fewer. America has become dumbed down, almost to the point of no return. After we pass it, what do we do then? Turn on more reality TV?