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Bubble Politics

By Ad astra

As we emerge from four years of disastrous Trump politics, fervently hoping for a modicum of normality in US politics, we find ourselves confronted with a growing phenomenon: the desire of many to live in a bubble of their own choice.

We saw this coming as the likes of Fox News in the US fostered a cult of Trump followers, feeding them with a consistent diet of what they wanted to hear. They lapped it up and came back for more. Trump was their idol, a reliable source of intelligence. They needed no more. Rather than seeking uncontaminated truth, they sought only re-affirmation of their pre-existing views, their ‘truth’. Fox gave it to them in spades.

Herein lies an impending disaster. If individuals and groups choose to insulate themselves from what they don’t want to hear or know, what happens to our inherent sense of curiosity, to humankind’s constant search for truth, for knowledge, for understanding, for advancement? It atrophies and dies. The death of curiosity would herald the death of science.

Yet we know that is what is happening. So many do not want to wrestle with new concepts, new revelations, new facts. As Robert Kuhn so persuasively argues in his seminal book; The Nature of Scientific Revolutions, the inclination of humans is to cling tenaciously to what they already believe, to ignore conflicting evidence no matter how sound. The classic example is phlogiston theory that asserted that substances that burned in air were rich in a substance named phlogiston; the fact that combustion soon ceased in an enclosed space was taken as clear-cut evidence that air had the capacity to absorb only a finite amount of phlogiston. The logical conclusion was that when air had become completely devoid of phlogiston, it would no longer be able to support combustion.

Despite steadily increasing evidence that the phlogiston theory was no longer tenable, believers adhered to it tenaciously, twisting and turning to find supporting evidence, even though there was none. The complexity of their arguments was astounding, but as ingenious as were their attempts to avoid having to concede that their theory was untenable, they eventually had to admit that they were wrong, As a radical change of belief became unavoidable, they experienced a profound yet sudden epistemological change that Kuhn labelled ‘a paradigm shift’, a term now in common use.

It was only when Lavoisier developed his theory that combustion was a reaction between the burning substance and oxygen, that the phlogiston theory eventually died from inanition.

Even while this piece was being written, we saw Sean Hannity of Fox News bad-mouthing newly-installed US President Joe Biden with these words: “Biden’s speech was ‘forgettable’ and akin to that of a high school president’s acceptance speech “from a guy who was desperately craving a nap.” He went on to dismiss Biden’s calls for unity as “hollow” and “total and complete BS” and said he spouted “worn-out, liberal socialist cliches.” But that was not what really ticked off supporters of the new president. It was when Hannity called him “the weak, the frail, the cognitively struggling Biden” that even his sycophantic audience called him out. The major news networks raced to distance themselves from him, appropriately leaving him looking isolated and stupid.

Hannity lives in his own bubble, where he feels comfortable. Let’s leave him there to stew in his own juice.

It is a sad reality that more and more people are choosing a bubble in which to live where they are never confronted with facts that they simply don’t want ever to know about. They are content to wallow contentedly in a thick sickly soup derived from their preferred ingredients, lapping up their chosen diet of ‘facts’, no matter how implausible.

This is the world in 2021!

This article was originally published on The Political Sword

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4 comments

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  1. Phil Pryor

    A pile of congealed shit named Hannity, (who? ) leading to vanity, inanity, profanity, insanity. Merde Dog leads to Dog Shit. Why do superficially human adults sink to subinfantile regression and SUBMIT to SHIT. It is clearly irrational, unscientific, ludicrous, illogical, uncivilised, but.., so effing USA. Murdoch the promoting source is a fingerer of fraud, a fact F—–r, a filthy fantasist egomaniac.

  2. Matters Not

    Re:

    a growing phenomenon: the desire of many to live in a bubble of their own choice.

    Indeed – but hasn’t that always been the case? Isn’t that what racism, for example, is all about? Doesn’t the concept of ethnocentrism provide some (cautionary) insights here? Don’t we all hear what we want to hear and disregard the rest? Or is it the case that our bubble is the one true bubble and therefore all other bubbles must just be bubbles (in the pejorative sense?)

    Let’s not forget that in the US nearly 75 million citizens voted for Trump and many (if not most) did so with obvious passion. Seems to me they (the US voters) constructed a reality greatly at odds with mine. And while I might argue that their construction is wrong, delusional etc what objective ruler can I bring to bear that makes me right and them wrong? (And I’m not talking about specific facts here but the whole world view).

    And a glance at Kuhn, Popper, Lakatos and Feyerabend et al demonstrates the problem of not entertaining doubt. That certainty is a ridiculous state of mind.

  3. Jon chesterson

    Doubt creates the opportunity for us to adjust our sights and adapt. But we should not doubt simply because a large number of people have a different perspective from ourselves, especially if doubt is something others simply don’t experience or deny. Without doubt there is absence of reason and that leads to deafness, prejudice and arrogance. Numbers do not make something just or right and should not alone persuade us or cause us to question our doubt.

    75 million people who refuse to doubt the lies and examine the truth in no way persuade me or make me question my doubt, nor should it. My doubt is not unshakeable, but rests in the knowing just how so many people can follow an ideal that is clearly wrong again and again. My doubt is in the folly of such recklessness and stupidity, prejudice and arrogance, absence of reason, which not only results in total disregard for others but in people who are willing to threaten, slander, maim and kill, give in to hate or merely turn a blind eye.

    75 million got it wrong and it wasn’t the first time. Of this I have no doubt. If we lose doubt we also loose faith and hope, we become shadows in a foreign world, a world without love or the courage to create a better one.

    Fox News there, Sky News here, Murdoch and News Corp everywhere and not a shred of doubt, truth, hope or reason in them anywhere. Let’s no waste the doubt on them.

  4. wam

    the church and adherents brook no challenge to their beliefs, israel brooks no challenge to its beliefs, as does iran. There is no difference between truth and beliefs. Truths like “four years of disastrous Trump politics” from people like you, MN and lord are lies to half of the USA and Australia put scummo at 64%. If we are prevented from discussing beliefs and pricking bubbles there can be no affect on truth?

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