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Pushing Back

...against the pessimism. I think that Stephen Gordon is right in comments. People are optimistic in their own lives, and think that the world is going to hell in a handbasket, because they watch and read too much news.


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Bob Hawkins wrote:

You know that psychology experiment where the subject has to decide if Line A is longer than Line B, and he's surrounded by actors who pretend to think the shorter line is the longer one? And most subjects go with the crowd rather than their own lying eyes?

The news media is like that experiment on a massive scale.

Robin Goodfellow wrote:

The great thing about the news media is that rare and distant events can be broadcast to everyone's homes and give everyone such a close familiarity with them that they almost seems commonplace and local. The results of this are often unpleasant.

Jay Manifold wrote:

Gotta agree with Anonymous about the irony alert. The fashionable, eco-apocalyptic sort of pessimism often disarms its adherents against actual existential threats. Dictators and terrorists are orders of magnitude worse than climate change, but watch what happens if you interject, say, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad or the Saudi royal family into a discussion about how we're going to hell in a handbasket.

Steve wrote:

it goes deeper than that I think.

The MSM is aware of that tendency of the average person to be swayed and in their zeal, (evil intents) they play on that. They know that reporting the 10 things that are bad, 1000 different weasel worded ways, is much more powerful than telling them just 10 times, straight and factually.

They manipulate every story and tell it repeatedly, true or not. Here's an example, it's 2008, GWB is about to leave office, (both true) I heard twice this morning about the Electoral College vs the popular vote and how John McCain might try to STEAL THE 2008 ELECTION JUST LIKE BUSH DID IN 2000.

The seed of McCains future misdeeds are now planted in the fertilizer of lies from 2000. I say fertilizer because someone under 18 might tune in.

If it's an ongoing story, like Iraq and the insurgents, first they tell us we can never win. When things started working better with troop increases and we might win, well then we needed benchmarks, then when the problem is going away and is totally exceeded over their initial bad news / negative opinions, they simply find another drum to beat.

Gasoline prices are in the "news" this summer. Iraq is out completely out now, unless some nut with a vest bomb kills 50 innocent people. Which according to the MSM is somehow my fault as an American fat cat, user of the worlds resources. I'm to blame for those 50 new deaths because I had the misfortune and, or, bad taste to be born in Kentucky and not in France or Spain.

What they fail to tell is the background on how we got here war wise and oil and refining wise.

They fail to tell the truth about how Carter allowed radicals free reign in Iran instead of stomping them into a mud hole, after they took hundreds of Americans hostage. Which BTW further emboldened and allowed the spread of radical Islam.

They fail to tell how Clinton allowed bin Laden to get away, allowed our embassies and our ships to be bombed by his Al Queda followers. Somehow that falls on me too. 9/11 didn't happen on Clinton's watch, but we can follow the hijacker's steps to way before January of 2001, when Slick Willy left office. But those young men of the Religion of Peace were only fighting back, and killing 3000 innocent people in NYC and PA and D.C., all because I suck as a totally selfish citizen of the world!

(PHHHT on that)

We hear of every death of every American service member in the unjust war for oil in Iraq. To this very minute it is near impossible to find news reports detailing how many Americans have died at any time while tied to U.N. Peace Keeping forces anywhere in the world. Because the MSM loves the U.N.

On the home front, we're currently starved for domestic oil and domestic oil refining capacity which is WHY gasoline is $4.00 a gallon and going up. But no one says it's because liberal Democrats side with polar bears and bunnies and against human beings. Hey, I think the little polar bears and bunnies are cute too. But not cuter than my grandchildren. Those little kids are the ones with less future everyday because our elected officials in the majority are more concerned with the furry animals than they are in protecting Americans. They concern themselves more with what Europeans will think of us if we have gasoline for $1.00 per gallon, than they do in protecting Americans.

Screw the Europeans. Especially any who get to vote freely in the EU today, because of American efforts running from 1939 with Lend Lease and continuing until well after the Berlin Wall came down. See if we help them displace the Islamofascists the way we helped dislodge the Fascists.

Yeah I know, the usual voices will say,

"You gave a total pass to GWB and the Republicans Steve!!"

I did, but they don't get the amount of support from the MSM that the liberals get. Or better still, this is MY commentary and following the liberal MSM's best example, I can tell it the way I think covers my side best.

True or not.

Jonathan wrote:

People tend to focus on the wrong risks, and to overemphasize the risks of improbable-yet-dramatic events. Some very smart people adopt an almost ideological pessimism that cripples them by displacing creative thought and productive activity.

Modern life in wealthy countries is fantastically good by prior standards, and it's getting better. But many people allow media alarmism to shape their worldviews. Many people use the Internet to find other worrywarts, who reinforce rather than challenge their fears.

People's fears about the environment are a classic example of worrying about the wrong things. Risks that are under human control but that everyone still worries about usually don't become major problems. Fears about Islamist WMD are more reasonable, in large part because (so far, anyway), not many people worry about them. I don't know where asteroid impacts fall on the scale of unreasonable-to-reasonable concerns.

Carl Pham wrote:

You also have to factor in the defining of "pessimism" down. People aren't really pessimistic about the future, because when they are, they act differently in their private lives. My grandmother was always pessimistic about the future, because she came of age in the Depression and was raising my father during the Second World War. She acted pessmistic: cautious, scrimped and saved a lot, worked like a dog so she was never in danger of losing her job, distrusted grand plans to Fix Things, et cetera.

Folks blowing wads of cash on Priuses, who take time off from work to comunity organize or volunteer for the Obamessiah, who go to college and then graduate school and then a cycling tour of Europe and Asia ("to really learn something about other cultures"), taking on mountains of debt and postponing the first real job until their 30s, are not pessimistic. On the contrary, they are optimistic, often wildly so, and it's their optimism that fuels their concern for far-off (climate change) and far-away (Darfur) issues. This kind of "pessimism" is a luxury in which people who have nothing in their personal lives to be really worried about indulge. Kind of like the kind of "pessimism" about financial security and social status that wealthy people in gated communities have.

Josh Reiter wrote:

People tend to view things in terms of causes and effects. Naturally good effects are interrupted as being accomplished by their own just causes. While negative effects are pinned on things that are foreign or unfamiliar to them. This displays a mind that fails to truly open itself up examine the true nature of possible outcomes. Some of it is nationality, pride, hubris, laziness, and prejudice. Its easier to just rely upon what has been pre-programmed into you then to go out and learn about something on your own and comprehend a subject in a well rounded manner.

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This page contains a single entry by Rand Simberg published on June 20, 2008 8:33 AM.

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