Once upon a time, I am told that the letters-to-the-editor, opinion pages, and comments pages actually did have an impact on public discourse. If such a time existed, of course, it is long past.
Recently reading a local daily newspaper’s comment section (where people can share their ‘two cents’ worth’), I was struck by not just how people behaved, but how lies and vicious accusations have replaced civil discourse and any attempts to seek and expound on truth.
It was reminiscent of how modern religious organizations expect that preaching to the congregation (rather than reaching out to those outside the group) accomplishes anything but reaffirmation of the core constituency.
Yes, I realize that all too often, even The Price of Liberty commentary falls into this situation: the most loyal readers are those already convinced of the value of liberty and know the price that must be paid for it. Too few who are seeking to learn about freedom find and read the commentary.
We do strive, here at TPOL, to at least be accurate in reporting and commenting on events, both historical and current. Too many people who still post comments or write letters-to-the-editor seem to find such ethical considerations beneath them. Or at least to be ignored when they are beating up on their political enemies.
A fresh claim that the Uvalde killer was able to buy his guns without background checks is the latest of such lies written (and accepted) by a media outlet. Though debunked within hours, even by the usual politically-correct “fact-checkers), the lie was still posted and left unchallenged. Of course the same edition that let that bald-faced lie be published also had a couple of thousand words in an article (presented as news – that is fact, not opinion) extolling the success of the California (and other States’) red flag warnings. An article clearly intended to sway the opinions in the publication’s local market – two very “red” States.
I suppose that there may be a very small portion of the populace (and the electorate) who could be swung one way or another by such screeds: perhaps 3-5%? But for the remaining 95-98%? Little or no chance of changing their views on guns and the right to keep and bear arms. (Well, of course, at least a third of that number: the other two-thirds apparently are unable to form an opinion or have any concern about virtually all political and social issues. Or so we are told.)
So why write such things? First, it is a release of pressure to DO something – giving in to the natural human impulse to stand up and scream about something you care about. Second, we all have the fond hope that something we say or write WILL change the opinion, and the lives, of people who are intellectually honest and willing to at least listen to reason. The third, less noble reason? We were taught since childhood that it is an obligation to stand up and speak out, and that it does make a difference.
But there is also a fourth reason, even less admirable. It is because too many of us are unwilling to reach out and engage personally and in earnest with our political adversaries. Too lazy, perhaps.
Think about these things!