Sunday, September 11, 2022

Vote, Based On Objective Facts--Not Just On Favorite Personal Opinions


President Biden beat Trump in the 2020 in presidential election in which there was no fraud. And an election recount, requested and supervised by Republicans, found about 200 more votes for Biden and no fraud.

As of June 1, 2022:
90% of registered democrat voters Agree that Biden was legitimately elected.
Only 25% of republican registered voters Agree that Biden was legitimately elected.

OBJECTIVE FACTS and PERSONAL OPINIONS are very different things. Good thinking skills require that we understand the differences. Then we can better know what’s real and what’s not. And then we have an adequate basis for making decisions and taking effective action—whether in daily life or in voting.
Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan earned great respect in the U.S. Congress during his 24 years of service. He made an often quoted comment: “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts.” 
Paul Krugman, Nobel prize winner, political blogger, and author of the book, Arguing With Zombies, followed up that Moynihan quote by writing about our polarized America and our relative ineffectiveness in government.
Krugman wrote that in America “[A] lot of people do believe they’re entitled to their own facts” (Krugman, 2021). According to Krugman, pundits and politically inspired “experts” are making up their own numbers to sell false ideas even about serious economic issues! 
I’ve already blogged about the lying and cheating which routinely occurs in politics. So today I’m just going to teach something very basic but crucially important: the differences between objective facts and personal opinions.
  • BY THE WAY. . . Is it legal in America to vote for a candidate who mostly lies and grossly distorts actual realities? Absolutely legal. But when a politician confidently says he is telling the truth, how do you know he’s not lying?
As voters we cannot afford to be naïve [Naïve means: uninformed, easily lied to and robbed of our common sense.]

1. Learning the definition of objective facts and how they differ from personal opinions.
2. Knowing what you want the Federal government to do for you as a citizen. These are our “issues” that we want government to help us with. Examples of issues are: jobs with higher pay, women’s freedom of reproductive choice, keeping Medicare and Social Security, or even ending Medicare and Social Security as some conservatives propose. 
3. Learning lots more about how government works. Anything you learned about government in high school is now out of date, and it was too elementary to begin with. 
4. On important issues in our personal lives we will make the best decisions by seeking positive and negative personal opinions on such things as: what car to buy, what stores to shop in and what products to use. We might read Consumer Reports magazine and read their objective facts about products they tested in their labs. 
Read here about what is an OBJECTIVE FACT
It is an event or a thing that really exists or happened, not just in the mind. It is out there in the world. It is separate and independent from the mind.
For example: You are checking out at a store and the clerk tells you your 50-dollar bill tests out as counterfeit as shown by the red color from the testing pen he swiped on it. You and the clerk saw it happen. It wasn’t just the clerk’s opinion; you also saw the test result color on the money. 
Or another example: An ultrasound showing the sex of a 20 week old baby in the womb, is an objective fact. It’s not a mother “feeling it’s a boy.” It’s not a parent of three boys saying he/she believes, “This one’s going to be a girl.” But it is a physical photograph which when viewed stimulates many strong feelings in the brain.
Test results are good and objective evidence. We could even get our own copy of the results! 
State and Federal courts seek the objective facts. If there are no objective facts to prove guilt, the case gets dismissed. Objectivity is highly important and any false testimony is a big deal--the false witness can get into serious trouble.

Google and Facebook prohibit users from posting dangerous falsehoods that promote violence. Politicians promoting violence with falsehoods, get kicked off. Trump’s so called “Truth Social” is no longer available on Google Play.

Read here about how to separate PERSONAL OPINION from objective fact.
We all have personal opinions about what we like or don’t like. Or, about what we experienced or believe. Nothing wrong with this. Our feelings and opinions exist in our mind. They might even exist in a diary or journal; so they exist as history of what was in our mind. But just because something is written in history, does not mean it’s an objective fact. It could be a piece of propaganda, for example. 
Here’s an example of a boy’s personal opinion that he brushed his teeth, but really didn’t:
A eleven year old boy replies to his mother’s question, “Did you brush your teeth?” with, “Yes Mom I did!” The boy gave his subjective opinion, which he felt right in doing because he doesn’t like brushing his teeth and doesn’t accept that hygiene is all that important.
  • He didn’t brush his teeth and tried to get away with it.
  • Mom will want to confirm the truth of her son’s statement. Truthfulness training is ultimately highly important in child rearing. So she tells him to breathe out so she can smell his breath and then checks to see if his toothbrush is wet. Busted! This mom is thorough and she discourages lying by regularly checking her child’s honesty. Eventually she’ll be able to trust him. He will learn that lying doesn’t get him anywhere good.
In our daily lives, much of what we say and claim to have done is out of sight. So, lying and getting away with something is an easy option for people to give in to. But they won’t feel comfortable when the get found out. 
Those whose minds are contaminated with conspiracy theories still feel they have the truth. Unfortunately, their feeling that feels so right is only in their mind--but it's not anything in objective reality. Feelings are not objective facts, such as who won or lost an election. An election is an observable fact, independent of what a person feels about it. It is a fact that Biden lives in the Whitehouse. 
It is objective fact that dozens and dozens of courts have dismissed Trump's election lawsuits. 
My opinion is that 95% of republican congressmen and women always knew Biden won and Trump lost. But they selfishly would never admit the truth because Trump's Big Lie served their self interest. Republican voters were deceived by their very own representatives! The Republican Party has been deceiving their loyal voters for the last eight months. 
Trump's own Attorney General, Bill Barr, called Trump's election fraud claims "Bullshit." And Mitch McConnell, the most powerful republican senator, publicly and simply stated Biden won and would be the next president. Barr and McConnell are both conservative Republicans!

Psychologists have been studying thinking skills and thinking failures for many decades. The research shows that most adults believe they are good thinkers--but usually they aren’t. People believe they can be logical but when their skills are tested they mostly operate on feeling and vague impressions. The research shows that when average people are given more information to help them make a good logical decision, they actually make more logical errors (Bennett, 2004). 
From the simple examples above, it may seem that separating objective facts from personal opinions is pretty obvious. But the abstract concept is what’s important. To use the concept one must stop, think about what they’re seeing, hearing or reading; compare multiple versions; and draw conclusions. Lawyers and police get trained in this but not most people. One must be on guard for falsehoods and confusions; must mentally penetrate the incoming facts and opinions; and do some interrogating to discover the objective facts. That’s more work than fun; but once we have this skill we will find it precious indeed-- because we are less vulnerable to someone trying to cheat us. 
Wise mothers are routinely lovingly skeptical of what their kids say. They ask the right questions and check for evidence!
In American politics today, there is plenty of good information on the internet by which to know the objective facts of situations. But in today's internet world the actual facts are obscured by thousands of "alternative facts," outright lies, and distortions from self-interest.


            For references, see the relevant page on the website.

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