We live in a society in which no-one says what they think, for fear of being wrong, of being unfair, of being unbalanced, of being offensive. Instead, to ensure that no injustice is carried out, everyone (public speakers included) parrots a full spectrum of opinions from others about every issue, to air “the entire argument, on all sides,” as it were.
This loyalty to fairness and balanced is misplaced. Hopefully we can all begin to see that the parroters are now parroting the parrots. Rather than an opinion on any issue, every man and every newsman is now happy to report that out there there seems to be no strong opinion. When no noble interest is willing to step forward to claim authority on any issue, what is left for public discourse is a poverty of choices—between trustworthy sources that have nothing concrete to say and untrustworthy sources that aggressively seek to establish their authority in areas in which their vested interests are their motivations for speaking in the first place.
From those that should be our leaders and our luminaries, however, there is nothing but the acknowledgment of competing viepoints any longer, a weakness repeated endlessly and then mutually reinforced in the gutless hall of mirrors that has become our news media. No “Good night, and good luck!” here—instead, the jury is always out, on every issue. Is terrorism on the increase, or is it on the decrease? Is gas getting more expensive, or is it getting less expensive? Are we winning the war in Iraq, or are we losing? Does gravity make things fall up, or does it make them fall down? We present opposing viewpoints at eleven.
It’s nonsense. Events are not fair, and they are not balanced. They can and must be contextualized, but that does not and must not obscure the fact that they happen.
Terrorism is on the increase. London, Madrid, Bali, IEDs in Iraq, “homegrown” cells with no affiliation to Al Qaeda turning up under every rock, Hamas elected in palestine and Iran and North Korea seeking a nuclear winter at incredible speed. However broadly or narrowly one defines “terror,” terrorism is on the increase since the election of George W. Bush.
Gas is getting more expensive in every way, not just monetarily. We must drill ever more broadly and risk ever greater levels of environmental harm (not just in Alaska, but in Saudi Arabia as well, who is very likely overproducing by a significant margin) in order to extract it. As billions of Chinese and Indians enter the automobile economy and seek to take ever increasing percentages for themselves of what had previously been an exclusively western European global petroleum marketplace, this state of affairs will only worsen. Gas is expensive because a planet that struggled to produce fuel for a hungry west must now cope not only with SUVs and Hummers but also with billions of Indians and Chinese who are ready for their turn at the drive-in.
We are losing the war in Iraq, as can be seen by nearly any rigorous metric one cares to apply. The previously developed, educated, secular nation formerly blessed with working social services, modern medical care, gas stations, and universities, has after years of sanctions and now years of long combat on top of that now become a beaten, overbombed danger zone doubling as a giant refugee crisis. Reliable and clean running water, education, social services, and basic security have been lost. So, in many cases, has hope, and they have Americans to thank for all of it. It is Iraqis that we are already fighting in Iraq, by and large, rendering any claims that we went there to “free them” as moot. We can be sure that someday some of them will want a pound of flesh in return (see earlier comments on Terrorism).
Finally, gravity makes things fall down. I know there are likely experts who say otherwise and will have very good arguments to support that assertion. I only hope that a few people at least are still clear enough in their own thinking to take a god damn glass outside and drop it on the pavement. Because if they rely on the news media or public opinion to tell them which direction things fall, they’ll never find out. After all, the jury is still out on that controversy, just like all the others.
Fair and balanced, kids. Fair and balanced.