Imagine a world in which Americans weren’t remotely as susceptible to media manipulation as they currently are. Let’s call it “America 2.” In such a world, Americans would be more disposed to “think for themselves,” as we say, to think just a bit critically about the images and sound bites to which they are bombarded daily.
The measured skepticism with which they would treat the media, especially its coverage of politics, would cultivate within them intellectual and moral virtues that, in reality, are sorely lacking among a good portion of the electorate. In this possible world, Americans would be far more fortified against intellectual dishonesty and hypocrisy than are their counterparts in the real world.
For example, self-identified Republicans would know that when they loudly and passionately affirm “limited government” and “individual responsibility,” it is because they and those who aspire to represent them are genuinely committed to such goods. Safeguarding liberty would be their top priority. Our America, however, is far more confused place.
Let us take Newt Gingrich, to begin with. According to some national polls, Gingrich is in the front-tier of GOP presidential candidates. In other words, today, in 2011, in the Age of Obama and the Tea Party movement — just that time when the Republican Party is supposedly amending its ways by returning to its “conservative” principles — long time establishment Republican Newt Gingrich is regarded as a viable presidential candidate by the base of his party.
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Jack Kerwick, Ph.D. (photo)