September 1, 2012

Annals of Childish Behavior™ (continued)

Democratic government "implies tools for getting at truth in detail, and day by day, as we go along….Without such possession, it is only the courage of the fool that would undertake the venture to which democracy has committed itself."                            
                              John Dewey, 1899

Distortion in the news represents the first step toward "a sham universe," a step that leads inexorably to "the disappearance of reality in a world of hallucinations."
                              Jacques Ellul, 1954

The “judicious study of discernible reality” is “not the way the world really works anymore.” In the modern media environment, “we create our own reality.”
Official in the administration of President George W. Bush, 2004

“We’re not going let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers.” 
                                  Neil Newhouse, Mitt Romney campaign, 2012
"Honesty is a lost art. Facts are for losers. The truth is dead." 
                                        Charles M. Blow, 2012

Dewey: "Consciousness and Experience," in The Influence of Darwin on Philosophy, and Other Essays in Contemporary Thought
Ellul: The Technological Society
Bush official: Frank Rich, The Greatest Story Ever Sold: The Decline and Fall of Truth From 9/11 to Katrina
Romney pollster: Michael Cooper, "Campaigns Play Loose With Truth in a Fact-Check Age," New York Times, August 31, 2012.
Charles M. Blow, "The G.O.P. Fact Vacuum," New York Times, August 31, 2012.

Is modern culture being overwhelmed by an epidemic of childishness? José Ortega y Gasset, writing in 1930, thought so. Annals of Childish Behavior™ chronicles contemporary examples of that epidemic. The childish citizen, Ortega said, puts "no limit on caprice" and behaves as if "everything is permitted to him and that he has no obligations."


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