I’m a factual sort of person. Even though I wouldn’t call myself a journalist, I investigate things from the point of view of the primary data. I want to be responsible. I don’t want to use hearsay without identifying it as hearsay. I don’t want to hope that I am factual. I tend to forget that, in today’s world, opinion is everything and fact is nothing. To put the proper spin on this, the originator of an idea is clearly too dumb to know its significance, whereas anyone who has an opinion concerning this idea is clearly the power behind its relevance to everyone else. We live in a culture where people don’t form opinions from their own observations, but prefer and even insist on taking their opinions from the loudest nearby source. The worst part about this trend is that we believe that we are entitled to hold these opinions regardless of any factual observations to the contrary. Resist these opinion-driven fantasies at your own peril. Maybe you will collect impressive arrays of facts to support your position. Rational action is futile. After all, entitlement is threatened. Price drives out quality is not only true at WalMart, but is true in the world of ideas. A lot of cheap opinions are circulating these days, pounded into our ears at high volume by the mass media, the voice for the hopes of the masses.
No longer can we claim to hold these truths to be self evident. The new mantra is that we hold these opinions to be self evident because we are entitled to believe and react to the reality around us as if these opinions represented truths. This is an ugly aspect of American culture; these are the voices of unreason.
I used to be vaguely optimistic that things would turn out well; I used to consider myself patriotic. Not so much now. The term optimism has strayed into the realm of hope, and I don’t recognize the jargon of patriotism anymore. Hope is for the hopeless. Hope does not move grains of sand much less mountains. Faith moves mountains because faith deals in relevance and fact. I have faith that when I drop this rock it will fall to the ground; I can’t prove this, only demonstrate it by dropping the rock time after time. I don’t hope the rock will fall; this would be an appeal to magic. Upon that basis of faith in my experience, I build a real life.