The Neoliberal Echo Chamber Is Turning Us All Into Idiots
We now live in a society where sources that don’t confirm one’s bias are immediately dismissed as “fake news”, and nothing is considered true unless Wolf Blitzer says it. This is killing political discourse in America, and it’s turning us all into idiots.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried to bring up a legitimate concern about the Democratic establishment in a debate with a party loyalist and been told that I’m crazy or ridiculous because it’s a concern they’d never encountered before. Whether I’m discussing a WikiLeaks release that didn’t get much coverage or the fact that Hillary Clinton really seemed to be gearing up for an all-out war with Russia, I have never, ever been met with sincerity or had my concerns directly addressed in an earnest debate of ideas with a Hillary voter. Not once. Not one single time, ever, to this day. And I’ve spoken to a lot of them.
They consistently dismissed me and told me I was crazy for bringing up such concerns, because they’d never heard about them. Why had they never heard about them? Because they live in an echo chamber. They’d never heard Rachel Maddow discuss the fact that Obama’s cabinet was selected for him by an executive from Citibank before he was even elected, which determined his administration’s lax and lenient policies toward Wall Street. They’d never heard John Oliver go on a self-righteous tirade about how a top Marine Corps General and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said Hillary’s plan for a no-fly zone in Syria would necessarily entail a direct war with Russia. They’ve never been told about these things by Chris Cuomo or the Washington Post. All they’d ever been told by their friends and favorite pundits is that they’re right, and everyone who disagrees with them is at best privileged and ignorant, and at worst racist and fascist.
And it’s only gotten worse ever since the “fake news” smear campaign began against alternative media. Now every single time I try to substantiate my argument with a link or a source when debating a neoliberal, they tell me my source is invalid unless it comes from one of the mainstream news sites that have consistently avoided covering anything that made Clinton look bad. The talking heads on TV are telling them that it’s okay to do this now, that they no longer have to look at a news story and address its content anymore, because unless it comes from NBC, CNN or the New York Times, it’s fake. People are even doing this with mainstream outlets like The Observer and Fox News now; it happens routinely in my interactions with them. Try talking about how their favorite neoliberal outlets hardly ever cover WikiLeaks or the Clinton Foundation scandals and they call you a tinfoil hat conspiracy theorist, even while they themselves feel perfectly comfortable and sane blaming Hillary’s loss on a vast global Trump-Putin-Comey-Assange conspiracy.
Political discourse is dead in America. We can’t debate each other anymore. Open dialogue between opposing viewpoints has been cut off completely, and instead we all now seek out whatever echo chamber we find the least egoically challenging, wall ourselves off from the rest of the world, and listen to the soothing voices tell us how right we are.
Nobody wants truth anymore. We all just want to feel like we’re right and everyone else is wrong, and we don’t care how many lies it takes to make that happen. The light of truth is uncomfortable for our political identities, so we avoid it.
This is of course happening across all ends of the political spectrum. There are still to this day Republicans who insist that Obama is a Kenyan Muslim, and there’s no shortage of voices authoritatively confirming that bias for them. Even my beloved Greens have it, many of them currently criticizing their own Jill Stein for her initiative to get vote recounts because it risks putting Clinton in the White House, which many on the far left (myself included) find much scarier than President Trump. Forget truth, forget light; they just want to get their way. They’re more than happy to try and manipulate and control what happens as long as it leads to them getting what they want and avoiding what they don’t want. These people would probably rig elections themselves if they could get away with it.
But all things are not equal; the neoliberals are unquestionably the worst. No other political group arbitrarily labels those who disagree with its ideology as fascists and Nazis, and then refuses to listen to anything they say because “I’ll be damned if I’ll sit and listen to a bunch of fascists and Nazis.” No other political group dismisses any news media outside of its preferred echo chamber as “fake news”. No other political group is still trying to claim that WikiLeaks did something wrong by sharing the truth with the American people. No other political group scoffs at and dismisses any story that they haven’t seen discussed inside their own personal echo chamber. No other political group resorts to bullying and ad hominem attacks to anywhere near the extent that Clinton liberals do.
It is only the neoliberals, the Democratic party loyalists that are doing these things. But since they’re a massive group right smack in the middle of the political spectrum, with the Republicans and Libertarians on the right and the Berners, Greens, socialists and progressives on the left, it’s putting a massive wobble on political dialogue all across the board. Sick of being abused and bullied by Clinton Democrats, many leftists have just stopped talking to anyone outside their circle, except maybe to the deplorables, who at least treat them kindly. Sick of being told that they’re racists, fascists and Nazis, people who supported Donald Trump for president have done the same, pulling away into their own segregated circles while trying to avoid the onslaught of attacks, fearmongering and censorship. And right there in between is the political group that’s causing it all, happily feeling righteous and validated in their little echo chambers while laughing away at the latest episode of The Daily Show.
This is making us all stupid, and it has got to stop. Democracy can’t function this way. If we know that our government has been lying to us and the media has been helping them, it’s of utmost importance that we become more open and honest with each other, not less. We can’t steer this country if we can’t see where we’re going, and we can’t see where we’re going if we’re not talking to each other. It’s of utmost importance that we get out of our echo chambers and start learning what's really happening with the actual people in actual America.
Imagine how much brain power we’d have if we started connecting instead of separating. It’s not necessary that we all agree on everything, all we’d have to do is keep a sincere, open sharing of ideas and information happening across the ideological gaps. Each group would force the others to step up their game and come up with better and better arguments for their position, and we’d be shown the inherent flaws in our ideology that need to be fixed. This would be a movement toward greater and greater intelligence instead of greater and greater idiocy. I don’t know about you, but I find that infinitely preferable.