People who leap to embrace pro-Western arguments against imperial-targeted governments rarely consider anything that opposes the TV news.
By Caitlin Johnstone
Listen to a reading of this article:
Lately when people react with shock and indignation that I would dare to dispute a claim made by the Western political/media class about an empire-targeted government, I’ve taken to simply asking them what reading they’ve done on the other side of the issue. What are some articles they’ve read arguing against the official Western narrative about that government?
It’s a question that can be applied to any disputed Western narrative about any government the U.S.-centralized empire doesn’t like. Russia is engaging in aggressive provocations. Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad is using chemical weapons. There’s a genocide in Xinjiang. Iran is developing nuclear weapons. Venezuela’s President Nicolás Maduro is deliberately starving his people. Whatever’s the Official Imperial Line of the Day about the Official Bad Guy of the Day.
What I’ve found interesting about this exercise is that while I would’ve correctly predicted that those questioned had done zero research into the opposing viewpoints of the issue they’re commenting on, I would probably not have predicted the brazenness with which they’ll admit it. Very often they’ll come right out and express incredulity at the very idea that any such counter-arguments could even exist, skipping right past any pretense that they may have read them or even made any effort to find them.
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When they do this, even before I provide them with links to counter-arguments against whatever issue we’re discussing, they have already lost the argument. They have already admitted that they’ve done no real research into whether or not the Western narrative they just swallowed is actually true; they just believed what they were told because someone told them to believe it. They swallowed an imperial narrative about an empire-targeted government with zero gag reflex, just as people did in the lead-up to the Iraq war.
At that point it’s been established that, at least as far as the subject under discussion goes, they are no better informed than any average consumer of TV news. Because they have made no effort to find and review arguments and evidence that go against the TV news narrative.
Counter Arguments Available
There are always counter-arguments against Western criticisms of empire-targeted governments. They are not difficult to find once you’ve decided you want to find them, as long as you’re open to venturing outside your own self-reinforcing echo chamber. They’re not always great arguments. They don’t always leave the empire-targeted government in question looking perfectly innocent. And they generally won’t be found in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal or any other Western outlet that consistently protects and promotes Western imperialist narratives. But they are there, and unless you have reviewed their arguments and evidence and given them a good deal of consideration, you’re in no position to pretend you know anything about the subject under discussion.
This same principle applies to “conspiracy theories” as well, both for and against. If you haven’t reviewed the evidence for and against a given theory, then unless it’s something that’s self-evidently absurd at a casual glance it would be silly and asinine for you to take a confident position on it one way or the other. This also applies to arguments for and against measures that have been implemented and could potentially be implemented in response to Covid-19.
If you haven’t thoroughly researched the opposite position, you don’t understand your own. This is true whether you agree with the official narrative or disagree with it. Oftentimes people of a certain bent will be biased against the mainstream narrative and select for arguments against it which confirm that bias, even when the mainstream narrative is the better-evidenced one. It cuts both ways.
It’s very easy to select a position on an issue which conforms to your ideological preferences and your understanding of the world. It’s much harder to sincerely dedicate yourself to finding out whether or not something is true, or whether the truth of the matter is a lot less certain than the talking heads in the Western news media are making it seem. But it’s the only way you can really have a legitimate position on such matters.
This should be a widespread and common-sense understanding, and it is to everyone’s detriment everywhere that it isn’t.
Caitlin Johnstone is a rogue journalist, poet, and utopia prepper who publishes regularly at Medium. Her work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking her on Facebook, following her antics on Twitter, checking out her podcast on either Youtube, soundcloud, Apple podcasts or Spotify, following her on Steemit, throwing some money into her tip jar on Patreon or Paypal, purchasing some of her sweet merchandise, buying her books Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix, Rogue Nation: Psychonautical Adventures With Caitlin Johnstone and Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers.
This article is from CaitlinJohnstone.com and re-published with permission.
The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.
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Thanks, Caitlyn. Reading all sides is the beginning of critical thinking.
Caitlin is a seeker of the truth. Most people are not, just conformists who want to be a “good Liberal” as we say in the USA, or a conservative. When I ask my US friends for their sources they get very defensive.
Haha… I chuckled at Official Imperial Line of the Day. Ironically, the capitalization of the words spell out “OILD”, which is pretty much appropriate.
Thank you, Caitlin!!! The term, “conspiracy theory” has been straining at the boundaries of its definition and even exiting them for sometime now. I dread the day when Webster’s or Funk and Wagnel’s is going to say, “….and, in modern usage, any idea that’s out of the range of commonly accepted ideas on a topic, even if the idea has nothing to do with conspiracies.”
It drives me crazy when people either automatically believe or automatically disbelieve every establishment narrative. Either way is turning off one’s own thought process. The wise saying, “question everything” includes questioning those who question everything.
The establishment press does print a lot of propaganda. But it can’t all be propaganda. They have to print some news. News is the product they are selling in order to gain an audience. If nothing they say is true, no one will buy their product and read their propaganda.
As Phil Collins sang “we always need to hear both sides of the story”. For example, the majority of Americans don’t believe the government’s final reports on the JFK crime or the 9/11 crime, as they intuit that there are lies and ridiculous findings in them, like how building number 7 collapsed for example. So we’re left with an unknown, uncertain state of mind. But absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, so one needs to keep an open mind when searching for the truth, because one of the conspiracy theories just may be, or indeed is, the true one.
I cannot believe that anyone would regard anything the lying, cheating, stealing CIA / Sec. State Pompeo was the truth! In fact, after over four years of railing against anything and everything the American regime did under the orange wonder, it’s amazing that anything that came out of that administration was taken seriously or as factual. Much of what came out of that admin was bull but strangely, these things are now believed to be true just because the crusty lying old Biden (who has not ever miraculously changed into FDR) said so.
Whole lotta truth in the above. And this excerpt below needs saying. Loudly and persistently in the present day fractured state of the communicationsphere which resembles nothing so much as 1984 at the tower of Babel.
“This same principle applies to “conspiracy theories” as well, both for and against. If you haven’t reviewed the evidence for and against a given theory, then unless it’s something that’s self-evidently absurd at a casual glance it would be silly and asinine for you to take a confident position on it one way or the other. This also applies to arguments for and against measures that have been implemented and could potentially be implemented in response to Covid-19.
If you haven’t thoroughly researched the opposite position, you don’t understand your own. This is true whether you agree with the official narrative or disagree with it. Oftentimes people of a certain bent will be biased against the mainstream narrative and select for arguments against it which confirm that bias, even when the mainstream narrative is the better-evidenced one. It cuts both ways.”
I think especially our president should read both sides of an issue. Obviously he just takes the word of the intelligence agents and the military, and of the well-funded congressional moderates. And in support of his friends like BHO.