We Americans live in a great county. This is a country where anyone can speak out on any subject regardless of their almost total lack of knowledge on the subject. We read or hear commentary on a variety of topics daily. We are inundated with opinions from our neighbors, co-workers, religious and political leaders, commentators, authors, talk show hosts, pundits, entertainers, scientists, researchers, family, internet bloggers and just plain folk.
Many of these people cite statistics and use other arguments in support of their position. Our problem is to determine, as best we can; if they really know what they are talking about. We need to ask ourselves, are they are expressing opinion, emotion, or belief – do they know of what they are speaking, are they after our money, etc.? Even more, we need to figure out if they are telling the entire truth, a portion of truth, or if none of it is truthful.
We also have to carefully remind ourselves that there is a vast chasm between opinion, emotion, or belief, and the truth of the matter. People will tell us that what they say is the truth, but in fact, they are simply expressing opinion, emotion or belief.
The older we get, the more we seem to realize that truth can be fleeting. Today’s truth may be altered dramatically by tomorrow’s discoveries. Our knowledge of events and the world around us continues to expand faster than we can absorb it all. So we learn to trust certain individuals when they discuss certain subjects. Of course there is always the problem that we may determine that we believe someone on one topic and totally distrust them on another. That really complicates our life, because now every issue needs to be critically considered. Or, we could simply react emotionally and not have to think very much. That has been the choice lately for most Americans I fear.
The important thing we must remember is that in America anyone can speak out on any subject. And all too often they do. It is the duty of the rest of us to recognize and point out those individuals who speak out wisely and those who speak out stupid.