Doing away with Common Sense

While watching the video presentation of Johannes von Moltke, I was struck by the phrase “cast aside common sense and dive far below the surface of empirical reality,” as it so succinctly summarized one of the worst tendencies of the far right.  Being able to critically analyze and dissect what politicians, internet personalities, analysts, and anyone involved in the political realm are saying is such an essential skill, as it allows us as citizens to identify what is factual and what is simply self-serving rhetoric.  However, individuals who buy in to the far-right’s rhetoric and fall victim to this casting away of common sense pose a threat to this traditional pillar of democratic societies. 

Holding politicians and decision makers accountable for the words they use and the actions they commit is a key aspect of maintaining democratic stability, as when a seemingly altruistic politician commits serious moral or legal violations, we can change our opinion of him or her and our party affiliation as we see fit.  However, when even a relatively small section of a population refuses or is incapable of thinking critically, and blindly follows certain individuals, adhering to and believing whatever they say without thought, it degrades the legitimacy of the democratic institutions present in the country.  The fact that so many of these far-right individuals are adopting this outlook because of memes specifically is all the more concerning.

One Reply to “Doing away with Common Sense”

  1. Hi there!

    This is a really great and insightful post. I too was struck by that particular phrase in the video of Johannes von Moltke. You’re right in saying that being about to critically analyze messages of politicians, populists and or the far-right is a necessary skill now-a-days. I think we’ve seen a lot of common sense go out the window as social media and online media platforms continue to gain popularity. Digital literacy — which isn’t only about how to use media but how to understand media — is incredibly important and its not something that is taught for many. I think it’s very easy for people now to look at their phones, scroll on their platforms, and take news headlines at face value and feel as though they are informed citizens who are capable of sharing insight and spreading the message to educate others. Often times, this only further fuels the spread of misinformation.

    Thanks again for your post!

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