How America Went Haywire - The Atlantic


137 bookmarks. First posted by eocas june 2017.


Treating real life as fantasy and vice versa, and taking preposterous ideas seriously, is not unique to Americans. But we are the global crucible and epicenter. We invented the fantasy-industrial complex; almost nowhere outside poor or otherwise miserable countries are flamboyant supernatural beliefs so central to the identities of so many people. This is American exceptionalism in the 21st century. The country has always been a one-of-a-kind place. But our singularity is different now. We’re still rich and free, still more influential and powerful than any other nation, practically a synonym for developed country. But our drift toward credulity, toward doing our own thing, toward denying facts and having an altogether uncertain grip on reality, has overwhelmed our other exceptional national traits and turned us into a less developed country.
america  history 
april 2018 by corrales
Favorite tweet: jhamby

How the U.S. Lost Its Mind (really good description of our fascination with "post-truth" conspiracy theories and the groups that spread them) https://t.co/GdwFQ4PEdX

— Jake Hamby (@jhamby) March 13, 2018

http://twitter.com/jhamby/status/973474036268220416
IFTTT  twitter  favorite 
march 2018 by tswaterman
R. Kikuo Johnson Updated on December 28, 2017 “You are entitled to your own opinion, but you are not entitled to your own facts.” — Daniel Patrick Moynihan —…
from instapaper
march 2018 by digdoug
Beautiful irony that it was born of the Left but fully realized on Right.
s 
january 2018 by jgordon
The nation’s current post-truth moment is the ultimate expression of mind-sets that have made America exceptional throughout its history.
trump  politics 
january 2018 by briangrimshaw
How widespread is this promiscuous devotion to the untrue? How many Americans now inhabit alternate realities? Any given survey of beliefs is only a sketch of what people in general really think. But reams of survey research from the past 20 years reveal a rough, useful census of American credulity and delusion. By my reckoning, the solidly reality-based are a minority, maybe a third of us but almost certainly fewer than half. Only a third of us, for instance, don’t believe that the tale of creation in Genesis is the word of God. Only a third strongly disbelieve in telepathy and ghosts. Two-thirds of Americans believe that “angels and demons are active in the world.” More than half say they’re absolutely certain heaven exists, and just as many are sure of the existence of a personal God—not a vague force or universal spirit or higher power, but some guy. A third of us believe not only that global warming is no big deal but that it’s a hoax perpetrated by scientists, the government, and journalists. A third believe that our earliest ancestors were humans just like us; that the government has, in league with the pharmaceutical industry, hidden evidence of natural cancer cures; that extraterrestrials have visited or are visiting Earth. Almost a quarter believe that vaccines cause autism, and that Donald Trump won the popular vote in 2016. A quarter believe that our previous president maybe or definitely was (or is?) the anti-Christ. According to a survey by Public Policy Polling, 15 percent believe that the “media or the government adds secret mind-controlling technology to television broadcast signals,” and another 15 percent think that’s possible. A quarter of Americans believe in witches. Remarkably, the same fraction, or maybe less, believes that the Bible consists mainly of legends and fables—the same proportion that believes U.S. officials were complicit in the 9/11 attacks.

*****

In other words: Mix epic individualism with extreme religion; mix show business with everything else; let all that ferment for a few centuries; then run it through the anything-goes ’60s and the internet age. The result is the America we inhabit today, with reality and fantasy weirdly and dangerously blurred and commingled.

*****

What is to be done? I don’t have an actionable agenda, Seven Ways Sensible People Can Save America From the Craziness. But I think we can slow the flood, repair the levees, and maybe stop things from getting any worse. If we’re splitting into two different cultures, we in reality-based America—whether the blue part or the smaller red part—must try to keep our zone as large and robust and attractive as possible for ourselves and for future generations. We need to firmly commit to Moynihan’s aphorism about opinions versus facts. We must call out the dangerously untrue and unreal. A grassroots movement against one kind of cultural squishiness has taken off and lately reshaped our national politics—the opposition to political correctness. I envision a comparable struggle that insists on distinguishing between the factually true and the blatantly false.

It will require a struggle to make America reality-based again.

*****

Progress is not inevitable, but it’s not impossible, either.
forefront  fakenews  thinkpiece  research  j450 
december 2017 by glanosga
The nation’s current post-truth moment is the ultimate expression of mind-sets that have made America exceptional throughout its history
usa  society  theatlantic 
november 2017 by robward
RT : How the U.S. Lost Its Mind
from twitter
november 2017 by michaelkozak
The nation’s current post-truth moment is the ultimate expression of mind-sets that have made America exceptional throughout its history. When did America become untethered from reality? via Pocket
Pocket 
september 2017 by driptray
“You are entitled to your own opinion, but you are not entitled to your own facts.” — Daniel Patrick Moynihan — “We risk being the first people in history to…
from instapaper
september 2017 by scottwf
“You are entitled to your own opinion, but you are not entitled to your own facts.” — Daniel Patrick Moynihan — “We risk being the first people in history to…
from instapaper
september 2017 by Aetles
Historical look, 60s thru 2000s.
341webmgmt  identity  fakenews  heuristics 
september 2017 by dsalo
How the U.S. Lost Its Mind via Instapaper http://ift.tt/2vJAG9O
IFTTT  Instapaper 
september 2017 by stephenfrancoeur
Analogous to Hillbilly Elegy. Truthiness. Daniel Boorstin. Andy Griffith movie. Hotstadter. P. T. Barnum.
Politics 
september 2017 by prbannes
How America Lost Its Mind
from twitter_favs
august 2017 by shfitz
How widespread is this promiscuous devotion to the untrue? How many Americans now inhabit alternate realities? Any given survey of beliefs is only a sketch of what people in general really think. But reams of survey research from the past 20 years reveal a rough, useful census of American credulity and delusion. By my reckoning, the solidly reality-based are a minority, maybe a third of us but almost certainly fewer than half. Only a third of us, for instance, don’t believe that the tale of creation in Genesis is the word of God. Only a third strongly disbelieve in telepathy and ghosts. Two-thirds of Americans believe that “angels and demons are active in the world.” More than half say they’re absolutely certain heaven exists, and just as many are sure of the existence of a personal God—not a vague force or universal spirit or higher power, but some guy. A third of us believe not only that global warming is no big deal but that it’s a hoax perpetrated by scientists, the government, and journalists. A third believe that our earliest ancestors were humans just like us; that the government has, in league with the pharmaceutical industry, hidden evidence of natural cancer cures; that extraterrestrials have visited or are visiting Earth. Almost a quarter believe that vaccines cause autism, and that Donald Trump won the popular vote in 2016. A quarter believe that our previous president maybe or definitely was (or is?) the anti-Christ.
truth  epistemology 
august 2017 by altoii
RT : "America has mutated into Fantasyland. The solidly reality-based are a minority, maybe a third of us."
from twitter_favs
august 2017 by paperclypse
“You are entitled to your own opinion, but you are not entitled to your own facts.” — Daniel Patrick Moynihan — “We risk being the first people in history to…
from instapaper
august 2017 by dshack
The great unbalancing and descent into full Fantasyland was the product of two momentous changes. The first was a profound shift in thinking that swelled up in the ’60s; since then, Americans have had a new rule written into their mental operating systems: Do your own thing, find your own reality, it’s all relative.

The second change was the onset of the new era of information. Digital technology empowers real-seeming fictions of the ideological and religious and scientific kinds. Among the web’s 1 billion sites, believers in anything and everything can find thousands of fellow fantasists, with collages of facts and “facts” to support them. Before the internet, crackpots were mostly isolated, and surely had a harder time remaining convinced of their alternate realities. Now their devoutly believed opinions are all over the airwaves and the web, just like actual news. Now all of the fantasies look real.
cultural-dynamics  politics  philosophy  cultural-criticism  to-write-about  it's-more-complicated-than-you-think 
august 2017 by Vaguery
“You are entitled to your own opinion, but you are not entitled to your own facts.” — Daniel Patrick Moynihan — “We risk being the first people in history to…
from instapaper
august 2017 by szymon
The nation’s current post-truth moment is the ultimate expression of mind-sets that have made America exceptional throughout its history. When did America become untethered from reality? via Pocket
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august 2017 by geekgirl397
The nation’s current post-truth moment is the ultimate expression of mind-sets that have made America exceptional throughout its history.
kurtanderson  politics  culture  theatlantic 
august 2017 by brendanmcfadden
“You are entitled to your own opinion, but you are not entitled to your own facts.” — Daniel Patrick Moynihan — “We risk being the first people in history to…
from instapaper
august 2017 by rubywhite
The nation’s current post-truth moment is the ultimate expression of mind-sets that have made America exceptional throughout its history.
culture  politics  atlantic 
august 2017 by jorgebarba
The nation’s current post-truth moment is the ultimate expression of mind-sets that have made America exceptional throughout its history. When did America become untethered from reality? via Pocket
IFTTT  Pocket 
august 2017 by archizoo
The nation’s current post-truth moment is the ultimate expression of mind-sets that have made America exceptional throughout its history. When did America become untethered from reality?
longreads  politics  usa 
august 2017 by fwhamm
“You are entitled to your own opinion, but you are not entitled to your own facts.” — Daniel Patrick Moynihan — “We risk being the first people in history to…
from instapaper
august 2017 by kimelmose
“You are entitled to your own opinion, but you are not entitled to your own facts.” — Daniel Patrick Moynihan — “We risk being the first people in history to…
article  from instapaper
august 2017 by K3it4r0
"Treating real life as fantasy and vice versa, and taking preposterous ideas seriously, is not unique to Americans. But we are the global crucible and epicenter. We invented the fantasy-industrial complex."
america  psychology  history  delusions  politics 
august 2017 by kevan
hen did America become untethered from reality?

I first noticed our national lurch toward fantasy in 2004, after President George W. Bush’s political mastermind, Karl Rove, came up with the remarkable phrase reality-based community. People in “the reality-based community,” he told a reporter, “believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality … That’s not the way the world really works anymore.” A year later, The Colbert Report went on the air. In the first few minutes of the first episode, Stephen Colbert, playing his right-wing-populist commentator character, performed a feature called “The Word.” His first selection: truthiness. “Now, I’m sure some of the ‘word police,’ the ‘wordinistas’ over at Webster’s, are gonna say, ‘Hey, that’s not a word!’ Well, anybody who knows me knows that I’m no fan of dictionaries or reference books. They’re elitist. Constantly telling us what is or isn’t true. Or what did or didn’t happen. Who’s Britannica to tell me the Panama Canal was finished in 1914? If I wanna say it happened in 1941, that’s my right. I don’t trust books—they’re all fact, no heart … Face it, folks, we are a divided nation … divided between those who think with their head and those who know with their heart … Because that’s where the truth comes from, ladies and gentlemen—the gut.”

Whoa, yes, I thought: exactly. America had changed since I was young, when truthiness and reality-based community wouldn’t have made any sense as jokes. For all the fun, and all the many salutary effects of the 1960s—the main decade of my childhood—I saw that those years had also been the big-bang moment for truthiness. And if the ’60s amounted to a national nervous breakdown, we are probably mistaken to consider ourselves over it.
reality  social.construction  politics  culture 
august 2017 by verstehen
The nation’s current post-truth moment is the ultimate expression of mind-sets that have made America exceptional throughout its history. When did America become untethered from reality? via Pocket
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august 2017 by obas818
How the U.S. Lost Its Mind via Instapaper http://ift.tt/2vJAG9O
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august 2017 by therealdenatale
How America Went Haywire - The Atlantic http://ift.tt/2wqgdnC
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august 2017 by ldodds
"For a while, Republican leaders effectively encouraged and exploited the predispositions of their variously fantastical and extreme partisans. [...]

But over the past few decades, a lot of the rabble they roused came to believe all the untruths. “The problem is that Republicans have purposefully torn down the validating institutions,” the political journalist Josh Barro, a Republican until 2016, wrote last year. “They have convinced voters that the media cannot be trusted; they have gotten them used to ignoring inconvenient facts about policy; and they have abolished standards of discourse.” The party’s ideological center of gravity swerved way to the right of Rove and all the Bushes, finally knocking them and their clubmates aside. What had been the party’s fantastical fringe became its middle. Reasonable Republicanism was replaced by absolutism: no new taxes, virtually no regulation, abolish the EPA and the IRS and the Federal Reserve."
america  politics  culture  paranoid-style 
august 2017 by arsyed
“You are entitled to your own opinion, but you are not entitled to your own facts.” — Daniel Patrick Moynihan — “We risk being the first people in history to…
from instapaper
august 2017 by pwarnock
The nation’s current post-truth moment is the ultimate expression of mind-sets that have made America exceptional throughout its history.
culture  bullshit 
august 2017 by rchrd_h
Listen and subscribe to The Atlantic’s podcast, Radio Atlantic. This week: Kurt Andersen on How America Lost Its Mind. Click here for more . “You are entitled…
from instapaper
august 2017 by loganrhyne
I'm often asked why I don't live in the US. This has something to do with it:
from twitter
august 2017 by alpinegizmo
I'm often asked why I don't live in the US. This has something to do with it:
from twitter_favs
august 2017 by purcell
"Smog of subjectivity."
Now is the time for all good people to come to the aid of objective truth.
from twitter_favs
august 2017 by vimoh
The nation’s current post-truth moment is the ultimate expression of mind-sets that have made America exceptional throughout its history. When did America become untethered from reality?
Archive  Pocket 
august 2017 by brokenrhino
How America Went Haywire - The Atlantic
from twitter
august 2017 by davidflo
The nation’s current post-truth moment is the ultimate expression of mind-sets that have made America exceptional throughout its history. When did America become untethered from reality?
politics  society 
august 2017 by jeffhammond
"Some of my best friends are very religious, and others believe in dubious conspiracy theories. What’s problematic is going overboard—letting the subjective entirely override the objective; thinking and acting as if opinions and feelings are just as true as facts." via Instapaper https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2017/09/how-america-lost-its-mind/534231/
instapaper  highlight 
august 2017 by robknight
“You are entitled to your own opinion, but you are not entitled to your own facts.” — Daniel Patrick Moynihan — “We risk being the first people in history to…
from instapaper
august 2017 by fogus
Fascinating read: How the U.S. Lost Its Mind
from twitter
august 2017 by kcarruthers
How America Went Haywire Very good analysis!
from twitter
august 2017 by nwhyte