“My worry is not that we are losing the ability to make up our own minds, but that it’s becoming too easy to do so. We should consult with others much more so than we imagine.”
This one was suggested by a reader in our For The Interested Facebook group and it’s a good one.
The BBC profiles several academics who study agnotology, which is the study of willful acts to spread confusion and deceit, usually to sell a product or win favor.
It explains how companies and individuals purposefully spread ignorance, with examples ranging from cigarette companies to climate change deniers.
Their tactics include suggesting there’s two sides to every story (there’s not), and purposefully creating confusion.
For example: “The fight is not just over the existence of climate change, it’s over whether God has created the Earth for us to exploit, whether government has the right to regulate industry, whether environmentalists should be empowered, and so on. It’s not just about the facts, it’s about what is imagined to flow from and into such facts.”