Trust No One, Trust Not Even Yourself

 

We are facing a massive crisis of trust in America, with good reason.

After vast amounts of lying and gaslighting by the media and government, along with plenty of sketchy news sources, we are in the realm where even people on the same side don’t have any common sources.

This goes beyond frustrating — trying to write a piece that challenges a status quo means lots of in-depth research, and it could easily be dismissed by “the study was faked” or “government officials pressured the authors.” Previously, I would say that was crazy talk, but now I’m not sure how to prove a source is actually trustworthy.

On the other hand, I find it hard to take seriously many of the reports I see from people I disagree with. In some cases, there are references, but that raises the time investment involved.  There’s only so much time in the day, and I could be doing something enjoyable or beneficial instead of running down sources.  Just dismissing people is so much easier, but it means I will never change my opinion.

It makes me wonder why am I spending time on Ricochet at all. How the heck are we supposed to persuade people outside of the conservative movement (such as it is) when it is this hard to persuade each other?

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  1. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Would you like to talk about poetry?

    • #1
  2. Nohaaj Coolidge
    Nohaaj
    @Nohaaj

    I am still undecided.  Could you please present both sides of the argument for me to review?

    • #2
  3. Randy Weivoda Moderator
    Randy Weivoda
    @RandyWeivoda

    It is very easy to tell if a news story is true.  If a report confirms your biases it is true.  If a report refutes your biases, it is fake news.  Anyone who believe a story that you think is false is a dupe, a stooge, or an Enemy of the People.

    • #3
  4. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge
    Fake John/Jane Galt
    @FakeJohnJaneGalt

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):

    It is very easy to tell if a news story is true. If a report confirms your biases it is true. If a report refutes your biases, it is fake news. Anyone who believe a story that you think is false is a dupe, a stooge, or an Enemy of the People.

     

    • #4
  5. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot) Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot)
    @ArizonaPatriot

    I have to disagree with the title of this post.  As a Babylon 5 fan, I know that I can trust myself and one other person:

     

    • #5
  6. Steven Seward Member
    Steven Seward
    @StevenSeward

    OmegaPaladin:

    It make me wonder why am I spending time on Ricochet at all. How the heck are we supposed to persuade people outside of the conservative movement (such as it is) when it is this hard to persuade each other?

    My first goal on Ricochet is to learn things.  Sharing what I learn with others is still important but it is in 2nd place.

    • #6
  7. Django Member
    Django
    @Django

    Steven Seward (View Comment):

    OmegaPaladin:

    It make me wonder why am I spending time on Ricochet at all. How the heck are we supposed to persuade people outside of the conservative movement (such as it is) when it is this hard to persuade each other?

    My first goal on Ricochet is to learn things. Sharing what I learn with others is still important but it is in 2nd place.

    We may not agree on much else, but I’m with you there. As I learned a long time ago, you aren’t learning much when your lips are moving. Same thing applies to when your keyboard is clicking. I learn a lot here, and even when I disagree, I experience other perspectives. 

    • #7
  8. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    OmegaPaladin:

    We are facing a massive crisis of trust in America, with good reason. 

    Listen to Confucius, America!  It’s never too late to do better.

    • #8
  9. HankRhody Freelance Philosopher Contributor
    HankRhody Freelance Philosopher
    @HankRhody

    The first thing you’ve got to do, you’ve got to allow yourself to not know things. Especially things reported in the news. Let’s say we learn that chemical weapons are used in Ukraine. Pop quiz: Who’s using them? If you jumped in to say “It’s got to be Putin” or “It’s got to be the Ukrainians mounting a false flag operation” then you’re in a prime position to be lied to. Don’t know who did it until you’ve got some evidence.

    • #9
  10. HankRhody Freelance Philosopher Contributor
    HankRhody Freelance Philosopher
    @HankRhody

    The next thing to do is to not trust your evidence. If you don’t have enough corroboration that a thing is or not it doesn’t help you at all to believe one way or another. Having multiple news organizations repeating only the same facts that you already know shouldn’t change anything.

    • #10
  11. HankRhody Freelance Philosopher Contributor
    HankRhody Freelance Philosopher
    @HankRhody

    The next step is to get as close to the ground as you can. Every journalist has a bias, and the way it works these days everyone reporting is pushing their own narrative. Expect every level of journalism to (if they’re honest) attempt to correct for the previous level’s biases. If you’re imagining a stack of springs shaking in an earthquake here you’ve got the right idea. 

    What I’ve been trying to do is collect news from independent regional outfits, in the hopes that the only people I’m filtering my information through are

    1. The telegram channels the local guys are aggregating news from
    2. The local news outfit itself
    3. The guy they got to translate the information into English

    In general I take things I read on Ricochet to be filtered a couple times more; the Ricochet writer is reacting to something stupid someone in the MSM said who was reading his basic information off of the BBC who, if we’re lucky, was reporting on something said in Russian from a local news source. Five steps back to the event is worse than three. 

    Even three steps is plenty bad, which is why I don’t trust much of the evidence I’ve gotten. The net result is that I often don’t know things. That’s okay, the first step was to allow yourself not to know things.

    • #11
  12. Steven Seward Member
    Steven Seward
    @StevenSeward

    HankRhody Freelance Philosopher (View Comment):

    Even three steps is plenty bad, which is why I don’t trust much of the evidence I’ve gotten. The net result is that I often don’t know things. That’s okay, the first step was to allow yourself not to know things.

    I have a theory of psychology. It is that most humans are ill-equipped to deal  with uncertainty.  There is a gigantic emotional urge inside people’s brain to come to a conclusive answer of some sort instead of allowing questions to dangle in limbo.  So to logically set aside unanswered questions takes a great force of will and sense of delayed gratification, but I think it’s a good thing to strive for.

    • #12
  13. HankRhody Freelance Philosopher Contributor
    HankRhody Freelance Philosopher
    @HankRhody

    I’ll give you an example of about how I’m treating this war. I originally posted this as a comment in the PIT, I’ll expand it a little too much to explain the thought process.

    Meduza.io is an independent Russian language news outfit operating out of the Baltic states. They would be operating out of Russia but they decamped to avoid legal troubles some years before this current war. I take them to be a largely anti-Putin source. They also publish in English, but frequently the links to their sources are in Russian or Ukrainian so I’m unable to evaluate them further. I get a lot of my war news from Meduza, which is why I want to double check them.

    Also in War Newsthis blown up church. Spot checking my usual source I found the church on Google Maps, in particular this photo appears to be showing the same side of the same building, though without the stylish concrete barrier. Google also offers the following advice:

    Information about this place may be outdated. Always pay attention to real-world conditions, which may be rapidly changing.

    Thanks Google. I think I figured that part out already. […]

    The article is a photo essay about a heavily damaged town. There are a great many things I don’t know about the town and the context it was blown up in, so I figured I’d check what I could. In the comment I called it “Spot checking”, which is true. I don’t check a lot of things I read, ain’t nobody got time for that.

    I’m looking at the photo of the church because it’s easy to identify. There aren’t a lot of churches in a town of 20,000 and churches are generally marked on Google maps. By finding “before” pictures of the church in the town I’m pretty sure that there was a church there that got blowed up. But when? Also because I’m looking at a map I note that this town is pretty close to the Donbas region, which has been festering for a while now. Let’s see if I can verify if this is current damage. 

    Looking at the Wikipedia page for the town the article has been edited to cover damage in the current war. That doesn’t mean anything yet; they might be basing the edits off the same potentially false photos I’ve seen. I click into the Wikipedia history and pull up the town’s history as it was last edited before current hostilities. No mention of the church. Doesn’t prove anything. A map of the Donbas conflict shows this town behind the front lines (at least in the past.) Still doesn’t prove anything. Jumping back to a quote from my PIT summary:

    […] No website for the church, but when I go to the Ukrainian language Wikipedia page  for the town I get this line:

    In May 2018, the Church of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker of the Kyiv Patriarchate was consecrated, built in honor of 18 dead soldiers of the 51st separate mechanized brigade.

    Going back to Google Translate I find the name of the church in the photos on Google to indeed be the Church of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker. […]

    Alright, the church was only built in 2018, and the previous fighting in the town seems to have happened earlier, also as reported on the Ukrainian language Wiki page. I don’t speak or read Ukrainian; the Edge browser translated it for me.

    Putting it all together, the photo essay included a picture of a damaged church. A church matching that photo exists in the town named in the report. The church was built in 2018, so it’s most likely that it was damaged in the current conflict. That leads me to believe that Meduza is being basically accurate in transmitting the facts that they know.

    Now, a couple quick points about what I still don’t know. From the article:

    Meduza

    But invading troops started shelling the evacuation route. The Ukrainian government accused Russia of shooting at civilians. Moscow blamed “the nationalists” for refusing to allow civilians to leave the town.
    Mikhail Tereshchenko / TASS

    I don’t know if the negotiated corridor was actually negotiated, I don’t know if the Russians bombarded it targeting civilians on purpose, I don’t know how many were actually killed, and hence I don’t know if a war crime was committed here or not. It takes a great deal of evidence before I believe something so evil as a war crime. But at the same time I’m not going to dismiss the possibility that war crimes are happening.

    Before I go, the rest of the PIT comment. I wouldn’t have posted it in the first place except there was one more joke to make:

    […] Going back to Google Translate I find the name of the church in the photos on Google to indeed be the Church of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker. Out of curiosity I google (fine; Bing this time.) this particular saint and … wait, I recognize this story. It’s Santa Claus.

    Putin is definitely getting coal in his stocking this year.

    • #13
  14. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    HankRhody Freelance Philosopher (View Comment):
    The first thing you’ve got to do, you’ve got to allow yourself to not know things. Especially things reported in the news.

    HankRhody Freelance Philosopher (View Comment):
    The next thing to do is to not trust your evidence. . . . Having multiple news organizations repeating only the same facts that you already know shouldn’t change anything.

    The 2020 election.

    Vaccines.

    Myocarditis.

    Ivermectin.

    Chloroquine.

    Biolabs in Ukraine.

    (At this point, why wouldn’t we add macroevolution and global warming?)

    • #14
  15. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Steven Seward (View Comment):

    HankRhody Freelance Philosopher (View Comment):

    Even three steps is plenty bad, which is why I don’t trust much of the evidence I’ve gotten. The net result is that I often don’t know things. That’s okay, the first step was to allow yourself not to know things.

    I have a theory of psychology. It is that most humans are ill-equipped to deal with uncertainty. There is a gigantic emotional urge inside people’s brain to come to a conclusive answer of some sort instead of allowing questions dangle in limbo. So to logically set aside unanswered questions takes a great force of will and sense of delayed gratification, but I think it’s a good thing to strive for.

    Ever read C. S. Pierce?

    • #15
  16. genferei Member
    genferei
    @genferei

    HankRhody Freelance Philosopher (View Comment):
    The first thing you’ve got to do, you’ve got to allow yourself to not know things.

    Indeed. It is not a moral imperative to follow the ‘news’. It’s a hobby. You are not a bad person – or even a bad citizen – if you can’t find Donbas on a map or know all the different names for L’viv.

    (By contrast, you’re not a bad person for believing in God, family, country and/or a transcendent Truth, no matter what the establishment says.)

    • #16
  17. Steven Seward Member
    Steven Seward
    @StevenSeward

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Steven Seward (View Comment):

    HankRhody Freelance Philosopher (View Comment):

    Even three steps is plenty bad, which is why I don’t trust much of the evidence I’ve gotten. The net result is that I often don’t know things. That’s okay, the first step was to allow yourself not to know things.

    I have a theory of psychology. It is that most humans are ill-equipped to deal with uncertainty. There is a gigantic emotional urge inside people’s brain to come to a conclusive answer of some sort instead of allowing questions dangle in limbo. So to logically set aside unanswered questions takes a great force of will and sense of delayed gratification, but I think it’s a good thing to strive for.

    Ever read C. S. Pierce?

    Nope, but I watched your video talk on Confucius.  Now I am enlightened.  Previously the only wisdom I’ve ever known from the Chinese sage was:

    Confucius say:  Man with hand in pocket feel cocky all day long.

    • #17
  18. Steven Seward Member
    Steven Seward
    @StevenSeward

    genferei (View Comment):

    HankRhody Freelance Philosopher (View Comment):
    The first thing you’ve got to do, you’ve got to allow yourself to not know things.

    Indeed. It is not a moral imperative to follow the ‘news’. It’s a hobby.

    I think news is just a form of entertainment pretending to be something significant.  Just look at the multi-million dollar salaries that news readers get paid.  I was unaware of that until Ross Perot pointed it out 30 years ago.  I’ve got nothing against making tons of money but this just shows that these people are “celebrities” who have many fans, when in reality, anybody with excellent literacy and a good speaking voice can do that just as well.

     

    • #18
  19. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Steven Seward (View Comment):
    Nope, but I watched your video talk on Confucius.  Now I am enlightened. 

    There is SOOOOO much great stuff in Confucianism. It makes me happy.

    Anyway, I believe what you were talking about is something Pierce talks about in an essay called “The Fixation of Belief.”  I don’t have much of it in my head, alas.

    • #19
  20. genferei Member
    genferei
    @genferei

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Steven Seward (View Comment):
    Nope, but I watched your video talk on Confucius. Now I am enlightened.

    There is SOOOOO much great stuff in Confucianism. It makes me happy.

    You might want to mention that the video is only 14 minutes long (:

     

    • #20
  21. Steven Seward Member
    Steven Seward
    @StevenSeward

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Steven Seward (View Comment):
    Nope, but I watched your video talk on Confucius. Now I am enlightened.

    There is SOOOOO much great stuff in Confucianism. It makes me happy.

    Anyway, I believe what you were talking about is something Pierce talks about in an essay called “The Fixation of Belief.” I don’t have much of it in my head, alas.

    I will check out Pierce, thanks!

    • #21
  22. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    genferei (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Steven Seward (View Comment):
    Nope, but I watched your video talk on Confucius. Now I am enlightened.

    There is SOOOOO much great stuff in Confucianism. It makes me happy.

    You might want to mention that the video is only 14 minutes long (:

    YARN | What? You wanted more? | Avengers: Endgame | Video gifs by quotes |  2dd8fe81 | 紗

    Well, there’s a little more in the “The Philosophers in Their Own Words” playlist.

    • #22
  23. hoowitts Coolidge
    hoowitts
    @hoowitts

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    HankRhody Freelance Philosopher (View Comment):
    The first thing you’ve got to do, you’ve got to allow yourself to not know things. Especially things reported in the news.

    HankRhody Freelance Philosopher (View Comment):
    The next thing to do is to not trust your evidence. . . . Having multiple news organizations repeating only the same facts that you already know shouldn’t change anything.

    The 2020 election.

    Vaccines.

    Myocarditis.

    Ivermectin.

    Chloroquine.

    Biolabs in Ukraine.

    (this point, why wouldn’t we add macroevolution and global warming?)

    Mic Drop…perfect finish SA.

    • #23
  24. Franco Member
    Franco
    @Franco

    OmegaPaladin: It make me wonder why am I spending time on Ricochet at all.   How the heck are we supposed to persuade people outside of the conservative movement (such as it is) when it is this hard to persuade each other?

    This has occurred to me on many occasions. I came here out of frustration and surrender that I couldn’t persuade Democrats, leftists or progressives of anything. Now I realize I also can’t persuade conservatives much either, or libertarians on certain issues.

    But I’ve realized where I stand and I have found a thread of people who I generally agree with and I think we support each other’s views. People I respect espouse views I generally respect. Any person can gain or lose respect or credibility over time. This is true here and true in the meta-world of politics and punditry.

    I have had 68 years and millions of articles and very different perspectives. Somehow, I’ve learned and changed myself through the years. I started as a default Democrat as a youngster, and saw socialism up close in a foreign country, began to understand the Democrat/collectivist goals and aligned with Republicans.

    Looking back, I was quite aligned with the Christian conservatives, anti-abortion, anti gay marriage but not stridently so.

    I was for the Iraq invasion based on the idea it could become a stable Democracy. I was quite wrong there. But the culture war is all but lost – or it’s becoming more a hot war than a cold one now fighting over gender and such. To me now, those matters are a sad distraction from other important issues like freedom, the First Amendment and creeping government tyranny. 

    I cannot and will not tune-in to television news which I’ve come to see as salacious and toxic entertainment. I have lists of people who casually report lies, or misreport, or pass on debunked information in their op-eds. 

    I pay very careful attention to language and how statements are phrased. Usually a cursory reading of many reports reveal deceptive language if one knows how to spot it.

    I have come to align with progressive leftists like Glenn Greenwald. Considering we are in a defacto socialist, quasi-fascist country (sad to say) I will be on the side of the commies who appreciate free speech and government skepticism than our ruling Junta of soft tyrants who claim to be for freedom and the American way but not until they kill every last one of their political enemies, and not until the USA is fully subservient to the global interests of their benefactors. This latter group includes a goodly number of Republicans.

    Another thing to do is to look carefully at who is for something and who is against, and what do these people have in common? What might be their interest? Looking at political events through the lens of Republican/Democrat or even left/right will result in crude and messy conclusions. 

    • #24
  25. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    Steven Seward (View Comment):
    I think news is just a form of entertainment pretending to be something significant.

    I agree completely.

    And that shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. The news is part of the entertainment industry.

    They are selling something. Which is great. I love money. :-)

    Just don’t take the news too seriously too often.

    • #25
  26. Old Bathos Moderator
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos

    An education in how to evaluate COVID-related studies is available in the two years of posts by Kevin Roche (healthy-skeptic.com ).  The sheer volume of materials he reviewed, digested and linked every day was valuable by itself.  He has no use for mask-cultists or the utter nonsense of lockdown governance because the numbers say it all.  He also has no use for over-the-top claims about vaccine injury because the studies have shown (a) vastly better outcomes with respect to symptoms for the infected vaccinated and (b) no large-scale record of any particular serious adverse outcomes but he did cover those that found such links. He did not spend a lot of time on Ivermectin HCQ etc because, again, the conclusive data was never there to establish their effectiveness.  His loyalty to disciplined use of data was unwavering.  He really did follow the science.

    Guys like that are especially useful for testing one’s own positions and policy preferences.

    He raged against the utter and complete BS from the CDC and his own state government (Minnesota).  He appeared to agree with the gist of the Great Barrington people–protect the vulnerable as best you can and stop pretending you can otherwise control the pandemic.

    Roche has no use for the mandates or any BS about vaccines preventing spread or infection–he was tracking “breakthrough” infections from jump. He has been relentless on the age-specific risk pattern of this pandemic and the needless injury to kids by pretending they are at similar risk to older people or a major source of spread.

    He openly disparaged studies that he recognized as weak or contrived or that run contrary to the bulk of other data.

    A lot of these issues (How long does immunity vaccination or naturally acquired immunity last?) are not cut-and-dried and that is also important to know.

    Based on track record, if, for example, Jay Bhattacharya offers an option, I am reasonably certain that he based it on actual science.  In contrast, not only do I not automatically trust Anthony Fauci, Rachel Wallensky, Francis Collins, Robert Redfield or Deborah Birx, I think that none of them should be anywhere near policy-making or research because the demonstrable combined lack of integrity and competence disqualifies them.  And the legions of morons who rally in social media to follow and defend them are bad for America.

    • #26
  27. Franco Member
    Franco
    @Franco

    Those of us on the ‘right’ ( a pathetic description but it will have to do) defended corporations, capitalism and free enterprise for so long many have failed to recognize that these are not our father’s corporations that drive commerce and prosperity in some neutral and benign fashion.

    The corporations are now much bigger, now global, and intent on growing their power by whichever means they envision. They will suck-up to China, they will try to attach themselves to virtue-signaling causes and promote political outcomes in the USA and elsewhere. They have vastly more influence on politicians than they did even 20 years ago.

    Media corporations are in the propaganda business now. Everything is run through a cultural and political filter. All news reported has an agenda, and the “news” divisions of these giant global corporations  Comcast, Disney etc.,  are little more than PR outlets for their agenda. They will not report negatively on their friends, such as Pharma (who are their best advertising customers) or Democrats; and they will focus negativity on their enemies, to the point of enraging some of the more unstable among us. I see the media corporations more as controlling Democrats than being controlled by them, but the relationship is indeed symbiotic and very convenient for both of them.

    Did the lefties I was debating over capitalism vs, socialism in the 80’s foresee this new world of mega global corporatism of the 2020’s? I doubt it.

    But these corporations as they exist now – especially to the extent they control information and ‘news’ and the ability to force government lockdowns and mandated body-invasions of unproven substances – are huge threats to freedom and democracy.

    • #27
  28. Stina Member
    Stina
    @CM

    Steven Seward (View Comment):

    OmegaPaladin:

    It make me wonder why am I spending time on Ricochet at all. How the heck are we supposed to persuade people outside of the conservative movement (such as it is) when it is this hard to persuade each other?

    My first goal on Ricochet is to learn things. Sharing what I learn with others is still important but it is in 2nd place.

    I’d say CONVINCING people is 2nd place.

    The sharing (both you and the other) is the important part.

    And not just for the sources. I suffered through lower grades in English because I refused to not have my own opinion in my research papers (I thought that was the point, but continued even after being told it wasn’t).

    I want to share the info I get and my opinion and I want to hear other info and opinions. This is critical when we cannot trust official sources – grass roots communication. It means some stuff will be lightly sourced, other things will be researched out the wazoo, others will just be inferences and attempts to make sense of the world. It is all valuable.

    That’s why I’m here. And it’s why comments are important to me. Back and forth is important.

    • #28
  29. Stina Member
    Stina
    @CM

    HankRhody Freelance Philosopher (View Comment):

    The next thing to do is to not trust your evidence. If you don’t have enough corroboration that a thing is or not it doesn’t help you at all to believe one way or another. Having multiple news organizations repeating only the same facts that you already know shouldn’t change anything.

    I know for certain I’m being lied to and that God wins in the end.

    I might talk a big game and with a ton of confidence, but the only true convictions are those.

    • #29
  30. Gary Robbins Member
    Gary Robbins
    @GaryRobbins

    Django (View Comment):

    Steven Seward (View Comment):

    OmegaPaladin:

    It make me wonder why am I spending time on Ricochet at all. How the heck are we supposed to persuade people outside of the conservative movement (such as it is) when it is this hard to persuade each other?

    My first goal on Ricochet is to learn things. Sharing what I learn with others is still important but it is in 2nd place.

    We may not agree on much else, but I’m with you there. As I learned a long time ago, you aren’t learning much when your lips are moving. Same thing applies to when your keyboard is clicking. I learn a lot here, and even when I disagree, I experience other perspectives.

    Dogs and cats living together!  I agree with Django.

    • #30
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