Critical Thinking 101
By now many people have heard the coined phrase from Rush Limbaugh and now other conservative commentators of the growing epidemic of “low-information voters”. Those voters who voted for “Hope and Change” in the 2008 election and even agreed to vote for the “Forward” motion of Obama’s socialistic policies in 2012. These voters tend to be more informed with the latest reality television episode of the Kardashians than who was nominated for the Secretary of Defense position. There is a whole generation of uninformed voting citizens, but what troubles me more is the lack of critical thinking among another group. I like to call this group of people the inept critical thinkers. This group is usually highly educated and they do keep up with the latest news and events with in our government.
Recently there was an article in the Huffington Post that was titled, “Thousands Gunned down since Newtown”. It included a map of all the gun violence around the country, highlighted with red dots, since the tragedy of Newtown, Connecticut. The article that accompanied the map described the recent tragic deaths of innocent children and people who were gunned down by acts of gun violence all over the country. To the inept critical thinker, this article and map would infuriate anybody. They think, “This madness has to stop. How many more people have to die by guns? We need to ban guns so that no more innocent lives are killed.”
However, to the critical thinker–who understands that the media draws attention by shock and awe–the questions start to spin their wheels inside their head. They think, “Why were the greatest numbers gunned down in cities like Chicago and New York that have some of the strictest gun laws? How many deaths were in self-defense? How many of the murders were directly related to gang violence? We know the three month number of deaths due to guns after Newtown but what about the three month period before?”
The critical thinker knows there is more to the story while the inept critical thinker reads and reacts.
There is a whole generation of inept critical thinkers and this current administration is counting on their lack of ability to think critically. Maybe it’s being manufactured in our schools and Universities. Perhaps, it is due to the digital age of constant visual stimulation without an attached thought process. Whatever the reasoning, there is a lack of critical thinking and with it will come more willingness to give up more freedoms and liberties. There is a generation that can’t form questions in their heads or even know how to reason through an argument. They have degrees and jobs and believe they are well informed but rarely question news articles or even know how to stand up to being challenged on their own beliefs.
Earlier this month, a new study came out from the Pew Research Center. It released a report showing that from 1993 to 2010, gun homicides decreased by 49 percent and other gun violence dropped 75 percent. However, most Americans believe there has been an increase in gun violence over the last decade. The agenda to sway opinion about guns seems to be effective because popular opinion is overshadowing reality and facts.
The inept critical thinkers are informed but they lack the ability to reason through information they are given. I am more concerned about this group due to the fact that they will so quickly give up their rights as a reactionary desire to bring about change. The only way the conservatives can reach these non-critical thinkers is to ask the questions. The conservative movement needs to highlight the questions that the biased media fail to ask. We need to nurture a generation that thinks for themselves and that encourages thinking before reacting. We need Critical Thinking 101 that teaches our youth to back up facts for what they believe and to reason through popular opinions. We are losing a generation that cannot think on their own and if we don’t get them to start thinking for themselves we will lose our free society.