If I could train every newborn child in this country to think for himself, the first thing I would do is to make him express his own opinions without letting him hear my opinions or the opinions of others, including the experts.
Essentially, there are some basic storylines that our lives revolve around and we build on those themes throughout the years. We change the dialogue to fit the circumstances, but we’re repeating certain patterns in our behaviors and thought processes.
With that in mind, it’s not too difficult to imagine how many opinions are formed based on the books we read, the news programs we watch, the people with whom we interact, our employers, teachers, parents, friends, opponents, etc., and how deeply our thinking is affected.
Most of the people I’ve met are lazy thinkers. They regurgitate the viewpoints of other people and, when you ask them to expand on what they were saying, they are stymied.
I remember a time when news anchors just reported the news; they didn’t give their opinion, although there were people who had a small segment, at the end of a news program, who were hired to give opinion pieces. But for those newscasters covering the hard news, most people would have had a hard time trying to figure out their political leanings.
This brings us to the crux of the problem as to why so many people are lazy thinkers. If your newscasters are telling you how to think about domestic and foreign policy, all you have to do, in its most simplistic form, is to decide whether you’re a liberal or a conservative and just repeat the viewpoint of your favorite liberal or conservative.
The country has never been so divided on social issues as it is today. Even the Supreme Court is so divided on religious issues that it can no longer function the way our founding fathers intended it to function, based on the rule of law, not as a popularity contest or a religious platform.
And where are our thinkers in all of this? They are just repeating the thoughts and words of their favorite teachers, employers, politicians, newscasters, writers, comedians, friends, radio personalities, and actors and actresses. But where are their own thoughts? Unfortunately, they seem to be lost in the morass of public opinion.