Research Is Important

Tony Long took the words right out of my mouth:

“Still, do you regulate the internet to ‘protect’ us from ingesting information that is wrong, deliberately misleading, whacked out, even harmful? Uh-uh. That’s your own responsibility, as an educated participant in a free society. (The ‘educated’ part is a bit tricky these days, I’ll grant you, but that’s fodder for another column.)

There’s an old expression in the newspaper business: ‘If your mother says she loves you, check it out.’ In other words, make sure your bullshit detector is always on. Be skeptical of what you’re told, of what you read. Cross-check your facts with other sources. What applies in the newsroom applies tenfold on the internet, where anybody is free to post any damned thing they want to.”

“Protect the children!” It’s always the rallying cry of regulatory legislation. In truth, most proponents of such laws want to protect you from yourself. From being exposed to anything that disagrees with their worldview. Fact checking and research are important skills. That’s the real purpose of a college education. In a free society, people can lie. They can in a non-free society as well. The free society gives us a chance to call bullshit.

Wired News: Your Right to Be an Idiot


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