“Build that wall,” and “stop the steal,” are popular media phrases that are designed to evoke an extreme response. If the voice of reason responded to some, it might say:
- If it were true that immigrants from the southern border are criminals and take jobs from tax-paying citizens, “build that wall” would be a legitimate policy alternative.
- If it were true that there were wide discrepancies in the validity of mail-in ballots, lax systems to track unregistered and dead voters, and tampered/hacked voting machines, “stop the steal” would be a legitimate possibility.
You can see where this analysis is going. One segment of our society will argue that the facts don’t support the inherent claims, and therefore the arguments are not valid. That would be a tidy way of explaining away misinformation. However, a second segment of society operates with another set of claims, and they are grounded in beliefs rather than verifiable facts. Will critical thinking help us resolve the conflict?