What The Amy Coney Barrett Controversy Tells Us About The Current State Of Information Dissemination
- October 27, 2020
- Posted by: Craig Chamberlin
- Category: Social Media
“The downside of this form of elevation is that it is not representative of what people ought to see, rather it is representative of what they want to see. People do not generally follow a personality of those who challenge their own worldview.”
Amy Coney Barrett’s recent confirmation as Supreme Court Justice illustrates that we’ve reached a new era of information dissemination. Traditionally, information was restricted by the infrastructure and expertise necessary to publish and release content. Because the barriers to entry on releasing data and information are now eliminated, nearly any free thinking mind can express their views on any subject, at any moment. While this is an excellent move in the direction of conversation and speech, it also creates a new dilemma. How does one navigate, process and accept the volume of information at hand?
Traditionally, hierarchies of skill created a level of authority on our information sources. These hierarchies came in the form of college education, hiring requirements, work history, and niche ability. The enforcers of this information were typically news station and newspaper managers, who who selectively choose those who best fill in the areas their publication was lacking. The ultimate goal was to find an expert in that specific niche who could best articulate the issues from that perspective.
Given the sheer volume of information at hand, it becomes increasingly difficult to rise above the fold. Rather than relying on a publication manager, the internet community at large is elevating personalities above the fold that best represent themselves. One seemingly obvious side effect of this type of elevation is bias. If a community of like minded individuals are elevating personalities, it makes perfect sense that those personalities would mostly reflect the views of those who elevate them. In other words, you find the “authority” on conservative news, or liberal news, or gaming news, etc.
“This is where the nasty word “tribalism” re-emerges. What we are witnessing is the elevation of modern day tribal leaders. Each leader is representative of the tribe that elevates them above the fold within the social framework.”
The downside of this form of elevation is that it is not representative of what people ought to see, rather it is representative of what they want to see. People do not generally follow a personality of those who challenge their own worldview. In fact, the default condition of most individuals is to follow that which follows the path of least resistance. Therefore, it is only logical that those who rise above the fold are the ones who make their worldview most palatable.
This is where the nasty word “tribalism” re-emerges. What we are witnessing is the elevation of modern day tribal leaders. Each leader is representative of the tribe that elevates them above the fold within the social framework. While this seems excellent, in theory, there is largely a group that goes unrepresented – the individual. An individual does not generally possess the ability to rise above the fold in terms of group representation because they are, by nature, unique.
Which leads us back to the Amy Coney Barrett controversy. What we are witnessing in our current information exchange are the cultural representative views of the current cultural leaders. We are failing to parallel these views against a standard, because standards are simply no longer accepted on this plane of discussion. It would be difficult for one to fully appreciate any conversation taking place without a deeper understanding of the tribe. Given the war between the tribes and what each believes, it is difficult to even know where one would start to understand the core standards they believe.
“The elevation of cultural leaders is a fundamentally flawed methodology for interpreting information. We have “outsourced” the interpretation of information to the cultural leaders rather than formulating our own views on the facts presented to us.”
To add insult to injury, even if one could disseminate each cultural leader’s views through the appropriate lens of their tribe, one would still not necessarily hear what they ought to hear. The elevation of cultural leaders is a fundamentally flawed methodology for interpreting information. We have “outsourced” the interpretation of information to the cultural leaders rather than formulating our own views on the facts presented to us.
Whether one agrees or disagrees with the Amy Coney Barrett nomination is irrelevant. What this issue speaks too is our current culture’s inability to extract the facts at hand and derive our own personal viewpoint on the subject. It is much easier to “join a side” and revert into tribalism. The other alternative, which is likely to be the best remedy, is to not participate at all. It is sometimes best not to express one’s own views on subjects they are not authorities on. Practicing humility is frequently never the wrong position to take.
The solution to this problem appears to be two-fold. First, it’s to not participate in the elevation of cultural leaders as the core interpreters of the facts at hand. Second, it’s to equip ourselves with the facts at hand so that we can formulate our own individual worldview on the subject. The only exception to these rules, of course, are if the cultural leader you are lifting up is fundamentally pushing for the individual interpretation of the facts at hand – and not their own.