Daniel Suddeath

Daniel Suddeath

Do you ever wonder if we've peaked as human beings?

We've conquered the planet, found cures for devastating diseases, and pushed the limits of technology. We can speak to people across the globe with the push of a button. We can video conference with our doctor without leaving our home. We can quickly access information that once took days, weeks or even years to track down.

Yet in 2019, we seem to be headed in the opposite direction.

Measles has made a comeback, along with other preventable diseases, because some people believe vaccinating children is wrong and dangerous. The internet is a powerful tool, but some of us believe everything that's published on it.

The Greatest Generation defeated fascism during World War II, yet there's been a rise in hate crimes in our country and other progressive countries in recent years. Many of those acts have been carried out by white extremists with similar ideologies to the Nazis that tried to take over the world.

Many educated people believe we never landed on the moon. Others think the world is actually flat.

"Fake news" is a term loosely thrown around by some of the same people who voted for a president who has made more than 9,000 false or misleading statements since taking office, according to an Associated Press report. And yes, I will take the word of the Associated Press over a politician any day of the week and twice on Sundays.

But of course there are some media outlets that we should have a hard time believing. CNN prosecuted Donald Trump before the Mueller report was even completed. Fox News might as well have an office in the White House with as much pro-Trump spin as they place on their coverage.

Are we bored by intelligence to the point that we've decided to dumb life down for entertainment?

Do we really believe the government is trying to poison us intentionally with vaccines?

Do we not care if the leader of the free world lies on a regular basis as long as he builds a wall to keep undocumented immigrants out of our country?

Are we OK with Nazi beliefs being spread and accepted in our country because some people apparently have a problem with women, Muslims and people of color finally getting a seat at the table?

There are people who stand to gain from making you believe the outlandish. Alex Jones is a great example of turning absurd beliefs into a lucrative career.

Jones was a ringleader of the staged shooting movement. He claimed the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting, where 20 children and six adults died, was staged, and his ludicrous belief garnered him quite a bit of attention and following from the same kinds of folks who believe Elvis is still alive.

But of course, when he was put under legal questioning last month in a deposition over a lawsuit from the families who lost loved ones during that horrendous shooting, Jones copped out and said he had a form of psychosis that contributed to his wild belief.

In a way, it's hard to blame him. People have made silly statements since the world began in the hopes of profiting from stupidity. You have to fault those who actually believe such foolishness just as much as those who espouse such idiocy.

Facts should still matter, but they don't unless they prove what we believe to be true. Even if something isn't factual, we are inclined to support it if it's in tune with our beliefs.

In a world where information, disinformation and misinformation can be spread as quickly as you can access your Facebook account, our lack of reverence for truth is dangerous and scary.

As my father used to tell me when I talked back with a know-it-all response, perhaps we're too smart for our own good.

Suddeath is the editor of the Glasgow Daily Times. His column appears in the Thursday edition and at various times throughout the week. Reach him at 270-678-5171, or by email at dsuddeath@glasgowdailytimes.com Follow him on Twitter @DsuddeathGDT.