At a conference in Philadelphia earlier this month, a Wharton professor noted that one of the country’s biggest economic problems is a tsunami of misinformation. You can’t have a rational debate when facts are so easily supplanted by overreaching statements, broad generalizations, and misconceptions. And if you can’t have a rational debate, how does anything important get done? As author William Feather once advised, “Beware of the person who can’t be bothered by details.” There seems to be no shortage of those people lately.
[1) Misconception: Most of what Americans spend their money on is made in China. 2) Misconception: We owe most of our debt to China. 3)Misconception: We get most of our oil from the Middle East. Now tell me you weren’t surprised at, if nothing else, how pervasive things like this are without facts. Shoddy reporting and willful suspension of disbelief will take us far down this awful road.]
When the security issue was brought up, Rep. Mel Watt of North Carolina seemed particularly comfortable about his own lack of understanding. Grinningly admitting “I’m not a nerd” before the committee, he nevertheless went on to dismiss without facts or justification the very evidence he didn’t understand and then downplay the need for a panel of experts. Rep. Maxine Waters of California followed up by saying that any discussion of security concerns is “wasting time” and that the bill should move forward without question, busted internets be damned.
Bipartisan willful ignorance.
Four very important words: “What would happen if…”
They spark almost everything in design and creation.