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The lifeblood of democracy

New York Teacher

I am pleased that Donald Trump will continue to be banned from Facebook. We will not be subject to his lies, misinformation and implicit racist language. But I am troubled that the public has to be protected from speech and ideas. This might be true if the body politic were a group of impressionable adolescents. We protect the young learners in all schools; the debates over what texts to include in any curriculum are commonplace and necessary.

If the powers that be can protect the public from ideas deemed “bad,” they can also be protected from ideas deemed “good.” Did the public lose its ability to discern truth from lies? Ideas, and the language that articulates them, are the very lifeblood of democracy and when the veracity of the assertions is arbitrated by any entity other than the public, we have taken a step toward autocracy. A greater emphasis on an education that emphasizes critical thinking skills where evidence is used to support assertions and ideas are examined from multiple perspectives might be a better solution to the problem of misinformation. Perhaps a course in propaganda should be a new requirement?

Larry Hoffner, retired