• Ollie Horsfall

Uneducated Arguments: the State of the World

Photo by Daria Shmalts

It's pretty accurate to say that I'm not a big fan of the state of the world right now. I think we can all agree that the human race often seem to have come so far and then, somehow, we find a way to fuck it up.

It's a strange dynamic where the last President of the United States was a black democrat who was a staunch supporter of equal rights and the celebration of a free world, to a man who is, by all standards, garbage in a wig.

The UK is no better, except the piece of garbage running our country hasn't had much of a legacy to live up to. Somehow he's failing to do so anyway, with Theresa May now seeming like the best of a bad lot. The world, whilst finding everything more offensive and being more connected on a global scale, still manages to wind up shooting itself in the foot because humanity as a species seems to need to deconstruct itself every century or so.

I was sat having lunch with my parents the other day and the subject of politics came up. Usually when it does my dad and I are liable to fall out. We have very different ideas on how to heal the world, and 'just enough' similar beliefs that it might, just occasionally, turn into a pleasant discussion.

Not this time.

After the very tense discussion that took place about how much of a moron Boris Johnson is, it was apparent I had become pretty aggressive in my stance after having my lack of present evidence brought into question. Having had a few days to consider why this might be here are my thoughts...

The future belongs to the young, the future by all standards and rights should be decided by those with the sense to realise we aren't living in the 20th Century anymore. In an ageing world where life-expectancy is on the rise, the word 'young' counts for older and older people. The established governments of the world have been around forever and yet they haven't changed much to match the changing dynamic of the planet we live on.

The fact is, we are drowning in information - a lot of it is made up these days so we have chosen to ignore what's in front of uswith or without evidence, in lieu of simply choosing to side with our natural bias. We can't even rely on our established governing bodies to give us the right information so we can't then make any real decisions about how things are run as a democracy. Democracy has become about manipulation, not information.

We no longer have the choice of looking at two sides of a situation, we simply have to pick one or the other because we can't be bothered to research or even try and look at a situation from both sides. If we make the wrong choice, we can't then change our mind since it was a personal decision that has to be stuck by. If, however, we decide to do research, and we come to a logical conclusion it's easier to have our minds changed by new evidence. It doesn't matter if it's a decision to 'leave' or 'stay'... or Democrat or Republican or Vegans vs Meat-eaters because we have all of the information we need in order to argue for and against it so we can have an OPEN discussion. An educated decision is at least justifiable by the standards of anyone who values cognitive thought.

So, why am I pissed off? Okay so, let's say that someone votes 'Leave' for all of the reasons they want to, vaguely educated or with the best of intentions (I can only assume people who make any decision to vote one way or the other do so with 'the best of intentions') and then that decision turns out to be wrong. It's a vote that does nothing but damage the economy, the reputation of the country, allows extremists to have a voice on the global stage, allows liars to get away with it because 'the will of the people has to be enacted' regardless of whether it was based on their lies or not, and is just really bad for patriotic morale.

If you made an educated decision based on the potential merits and it turns out to be wrong: you have new evidence and you'll likely be more willing to change your mind. If you made a decision based on a bias: anti-immigration, or anti-EU or just because it 'felt' like the right way to vote then your evidence is based on your feelings, it's hard to change the mind of a person who has made a choice based on a feeling.

Feelings are intangible and unwavering. We are creatures that exist to feel everything. Touch, taste, smell, sight and hearing - a feeling usually straddles all of these things and when something is felt we trust it beyond what common sense might tell us.

I'm pissed off because no-one is willing to really infom themselves on a deeper level than 'I see it this way and anything else is just [insert bias label] bullshit.' We live in a world full of bias and feelings - if we feel uncomfortable about something we have every right to stand up and shout about it - of course no-one is doing this outside of commenting on facebook and twitter posts and feeding this idea that social justice warriors are simply PC cowards.

There's plenty of people doing good in the world, but we are being taught to ignore evidence because it doesn't suit how we feel. Where's the sense in that? We've got some huge battles to fight when it comes to climate change and human rights, let alone equal rights, animal rights the devaluation of art, the deconstruction of the human spirit. We have to be willing to talk sbout it, not argue and not expect others to have all of the answers or to know them all ourselves.

Peace requires open mindedness. Be willing to explore the idea that you might be wrong, it's the only way we're going to start swinging the pendulum back the other way.


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