Sheryl Attkisson, one of the last remaining true investigative journalists, had a segment on her show Full Measure last night talking about the “fake news” phenomenon, in which websites are now weeding out the stories that are “false.” It sounds great, this idea of not having to deal with untrue stories or misleading headlines, right? After all, says Attkisson, “who doesn’t want their news straight up?”

The problem, of course, comes down to a very basic idea:

Anytime you ‘outsource’ something that is your responsibility, you become not only dependent upon the entity you outsourced to, but you are now a slave to the paradigm they place you in.

Let’s take a look at a few examples of this.

  • You believe it’s the government’s job, not yours, to keep you safe in your everyday life. As a result, you don’t carry a weapon of any kind, relying instead on calling 911 or otherwise requesting assistance in the moment. The secondary and tertiary effects of this are obvious; you’re now dependent upon entities that may or may not get there in time, and may or may not protect you. In fact, the courts have ruled that there is no legal duty for them to do so.
  • You believe it’s the government’s job, not yours, to ensure that you have a “living wage.” As a result, you live outside of your means, don’t bother with things like budgeting, and generally refuse to take responsibility for your financial stability. You’re also broke and can’t figure out why you cannot get ahead.
  • You believe it’s the government’s job, not yours, to raise your kids. They’re in public school, Head Start, preschool, you name it. They’re getting indoctrinated six ways from Sunday, and they have zero respect for you, your belief system, or even your authority as a parent.

There are a thousand of these situations that we deal with every day, and information is no different. When we choose not to take responsibility for our own education or understanding of current affairs, we allow ourselves to become enslaved into a paradigm that we cannot control but are wholly dependent upon.

When we rely on curators for our news, we are basically saying we are too lazy to do the work ourselves. It’s easier, God knows, but it’s also putting us in a dangerous position. We tend to look for news sources that will report things from our own worldview; we claim it’s because other sources are “misleading” or “false.” That may be true, but what makes the source we choose a good one? Is it because the writer or the site already agrees with our take on a given subject? And is that really what we should be looking for?

In reality, we should be curating our own news. We should be gathering info from a variety of different sources, looking at quotes and data from a variety of different places. Whether we like it or not, everyone is human. We all make mistakes; we have biases, we have preconceived ideas, we put our trust in people we shouldn’t, we believe things we want to believe. And the best way to combat those human tendencies is with information and a clear process for distilling that info into something we can use to make decisions with.

We could get into a long discussion about “what is truth?” but the reality is this: It’s our job to study situations, to understand the players, the bigger pictures, the way these things will play out and affect us. It’s not enough to sit in a comment section and gripe about the status quo. It’s not enough to grab a headline or ten every morning. If we want to truly understand what’s going on around us it takes work. It takes research. It takes understanding and discernment — and we don’t have time for all of these things. We’re too busy commenting. We are too busy telling others how they’re wrong. We’re too busy scrolling through feeds and checking to see if someone responded to our comment.

One of the big sayings you hear a lot is that it’s far better to listen than to speak. I would argue that it’s even better to study, to collect information, to analyze it and turn it into something actionable and useful. Understanding information is key to being able to think for yourself.

If we don’t want to do the work, there are plenty of others who are more than happy to do it for us…and that’s antithetical to what we claim to believe.

In order to think for yourself, you’ll need to collect, analyze, and process your own information instead of relying on your favorite source for a quick headline scan each morning.

More on how to do that soon.

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