A virus attacks our immunity
We are by now probably exhausted from the news and worries and precautions taken regarding how Çovid-19 is attacking our immunity. The tiny but deadly virus can attack any of us, regardless of age, race, religion, wealth, or education. The first responders, heroes all, scramble to protect and save as best they can with what they have at hand. It’s bravery we can witness every minute, every hour, every day. Herd immunity is longed for, a precious life-saving state that may be long months or even years away. Other virus waves are in our future.
A mindless virus lives among us
There is the need for another immunity as well. It’s an immunity we need against a pervasive enemy that already lurks within us. It has many names. Some are quite elitist while others at the other end of the name-calling spectrum are rather crude. Be it cognitive bias or uncritical thinking or gullibility or stupidity, we all fall victim to its contagious debilitation.
Marina Gorbis and Nick Monaco, Executive Director and Director, respectively, of the Institute for the Future (IFTF), tell us that, “To Protect Democracy We need to Upgrade our Cognitive Immunity,” saying:
We are living in an unprecedented information environment. Our attention is monopolized and fractured by a multitude of devices, applications, websites, and notifications. Manipulation has never been so easy or so refined. … Traditional strengths of democratic systems — diversity and freedom of expression — are making us particularly vulnerable to a growing army of media and information manipulators.
David Remnick in The New Yorker article, “How the Coronavirus shattered Trump’s Serene Confidence,” further explains misinformation:
Misinformation and cant, along with a kindred scorn for science and professional expertise: these things are pathogens, too. Counterfeit facts can polarize, alienate, disaffect, rouse misdirected rage, and foment social division. They have long come at a cost to our civility; at a time of pandemic, especially, they also come at a cost in human lives.
The evidence touches all of us. Surely, you have friends, neighbors, and relatives who take in the news amidst our deep political divides and see a different reality than do you. Are you correct? Are “they” wrong? Is there even a middle ground anymore? Reality becomes murky because of the (let’s call it) mindless virus from which we need a multi-faceted vaccine to shore up our immunity.
The mindless virus shows us who we are
The IFTF paper, Biology of Disinformation, points out that:
The power of both biological and media viruses reveals less about themselves than they do about their hosts.
Douglas Rushkoff, media theorist and professor at ITFT tells us in the same paper:
[A] media virus needs a novel, unprecedented use of media to act as its shell. An outrageous recording, Tweet, surveillance video, or live stream. Once it spreads, the virus only infects our society if it can challenge our cultural code. … we must become smarter media users and consumers.
Bertrand Russell, British philosopher mathematician, and Nobel laureate was quoted by Brian Gallagher in Pocket Worthy, “The Case for Professors of Stupidity” as he explained the organized fervor of stupid and brutal people (referring to Hitler):
[The] fundamental cause of the trouble is that in the modern world the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt.
One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid, and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision.
The mindless virus challenges EVV
One of the frustrating aspects I face as I tout the significance, the value, and benefits of Equal Voice Voting (EVV), is two-fold: lack of curiosity and satisfaction with the status quo. Both are symptoms of the mindless virus, just as fevers, coughs, and drops in oxygen levels are for Covid-19.
I always support my claims by sharing the findings of the past 15 presidential elections analysis. The comparisons between what occurred in those elections and what could have been had EVV been used are stunning. They’re based on hard evidence, solid mathematical results, tangible outcomes that show we can honor the Electoral College with a simple modification to the process. It’s a modification that requires no U.S. Constitutional amendment nor any kind of interstate compact.
Such facts are not an inoculation. They do not nurture our immunity against the mindless virus. No, the virus prevails because, well, it’s easy to turn away and suffer what we currently suffer: the silencing of the nation’s voters.
Our immunity demands repeated vaccinations
To realize immunity from the mindless virus, one has to question the facts as they are presented. We must question their source, their purpose, their connection to other facts. We must also allow for a healthy dose of common sense, that elusive elixir that points out that some things don’t add up. Some things deserve more questions. Some things should not be accepted on face value.
These approaches may form a winning immunity strategy, but it will require many inoculations, many opportunities to heal, to become stronger, and to prevail. It takes time and persistence and lots and lots and lots of patience.
Gallagher closes his article by quoting David Krakauer, President of the Santa Fe Institute:
If you were to ask yourself what’s the greatest problem facing the world today, I would say it would be stupidity. So, we should have professors of stupidity—it would just be embarrassing to be called the stupid professor.
All of us could probably benefit by learning from a Stupid Professor how best to overcome the mindless virus.
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By Jerry Spriggs and the Equal Voice Voting Team