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Sept. 7, 2019

Facts, Facts, Whose Got The Facts? (EP.163)

Facts, Facts, Whose Got The Facts? (EP.163)


If given the same set of facts, people are going to have a much easier time having reasonable discussions and coming up with workable solutions to the known and enormous problems facing all of us.

But we are not all working from the same set of facts. Media, politicians and others with agendas they value more highly than the truth are insidiously successful in creating wildly different pockets, echo chambers, of opinions, insults and accusations masquerading as facts.

This is one of the most important issues of our day and is the subject of today’s 10 minute episode


One of our responsibilities as citizens it to understand what the truth is, what constitutes a sufficiently comprehensive set of facts, before we start coming to conclusions. And even before we even start a discussion about coming to conclusions. The law asks for, “The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.” That should be our standard as well.

In order to come up with workable solutions to the problems we face today, there are three things, in order, that we must do:

  • Agree on common goals. People of goodwill can always find ways to settle on common goals, no matter how controversial the subject. The key part here is not elaborate analysis; the key part here is setting aside egos and agendas and focusing on what is truly best for everyone. For more, please link to Common Goals (EP. 09).
  • Assemble the facts. And follow the courtroom rules for separating what is a fact from what is merely a claim supporting a point of view. 
  • Apply non agenda-based reasoning to the facts to reach the common goals. 

And when this process falls off the track, as it will, go back and re-anchor in the common goals. And start again.

Key question: Where do you go for your facts, your sources of information? For the vast majority of us, we live in political echo chambers. If you are hearing much the same thing on the controversial topics of the day from friends, co-workers, news sources and social media, you are in an echo chamber. And you need to get out.

Others are living in different echo chambers. And the people in one echo chamber are absolutely certain that they are right, and the people in another echo chamber are dead wrong. Do you remember when the leader of one echo chamber called the people in the other “deplorables?” And the leader of the other echo chamber responded with “Lock her up?” And all the while, both sides at least pretend to lament the lack of intelligent arguments and dialog on the major issues. For more on echo chambers, please link to Do You Live In An Echo Chamber? (EP. 112).

Here is a list of sources I consult on a regular basis:

  • Fox News
  • CNN
  • BBC
  • Quilette
  • Colorado Springs Gazette (local paper)
  • Denver Post (up the road)
  • National Review
  • Ben Shapiro
  • CBS
  • Real Clear Politics
  • Twitter. Yes, Twitter. It is a rich source for opinions, from well-known people as well as trolls, who voice opinions far different from mine.
  • People, especially those who have different thoughts and views.

In the absence of differing opinions from a variety of sources, people will rely on the opinions of family and friends, co-workers and their favorite news sources and social media. Outside of family, all the sources will be selected more for comfort and absence of frustration than political reasoning and diversity. Not surprisingly, they will pretty much share the same opinions. Similar opinions from apparently different sources reinforce each other and can easily be seen as a valid consensus. And with some notable exceptions (Uncles and Brothers-in Law?), families tend to lean one way or the other on significant issues, adding to the sameness. 

Remember the story about the blind men learning about their first elephant by feeling different parts of the animal? Those feeling the trunk thought it was a snake. Others feeling a leg thought it was a tree. Each group based their opinions on a partial experience, and each one of them got it wrong. The same thing is happening when we rely on people and sources who are focused on the same parts of our political, social and economic “elephant” to the exclusion of the other parts. Like the blind men analysing the elephant, they do not give any credence to the other parts. The blind men were completely satisfied that the part they had examined represented the whole, while the vast majority of political, financial and social commentators are aware of the other parts, the other positions and arguments–they simply dismiss them as inferior or hateful. In other words, each blind man was so sure of himself that he dismissed the other conclusions. People with political views are also aware of other views, they simply dismiss them as did the blind men, often with nothing more than an insult, as wrong or hateful.

Today’s Key Point: No single news source can be relied on–at all. If you want the truth, the facts, you will need to dig it out on your own. Here’s how: 1. Go to three or four news and information sources, only one of which you would normally visit. 2. See where the data and information from those sources overlap, and there’s the truth. And only there. Dismiss everything else. Is this time consuming? Yes. Will it be frustrating when you visit sources that disagree with you? Probably. Is it worth the time and energy required to get to the truth? For me, yes. What about you?

Segueing from the specifics of today’s topic to overall principles, the core, driving principles at Revolution 2.0, are:

  1. Personal Responsibility; take it, teach it and,
  2. Be Your Brother’s Keeper. The answer to the biblical question, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” is a ringing, unequivocal “Yes.” There is no other answer.

And do it all in love; without love, these are empty gestures, destined to go nowhere and mean nothing.

If we apply those two core principles, personal responsibility and brother’s keepers, simultaneously, never only one or the other, we will always be on the right path. Depending upon what we face, one principle or the other may appropriately be given more emphasis, but they are always acted upon together.

Revolution 1.0 in 1776 was built by people talking to other people, agreeing and disagreeing, but always finding ways to stay united and go forward. Revolution 2.0 will be built the same way.

Join me. Join the others. Think about what we are talking about and share these thoughts and principles with others. Subscribe, encourage others to subscribe. Act. Let’s grow this together.

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As we get ready to wrap up, please do respond in the episodes with comments or questions about this episode or anything that comes to mind, or connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. And you can subscribe on your favorite device through Apple Podcasts, Google, or Stitcher.

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Remember: Know your stuff, then act on it. Knowing your stuff without acting is empty; acting without knowing is dangerous.

Will Luden, coming to you from 7,200’ in Colorado Springs.