[OPE-L] Crashes, Panics, and Expectations

From: Jurriaan Bendien (adsl675281@TISCALI.NL)
Date: Sun Mar 26 2006 - 06:42:05 EST


You wrote:

>I am skeptical  of this claim.

Perhaps I should add that, through the media, we are also constantly faced
with social phenomena that we have no personal experience of, making it more
difficult to evaluate them objectively or rationally, other than "by
analogy" with things that we do have experience of. But I think the argument
I made is basically correct, at least, in my experience it is. A majority of
Americans seem to have very little notion of the rest of the world. CNN
reported in 2002 that whereas young Americans "may soon have to fight a war
in Iraq", most of them "can't even find that country on a map". A National
Geographic Society survey found, that only about one in seven - 13 percent -
of Americans between the age of 18 and 24, the prime age for military
recruits, could find Iraq on a map. The score was the same for Iran.
Although the majority, 58 percent, of the young Americans surveyed knew that
the Taliban and al Qaeda were based in Afghanistan, only 17 percent could
find that country on a world map.
http://www.cnn.com/2002/EDUCATION/11/20/geography.quiz/index.html . The
actual survey is at:
http://www.nationalgeographic.com/geosurvey/download/RoperSurvey.pdf .

You wrote:

>Is ideology rational?  Hardly.  Yet, ideological beliefs often affect the
actions of classes and groups.  Propaganda exists and -- in some
contexts (societies) -- it can be very effective.  Do I really need
to give examples from the US (the social formation that this thread
has focused on)?

I suppose it depends on what you mean by ideology. Ideology would not be
believed, if it did not at least have a surface plausibility, if it wasn't
"reasonable" and "made sense" of experience in some way. And it cannot have
that status if it doesn't have some kind of "internal logic" permitting
ideological inferences. I wouldn't deny that propaganda can be highly
effective, but the point is that propagandistic claims which are outright
lies typically do not last very long in the credibility stakes. In other
words, ideology typically builds on a combination of false and true claims,
i.e. both on facts, and on the interpretation of the significance of those
facts, both on rationality and irrational belief.



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