Amphiist: May 13, 2020
Analysis of Washington Post article
An #amphiist is someone who is not born of royal blood
But behaves in a naturally aristocratic manner
(with character, integrity and a minimum of bias)
An amphiist is someone who is emotionally intelligent (can see all sides to an issue)
An amphiist is someone who is self-actualized
(someone who is completely #authentic and at least on the path to reaching their #fullpotential)
Today’s #WashingtonPost says that Americans are worried that governors of individual states are easing up on #lockdown restrictions and #socialdistancing rules. The newspaper does not specify which Americans. As we learned from the 2016 election, when polls predicted a huge win by #HillaryClinton, polls are not necessarily reliable. I spend a lot of time on Twitter, and it seems that most people view the #pandemic as actually a #plandemic. Whether or not the #coronavirus was planned (it seems to have been by #China, although of course it is hard to know for sure), most people seem to be becoming increasingly frustrated by ever-changing rules that are applied indiscriminately and are always subject to change, depending on leaders’ self-serving whims. If the Post were writing from an amphiist standpoint, they would not pretend that ‘Americans’ all feel the same way about this issue. The average person on Twitter, unencumbered by a desire to please their superiors, but possessed of common sense, suggests that it would make more sense to quarantine people in nursing homes, and be especially vigilant about people entering one’s country from other nations (or between states). Many suggest that even if the #virus was not planned maliciously, American and other leaders are taking advantage of the situation to grab power, which does seem to be a logical concern. If the #virus was as contagious as it is imagined by some, deaths would be calculated in the millions rather than tens of thousands. The Founding Fathers would be rolling over in their graves if they know how quickly and enthusiastically Americans are offering their liberty up on a silver platter in return for imagined safety and security. #BenjaminFranklin has been quoted as saying, “Those who would give up essential #Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” In #Maslow’s #hierarchyofneeds (the top of which is #selfactualization), he mentions how the physiological needs of safety and security need to be satisfied before higher levels motivate people. As I always put it, if one is hungry, one is not concerned about Plato’s republic. But if leaders lie to us about what we need to do in order to ensure our safety and security, then the whole balance of our potential is upset.
Let’s examine more specifically the Post’s biased language when they use some statistics to try to manipulate our understanding of what Americans are thinking about this issue. They say, “Fully half of all Americans say in the poll that they think it will not be safe for gatherings of 10 or more until midsummer, including nearly one-quarter who say it will not be safe until 2021 or later. Just about 1 in 5 say they believe such gatherings are safe now or will be by the end of this month.” It is manipulative to say ‘fully half of all Americans’ and then give your favoured interpretation of the results, because a person could just as easily say that fully half of all Americans say in the poll that they think it will indeed be safe for gatherings of 10 or more until midsummer. Now let’s unpack the next part of the statement. Nearly one-quarter (25%) say it won’t be even safe in 2020, that Americans will need to wait until next year (2021!) to participate in gatherings of 10 or more people. However, again we see some manipulation. If only 25% of Americans think this (which in and of itself is in doubt since we don’t know many details about how representative the poll even is in the first place), then that accordingly means that 75%, a clear majority, don’t think this. But because there seems to be an agenda here with this article, the 25% is located. This would be fine if the other 75% was acknowledged. All Americans’ opinions should be highlighted, not just those which fit with a certain agenda. This article’s own statistics demonstrate that the clear majority of Americans believe that fairly large gatherings are fine and the lockdown is going too far. The word ‘later’ is also significant in the above quotation. It means that a quarter of Americans think that it might even be 2022 or even further ahead in the future before such gatherings will be allowed. The road is being paved for more extensions to the lockdown, which in general was only supposed to last for 2 weeks to begin with! Now let’s examine the last part of the quotation. “Just” about 20% of the respondents suggested that gatherings of 10 or more people are safe now. When the poll answers go against the article’s agenda, the word ‘just’ is used, but no such disclaimer is used when the opposite occurs. When the respondents’ opinion is that it won’t be safe for gatherings of 10 or more until 2021 or later, there is no ‘just.’ It is just presented directly. This is bias, plain and simple, with the article’s author using language to manipulate, rather than educate.
The bias extends to the very question respondents were asked. The exact question is, “When do you expect the coronavirus outbreak to be controlled enough that people can safely attend gatherings of 10 or more people?” The word ‘outbreak’ is not ideal. If you Google the word ‘outbreak,’ it means a sudden and violent of something unwelcome. A person could say that this simply described the virus perfectly, but in combination with the other aspects of this analysis, it seems safe to say the survey question is a bit leading.
Journalists are meant to be neutral and impartial. We should never be able to tell what a journalist’s or overall paper’s opinion is about a particular topic. We should be left guessing. We should simply be given all the perspective which comprise the issue. All stakeholders’ opinions should be heard, right, left, centre, apolitical, unsure, etc. That way, a fair-minded reader can evaluate each of the different perspectives and take truth wherever they find it. Of course, not all readers are going to be unbiased, either. We do not live in a perfect world. However, the responsibility of the journalist is a lot greater than that of the private citizen. Journalists should always be a watchdog against power, not a lapdog for power.
A natural aristocrat, remember, is someone with character and integrity. If the class structure was based on morality (which it should be), then a natural aristocrat would behave in a way that reflects the real upper class, people who display both characteristics. We shouldn’t judge people in general, but if we do and when we do, it should be based these characteristics, not someone who was born into a rich family, royal or otherwise. A natural aristocrat, based on the above information, would write an article that shows a lot of integrity. This can be accomplished through showing all perspectives on any situation and not manipulating readers. Additionally, the reader him or herself also has a responsibility to be a natural aristocrat, as much as possible. None of us is perfect, obviously. The reader’s responsibility with a subject as controversial as the coronavirus is to not jump to conclusions, to consider all of the perspectives that have been laid out by the journalist. And when dealing in real life with the issue, a natural aristocrat will consider the possibility that the government has an agenda, but will also examine whether they could be sincere in their doomsday approach to the virus’s solution. A natural aristocrat will not carelessly visit others, especially the elderly, without regard for their health, even if they feel like there is nothing to worry about, that the virus is basically just the flu. And a natural aristocrat will realize that what is right for one person isn’t necessarily right for another. For example, a person who can stay at home without losing their income shouldn’t just say that no one should complain about staying home. Conversely, we shouldn’t be outside thoughtlessly behaving in such a fashion that if we actually do have the virus but don’t realize it, that we will infect others. We can socially distance and still want businesses to open so the economy isn’t hurt. The key is balance. Stop people from crossing borders temporarily. Quarantine the vulnerable elderly in nursing homes. Perform common-sense measures but open the economy so that the solution is not worse than the problem. And remember, always: The government can create a problem so that a desired reaction results in people accepting a previously unacceptable solution. #ProblemReactionSolution
Disclaimer: The above analysis is not meant to imply that any individual journalist has an agenda or is acting in bad faith. It is merely to show how contemporary journalism can be improved to ensure that readers are acquainted with all of the necessary information in a non-biased way so we can all make as informed as decisions as possible.
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