Missing Pieces

Minorities and marginalized segments of our population have long pleaded for fairness, something that needs buy-in from all sides and infers equal consideration for every individual. Does the phrase, “dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal” sound familiar? Lincoln’s words may be idealistic, but the America I grew up with respected the phrase as a worthy objective, even if we failed to live up to the sentiment in practice. Without tolerance and compromise, someone will be left out of the “fairness” equation.

Never mind the “well-bred” or “refined” attributes. We’ve moved too far toward political extremism to think these are qualities that might impact 21st century society. Anyone with a following on YouTube, Reddit, Instagram or Tik Tok can proclaim truth as they see it without the need for a scholarly peer review. Lay person responses, arguments and debates unfettered by examination of primary sources are fueling deep-seated beliefs. Can a growing army of the uninformed match wits with AI? Will AI draw its information from unreliable sources? Technology has already fallen short in the dream of an information age and led the charge into a dis-information age.

There is merit in exercising courtesy and restraint in daily interactions, qualities that seem to wane as people dissatisfied with their lot in life allow anger to fester. Those born into this age where easy information rests at the fingertips aren’t the only perpetrators. An older generation that remembers investigative research has become lazy, relying on quick answers to basic questions.

The unfortunate consequence of wide-spread ignorance is an increase of intolerance, disgust and impatience for people who don’t have shared views. Arrogance from those who are social-media educated leads to discounting testimony from people who have gathered factual information.

This is not the mark of an intelligent, advanced civilization. Nor is it particularly humane – or civilized – in nature.