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should how to spot a liar in politics , be a subject in school?


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#1 nuser

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 01:26 AM

It is possible , I have lost it. Chrissake, Romney's new spiel is ,"Obama being a socialist ", he sold the little guy down the river.

#2 cmk

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 07:11 AM

I'm not sure if you really need a course in school to say "see if their lips are moving".
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#3 Practical Girl

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 09:22 AM

At first pass...LOL.

A second look, though, points out a serious question about standardized educational requirements in the US. When I was in school (walking 4 miles a day back and forth in the snow :) ), Government units were a priority from 1st grade on. It started under the guise of Civics and progressed through high school. There, depending on interest and aptitude, you either had survey units or full blown American Government courses. It was mandatoy. It didn't teach us how to tell bullshit from bubble gum- that was left to advanced courses like Critical Thinking and Logic at the high school level- but it did provide a decently accurate understanding of how government works and the contemporary issues facing America. Communism was a big thing then, but we left school with at least a passing knowledge of the differences between communism, fascism, Nazis and capitalists.

Now? From what I can learn from the Innertubes, states are jettisoning American government requirements as fast as you can sing School House Rock's "I'm Just A Bill On Capital Hill". It appears that what used to be a shared cultural education experience is rapidly disappearing. Makes me sad.
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#4 davisss13

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 09:50 AM

I had a basic consumer education class. I was taught 'bait and switch' as well as many of the bad business practices that are used in politics these days.

#5 Baron Siegfried

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 11:53 AM

I would love to teach a course in 'Critical Thinking to Keep From Being Had', with the announcement that the class will be self-grading in the sense that if you don't pass the class, you're going to wind up getting taken to the cleaners on a regular basis. A course in aggressive consumerism would actually be of direct and immediate benefit, though it would be fought tooth & toenail by the Chamber of Commerce and anyone else dependent on slack-witted customers. (the banks especially)
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#6 primrose

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 02:48 PM

View PostPractical Girl, on 15 February 2012 - 09:22 AM, said:

At first pass...LOL.

A second look, though, points out a serious question about standardized educational requirements in the US. When I was in school (walking 4 miles a day back and forth in the snow :) ), Government units were a priority from 1st grade on. It started under the guise of Civics and progressed through high school. There, depending on interest and aptitude, you either had survey units or full blown American Government courses. It was mandatoy. It didn't teach us how to tell bullshit from bubble gum- that was left to advanced courses like Critical Thinking and Logic at the high school level- but it did provide a decently accurate understanding of how government works and the contemporary issues facing America. Communism was a big thing then, but we left school with at least a passing knowledge of the differences between communism, fascism, Nazis and capitalists.

Now? From what I can learn from the Innertubes, states are jettisoning American government requirements as fast as you can sing School House Rock's "I'm Just A Bill On Capital Hill". It appears that what used to be a shared cultural education experience is rapidly disappearing. Makes me sad.

Oh and what they do teach is not good. My son in 2nd grade had a book about our government which put the executive above congress and didn't even mention the judiciary until much later. It spent as much time teaching them the names of buildings, which they were tested on, and said a good citizen picks up the trash and obeys all the rules. That definition sees to suit Singapore but not an active democracy.Putting aside the very real duties a citizen has in the constitution, juries, the draft etc. where is voting? Shouldn't we be teaching our kids it is their civlc duty to vote?

If they don't think the kids can understand it, then don't teach it all don't teach it wrong.

#7 HockeyDon

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Posted 17 February 2012 - 03:23 PM

While the title comes off as a bit of a light-hearted poke at how many people interact with the message politicians send our way, it does beg a bigger question about the state of the American electorate. There are a bunch of areas where we as a country need an improvement in our schools, and not just for the sake of our political process. Several of these areas of study would help our country begin rising once again in other areas.

Before I get too far into it, let me point out that I see it happening on both sides of the political divide. As it so happens the optics point to the frequency being much higher on the right than on the left, but that doesn’t mean the left gets off Scott free.

Some of these elements tie together, but I’m going to list them separately anyway.

Critical Thinking
To me, this is the big one. Far, far too many people are willing to think, believe, act, and say whatever some nebulous authority figure tells them to think, believe, act or say. We see it all the time in boiler plate, echo chamber comments from people that have hard wired their brains into the Fox News, talk radio and Red State style of propaganda. These people act as sheep, or as I like to refer to them “sheeple”.

People are conditioned to never question figures of authority. Once they get into that habit, they believe everything they’re told. They are told things like facts and data are irrelevant, Republicans are fiscally responsible, the economy is not recovering under Obama’s presidency, Sara Palin is smart (true statement from a co-worker last week).

Debate
For this I’m certainly not talking about the debate style we see all too often where one person simply shouts down the other. This is something I see politicians of all stripes doing, but for the followers I mostly see Republicans doing it. If I’m trying to point out that the economy has seen X straight quarters of growth, the other person simply increases his volume and rhetoric until I stop talking. This is not debate, this is dictation.

No, I’m talking about the sort of debate where you have to actually listen to the other person’s point of view, then if you disagree with it or think they’re wrong you point out why, preferably using facts or logic.

Logic
I debated with myself whether to include this one or not. I’ve seen far too many internet conversations devolve into someone pointing out their own superior logic skills due to taking a course in logic as a means to “win” the conversation/debate.

I ultimately decided it should be included because approaching problems with a logical eye outweighs the detriment of people that like to use logic as a bludgeon. The reason for this inclusion is how a great many conversations with certain elements of our body politic approach speaking to those of a dissenting opinion. I’m not just talking about “If Dems support it, a Repub must oppose it” sort of tortured logic. I can understand that sentiment if it’s to a lesser degree than what we currently see. This is more along the line of “We don’t like welfare queen pushing out welfare babies, so we’re going to attack Planned Parenthood because they help prevent unwanted pregnancies.” W.T.F.

Skepticism
This ties in with Critical Thinking. The fact that so many people hear a opinionator say something and outright believe it (even when that opinionator has at times told them not to believe him) without doubting his word is a terrible trend in… well, I was going to say our country, but it’s really in people in general.

Don’t believe anything people of authority believe just because they appear to know what they’re talking about. What is their ulterior motive? What are they trying to sell? P.T. Barnum was well aware that a sucker is born every minute. Don’t be that sucker when it comes to our politics.

This leads directly into the next item…

Research
People really need to be guided in how to look up stuff for themselves. You see it a lot in the younger generation (than me at 39 next Thursday). They use the internet profusely. From my vantage point they also seem to distrust “facts” given at face value and would rather look it up for themselves. At least compared to older people, generally speaking.

It’s one of the reasons they feel John Stewart and Stephen Colbert more than other sources of the day’s stories. This trust of two people on Comedy Central is often scoffed at by Republicans I encounter. What these Repubs fail to understand is the reason these “kids” trust John and Stephen. It’s pretty obvious they lean left, but when they point out glaring flaws with a politician’s stance on an issue, or point out how that stance has changed, they back it up with actual clips showing the inanity of that politician. Showing the truth – which, I’d be willing to bet, drives politicians crazy.

Government and Civics
This is nearly as important as Critical Thinking, but much more boring from a student’s perspective. Maybe it’s boring because we’re bombarding kids who can barely grasp how this stuff affects their lives. That being said, I don’t believe for an instant that we should skip or truncate teaching this. I’d be strongly in favor of overhauling the curriculum, but not dropping it altogether.

-=-=-=-


So, rather than simply teaching people how to spot a liar in politics, these are the areas I'd focus on in an attempt to improve our political culture. As an added benefit, several of these items would also be useful in other areas of a person's life.
Well, fuck.

How can I be expected to distinguish BS from reality when so much of my reality is utter BS?!

"There seems to be a lot of people dying of ignorance while living in the information age." my sister-in-law.

#8 Baron Siegfried

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Posted 17 February 2012 - 08:37 PM

Sadly, the only way to truly learn this skill involves painful toothmarks on your ass.
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