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internet-friendsSomething Larry said in a response to something I said, well it got me to thinking. I sometimes scare myself when I think, so tread carefully.

It’s almost impossible to look back and answer the question I posed. That is mostly because the Internet developed over time from something I am told was just “message boards” into live chat (IRC for those unfamiliar) to a burgeoning fount of information much of it worthless and untrue. Some of it is downright sick.

The hopes and dreams of many was that the Internet would be this wonderful free education venue. A lot of them are disappointed. However, I suspect that for many it does and can function in that capacity quite well. Among the intelligentsia, there is much publishing of papers which no doubt reach a much broader audience than might be imagined.

No doubt there is a down side to even this, as university types must be assaulted on a daily basis with “ideas” from those who have neither the background nor talent to offer a salient opinion or idea. Still, I’m sure it does function as was hoped in that ideas build on ideas upon ideas, coming from the most unlikely of sources. There is probably a lot more to be said for extra-disciplinarianism than meets the casual eye. I understand some think tanks specialize in bringing together an extraordinarily diverse group of people to “work” a problem. The Internet can function in that capacity without the formality of organization.

Among those who wish to simply learn, the major difficulty is developing an ability to weed out the chaff from the wheat. The Internet is filled with garbage, and only through care and critical reading can one be sure that what is being read is worth reading. There are no hard and fast rules for this, it’s instinct to a degree. But of utmost importance is discerning what the “bent” of the writer is.

For instance, I have a definite point of view in my writing, and anyone who reads much of any post will realize that. It is incumbent upon the reader then to determine whether what I say is backed up by legitimate sources (however that might be defined), and the number of sources. The more you find in agreement with me, the more likely it is that I am reporting fairly.

Religious sources can sometimes be awful sources, since they not only have a point of view, but one that they are often willing to have at all costs, truth be damned. The more stringent, the more care one should proceed with. And of course there are plenty of folks out there that use religion as their hook and then spew forth garbage. These people are looking to make a buck and know that the extremely religious types, if plied with the right language, will follow them to the gates of hell. Are you listening World Net Daily?

Stick with mainstream news sources, and be wary of individual websites. Don’t  not read them (stay here for goodness sakes) but don’t be citing them to others until you have hung around long enough to know whether they are just fun reads or they can be trusted factually.

The saddest and probably to me the most unexpected of the unexpected consequences of the Internet is the degree to which it feeds the fringe elements of our society. Nothing greater could have come along to the child pornographer I suspect. And nothing is more re-assuring to the truly insane than the ability to find others who share your illness.

Left to their own devices the stupid person generally realizes as some point that they are stupid and reacts accordingly. They tend to be followers. They do their job, don’t ask questions, and try mightily to get along in a world that they can perceive is a step up the ladder from them. They are generally harmless and nice people for the most part. You can trust them to get your mail when you are on vacation.

But turn these suckers loose on the Internet, and a monster is born.

A strange thing happens when a stupid person gets the hang of the Inter-tubes.

They meander around until they find other stupid people like themselves.

Instead of bemoaning their lot in life, or working on strategies to overcome their limitations, they rejoice!

In stupid land, more stupid means they ain’t really stupid at all!

They determine though their comparison of notes that THEY actually know what is wrong with the world and it is the stupid smart people who are really unable to see the true nature of the problems and their solutions.

They become Tea People. They become Preppers. They become conspiracy theorists. They become monotonic boomboxes for “a cause”. They are Chicken Little, cloned ten thousand times over. They are patriotic! They are Red, White and Blue. They are willing to sever the ties that bind us, in defense of “our liberties and freedoms”.

They are in a word stupid.

Their favorite game is to collect the talking points given to them by the grifters of the world, and shout them day and night. Their second favorite game is to repeat everything negative said about them to the “others”. If stupid people project their own personal fears and insecurities upon the world, then they reply, libs just are  afraid to get off the government teat and fend for themselves like “real people” do. They don’t know what any of this all means, it’s just memorized claptrap to them.

These are the same people who said “government hands off my Medicare”, yet now thanks to Rush (Obama is Santa Claus), Romney, (the 47%), and Ryan (the takers), we hear nothing else but how they are the ones who make all the money and then the government takes and hands it out to “us”.  Except the vast majority of  them live in states that get more in federal funding than they ever pay out in taxes.

Go figure. You will have to figure it out see, cuz they just scratch and look puzzled, and then look in their mantra handbook and start a new chant.

So thanks Internet.

We have a love-hate relationship.