Free minds

The magnitude of information, misinformation, and disinformation that confronts an average citizen today is daunting. How does one sort, filter, and prioritize such quantities—let alone process the portion deemed worthy? Any foray into the information abyss can swallow unseemly stretches of time, often resulting in more questions than answers. And yet people find their way through to what matters most to them, not only self-educating, but further developing their capacity to self-educate. This is lifelong learning for real.

During a presidential campaign, this process is nearly as messy as politics itself. New information arises daily while other information fades. We are constantly updating what we know NOW, adjusting our thinking and behavior accordingly. Campaign managers have the job from hell. They can’t stay ahead of public discernment. The information flood defies control. People learn and adapt faster. Strategies that work once are less likely to a second time. Even money has its limitations.

There is some poetic justice here. Politics is marketing—and understandably, no people are more savvy to marketing than Americans. They sense manipulation long before they identify what the specific manipulation is. You might be able to lead here, but you can’t rule because American minds still run free.

“The price of freedom of religion, or of speech, or of the press, is that we must put up with a good deal of rubbish.”

— Robert Jackson