A Law against Fooling?
(Fun sidenote: Right before I hit enter the song “I can’t lie” came on shuffle.)
I wonder if it would be feasible to put a legal punishment on propagation of misinformation. This sort of thing is difficult because of the first amendment in the US, but I don’t think the idea is without precedent. We have in the US rules against speech built to put people in danger (Screaming Fire in a Theatre with intent to cause a riot) or lying about non-public figures in either print or speech.
Could we take these a step further in the US? Could we have a law against intentionally spreading misinformation about scientific studies with the intent to further business ventures? Lets say you are someone with major investments in oil companies, using your profits to constantly spread misinformation about climate change or the impact of oil spills on the environment. Would it be reasonable to expect some sort of punishment?
These kind of lies are incredibly damaging, not just to this generation but to every generation that will or may follow. Shouldn’t we show that we take knowledge seriously in the US? Show the rest of the world that there is no place in the world for lying? Even religiously, speaking from a self-proclaimed Christian nation, it is a sin to bring false witness to your neighbor. Now imagine, being found by your god to have not born false witness to a single neighbor, but to the entire world. If you are a believer in hell, I suspect there is few things more worthy of such treatment.
Each lie born of capitalist greed is a nail in the coffin of the future, the world is brilliant and beautiful. Surely it contains many natural horrors, forest fires, parasites, and poisonous ponds. But throughout all these you find life surviving and thriving, with each burned forest a new forest grows from the ashes. For each ant consumed by mind altering spores, hundreds of millions function in harmony. For every pond or stream of hydrochloric acid you find within life, moving about unaware of the dangers of their home, likely pleased with the harmony of the whole thing.
Oil is old hat, coal even older, and natural gas is a fools errand. Wind power is likely not the actual answer, but that doesn’t mean no renewable source is impossible to maintain. But for as long as it is profitable and easy for people to lie both literally and figuratively behind millions of dollars we will see our entire world advancing at a snails pace.
Yes new technology is soaring by us, but the most critical infrastructure to our comfortable survival has hit a wall and been largely stagnant for a hundred years. There have been changes, of course, the catalytic converter, hybrid vehicles, and more efficient forms of gasoline. But the basic limitations and construction of vehicles has not moved in an appreciable way, especially when considering in that same time period we went from not having airplanes to landing on the flipping moon.
This same misinformation is what leads the US and other nations to run away from Nuclear Energy, which I think is a true shame considering that if we walk away from Nuclear Energy the only heirloom of that whole heinous project will be massive stockpiles of WMDs.
Science needs to step up, we need to spark the dream again. Part of that will likely involve putting some sort of danger on misinformation. It should be no less heinous to lie about your neighbor on television than to lie about the safety of fracking. A group of the wealthiest people in the united states are pushing an obscene amount of money into creating a new religion, as corny as that sounds, and it is the religion of ignorance.
The returns on convincing people to be ignorant are astounding, this is why the food industry is pushing to make it illegal to take video of factory farms, why fracking will not allow anyone to know the chemical composition of the fluids they pump into the ground, this is why so many industries have shoved out laws under the guise of “national security”.
Worse still people are becoming jaded to the situation, we are annoyed by the constant shouts of wolf, the problem with this story is that the wolf is actually there. The townspeople have just been misinformed about what a wolf looks like.
“Look sweetie! Just like on the news! It’s a wolf!”
I realize I’m just a random smuck on the internet that you landed on because you were searching for dinosaurs (I apparently pop up for dinosaur searches often), but if you’ll do one thing for yourself this year, go into the science section of your local bookstore (or amazon) and grab a few books. Read some Feinman, some deGrasse Tyson, Carl Sagan, and beyond.
Get Interested, that’s really all it takes.
The only fuel that greedy people need is public Apathy.