How More Information Leads to the Death of Research
There is simply too much information. It is all available in the pocket of our hands. Just a couple of strokes on the keyboard or a few taps on the phone and, boom, you have the answer to any question on your mind. But this comes with unintended consequences. More and more people are relying solely on the internet for their information. On information that is coming to them from second-hand sources. With each enumeration of second-hand sources, we get further and further away from the initial source, from the truth. People would rather spout off easy to digest platitudes than harder to stomach and understand facts. It is a baffling and ironic development; the age of information is coinciding with the death of research.
The death of research is no small thing. Sure, a tweak here and a tweak there might seem insignificant, but when that little tweak gets published to millions and millions of followers in an instant… and they all believe the 100% veracity of the tweaked comment, the truth gets adulterated. Especially when it sounds good. The better sounding the claim, the snappier the retort, the more likely it is to gain traction. This is the downfall of American civilization.
Overreaction? Maybe. But then again, when Americans are arguing for limitations on freedom of religion, restrictions on the 2nd Amendment, and completely open borders, the question becomes, “how did we get here?” Simple. The death of research; on no longer relying on your own eyes to see the truth and on your own head to be skeptical and to want to find the truth for yourself. When all information throughout time is within arm’s reach in an instant, of course taking an extra three steps to the bookshelf is going to seem like running a marathon.
Take a look at maybe the most American of all ideas; Freedom of Speech. Freedom of speech is absolute. Right? Well, we all know you cannot incite violence through speech, so it is not entirely absolute. But we changed the meaning of inciting violence, so what is the truth? There is the old platitude, “you can’t yell fire in a crowded theater.” Everyone knows this to be a fact. In American jurisprudence, you cannot yell something that leads to a riot and possible death. Well… except you can.
People love quoting the fire line as a means to show restrictions on free speech. The problem is; that ruling was overturned 60 years ago. How is it possible, with all the answers on the internet, so many people get this wrong? Nobody wants to read the cases. People propagate myths as facts and those myths are reiterated, and soon the world is playing the worst, dumbest, and most dangerous game of telephone in history. The primary sources are right there. It is all written down and archived, but heaven forbid somebody take the time to ingest all the information themselves. Why read in full when cribnotes and tweets are available?
We see this when it comes to the Second Amendment. The death of research allows people to make claims that are easily verifiable. Yes, it is an absolute travesty that mass shootings seem to be growing more and more common. But the arguments for tighter gun control hold no water to anybody that spends more than five minutes on the internet. Five minutes that are apparently too valuable to make a convincing, and substantiated argument.
They didn’t have high capacity guns. Let me introduce you to the Girandini Air Rifle. The Second Amendment was only meant for the militia. Even if that was true (it is not), the militia was pretty much everybody. It was just for hunting! Yeah no, it was to defend against a possible tyrannical government. Something something Lexington and Concord. Then there is the best and most egregiously false claim; there were restrictions/it did not mean you could own anything you want. Individual citizens could own cannons. Cannons? Seriously? Yup. Cannons. AKA the tanks of the 18th and 19th century. And not only was the government fine with it, sometimes they gave citizens full rein to attack other countries.
Critics of the Second Amendment complain modern-day Americans treat it as holy writ. It is as close to holy writ as possible for the founding fathers. People “are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness…” The founding fathers’ answer on how to ensure those “unalienable rights… endowed by their creator” is with the Second Amendment. I.e. here is how we maintain these things given to us by the “creator.” That is essentially holy writ.
Yes, research is tough. But life is tough. Doing things that come difficult are some of the most rewarding experiences in the world. Watching a log pile build up minute after minute and hour after hour is one of the best feelings ever. So too is making a claim and knowing your points are backed up by verifiable facts… and research. This article took 55 minutes to research and write. The internet is a wonderful place. You can do amazing things with it. Rediscover truths, learn parables, watch babies eat lemons. But it can also be a place of half-truths, deception, and outright lies. Where the Ideal Gas Law goes to die. Or where freedoms get abridged to cheers and celebration. The death of research leads to the death of freedoms. Do your own research. Skeptical of the claims in this article? GOOD! Do not take my word for it. The information is out there. Go find it before it is too late.