“[F]or the most part, thinking is inherently and irrepressibly liberal.” As much as those who’ve drunk the Trump Kool-Aid (watered down, for sure) might want to deny it, these words by Jeff Kripal are true. Thinking itself is nearly always a liberal activity. This election has become one of propaganda versus thinking. Propaganda is, according to Oxford Languages, “information, especially of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote or publicize a particular political cause or point of view.” People who, I know for a fact, were taught about propaganda in high school (lots of little heads were nodding yes that they understood what propaganda was and then nodding no that they were never fall for it) have now jumped onto Trump’s propaganda bandwagon, claiming that facts are “liberal hoaxes.” Thinking is liberal. Thinking hoaxes, I guess.
Liberals, as I’ve stated repeatedly, don’t take anyone’s word for it. We fact-check. Herein lies the difference. If Joe Biden were to state that Democrats couldn’t win without cheating in the election, liberals would be all over this, fact-checking. Where did he get this idea? Did he cite his sources? Does science concur? And then if he were to lie about having said it, liberals would point out the contradiction. Trump’s followers, who have nearly four years of massive lies, well documented, taped, and public, to draw upon, simply deny he said them. The “liberal hoax” they cite is propaganda, by definition. It is not to be fact-checked because they might not like what fact-checking reveals. In high school we were taught about Nazi propaganda. We all understood. Now we conveniently forget.
This election is about trying to bring a deeply divided nation back together again. Trump’s lies from day one (biggest inauguration ever, although those of us actually there could see the lie clearly) have been about dividing and conquering. Most Trump supporters have no idea what liberals are. The very definition of liberal concerns broadening knowledge. Higher education teaches us not to take anyone’s word for it. Not only do Trump supporters accept his lies about liberal hoaxes, they simply dismiss the fact that liberals’ greatest critics are other liberals. We don’t sit around coming up with hoaxes—we hardly agree with one another! The most insidious thing about all of this propaganda is that Trump supporters distrust those who’ve seen behind the screen. They won’t, however, look for themselves. All the news from all the world lies, they say, if it doesn’t support Trump. Thinking back to high school, I can imagine no better way to illustrate propaganda. At least to those who were willing to pay attention to their teachers. For those who refuse to learn, education itself is all a hoax.