True Independence Day

Toward replacing lemming thinking with free thinking.

Posted Jul 04, 2020

 No author listed/pxfuel/Public Domain
Source: No author listed/pxfuel/Public Domain

“Independence Day” has a hidebound ring to it, evoking an event of 244 years ago. Independence Day seems even less relevant in light of today’s growing suppression of independent thinking, yes, regarding the deconstructionist triad of race, class, and gender, but far more broadly.

In an attempt to encourage more independent thinking on this Independence Day, here are three other issues on which the marketplace of ideas is being truncated.

Psychology

Conventional wisdom is that counselors should mainly listen and criticize rarely. At least across the almost 6,000 clients that I’ve worked with. They typically appreciate and end up benefiting from the input and constructive criticism, usually dispensed tactfully, but sometimes directly, when that’s necessary to crack a wall of undue complacency. Whether you’re the provider or recipient of counseling, think of what’s been—not necessarily the most pleasant—but ultimately the most helpful. Is it time to question conventional wisdom in favor of some thinking that's more independent?

Education

Conventional wisdom is that live teachers are worth their cost. But think back to all the teachers you’ve had, especially in college and graduate school. What percentage of them do you believe yielded you sufficient benefit compared, for example, with if you had online video-centric, simulation-rich, interactive courses taught by a dream team of the world’s most transformational instructors? For 30 years now, I've been advocating for what I call UltraCourses, including to high levels of federal and state government, and in respected publications from TIME to Psychology Today, and everyone has said it's a great idea, but it's gone nowhere. Shouldn't we be demanding education that would be truly (ahem) revolutionary?

Selecting Our Leaders

Getting elected even to a city council typically requires four years of press-the-flesh, hypocritical fundraising in which you say A to extract money from group X and say B to extract money from group Y. (Or Fat Cats X and Y.) That process virtually ensures that the best and brightest people do not run for office.

As I’ve proposed in the Washington Post, elections should be 100 percent publicly funded, with campaigns just two weeks long, with one televised debate, the video of which would stay on Facebook and YouTube. Plus, a neutral body such as Consumer’s Union should post candidates’ track record and position on key issues. Instead of lemming laments about the current system and the inferior candidates it spawns (including both presidential candidates), isn't it time for thinking that's more independent? Compared with some other demands for revolution, isn't calling for a revolution in how we select our leaders as least as likely to benefit humankind?

The takeaway

So as you hear the fireworks (legal and illegal) and munch on the barbecue, I invite you to ask yourself, “To what extent am I a lemming, pressured by the Mob rather than thinking independently?

I read this aloud on YouTube.