Nuggets of Wisdom

Monday, June 23, 2014

Thom Hartmann Debunked (But Does It Matter?)

If you’re unfortunate enough to have any left-leaning friends on Facebook, chances are they’ve probably shared the following meme made by leftist radio pundit Thom Hartmann:

Being Classically Liberal

The good news is that Being Classically Liberal has written a lengthy yet thorough article debunking this nonsensical meme point-by-point. The bad news is that, well, it probably doesn’t matter.

You see, internet memes are easy to generate and even easier to propagate. Just open up Microsoft Paint, type in a few insipid talking points, attach a funny looking photo, and when you’re done, send it off into the interwebs through your social media outlet of choice.

Debunking memes, on the other hand—well, that’s a little bit more difficult. You have to spend valuable time and effort researching each of the points made in the meme (which both Google and Wikipedia have made much easier), gathering enough data to debunk said points, and then using this data to write a thorough rebuttal.

However, by the time you’re done writing your refutation, chances are the meme has already been seen and spread by millions upon millions of hapless rubes who are gullible enough to believe everything that shows up in their Facebook timeline and are too lazy to perform a simple Google search to see if the meme stands up to scrutiny.

And by the time you’ve published your refutation, chances are it will only manage to garner a quarter of a quarter of a fraction of the meme’s overall viewership. In other words, far more people would have already seen the meme before they have managed to stumble across your refutation of it.

That’s one of the most incendiary aspects of the internet: despite being called the “Information Super Highway”, its infrastructure allows for misinformation to spread much quicker than information. As the old saying goes, “A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is still putting on its shoes.”

But don’t let this get you down. If you see this meme floating around, put a link to the blog post refuting it in the comments. Hopefully, it will enlighten someone to the truth, but more likely, it will probably be dismissed with a flimsy excuse, like, “Oh, who cares what some random libertarian blog has to say? It’s probably run by a far-right think tank funded by the Koch Brothers.”

Right. Because some random meme on the internet with baseless talking points carries far more weight than a well-researched article backed by facts and statistics. Makes sense!