The Culture Of Bullshit: Lies Vs. BS

The Culture Of Bullshit: Lies Vs. BS

The political underlying of the terms "bullshitter" and "liar."

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I am currently in a political science class titled "Fake News: How To Identify and Refute It" at Arizona State University. As a Journalism major it can be hard to sit through a two-hour class bashing on the news, however, it is beneficial to hear constructive criticism and learn the political psychology of our leaders.

In this course, we are currently analyzing the study of bullshit by Harry Frankfurt at Princeton University. The essay is called "On Bullshit."

Throughout our discussion, our class could not help, but see the parallels between this essay and what is going on in politics right now. According to Frankfurt, we are in the culture of bullshit.

iamsdawson / Flickr

Although we have no theory for bullshit, it is very present in politics and the media. No matter where one stands, the facts are there are an abundance of lies told every day from the White House and there is fraudulent and fake media made by people trying to make a quick buck.

You might ask, what's the difference between a lie and bullshit? Or you might think there is no difference, but there definitely is and this is why the difference is crucially important for us to know.

A lie is the concealment of the truth and it has the intention to deceive. BS is a misrepresentation and a vague claim inspired by manipulation and motive. The bullshitter has an agenda.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fake_news

The bullshitter is arguably more harmful than a liar. The bullshitter is more dangerous because it is not easy to refute bullshit. When someone lies there is a quick statistic or a rebuttal.

The danger in lying is many people do not fact check or question people of authority. The war between the media and the president has encouraged refraining from questioning. Instead, many call fake news on information they do not want to hear, even if it is the truth.

While lying is dangerous, a bullshitter is harder to detect. Bullshitters have a motive and they might use lying to get their way. A bullshitter's motive is to say things that they do not know anything about, but claim they do. Through their confidence, their supporters will believe them and maybe not even question them.

The bullshitter not only does not know the facts, but they also do not care to know. Their lack of concern for what's right is due to their need for persuasion and the goal of their motives.

joshuawindsor / Flickr

Through this study, Frankfurt determines that bullshit is intended to persuade without concern for the truth. This is where the bullshitter is different from the liar because a liar cares about the truth and this is why they are hiding it.

The bullshitter does not care if what they say, do, or represent is true or false. The bullshitter only cares where they have persuaded or convinced their audience to side with their motives.

I'll leave it to the audience to see the political parallel to this language along with the crisis of social media promoted fake news.

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I'm The College Girl Who Likes Trump And Hates Feminism, And Living On A Liberal Campus Is Terrifying

I will not sugarcoat it: I don't feel safe on my own campus.

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I will get right to the point: being a conservative on a liberal college campus in 2019 downright terrifying.

At my university, I'm sure about 90% of the population, both students and faculty, are liberals. They are very outspoken, never afraid to express their views, opinions, and feelings in several ways. There are pride events for the LGBT community, a huge celebration for MLK day, and tons of events for feminists.

Then there's the minority: the conservatives. The realists. The "racists," "bigots," and "the heartless." I am everything the liberals absolutely despise.

I like Donald Trump because he puts America first and is actually getting things done. He wants to make our country a better place.

I want a wall to keep illegals out because I want my loved ones and me to be safe from any possible danger. As for those who are genuinely coming here for a better life, JUST FILL OUT THE PAPERWORK INSTEAD OF SNEAKING AROUND.

I'm pro-life; killing an infant at nine months is inhumane to me (and yet liberals say it's inhumane to keep illegals out…but let's not get into that right now).

I hate feminism. Why? Because modern feminism isn't even feminism. Slandering the male species and wanting to take down the patriarchy is just ridiculous.

I hate the media. I don't trust anyone in it. I think they are all biased, pathological liars. They purposely make our president look like the devil himself, leaving out anything good he does.

I will not sugarcoat it: I don't feel safe on my own campus.

I mostly keep my opinions to myself out of fear. When I end up getting one of my "twisted" and "uneducated" thoughts slip out, I cringe, waiting for the slap in the face.

Don't get me wrong; not everyone at my university is hostile to those who think differently than they do.

I've shared my opinions with some liberal students and professors before, and there was no bloodshed. Sure, we may not see eye to eye, but that's okay. That just means we can understand each other a little better.

Even though the handful of students and faculty I've talked to were able to swallow my opinions, I'm still overwhelmed by the thousands of other people on campus who may not be as kind and attentive. But you can't please everybody. That's just life.

Your school is supposed to be a safe environment where you can be yourself. Just because I think differently than the vast majority of my peers doesn't mean I deserve to be a target for ridicule. No one conservative does. Scratch that, NO ONE DOES.

I don't think I'll ever feel safe.

Not just on campus, but anywhere. This world is a cruel place. All I can do is stand firm in my beliefs and try to tolerate and listen to the clashing opinions of others. What else can I do?

All I can say is... listen. Be nice. Be respectful of other's opinions, even if you strongly disagree. Besides, we all do have one thing in common: the desire for a better country.

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Dear Young Voices Of America, Stand Up, Speak Up, And Do Something

Our time is now.

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Dear young voices of America, I think we can both agree that we are sick of being told we are America's future while simultaneously being told our opinions don't matter. Now I personally do not listen to the people that tell me I'm better seen than heard; however, I know there are people that are a little timider when it comes to raising their voices. I am here to encourage you to be loud and speak up on topics that matter to you. There is no better time than the present to make your voice heard. Whether you are advocating for change in your school or the government, your opinion matters and is relevant.

We are the future of our country. How are we supposed to evoke change and reform if we can't have our voices heard? I call bullshit and I think it's time to take action. Even if you're the first or only person to advocate for your cause, be that person. Don't be afraid of anyone that tries to stand in your way. The only person that can stop you from speaking up for yourself and your cause is you. No matter how many nos you have to hear to get a yes or how many doors you have to knock on to get someone to open up, never give up. Never give up on your cause, never give up on yourself or the people you're representing, just don't do it. There is someone out there that supports you. Maybe they're just too shy to raise their voice too. Be encouraging and be supportive and get people to take a stand with you.

It is never too early or too late to start thinking about your future or to take action. But don't hesitate to say something. The sooner you start speaking up, the sooner you have people joining you and helping you, and the sooner you start to see and experience change. So get up, make that sign, write that letter, make that phone call, take part in that march, give that speech. Do whatever you feel fit to get your point across. Shout it from the rooftops, write it on your profile, send it in a letter, ignore everyone that tries to tell you to give up. Maybe they don't understand now, maybe they don't want to listen, maybe they're afraid to listen, but the more you talk about it and help them understand what exactly you are trying to get across, they will join you.

Even when it feels like you have nobody on your side but yourself, I am on your side. I will cheer you on, I will march with you hand in hand, I will write letters and make phone calls and help you find your voice. My life changed when I found my voice and yours will too.

So dear young voices of America, the time is now. Your time is now. Don't be afraid of the obstacles that you may have to face. Someone is out there waiting for you, waiting to grab your hand and march on with you. As Tarana Burke once said "Get up. Stand up. Speak up. Do something."

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