Being Anti-Ignorance

Labels are used in politics because they work. Why do they work? Because people are not smart enough to evaluate a label before they accept it. They use the logic “if it walks like a duck, talks like a duck, it must be a duck”. They don’t see the fallacy of this way of thinking which makes them easy targets for manipulation.

In political campaigns its about manipulating the public to vote for you. Plain and simple. But I think we need to make this progressive movement about more than being cool. It needs to be about being against ignorance.

In science and math, something isn’t accepted as true unless it is proven. Well we need to prove everything we do. Whenever we state we believe something we need to be able to prove it.

I’d like to see a political convention where a candidate asserts his belief and then proves it on a chalkboard using all forms of logic and even math!

If we are labeled anything I want it to be “anti-ignorance”. What do you think?


I think this could be a basis for an idea. The problem with it would be two fold as I see it. First politicians are usually not the experts so while they may lobby for the plan well many will not explain it well.

The second is the tyranny of categorization which amounts to endless arguments of minutia regarding categorization. Once standards are established there will be endless policing of topics and definition / promoting your tribes jargon preference. In other words what passes for modern scientific discourse.

It might be asking too much for politicians to use chalkboards - or the population to pay attention if they did. But if we want to hold them accountable for what they say, we need a tool that allows us to fact-check them, force them to provide the kind of evidence and data that would go on the chalkboard, defend their case or admit their lies and mistakes. One such tool - created by academics & non-profit - is the Pro Truth Pledge. If it was boosted, so politicians would feel pressure to sign it, we could hold them accountable for the truth of what they claim & make them defend themselves again – something that the media used to do, when everyone watched/read the same news. Media could also be held to account by the pledge: the lies of Fox News could not be shared online without push back. If we want to fight ignorance we need to stand up for truth & use every available tool - and the Pledge could do a lot if we all get behind it, create pressure to sign it, and then use it to call out lies, demand answers, and auto fact check posts of all who signed it.

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Oh btw, they are hiring!

They would discredit it and render it meaningless within about 5 mins. Plus there are other fact checking organizations out there already, to name one. This is a very sophisticated enemy with almost unlimited resources. To beat em we’re going to have to look to Sun Tzu.

The heart of this idea isn’t bad. We had another similar line of thought on another post. I think just having information summarized would be great. For instance just a spot to track their voting record similar to profiles of professional athletes.

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I responded already but my reply was removed for seeming too much like promotion, but my primary point is that it is not fact-checking. There are lots of fact-checking sites out there - the problem is echo chamber(s), some people will never believe fact-check sites because they believe the fact-checks are biased or lies. Another problem is that many people never see the fact checks. My idea is intended to surmount both of these obstacles.

On the latter point, the idea would be to promote the Pledge as a challenge, so that in a fight between two candidates first one - say, the Democrat - takes the Pledge and then they challenge the other (e.g., a MAGA type) to also take it: to pledge to do their absolute best to stick to factual information; to admit it when they - it’s presumed unintentionally: the idea is to give the benefit of the doubt - stated something contrary to fact in any public arena & correct themselves or accept a correction or if they think that the correction is incorrect then amiably discuss evidence and try to come to an understanding of the truth together with whoever challenged the fact(s) in question.

If candidates for office begin to challenge each other publicly to take the pledge & news outlets also ask them about it, we could get them all on the record saying that they are willing to be called on for any errors they make (or of course lies). But the pledge is written in a very congenial manner - the idea is to all try, all act in good faith, all be willing to concede mistakes. It is well worth reading it before dismissing it.

But, there’s more: we can help provide not a fact-check but a context-and-analysis report, an AI-generated analysis that provides additional information from reliable/unbiased/scientific sources & analyses the initial post/article/speech and determines whether it seems to be opinion or a biased slant or a hard assertion – thus it might say “this cannot be fact-checked because it is clearly just someone’s opinion” or it might say “this sounds like propaganda due to the kinds of terms being used”, and the entire analysis is automated & will call everyone out using the same analysis, thus it should quite clearly be unbiased & call out left and right for using the kinds of words they do. It provides all the sources used in its fact-checks & background context information, so those sources can be analyzed in just the same way. This already exists, it uses chatGPT.

We can add to that a program which can search through posts/articles by anyone who signs the pledge - a user could search by state/office/employer or maybe it finds by pro-truth tag, should e.g., a candidate want to champion their authenticity. In this way, we champion truth and challenge those would decieve us. Democracy strengthened significantly. We just need to pressure people to agree to it – as every election puts pressure on candidates, and as journalism as a profession is supposed to pressure journalists to stick to the truth.

Oh, and Beto O’Rourke & Tim Ryan have already signed it - along with organizations and academics and others who want to stand for and champion truth over lies, prove themselves, and fight for facts over disinformation.