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Tom Toles
Posted at 07:30 AM ET, 10/05/2011

Mad men

I don’t know if “bad money drives out good money,” but the Republic is founded on the idea that with regard to speech, the opposite is true. Good words drive out bad. But times are testing that presumption.

Maybe speech was never considered a vehicle for thought. Was it? Seems like it must have been at one time, but hard to remember. Maybe it had something to do with quill pens. Thoughtful. Like a pipe. Now speech is just communications, which is public relations, which is spin, which is advertizing, or lying, or lobbying, which is power. Money is speech now. Money, the philosopher. Descartes, Spinoza, Greenback, Kant. Yes, money talks, and will not shut up. People listen. People think that what money has to say is quite interesting. Persuasive, like an open box of fresh donuts.

And then the internet! Oh the hopes we had for that, I mean this! A new public square, with a grassroots exchange of popular thought and wisdom. Until everybody found everybody else who already agreed with them and cyberspace-eloped with them and now just give each other online backrubs and pedicures. Even your web searches now are preprogrammed to get you results you’ll like! May not get you the world you like.

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Cartoon caption contest! Good captions drive out bad!

By  |  07:30 AM ET, 10/05/2011

 
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