Cheap Wisdom: Not Worth Anything.

I love Yogi tea, and that can be an actual endorsement. It is good tea. But their little tags with “wise” little quotes can be ludicrous.  Take the one I encountered this morning: “True understanding can only be found through compassion.” Really? So you can only encounter something by first engaging with itself? Or what? When you

Cheap wisdom on the label of a tea bag
More meaninglessness from America’s most trusted source of wisdom.

realize that compassion MEANS the attempt to understand, not only does it become clear that the quote lacks any substance whatsoever, but that it is also backwards. And this is indicative of cheap wisdom, the intent of which is never to actually encourage thought, but rather to encourage passive acceptance. It  becomes insidious when applied toward broader social aims, and is a tactic routinely used in politics as well as commercial advertising.

This ought to naturally segue into a discussion on Global Warming or the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, two areas where this type of cheap wisdom seems to dominate the discussions on both sides of either argument. (Granted, most scientists are smart enough to avoid the cheap wisdom gimmick when discussing Global Warming, but frankly, who is listening to them?

For the most part, it seems that the real scientists just assume that the argument is clear enough and they don’t have to keep shouting about it because, well, it’s obvious if you just look at the data.)  Possibly more interesting (for this posting, anyway) than the actual data on Global Warming is the data on public perception of Global Warming… It is astounding how uninformed most Americans are willing to remain, even about things that truly affect them on a very real and direct level. But a much more directly and immediately serious effect of this sort of meaningless sound byte culture is being thrust upon US citizens by the Tea Party Republicans in the Senate and House of Representatives.

With the threat of a government shutdown over “Obamacare,” these so-called public servants are prepare to cost the American people more than the programs they want to dismantle simply because it is their current dogma, sold to their base in snippets of empty rhetoric as confounding as the lessons on a tea bag label. It is wisdom so cheap as to not be worth the binary code that carries it across a Twitter feed, which is to say, completely worthless. In fact, as Ted Cruz proved in his 21 hour speech on the floor of the Senate, he cannot even keep his own logic going as he attempts to use “Green Eggs and Ham” as a metaphor against adopting the health care law; clearly, he could not comprehend the message of the book, aimed at early readers, which shows that the character so insistent on not trying the thing that is being presented to him as good is FOOLISH for being unwilling to partake of it and, ultimately CHANGES HIS MIND because that which is being offered turns out to be absolutely wonderful…

So, Ted Cruz’s evocation of Dr. Seuss suggests that, even though he protests endlessly about “Obamacare” without having anything tangible with which to support his objections, in the end he will adopt it and be better off. To be true to the story, he will ultimately evangelize on behalf of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Of course, based on Cruz’s history, that might be expecting too much intelligence from him. The man, after all, has relied almost exclusively on selling cheap wisdom to advance his political career, and there is no indication that it is coming from either a place of integrity or a higher knowledge.

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