When posting here I'm often reminded of Plato's Republic. There are certain individuals in particular who post here, that remind me of the poor souls chained to the floor of the cave.
I welcome any all all dialogue.
To those of you not familiar with the allegory, please read. I have edited my own thoughts in red as to how it relates to Sarah84.
Socrates begins by describing a scenario in which what people take to be real would in fact be an illusion. He asks Glaucon to imagine a cave inhabited by prisoners who have been chained and held immobile since childhood:(sarah84) not only are their arms and legs held in place, but their heads are also fixed, compelled to gaze at a wall in front of them. Behind the prisoners is an enormous fire, and between the fire and the prisoners is a raised walkway, along which people walk carrying things on their heads "including figures of men and animals made of wood, stone and other materials"(Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh etc.) The prisoners can only watch the shadows cast by the men, not knowing they are shadows. There are also echoes off the wall from the noise produced from the walkway.
Socrates asks if it is not reasonable that the prisoners would take the shadows to be real things and the echoes to be real sounds, not just reflections of reality, since they are all they had ever seen or heard. Wouldn't they praise as clever whoever could best guess which shadow would come next, as someone who understood the nature of the world?(this in particular is how Sarah84 views herself) And wouldn't the whole of their society depend on the shadows on the wall?( This would explain why Sarah84 so vehemently defends the honor of Palin)
Socrates next introduces something new to this scenario. Suppose that a prisoner is freed and permitted to stand up. (This in my opinion is most people by the time they reach age 16) If someone were to show him the things that had cast the shadows, he would not recognize them for what they were and could not name them; he would believe the shadows on the wall to be more real than what he sees.
Suppose further, Socrates says, that the man was compelled to look at the fire: wouldn't he be struck blind and try to turn his gaze back toward the shadows, as toward what he can see clearly and hold to be real? What if someone forcibly dragged such a man upward, out of the cave: wouldn't the man be angry at the one doing this to him? ( This analogy perfectly describes the difficutly with explaining to Sarah84 and the rest of the tea baggers why they're wrong and why they resist the truth) And if dragged all the way out into the sunlight, wouldn't he be distressed and unable to see "even one of the things now said to be true", viz. the shadows on the wall (516a)?( explains why fear mongering works so well in politics)
Socrates next asks Glaucon to consider the condition of this man. Wouldn't he remember his first home, what passed for wisdom there, and his fellow prisoners, and consider himself happy and them pitiable? ( This is every non-tea bagger, most Americans by age 14). And wouldn't he disdain whatever honors, praises, and prizes were awarded there to the ones who guessed best which shadows followed which? (Sarah84 once again) Moreover, were he to return there, wouldn't he be rather bad at their game, no longer being accustomed to the darkness? "Wouldn't it be said of him that he went up and came back with his eyes corrupted, and that it's not even worth trying to go up? And if they were somehow able to get their hands on and kill the man who attempts to release and lead up, wouldn't they kill him?"( This last line in particular is relevant to our current political atmosphere. For somebody who recognizes politics for what they are. This line explains the anger between us all the last part in particular is scary when you consider we now have people bringing guns to Obama's town hall meetings).
I guess my final question is, how do we as a group work to destroy the misinformation, or the "shadows on the wall". If we work to stop the mis-information we're practicing censorship and inhibiting free speech. How do we counter the information when the people we are trying to reach are chained to the floor and will scratch and fight and resist any attempt to show them the light?
How do we help poor people like Sarah84? I'm concerned for her. I'm concerned for us all.