Context, please!

Taking things out of context is epidemic. 

It truly pisses me off (can’t think of a better description of my sentiment). I’m sure others feel the same way but I’ll speak for myself.  (I find it humorous when politicians and media types say something like, “the American people won’t stand for it”. This is a bit presumptuous and, I think, egotistical on the part of the person making the pronouncement. Which American people? The polarization in our country today is palpable. It would be cool if these folks wouldn’t presume to speak for me.)

Taking quotes out of context is, “known as contextomy, the fallacy of quoting out of context occurs when an original phrase is distorted or a claim is misconstrued from its original meaning, by quoting it out of context.” Retrieved on January 31, 2019 from https://www.logicalfallacies.org/fallacy-of-quoting-out-of-context.html)

What is a fallacy?  It is, “a deceptive, misleading, or false notion, belief, etc. …a misleading or unsound argument. …deceptive, misleading, or false nature; erroneousness. Logic. any of various types of erroneous reasoning that render arguments logically unsound.” Retrieved on January 31, 2019 from https://www.dictionary.com/browse/fallacy

Look, there’s always a risk quoting out of context. Including a quote in a white paper, for example, should be done with care. The true meaning should be captured when quoting. To me this rises to the level of an ethical responsibility. To not do so is at best negligence and at worst deceptive, misleading, and false. In other words, it is a lie.

No political party, or scholarly group, or any other group across our societal spectrum is immune from criticism. It is an equal opportunity flaw in our collective character.  But it’s one thing to exploit in an academic debate; it’s quite another to make use of it in Congress. People have a tendency to believe what is said to confirm their already formed bias, and for other reasons. Their next step is to take action, like voting – – pretty serious stuff.

I find this infuriating (I get pissed off). And propagation by an agenda-driven media on both sides of the political/philosophical spectrum just makes matters worse.

I like to write and diligently work to improve my writings. If I quote somebody or something out of context. I expect and hope to be called out on it.

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