Today on my Facebook page appeared a silly, big-lettered admonition to the effect that “this year July has 5 Fridays, 5 Saturdays and 5 Sundays . . .” Never mind that it doesn’t. It goes on to say that this happens only once in 823 years, and if you pass on the message you will be rewarded but if you do not, you will suffer. Never mind the silly non-sequitur.
We only have fourteen calendars. January 1 falls on one of the seven days of the week (Sun - Sat) and either it’s leap year or it isn’t. Nothing on the calendar happens once in 823 years. All anyone has to do to know that is to check a perpetual calendar, easily found online by anyone who can post on Facebook.
What irks me most about this is the person’s gullibility, and more than that perhaps, knowing that most people would say this is no big deal. Here is why it is a very big deal.
Democracy relies on an informed citizenry that can tell the difference between fact and fiction, a citizenry willing to think critically and question everything. When people willingly accept things at face value, without questioning them or even being willing to have them questioned (she sent through the same thing a year ago), they can be easily manipulated. Charlatans can rule because they have no qualms about manipulating gullible people to achieve their ends; honest leaders have little chance when this absence-of-ethic prevails. Hitler understood this eighty years ago, and Fox and the right wing in the USA understand it today.
This sort of thing is why the right wing gets away with saying that both sides are equally dishonest, and why global warming and evolution are considered controversial, and why the people willingly - eagerly! - accept political rule that systematically redistributes wealth to a few on top, who aren’t even creating wealth or innovating anything except new manipulations of the capitalist system.
When I point this out, most people look at me as though I have two heads. They seem to think I must be a crank. Meanwhile, I’m watching my country and the world moving steadily and unmistakably not toward one cliff but toward several.
How many think I’ve accurately expressed what CFI is about politically? How many are willing to tell their friends when they’re making this mistake?