Take a stand against the dumbing-down of the world, and write clearly, concisely and truthfully.
You may be surprised to learn how many people don’t grasp basic facts about the world, but you shouldn’t pander to those who aren’t educated to your standards. As a writer, as someone with a powerful message, as someone who’s building a platform for his or her ideas, you should do what you can to elevate the national discourse (or the discourse between you and your readers). By stating what you mean and backing it up with the facts you’ve accumulated.
A recent blog entry on The New York Review of Books website leads off with this disturbing thought, “Widespread ignorance bordering on idiocy is our new national goal.”
Of course, this being a presidential election year, lies are rampant and ignorance is inevitable. And the U.S. has never been free of dopey public opinions since the days of the Founding Fathers, and political parties have often been at loggerheads. But what the writer of this blog, Charles Simic, has to say about the increasing ignorance of those he teaches in college, is alarming.
As for writers, entrepreneurs, thought leaders and businesspeople, don’t feel that because not everyone will immediately “understand” what you’re trying to say that you should back down. Risk being offensive for the sake of clarity. Not everyone will respond to your message, but you want to build an audience of people who do.
And you do that by being transparent. People respond to hysterical opinions, certainly, and to good old-fashioned rabble-rousing. But thanks to how you express yourself, they will doubtless respond more strongly to your message, knowing that if you speak the truth, it might actually be heard.
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