(15c) Mr Obama and (dis)trust in governments

Indeed, governments should aim that people trust them to avoid anger. For me, the way to do this is not by blocking contend on the internet but via openness by governments whereby they should respond to misinformation while the information they publish can then be checked by professionals and the general public, including opponents. Of course, hateful messages that aim to hurt people should be blocked but with an explanation why. And thus, blaming Russia for the victories of Mr Trump or Brexit is (I think) rubbish because there was sufficient information on the internet and media and via direct contact between people with discussions amongst politicians, experts and the general public so most people were sufficiently informed to vote as they did; this is confirmed by the fact that opinion on these (and other) matters changes only little. Only when access to information is blocked is it understandable that people think as their leaders indoctrinate them to do as they don't have other information or to avoid punishment for having another opinion.

Mr Obama, previous president of the USA, spoke with Prince Harry about unifying society. Unfortunately, he too was not able to unite everyone under his presidency and at this moment there is probably no-one (yet) who is able to unite the increasingly opposing sides. He also talks about the internet and how to make sure people receive the correct information. In my opinion, this can't be done via blocking opinions unless they are abusive and promote violence as that can never be accepted. Indeed, most of those who support Mr Obama's successor were opposed to Mr Obama's policies and thus, whatever the information President Obama's government provided, they refused to believe anything that was against their own point of view, partly because many of the politicians that are now in power increased distrust in the government but also often because many opposed a black person as president and thus their superior. And as Mr Obama did during his term as president, he does again a good thing by explaining why e.g. universal healthcare (known as Obamacare) is important while his opponents try to destroy it. If sufficient people side Mr Obama than they will continue their support of this healthcare system so it will not collapse. (Still, in my opinion, healthcare must be affordable for everyone and people should not rely on insurance companies to pay the bills as this encourages corruption by health professionals as they may increase their own wages with the argument "the insurance company will pay the excesses").

Some of the duties of governments although not mentioning everything. For instance, safety can further be divided in policing / army / intelligence, and this can be both at the internal as well as external levels

One reason for the major division in his country (and worldwide) is, as Mr Obama mentions, distrust in governments. Still, governments that block internet content will only further increase distrust. The way forward is, in my opinion, almost complete openness by governments (indeed, certain information is confidential and thus can't be released although even than people have the right to be informed that actions are taken against terrorism). For instance climate change: many information is published, both by deniers and serious scientists. Thus, when a denier publishes an opinion why climate science is rubbish, governments can publish their own counterarguments and refer to scientific publications that show climate change is happening and why actions are needed. Also the sources of the financing of studies should be published as is already for serious publications. Doing so people can discover that deniers often either refuse to mention who financed them or it will be clear many received support by fossil fuel industry while real scientists either (1) receive finances from independent organisations or, (2) they will contradict the opinion of their financiers if their studies show climate change is happening as many can experience. Another example are medicines whereby the EU is a good example as it publishes information and decisions with inclusion of why it reached a certain decision and thus people (companies, scientists, journalists and everyone else) can read for themselves that the government is not hiding much and if they wish they can research further to conclude whether or not they can trust the government. National governments publish their own information (such as Belgium). And governments should inform the public about the existence of these webpages so the public knows.

Even websites that call for violence shouldn't be (completely) blocked by governments. Indeed, governments should be able to hack this kind of webpages and attach information why most of the content is blocked, i.e. it spreads hate and calls to kill innocent people as certain terrorist organisations do. And thus, yes, even president Trump is right to say this kind of people have no place in society while those who oppose everything he says can't bring nuances in his policies  and suggests they would not protect society against those crazy people while it may even convince potential terrorists they are right because they oppose President Trump.

Of course, if the wrong people are in government they may block the correct webpages (such as that from terrorist organisations) but may also remove opinions they don't favour to try to influence people to think as those in power. If sufficiently large numbers of people with that opinion are in government, it can succeed to remove most opposing opinions. However, as in the USA, if both sides are almost equally strong than both opinions can continue to exist and thus people can continue to read opinions of both sides and have an informed way how to vote during elections. Because, as Mr Obama mentions in the article, we are currently living in (one of) the most educated and tolerant society that ever existed and, as evidence that e.g. climate change is growing, the deniers with all their wrong policies to favour mainly (exclusively) themselves will finally lose the argument although they may try to prevent losing their privileges using all kinds of methods. In addition, websites show many deniers know that climate change is happening but they don't blame themselves but e.g. a God who is angry because we defend human rights, including those of black people and LGBTs.

Finally, as Mr Obama says, it's also important that people not only research the internet, books and social media but also that they go out and meet real people to experience in real life that their prejudices are wrong so they can correct themselves for the better. Still, there will probably always be people who refuse to correct themselves as they think they are better than the rest. Nevertheless, I have faith in our future society although the change may not be very pleasant as some wants to keep things as they were.


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