“If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools.”

Rudyard Kipling

Critical thinking. You read it in almost every course syllabus. You hear it on almost every serious show and podcast. But what is critical thinking? Etymologically, to criticize means to judge. So, critical thinking would be the action of forming a judgment about an event, person, idea, argument, etc.

To form a properly balanced judgement, especially on a foreign topic, we need facts.  But if we consider the speed-of-light pace of modern life, where we’re assiduously bombarded with “breaking news” and drama, then there is little time left to properly gather facts and critically scrutinize them. We, thus, often rely on experts for their opinion and analysis.  These pundits have, quite reasonably, biases and agendas.  You might, for example, read in a prominent liberal newspaper about President Trump’s latest shenanigans.  The columnist, whose job is to persuade the masses, will pull every trick in the book to make his piece persuasive. Indeed, if he is worth his salt, by the end of reading you will be more favorable to his agenda, even though you might not recognize it. To read both sides of the argument and then conclude is the ideal way.  But how realistic is this?