The (Too) Ready Availability of Facts

By December 10th, 2013

The (Too) Ready Availability of Facts — To Reinforce Any Position; To Argue Any Theory; To Advance Any Cause; Percentage of Chronically-Absent Students; Number of School Districts with 4-Day School Weeks

by Mack W. Borgen


The Hard Facts and Real Data About the State of Current America

Stimulating, refreshing, and original…” Wayne S. Bell, Chief Counsel, CA Dep’t of Real Estate, Sacramento, California

“…(A)stonishing undertaking…” Brigadier General Dulaney O’Roark, (Ret), Louisville, Kentucky

“…(R)e-opens the doors to civil dialogue,’ Martha Lange, The Aspen Institute, Santa Barbara, California

A Set of Two Companion Books:

Vol.1 – The Relevance of Reason – Business and Politics (408 pp) (2013) 

Vol.2  The Relevance of Reason – Society and Culture (438 pp) (2013)






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The (Too) Ready Availability of Facts ….

To Reinforce Any Position; To Argue Any Theory; to Advance Any Cause 


In our age of speed and with our love of brevity, the concept — let alone the art — of reflection  is becoming almost a lost art. Reflection is now reserved as a luxury for the idle rich or the idle old. In the scramble of our lives and in the churning of America’s political theatre, reason is oftentimes irrelevant. Truth has become willingly negotiable.

Initially, in defense and now by habit, facts (and especially numbers) are used to trump thought. And if a fact becomes inconvenient or remains too stubborn, then we feel like we can just wait it out. Even if such fact may be fleetingly correct or accurately repeated, it can soon be dismissed as irrelevant; outdated; or just oh-so-yesterday. With the mere passing of a few moments or popping of a few keystrokes, I can replace your facts with mine. And the beauty of it all, there’s no scrum for the truth. To the contrary, there are more than enough facts for everyone to have their own.

There are enough facts to reinforce any position; to argue any theory; to advance any cause regardless of whether or not the position, the theory, or the cause is rooted in stupidity, paranoia, or narrow self-interest.

Most Americans are busy — even hectically so. Despite the glories of technology and the ready access to “things,” we face challenges that are in certain respects more daunting than in earlier times. We still share our music. We still enjoy our entertainment. We guiltily follow the lives and follies of celebrities. We can still root for our favorite teams and, usually without grudge or disdain, allow others to root for theirs. However, beyond our small circle of trusted friends, there is also an under-current of separation and separateness. Many hold the believe that they know what they know. And you are wrong. Reflection, thought and real debate are just too heavy a burden. Besides, they are now seen at best as socially inappropriate and at worst socially risky. It is easier to leave them rusting in the garage — like relics from a prior age. It is easier to quote a source or parrot someone else’s words. With the common lightness of our thinking, it is not surprising that “standing your ground” has become a dominant ideology of American discourse.

Adapted from Borgen, M., The Relevance of Reason – Business and Politics (2013), p.24 and  – Society and Culture (2013), p. 24.


The Facts of the Day

Impact Upon Learning If One Has the Perceived Ability to “Look It Up Later” 

If a person believes that they can “look it up later,” there is a 20% chance of remembering something. If the person does not believe they can look something up later, the chance of remembering increases from 20% to 33%.

Borgen, M., The Relevance of Reason – Society and Culture, Harpers Index, Harper’s Magazine, October, 2011, p. 15.

Percentage of “Chronically-Absent” K-12 U.S. Students


Number of School Districts in the U.S. With a 4-Day School Week.

It is estimated that appr. 12% of all U.S. school children are “chronically-absent,” which is defined as a student regularly missing one out of every ten school days. In addition, as of 2012, there were 292 schools districts out of appr. 13,500 public schools districts in the U.S. (i.e. appr. 2.1%) had adopted a 4-day school week.

Borgen, M., The Relevance of Reason – Society and Culture (2013), p. 215, citing Time, September 17, 2012, p. 9; and The Nation, May 14, 2012, p. 4.





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