What is a "tiehacker"?

"Tiehacker" is a term originating in the Ozark hills of southern Missouri. It referred to a class of people from WAY back in the hills that made a living cutting trees into ties for the railroad. I first heard the term from my wife shortly after we married. I had been working outside all day and was dirty and stinky. She had learned it from her father, and thought it just meant "a bum". Never having heard it before, I looked it up. Although I am not really a bum, I thought it was interesting, and I do have a life-long love affair going with the Ozark hills, so ... there you have it!

Friday, February 16, 2018

Good and bad influences on us


WHILE THINKING ABOUT this little verse, it struck me that it applies to more than just friends and companions. It equally applies to those whom we choose to accompany in other ways, especially the characters in our favorite TV shows, books, films, music, and so forth.

A LONG-STANDING truism, first coined by computer programmers, is "Garbage In, Garbage Out", or GIGO for short. What goes up, must come down, and equally true is that what goes in, must come out. What you watch, listen to, or read about will inevitably influence your heart and soul and mind. So choose wisely those with whom you associate! Both in "real life", and in art.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

GOSSIP: One of those common "little" sins that we often tolerate, but should not.

Prov 4:24 "Put away from you crooked speech, and put devious talk far from you."
Col 3:8 "But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth."
I READ A great essay, entitled The Danger of Gossip by Jared C. Wilson. He briefly discusses a few characteristics of gossip. Malice, where the subject's best interest is not  in view. Self-Oriented Curiosity, which is not only malicious, but is served up as juicy "entertainment". Pride or Envy, when the purpose is to make yourself look better by comparison.

My best friend's wife defines gossip as "confessing someone else's sins." Very aptly put.

MR. WILSON THEN goes on to outline three  methods to deal with gossip.
1. "Don’t say anything negative about someone that you wouldn’t say to them". If it's important enough to share, then share it with the person involved.
2. "Redirect others’ gossip with a gentle query about the intent". "So, why was it important for you to tell me this?" is my favorite question to ask a gossip.
3. "Rebuke repeated gossip and discipline unrepentant gossips." Gently and lovingly confront the gossip. If necessary, eventually Biblical church discipline may be required.

TO HIS THREE tactics, which are very good and useful, I'd add these:

If your speech is consistently and intentionally gracious, gospel-oriented, loving, edifying, Christ-honoring, you won't be gossiping.

And, never forget the words of the Savior:
"You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye." (Matt 7:5) 
Pay attention to your own self, and then and only then can you legitimately address someone else's problem.

I'D BE REMISS, however, to not mention James' warning: "[N]o human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison." (James 3:8) Getting your mouth under control is impossible apart from the Holy Spirit. Even the "best" Christian still has a sin nature that is not subject to "self-control". Attempting to put a stop to sin, any sin, by the power of the flesh is doomed to failure. As with anything else, confess, repent, accept God's forgiveness, and live in the power of the Holy Spirit, not the powerlessness of the flesh.

Saturday, February 10, 2018


Google images
IN AN ESSAY yesterday on The Imaginative Conservative Magazine website, entitled "Victim Privilege, Cultural Appropriation, & the New Enslavement", Joseph Mussomeli discusses how - fulfilling the words of the poet William Blake “The iron hand crushed the Tyrant’s head and became a Tyrant in his stead.” -

"... it is politically incorrect to ever criticize anyone considered a victim of our society. Like the ancient tribunes of Rome, all those categorized as “victims” are untouchable and their views sacrosanct. No matter how rude or imbecilic their opinions, few dare oppose them."

MR. MUSSOMELI IS quite correct, insofar as he takes this, with his somewhat humorous conclusion "When a particular noodle or spice or fashion is central to your self-esteem and identity, you probably need psychological intervention more than political affirmation."

However, from the viewpoint of a Bible-reading, God-loving, people-loving, sin-hating Christian, I cannot help thinking that he is missing an important point: the role that our sin nature plays in all of this. From the very beginning, people were feeling "victimized" and dealing with it by reacting militantly.

IN GENESIS 4, Cain feels angry and offended because God favored his brother Abel's sacrifice over his own. He took it out on Abel by killing him, making fratricide the very first homicide in history. God was merciful in his punishment of Cain, sending him into exile rather than striking him down. Cain, however, true to his human nature, gets bent about this and whines that he is going to be a fugitive and will be killed. Again, God responds with mercy, marking Cain so that everyone will know that he is not to be killed.

Fast forward several generations to a descendant of Cain, named Lamech. Lamech is a braggart with a bad temper. He boasts to his wives that he killed a young man for striking him. His last recorded words, in verse 24, are "If Cain's revenge is sevenfold, then Lamech's is seventy-sevenfold." Now, I don't know about you, but that sounds suspiciously like a lot of the militant "advocacy" groups today. "My forebearers had revenge coming to them, so I now will take a virtually infinite larger revenge."

MAKE NO MISTAKE! Mistreatment of others is ALWAYS wrong. It doesn't matter to me if it is done for personal reasons, or for racial or cultural reasons. Every human being that has ever lived bears the image of God [Gen 9:6], and is worthy of the love and respect due to a fellow image-bearer. To show animosity of any kind is purely sinful. For this reason, any form of racism or other forms of systemic discrimination is outside the pale, and should not be tolerated. Ever. However, for the same reason, the victim of such sin is ALSO responsible for how he or she reacts.

As Jesus put it, whoever is angry with his brother is guilty of murder. [Matt 5:22] More to the point, in the famous parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10, a Samaritan traveler is praised by Jesus for aiding and caring for an injured Jew, while the injured man's fellow Jews ignored his plight. What is not often spoken of, is that in that culture Samaritans were considered pariahs, worthy only of contempt, half-breeds. To call someone a Samaritan was a serious insult, comparable to today's "N-word" and the like. [see John 4:9; 8:48]

HATRED BREEDS HATE. Contempt breed contempt. A viscious and seemingly never-ending cycle. Thus is our sinful nature.

People of good will, no matter their race, creed, culture, political affiliation, whatever, are capable of learning to get along with each other. History is replete with examples of this. That does not change the fact, though, that our sin nature is going to inform and influence every relationship we have. To one degree or another, our every interaction with any other person, place, or thing, is going to have some sinful aspect. We don't have to like it, we can fight hard against it. We can even mitigate it to some extent. But we can never eradicate it.

THE CYCLE CAN only be broken by divine intervention. As Paul wrote, within the Church, the body of Christ, "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus." [Gal 3:28] Followers of Jesus, those whom God foreknew, predestined, called, justified, and glorified [Rom 8:29-30], now have the Holy Spirit dwelling within them, empowering them to "put to death" the sin that also dwells within.

"For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord." [Eph 2:18-21]

DO YOU WANT to see an end put to the endless cycle of hatred and oppression and tyranny? Do you want to be able to see, and know from experience, that the only really crucial difference between individuals is whether they are inside or outside of the Body of Christ? Do you want to know first-hand the joy of being free to love and glorify God by enjoying Him forever, along with all your brothers and sisters in Christ?

Then, very simply, in faith, repent. In faith, turn away from your sin, and turn to God. Respond to Jesus' call to believe in Him through faith. And the Holy Spirit will place you into that body of Christ, and will enable you to live a life of love and faith as you serve Him by serving your fellow believers and by showing God's love and mercy to all people.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

"Merry Christmas" vs. "Happy Holidays"

Image via Google images

For a long time I was one that would get aggravated by the "politically correct" usage of "Happy Holidays" and rant about "the reason for the season" and so forth. But my thinking has changed somewhat. Let me explain.
First, I am still opposed to hard-core "political correctness", the kind that enforces "speech codes" and "trigger warnings" and "safe spaces", and fines people tens of thousands of dollars for refusing to decorate a cake, and all that crap. Like it or not, this IS a free country, and people should be able to believe and say what they want.
But, that goes for those on BOTH sides of the divide. If I will not allow them to force me to be silent, then I must not force THEM to be silent, either. They are perfectly within their rights to believe and say anything that they wish. If I demand the freedom to think they are wrong, then I must allow them the same freedom.
OK, that dispenses with the secular reasons for my change of heart. Now for the theological ones. I now think that saying "Happy Holidays" is actually more appropriate for many people, and that they shouldn't be given a lecture or cold shoulder for it. A peaceful and loving response is the only appropriate response.
Many of us choose to celebrate December 25th as the birthday of Jesus Christ. Sure, it is highly doubtful that our Savior was born on that date. Unlike the dates of His death and resurrection, we were never given that information. It is still good to celebrate his nativity, though. Although Scripture does not provide the calendar date of his birth, it does detail it at length in both Matthew and Luke's gospels. So, the early church chose that date in December to celebrate the event. There are many theories to explain why it was chosen. Some make sense, some are bizarre. But now, 2000 years later, it is what it is.
However, the majority of the population are not Christian. They are Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, and pagans, and atheists and agnostics of all stripes.
This is also the season of the winter solstice, a time when cold and darkness is at a peak in the northern hemisphere. It is normal for people to want to have feasts and celebrations during this period to ward off the winter doldrums. People in the our hemisphere have been doing this for long before Christ was born.
For those that want to celebrate just to be celebrating, I say go for it! Eat, drink, laugh, and be merry. But, for those that do this just for the fun of it, I also say, "Please, DON'T say 'Merry Christmas'. I'd much rather you say 'Happy Holidays'. Not for reasons of "political" correctness, but for reasons of "spiritual" correctness. Individuals that have not trusted in Jesus as Savior, that have not acknowledged his Lordship, truly have no business saying "Merry Christmas". In a very real sense, by doing so they are taking his name in vain. Not a good thing.
So, far from getting angry about people saying "Happy Holidays", you should consider the possibility that it is probably better that they do so. And when they do, just smile and wish them well also. And maybe find a way to tell them about the birth of the Suffering Savior rather than yell at them.
Anyway, such is my opinion.
Y'all have a good day, and come back and visit with me again!

Monday, December 4, 2017

"A Cold Treachery", by Charles Todd. An Ian Rutledge mystery

Setting is northern England, shortly after the end of the First World War. Inspector Ian Rutledge, from Scotland Yard, is sent to the remote sheep-herding village of Urksdale. A peaceful ranching family has been slaughtered. Husband, wife, young daughter, and infant twins, all shot dead in their kitchen. Their young son is missing, and after much searching, is given up for dead, either killed by the murderer, or perished during the blizzard.

Buy it HERE

Rutledge had been an officer during the War, and had been almost killed by a mortar shell that did kill Corporal Hamish MacLeod. Inspector Rutledge has been haunted by Hamish ever since, the man's Scottish accented voice a constant companion, helping, and sometimes interfering, with Rutledge's thoughts.

The list of suspects is long. The brother of the dead man. The sister of the dead woman. The dead woman's first husband, father of the dead girl and the missing boy. A man that the dead rancher had helped prosecute during a military court-martial. The local hotel-keeper. A couple other local folks. And, even the missing boy himself.

Charles Todd's prose is full of local color and dialogue. The characters are well-drawn. The plot is not very intricate, but it is quite deep in psychological suspense. The ending comes as a bit of a surprise.

This is the first book from the author that I have read, but it sure won't be the last!

Sunday, November 26, 2017

"Resilience - Hard-won Wisdom For Living A Better Life" is a GREAT book!

Purchase it HERE

I haven't quite finished reading this, but so far it is one of the best things I have read that wasn't the Bible. And, it is now marked down to ridiculously low price!

This is not "snowflake" material, but rather a gritty, manly, and highly literate and compassionate encouragement for an old friend. As robust as you would expect from a SEAL, but also as literate and intelligent as you would expect from the Rhodes scholar that Greitens also was.

A few years ago, Eric Greitens heard from an old friend of his, "Zach Walker". Greitens and Walker had gone through U.S. Navy Seal "BUD/S" training back in 2001/2002. Now, Walker was having problems, fighting some personal demons. The ensuing correspondence has been collected into this classic. I'll be writing a full review once I've finished reading and digesting it.

And, just for good measure, Mr. Greitens is a proud native of my hometown St. Louis, and is now the Governor of our great state. Best we've had in a very long time, too!

Please, feel free to comment, and pass this on to your friends!

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

So-called "entertainment" in the life of a Christian

This was inspired by a recent podcast by Tim Challies & Paul Martin, entitled "THE ART OF GODLINESS, Episode 8: ENTERTAINMENT". I highly recommend it to everyone!

Adultery and all forms of immorality are rampant on television. "Soap operas" are almost exclusively about fornication, adultery, and other forms of immorality, with a dose or two of evil business shenanigans.
Almost every major TV show has one or more regular characters that are regularly involved in either fornication or adultery, and often one or more regular characters that are homosexual or transgender. A few shows, such as "Will And Grace", openly showcase and gleefully celebrate homosexuality.
Many other shows also showcase and glorify other evil behavior such as violence and mayhem of all sorts. "Dexter", "Breaking Bad", "The Shield", and "Animal Kingdom" spring to mind. Not to mention all the vampire and zombie shows that are so popular.
  • "Though they know God's righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them." (Rom 1:32)
  • "[love] does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth."(1 Cor 13:6)"
  • "all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness." (2 Thess 2:12)
Even shows that are supposedly good and wholesome, such as "7th Heaven" and "Touched By An Angel" exhibit truly awful, I daresay even Satanically inspired, decidedly anti-Biblical practices and theology.
The Scriptures are quite clear. To allow oneself to watch and be entertained by these behaviors is to "give approval to",, to "[have] pleasure" in them, to "rejoice at wrongdoing". And such things are roundly condemned and point to the possibility that the one that indulges in such "entertainment" needs to "examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!" (2 Cor 13:5)
Bring back shows like "The Waltons" or "Little House On The Prairie", that celebrated wholesome lifestyles while not ignoring the evil in the world. Give us more shows like "When Calls The Heart", which in some ways I consider the best show on TV now.
O Christian! Instead of indulging your flesh is evil doings, choose entertainment that glorifies God and Jesus, that showcases true Biblical love, forgiveness, and other wholesome things.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

This past week has been, well, ....

I haven't posted anything in quite awhile. Mostly, I guess, because I really haven't had anything to say that I wasn't already blathering on about on Facebook. But, I'm going on three days free of Facebook. Detoxing, if you will. So, it's starting to kind of back up in me. So you, dear reader, are the beneficiaries (or victims?) of the overflow. So here we go ...

SUNDAY, Nov 6, 2016
The applesauce I made yesterday turned out well, Really surprised me how much the apples cooked down, though. It was easy enough to make. I peeled and cored and chopped enough apples to fill a full-size crock-pot. The "Back To Basics" brand gadget the Debster has had since forever did a great job.
Image downloaded from Cutlery & More's website
(Ours is green, not red, but otherwise identical)
I added a little water, about 1/3 cup each brown sugar and regular granulated sugar, a few healthy shakes of cinnamon, and a little nutmeg. Set on "high", and let it set for about five hours. I stirred it a couple of times, and then used a mashed-potato masher to squash the apples up fine and make sure everything was thoroughly mixed. Tasted great! The 4-quart pot-full yielded about 2-1/2 pints, maybe a little more.
OK. It is now late Sunday afternoon. Watched Fox news for awhile. Listened to Hillary go on and on about the need for jobs programs to put our people to work rebuilding our infrastructure. Hmmmph. Didn't we hear almost exactly the same thing eight years ago, with Obama prattling about "shovel-ready" projects?
I've never been a fan of Steve Martin, and I really detest John Candy. So wouldn't you know, I'm forced to sit hear and listen to "Planes, Trains and Automobiles", which the Debster is watching and laughing herself silly over. I'm hoping that maybe a home invader will break in and steal the TV, or shoot me, or something.

MONDAY Nov 7, 2016
Well, the dead continue to vote in the good ol' People's Republic of Illinois. But for an unusual twist, this time it was downstate, not Chicago, and by a Republican, not a Democrat. An 88 year old Republican election judge was nabbed for forging her late husband's signature on an absentee ballot and sending it in. She claims that her late husband, who had died in September, had fully intended to vote for Trump, but the absentee ballots arrived a couple days after he died. 

Just gonna say this: I'm glad I'm not on Facebook these days. I'd be willing to bet it is going nuts over this. The Trump people twisting in knots to justify what she did, and the Hillary crowd jeering at full volume. Yeeesh! 

TUESDAY Nov 8, 2016
A friend posted this picture this morning.
I couldn't agree more.
WEDNESDAY Nov 9, 2016
Well, I guess what I'm afraid of actually happened: one of the two candidates actually won.
Interesting, in a train wreck sort of way, watching Hillary Clinton & her minions making nice-talk about wishing President-elect Trump well and calling for healing of our national rifts and divisions. My prediction is all that good-feelings stuff will last, at most, a week.
I have to confess that I did not vote yesterday. I could not stand any of the major Presidential candidates. I would have been happy to support Gary Johnson, but his Libertarian Party platform is pro-abortion. There is the Constitution Party, but I don't think they were even on the ballot. Write in for Ted Cruz was a possibility, but also a waste of time. Maybe he'll mount a primary challenge in 2020. Can only hope so.

As for state and local candidates, I'm generally anti-incumbent in principle. I much prefer frequent turn-over in order to prevent any individual from becoming too entrenched and powerful. However, the non-incumbent was almost always someone just as bad if not worse. Hence, no one to vote for there, either. (On a side note, I did find it a little interesting that Republicans ran the table in all the state-wide races in Missouri.)
I just read an interesting post on "The Cripplegate" blog, titled "Commander In Chief". I very seriously recommend this in-depth examination of the seemingly-simple phrase "The LORD reigns", found in 5 places in the Old Testament, once in 1st Chronicles and four times in  the Psalms. Eric Davis discovers ten distinct truths about our Almighty God: his certain identity, his exclusivity, his aseity (means self-existence), his sovereignty, his activity, his universality, his majesty, his potency, his certainty, and his eternality. Great stuff! Check it out. Even though it contains a lot of really deep concepts, it is written in an easy-to-understand style.

FRIDAY Nov 11, 2016
Saddened but not surprised by the reports from around the country of mass protests, rioting, looting and other violence in response to Trump's election victory. 


It's Sunday morning, and time to post this. More coming next week. (Hopefully <grin>) Stay tuned!

God bless
Ron (& the Debster)

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Thirty Day Writing Challenge, Day Two: Your Earliest Memory

Continuing on with the 30 Day Writing Challenge .....

My Earliest Memory

I can't actually extract my "earliest" memory. I have several memory fragments from the same general time frame, but I really couldn't tell you which one is "the oldest". So, I'm going to bore you with a few of them.

One is actually a memory of a memory. I was about 4 or 5 years old, and our family was visiting someone in the city. I don't remember for sure who it was, but it was probably my Uncle Clyde. We were in the backyard, and I remember noticing the attached sunrooms behind the four-family flat next door. I remember saying that we used to live in a house that had one of those sunrooms. My parents were quite surprised at that pronouncement, because although we had lived in a flat like that when I was an infant, we had moved out before my second birthday. So, although I no longer remember the flat that we lived in when I was a year old, apparently I did retain that memory for at least a few years.

When I was not quite two years old, we moved from the city to a house in a small semi-rural area about 15 miles from the city, an unincorporated village called Horine. We lived there for about 2 years, maybe 3. My earliest actual memories take place there.

We had a propane tank along side the house, that fueled our furnace and stove. I remember getting spanked for using my tricycle as a step-stool to climb on top of it. More than once. I was already exhibiting the stubborn streak that has been my hallmark all my life!

We had a German Shepherd mix named King. He lived in a flat-roofed doghouse in our back yard, and I would ride him like a pony. I still miss my dog, more than 50 years later.

Me and King in Horine MO, c.1963

We had a gravel and stone driveway. I still have a scar on the crown of my head from when I was throwing rocks straight up in the air. My next-door friend and I were seeing who could throw the highest, and mine came down and bopped me on top of the head. Although not enough to require stitches, like all scalp wounds it bled like a stuck pig, scared the tar out of me, and left a scar that is still visible.

The most horrific memory I have is the day the car fell on my dad. He was working on the muffler, with the car held up with just a bumper jack. Something caused the jack to slip, and the car came down, trapping my father underneath. I remember my mom, who had witnessed the accident through the kitchen window, running outside screaming for help. A couple neighbors helped get the car off of him while we waited for the ambulance. He suffered several broken ribs, a broken clavicle, a cracked sternum, and some internal injuries. He was in the hospital for quite awhile, and when I was finally allowed to visit him, all I could see was plaster casts.

One more memory from Horine, and I'll call it a day and leave you be, faithful reader. It was February, 1963. All of a sudden there was a lot of frantic running around, getting bundled into the car, dad driving like a bat out of hell, running into the hospital, then dad driving me to my aunt's house nearby, and leaving again like a mad dervish. I was so confused and upset that my aunt, whom I normally adored, couldn't keep me calmed down. It all was resolved the next day, when I met my brand new sister for the very first time.

Those were the days, my friend. I thought they'd never end!

God bless
Ron and the Debster

Friday, April 1, 2016

Thirty Day Writing Challenge, Day One: Five Problems With Social Media

Hi everybody. I know that It has been awhile since I've posted a blog. Sorry about that. But a few days ago, I saw something that is giving me a boost, a kick-start if you will.

The Writer's Circle on Facebook posted this on March 28:

Having had a severe case of writer's block, this was just what I needed.

So, without further ado, let's give this a try, shall we?

Five Problems with social media.

Social media has done a lot of good, to be sure. Just one example is how it has enabled me to connect with and get to know a lot of distant relatives. Distant in both degrees of relationship, and in geographical distance. That has been great!
But, there are also many problems with social media, perhaps more problems than benefits.
In no particular order, here we go: First, I would note the obvious problem of people disconnecting in order to connect. We are so connected to people around the world, that we have become disconnected from the people that are physically close to us. How many times have you seen a group of people sitting around a restaurant table, or on a park bench, or wherever, so engrossed with their phones and pads and tablets that they are completely oblivious to what is going on around them? How sad.
A second problem is simply one of safety. More and more people are being injured or killed because someone was texting while driving. Operating a motor vehicle is a very complex activity requiring a great deal of concentration. Yet at the same time it seems to be so easy as to be almost automatic, requiring no conscious effort. So people tend to allow themselves to become distracted by their phones and lose track of what they are doing. The result, too often, is a nasty crash. Police, fire engines, tow trucks, ambulances, coroner's vans, hospitals, morgues, funerals. All because some numbskull just couldn't wait to type LOL and press the send button.
Yet another problem is that we are losing the ability to write complete and coherent words and sentences. In the interest of speed and expediency we have developed a shorthand version of our glorious, rich English language. Sure, shorthand has been around for a very long time, but only as a tool, to transcribe spoken speech into the written word. Not as a means of communication by itself. Believe me, this is not something to LOL about.
Yet another problem is that people, especially young people, tend to forget about remaining private and maintaining some semblance of personal security. Girls post risque photos of themselves. Or even very innocent posts that reveal enough information that a sexual predator can easily track them down. The 'net is awash with examples of people posing on social media as someone they are not, in order to lure unsuspecting victims into their webs.
A fifth problem is that of false courage. Keyboard commandos. Trolls, as they are commonly known. Cowardly little people sitting at a computer terminal taking potshots at people, being complete jerks, saying things that in person would get them knocked on their tail ends with missing teeth and bleeding noses and black eyes, yet since they are hiding behind their screen name anonymity they get away with it.
This exercise called for an essay about five problems, but I'm going to mention a sixth one, just as a bonus for all of you that have slogged through to the end: False information, and those gullible enough to believe it. For example, I love the satirical website "The Onion". It is so well done that the satire often fools people into actually believing it, and then re-posting it as real. and then some other fool reads that post and forwards it yet again. There are other satirical websites besides The Onion, and it is just mind-boggling how many people fall for that stuff.
Satire is great; those sites have disclaimers all over them; it is not their fault that people ignore them. However, there is another, related, problem. There is a large group of people that deliberately twist facts, misrepresent things, and outright lie through their teeth, in order to advance their own agenda. The false statements are often easily refuted by anyone that is able to think about them for even a moment; just a modicum of common sense and logic reveals the impossibility of the statement. Others are easily refuted with a few seconds of fact-checking. Yet there are people that are so stupid, so gullible, so mindless, that they blindly follow them because they appeal to what they believe. I remember an instance a few years ago. Someone "quoted" President Obama saying something that was so absurd that even a hard-core conservative like me didn't believe it and easily found it to be false. Yet my nephew, a full grown man, with above-average intelligence, bought it completely. When I pointed out to him that it was, in fact, completely false, my nephew responded with, "Well, maybe he didn't actually say it, but he could have because it's just like him." I tried to point out that there are more than enough TRUE things to go after Obama about without resorting to lies, but he just kept scrolling through the web posts looking for anything that would bolster his personal conceptions.
Social media. As a whole, I think we were better off without it.