The federal government has regulatory agencies for everything that we consume to make sure that those things don’t kill us, so for instance we have the Environmental Protection Agency to make sure that the air that we breathe and the water that we drink doesn’t kill us and we have the Food and Drug Administration and the United States Department of Agriculture that makes sure that the food that we eat doesn’t kill us.
But we don’t have a regulatory agency that makes sure that the information that we have is safe, and I don’t think we can ever have that because we have this pesky thing called the First Amendment, which is actually something that’s good and useful and important, but that prohibits the government from really regulating information too much.
Now there is a regulatory agency called the FCC, which does things like say you can’t swear on television, but that’s about the limit of their power and for very good reason and that’s why an information diet has to be about personal responsibility. It has to be about something that you take a personal responsibility for and an ethical responsibility for if you want to do well with it.
In Their Own Words is recorded in Big Think’s studio.