Ignorance Is Not A Virtue

I’ve been reflecting on a couple of comments made to my Facebook page regarding a post I did on the Kyle Rittenhouse affair and the Good Samaratin’s intentions. You remember the young fellow who crossed state lines while illegally possessing a military weapon to “render aid”. One commenter writes, “You’re a sick individual. And so is the person who laughed in the comments.Hmmmmm.

As a writer one expects to sometimes tickle the emotions of a reader, but I take exception to the notion that suggesting that Kyle should have just stayed home as a determiner of my sanity. Doing a deep dive into my psyche I tried to ascertain why two “nice people” could come to such divergent conclusions based off of the same body of evidence. For some reason President Obama’s phrase, “Ignorance is not a virtue” popped into my head. I think it was the most “true” statement I’ve ever heard.

President Obama was delivering the commencement speech at Rutgers University when he informed the audience that, “Ignorance is not a virtue”. It was delivered in the perfect context, in the perfect setting. As for the setting, the President was in the heart of Trump country. As to the context, the President went on to explain that not knowing what you were talking about was not an excuse for raising your voice and presenting your point again and again and again.

The President told the twelve thousand newly minted graduates, “In politics and in life, ignorance is not a virtue,”  “It’s not cool to not know what you’re talking about. That’s not keeping it real or telling it like it is. That’s not challenging political correctness. That’s just not knowing what you’re talking about. And yet we’ve become confused about this.”

I can certainly see where a lot of folks would consider having the phrase tattooed on their body in their favorite font. I might do it myself. It would be more relevant in our day to day lives than a quote from Khalil Gibran. Just have “Ignorance Is Not A Virtue” tattooed on the inside of your left arm, if the space is still available. That way you can look down at your arm when you feel like you’re about to comment on something that you have no knowledge of, like global warming, or what the Federal Reserve does.

Of course, if you have been imbued by your Creator with infinite knowledge, like The MAGAts, it probably won’t make much difference. The phrase assumes a certain self awareness that megalomaniacs like the Donald and his minions don’t possess. “Seldom right but never in doubt”, is how we refer to folks whose super egos were never developed. To that end, I’d like to offer up the Donald’s brain for scientific study to see if part of his issues are organic, or if they all stem from his upbringing. I realize the challenge will be getting to the brain through the impenetrable helmet of orange “hair” that surrounds the cranium, but science needs to be served. We need to develop a vaccine if the cause of the Donald’s wrongheadedness is organic. Billions of lives hang in the balance.

Ok, I’m having a little fun with the disgraced, former, twice-impeached ex-President’s ability to appeal to the lowest, basest emotions in his followers and have them ignore all evidence contrary to his words. I am awestruck that his minions can promote an idea as far-fetched as “Jewish Space Lasers” starting the wildfires out west, or that millions of fake ballots shipped in from China changed the results of the election. The fact that he can continue to spew his drivel and have millions suck it up like it was Gospel confounds me.

I’m reminded of the old joke about a fellow that was caught cheating by his wife in their own bed. The husband repeatedly tells the wife that she is dreaming while the paramour gathers up her things and hustles out of the room. The wife will not be dissuaded. Finally the husbands yells in outrageous indignation, “Who are you going to believe, me, or your lying eyes?”

I feel like the people that watched the Rittenhouse trial and ignored his assertions that he was an “EMT”, that watched him lone wolf his way into a potentially hostile environment away from the area he was supposedly securing and secure in, his ignoring one of the rules of self-defense, “avoidance” and then chose to kill rather than run are allowing the likes of Tucker Carlson to do their thinking for them. So who are you going to believe, Tucker or you’re lying eyes?

My dear granny Waller used to say, “Ignorance is its own reward”, which is kind of a corollary of “Ignorance is bliss”. She used to say it about people who purposefully stayed ignorant of situations that it benefited them to be ignorant about. Situations like cheating spouses, or a work practice that was harming their employees. I prefer President Obama’s phrase. It encourages me to learn and to not accept ignorance as an excuse. Most importantly, it encourages me to not spread my ignorance to others.

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