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Thread: Question about ignorance

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    A very manly muppet Mad Pino Rage's Avatar
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    Cool Question about ignorance

    I actually found this posted on another board but would like to share this here.

    Ryguy_50 posted:
    Why is ignorance positively reinforced in our society? For example, many say we fear what we do not know. If we simply made better efforts to understand foreign cultures and religions we might be able to avoid estrangement. However, it seems that the celebration of ignorance opinions acts as a bonding mechanism. Like people who get together who make jokes about Middle-eastern people being associated with suicide bombing. There are plenty of faculties available to pursue knowledge, but why does our society seem to actively promote ignorance?

    -----

    I think ignorance is easy. I think a lot of people just want to live life as easy as possible. They don't want to have to know more than they have to. I think that is why news networks, political commentators, and other pundits can spread disinformation so easily because they are so accessible and being broadcasted gives them authority. TV never lies amirite? Jokingly aside, as great as a tool that the internet has become I think many people are distracted by cheap gossip and celeb news as well as the myriad of crap web games and the idea that you're building deep and emotional friendships watering virtual plants.

    I end up resenting ever knowing some people because they are incredibly dumb. I don't know how to convince others to question as much as possible, to want to know as much as possible, to have an interest in learning even if not directly applicable to their jobs and careers. I don't go out and talk about or act that I know so much more than them about this and that. I am not a fuddy duddy that tries to correct a joke or badmouth humor. I'm legitimately concerned about people who are sinkholes in society.
    Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth.
    Albert Einstein

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    Strangle Hazard thank mr skeltal's Avatar
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    I think people are naturally ignorant by choice to a point, because if you become educated about something, say victims of a disaster or kids who are starving in Africa, then you have a moral obligation to try to do something about it. If you aren't aware of the problem or don't make it a focal point, the human mind doesn't feel like it has to do anything. And with all the deep heavy problems in the world, you can't help everyone. If you try to help people more than you are individually able you will surely become deeply depressed and hating yourself and your fellow man. Ignorance keeps us happy.

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    =========== KT.'s Avatar
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    Honestly I rather stay ignorant of people who are deeply ignorant. It's really fucking depressing.

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    feel like funkin' it up gwahir's Avatar
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    learning is incredibly hard; learning enough about a sociopolitical or cultural situation (that isn't your own) to form an educated opinion requires lots of boring work and difficult engagement.

    hard work is celebrated to an extent -- mostly when it's physical labour we're talking about, or hard work put into one's job or career. but intellectual hard work is avoided by most people. worse, it's often actively shunned, mocked and put down. (see jokes about philosophy students having to learn the phrase "would you like fries with that", and so on.)

    if i were to make a guess why it was so hard for us, i'd probably chalk it up to our having evolved to see patterns and agency in the world around us (this is also the reason pretty much all cultures developed theisms), such that when grass rustled nearby, we assumed a predator was about to pounce on us. such patterns and agency are simple: they are either assisting us, like the gods hopefully will after a rain dance, or trying to kill us, like lions. it's not in our nature, evolutionarily speaking, to buckle down and do some intellectual heavy lifting. physical work is good for us, and a part of our evolutionary history, but hard intellectual engagement is so far from our biology that it's uniquely difficult.

    one other thing: difficult intellectual work, when it pays off with coherent, sensible, helpful ideas, means change. (because, as scarf said, if we can figure out that something is wrong, we then realise we have responsibility to fix it.) people don't like change. they don't like doing the work of changing, and they don't like things changing around them. the media, news, politics: these are all inherently conservative -- obviously some more than others -- because if they were really progressive it would mean changes of drastic magnitude, which basically nobody wants. in a country like the US, where your only political options are conservative or hyper-conservative, one weapon used by the hyper-conservative (whose policies, any thinking person can discern, make no sense) is the derision of intellectualism ("elitism") and the encouragement to take pride in ignorance (celebrating "common sense" and "gut knowledge" over rational and scientific inquiry). take a society of people all avoiding hard work where possible, who don't want the extra moral responsibility that comes with awareness of new problems, and all it takes to get them to look down on and persecute those who value learning and study is, as the joker would say, a little push.

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    feel like funkin' it up gwahir's Avatar
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    this is for Mr E, in re your rep for me (thanks by the way ) --

    Quote Originally Posted by gwahir View Post
    in a country like the US, where your only political options are conservative or hyper-conservative, one weapon used by the hyper-conservative (whose policies, any thinking person can discern, make no sense)
    i'm not necessarily talking about dems vs repubs; there are some more moderate republicans, but it's also where you'll find all the insane hyper-conservatives (i mean they wouldn't feel very at home with the democrats would they) or those running on the hyper-conservative angle. but i'm not really talking about the parties so much as the two sides of the political spectrum itself; it only spans from conservative to much much more conservative. there is no real liberal or progressive political force in the US. or australia, for that matter, though it's less conservative than the US, in certain ways.

    the republican party is guiltier of playing the super crazy religious conservative angle, but then it's also guiltier of selling out and going with whatever strategy it thinks will appeal to conservative voters, so sometimes the worst of the republican representatives aren't hyper-conservative loony tunes, but just ideologically mercenary, power-hungry scumbags.

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    Merry fucking Christmas Atmosfear's Avatar
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    Well gwahir if we didn't have the benefit of liberal media bias, we could fairly call out the hyperliberal socialists in the democratic party. Unfortunately, the only way to do that is to subject yourself to negative neocon labels for the rest of your career.

    (the joke is that the worst offenders in the republican party are Fox talking heads, while the worst democrats are al sharpton and the majority of senior elected officials)

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    ))) joke, relax ;) coqauvin's Avatar
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    atmosfear, in the current US political climate, being a centrist is, relatively speaking, a hyperliberal position
    Quote Originally Posted by Nermy2k View Post
    yeah obviously we'd all suck our alternate universe dicks there was never any question about that
    Quote Originally Posted by Atmosfear
    I don't know if Obama did anything to make that happen, but I do know that he didn't do anything to stop me from blaming him.

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    LooshiusLeftfoot yrogerg123's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by coqauvin View Post
    atmosfear, in the current US political climate, being a centrist is, relatively speaking, a hyperliberal position
    This is pretty much true. Idealogicially speaking Obama is farther right than Nixon was.
    I'm supposed to change my sig.

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    ))) joke, relax ;) coqauvin's Avatar
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    thanks for backing me up greg, couldn't have done it without you
    Quote Originally Posted by Nermy2k View Post
    yeah obviously we'd all suck our alternate universe dicks there was never any question about that
    Quote Originally Posted by Atmosfear
    I don't know if Obama did anything to make that happen, but I do know that he didn't do anything to stop me from blaming him.

  10. #10
    Merry fucking Christmas Atmosfear's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by coqauvin View Post
    atmosfear, in the current US political climate, being a centrist is, relatively speaking, a hyperliberal position
    That's an utterly unqualified statement that I don't even need to refute because it doesn't affect a damn thing about the actual extremist opinions from the likes of Franken, Pelosi, and Sharpton.

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    feel like funkin' it up gwahir's Avatar
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    for those of us not as steeped in US politics as you, could you provide a few examples of those extremist opinions?

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    Leading Seaman sailor jack's Avatar
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    Sharpton is as extremist as liberals come, but he is a Rev. so he does have to try to be the epitome of what liberal American Christianity is.

    Pelosi is really only extreme in her views on Israel.
    YO HO YO HO

    ceci n'est pas une signature

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    ))) joke, relax ;) coqauvin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Atmoscheer View Post
    That's an utterly unqualified statement that I don't even need to refute because it doesn't affect a damn thing about the actual extremist opinions from the likes of Franken, Pelosi, and Sharpton.
    then why does the mere mention of social programs cause the entire republican party to collectively shit their pants in rage?
    Quote Originally Posted by Nermy2k View Post
    yeah obviously we'd all suck our alternate universe dicks there was never any question about that
    Quote Originally Posted by Atmosfear
    I don't know if Obama did anything to make that happen, but I do know that he didn't do anything to stop me from blaming him.

  14. #14
    Merry fucking Christmas Atmosfear's Avatar
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    Once again, even if you were right, it would be irrelevant to my point that actual, not relative, extreme socialist (and in Sharpton/Jackson's case, outright racist) opinions perpetuate throughout the Democratic leadership.

    tangent

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    Merry fucking Christmas Atmosfear's Avatar
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    Also please note that I am of the opinion that Obama is neither particularly senior nor particularly powerful within the Democratic Party. Perhaps that is just evidence of his skill as a politician, but his actions have diverged considerably from his campaign rhetoric, and from the current rhetoric of much of his party's senior leadership.

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    ))) joke, relax ;) coqauvin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Atmoscheer View Post
    But more importantly, these are bad ideas, that often perpetuate underlying social issues that cause these systemic issues. Barney Frank's bullshit idea that every American should own a home created a market for mortgage derivatives that didn't have the safeguards in place to prevent a bubble. Social Security is a Ponzi scheme sustainable only if the population and economy grow perpetually in lockstep with stable unemployment and life-expectancy-after-retirement. Universal Healthcare would relieve of a lot of families of a major stressor--and instead burden every family with paying existing entitlements for significantly longer periods than they were ever intended.

    I mean, there's actually a handful of social programs I fully support and would even be willing to debt finance. Public and/or subsidized preschool/daycare for all children is one. I also support an FDIC-equivalent for owners of futures contracts in the wake of MF Global. But there are also hundreds of programs that we can cut outright, defund, or otherwise privatize.
    I agree with all of this, although my comments were more about being glib than accurate. The social security thing ignores the thought that a system like that should still be in place, just not funded in the way this one is. The problem is that even talking about SS gets everyone's backs up immediately, so I doubt anything will be done until it starts redlining.

    Quote Originally Posted by Atmoscheer View Post
    My issue with your statement is that the opinion of much of the left is that "Bush got to do what he wanted with the national debt, now we should get our turn" and the opinion of the right is a more unilateral "we need to fix the present issues with the national debt, and few of these proposals will do that."
    I feel like this is overly simplistic. While the bottomfeeders on the left would probably have this sort of attitude, the motives of the right could never be that simplistic. The right has a stated goal of playing oppositional politics by attempting to stymie everything the left tries to do. Every campaign focuses less on what needs to be done to fix the problems and pays more attention to beating Obama. In the end, of course, it hardly matters who wins because both parties are currently deepthroating the schlong of neoliberalism and will put out policies identical economically while covering it up to appeal to their fanbase more appropriately.

    Quote Originally Posted by Atmoscheer View Post
    Obama, for what it's worth, has given up on the former (ie, most of his campaign message), and rightfully so. I'm not saying that both sides aren't playing political chicken with the national debt, or that Republicans would be more receptive to these programs if we weren't in the midst of a revolving debt crisis, but again--this is the right thing for right now.
    I don't know about rightfully so. Obama has, so far, made a career of bending over and begging for more from the bureaucracy and the republican party. His signature legislation has 0 credibility (since individual states determine how much of it actually applies) and everything he's done has been nothing more than overwhleming concession after overwhleming concession to his political rivals. Obama clearly does not have the seniority, power or political finesse to get anything he wants done and the republicans are taking outrageous advantage of this.

    I'm also curious as to why national debt is such an important issue now and not, say, 8 years ago. I'm sure the recession has something to do with it, as well as a Friedman approach to solving these problems through austerity (which, anecdotally, have a 0% success rate, if I'm to believe Naomi Klein), but I've never studied economics and can't offer any kind of meaningful opinion on it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Atmoscheer View Post
    The government and individuals have to get fiscally conservative if either plans to avoid catastrophic repetition. If you don't recognize this, you are a Nancy Pelosi-scale moron; if you attribute this to political extremism slanting the landscape republican, you're not viewing the situation from a meaningfully close enough perspective.
    Fiscal conservatism is fine. As many have said before, why not tax the super rich? They have exploited systems to get vast amounts of cash and are impacted less by paying a higher rate of tax, especially considering many of these people and corporations already pay less tax proportionally than the middle class (although I do think it's funny when they play games with statistics to justify how little they contribute), not to mention benefiting from subsidies from a government that's already beyond broke to begin with.

    edit: even the social programs run at national debt that you say you'd support would never get funding from the hard right. Suggesting these things would surely bring up cold war ghosts and communist fingering, specifically because there is no fiscal RoI for this (in spite of the social impact and benefit across the country)
    Quote Originally Posted by Nermy2k View Post
    yeah obviously we'd all suck our alternate universe dicks there was never any question about that
    Quote Originally Posted by Atmosfear
    I don't know if Obama did anything to make that happen, but I do know that he didn't do anything to stop me from blaming him.

  17. #17
    Merry fucking Christmas Atmosfear's Avatar
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    Well I guess we're now just discussing an irrelevant tangent now.

    The debt is important today because there is a pretty significant recession caused by loaning money to people who could not pay their debts. If the risk-free bonds that the world financial markets depend on suddenly become risk-bearing bonds, the whole world is going to tilt on its axis.

    Why not tax the super rich? What did the super rich do deserve extra taxation that the super poor did not? If mere exploitation is the crime, then it's the middle class' fault for not finding its niche. I, too, am being glib, but it sounds a lot like the inmates are running the prison when the middle class who took gambles and lost turn around and cry for punitive action against the upper class who took gambles and won. I know that the super rich are not purely wall street players, but I reject fully the notion that they were being any more exploitative of the system than the dickbag who takes out a mortgage and misses his first mortgage payment. If the government felt it was wrong that people made a lot of money passing through high risk mortgage loans, MAYBE IT SHOULD'VE STOPPED BUYING THE FUCKING THINGS.

    And you're wrong, preschool has the highest ROI of any level of education. By the time most people who are targetedg for programs like Job Core get started in these programs, they've already missed the window on the social and reasoning skills acquired in preschool which turn out to be the basis for a successful and productive life. Granted, today's politicians won't see the feedback for another 15-20 years, so it will always lack the appropriate political support.

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    ))) joke, relax ;) coqauvin's Avatar
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    it's not as simple as taking gambits and winning vs. losing, the deck is stacked in one direction. If it's a free market, much as I may not like it, you can sell snake oil to idiots and that's ok, legally (if not ethically). Claiming they cure cancer and encouraging people to buy it (to the exclusion of actual cancer treatment) is a completely different matter, and sooner or later that will come back to bite a lot of people in the ass. How is that latter hypothetical any different than offering ninj/a mortgages? It's not a gamble, it's a time bomb, a game of hot potato and the only people who lose are the masses who can't pass it on to the next guy because they aren't actually involved in the game.

    I agree about the preschool thing completely, my point was that you don't see anything close to a short term return and I see no inclination in the government to make a 20yr investment with impossible to measure profits.
    Quote Originally Posted by Nermy2k View Post
    yeah obviously we'd all suck our alternate universe dicks there was never any question about that
    Quote Originally Posted by Atmosfear
    I don't know if Obama did anything to make that happen, but I do know that he didn't do anything to stop me from blaming him.

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    mutton mutton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mad Pino Rage View Post
    I end up resenting ever knowing some people because they are incredibly dumb. I don't know how to convince others to question as much as possible, to want to know as much as possible, to have an interest in learning even if not directly applicable to their jobs and careers. I don't go out and talk about or act that I know so much more than them about this and that. I am not a fuddy duddy that tries to correct a joke or badmouth humor. I'm legitimately concerned about people who are sinkholes in society.
    The simple solution is to disassociate yourself with those people and become elitist hanging with non-ignorami only. Attempting to enlighten the lowest common denominator isn't going to be as worthwhile as whatever else you've decided to do.

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