On 06/07/2012 03:31 AM, Ilya Shambat wrote:
> There are two kinds of ignorance: Ordinary ignorance and aggressive
> ignorance. Ordinary ignorance recognizes that it is ignorance and is
> willing to learn. Aggressive ignorance is quite different. It
> aggressively resists any attempt to correct it. And instead of
> pursuing knowledge, aggressive ignorance pursues paranoia, especially
> directed against those who see it for what it is.
Yes, yes, yes. But I would make one small refinement. I would include
Belligerent Ignorance as a subset of Aggressive Ignorance. There are
many reasons someone would be aggressively ignorant. A strong emotional
need fulfilled by a belief might cause one to be aggressively ignorant
about that belief but not necessarily belligerent about it. Sometimes
it's nothing more than an inability to admit to being wrong.
Belief in God or some other supernatural deity is probably the most
common example of Aggressive Ignorance. Some may also be Belligerent
about it, but not all or even a majority. Belligerent Ignorance usually
meets more than an emotional need. The need to feel self-important or
the need to exercise power over other people or just plain greed by some
> Negating the validity of psychology, sociology and political science,
> the aggressively ignorant spin paranoias on issues related to politics
> and society. Thus we hear such paranoid fictions as: "The world is run
> by a Satanic New World Order conspiracy," "Jews and Masons conspire to
> destroy Russia," "global warming is a hoax," "Obama is Hitler," "Jews
> are ruining Germany," or "Communists have taken over the United
The Belligerently Ignorant use many tools to push their ignorance as
"mainstream" thought. One of them is the "package deal" fallacy. That is
simply providing a list of concepts or things that inarguably fit into
an obvious category, but they've quietly sneaked their ignorance into
the list. "Some of the most evil people in history such as Genghis Khan,
Hitler, Stalin, George Bush..."
You provide such a list above. Can anyone spot the "outlier"?
> Those who have knowledge are demonized, and people are taught
> to believe them to be their enemies.
Too true. Look at how corporations are portrayed. Anyone who has
actually worked for a corporation (and that should cover a large portion
of the population) knows that corporations spend the majority of their
money, time and effort in producing a product or product line good
enough to satisfy their existing customers and attracting new customers.
There is precious little left over for "running the country."
> The longer the aggressively
> ignorant spin their claims, the more such become unbelievable; which
> requires still more aggressive ignorance to make people believe them.
> This then results in still greater web fabrication and still more
> aggressive inquisitions against people who have actual knowledge, such
> as for example scientists, teachers and journalists.
Yes. But, unfortunately, scientist, teachers and especially journalists
can be among the aggressively ignorant. Just because someone has a lot
on knowledge in one area does not mean they can't be massively (and
extremely aggressively) ignorant in other areas. Take, for example, Paul
Krugman. The man is a Nobel-prize-winning economist. But he is also a
columnist for the New York Times. As an economist, he may actually know
lots about economics (one would certainly hope!) but as a columnist, his
aggressive ignorance of all things economics just jumps right out of the
page at you. One assumes he knows better -- he just has other goals.
Other belligerently ignorant people will lean on their advanced
knowledge in one area to add support for their ignorance in another
area. And/or other supporters of the ignorance will do it for them.
Another very common technique of the belligerently ignorant is to accuse
those who would debate them of believing in paranoid conspiracies.
There are many such techniques used. The common identifier is to attack
the person, not the idea. And while they may be ignorant (aggressively,
belligerently, or otherwise), they often show great imagination in
attacking their (as they perceive them) enemies.
> With ordinary ignorance, the solution is not a difficult one. The
> solution to ordinary ignorance is education, of which the ordinarily
> ignorant is usually happy to partake. With aggressive ignorance, that
> does not work; and dealing with aggressive ignorance requires tougher
> tactics, such as showing to the people who are likely to fall for the
> fictions of the aggressively ignornant just how wrong they are.
The aggressively ignorant may simply see themselves as "standing firm in
their beliefs" while everyone else is being stubborn.
> Fighting ignorance therefore requires a two-pronged approach. One is
> education for those who are willing to learn. The other is exposing
> the lies of the aggressively ignorant and showing people their
> wrongness. Don't attack ordinary ignorance, instruct it. With
> aggressive ignorance, fight tooth and nail. The people who benefit
> from aggressive ignorance are conmen, and it is conmen again that
> spread aggressive ignorance and paranoid fictions that are inevitably
> tied with it. And conmen do not have people's best interests in mind,
> nor do they have the character requisite to be intellectual leaders of
> the free world.
Truer words have never been spok...written.
Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere,
diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies. -- Groucho Marx