Confronting Aggressive Ignorance
The ancient Greeks regarded ignorance as evil; but that view should be clarified. Ordinary ignorance - ignorance that is willing to learn and to stop being ignorance - is a correctable condition. The real problem is with aggressive ignorance - ignorance that is not willing to learn and that will sabotage any effort to correct it.
Perhaps the widest held form of this ignorance is among people who see psychology, sociology and related pursuits as fraudulent or pseudo-scientific. As with many situations of aggressive ignorance, it is cloaked with paranoia - the paranoia that substitutes aggressive suspicion for real analysis and examination and portrays those who have familiarity with these pursuits as malevolent or corrupt. Meanwhile the people who have such beliefs form the most corrupt entities to be found, with professional conmen such as Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and Pat Robertson militating against real knowledge and telling people a pack of lies. Everything from "AIDS is God's way of controlling the homosexual population" to "nothing that people do can affect the environment" to "global warming is a hoax" to "a Satanic New World Order conspiracy is running the world."
It is not hard to understand why these conmen would militate against such pursuits as psychology and sociology. Real knowledge of these subjects would tear their whole rackets to shreds. So they go on the airwaves to lie to as many people as would believe them while leading these people to see the forms of knowledge that allow people to see their rackets for what they are as corrupt, fraudulent or pseudo-scientific.
I was not born yesterday, and I know of many cases of psychology being done corruptly. But these professional conmen trump even the worst abusers in the field. In fact misuse of psychology is very much part of their party line. They misuse the field corruptly and then portray it as pseudo-scientific. Then they attack anyone who has either the education or the intelligence to know better, either associating them with "liberal academia," "liberal media" or "liberal government" or portraying them as any other kind of enemy of the people - the people for whom they claim to speak, whom they claim to represent, and to whom they continue to lie without shame or reprieve.
Aggressive ignorance is the disease of the times and the source of vast portion of what is wrong with the world now. And unlike ordinary ignorance, it is not solved through information. The only way to address the aggressive ignorance is by making the deception demonstrably and irretrievably clear. And by putting an egg on the face of the professional conmen, destroy their credibility once and for all.
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Chicago, Illinois, United States