The Problem of Ignorance

“The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.”
Daniel J. Boorstin

The real problem facing the human race is what we know. I’m not talking about our collective accumulation of knowledge, I’m talking about things people know to be true, because they’ve heard them so many times, but are complete and total bullshit. Sometimes, things change and we never bother to update our knowledge base and sometimes our information was wrong from day one; either way, there’s a bunch of people out there who think they know a lot, but really know very little.

Here’s some of my favorite examples. Some our amusing, with no real impact, but some are crippling our society and need to stop.

Amazon has never turned a profit. (Never true)

I have heard this before, but it came to light again recently on a major website post. There is a long held belief that the Amazon Corporation has never actually made a profit. Since they’re a publicly traded company, their figures are available publicly, so I looked it up on the Security and Exchange Commission’s website. Amazon makes MONEY, in the tune of a couple of billion dollars a year. Why the hate? It probably stems from a long tradition for Amazon to constantly grow and innovate, which takes money. This spending kept the profit margins low through most of the company’s history. Now, low margins in Wall Street generally are frowned upon. In America, we like to max profits each quarter, and to hell with the future. This is why U.S. companies become dinosaurs and cannot compete globally, but that’s another article.

Solar power is inefficient and can’t be used. (Outdated)

I heard this today, and it prompted what you are reading now. There was a time when this was true, back in the days on TRS-80 computers from Radio Shack, but like those computers, things changed a bit. Today, German gets nearly 10% of its total power from solar. Throughout Africa, solar panels are the norm in small villages with no infrastructure. I have literally seen mud brick huts with solar panels out front running radios and charging batteries. Even in the United States, places that receive plenty of sunlight have solar farms. Fort Bliss, TX widely uses solar panels on the base, culminating in a very large solar farm with its aim to be 100% renewable by 2020. Did I mention that solar is cheaper than coal? Link

Socialism has never worked. Look at (enter name of impoverished nation). (Mixture)

This is really two different statements, so we’ll address them separately.

Socialism has never worked. This is a favorite remark from one of America’s most popular idiots, Rush Limbaugh. Suffice it to say, socialism works very well all over the world, to include the United States. Countries like Denmark, Norway and Canada consistently lead the world in prosperity and citizen happiness while maintaining a strong socialist government. See these statistics.

 

Nation

Prosperity

Healthcare

Freedom

Happiness

Denmark

9

34

6

2

Norway

2

11

15

1

Canada

5

30

8

8

United States

17

37

24

15

 

In the United States itself, social programs such as Social Security and Medicare, not to mention socialist programs that people forget are socialism, such as fire departments and police forces, and wildly popular. They contribute greatly to the health and well being of our citizens.

Look at (enter the name of impoverished nation). This is just silly. While it is easy to find socialist countries that have poverty and violence, it is just as easy to find very successful ones too. The roots of a countries’ problems usually stem from long standing issues, such as war, authoritarian rulers, or economic crisis.

America is the safest and most prosperous country in the world (Never True)

While many people point to the 1950’s are America’s heyday of security and prosperity, that was only true to middle class or higher white males. Racial minorities, women, and homosexuals all suffered greatly throughout American history up until very recently. Even though great strides in equality have taken place over the last several decades, income equality in the United States is in free fall, and minority groups still struggle for acceptance in many communities. Currently, South Sudan has a better income equality rating than the US.

Nation Murder Income Inequality
Denmark 42 18
Norway 14 3
Canada 62 49
United States 126 127

Chart shows best to worst, i.e. lower numbers are better

Sensationalized news often shows terrorism and violence in European countries, but in reality, they are still much safer than the United States, whose total murders per year exceed the U.S. deaths from the entire war on terror over the last sixteen years. While many countries boast free education and healthcare, real income in the U.S. has been stagnant for decades, and college is quickly becoming out of reach to a majority of the population, while healthcare bills are the leading cause of bankruptcy in the country.

If the government would just deregulate (xxx), then the free market with solve everything. (Never True)

Free markets gave you slavery, child labor, unsafe working conditions, and dangerous products. Government regulations have freed the slaves, allowed children to remain children, enforced safe working conditions, and insured products for sale meet basic requirements. This one is so easy people should really be ashamed not to understand this.

While this list could continue, it highlights a growing problem of ignorance in our nation that undermines the change and growth we need.Never believe anything just because you’ve heard it many times. Often, the things most repeated are least true.

“There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.”
Isaac Asimov

 

 

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