Ignorance is bliss

Does this kid have a low I.Q. or are his parents just assholes?

Does this kid have a low I.Q. or are his parents just assholes?

Ignorance really is bliss. Since I have gone on my little media blackout I am a much happier person. While I am still poking around Facebook, I haven’t watched the news or clicked on an article in almost a week and I can literally feel my blood pressure returning to normal. Being informed is hard and frustrating and I can understand why people suddenly decide to just drop out of society all together. I guess what I am trying to figure out now is that balance between being informed and driving myself crazy.

Now I am not saying I am ignorant for ignoring the news for a week, but it helps me to see why so many people simply choose not to be informed about the world around them. It is much easier to only concern yourself with your immediate surroundings or things you have some sort of perceived control over. I don’t think it is a good way to live though – I mean, that is how our country got to where it is right now. Apathy of U.S. citizens while our government is being sold to the highest bidder. Rampant racism and discrimination. The failure of democracy and our education system. It’s a lot to worry about. What worries me most though is that if we don’t pay attention and if we stop caring – things will only get worse. Today’s politicians aren’t going to suddenly stop accepting money for policy unless the citizens demand something different. In order to demand better, and create a better country we all have to care and in order to care and turn our attention to where it should be, we have to stay informed – at least a little bit. 

So this morning I clicked on my first article in a week and this was the one I read: Multiple Scientific Studies Confirm: Extreme Conservatism Linked To Racism And Low I.Q.. Now this article focuses on a study done in the U.K. (by three freshman year students) with a very limited pool of conservatives and I am going to go ahead and guess that their racism was a prerequisite to participate in the study. Without conducting my own research I am going to go out on a limb here and say that all racists have a lower I.Q. than non-racists. You know why? Because people capable of rational and critical thinking even if raised in a racist environment will eventually leave that ideology because they will learn that to judge an entire race on arbitrary things is just silly. However, even the smartest person in the world will remain racist if they grew up in that environment and never actually see the world beyond the Confederacy. You can be smart – but if you don’t branch out and learn about the world around you – well, you aren’t really that smart then are you?

I think the whole I.Q. thing s a giant hoax anyway. I don’t know my I.Q. I must have ditched school that day or something because I have never been tested. Even if I tested today and came out with a score higher than Einstein – that wouldn’t get me a job or pay my bills would it? I have another number assigned to me to determine my credit worthiness – you know a credit score. Our fascination with assigning numbers to people in order to determine character is actually quite a scary thing. My credit score is dropping as I type this and what that says about me to employers and credit grantors is that I am a debt dodger and not a person worthy of employment or purchasing my own home someday. It doesn’t say that I have always paid my bills and that circumstances beyond my control have landed me in a situation where I can’t pay. It is not indicative of my character, it is simply a reflection of my current situation. However it is used to judge my character and not the state of our current economy and job market.

Anyway – lets ditch the part of the study that focuses on I.Q. because I think that is irrelevant. You can be smart a whip and still be a racist. Racism is a character flaw and really can’t be determined by a number. Racism is based on irrational fear and indoctrination and your I.Q. can’t determine your environment. If you grow up in a home with people wearing white sheets and hoods, you are going to have racist views because that is what you know. Until you leave that environment and become more aware of how others think (maybe how non-racist people think) you aren’t going to understand the difference even if your I.Q. is off the charts.

Now for extremism. I personally think that extremism on any side is dangerous. To hold to an ideology so strongly that you are willing to kill for it, well that doesn’t say anything about your I.Q. either. It means that your personal fears are so strong the only solution is to wipe out anyone who thinks or acts differently than you. The extreme conservatives in our country right now are scary scary people and some of them are really really smart. Now the article made sure to give us lots of pictures of Tea Party rallies filled with racist and misspelled signs and they are truly sad and disgusting. The fact that we still have people in our country who behave this way amazes me. However, just like any other extreme group, I am not going to go  out and say every conservative believes this way or that those who do can be defined by a number that somehow makes them predestined to be assholes. They are assholes not because of their I.Q. they are assholes because they choose to be.

What bothered me most about this article though are the critical thinking, high I.Q. liberals who are passing this thing around without questioning it’s content. YAY! A study was done that PROVES your ideology makes you dumber than me. I am sure if a similar study was done on extreme liberals the results would be similar. That’s the thing about numbers, we can make them say anything we want them to say if we just sample the right group. Also, behavioral studies like this are inherently flawed because they are dependent on people telling the truth about their beliefs and actions. Unless you have a researcher following every subject around for twenty years – your study has some serious gaps. These studies may be useful in determining trends, but to say that holding a specific ideology is linked to your I.Q. and not your environment or personal experiences well, it’s a bunch of bunk.

The people holding those signs and making racist memes are idiots no doubt – I didn’t need a study to tell me that. They are social idiots driven by fear not I.Q. They are dumb because they are ill informed and refuse to think for themselves. They focus on the smokescreens and not the real issues. When presented with actual facts – they intentionally turn a blind eye and remain in their comfort zones. It is fear – not I.Q. that determines racism and extremism.

So it only took one article to get me all riled up again and it wasn’t even something worth getting riled up about. I guess that’s the point though – we have to sift through all of this information that we are bombarded with everyday and take the time to understand where it comes from, what it really says, who passes it around like it is some universal truth, and decide what we are going to do with that information. That is hard work – so I guess what I need to do is ignore these false information articles and turn my focus to those that actually say something. If I do that, I should only have to read one or two articles a day and I think I can handle that.




5 thoughts on “Ignorance is bliss

  1. Wow, for someone whose blog is called “tolerantpeople,” there’s a whole lot of intolerance in this article! I agree with you about much of what you said: going on a media blackout makes people calmer and happier, being informed is hard and frustrating, finding the right balance is key, racism and discrimination are rampant, articles about scientific studies are often misleading, the environment you grow up in influences you a lot, I.Q. doesn’t land jobs or pay the bills, assigning number to people can lead to unfair judgments, racism is based on irrational fear and indoctrination, extremism on any side is dangerous, we can make number say anything we want if we just sample the right group, it only took one article to get you rile up again, it wasn’t even something to get riled up about, we have to sift through information and decide what to do with it, that is hard, and we need to ignore (sometimes expose, I would add) false information.

    But I also disagree with a lot of what you said, namely: that (fill in anything you want here) is how our country got to where it is right now, U.S. citizens are apathetic, democracy and our education system have failed, if we don’t pay attention things will only get worse, all racists have a lower I.Q. than non-racists, racism is a character flaw, if you grow up in a racist home you won’t know differently until you leave the environment and become more aware of how others think, people are a**holes because they choose to be, the people holding those signs and making racist memes are idiots, and said people are dumb because they are ill informed and refuse to think for themselves.

    Our country, and each of us individually, is the result of many years of overlapping factors, including but not limited to our innate abilities, our environment, and our emotions. To boil an entire country or any individual down to a simple, “I know what made you that way,” is overly simplistic. We are all flawed individuals, but I believe we all care deeply about the world around us and are doing the best we can to be “good people.” All of us. Even those you call a**holes. We each have different backgrounds, which can lead to differences of opinion about what makes “good people,” but we are all striving for that goal. And our diversity is not something to stamp out, but rather our greatest asset.

    For me, being a “good person” involves not watching the news, because I believe that sometimes if we don’t pay attention, things get better. I think you would agree with me that the media is responsible for a lot of misinformation and fearmongering. By not watching it, I am not uninformed. Believe me, my friends make sure I know what’s going on in the world. But I am not fed by fear and misinformation quite so much, and I have more time to take action and make a difference where I can. This is what works for me. For others, watching the news is part of being “good people.” I respect that. Again, our diversity is our greatest asset.

    Hoping you continue to be the caring and thinking person you are, and that you find the balance you seek. Namaste.

    • First of all, I love how people use the title of this blog against me. I am tolerant – that does not give license for blanket acceptance of ignorance. It means that I don’t go knocking on the KKK’s door to share my opinions of them. I tolerate their existence because it is a right in this country to be an asshole if that’s what you want to do. My opinions and tolerance are two very different things. That being said, I have some issues with what you said as well.

      If you think not watching the news makes you a good person – well that is your prerogative. Ignoring social issues and the decline of our education system, the fact that our government doesn’t care about what the people want, and the fact that many Americans just don’t care IS a problem. It IS why our country is where it is today. Just because you managed to ignore it all doesn’t mean it’s not happening. Just because your friends fill you in on world events doesn’t mean you are getting accurate information. Maybe your friends are the racist assholes I was talking about and maybe that is the only worldview you allow (I am not attacking or saying anything about you personally -it is just a point I am making- the same as if I got all my information from one source).

      As far as diversity goes – I LOVE diversity. and I agree with you that our diversity is our greatest asset. However when you have a good number of people comparing our President to a monkey – well I am not the one with a problem with diversity, nor am I the intolerant one. I happen to think that racism is an act of ignorance and the people who participate in these actions are assholes. To be tolerant does not mean that I accept these ideals for myself – nor does it mean that I have to like that they exist. It just means that I accept these things as reality and that people are entitled to their beliefs (even if I think they are dead wrong).

      Ignoring cancer doesn’t make it go away. Ignoring the flaws in our government doesn’t make them go away. Actually, pretty much anything in this world that is flawed would will remain so if it is ignored so I wholeheartedly disagree with you that sometimes ignoring things makes them better. Ignoring things only makes the individual feel better (like me ignoring the news for a while) The worlds problems aren’t solved because I didn’t watch the news – I just feel better because I stopped allowing myself to be bombarded with the crazy for a little bit.

      Thank you for taking the time to share your opinions with me even though we disagree.

  2. OK, I will apologize for using your blog name against you and drop the topic of tolerance, as we seem to have two very different definitions of what it is to be tolerant.

    I do want to clarify, though, that I did not say “ignoring all our problems makes things better,” nor do I believe that. I said that sometimes not paying attention makes things better—such as in the case of not paying attention to media misinformation and fearmongering. In the case of the media, I don’t ignore the media problem, I discuss the biases with people, occasionally petition or write a comment on a news article to point out the errors, and when I do look for information on a topic, I try to find more reliable sources and read reports from several different points of view. That is what I meant by having more time to take action and make a difference where I can. By not watching the news, I believe things get better because I am a calmer and happier person and I project that into the world. Not watching the news also gives me the time to do things like comment on this blog and learn about the important things that are going on around me from more reliable and diverse sources.

    As for ignoring social problems and the decline of our education system, I am far from doing that. I spend a great deal of my awake hours working on one or both of these issues. If I’m not eating, cleaning, grocery shopping, or spending time with friends and family, it’s pretty likely that I am working on either improving education or a social problem.

    You say “the world’s problems aren’t solved because I didn’t watch the news—I just feel better…” I would counter that the world’s problems aren’t solved because you DO watch the news, either. But they may be solved just a little bit because you feel better. :o)

    Thank you for allowing me to comment on your blog. I think we may agree more than it seems. I definitely appreciate you taking the time to blog about these difficult issues and get a conversation going.

  3. Pingback: Ignorance is bliss | Comfortably Numb

  4. Pingback: There’s a reason they say that ignorance is bliss. | Mr Moose

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