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.