Opinion Piece: The Ignorant Society
Modern Western society has, as part of its makeup, the belief in the correctness of one's own beliefs. Obviously there is nothing wrong with this, and if anything, one would expect people to believe in their own opinions. However, the modern form of "belief" is ignorance: it seems that too many people, and/or groups, have very definite beliefs and opinions based on no evidence, or knowledge, or no supporting arguments. And to their disgrace, they are ignorant of their own ignorance.
How often do you hear of people's political persuasions being identical to their parents, friends or a peer-group? Why do you support this party or that? “I always have.” Would you ever vote for the other party? “No, never.” Why not? “Because.” Because why? “Because.”
The same can be said of people's opinions of unions, be they for or against them. And likewise, union alliances with, or leanings towards, certain political parties can translate to union-member political persuasion. But just because one has, in the past, voted a certain way, does that make it right, or a better choice for government?
An example of alliances because of tradition can be exemplified in the criticism by unions of the current Queensland State Labor government (in 2010) which, despite not advertising its plans in the lead up to the previous elections (in 2009), intended to sell off government-owned assets such as the Brisbane Port Authority, the Gateway Toll Bridge, Queensland Railways and others. The unions, probably justifiably, had concerns for their members’ future job security, and potential long-term state economic impact from selling of these assets for a “one-off” quick monitory gain. However, despite the unions’ concerns, rejection of the proposal, and protests of the plans, the unions indicated that they would support the Labor Government in the next election. The questions then are: is the union leadership undertaking the correct action (i.e. support of the Labor party) knowing full well that if Labor is re-elected they will continue to sell-off assets (or have other such secret plans) despite the protests and opinions of the State’s populace? Were the “protests” merely a token action to be “seen to be doing something” when in fact they ultimately are meaningless or worthless?
If it was the current opposition party that was elected into government that proposed the sell-offs, would the unions give up as easily? If not, then doesn't this prove their political bias exists simply "because"!
In like manner, political views or debates with friends, families or acquaintances can be surprising when people believe that this party or that would be better in government, for the economy, for the state, for the country, etc., but when pressed for a reason why they think that they just say, "Because". How is it that people can have such firm, adamant positions based on nothing?
Religion, like politics, is another subject that can prove to be very rich in definite, and sometimes diverse, points of view. But again, talking of the West, how is it that many hold to the rights of individuals to have whatever religious views they like, without knowing what views certain religions have?
Through the lens, or filter, of secular western society many believe that religion is just a "spiritual" belief system to be tacked on to the end of your other beliefs and/or persona; a system for worshipping whichever “made up” deity (god, gods, or whatever) suits your views. So, for many, being Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, etc is a personal choice designed around what makes you feel good. But ask a person why, specifically, they have these beliefs and again, they'll respond, "Because" or "It's what I believe". But the question isn't what you believe, but why you believe that. Anyone can believe whatever they want, but why they believe it is different.
Likewise, this easy-believeism is, more often than not, applied to other religions and/or other people's beliefs. As a result people will defend other people's religions, and the right to the beliefs of such religions, whilst being totally ignorant of what the core tenets of these religions are. Sometimes they will go so far as to dismantle what makes a person a Christian, Buddhist, Hindu or Muslim. Some religious illiterates will go so far as to adamantly claim that the Qur'an is not the core fundamental beliefs of Islam. What Christian would take seriously the same person who said that the Bible is not the core fundamental beliefs/teachings of Christianity? And yet, these so-called educated people (i.e. many of whom have been to university) will, in their ignorance, defend another religion whilst knowing nothing about that religion, let alone knowing where to go for such information.
The problem is exacerbated by such persons knowing, or knowing of, a person from such religions and liking them. Someone who is personable, polite, or friendly is NOT necessarily a reflection of a belief/religious system. We must go to the fundamental tenets of such religions, followed by a look at the fundamental or foundational documents on which that religion is based to form an understanding of that system, and thus be able to form an opinion about it. Too often though, opinionated illiterates seek to correct persons who have investigated other core beliefs/religions, citing their friend or acquaintance as justification.
Today's ignorant western society doesn't even understand what discrimination is. Not that long ago, calling someone "discriminating" was a compliment. It meant that someone evaluated something or a circumstance and chose the better item or solution. They had weighed up the options and chosen correctly. Today, however, "discrimination" is a catch phrase to silence someone else's opinion. The last thing people in today's society want to be called, or accused of, is being "discriminating".
But the fact is everyone discriminates! Whether it is in the clothes we wear, the foods we eat, the car we drive, the suburb we live in or the friends we make. In all these circumstances we choose one thing over another for whatever reason, and sometimes (unfortunately) our decisions come back to haunt us.
The question then, is why does ignorant society claim to have the moral high- ground in regard to opinions over discrimination? Why, for example, is my opinion on something "discrimination" when in fact I am being discriminated against for having that opinion? Why is it that those who can't justify their opinions, other than by saying, "because", are allowed to pass judgement over others who have their opinions based on specific distinct reasoning and facts? How is it that the ignorant can discriminate against others simply because they are ignorant; and can't even discern their own discrimination?
The ignorant society has been made by social commentators and civil libertarians making grandiose speeches designed to sway public opinion by words of accusation and arguments devoid of facts. Today's ignorant society has been made because the ignorant are happy in their ignorance and don't want to have to think about things, let alone justify their beliefs and opinions.
And to aid the growth and expansion of the ignorant society, education systems throughout the West have employed the “thought police”. Subjects to be taught in schools – or more correctly the interpretation and understanding of certain topics – are on the rise. Teach the population whilst they are young what to believe, what opinions are “acceptable”, for no other reason than, “this is what you are to believe”. And any one who disagrees is to be rejected, for they “discriminate”. This is the height of ignorance and hypocrisy.
Article By B. Michael Bigg