Saturday, October 1, 2011

Hatred and Ignorance

Some things, like hatred of others and ignorance, never change. Just a few well-known examples from the recent news:

1. At the last GOP debate among the various contenders for the presidential nomination, a serviceman serving in Iraq, Stephen Hill, identified himself as gay; the audience booed. None of the contenders condemned the booing or recognized the dedication and service of this soldier.

2. At a previous GOP convocation, Gov. Rick Perry was asked about his record number of death sentences--234--in Texas, and this time the audience applauded. Again, none of the contenders condemned the applause or even commented on it. They knew Perry was proud of his record as a tough law-and-order guy.

3. Thirty percent of Republicans polled last week indicated that they still believe Barack Obama is a Muslim, and 36% believe he is foreign born. No amount of media attention to the truth seems to change this type of belief, based, presumably, on the deep-seated feeling that Obama is "not one of us" and never will be.

4. A teenager, Jamey Rodemayer, 14, committed suicide after being bullied foir being gay. Even after his death, many kids chanted, "We're glad you're dead." Again, the origins of this hatred run very deep. And I wonder, having taught courses in hatred and evil, whether education is really the answer to reducing this type of evil since many people have closed minds.

When the ideology of ignorance, combined with self-righteous anger, triumphs over truth, we are in trouble. More and more, this country seems to be divided into two warring camps of the enlightened and the ignorant. My main remedy: turn off cable news and other news media as much as possible. Read alternative sources of information and keep thinking.

1 comment:

Gerry said...

One of my favorite political scientists, Kenneth Minogue, has a great book entitled "Alien Powers: The Pure Theory of Ideology." He traces the development of the doctrine back to the 18th Century. Surely "ignorance" (or, perhaps, "prejudice" in the Burkean sense) is not an ideology.