Our problem: Entitlement to act from ignorance without shame

Pratt on TexasWe often hear of what a great problem it is that our country is so divided or polarized in the polis. The term partisanship is often thrown around as if it is some new development that people choose sides on issues and are told its bad for the country.

Our problem today is not simply existence of partisanship or a polarized electorate as those things have existed at significant levels, sometimes higher than today, since before the country took root. What makes things bad today is the two-sided problem of ignorance and entitlement.

What makes things bad today is the two-sided problem of ignorance and entitlement.

When ignorance is coupled with a false sense of self-authority and then added to a world of immediately shared information, whether right or wrong, good or bad information, you have a society in which things that are utterly wrong, unfounded, or just stupid are disseminated equally to information for which there has been at least a modicum of thought given to correctness or respectability.

Too many Americans across the spectrum have the get-a-trophy-for-participating mentality when it comes to politics, being told to “be involved,” “vote,” “let their voice be heard” all without the sense of obligation that one should have some mastery of the subject one is addressing before telling others how it should work.

An example is found in this lead sentence from a Rasmussen Reports national survey summary back in July: “Democrats are less likely to know what socialism is compared to other voters but have a much more favorable opinion of it.”

The poll showed 51% of Democrats having a “favorable impression of socialism” but 29% “of Democrats, however, incorrectly believe the individual has more power than the government in a socialist system, a view held by just 12% of Republicans and 17% of unaffiliated voters.”

The only solution which preserves individual liberty is to change the culture to one that ditches the idea of trophies for showing up, false senses of self-worth and -mastery, for one in which most people respect only reasoned and informed opinion.

That is emblematic of a large swath of the country standing in the public square rallying for an issue about which they are not only fully ignorant but of which they hold an opposite understanding from reality.

The solution is not to control speech, or the means of disseminating ideas, as the statist reflexively wish to do. The only solution which preserves individual liberty is to change the culture to one that ditches the idea of trophies for showing up, false senses of self-worth and -mastery, for one in which most people respect only reasoned and informed opinion.

Such is a culture, for example, in which a pretty-boy actor with no expertise beyond the stage is laughed at when he tries to tell us all how tax policy or immigration policy should work as opposed to being treated as an authority worthy of attention.

It is ignorance and the entitlement to act from ignorance without shame that plagues us.

What do you think?...

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