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flamin lib Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-20-10 12:00 PM
Original message
How do you fight willful ignorance?
Had a heated discussion with my brother over politics. Sometimes hes serious and sometimes he just likes to get me all riled up just because he knows he can. Anyway, he says Obama is turning us into a Socialist country and weve never been closer to Fascism than we are now.

So I asked, What do those words mean?

Uh, what?

Can you tell me what the definition of Socialism is? Or Fascism or Communism?

Silence.

Okay, when you figure it out we can talk because well both be using the same language. Til then have another beer and just chill.

End of that particular conversation.

How do you fight ignorance? Or worse yet, willful ignorance; a lack of curiosity about what were being told and willingness to embrace anything that will fit on a bumper sticker?

Taxed Enough Already? Yet federal taxes on every income are now the lowest in 50 years. The Bush tax cuts will expire and the Health Care taxes will start but theyll still be the lowest in 50 years for 90% of us.

Coming to take your guns? The Brady organization rates Obama F for failure to curb gun crime and the President of Mexico is begging him crack down on weapons transfers across the border and he does nothing.

Guy at work, I dont need the government in my life.

Me, Howd you get to work? Drive on a highway?

GAW, I dont need a highway, Ive got a 4 wheel drive.

Me, How bout your wife, parents, in-laws? They all have off road vehicles or you just dont give a shit?

*End of that particular conversation.

Before the election of 08 some guy in my store spouts off that Obama cant win because, Nobody he knows will vote for a nigger.

Me, Sir, you there in the Dallas Cowboys t-shirt with the bulging biceps and dark skin, care to explain the democratic process to this fellow over here?

End of that particular conversation.

So how do you fight such willful ignorance? Ignorance flaunted as if every body in earshot accepts it?

*No bigots were harmed in the production of this post.
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elocs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-20-10 12:03 PM
Response to Original message
1. Willful ignorance can only be cured by an epiphany of the willfully ignorant.
In my experience they do not know what those words mean and they do not care to learn and they don't care what you say.
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HopeHoops Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-20-10 12:04 PM
Response to Original message
2. Ignoring them pisses them off more than anything.
And that's what the MSM should be doing with the racist teabaggers - ignoring them.

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NanceGreggs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-20-10 12:04 PM
Response to Original message
3. Great post!
:kick: and REC'D!!!
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The_Commonist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-20-10 12:05 PM
Response to Original message
4. I usually just laugh at them.
Laugh and laugh and laugh and laugh...
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Mojorabbit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-20-10 01:48 PM
Response to Reply #4
32. It is the only thing that works. nt
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Commie Pinko Dirtbag Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-20-10 12:06 PM
Response to Original message
5. Educating the CHILDREN of the willfully ignorant. It's a long term endeavor. -nt
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GreenPartyVoter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-20-10 12:18 PM
Response to Reply #5
11. The more our education system gets broken down, the more I worry about that plan working out.
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flamin lib Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-20-10 03:44 PM
Response to Reply #5
34. What you said!!!! nt
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kentuck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-20-10 12:07 PM
Response to Original message
6. K & R
Good one !
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gratuitous Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-20-10 12:10 PM
Response to Original message
7. The willfully ignorant are often unaware of their ignorance
And you have a very good method: Ask a question or two to get past the talking point/sound bite portion of the discussion, and get to a common language or a better understanding of the subject. It doesn't take long, usually, "What do you mean by that?" or "Can you give an example of {insert point of outrage here}?" The angry silence can be very rewarding.
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county worker Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-20-10 12:10 PM
Response to Original message
8. When ever this question come up I refer to Immanuel Kant, check it out.
Edited on Tue Apr-20-10 12:13 PM by county worker
IMMANUEL KANT
An Answer to the Question:
What is Enlightenment? (1784)
Enlightenment is man's emergence from his self-imposed immaturity. Immaturity is the inability to use one's understanding without guidance from another. This immaturity is self-imposed when its cause lies not in lack of understanding, but in lack of resolve and courage to use it without guidance from another. Sapere Aude! "Have courage to use your own understanding!"--that is the motto of enlightenment.

Laziness and cowardice are the reasons why so great a proportion of men, long after nature has released them from alien guidance (natura-liter maiorennes), nonetheless gladly remain in lifelong immaturity, and why it is so easy for others to establish themselves as their guardians. It is so easy to be immature. If I have a book to serve as my understanding, a pastor to serve as my conscience, a physician to determine my diet for me, and so on, I need not exert myself at all. I need not think, if only I can pay: others will readily undertake the irksome work for me. The guardians who have so benevolently taken over the supervision of men have carefully seen to it that the far greatest part of them (including the entire fair sex) regard taking the step to maturity as very dangerous, not to mention difficult. Having first made their domestic livestock dumb, and having carefully made sure that these docile creatures will not take a single step without the go-cart to which they are harnessed, these guardians then show them the danger that threatens them, should they attempt to walk alone. Now this danger is not actually so great, for after falling a few times they would in the end certainly learn to walk; but an example of this kind makes men timid and usually frightens them out of all further attempts.

Thus, it is difficult for any individual man to work himself out of the immaturity that has all but become his nature. He has even become fond of this state and for the time being is actually incapable of using his own understanding, for no one has ever allowed him to attempt it. Rules and formulas, those mechanical aids to the rational use, or rather misuse, of his natural gifts, are the shackles of a permanent immaturity. Whoever threw them off would still make only an uncertain leap over the smallest ditch, since he is unaccustomed to this kind of free movement. Consequently, only a few have succeeded, by cultivating their own minds, in freeing themselves from immaturity and pursuing a secure course.

But that the public should enlighten itself is more likely; indeed, if it is only allowed freedom, enlightenment is almost inevitable. For even among the entrenched guardians of the great masses a few will always think for themselves, a few who, after having themselves thrown off the yoke of immaturity, will spread the spirit of a rational appreciation for both their own worth and for each person's calling to think for himself. But it should be particularly noted that if a public that was first placed in this yoke by the guardians is suitably aroused by some of those who are altogether incapable of enlightenment, it may force the guardians themselves to remain under the yoke--so pernicious is it to instill prejudices, for they finally take revenge upon their originators, or on their descendants. Thus a public can only attain enlightenment slowly. Perhaps a revolution can overthrow autocratic despotism and profiteering or power-grabbing oppression, but it can never truly reform a manner of thinking; instead, new prejudices, just like the old ones they replace, will serve as a leash for the great unthinking mass

More:
http://www.english.upenn.edu/~mgamer/Etexts/kant.html
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texastoast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-20-10 12:12 PM
Response to Original message
9. K&R and the answer is
Keep confronting it and never ever give up.
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LanternWaste Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-20-10 12:18 PM
Response to Original message
10. I think many people would rather "win" an argument...
I think many people would rather "win" an argument (at least in their own minds) than to actually be correct, or even learn from an argument.

When I believe I'm up against that type of mind, I simply walk away from it-- minds will not be changed, and opinions will not be moved, so I see it as little more than a waste of time.

Left & Right, Progressive & Conservative, Dull & Sharp Witted... doesn't really matter as the incorrigible thinker exists everywhere.
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mmonk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-20-10 12:21 PM
Response to Original message
12. I plan to take on right wing radio.
I already have the blog set up but haven't done anything yet. I'm going to list the hateful and racist things they say and then list the local advertisers. When I get done with that, I'm going to try and enlist people from other places to list their advertisers. I'll send a warning to these companies first giving them the option to drop their advertising with the liars and hate speakers.
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Mojeoux Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-20-10 11:06 PM
Response to Reply #12
43. I've done this and I've had really nice conversations with the phone operators.
I turn down the sound and check to see if Beck is on and I write down the 800 numbers.
His sponsors change a lot.
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mmonk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-21-10 01:21 PM
Response to Reply #43
45. Interesting. Thanks.
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lpbk2713 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-20-10 12:21 PM
Response to Original message
13. Take away his AM radio.




Maybe he'll return to normalcy if he doesn't have an emotional collapse first. :hi:


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treestar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-20-10 12:24 PM
Response to Original message
14. You've done a good job
He's already going off realizing he may not know what socialism is.

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newtothegame Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-20-10 12:24 PM
Response to Original message
15. I don't think anyone knows what those words mean.
Socialism. Fascism. Communism. Nazi. Racist. Sexist.

We've all been using these words for so long as tools of political convenience that they've been completely drained of all meaning. Our kids and grandkids will have NO IDEA the horror that originally lay behind some of these words.
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Turbineguy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-20-10 12:24 PM
Response to Original message
16. It's like the Middle-East Peace Process
Edited on Tue Apr-20-10 12:29 PM by Turbineguy
Both sides have to be willing and some sort of compromise will have to be worked out. Expect it to be a generational process rather than the time you are given while in the supermarket line or a family dinner.

Fox news is handing out the ammunition to make sure the RW stays unwilling. They have succeeded at the ignorant/misinformed part, now they just have to maintain it and possibly grow it. But it seems to be pretty much mature and self-sustaining.

From the Palestinians we can learn that people are willing to endure horrific conditions rather than reach some sort of rational solution if they are brainwashed that the disease is better than the cure. That's why a "Mad Max" society will be tolerated, at least by these Wingnuts.

If your Brother riles you up, he is not interested in or understands the idea that Fox News and their ilk should not be allowed to break up family relationships.

During the Bush years my own Brother-in-Law and I had a sort of unwritten policy not to discuss politics. He was a conservative. I felt that I could not allow Bush to destroy my family. That meant that I kept my mouth shut, we remained friends and he did not push me. Now he's a Teabagger and does not return my calls or emails.

My 2 cents.
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Fumesucker Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-20-10 12:36 PM
Response to Reply #16
20. What is the "rational solution" for the Palestinians? n/t
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Turbineguy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-20-10 01:21 PM
Response to Reply #20
26. I don't know.
Edited on Tue Apr-20-10 01:45 PM by Turbineguy
But blowing up people has not been very successful.

I was using the Palestinian analogy because where we are today was started in the late 1970's.
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flamin lib Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-20-10 03:52 PM
Response to Reply #16
37. With the two of us it's purely recreational. Lots of shouting and
gnashing of teeth in the middle of nowhere (hunting property) by the light of a camp fire and a bit (?) too much alcohol. Big hugs in the morning and looking forward to the next opportunity to blow holes in the forest . . .
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jgraz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-20-10 12:24 PM
Response to Original message
17. I don't know and I don't want to know.
:hide:
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patrice Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-20-10 12:29 PM
Response to Original message
18. Defining terms is usually a good place to start, because they almost never think about what theymean
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rudy23 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-20-10 12:34 PM
Response to Original message
19. You can't--they are ignorant through acts of their will. You can only point out how their will
to believe in falsehoods works AGAINST their self-interest.

It's difficult to do, b/c in many situations, being wilfully ignorant works in favor of one's self-interests--i.e. "winning" an argument b/c one doesn't have the required body of knowledge to know they've lost.
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havocmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-20-10 12:48 PM
Response to Reply #19
23. yep
And I have about reached the point of not even seeing any reason to point out the obvious self-damage they do.

Fuck 'em. I give up.
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rudy23 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-20-10 01:27 PM
Response to Reply #23
30. To them, their identity is more important than the quality of their ideals. Being "wrong" isn't as
bad as being on the gay team--and in my experience, that is how most of them see their world.
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ecstatic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-20-10 12:38 PM
Response to Original message
21. I just ignore them. Life is too short nt
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Dappleganger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-20-10 12:39 PM
Response to Reply #21
22. Too true.
I save my debating energies for people who can rub more than two active brain cells together.
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AmericaIsGreat Donating Member (611 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-20-10 12:56 PM
Response to Original message
24. You demonstrated one of the ways in your post
By asking the person to define the terms they're using so that they start to get a sense about how little they really know.

Even if they know what socialism is you can quickly debunk the notion we're moving towards it. Typically people who abuse this word will cite health-care, even though the legislation forces people to buy into PRIVATE plans.
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Downtown Hound Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-20-10 12:57 PM
Response to Original message
25. Ridicule works really well
In fact, I've found that with some people, it's the ONLY thing that works. No matter how willfully ignorant one is, most people really can't stand being made fun of. Especially if they don't have any really good comebacks.
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BrklynLiberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-20-10 01:22 PM
Response to Original message
27. Prefrontal lobotomies?
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Brickbat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-20-10 01:22 PM
Response to Original message
28. I give them one chance to listen to reason. I treat them very seriously for one conversation, and
if they keep trying, I ignore them.
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Zoeisright Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-20-10 01:22 PM
Response to Original message
29. You have done a FABULOUS job. We need more like you.
Mind if I borrow some of your perfect retorts?
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State the Obvious Donating Member (561 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-20-10 01:47 PM
Response to Original message
31. Just....ASK THEM A QUESTION!
Many Republicans (relatives, friends co-workers), just DON'T KNOW how to answer direct questions because they are unfamiliar with the concept of civil discourse. (Especially when they haven't been given the "correct" answers beforehand. )

As you said to your brother, "Can you tell me the definition of Socialism...Fascism...Communism?" Silence.

Randi Rhodes once asked a caller who wanted to amend the Constitution concerning abortion....she said, "How do you make an amendment? Silence.

Stephen Colbert once asked the Congressman who wanted to pass a law permitting the ten commandments in federal buildings....Colbert said, "Can you name the ten commandments? Silence.

Just for fun, ask a Republican to name the three branches of government and/or which branch makes the laws.......my guess is......there will be silence.

They are NOT prepared for legitimate, thought-provoking questions. SO........ASK THEM!
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Odin2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-20-10 03:28 PM
Response to Original message
33. You can bring a horse to water but you can't make them drink.
All you can do is pity them and make sure their kids are no brainwashed.
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guitar man Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-20-10 03:50 PM
Response to Original message
35. Sir, you there in the Dallas Cowboys t-shirt....
:rofl: :rofl:

:rofl: :rofl:

But seriously, there is no way to fight willful ignorance, the willfully ignorant will hold onto what they desire to be true like Captain Ahab clinging to Moby Dick. They just will not hear anything they don't want to.
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deaniac21 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-20-10 03:51 PM
Response to Original message
36. Nobody better argue with you. You are way to smart and not
afraid to show it.
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ashling Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-20-10 06:53 PM
Response to Original message
38. Its not only willfull
I refer to these people as pro-actively ignorant. Not only are they willing to stay ignorant, but they will go far out of their way to stay that way.

James Garner, star of TV's Maverick, once described the character he portrayed as someone who would walk 10 blocks out of his way to avoid a confrontation. These Tea Partiers will go 10 mile out of their way to avoid being confronted with a new thought.

Maybe that's why Sarah Palin is so enamored with everything "Mavricky."
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branders seine Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-20-10 07:19 PM
Response to Original message
39. with a willful 2X4
Edited on Tue Apr-20-10 07:19 PM by branders seine
eventually
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NJmaverick Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-20-10 08:00 PM
Response to Original message
40. K&R
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applegrove Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-20-10 10:52 PM
Response to Original message
41. Explain to them about big lies like: Democrats favour
a financial industry reform bill which bails out the industry.
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Dr Morbius Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-20-10 10:57 PM
Response to Original message
42. Any damn way I can. If you find a way that works, tell me. (nt)
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druidity33 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-21-10 07:49 AM
Response to Original message
44. i'm a lover, not a fighter. nt.
:)

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iris27 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-21-10 01:29 PM
Response to Original message
46. Honestly...exactly the way you are.
If their ignorance isn't willful, you'll have surprised them and pissed them off and made them go do a little research into what they believe. Usually that research has a moderating effect, since after all, "reality has a well-known liberal bias". (This is the path that led me out of anti-choice fundie land.)

If their ignorance IS willful, at least you'll have shut them up and spared yourself the high blood pressure.
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AngryAmish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-21-10 01:36 PM
Response to Original message
47. WHat you are describing is how the human mind works
You think it is willful ignorance. It is not willful per se. We only hear the information that fits our preconceived notions.

There was a study. About 50% or so of the population think that Saddam Hussein's Iraq had WMDs. Under a clinical setting, the subjects were shown proof that there were no WMDs, UN reports, independent findings, even W saying that there were no WMDs (he did). Anyway, a vanishing small percentage people were persuaded.

It was not willful. Once we have an opinion we do not change it. Hell, I'm a Cubs fan. A reasonable person would have changed teams long ago. But I am not reasonable, since I have an opinion that the Cubs are the best.

Anyway, how do you deal with these things? Don't talk to other people about politics if you disagree since it just upsets the both of you. Cheery news? Hardly.
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