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News of the Day: Don’t be a Dummy!

News of the Day: Don’t be a Dummy!

August 15th, 2019 // 7:31 am @

Where Do You Stand?

This headline, “Don’t Be a Dummy!,” is sincere. The sad truth is that too many Americans act like “dummies” too much of the time.

For example, consider the following quote:

“Public Policy Polling asked a broad sample of Democratic and Republican primary voters whether they would support bombing Agrabah. Nearly a third of Republican respondents said they would, versus 13 percent who opposed the idea. Democratic preferences were roughly reversed; 36 percent were opposed, and 19 percent were in favor. Agrabah doesn’t exist. It’s the fictional country in the 1992 Disney film Aladdin. Liberals crowed that the poll showed Republicans’ aggressive tendencies. Conservatives countered that it showed Democrats’ reflexive pacifism. Experts in national security couldn’t fail to notice that 43 percent of Republicans and 55 percent of Democrats polled had an actual, defined view on bombing a place in a cartoon.”*

Another way to explain this is that too many of us act like dummies when it comes to current events.

How? First, we too often allow ourselves to hold and express kneejerk opinions on things without studying them and learning even the most basic details.

Second, we are frequently sure we’re right in our opinions, even when we’re just expressing careless views without studying any of the facts.

Third, we too often choose the lazy path when a 30-second search of a topic, or in this case a world map, would tell us that Agrabah is a fictional land from a cartoon movie. Too many Americans** do this kind of thing over and over, often without even realizing it. This isn’t an issue of conservative or liberal, red or blue. It’s a simple matter of assuming we know things instead of immediately saying “I don’t know” and then just bothering to look it up.

If Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, or Abigail Adams had been asked about invading or bombing Agrabah, it’s pretty obvious to anyone who has read their history that they would have paused, pondered, and then done some research. Simple thing. Big consequences.***

So, seriously, let’s not be dummies. When we hear, read, or see something in current events that we don’t know about, let’s be the kind of citizens who take a some time and look up what’s actually happening. If it’s deep, or complex, or contested by the conservative versus liberal media, let’s study a bit deeper.

A free people seldom stay free if they don’t stand up for their freedoms, and that’s hard to do if they don’t take the time to look up things they don’t know. In our system of government the opinions of citizens matter. It’s up to each of us as a citizen to make sure that our opinions are based on knowledge. That’s the only way we can act with wisdom.

A challenge to all of us: When you hear something in current events that you don’t know, or even if you’re just not sure, take a bit of time to look it up. Read about it. Study different viewpoints on the issue. Ponder it for yourself. Then, based on knowledge, develop your opinion. If you already do this, great. If not, let’s all adopt this as a new habit. This very small thing can have a huge, positive impact on freedom. The opposite, just having opinions but not really finding out, definitely hurts our nation.

Also: This is important. Pass it on!

                  

Notes

*From Foreign Affairs, Tom Nichols, “How America Lost Faith in Expertise

**And too many of our international friends as well.

***See Real Clear Politics, David Shribman, “America’s Knowledge Crisis“; The Atlantic, Yascha Mounk, “Republicans Don’t Understand Democrats–And Democrats Don’t Understand Republicans: A new study shows Americans have little understanding of their political adversaries–and education doesn’t help“; Politico, Nick Gass, “Americans bomb Pew test of basic political knowledge“; The Atlantic, David Pozen, Eric Talley and Julian Nyarko, “Republicans and Democrats are Describing Two Different Constitutions


Category : Blog &Citizenship &Community &Culture &Current Events &Education &Featured &Foreign Affairs &Generations &Government &History &Information Age &Leadership &Liberty &Politics

One Comment → “News of the Day: Don’t be a Dummy!”


  1. Roy Kronvall

    3 months ago

    This is a great article. It goes to the idea that we need to actually listen, not simply hear. I’ve seen many times where a poll is put out where a question such as this is posed and the people answering simply did not listen to the question, they heard and reply to what they heard. Further, I like the point that we need to know why we believe what we believe. We can only rely on the testimony of our parents for so long, at some point we must have our own testimony.


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