The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Is Ignorance Really Bliss?

I wonder... the other day I watched a bit of "The O'Reilly Factor." A lot of people watch that show. Likewise, a lot of people refuse to watch that show. These are people with a particular political point of view that differs from the political point of view that is found on Fox News Channel. It doesn't make sense to me that people would flat out refuse to watch a channel that they disagree with on a political level. You see, I watch a lot of channels which have a slant which I disagree with. I think I am not alone in that.

Anyway, I watched that O'Reilly show because it promised a segment called "Watters' World" where Watters interviews mostly young people about the elections on Tuesday. I like these segments because they reveal a lot about average people. Some might think Watters edits the clips to show people in a bad light. He swears he doesn't do that, though he acknowledges that he doesn't leave out the most outrageous comments. In general, the people he interviewed were ignorant of many things: who controlled the Senate, for example, and who was running for office.

I can believe Watters doesn't do ideological editing because I have known many people in my life who paid no attention to politics, local or national. And studies show a large portion of the electorate are, well, ignorant. Yet who we elect matters a great deal, especially according to the political parties involved. But what else would you expect of them?

What really bothers me is the lack of some basic knowledge about our system of government. How many senators in the Senate? Who is the vice-president of the United States? Who is the governor of your own state? I remember a "Last Week Tonight with John Oliver" (it's on HBO) where the host opined that people had no idea who their state representative was. I have to admit that I have no idea who mine is. I know who my Congressional Representative is (Tom Rooney-R) but my state rep? No clue. And Oliver talked about how many laws they passed (well, more likely voted on... not necessarily passed) in the last year in comparison to Congress. A total of some 24,000 bills were at least considered by state legislatures. Most of these impact your life in one way or another. His point? Why get all bent out of shape about the federal government when it's unlikely you know what is happening in your state capital? It's a good point.

Still, it's upsetting to me that so few people seem to know the history of this country, how it is supposed to work, and don't seem to want to know. Scary... especially when they are urged (exhorted, really) to vote. Each party hopes their base will turn out and vote blindly for party. Yet, these would likely be votes of ignorance. We have poor turnouts at the polls, especially for mid-term elections (most presidential elections see no more than a 70% turnout, mid-terms are much lower). I would rather most people stay home if they don't really have a clue about what is going on politically but I also know that isn't going to happen.

By now, the results are in for Tuesday's elections. I have no idea how they turned out because I am writing this on Monday. I can only hope good decisions were made... but I am not holding my breath.


Tom Sightings said...

B and I have discussed how it might be a good idea to have some kind of minimum requirement to be eligible to vote -- say a h.s. diploma, or honorable military discharge, or pass a simple civics test. But that would never fly, because we live in a democracy. So I guess we get what we deserve. But every once in a while, just sometimes, I wonder if an oligopoly might be better.

Douglas said...

Tom, I had to look up that word... It means:
An oligopoly is a market form in which a market or industry is dominated by a small number of sellers (oligopolists). Oligopolies can result from various forms of collusion which reduce competition and lead to higher prices for consumers.

Perhaps we already have it!

Tom Sightings said...

Oops, I guess I should have consulted the dictionary, too. What I meant was oligarchy -- a form of government in which power rests with an elite segment of society traditionally distinguished by wealth, family or achievement -- but I would base it only on a minimal level of intellectual or social awareness. (But remember, I'm not really serious about this.)

Douglas said...

To be honest, Tom, I suspected that was the word you really wanted to use. There are some (maybe many) who think is our system now. If it is, it is (in my opinion) the result of those who have "worked the system" and put themselves on top. The question I have for you, based on that "minimal level of intellectual or social awareness", is judged by whom?