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  • COMMENTARY: The Cult of Ignorance

    After reading one of my articles criticizing global warming, an old acquaintance posted this on Facebook: “Ed, what happened to you?” Later she followed up with: “I am really disappointed in you.” Evidently, she believes in global warming and cannot tolerate my holding a contrary viewpoint. But that is merely what’s happening on the surface. Underneath is a much more dangerous phenomenon—she has formulated her opinion based on nothing and is happy to shove it down my throat because she is proud of her ignorance.

    My opinion on global warming is based on extensive research, which led me to write two books and numerous articles on the subject. My friend—if I can call her that—developed her opinion based on what someone told her or what she read in the New York Times. She thinks that makes her an expert and gives her the right to lecture the rest of us. Fine, I can handle criticism when good reasons are offered. She offers none, and doesn’t seem to think she needs to. Her opinion gives her the high moral ground.

    This phenomenon, which science fiction writer Isaac Asimov called “the cult of ignorance,” seems to be spreading like wildfire. Instead of doing their homework, many educated people are forming their political views from second hand information published by questionable sources. When they discover that you disagree with them, they respond with sarcasm and personal attacks. The last things they want to hear are the facts.

    The US is not alone in suffering from this malady. I received another dose of the disease this morning as I was having coffee at an outdoor cafe in Amsterdam. A young Dutch couple seated next to me initiated a conversation. We began with the weather and then veered into politics.

    “What do you think of Geert Wilders?” I asked them. Wilders is a right-wing Dutch politician who believes the onslaught of Muslim immigration is destroying Holland. I have been following his career with interest and admiration. The man has displayed a lot of guts by expressing views that are unpopular with the ruling government and a million Muslim immigrants living in Holland. I was curious to get the Dutch point-of-view.

    Upon hearing my question, the female member of the couple went from quiet and demure to fiery and bombastic. “I hate him!” she screamed. “Wilders reminds me of Trump. I hate him too!”

    “Why do you hate Trump?” I inquired.

    “Because he is a racist!” she said.

    “Give me an example of how Trump is a racist,” I demanded.

    “He hates Muslims,” was her answer. “My best friend is a Muslim.”

    Her friend is a Muslim, therefore anyone who opposes uncontrolled Muslim immigration is a racist. She obviously is not interested in the facts surrounding the Muslim incursion into Europe, nor does she care. As in the case of my “global warming” friend, this woman makes her decisions based on emotions.

    In this new world of ignorance, facts have become either irrelevant or inconvenient. It used to be that you could have a political discussion where each side presented evidence for its viewpoint. That is no longer the case especially if you happen to be in a discussion with someone of the liberal persuasion. Liberals, you see, are exempted from the requirement for evidence. All they have to do is state their position and then look at you as if you have been bathing in raw fish.

    “The strain of anti-intellectualism,” said Isaac Asimov, “has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.” You can recognize the cult of ignorance in the mainstream media, which insists—without evidence—on calling the president racist, bigoted, sexist, xenophobic, anti-Semitic, Islamophobic, and any other -ism you can think of. Or you can simply listen to Rep. Maxine Waters on a good day.

    “We are creating a world of dummies,” writes author Ray Wilson in Psychology Today. “Angry dummies who feel they have the right, the authority and the need not only to comment on everything, but to make sure their voice is heard above the rest, and to drag down any opposing views through personal attacks, loud repetition and confrontation.”

    As I said, I can tolerate criticism, but contending with someone who is proud of their ignorance is something I am still learning to deal with. I better find a way soon, because, as in the sci-fi film, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, they are everywhere.


    Ed Brodow

    Ed Brodow (USMC Retired), author of the brand new book, Tyranny of the Minority: How The Left is Destroying America and a contributor to DailyCaller.com and DailySurge.com. Brodow is one of the world’s leading negotiation experts and a staunch advocate of critical thinking. SEC Chairman Harvey Pitt dubbed him “The King of Negotiators.” Forbes Magazine agreed, ranking Ed as one of the nation’s top dealmakers. He is the author of six books, including the business classic, Negotiation Boot Camp: How to Resolve Conflict, Satisfy Customers, and Make Better Deals. For two decades, Ed’s acclaimed Negotiation Boot Camp® seminars have set the standard for “how to make a deal” in Corporate America. A nationally recognized television personality, Ed has appeared as negotiation guru on PBS, ABC National News, Fox News, Fortune Business Report, and Inside Edition. He is negotiation consultant to some of the world’s most prominent organizations, including Microsoft, Goldman Sachs, Learjet, Ritz-Carlton, Starbucks, McKinsey, Philips, Zurich Insurance, the IRS, the GSA, and the Pentagon. As a keynote speaker, Ed has enthralled more than 1,000 audiences in Paris, Milan, Athens, Singapore, Tokyo, Bangkok, Sao Paulo, Bogota, and New York with his charismatic stage presence, infectious humor, and practical ideas. In previous lives, Ed was a U.S. Marine Corps officer, corporate sales executive, and Hollywood movie actor.

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