Trumpism and the Danger of Willful Ignorance

by DarkSyde –

A useful example of the willful ignorance spreading among conservatives as exemplified by Trump. Here, conservatives changed their opinion on a simple yes or no question based solely on the party in control of the WH. It is a good bet that many who changed their mind would vehemently deny they ever held any other view on the matter.

Humans are all born ignorant. We may mature into the most knowledgeable creatures on Earth, but at the start, we’re about as intellectually helpless as any mammal on the eutherian side of a marsupial. Sadly, many of us stay relatively ignorant our whole lives, mostly not by choice. But for a few, ignorance is willful, intentional, and terminal. Trumpism carries that further:

What is key though is to understand that this is not just ignorance. Ignorance is just the first stage of Trump’s fairly advanced problem. He is not only ignorant but clearly unaware of his level of ignorance. This is compounded by a seeming inability to understand that everyone else isn’t equally ignorant to him. Those of us who are parents know the wonder of discovery experienced by small children. … But Donald Trump is a 70 year old man. 

There are certainly highly educated, well-informed Trump voters. But in almost every case I know of personally, those voters have had to suspend or completely up-end their beliefs on any number of issues, and instead accept—or at least pretend to accept—ideas they once knew and professed to be utter and complete nonsense. It’s as though they’ve had to adjust their own cognitive skill set way down to Trump’s level in order to dismiss the possibility that he is an unqualified ignoramus.

Trump’s willful ignorance isn’t just embarrassing and complete, it doesn’t stop merely at disturbing or potentially dangerous. This brand of willful ignorance now appears to be both contagious and progressive, a mind-hack that spreads through social and traditional media like a virus, sets up in its human host, and then gets worse. And while it may not turn its victims into walking dead zombies, the result sure seems akin in some respects to cult fanaticism, in that it destroys intellectual honesty and impairs any prior memory that would conflict with the newly inserted belief.


Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos