Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Start of my "Ignorance Is Bliss" Tour

No, I'm not actually going traveling! But I do have an announcement to make that I was going to hold off on for a few weeks. It concerns something that several longtime readers have already noticed. Namely, why did I suddenly stop talking about the U.S. Election a few days ago?

When I started my blog a few years ago, and years before that - with Letters to the Editor and frequent calls & e-mails to talk radio stations in Vancouver and Montreal and London, England - I always thought I could make a small, but meaningful difference to the public discussion. But after a series of interconnected events in a very short time frame, I have come to the following conclusion:

  • 1% of the population has made current events & politics a big part of their life; some of them even blog about their views & insights; they always vote
  • 9% of the population follows the news & politics quite a bit and is generally well informed; they always always vote
  • 50% of the population thinks they're well informed but are not at all; they get most of their info from the headlines and the odd newscast; they almost always vote but only "study up" a few days before an election, doing their "research" by reading campaign literature and the odd newspaper editorial; their views are almost entirely based on their own prejudices and fears rather than any semblance of facts
  • 40% of the population chooses to be completely ignorant, never reads the news, and never votes
The percentages are just based on my own anecdotal evidence, clearly with a bias to what I'm familiar with here in Canada. While the numbers may vary in other Western countries, I think the proportions will probably stay similar.

Ever since I was about 12 years old, I considered myself in that "top" 1%. If you're reading this blog then you probably are as well. It's not an arrogance thing. In fact, it's not even related to IQ. It's just that I always thought that staying well informed and participating as a civic duty, critical for a democratic society to remain democratic and vibrant.

Sadly though, I've come to the conclusion that the vast majority of people (the 90%) don't care about facts, don't care about corruption, don't care about participating to make things better. It just doesn't bother them whatsoever.

This afternoon, relating to a friend of mine this conclusion, he said, "Well, if it's only 10% that you're really speaking with, that's a much smaller group than the entire population!" True, but let's take a look at that 10%. They're a mixed bag, just like the rest of society.

To see what a blogger with a political bent regularly has to deal with, let's look at a recent example from another Vancouver blogger, David Berner. Anyone who reads David's postings knows that he very much wants Obama to win and can't stand either McCain or Palin. With that understood, take a look at this. It's a video of an effigy of a Christian woman being hung by a noose. That woman happens to be Sarah Palin. Was this shot in Iran or Pakistan or North Korea by the professed enemies of America? Nope. It was done in Hollywood, California by . . . wait for it . . . two gay men.

You would think - I would have garnered that any decent person would think - that such an action was beyond repulsive and completely appalling. Apparently not. Take a look at the comments and you'll see that 50% think nothing wrong of it whatsoever. David was so outraged by these pathetic comments that he added a follow-up post here. Picking up where he left off, what do you think would have been the reaction if instead there were two male figures, one white and one black, with some ensignia designating them as Jewish or Muslim and homosexual?

One would only hope that it would be nothing less than Righteous Outrage! But apparently if a person is a Christian or pro-Life or Caucasian or a conservative then anything goes. It's then viewed as "humor". And if you don't laugh then you're a square, unsophisticated dullard.

What's most ironic is that, other than being unable to change my ethnic background, I don't particularly fall into any of the other three categories (except when it comes to Law & Order and Fiscal Responsibility then I am definitely a proud conservative). My own views and political preferences do not act as a filter to determine what my values are for a given situation. For a great many on the Radical Left and admittedly a few nutbars on the Far Right, their values are always selective depending on who is being attacked. To see where this mentality can eventually lead, please carefully read this earlier post.

I admire David Berner for following up and taking the tough stand he has. But it's a losing cause. Hateful lost souls seem to be the norm in the new millennium, across the world. Now many of them also have computers. Ughhh! Am I guilty here of implying that free speech should be censored? For the record, it shouldn't be. But if you hold a party and an uninvited guest shows up and just wants to fight and argue with you and everyone else, is asking them to leave censoring their speech? Technically so but it certainly heightens the chances of having an intelligent conversation at your home.

Since the inception of my blog I've tried to express my views, share my insights, and engage in reasonable discussions. I've never expected anyone to agree with me but the lack of wisdom and lack of interest in any semblance of facts by way too many of those I've received public comments and private e-mails from has been nothing short of appalling. I'm tired of being angry and getting worked up by almost always faceless, nameless individuals who seem to seek great pleasure in casting their anger my way. This U.S. Election cycle has been the worst of all. And reading and listening to others that have also "dared" to not join the Obama Conga Line has made me realize that I'm not at all alone in this regard.

The comedian, Dennis Miller, once said that the brain chemistry in such individuals is messed up such that pleasure is actually achieved by getting angry and/or upsetting others. The political writer and trained psychiatrist, Charles Krauthammer, said recently that those who attacked Sarah Palin in the most vicious ways were very likely undergoing severe symptoms of self-loathing (paraphrasing). Who knows where the truth lies, but these are clearly interesting analyses.

I've long been convinced there's a concerted, though not tightly coordinated effort on the part of the Radical Left to reshape our society into a Socialist Paradise. I'll give them the benefit of the doubt that many of them believe they're doing it for the good of all. But since socialism destroys Incentive, it's ultimately doomed to fail. And history has shown us that when individuals object to their countries being taken down a socialist, or even worse, marxist path that great harm comes to them by these same folks who were once praising its benefits for the disadvantaged and women & children.

If the polls are accurate, next Tuesday America seems poised to vote in an Obama government. Dennis Prager has explained the marketing that many people have bought into. Mark Steyn has warned us that Obama's campaign has engaged in highly illegal actions. John Kass has warned us how the inspiration and incentive of American entrepreneurs will be killed. But the 90% of the population isn't listening. Well, perhaps some of the 50% are with the election less than a week away, but not enough.

If Obama's walk down the socialist garden path ends up being just a minor course correction, benefiting those who truly are in need and increasing taxes enough to end the federal budget deficit then it'll have been a good thing. But I have sincere fears that The Great Leaders (Obama, Pelosi, and Reid) have much more far-reaching intentions. Socialist Wealth Distribution is one. Removing the free speech rights of conservative pundits is another. Dramatically reworkng the Constitution of the United States through radical amendments is another. Taking a Kumbaya no aggression approach to foreign policy, which will immediately threaten billions of people around the world to some seriously dark forces is another. Relinquishing control of key global decisions away from Congress and handing them over to the UN is another.

Never before in recent history has it appeared that the Far Left of the United States is poised to assume so much absolute power in government. Let's hope they have sufficient wisdom to moderate their egos. Otherwise 4 years from now the halo around Messiah Obama et co. will not be glowing as brightly.

To avoid being a hypocrite for the foreseeable future I will no longer be kvetching (complaining) about politics on my blog. Nobody cares. More accurately, TOO FEW care. The NDP may very well seize power next Spring here in B.C. Like in the 1990's their policies will once again destroy the provincial economy and only then will enough voters come to their senses to kick them out. I'll likely have long moved away from here by then, mostly because they're in power but if I'm back I'll cast my vote against them too.

So I've embarked on a new journey entitled "Robert's Ignorance Is Bliss Tour". I want to see what it feels like to be at the very bottom 1% of news aware individuals! Thankfully, I know some very ignorant people who will serve as good role models! To start things off on the right note, I deliberately didn't vote in the Vancouver Fairview by-election today. First time I've missed an election in 25 years. I will not be voting in the municipal election next month and I very much doubt I'll be voting in the provincial election next Spring.

With the absence of all this current affairs knowledge clogging my head, I already seem to have a lot more space (and energy) to focus on my work, which will ramp up my billable hours tremendously. I know for a fact that many financially successful friends of mine came to the same conclusion as I now have: Tune Out, Don't Care About Society at Large, Focus on One's True Friends & Family, and Make Lots & Lots of Money! They're now rich. It's my turn to emulate their success.

Though I'll share a little secret with you: Most of my money I will be devoting to a global philanthropic effort that will loosely be modeled on the great success that BC Digital Divide has achieved these past 3 years but more focused on education with a technology & entrepreneurial bent. Simply put, I'm convinced that there are all kinds of kids out there who don't come from wealthy homes and who don't have the obvious opportunity to go onto university to pursue degrees. My efforts will be directed to helping such individuals who show a track record of intelligence, ingenuity, and hard work to achieving their professional dreams. That'll be something I'll be blogging about much more in the future too.


nachtwache said...

All the power to you, Robert; being an intelligent and caring person, you'll struggle to become blissfully ignorant. I find shrugging my shoulders and try to let things roll off can be helpful. Also, I'll tell myself "life isn't fair" and let things go. Shake your head and live your life, make a difference where you can.
Hugs! You're not alone.

A Missourian said...

Honestly, this election has almost made me lose my faith in Democracy. As Franklin said: “When the people find that they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.”