Here is a question that has been bugging me for a little while: Is Sarah Palin an aberration? She is treated as such by the media, at least the mainstream media but this does not answer the question necessarily. In my last post, I wrote about what has been called "willful ignorance," that is, an ignorance which is willed by its possessor and this because it does, in some ways, serve the person in question. And this kind of ignorance is hardly the preserve of the likes of Sarah Palin. Her willful ignorance might be or seem to be more visible, but this does not mean it is an aberration, something that is rather rare and not to be seen in other public figures. Take this quote from Ronald Reagan, made in 1982: "We [the U.S.] have never interfered in the internal government of a country and have no intention of doing so, nor have ever had any thought of that kind." And, perhaps even more remarkable, no one broke into fits of laughter when Reagan said this. And the invasion of Grenada occurred soon after Reagan made this statement. So, it would seem, that willful ignorance is pretty wide spread characteristic in these United States, being visible even among "We the People." So why this willful ignorance? What purpose or purposes does it serve? What purpose does it serve for our elites or for ourselves? I am not at all sure.
Perhaps for our elites it is a form of secrecy. That is, they chose not see and not to display that which seems less than admirable. In this way, our elites can hide things, actions or policies, that they don't want us to be aware of, e.g., nuclear power accidents. I suspected early on that the full story of the damage in Japan was not being publicized and now this seems to have been the case. But further, there have been far more nuclear power accidents than most of us are aware of. For example, in 1986 there were 2,836 accidents in 99 American nuclear plants, while in 1987 there were 2,940 accidents in 105 American nuclear plants. We have been uninformed on these accidents which were, of course, of varying degrees of severity. This is a form of willful ignorance, to be sure. Perhaps this kind of ignorance is needed, that is, needed because it is the only way we can go on believing in our kind of civilization, which claims to be "progressive." In order to maintain the illusion of progress, we must blind ourselves to our own situation. Our elites are willfully ignorant but so are we the people. It is, to say the least, an interesting state of the union, but not one is likely to hear from any president.