Wading through political discussions on social media, it doesn’t take long to encounter name calling. I often get called an idiot on Twitter. Since an idiot by its classic definition is someone who is not engaged in politics, I am not going to accept the moniker. Further, I believe and it is commonly believed, when you resort to name calling, you have lost the argument. So I don’t feed the trolls. I mute them. It is better for my health. Further, I don’t use the words ignorant or stupid on social media, but I do frame my comments based upon whether I determine a person is ignorant or stupid.
Being ignorant is simply true if you lack information or knowledge to understand facts or a subject. When someone without a background in science or a grasp of scientific terms sees snow or lives where it gets cold outside, he or she might conclude the Earth’s climate is not changing and our atmosphere is not warming based upon their reality. This person is ignorant but ignorance can change through learning. So when a journalist or an elected official says there is no change in our Earth’s climate because it snowed, I am certain he or she has read scientific literature or their staff has, so they are stupid.
If someone is bigoted toward a group of people, he or she may have never met anyone from that group and may have been told by others the group is dangerous or inferior. Their ignorance can change. If someone still believes a group is dangerous or ignorant after exposure to the contrary, they are stupid.
A couple months ago, while an Alabama judge was refusing to allow same-sex marriages, Alabama veteran Todd Addaway posted a video describing the evolution to his views on the LGBT community after serving with a gay commander. His parody and then explanation brilliantly explains the transition from ignorance to awareness or a grasp of new knowledge.
Good on him.
It is easier to feel empathy for the ignorant because it is generally isolated to one subject and the result of a lack of exposure. Stupid is just plain thick in the head. Not to learn from experience would make you stupid, because you refuse to learn, process new information and evolve. It is not a matter of intellect, either. Remaining unchanged in light of facts is rooted in fear and hate.
In my “C” post on conservatives, I discussed how studies found liberals more readily process new information and change their views accordingly, while conservatives are more fearful to new things. Now I don’ t want to draw any correlations to conservatives being more ignorant or stupid. That’s not fair. Neither will I apologize for my observations of folks who hate.
I believe Forrest Gump put it best. “Stupid is a stupid does.”