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writing for godot

Willful ignorance is no defense for denying the truth

Written by Robert Douglas   
Thursday, 25 June 2020 15:05



Facts don’t cease to exist because they are ignored.
-- Aldous Huxley, Proper Studies, 1927

Three-and-a-half years into the reign of the Lyin’ King, let’s remind ourselves that truth and justice will prevail if enough of us uphold American values and call out bullshit when we hear it. But since bullshit is the coin of the realm in Trump World, it’s not always easy to counter the deceit being propagated on television and in social media by Trump and his paid surrogates.

Bullshit thrives in a state of ignorance. So you’d think with so much information now available online we all would be more enlightened. But you’d be wrong. Much of today’s ignorance is willful: A disturbingly large number of Trump followers disregard facts that don’t fit their worldview. They have become pod people — infected by the Fox virus and taken over by alien forces in a real-life remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

New York Times Columnist Paul Krugman focuses on the willfully ignorant in a recent piece on how Trump has empowered America’s anti-rational streak, politicizing issues such as social distancing and climate change. 

“We aren’t a nation of know-nothings,” he writes. “Many, probably most Americans are willing to listen to experts and act responsibly. But there’s a belligerent faction within our society that refuses to acknowledge inconvenient or uncomfortable facts, preferring to believe that experts are somehow conspiring against them.”

I infer, from what he and others say, that the Trump pod people are too blinded by the dumpster fire they put in the White House to see the ocean rising and their neighbors dying of Covid-19.

And journalists with a national platform are not the only voices sounding the alarm. Take Pierre Tristam, for example. He’s the editor of Flagler Live, an online publication serving a mid-sized county in Florida. In his recent call to make masks mandatory anywhere in public,” he wrote, “The Fox-infected propagandists who still go around claiming it’s not much different than the flu are the sort of people who also claim we don’t have a race problem in this country.”

Sadly, Trump and his shills have been a waging disinformation campaign on American values and common sense since before he took office. Again, abetted by “Faux” News and toxic talk radio, Trump has convinced a basket of gullible Americans that:
  • Brown-skinned, non-English-speaking refugees fleeing violence and poverty in central America will storm our southern border and take our jobs unless our government builds a wall.
  • Massive tax cuts for corporations and the very rich will pay for themselves and not just balloon the federal deficit, as they have done.
  • Gutting regulations to protect the environment and public health is prudent because climate change is a hoax and the market will ensure corporations keep us safe.

Progressive talk-show host Thom Hartmann recently cited a Democratic Underground website post that describes the four kinds of people who support Trump:
  • Affluent cynics, who only care about reducing taxation on their wealth;
  • White identity types — that is to say, racists;
  • Religious fundamentalists. They want to impose their strict moral code on everyone — except for the womanizing swindler they treat as their high priest; and
  • Stupid people, of the willful kind this post addresses.

Jesus once said, “Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do.” But it’s hard to forgive peoples’ wrongheaded support for positions they should know are wrong. And harder, still, to forgive those who deceitfully mislead.

What would Jesus say to those who sell an agenda built on lies and mean-spiritedness? “Get thee behind me, Satan,” comes to mind.


Robert Douglas is a former business editor for the Palm Beach Post and Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel. You can contact him at  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , like him on on Facebook, or follow him at RBDMediaDotCom on Twitter. your social media marketing partner
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