The Internet Says: Ignorance is Bliss

Ignorance is bliss.

Is that true? Well, according to one source, it’s a misquoted line from a Thomas Gary poem. According to the website’s author, the mere idea of ignorance being bliss is absurd. The author suggests  ” Which would you rather be … stupid or smart? What would anyone walking down the street choose? Smart, right? In fact, if someone did choose to be stupid, you would think something was wrong with them … or that they really were stupid.”

Ignorance isn’t always a choice, chief. That’s part of the problem. Although, people do choose ignorance all the time. Every day we see it. People having unprotected sex, people smoking cigarettes, people in abusive relationships, people who believe science is all made up. People are willingly ignorant all the time. People who suspect their spouses of cheating willingly explain away the obvious signs. Why? Because they’re more comfortable telling themselves a lie (i.e. living in ignorance) than knowing the truth (having knowledge).

My point: even though the line is misquoted, it’s still kinda true.

Evidence: People are incredibly willing to pass on information that supports their opinions, even if they don’t know how true it is.

Example: My brother hates me. He’s super conservative. I’m not super conservative, which to him makes me super liberal. It’s all about dichotomies. Since any of my beliefs are automatically wrong because I’m a super liberal, he helps me out by sending “articles” that “prove me wrong.” I need to start sharing these with you, because I truly believe that analyzing rhetorically deceptive “articles” is a valuable learning process.

I digress. So this most recent article claims that democrats are wealthier than republicans, but give significantly less to charity. I don’t care that the article fails to link to the study I assume it used to get its data, because I know (as should everybody) that a) studies only suggest, they never prove, and b) one study isn’t very sufficient evidence for most things. Any time a study makes conclusions based on implications, they are allowing their own personal biases to intervene, thus taking actual facts and making them opinions. Call me nuts, but I don’t trust “scientific studies” enough to make facts based on one. Besides the fact that I don’t know how these data were collected or how they define “charity,” I simply refuse to base any perceptions on one study.

Anyway, it says what it says: Democrats are wealthier, republicans are more charitable. Got it.

Next, I did another quick google search to see who was wealthier, republicans or democrats. Then I found this little gem titled “Why Republicans are Happier, Smarter, Better-looking, wealthier…” As you can tell by the title, the blog is completely academic and neutral. The author himself clearly states (as if he needed to) that he has NO political affiliation at all. One interesting note: the more I read (i.e. the more I learned,) the more annoyed I became. That is to say, if I hadn’t read this or learned this, I would have been happier. Ignorance is bliss: it’s coming full circle.

Here are some very assertive quotes from the blog:

“Why is the average Republican wealthier than his Democratic counterpart? I set out to investigate this idea. What I discovered not only confirmed some well-known stereotypes… but revealed a host of other differences too…”

“Most people I talk to believe Republicans are richer than Democrats. That’s not simply a belief. It’s a fact.”

“As I’ve discovered, there may be some serious genetic, neurological, and psychological factors at play It explains why liberals have a tougher time “rationalizing social and economic inequality,” according to New York University psychologists Jaime Napier and John Tost.”

Whoa there, buddy. Let’s talk about this for a minute. For starters, you can’t “confirm” stereotypes, Dr. White Guy, M.D. Stereotypes are over-generalized conceptions applied to people based on one of their many attributes. A stereotype isn’t something that can be confirmed; “that stereotype is true” does not make sense in any way at all. Besides, a lot of us poor, angry liberals believe that stereotyping is childish and ignorant. We believe that, rather than judging a person on his or her gender, political affiliation, or income, one should judge a person on his or her individual character. No wonder we’re so unhappy and ugly.

Secondly, “…Republicans are richer than Democrats. That’s not simply a belief. It’s a fact.”

Okay…well I’m sure that some republicans are richer than democrats, and I’m sure that some democrats are richer than some republicans. Those are facts.

If you mean that the average income of all republicans is larger than the average income of all Democrats, then it’s awfully vague and general to sum that up with “republicans are richer than democrats.” Again, he’s taking a fact, putting it into his own words i.e. adding his own biases, and claiming it as a fact. Not cool, bro.

But wait a second…another blog told me that science shows democrats as being wealthier than republicans. Now republicans are wealthier? Not to mention the stats I found regarding which party is more likely to use welfare. Now science is telling me very contradictory things…but I’m supposed to believe it all. It’s all science, right?

Oh, speaking of science.  I searched those two psychologists that stated for sure that liberals have a harder time “rationalizing social and economic inequality.” Turns out I couldn’t find any indication of that original report, or of any popular publications by the team. I did, however, find two pages worth of other blogs that quoted that claim from this original blog that fails to cite the survey or the book or anything. That is, people read this blog I’ve been quoting, have accepted it as fact, and have quoted it as a means to support their beliefs that liberals are genetically inferior. Awesome. At this point in time, I’d like to remind you of yesterday’s post that discussed the dangers of people ignorantly passing on maybe-true information without seriously evaluating it.

I couldn’t stop. I found another blog that quoted this finding from this website, and good Lord did I regret it. The stereotypes were bursting from the seems in this one. It’s claims included:

“The recent surge in home foreclosures, for instance, is due to poor economic choices on the part of borrowers, a conservative might think. Liberals, on the other hand, seethe at predatory lenders and lax government regulation of the mortgage industry.

The result: conservatives mix a martini and hit the country club, while liberals write angry letters and stage protests.”

Now I don’t know which one of these claims is my favorite– the assertion that either individuals or predatory lenders are at fault for home foreclosures (again, what would politics be without dichotomies?); that democrats typically don’t hold individuals accountable for their poor financial decisions; or the assertion that getting drunk and playing golf is the right thing to do and political activism is the wrong thing to do.

Above all, this article optimizes the dangers of stereotypes, generalizations, and dichotomies. It’s a great example of how generalizations are used rhetorically. It exemplifies the ways in which surveys are blindly trusted and quoted. It exemplifies the ways in which people’s’ presumptions simplify their lives, creating right/wrong, yes/no solutions to incredibly complex situations.

Most importantly, both of these authors exemplify just how blissful ignorance can be. It’s so much easier to make your point when you don’t take all information into account. It’s so much easier to support claims with facts when you don’t actually know where the facts came from or how they were formed. It’s so much easier to stroke your own ego when you don’t acknowledge all the potential shortcomings of the studies you use to prove your point.  It’s so much easier to believe things when you don’t think critically about them.

The less you know about an individual, the easier it is to stereotype him. The less you know about the other, the easier it is to claim they’re dumber, uglier, and more likely to be on welfare. The more ignorant you are, the easier it is to think you’re right. Ask Socrates. The less you know, the more you think you know.

I can say whatever I want on Facebook, but you can’t

Facebook is not good for much of anything. One thing it is good for is social observation. You don’t actually have to be around people to observe their behavior. This is particularly great for people like me who love to observe human behavior but don’t love actually being around them. The downside: you are left painfully aware of just how prevalent human flaws truly are.

The most dangerous and disgusting kind of discourse I observe on a fairly regular basis is discourse lacking logic. It is seriously everywhere. Just the other day, one of my very proud and loud conservative and recently converted catholic friends decided that people shouldn’t compare catholic priests and Jerry Sandusky. Anybody who does so is “supporting a pedophile.” Duh. Despite several protests against this reasoning, conservo-catholic still felt certain that any comparison between Jerry Sandusky and Catholic Priests was a direct defense of pedophilia. Duh.

The thought process was incredibly flawed, there is absolutely no denying it. Any effort to put the line of logic into any sort of logical proof would fail quickly and obviously. Yet, several friends and family members continued to “like” his nonsensical posts, thus rewarding his ignorant behavior.

The best part is that, despite my deactivating my account several days ago, I was still brought up very early in the conversation. Since I share my opinion and then support it with facts, I’m a pretentious egomaniac. I don’t know the details of a response post, but it was along the lines of “Careful, [conservative friend], you’re only inviting [me] to educate you,” implying that I shouldn’t share my opinion and I absolutely should not share the facts I considered to come to my opinion. That would be uncalled for. That would be so much worse than sharing my opinion without supporting it with any facts.

Not only does Facebook allow uneducated and ignorant discourse, it often times encourages it. As we’ve seen throughout the ages (if you’re into learning from history, that is), knowledge is not necessary to propel an ideology; only enough people to adopt it. This can be seen in slavery, segregation, oppression of women, shock therapy, and a handful of other formerly popular theories that turned out to be insanely wrong. The same is true of Facebook: How many people pass on information without having any idea whether or not it’s true? How many people repost pictures because they might go to hell if they don’t? Most importantly, how can any of this ever change if the status quo is “pass it on if you agree?”

When are facts going to play a role in the modern American‘s ideology? When will people take the Bible‘s advice, let go of their pride, and be open to and grateful for new information, especially if it goes against your currently held beliefs? Why doesn’t public education teach people to do this? Thinking critically about your opinions and the opinions of others should be a regular process of everybody’s life; it is how problems get solved and difficult questions get answered.

I know it’s only Facebook, but you and I both know that Facebook’s influence on Americans is way more significant than the influence of novels or knowledge. I’m not saying it’s ruining America, but it might not be helping anything.

Let your kids read Harry Potter

If you’re one of those parents who don’t allow your children to watch/read Harry Potter because it promotes the devil’s magic, here’s a list of other television shows, books, and movies you should be sure to avoid:

The Wizards of Waverly Place

The Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit

The Wizard of Oz

A Wrinkle in Time


The Golden Compass

The Chronicles of Narnia (yup, the allegory of Jesus)

The Lightning Thief (oracles and gods? yikes!)


Sleeping Beauty

Beauty and the Beast

The Little Mermaid

You get what I’m saying? It’s really stupid keep your kids from reading or watching Harry Potter because of the magic–you and your kids have been raised on books, shows, and movies about magic. You’ve just jumped on a bandwagon so you can look uber-Christian. 

Don’t let your own ignorance get between your children and literature. 

Individualism and Selfishness are not Synonomous

I recently read an article by some pseudo-journalist discussing John Wayne’s symbolism of American “individualism”; the idea that each man is on his own, needs to solve his own problems, and shouldn’t rely on anybody else for personal happiness, emotional stability, or survival. The author (most likely male) talks about how classic Western movies so clearly represent the American spirit: those brave European Immigrants going out west, where no man has gone before, to seek a better life, a new future, and success. The point of the article is that as Americans, we should take on this “individualist” mentality, pull ourselves up by our own boot straps, quit asking people for help, etc. etc.

The author failed to mention the thousands and thousands of Native Americans brutally murdered to make the American West the “success” that it was. It also failed to mention the thousands of European Immigrants who died of a myriad of causes. It also failed to mention the dust bowl, the false promise the West actually was for thousands more people, or that the current Mid-West is facing huge environmental perils such as lack of water and humanly uninhabitable climates.

The author also failed to acknowledge that John Wayne’s characters were just that–characters, and those Western movies were, in fact, made in Hollywood and very barely based on any sense of actual history.

Despite all of these pretty obvious flaws with the author’s logic, the most disturbing part for me was his use of the word “individualism” to describe those Wild West cowboys and those “patriots” of today. When he says individualism, he means the concept of taking care of you and yours and feeling no sympathy for anybody else who suffers or struggles. He compares this type of self-serving “individualism” to communism, which is clearly the only alternative.

These “individualists” are all around us–the gun-hugging, welfare-hating, white guys we see with Bush bumper stickers still proudly displayed on their large and largely useless diesel trucks. These are also typically the same guys who are adamantly against gay marriage, legalization of drugs, Muslims, and abortion. Wait a second…those guys who are all about individualism want our governments to control who people can marry, what people can smoke, and what women do to their fetuses? It’s true. I know it sounds crazy, but a lot of times “patriots” contradict themselves.

Here’s the deal: you can be an individual and still be a compassion person. You can be an individual and sacrifice your own frivolous comforts to help provide another human being with enough food to eat. You can be a hard worker and willingly give some of your hard-earned money to those less fortunate. Being an individual in no means that you have to turn a blind eye to those in need. On the other hand individualism has to actually allow people to be individuals. Nobody should expect or demand that any other person conform to any set of social norms or expectations. Nobody should be judged for a tattooed face because to do so would be to judge individualism. I shouldn’t have to look a certain way to get a certain job because it’s my choice what color I die my hair. If you want a country based on individualism, you need a country that actually accepts individuals.

Sure, John Wayne makes the West look awesome, but you seriously want to live in a lawless town? I know Hollywood made that life look really cool and fun and awesome, but it really wasn’t. Hollywood makes everything look cool and fun and awesome–that’s what directors and producers and actors like John Wayne get paid millions of dollars to do.

For the love of Christ, what kind of human being uses Western Movies and an old actor as a logical defense for his political beliefs?

My thought behind the thought that Athiesm might be kind of a religion

Many atheists are offended by the opinion that atheism is a belief system just as religion is a belief system.

“No, I don’t have beliefs. I don’t believe in God, therefore I don’t have a belief. Duh.” I hear this general argument sometimes.

“If atheism is a religion, then abstinence is a sex position” is an analogy by a famous person, but I forget who. Google it.

The only thing more terrifying than a self-righteous ideology is the denial of that ideology. “This is not how I think, this is how it is.” “We aren’t having a disagreement; I am right and you are wrong.” “Well no, I can’t, like, physically prove it to you, but you can’t prove yourself right, either.” “You’re illogical, so I’m right.”

I don’t believe it is disagreement that causes wars, or different opinions that cause violence; it is the way people react to these differences that causes the problems.

How I see it:

“I don’t believe in God” = “I believe there is no god”

That isn’t lacking a belief, it’s having a negative belief.

“I don’t believe in Bigfoot”= “I believe there is no Bigfoot”

I have a belief. I believe there is no Bigfoot. Now, if I’ve never heard of Bigfoot, then I wouldn’t have a belief about Bigfoot. How can you believe in something if you’ve never heard of it? But, once I’ve heard of Bigfoot, heard what people say about Bigfoot, and decide that I believe Bigfoot isn’t real, then I have a belief.

My boyfriend kind of believes in Bigfoot. Obviously, I think he is ridiculous, but he thinks I’m ridiculous, too. We see the same evidence, same shows, hear the same stories, but we have different, equally thought-out conclusions. I  accept that my “non-belief” is actually  just as much a belief as his. Neither one of us is right because neither one of us knows.

Now the question is: Well what’s a religion?

I’ll start by saying this: I believe there is a difference between religion and organized religion. Otherwise, there would be no point of the term “organized religion.”

Examples of organized religion: Christianity, Buddhism, Catholicism, Pastafarianism (albeit a rare religion)

What are these things? Essentially, they are sets of beliefs that guide a person’s way of living. Christianity isn’t a bible, Christianity isn’t going to church. Christianity is what you believe and how that guides your decisions.

So, do atheists have beliefs? Yes. They believe that God isn’t real.

Does this belief determine the way the person lives? Yes. They have sets of morals based on his or her own interpretations of morals, values, etc. They probably don’t go to church on Sunday or spin the dreidel during Hanukkah.  Many atheists probably have similar ideas about the beginning of the universe and life; most could probably come to some sort of general agreement about where life comes from, how the earth was created, etc.

So who cares? Why does it matter?

It doesn’t, really. My main concern is why people are so afraid to admit they have belief systems. This applies to people of any religious affiliation. I feel it is incredibly dangerous that some people cannot accept that his or her way of thinking is merely his or her belief, just as every other person’s way of thinking is based on a set of beliefs. There are some things we can never know. Get over it.

Love you, bye!

Public Schools want kids to be healthy? This is an outrage!

I’ve noticed that some people don’t like the idea of schools tracking students’ BMI. It’s intrusive. It’s a nanny state. It’s communist.

I disagree. I think it’s a necessary, beneficial decision that is only seeing resistance because a large portion of white lazy Americans value convenience and lethargy over well-being.

The major question to ask first is “What is the purpose of public education.” People will debate about the answer to this riddle for at least as long as we have public education. Potential responses include but are not limited to:

-Prepare children for citizenship

-cultivate a skilled workforce

-teach cultural literacy
-prepare students for college

-help students become critical thinkers

-help students compete in a global marketplace                                                          (

As far as I can see, in order to fully achieve any of these goals, health is directly impacted and influenced by the purpose of public education. How?

1) One cannot be a citizen, let alone a contributing citizen, if one has died from a heart disease at age 30.

2) There are many jobs in this world that require one to be capable of considerable physical strain. I, for one, would not be a very good fire fighter, soldier, lifeguard, or builder because I am weak and out of shape.

3) Anybody who cares about cultural literacy is most likely already concerned with health, or at least aware of its dangers. If we’re too lazy to go anywhere that doesn’t have a parking sport within 50 feet, I’m not sure how we’re going to explore the world and other cultures.

4) The freshmen fifteen have been around for a long time. That is the first time most kids are fending for themselves. Pizza, Ramen, cookies, and beer are everywhere. If we haven’t educated them about the importance of health before they get to college, how are they going to stay healthy during one of the most stressful life transitions thus far?

5) I know I’m not thinking critically when I eat half of an Oreo pie. People who are capable of thinking critically about their decisions and the consequences of their decisions are going to be more critical about their lifestyles decisions. Sure they might eat half a pie on occasion, but they also know about protein and b-vitamins and the importance of green veggies. (Shakotko, et. al. 1980)

6) Again, you can’t compete in a global market if you’re dead at 30, or if you have to take off work once a week for a doctor’s visit, or if you have to sit down every fifteen minutes.

So those are my half-assed reasons.

Logically: I am against saying “I know for certain that…” but I will say this: there is significantly more research suggesting that being obese is unhealthy than there is research suggesting that being obese is not unhealthy (Hannon, Et. al., 2005; Young, 2000). If we allow our kids to continue on this upward spiral toward obesity, our kids will continue to be unhealthy. Then those unhealthy kids grow up. If they do survive long enough to reproduce, they are now more likely to have unhealthy kids (Fogelholm, Et. al 1999). The cycle just goes on and on until Disney’s Robots is an accurate portrayal of America (which isn’t that far away, unfortunately).

As for those who are upset because this is the government taking over our lives: please think for one second. The government already tells me how fast I can drive, how old I have to be to drink or smoke cigarettes, what kinds of plants I’m not allowed to grow, what my kids have to learn, and that I’m not allowed to drive a vehicle while under the influence of any drug (excluding caffeine or nicotine). Are you going to throw a little whiny hissy fit over those? Why do you think we have to follow a speed limit? For the safety of ourselves and others. Why do your kids have to go to school? For the well-being of society. Why do schools measure student’s health? For the well-being of students and society. This country wasn’t founded on “do whatever the hell you want regardless of what the consequences are to your children’s lives.” If that’s what you think America is, then go to Mexico. It seems like they can do pretty much whatever they want. Love it or leave it, boys.

If your only argument is “the government can’t tell me how to raise my kids,” well that is simply not true.  They can tell us what to do. They do tell you how to raise your kids. “Child endangerment” is an actual thing, and if you are responsible for the morbidly obese kid, welp that just might be child endangerment. The word “morbidly” is right there, plain as day. The government says you’re not allowed to put your kid in a running clothes dryer as a punishment (true story, some dude just got arrested for that). The government says they can’t smoke cigarettes. Because those things are bad for your kids. So is being obese. In other instances  of parents neglecting to meet the health and safety needs of their children, aren’t those kids taken away? So are we just supposed to ignore the dangers of obesity because it’s rude? Because, since a lot of Americans are obese, it’s okay to be obese?

Alls I’m saying is, being healthy is important. Just because a lot of people value television more than they value their health does not mean that it is alright or good. Being obese is dangerous to an individual’s health. When more and more of our citizens are unhealthy, our society suffers. Tracking BMI in school is no more communist than measuring students’ knowledge. Opposers are just upset because the government is telling them the truth: your lifestyle is unhealthy and you’re doing a disservice to your children by allowing them to be unhealthy just like you.



Fogelhol, M., Nuutinen, O., Pasanen, M., Myöhänen, E., Säätelä, T.  (1999). Parent–child relationship of physical activity patterns and obesity. International Journal of Obesity, v. 23 issue 12, 1999, p. 1262. Retrieved from

Hannon, T., Goutham, R., and Arslanian, S. (2005). Childhood obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus. Pediatrics. Vol. 116 No. 2 August 2005. pp. 473-80. Retrieved from

Public Broadcasting Service(2001) What is the purpose of public education? If there is more than one purpose, are they sometimes in conflict with each other? Roundtable, Inc

Shakotko, R, Edwards, L., Grossman, M. (1980). An exploration of the dynamic relationship between health and cognitive development in adolescenceNBER Working Paper Series. National Bureau of Economic Research. Cambridge, MA . Retrieved from

Young, TK. Childhood obesity in a population at high risk for type 2 diabetes. The Journal of Pediatrics, v. 136 issue 3, 2000, p.365.


If Only We All Worked as Hard as Mitt Romney

Okay, so I’ve been trying to figure something out for a while now. It involves fiscally conservative economics, so it isn’t exactly clear and straight forward, but I’m trying really hard to understand it. Okay.

Fiscally conservative republican: Trickle down economics works. We let millionaire business owners  have the money (lower tax rates, tax cuts, etc.). They will use this money to create jobs. Poor people will work these jobs, take money from the rich guy in the form of a reasonable paycheck, then those people aren’t poor anymore.

That’s how it works, right? Okay, now let’s look at all the assumptions on which this reasoning relies.

1) Rich guy with  money creates jobs with the money they have.

2) Rich guy creates enough jobs to support a healthy economy.

3) Rich guy pays poor guy enough to support his family.

Those are the three I can think of right now. Now, let’s look at some things.

As we’ve seen recently, rich guys don’t always use their money to create jobs. Let’s look at Mitt Romney for example, since he is such a successful businessman and all.

1) Mitt Romney made money by eliminating jobs.

2) Some of Mitt Romney’s money is hanging out in the Cayman Islands, some of it is chilling is Switzerland…well  if we played “Where in the World is Mitt Romney’s Money?” we could pretty much name a country and be right. Point: his money is NOT in America creating American jobs.

3) He is paying around 14% on taxes. John Kerry, Bill Clinton, and other rich guys pay similar tax rates. Although their bracket would likely require them to pay at least  30% (that is totally a guess) if it weren’t for tax laws written by and for rich white guys, they are only giving around half of that back to their government. Giving less money to government, government sponsored programs cannot afford to hire as many people, there are fewer jobs. And although apparently Republicans hate the government now, it is a pretty great job provider.

4) Although republicans desperately cling to the ideal concept that a person’s pay and the person’s value in society are correlated, it’s just wrong. You need somebody to work in McDonald’s just as much as you need somebody to represent you in the Senate. You know that’s true. People who work at McDonald’s or Wal-Mart or convenience stores or factories often times make minimum wage or very little more than that. If you’ve ever tried to survive on minimum wage, let alone support a family on it, it is certainly tricky. You have to make decisions: feed your kids or save for college. Buy your kids clothes or a savings bond for their birthday? I don’t know about you, but busting ass just to barely survive doesn’t exactly sound like the American Dream.

5) Let’s just pretend that “trickle down economics” is an actual thing that works. What kinds of jobs are created? Do they require college education? Who can afford college education? If you can, you’re going to owe thousands and thousands of dollars when you’re done. Let’s hope those rich white guys created some jobs!!

Let’s not forget that most of the trickle-down supporters also believe that minorities and poor people have the same opportunities that rich white dudes do. That’s a whole new, equally infuriating subject. Let’s get back on track.

So, now that we’ve thought about it a little bit, I come to my real question: If trickle down economics is a real thing, then whose fault is it that there are so many unemployed people? I know, I know, most unemployed people are just lazy and don’t want to work, but there are actually some unemployed people who are actively searching for a job. Shouldn’t one of those rich white guys have created a job? Shouldn’t their hard earned money have gone into creating businesses for which American citizens can work? Since they’re so wise and rich, shouldn’t they have been the ones ensuring that us dumb little poor people have a place to earn a paycheck?

I feel that it is illogical for a person to believe that 1)trickle-down economics is a good idea and also 2) poor people are singularly responsible for their poverty. I feel like there is a modus ponens out there somewhere that could prove that these ideas are contradictory. Unfortunately, I only took Logic 111 so I’m still waiting for somebody to logically prove it for me.

Love you, bye!

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